Zombie Flow Chart

No time to write up an explanation of the argument, but I wanted to post this flow chart I threw together (below the fold). Fuller text version of the argument coming soon.
ZombieFlowChart (1)(Click to enlarge.)


5 responses to “Zombie Flow Chart

  1. Pingback: What’s Your Zombie Type? | Dead Voles

  2. Excellent!!

    The zombie argument begs the question against physicalism, as your flowchart illustrates beautifully – what better way to show circularity than actual circles? :)

    But what if the conceivability of zombies is taken not as an argument against physicalism, but merely as an illustration of the ‘explanatory gap’ between physical events and qualia? This seems more defensible.

    • I agree that it’s more defensible, but I’d still urge caution. After all, it we do indeed conclude that zombies are not ideally conceivable (which, I claim, anyone antecedently inclined towards physicalism should conclude), then it’s not clear that the alleged (prima facie) conceivability can even do work at the explanatory level.

      In general, I’m inclined to think that proponents of the explanatory gap argument have an overly simplified view of how science in general (and cases on ontological reduction in particular) provides explanations.

      More on this at some future date.

      • Tyle Stelzig

        I don’t think that zombies are conceivable, because I am antecedently inclined toward physicalism. But when I attempt to imagine zombies, it *seems* like I succeed – so where does my imagination go wrong? My apparent imaginative success raises a question, namely what is the problem in my apparent conception? This is sort of like a ‘mirror image’ of the hard problem – not ‘why are certain machines conscious’, but instead ‘why can’t I imagine certain unconscious machines’.

        This is not meant as a response to your comment, because I did not understand the point about explanation that you gestured to. I am just trying to frame the issue as I understand it. Thanks for your reply, and I look forward to any future thoughts about this!

      • Tyle Stelzig

        An analogy, for fun: “Imagine a shape geometrically identical to a square, but which is not ‘blocky’ but round. This is conceivable, so blockiness cannot be a matter of geometry.” Clearly absurd!

        But what about this version: “It is not clear *why* a non-blocky square is not conceivable, although antecedent acceptance of ‘geometrism’ suggests that it is not. Therefore, an explanation of why not seems in order*.” If the expectation of (or at least, hope for) an explanation is unreasonable in this case, I don’t understand why. Or if reasonable, but unreasonable in the zombie case, what disanalogy leads to this?

        *And also readily available, incidentally – e.g., perhaps after some philosophical soul searching ‘blocky’ means ‘having corners’, which squares do, etc.

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