On Sun, Apr 8, 2012 at 6:30 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

> But is it an empirical question?  What would it mean for "neuroscience to
> find zombies"?  We have some idea what it would mean to find a soul: some
> seemingly purposeful sequence of brain processes begin without any physical
> cause.  But I'm not sure what test you would perform on a zombie to find
> that it was not conscious.  I think if we had a very detailed understanding
> of the human brain we might be able to study and intelligent robot or a
> zombie android at the same level and say something like, "This zombie
> probably experiences numbers differently than people."  But if it truly
> acted exactly like a human, we wouldn't be able to say what the difference
> was.  Of course humans don't all act the same, some have synesthesia for
> example.  So we might be able to say this zombie sees numbers with colors -
> but this would show up in the zombies actions too.

It's not an empirical question since no experiment can prove that it
isn't a zombie. However, I think that the question can be approached
analytically. If zombies were possible then zombie brain components
would be possible. If zombie brain components were possible then it
would be possible to make a being that is a partial zombie; for
example, that was blind but behaved normally and did not realise it
was blind. If partial zombies are possible then we could be partial
zombies. If we were partial zombies that would destroy the fundamental
distinction between consciousness and zombiehood: that at least I know
if I am conscious even if I can't prove it to others. So if zombies
are possible then zombies are no different to conscious beings. Hence,
either zombies are impossible or consciousness is impossible.

Stathis Papaioannou

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