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".)
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