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PHILOSOPHICAL

ZOMBIE

PHILOSOPHICAL ZOMBIE

POSSIBLE THEORIES

The universe is a single unified stuff.

Idealism – All things are mental. All things are spiritual.

Materialism – All things are physical.

TRADITIONAL AND MOST LOGICAL OPTIONS:

1. Dualism: Two kinds of substance Mind and Body (brain) that Interact or are coordinated in some way.

Monism: One kind of substance.

2. Materialism - only material substance exists, there is no spirit.

3. Idealism - only spiritual substance exists, there is no matter.

VARIATIONS

Interactionism - minds and bodies exist and interact in some way

Epiphenomenalism - body acts on mind but minds do NOT act on bodies

Double Aspect Theory - there is one substance with two aspects (mind/body)

Parallelism -minds and bodies exist in separate dimensions and are coordinated

i. Pre-Established Harmony - minds and bodies are set in motion and coordinated from the beginning of time by a deity that creates the universe

ii. Occasionalism - on the occasion of the mind making a decision the body is moved by the creator (deity) to do whatever the mind has decided to make the body do.

Monism : Materialism - only Body exists there are no minds.

The brain

accounts for the activities previously associated with the Mind. Among those who have thought this way: B.F. SKINNER, DENNENT

FUNCTIONALISM

Functionalism tries to move beyond both Behaviorism and Identity Theory by taking elements from both.

Like those two theories, Functionalism is generally taken to be a materialist theory.

However, it differs from the other two theories in the following ways:

HOW IS FUNCTIONALISM DIFFERENT? ➤ Functionalism agrees that brain states are responsible for mental states,

HOW IS FUNCTIONALISM DIFFERENT?

Functionalism agrees that brain states are responsible for mental states, but disagrees that they are identical with them.

To do this, it argues that neurological states or brain activity help to realize mental states, which then lead to behavior.

In this way it solves the main problems with the other two theories by proposing that brain states are "low level" activities that help realize "high level" mental states.

FUNCTIONALISM CONTINUED… ➤ To help understand this idea, consider the usual Functionalist example of a

FUNCTIONALISM CONTINUED…

To help understand this idea, consider the usual Functionalist example of a computer.

Imagine that you ask a computer to add the numbers 3 and 7. On one level - at a low level - what is happening in the computer is dependent on the hardware; on another level - a high level - the computer's software is calculating the answer.

Since, historically, computers have had different hardware that works in different ways, we cannot describe the process of calculation as the activity of hardware.

Instead, the Functionalist argues, the process of calculation is simply realized by the hardware.

Therefore, the software is a function of the hardware.

PHILOSOPHICAL

ZOMBIE

PHILOSOPHICAL ZOMBIE

CONCEIVABILITY AND EXPLANATIONS

The general argument on which this lecture is based is the following:

Suppose we can conceive of some state of the world which does not actually exist. Then and only then we are entitled to ask for an explanation of why this state does not exist or what causes the difference between the state we have conceived and the corresponding state which does exist.

Who does this remind you of?

CONCEIVABILITY AND EXPLANATIONS

Conceive of” – here meaning more or less the same as “imagine” – needs to be considered more carefully than I can do in this lecture.

Can I conceive of a square circle drawn on a flat piece of paper? No. Why not?

Because nothing, real or imaginary, can be described as such a square circle.

The meaning of “square” and “circle” are incompatible in this context.

THE HARD PROBLEM OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND ZOMBIES ➤ The so-called ‘hard problem of consciousness’ asks

THE HARD PROBLEM OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND ZOMBIES

The so-called ‘hard problem of consciousness’ asks for an explanation of how the properties and behavior of a physical device – the ‘meat machine’ which comprises a human brain – result in subjective experiences which are taken to be non-physical in the sense that they cannot be explained by the laws and principles which apply to physical objects.

PHILOSOPHICAL ZOMBIE

A zombie is a critter that is physically and behaviorally exactly like a human being (or any being that we consider to be conscious) but lacks consciousness.

That is a stipulative definition, so don't argue with me about it. Just accept it.

I'll use 'zombie' to refer to human zombies and won't worry about cat zombies, etc

PHILOSOPHICAL ZOMBIE

Cut a zombie open, and you find exactly what you would find were you to cut a human being open. And in terms of linguistic and nonlinguistic behavior, there is no way to tell a human being from a zombie. (So don't think of something sleepy, or drugged, or comatose.)

When a zombie sees a tree, what is going on internal to the zombie's brain is a 'visual' computational process, but the zombie lacks subjectivity.

There is no irreducible subjectivity, no qualitative feel to the 'visual' processing; there is nothing it is like for a zombie to see a female zombie or to desire her.

(What's it like to be a zombie? There is nothing it is like to be a zombie.)

ARE ZOMBIES CONCEIVABLE?

Surely, zombies are conceivable.

To conceive one, start with yourself. You are not a zombie. You have feelings. Right now, perhaps, you feel bored or puzzled by what you are reading. Slap yourself across the face to wake up. You felt something, a stinging sensation.

Do it again just to be sure. Now subtract off (in thought) the conscious experiences leaving behind your body, its behavior, its environment and all the causal processes disporting themselves between body and environment.

What you are now conceiving is a zombie.

IN GROUPS… ➤ Discuss how each philosopher would answer the question “Are we Zombies?” ➤

IN GROUPS…

Discuss how each philosopher would answer the question “Are we Zombies?”

Descartes

Russell

Ryle

Armstrong

Dennett

Each group will share their answer and argument to support their answer.