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The Philosophy of Zombies

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  • The Philosophy of Zombies

    From the Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy

    Intro and Contents

    Zombies are exactly like us in all physical respects but have no conscious experiences: by definition there is ‘nothing it is like’ to be a zombie. Yet zombies behave like us, and some even spend a lot of time discussing consciousness. This disconcerting fantasy helps to make the problem of phenomenal consciousness vivid, especially as a problem for physicalism.

    Few people think zombies actually exist. But many hold they are at least conceivable, and some that they are ‘logically’ or ‘metaphysically’ possible. It is argued that if zombies are so much as a bare possibility, then physicalism is false and some kind of dualism must be accepted. For many philosophers that is the chief importance of the zombie idea. But the idea is also of interest for its presuppositions about the nature of consciousness and how the physical and the phenomenal are related. Use of the zombie idea against physicalism also raises more general questions about relations between imaginability, conceivability, and possibility. Finally, zombies raise epistemological difficulties: they reinstate the ‘other minds’ problem.

    * 1. The idea of zombies
    * 2. Zombies and physicalism
    * 3. The conceivability argument
    * 4. Are zombies conceivable?
    o 4.1 Arguments for
    o 4.2 Arguments against
    * 5. Does conceivability entail possibility?
    o 5.1 Objections based on a posteriori necessity
    o 5.2 Other objections
    * 6. Other issues
    o 6.1 Mental causation
    o 6.2 The function of consciousness
    o 6.3 Other minds
    * 7. Conclusion
    * Bibliography
    * Other internet resources
    * Related entries

    Considering this and the analysis of a zombie plague (discussed elsewhere in the forums) I think something is going on...
    Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
    - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
    - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
    - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
    - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
    - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
    - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

  • #2
    Re: The Philosophy of Zombies

    I thought the philosophy of zombies was "BRAAAAAAAIIIIINSSSSS...." :D


    • #3
      Re: The Philosophy of Zombies

      Originally posted by Ferris Bueller View Post
      I thought the philosophy of zombies was "BRAAAAAAAIIIIINSSSSS...." :D
      The Return of the Living Dead. Classic movie. "BRAAAAAAAIIIIINSSSSS...." [media][/media]
      |TG-X| mp40x

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      • #4
        Re: The Philosophy of Zombies

        If I'm following the article correctly, "zombie" refers to a being that has all the outward characteristics of a normal human being but who lacks self-awareness. The article is really questioning the nature of consciousness and whether it can arise from purely physical mechanisms like electrochemical neurons, or whether it needs some non-physical element.

        I'm currently re-reading GEB:EGB (Order from which covers some of this, and I want to read Society of Mind (Order from, Minsky's work speculating on how consciousness arises.
        Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

        snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

        Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."




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