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What zombies can't do

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Abstract:

[opening paragraph]: I want to take issue with the assertion by Flanagan and Polger (1995) that there are no good theories as to ‘why did evolution result in creatures who were more than just informationally sensitive'; that is, why evolution has apparently not produced zombies. I've proposed a theory which I'd like to think is good: that consciousness is for kinds of plausible reasoning not available to mechanistic systems (meaning systems whose development over time is wholly and solely the working out of universal laws of nature, with or without randomness) -- that there have been evolutionary advantages in an organism being able to act out choices between alternatives left open to it by the universal laws, choices which require consciousness of inconclusive and incommensurable reasons that the choices can resolve, and which are unique efficacious events rather than just the expression of the universal laws. This idea is developed and defended in Hodgson (1991, (esp. Chs. 4-6), 1994a, 1994b, 1995, 1996a, 1996b). No one has yet told me why it is no good.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Supreme Court of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

Publication date: April 1, 1995

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