Zombies and their possibilities

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
RE_MLitt_THESIS.pdf698.09 kBAdobe PDFDownload
Title: Zombies and their possibilities
Authors: Egan, Ruth P. K.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/9553
Date: 2003
Abstract: This thesis is a critical examination of the basis of some arguments in contemporary philosophy of mind against a materialist view of phenomenal consciousness, as proposed by David Chalmers (1996) in his book The Conscious Mind. I address Chalmers' "zombie" argument in particular, disputing the soundness of the argument itself and its basis, and examining some of the salient concepts involved. I argue that logical possibility claims only carry as much weight as the background framework against which the claim was made. I propose therefore that Chalmers only succeeds in showing the epistemic possibility of zombies (i.e. they only seem logically possible given our current ignorance in the area) and this, I contend, is not strong enough to refute materialist claims with respect to consciousness. In addition I try to show that he does not adequately answer objections to his argument from a posteriori considerations since I argue that logical entailment of a given phenomenon by its (physical) basis is generally something that only begins to emerge during the process of discovery of what that phenomenon is a posteriori . I explore Chalmers' notion of a zombie and propose that it suffers from a basic incoherence which arguably places a question mark over its logical possibility. I also query Chalmers' claim that the essence of phenomenal consciousness is not explainable in terms of function/structure and, consequently, in physical terms. I suggest that by analysing our mental life into phenomenal and psychological aspects whereby the latter is associated with mental functioning, Chalmers already prejudices the question of whether there could be a function of phenomenal consciousness. Arguably experience may be essential for our kind of functioning and may be at least partially so explainable.
Type of material: Master Thesis
Publisher: University College Dublin. Department of Philosophy
Qualification Name: M.Litt.
Copyright (published version): 2003 the Author
Keywords: Philosophical zombiesConsciousness
DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/9553
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Philosophy Theses

Show full item record

Google ScholarTM



This item is available under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland. No item may be reproduced for commercial purposes. For other possible restrictions on use please refer to the publisher's URL where this is made available, or to notes contained in the item itself. Other terms may apply.