Access Granted to Zombies

Theoria: Beograd 60 (1):58-68 (2017)

Dusko Prelevic
University of Belgrade
In his "Access Denied to Zombies", Gualtiero Piccinini argues that the possibility of zombies does not entail the falsity of physicalism, since the accessibility relation can be understood so that even in S5 system for modal logic worlds inaccessible from our world are allowed (in the case in which the accessibility relation is understood as an equivalence rather than as universal accessibility). According to Piccinini, whether the zombie world is accessible from our world depends on whether physicalism is true in our world, which is something that cannot be answered in a non-question-begging way. In order to show this, he recalls a well known strategy of making a parody of the zombie argument. After pointing out that Piccinini's strategy of parodying the zombie argument renders his former strategy, based on the distinguishing between the two notions of accessibility, redundant, I recall the two ways of handling parodies of the zombie argument. In addition, I argue that persisting on the distinction between accessibility understood as an equivalence and universal accessibility in dealing with the zombie argument relies upon accepting modal dualism (a view that there are two spaces of possibilities rather than one), which is something usually dismissed for methodological reasons (simplicity in particular). Given that Piccinini has not provided new arguments neither in favour of modal dualism nor in favour of parodying the zombie argument, the conclusion he infers remains unsupported by the premises he uses.
Keywords the zombie argument  the accessibility relation  modal dualism  parody
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