Consciousness and Cognition 17 (4):1163-1168 (2008)

Authors
Eric LaRock
Oakland University
George Mashour
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Abstract
Philosophical (p-) zombies are constructs that possess all of the behavioral features and responses of a sentient human being, yet are not conscious. P-zombies are intimately linked to the hard problem of consciousness and have been invoked as arguments against physicalist approaches. But what if we were to invert the characteristics of p-zombies? Such an inverse (i-) zombie would possess all of the behavioral features and responses of an insensate being yet would nonetheless be conscious. While p-zombies are logically possible but naturally improbable, an approximation of i-zombies actually exists: individuals experiencing what is referred to as “anesthesia awareness.” Patients under general anesthesia may be intubated (preventing speech), paralyzed (preventing movement), and narcotized (minimizing response to nociceptive stimuli). Thus, they appear—and typically are—unconscious. In 1-2 cases/1000, however, patients may be aware of intraoperative events, sometimes without any objective indices. Furthermore, a much higher percentage of patients (22% in a recent study) may have the subjective experience of dreaming during general anesthesia. P-zombies confront us with the hard problem of consciousness—how do we explain the presence of qualia? I-zombies present a more practical problem—how do we detect the presence of qualia? The current investigation compares p-zombies to i-zombies and explores the “hard problem” of unconsciousness with a focus on anesthesia awareness.
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DOI 10.1016/j.concog.2008.06.004
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References found in this work BETA

Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness.David J. Chalmers - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.
The Mind-Body Problem.Jerry Fodor - 1981 - Scientific American 244 (1):114-25.
The Nature of Mind.David M. Armstrong - 1970 - In Clive V. Borst (ed.), The Mind/Brain Identity Theory. Macmillan.

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