On Nov 7, 2008, at 9:34 AM, Brent Meeker wrote:
> I think I agree with Bruno that it is *logically* possible, e.g.
> accidental zombies.  It's just not nomologically possible.

I'm not sure what counts as an "accidental zombie". Do you mean  
something like the following:

I can write a very short computer program that accepts ascii  
characters as input, and then spews out a random series of characters  
as output, and then accepts more input, etc. It's logically possible  
for me to have a "conversation" with this program in which the program  
just happens (by accident) to pass the Turing Test with flying colors.

Is this what you mean by an "accidental" zombie? If so, it's important  
to understand that this is not a zombie at all by Dennett's definition  
(unless I've really misunderstood Dennett). A zombie is something  
that's physically indistinguishable from a physical conscious entity  
and yet isn't conscious. That program might be accidentally behaving  
as if it were conscious, but if you had the proper instruments to  
examine it physically, you would be able to conclude exactly that:  
it's a random number generator that's accidentally behaving as though  
it were conscious. Dennett would claim that a random number generator  
that passes a Turing Test is logically possible (but extraordinarily  
unlikely), and he'd happily claim that it's not conscious. He'd claim  
that zombies are something different, and that they're logically  
impossible. (He's also used words like "unimaginable" and "incoherent".)

-- Kory


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