Transcending Zombies

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  • 1. TranscendingZombies Pete Mandik Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy Coordinator, Cognitive Science Laboratory William Paterson University, New Jersey USA

2. Primary Goal

  • To articulate a transcendental argument for the conclusion that my physical doppelganger cannot be a zombie.

3. Reductive Physicalism and Zombies

  • Reductive Physicalism = A being maximally physically similar to me while numerically distinct must be phenomenally similar to me.
  • Im not a zombie.
  • Reductive Physicalism = A being maximally physically similar to me while numerically distinct must not be a zombie.

4. The Transcending Zombies Argument in Brief

  • I know that Im not a zombie.
  • If its possible to know that Im not a zombie, then its necessary that qualia are such-and-such.
  • Fixing my physical properties fixes my such-and-such.
  • ____
  • Qualia are physical

5. Whats SUCH-AND-SUCH?

  • (A certain kind of) conceptualized egocentric content

6. What are concepts?

  • Two working characterizations:
  • 1. The knowledge we bring to bear in judgment
  • (George judges dogs to be mammalsGeorge has the concepts /dog/ and /mammal/George knows stuff about dogs and mammals)
  • 2. Mental particulars satisfying the re-identifiability criterion
  • (possessing concept Cthe possessor is able to re-identify objects falling under C as such)
  • (George has /dog/George is able to identify a dog as such on multiple occasions)

7. The Transcending Zombies Argument

  • P1.If it is possible for me to know that I am not a zombie, then phenomenal character is (a certain kind of) conceptualized egocentric content.
  • P2.I know that I am not a zombie.
  • P3.Phenomenal character is (a certain kind of) conceptualized egocentric content.
  • P4.Fixing my physical properties fixes my conceptualized egocentric contents.
  • C.Fixing my physical properties fixes my phenomenal properties.

8. Remarks on premises 1, 3, & 4

  • P1.If it is possible for me to know that I am not a zombie, then phenomenal character has to be exhausted by (a certain kind of) conceptualized egocentric content.
  • P2.I know that I am not a zombie.
  • P3.Phenomenal character is exhausted by (a certain kind of) conceptualized egocentric content.
  • P4.Fixing my physical properties fixes my conceptualized egocentric contents.
  • C.Fixing my physical properties fixes my phenomenal properties.
  • P1: This is the biggie. Much will be said very soon on its behalf, including clarifications of the notions of conceptualized and egocentric contents used in P1, P3, and P4
  • P3: Follows straightforwardly from P1 & P2.
  • P4: Further discussion must await the unpacking of conceptualized and egocentric

9. P2: I know that I am not a zombie

  • I know that Iam not a zombie
  • I know thatIam not a zombie
  • Following Lynch (2004), I stipulate the equivalence of P2 to:
  • I am certain that I have some qualitatively conscious mental states now

10. P2: I know that I am not a zombie (contd)

  • Also following Lynch (2004), three reasons for P2:
  • Attempts to doubt P2 hurts your head, and head hurting is phenomenal
  • The falsity of P2 cannot be imagined
  • The problem of consciousness makes sense only if P2

11. P1, Part One: Phenomenal Knowledge requires Conceptual Content

  • The story of George and the rock:

If George has the concepts /hard/ and /lumpy/ but not the concept /igneous/, then all George can know about the rock is that it is hard and lumpy and not that it is igneous. hard & lumpy! hard, lumpy, & igneous 12. P1, Part One: Phenomenal Knowledge requires Conceptual Content (contd)

  • The story of George and the rock:

Relative to Georges current conceptual repertoire, that the rock is igneous is unknowable. It is un-conceptualized residue. For all George knows, that rock is not igneous. hard & lumpy! hard, lumpy, & igneous 13. P1, Part One: Phenomenal Knowledge requires Conceptual Content (contd)

  • The story of Pete and his qualia:

If I know that Im not a zombie, then my current mental states have a set of qualia, Q, such that I know that I have them and no member of which is un-conceptualized residue. Relative to my current qualia, my conceptual repertoire isfully adequate . Mmm, coffee-y! Self-known non-zombie 14. P1, Part One: Phenomenal Knowledge requires Conceptual Content (contd)

