FADE IN around a serious-looking group of uniformed military officers.  At the head of the table, a senior, heavy-set man, GENERAL FRED, speaks.

    GENERAL FRED:  The reports are confirmed.  New York has been overrun... by zombies.

    COLONEL TODD:  Again?  But we just had a zombie invasion 28 days ago!

    GENERAL FRED:  These zombies... are different.  They're... philosophical zombies.

    CAPTAIN MUDD:  Are they filled with rage, causing them to bite people?

    COLONEL TODD:  Do they lose all capacity for reason?

    GENERAL FRED:  No.  They behave... exactly like we do... except that they're not conscious.

    (Silence grips the table.)

    COLONEL TODD:  Dear God.

    GENERAL FRED moves over to a computerized display.

    GENERAL FRED:  This is New York City, two weeks ago.

    The display shows crowds bustling through the streets, people eating in restaurants, a garbage truck hauling away trash.

    GENERAL FRED:  This... is New York City... now.

    The display changes, showing a crowded subway train, a group of students laughing in a park, and a couple holding hands in the sunlight.

    COLONEL TODD:  It's worse than I imagined.

    CAPTAIN MUDD:  How can you tell, exactly?

    COLONEL TODD:  I've never seen anything so brutally ordinary.

    A lab-coated SCIENTIST stands up at the foot of the table.

    SCIENTIST:  The zombie disease eliminates consciousness without changing the brain in any way.  We've been trying to understand how the disease is transmitted.  Our conclusion is that, since the disease attacks dual properties of ordinary matter, it must, itself, operate outside our universe.  We're dealing with an epiphenomenal virus.

    GENERAL FRED:  Are you sure?

    SCIENTIST:  As sure as we can be in the total absence of evidence.

    GENERAL FRED:  All right.  Compile a report on every epiphenomenon ever observed.  What, where, and who.  I want a list of everything that hasn't happened in the last fifty years.

    CAPTAIN MUDD:  If the virus is epiphenomenal, how do we know it exists?

    SCIENTIST:  The same way we know we're conscious.

    CAPTAIN MUDD:  Oh, okay.

    GENERAL FRED:  Have the doctors made any progress on finding an epiphenomenal cure?

    SCIENTIST:  They've tried every placebo in the book.  No dice.  Everything they do has an effect.

    GENERAL FRED:  Have you brought in a homeopath?

    SCIENTIST:  I tried, sir!  I couldn't find any!

    GENERAL FRED:  Excellent.  And the Taoists?

    SCIENTIST:  They refuse to do anything!

    GENERAL FRED:  Then we may yet be saved.

    COLONEL TODD:  What about David Chalmers?  Shouldn't he be here?

    GENERAL FRED:  Chalmers... was one of the first victims.

    COLONEL TODD:  Oh no.

    (Cut to the INTERIOR of a cell, completely walled in by reinforced glass, where DAVID CHALMERS paces back and forth.)

    DOCTOR:  David!  David Chalmers!  Can you hear me?

    CHALMERS:  Yes.

    NURSE:  It's no use, doctor.

    CHALMERS:  I'm perfectly fine.  I've been introspecting on my consciousness, and I can't detect any difference.  I know I would be expected to say that, but—

    The DOCTOR turns away from the glass screen in horror.

    DOCTOR:  His words, they... they don't mean anything.

    CHALMERS:  This is a grotesque distortion of my philosophical views.  This sort of thing can't actually happen!

    DOCTOR:  Why not?

    NURSE:  Yes, why not?

    CHALMERS:  Because—

    (Cut to two POLICE OFFICERS, guarding a dirt road leading up to the imposing steel gate of a gigantic concrete complex.  On their uniforms, a badge reads "BRIDGING LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY".)

    OFFICER 1:  You've got to watch out for those clever bastards.  They look like humans.  They can talk like humans.  They're identical to humans on the atomic level.  But they're not human.

    OFFICER 2:  Scumbags.

    The huge noise of a throbbing engine echoes over the hills.  Up rides the MAN on a white motorcycle.  The MAN is wearing black sunglasses and a black leather business suit with a black leather tie and silver metal boots.  His white beard flows in the wind.  He pulls to a halt in front of the gate.

    The OFFICERS bustle up to the motorcycle.

    OFFICER 1:  State your business here.

    MAN:  Is this where you're keeping David Chalmers?

    OFFICER 2:  What's it to you?  You a friend of his?

    MAN:  Can't say I am.  But even zombies have rights.

    OFFICER 1:  All right, buddy, let's see your qualia.

    MAN:  I don't have any.

    OFFICER 2 suddenly pulls a gun, keeping it trained on the MAN.  OFFICER 2:  Aha!  A zombie!

    OFFICER 1:  No, zombies claim to have qualia.

