I was thinking about my reverse-zombie argument from zoombies and shombies today when I suddenly remembered a remark that Chalmers made somewhere to the effect that the knowledge argument, the zombie argument, and Kripke’s modal argument are all of apiece and all stand or fall together (I was thinking about this partly because I am working on another paper “Fool’s Pain: The Kripkean Response to Kripke’s Modal Argument against Physicalism”). It then occurred to me that if this is true and the reverse-zombie argument actually works then it should be possible to construct a reverse-knowledge argument. So, let me give it a try.
Consider Maria. Unlike Mary, Maria is not a super-scientist. She is a super-phenomenologist. Maria knows all of the qualitative facts about red. She knows what it is like for her to see red in such a way that she can discriminate between very fine shades, etc. But like Mary, Maria was raised in a special room. This is not a black and white room, it is a science-free room. So, though Maria knows all of the qualitative facts about red she knows none of the phsyical facts. She is kept in total ignorance about physicial color theory. She has a masterful grasp of the qualitative facts but no grasp of the physical facts. Now let us suppose that Maria is let out of her room and taught color science. In particular let us suppose that Maria gets out of her room after we have a completed physical theory. She then learns all of the (complete) physical theory about the brain, the way it works, wavelengths, light recepters at the eys, the tranduction of signals, etc, etc. Won’t she have learned something new about red? The answer is yes; she will learn that her color experience is a physical event in her brain. Maria will leanr something that she would express by saying ‘oh, so that what my color experience is!’ In short she will leanr that all there are are physical facts.