On Mon, Apr 9, 2012 at 4:10 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
> On 4/8/2012 6:04 AM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>> 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;
> That doesn't follow.  It assmes that zombieness is an attribute of
> components rather than of their functional organization.  There can
> obviously be zombie (unconscious) components (e.g. quarks and electrons)
> which when properly assembled produce conscious beings. So the inference
> doesn't go the other way; the existence of zombie components doesn't imply
> you can make a zombie, partial or otherwise.

A zombie brain component is a component that replicates the function
of the tissue it replaces but does not replicate its contribution to
consciousness, such as it may be. The visual cortex is necessary for
visual perception since if we remove it we eliminate vision. A zombie
visual cortex replicates the I/O behaviour at the cut interface of the
removed tissue but does not contribute to consciousness. If whole
zombies are possible then it should be possible to make such a
component. If you say the brain as a whole would have normal
consciousness even though the component didn't you could modify the
thought experiment to replace all of the brain except for one neuron.
In that case the replaced brain would be a full blown zombie, but
adding the single biological neuron would suddenly restore full
consciousness. This is absurd, but it should be possible if zombies
are possible.

>>  for
>> example, that was blind but behaved normally and did not realise it
>> was blind.
> There are people like.  But they are not partial zombie's.  You say "blind
> but behaved normally" implying they behaved just as if sighted - but that's
> impossible.

I agree it's impossible and that's why I think functionalism is right
and zombies impossible.

>> If partial zombies are possible then we could be partial
>> zombies.
> Because we 'behave normally' without being able to see the polarization of
> light?  We don't behave as if we can see it.

I'm not sure what you mean here. A zombie behaves as if it perceives
everything a conscious being does and nothing a conscious being
doesn't, while not actually having any perceptions at all.

Stathis Papaioannou

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