To appear in the Journal of Consciousness Studies

Abstract
There is at least one element in Strawson’s extremely rich paper that seems to me be correct and important, and Strawson is absolutely right to bring it out. This is the point that people in philosophy of mind go around assuming that they know what the physical facts are, if not in detail then in outline: “…they think they know a lot about the nature of the physical” (p.2). This assumption is false, or at any rate implausible, or at any rate un-argued for. To make the assumption, Strawson says, is a “very large mistake. It is perhaps Descartes’s, or perhaps rather ‘Descartes’s’, greatest mistake, and it is funny that in the past fifty years it has been the most fervent revilers of the great Descartes, the true father of modern materialism, who have made the mistake with most intensity” (p.2; footnote omitted.) Strawson says that the mistake is not only large: it is fatal. Here too I agree, though I think I would express the fatality somewhat differently from him. In my view, the mistake is fatal because, on the assumption that we are ignorant of some of the crucial facts, the central pieces of reasoning in philosophy of mind collapse. For example, consider the zombie argument against materialism, or, as Strawson would say for reasons a bit opaque to me, the Australian (p. 16, fn 37) zombie argument. Its first premise is that it is conceivable that I have a zombie duplicate; that is, there is someone identical to me in respect of every physical fact, but different from me in respect of some experiential fact. Its second premise is that if this is conceivable it is possible. Its conclusion is that physicalism is false, for physicalism (setting aside some technicalia) entails that zombies so described are impossible. This argument is unpersuasive if we take seriously the hypothesis that we are ignorant of some of the physical facts. For suppose that the hypothesis is true, and there are some physical facts of which we are ignorant but which are relevant to the nature of experience..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,133
External links

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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Experience and the Physical.David M. Rosenthal - 2006 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (10-11):117-28.
The Conceivability Argument and Two Conceptions of the Physical.Daniel Stoljar - 2001 - Philosophical Perspectives 15 (s15):393-413.
Being Realistic - Why Physicalism May Entail Panexperientialism.Sam Coleman - 2006 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (10-11):40-52.
Turning the Zombie on its Head.Amir Horowitz - 2009 - Synthese 170 (1):191 - 210.
Realistic Materialist Monism.Galen Strawson - 1999 - In S. Hameroff, A. Kaszniak & D. Chalmers (eds.), Towards a Science of Consciousness III.
Two Conceivability Arguments Compared.Daniel Stoljar - 2007 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 107 (1pt1):27-44.
Review of Kirk's Zombies and Consciousness. [REVIEW]Yujin Nagasawa - 2008 - Philosophical Books 49 (2):170-171.
Zombies Are Deciders Too. [REVIEW]Richard Brown - 2007 - Philosophical Psychology 20 (3):12-15.
Epistemological Physicalism and the Knowledge Argument.Jesper Kallestrup - 2006 - American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (1):1-23.
Added to PP index
2010-12-22

Total downloads
3 ( #712,008 of 2,191,803 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
0

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature