Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Philosophy

Subject Categories



College of Liberal Arts



Thesis Adviser

Napoleon M. Mabaquiao, Jr.

Defense Panel Chair

Robert James M. Boyles

Defense Panel Member

Jeremiah Joven B. Joaquin
Victorino Raymundo T. Lualhati


This research paper aims to make a modest contribution to the development of philosophical scholarship by inquiring into the soundness of a strong argument defending physicalism from one of its strong challenges: the Ability Hypothesis (AH), which was advanced by David Lewis and vigorously defended by Laurence Nemirow; and the said challenge to physicalism refers to the Knowledge Argument (KA), which was advanced by Frank Jackson. It must be noted that AH can be viewed from two different perspectives, and thus can be interpreted as either: (1) a defense of physicalism or (2) a critique of KA. The difference in these perspectives is important as this research paper uses (2), and thus its arguments only work within the context that AH is a critique of, or an objection to, KA. To do this, AH is examined by qualifying the differences between the conceptions of phenomenal knowledge or qualia as assumed in both KA and AH. For AH to succeed as an objection to KA, it must, first and foremost, faithfully represent the concepts and views put forth by KA. This research paper argues that AH fails in this area as it commits the straw man fallacy by misinterpreting the supposed meaning of “phenomenal knowledge” as put forth by the KA, which allows for possible formulations of the AH showing the fallacy of equivocation, because KA’s original concept of “phenomenal knowledge” was not properly disproved. It must also be noted that this paper is not a defense of KA, for while AH may not be successful in discrediting KA in the context that this paper views it, there may be other insurmountable difficulties that KA faces.

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Physical Description

110 leaves


Ability; Hypothesis

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