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Putting Zombies to Rest: The Role of Dynamics in Reduction

By Peter Bokulich


I argue that property dualism is not supported by the purported logical possibility of qualitative zombies. Chalmers’s analysis of the logical supervenience of ordinary macroscopic facts on microphysical facts fails to account properly for causal properties. His arguments rely too heavily on kinematic facts and thereby obscure the dynamical facts at the macroscopic and microscopic levels. A proper analysis of the relation between causal and dynamical properties at different levels reveals that we can only imagine qualitative zombies if we beg the question against qualia being physical. The strongest argument for the non-physical nature of consciousness rests on the conceivability of phenomenal zombies: creatures who are physically identical to us, but who lack qualitative states, or "qualia. " This line of argument has been advanced most prominently by David Chalmers (1996, and, e.g., Chalmers and Jackson 2001). Here I offer a diagnosis of the intuitions that lead to the belief that zombies are conceivable, and I argue that these intuitions cannot do the work required of them. This paper can fruitfully be viewed as a how-to guide for finding zombies unimaginable. Chalmers’s argument for dualism, in brief, is that physicalism requires the logica

Year: 2011
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