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Mary the color scientist knows all the physical facts about color, including every physical fact about the experience of color in other people, from the behavior a particular color is likely to elicit to the specific sequence of neurological firings that register that a color has been seen. However, she has been confined from birth to a room that is black and white, and is only allowed to observe the outside world through a black and white monitor. When she is allowed to leave the room, it must be admitted that she learns something about the color red the first time she sees it — specifically, she learns what it is like to see that color. Thus:

  1. Before her release, Mary was in possession of all the physical information about color experiences of other people.
  2. After her release, Mary learns something about the color experiences of other people. Therefore,
  3. Before her release, Mary was not in possession of all the information about other people's color experiences, even though she was in possession of all the physical information. Therefore,
  4. There are truths about other people's color experience that are not physical. Therefore,
  5. Physicalism is false.

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