So there is this semantics/psycholinguistics concept called mental-priming, which says for a concept called 'red' nearby concepts like apple, color, danger etc. 'light up' . Can we teach Mary, what Red is like by explaining the other concepts that are nearby for normal people?

closed as off-topic by curiousdannii, bytebuster, jlawler, b a, Draconis Aug 22 at 17:32

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I take it that this refers to the knowledge argument proposed by Frank Jackson, in which scientist Mary is locked in a black and white room from birth but learns everything about the physics and neuroscience of color. The question is then whether Mary learns something new when she leaves the room and experiences actually seeing color for the first time. The argument is that she does, because she did not know what it is like to experience red, i.e., the qualia corresponding to seeing red.

Given that the assumption is that she learns everything about the neuroscience of color perception, she in fact would know which nearby concepts light up in normal people. Could she perhaps induce in herself what it is like to perceive red by simultaneously priming all those concepts in herself? I doubt it, because for her those concepts are different; for a normal person, "apple" may be associated with phenomenally perceiving red, but not for her. It's also not clear what the qualia (if any) of having certain concepts primed are, but in any case those seem different from those of perceiving color...

(This question might also fit under philosophy.)

  • Sounds very similar to Searle's Chinese Room story. – jlawler Aug 19 at 21:39

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