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The unimagined preposterousness of zombies

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Abstract:

Knock-down refutations are rare in philosophy, and unambiguous self-refutations are even rarer, for obvious reasons, but sometimes we get lucky. Sometimes philosophers clutch an insupportable hypothesis to their bosoms and run headlong over the cliff edge. Then, like cartoon characters, they hang there in mid-air, until they notice what they have done and gravity takes over. Just such a boon is the philosophers’ concept of a zombie, a strangely attractive notion that sums up, in one leaden lump, almost everything that I think is wrong with current thinking about consciousness. Philosophers ought to have dropped the zombie like a hot potato, but since they persist in their embrace, this gives me a golden opportunity to focus attention on the most seductive error in current thinking.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Tufts University, Center for Cognitive Studies, 11 Miner Hall, Medford, Massachusetts 02155-7059, USA.

Publication date: 1995-04-01

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