On 17 March 2010 23:47, HZ <hzen...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm quite confused about the state of zombieness. If the requirement
> for zombiehood is that it doesn't understand anything at all but it
> behaves as if it does what makes us not zombies? How do we not we are
> not? But more importantly, are there known cases of zombies? Perhaps a
> silly question because it might be just a thought experiment but if
> so, I wonder on what evidence one is so freely speaking about,
> specially when connected to cognition for which we now (should) know
> more. The questions seem related because either we don't know whether
> we are zombies or one can solve the problem of zombie identification.
> I guess I'm new in the zombieness business.

*I* know with absolute certainty that I am not a zombie, but I don't
know if anyone else is. It is just a philosophical idea: there are no
known cases of zombies, and we could never know if there are. Some
philosophers of mind, such as Daniel Dennett (who has said that they
are an embarrassment to philosophy) don't believe that zombies are
even conceptually possible. This attitude goes along with an
epiphenomenal view of consciousness as a necessary side-effect of
intelligent behaviour.

The "fading qualia" argument we have been discussing is due to David Chalmers:


It purports to show that functionally equivalent zombie brain
components are impossible. Chalmers, unlike Dennett, still believes
that zombies are conceptually possible, although he thinks they are
probably physically impossible.

> But leaving the zombie definition and identification apart, I think
> current science would/should see no difference between consciousness
> and cognition, the former is an emergent property of the latter, and
> just as there are levels of cognition there are levels of
> consciousness. Between the human being and other animals there is a
> wide gradation of levels, it is not that any other animal lacks of
> 'qualia'. Perhaps there is an upper level defined by computational
> limits and as such once reached that limit one just remains there, but
> consciousness seems to depend on the complexity of the brain (size,
> convolutions or whatever provides the full power) but not disconnected
> to cognition. In this view only damaging the cognitive capacities of a
> person would damage its 'qualia', while its 'qualia' could not get
> damaged but by damaging the brain which will likewise damage the
> cognitive capabilities. In other words, there seems to be no
> cognition/consciousness duality as long as there is no brain/mind one.
> The use of the term 'qualia' here looks like a remake of the mind/body
> problem.

Yes, that's what it is: the mind-brain problem.

Stathis Papaioannou

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