    OFFICER 2:  So he's an ordinary human?

    OFFICER 1:  No, they also claim to have qualia.

    The OFFICERS look at the MAN, who waits calmly.

    OFFICER 2:  Um...

    OFFICER 1:  Who are you?

    MAN:  I'm Daniel Dennett, bitches.

    Seemingly from nowhere, DENNETT pulls a sword and slices OFFICER 2's gun in half with a steely noise.  OFFICER 1 begins to reach for his own gun, but DENNETT is suddenly standing behind OFFICER 1 and chops with a fist, striking the junction of OFFICER 1's shoulder and neck.  OFFICER 1 drops to the ground.

    OFFICER 2 steps back, horrified.

    OFFICER 2:  That's not possible!  How'd you do that?

    DENNETT:  I am one with my body.

    DENNETT drops OFFICER 2 with another blow, and strides toward the gate.  He looks up at the imposing concrete complex, and grips his sword tighter.

    DENNETT (quietly to himself):  There is a spoon.

    (Cut back to GENERAL FRED and the other military officials.)

    GENERAL FRED:  I've just received the reports.  We've lost Detroit.

    CAPTAIN MUDD:  I don't want to be the one to say "Good riddance", but—

    GENERAL FRED:  Australia has been... reduced to atoms.

    COLONEL TODD:  The epiphenomenal virus is spreading faster.  Civilization itself threatens to dissolve into total normality.  We could be looking at the middle of humanity.

    CAPTAIN MUDD:  Can we negotiate with the zombies?

    GENERAL FRED:  We've sent them messages.  They sent only a single reply.

    CAPTAIN MUDD:  Which was...?

    GENERAL FRED:  It's on its way now.

    An orderly brings in an envelope, and hands it to GENERAL FRED.

    GENERAL FRED opens the envelope, takes out a single sheet of paper, and reads it.

    Silence envelops the room.

    CAPTAIN MUDD:  What's it say?

    GENERAL FRED:  It says... that we're the ones with the virus.

    (A silence falls.)

    COLONEL TODD raises his hands and stares at them.

    COLONEL TODD:  My God, it's true.  It's true.  I...

    (A tear rolls down COLONEL TODD's cheek.)

    COLONEL TODD:  I don't feel anything.

    The screen goes black.

    The sound goes silent.

    The movie continues exactly as before.

    Elizombies PS:  This is me being attacked by zombie nurses at Penguicon.

    Only at a combination science fiction and open-source convention would it be possible to attend a session on knife-throwing, cry "In the name of Bayes, die!", throw the knife, and then have a fellow holding a wooden shield say, "Yes, but how do you determine the prior for where the knife hits?"

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    Eliezer, are you by any chance a fan of the Silent Hill videogame franchise? Those zombie nurses strongly remind me of those games.


    This needs to be turned into a short film. Now!

    Eliezer, could you please define epiphenomenal?

    The SEP has one here.

    Eliezer, is this enlightenment or foil-seeking? You don't seem to be addressing the strongest discussions of uncertainty regarding the subjective conscious experience, which is where the action should be in a blog community this relatively ingtelligent. It seems to me you're looking for easy foils to slay, sort of like Dawkins, Hitchens, and Randi (and before them, Gould). I think that's sucking up discussion oxygen here, and'll end up driving away the more intelligent posters to other online venues. Worst case scenario, it'll help dampen interesting discu... (read more)


    I disagree Hopefully Anonymous. Its important for Dawkins and Randi to address things like psychics and intelligent design, even though reasonably intelligent people could be talking about deeper things, because a lot of reasonably intelligent people still believe in them. There are a lot of well qualified philosophers (David Chalmers is even mentioned in the post) who believe this sort of thing and would probably very much like to have a discussion about it here.

    It's possible Eliezer's rhetorical style is tripping you up (although if you've read much else of his it shouldn't), but personally I think putting this argument in movie script form makes it much more accessible to lay-people. Sometimes intelligent discussion includes things other than finding the most plausible point in an opponents argument and attacking it with a detailed and well reasoned 10 page post.

    Need it be one or the other? I was just reading Chalmers's Singularity paper, came to the bit where he says, "Although I am sympathetic with some forms of dualism about consciousness," and decided to reread this page. Which is hilarious.

    I think Dennett would be flattered!

    He was.

    Hopefully Anonymous, if you think a point should be addressed, make that point.

    I say Eliezer has finally dealt with the zombie issue as it deserves.

    It's a silly idea that invites convoluted discussion, which makes it look sophisticated and hard to refute.

    You don't seem to be addressing the strongest discussions of uncertainty regarding the subjective conscious experience,

    Oh? And what are those, exactly? Be specific.

