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:
- Before her release, Mary was in possession of all the physical information about color experiences of other people.
- After her release, Mary learns something about the color experiences of other people. Therefore,
- 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,
- There are truths about other people's color experience that are not physical. Therefore,
- Physicalism is false.
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