David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
According to the zombie conceivability argument, phenomenal zombies are conceivable, and hence possible, and hence physicalism is false. Critics of the conceivability argument have responded by denying either that zombies are conceivable or that they are possible. Much of the controversy hinges on how to establish and understand what is conceivable, what is possible, and the link between the two—matters that are at least as obscure and controversial as whether consciousness is physical. Because of this, the debate over physicalism is unlikely to be resolved by thinking about zombies—or at least, zombies as discussed by philosophers to date.
In this paper, I explore an alternative strategy against the zombie conceivability argument. I accept the possibility of zombies and ask whether that possibility is accessible (in the sense of ‘accessible’ used in possible world semantics) to our world. It turns out that the question of whether zombie worlds are accessible to our world is equivalent to the question of whether physicalism is true. By assuming that zombie worlds are accessible to our world, supporters of the zombie conceivability argument beg the question against physicalists. I will then consider what happens if a supporter of the zombie conceivability argument should insist that zombie worlds are accessible to our world. I will argue that the same ingredients used in the zombie conceivability argument—whatever they might be—can be used to construct an argument to the opposite conclusion. If that is correct, we reach a stalemate between physicalism and property dualism: while the possibility of some zombies entails property dualism, the possibility of other creatures entails physicalism. Since these two possibilities are inconsistent, one of them is not genuine. To resolve this stalemate, we need more than thought experiments.
|Keywords||Possible world Accessibility Metaphysical possibility Zombie Conceivability argument Physicalism Property dualism|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Jaegwon Kim (2005). Physicalism, or Something Near Enough. Princeton University Press.
David J. Chalmers (1996). The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. Oxford University Press.
David Lewis (1983). New Work for a Theory of Universals. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (December):343-377.
Jaegwon Kim (1993). Supervenience and Mind. Cambridge University Press.
David John Chalmers (2010). The Character of Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Katalin Balog (1999). Conceivability, Possibility, and the Mind-Body Problem. Philosophical Review 108 (4):497-528.
Brent Silby (1998). On The Conceivability of Zombies. In Jack Copeland (ed.), Philosophy research paper series - Dept Philosophy, University of Canterbury.
Eric Marcus (2004). Why Zombies Are Inconceivable. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (3):477-90.
David Robb (2008). Zombies From Below. In Simone Gozzano Francesco Orilia (ed.), Tropes, Universals, and the Philosophy of Mind: Essays at the Boundary of Ontology and Philosophical Psychology. Ontos Verlag
Keith Frankish (2007). The Anti-Zombie Argument. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):650–666.
Daniel Stoljar (2001). The Conceivability Argument and Two Conceptions of the Physical. Philosophical Perspectives 15 (s15):393-413.
Torin Alter (2007). Imagining Subjective Absence: Marcus on Zombies. Disputatio 2 (22):91-101.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads142 ( #24,582 of 1,790,308 )
Recent downloads (6 months)21 ( #38,278 of 1,790,308 )
How can I increase my downloads?