Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267):223-240 (2017)

Authors
Zhuo-Ran Deng
University of Canterbury
Jack Copeland
University of Canterbury
Douglas Ian Campbell
University of Canterbury
Abstract
Famous examples of conceivability arguments include (i) Descartes’ argument for mind-body dualism, (ii) Kripke's ‘modal argument’ against psychophysical identity theory, (iii) Chalmers’ ‘zombie argument’ against materialism, and (iv) modal versions of the ontological argument for theism. In this paper, we show that for any such conceivability argument, C, there is a corresponding ‘mirror argument’, M. M is deductively valid and has a conclusion that contradicts C's conclusion. Hence, a proponent of C—henceforth, a ‘conceivabilist’—can be warranted in holding that C's premises are conjointly true only if she can find fault with one of M's premises. But M's premises are modelled on a pair of C's premises. The same reasoning that supports the latter supports the former. For this reason, a conceivabilist can repudiate M's premises only on pain of severely undermining C's premises. We conclude on this basis that all conceivability arguments, including each of (i)–(iv), are fallacious.
Keywords conceivability argument  modal argument  zombie argument  ontological argument  physicalism
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References found in this work BETA

The Nature of Necessity.Alvin Plantinga - 1974 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
The Character of Consciousness.David John Chalmers - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1981 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.

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