On 4/9/2012 6:20 AM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
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
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
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
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

This is where I find your argument confusing. Consider an atom in the brain. Can you replace it with a zombie atom? It doesen't matter, so long as it acts like a normal atom it will contribute to consciousness. The brain as a whole will have normal consciousness even though the atom doesn't. But the consciousness never depended on the atom *having* consciousness - only on the atom *contributing* to consciousness (by having the same functional behavior).

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,

No. I can replace all the atoms with zombie atoms and the brain is still a normal conscious brain.

adding the single biological neuron would suddenly restore full
consciousness. This is absurd, but it should be possible if zombies
are possible.

I agree with your conclusion, but your argument seems to imply that since zombies are impossible, zombie components are impossible and so quarks must have an element of consciousness. It invites the fallacy of slipping from 'contributes to consciousness' to 'has consciousness'.


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to