Do Conceivability Arguments against Physicalism Beg the Question?

Philosophical Topics 40 (2):71-89 (2012)
Abstract
Many well-known arguments against physicalism—e.g., Chalmers’s Zombie Argument and Kripke’s Modal Argument—contend that it is conceivable for there to be physical duplicates of ourselves that have no conscious experiences and also that what is conceivable is possible—and therefore, if phenomenal-physical identity statements are supposed to be necessary, then physicalism can’t be true. Physicalists typically respond to these arguments either by questioning whether such creatures can truly be conceived, or denying that the conceivability of such creatures provides good evidencefor their ‘metaphysical’ possibility. An increasing number of physicalists, however, contest these arguments in a different way, namely, by suggesting that the conceivability premises in these arguments beg the question: one’s ability to conceive of the existence of zombies depends exclusively on what one antecedently believes to be the nature of conscious experience —and therefore cannot legitimately be used to draw conclusions about whether conscious experiences could be physical states or processes. My aim in this paper is to consider, and raise questions about, this response to the antiphysicalist arguments—and argue that physicalists have more promising ways to disarm them
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind
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ISBN(s) 0276-2080
DOI 10.5840/philtopics201240214
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The Sense of Incredibility in Ethics.Nicholas Laskowski - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-23.

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