Imagine a neuroscientist who has only ever seen black and white things, but she is an expert in color vision and knows everything about its physics and biology. If, one day, she sees color, does she learn anything new? Is there anything about perceiving color that wasn’t captured in her knowledge?
My belief: She absolutely learned something new, and though that new knowledge is hard to explain, it is not mystical, unexplainable, or nontransferable. Her new brain state could in fact be replicated in another brain or machine and be experienced just as Mary had herself.
“Hey, insular cortex, that does disgusting food… ‘Moral disgust’? I don’t know, that vaguely sounds sort of like that. Hey, somebody give me some duct tape. I’m going to strap moral disgust onto gustatory disgust.”
We mistake feeling disgusted by something as being a good litmus test for deciding what’s right and wrong. And what we know is somebody’s “disgusting, this is simply wrong” is somebody else’s “perfectly normal loving lifestyle”. And it’s tempting if your stomach is in a total uproar, you know, “if it makes you puke you must rebuke”.