  • The story of Pete and his qualia:

If my current qualia are un-conceptualized residue, then for all I know I dont have them. For all I know, Im a zombie. Mmm, coffee-y! Self-known non-zombie 15. P1, Part Two: Phenomenal Knowledge requires Egocentricity

  • Egocentric content= the content of mental states concerning the creature of which they are states
  • EXAMPLES:
  • My perceptual content of my coffee cup as being off to my left
  • Neural activations in ones LGN code for luminance events in retinocentric space

16. P1, Part Two: Phenomenal Knowledge requires Egocentricity (contd)

  • The story of Pete and his qualia (contd):

If Im incapable of representing my qualia as mine, then I can know that someone has qualia without knowing that its me. Whose coffee qualia are these? WTF!? Ignorant coffee fiend 17. P1, Part Three: Conceptualized Egocentric Content is Phenomenal Character

  • The previous arguments showed
  • PK(PCE)
  • (where PK=Phenomenal Knowledge, P=Phenomenal Character, and CE = Conceptualized Egocentric Content)
  • Now consider whether
  • PK(CEP).
  • If [PK & (CE & ~P)], then I could have phenomenal knowledge even though all my judgments of the form I have qualia Q are false.
  • However, knowledge entails truth.

18. P1, Part Three: Conceptualized Egocentric Content is Phenomenal Character (contd)

  • So far, PK(CEP)
  • If my current qualia are knowable by me, then my current conceptual repertoire must contain a structure isomorphic to my current qualia

19. P1, Part Three: Conceptualized Egocentric Content is Phenomenal Character (contd)

  • Beyond Isomorphism: Identity
  • I want to argue that phenomenal character is not just isomorphic to, but identical to, a certain kind of conceptual content.
  • However, reflections on knowability alone will not establish this, otherwise George would have rocks in his head.

20. P1, Part Three: Conceptualized Egocentric Content is Phenomenal Character (contd)

  • Preliminary reasons why, unlike rocks, qualia are made of concepts
  • Plausibly, at leastsomecharacter is conceptual, e.g. the experience of experts
  • The concept-independence of rocks bears an explanatory burden unmatched by the concept-independence of qualia. (More later.)
  • Part of our rock concept is that they have a reality that outstrips their appearance, whereas /quale/ is an appearance concept (explicable in terms ofepistemicappearances. More later.)

21. P4: My Physical Properties Fix My Conceptualized and Egocentric Contents

  • Conceptual contents alone do not suffice for phenomenality
  • example:
  • unconscious object id
  • Egocentric contents alone do not suffice for phenomenality
  • examples:
  • visual agnosics card posting
  • LGN retinocentric neural codes

22. P4: My Physical Properties Fix My Conceptualized and Egocentric Contents (contd)

  • Arguments to the contrary presuppose direct phenomenal concepts, which are the target of my The Neurophilosophy of Subjectivity
  • Brief remark: alleged concepts that can be had only while currently having a quale violate the re-identifiability criterion

23. Conceptualism, Part One: Explaining Appearances

  • What needs to be explained: How can the dog seem blue to Jones even though he believes its white?

24. Conceptualism, Part One: Explaining Appearances

  • Compare: The Monty Hall Problem: How can keeping his door seem correct to Jones even though he believes its incorrect?

25. Conceptualism, Part One: Explaining Appearances

  • In both cases, Jones has a disposition to make a judgment that he overrides due to collateral information.
  • We still need, however, an explanation of the difference between Joness belief that the dog is white and his experience of it as if blue.

26. Conceptualism, Part One: Explaining Appearances

  • Joness as if blue dog experience = a reciprocally interacting pairing of a sensation carrying egocentric blue dog information and a conceptualization of that information
  • Joness white dog belief = a conceptualization concerning a white dog

011001 Blue dog White dog 27. Conceptualism, Part Two: Explaining Diachronic-Discrimination F