    Our universe does not contain 'subjective' things, at least in the formal sense of the word. It contains only objective things, some of which are more or less accessible to limited human perception / technological detection.

    The zombie idea isn't only wrong. It's also stupid. If you can't inhibit your innate sense that "minds are magic" long enough to recognize that your intuition is baseless and rather silly, you have utterly failed as an intellectual being.

    Oh, and before I forget: the definition of epiphenomenalism

    Please note that by this definition, declaring an epiphenomenon to be real has absolutely no implications for 'material reality' that declaring it to be unreal doesn't also have, and vice versa. In other words, it doesn't exist relative to material reality at all.

    Trying to use it to explain the properties of material reality is therefore pointless.


    "There exist sophisticated arguments for philosophical zombies, but I won't tell you them!"

    However, I also agree that enough attention has been paid to zombies, except for me it's on the basis that they're badly-founded from the start. However, a movie about an epiphenomenal virus is, in fact, far too funny not to enjoy. My only complaint is that the philosophers use real words, when we all know that real philosophers speak badly-mangled Latin mixed with made-up words.

    This was very funny...

    On more serious not, there is nothing wrong with zombie argument. It just says that physicalism claims that you can a priori deduce the facts about conscious experience (e.g. if there is conscious experience/exactly what kind of conscious experience there is) from the physical facts about the system. Notice that 'a priori'. So, it is not just that we can come to know which physical facts are correlated with what facts about consciousness, or which physical phenomenon gives rise to consciousness, but that we can deduce like we deduce m... (read more)

    Best exchange:

    GENERAL FRED: Are you sure?

    SCIENTIST: As sure as we can be in the total absence of evidence.Brutal.

    Tanasije Gjorgoski, I don't quite understand the argument. Science doesn't "a priori deduce facts." It generates and tests explanatory structures that purport to account for observed regularities. Physicalism (ontological naturalism) isn't an a priori theory of scientific methodology; it's an induction from the success of the scientific project. (Science generally proceeds within a physicalist framework because physicalism has worked... (read more)

    Caledonian: "___ isn't only wrong. It's also stupid."

    "If you can't _, you have utterly failed as an intellectual being."

    Brian Jaress: "I say Eliezer has finally dealt with the ___ issue as it deserves. It's a silly idea that invites convoluted discussion"

    Dan: "However, I also agree that enough attention has been paid to _, except for me it's on the basis that they're badly-founded from the start."

    These type posts are part of why I suspect this whole string of posts has its root in foil-seeking, more than enlightenmen... (read more)


    Hi Q,

    Science doesn't, and naturalism doesn't (commit to the claim that one can a priori get from physical facts to the facts about consciousness). But that is THE commitment of physicalism. Physicalism is not equal to science. It is just yet another metaphysical position. Physicalist's position is usually defined that metaphysically there is no difference without metaphysical difference. And the metaphysical necessity is a priori necessity. (Some try to say that physicalism doesn't need to claim a priori necessity, but only Kripkean a posteriori necessity,... (read more)

    Oops, that should be "metaphysically, there is no difference without physical difference". Sorry about that.

    Laughed VERY loud here. And the zombie nurses picture was priceless. Big fan of Silent Hill here, as my nickname can attest...


    HA: I think there's sort of a boundary between what you mean and what people are reading from your comments. Specifically, I don't know that you and the people you're arguing with mean the same things when you say "zombie", which kind of messes things up. Your definition of zombie appears to be nonstandard, and also really vague as expressed. I think the biggest problem, though, is that other people assume you mean one thing (basically the Chalmers version of "zombie") when I don't think that's precisely what you mean. If I've got your ... (read more)

    Sorry Dan,

    Let me try to explain those words, as they are very important for the zombie-argument to makes sense.

    "Metaphysical" when talking about "metaphysical necessity" (or possibility), means that some claim is true, not because it happens to be a fact in this world, but that it is contradictory for it to be otherwise. An example would be e.g. that it is metaphysically necessary that if you have one and one more apple, you have two apples. So, when we talk about this kind of metaphysical necessities, we can have as examples truths fro... (read more)

    "[Physicalism] is just yet another metaphysical position."

    I don't think that's correct. Scientists presuppose naturalism when they study a phenomenon. For historical reasons, a special word has been coined for the standard presupposition when it is applied in the context of consciousness. That word is 'physicalism.' In this sense, physicalism is merely a sound methodological induction (as is the subsidiary induction that methodological naturalism tells us something about the likely ontological constitution of the world).

    Alternatively, 'physicalis... (read more)


    In most places I've seen where the physicalism was attacked or defended, it was in the terms of the supervenience (i.e. that metaphysically there is no difference without physical difference). Be it when physicalism is being attacked, or really defended by the physicalists. E.g. in relation to the zombie argument, or to the Jackson's knowledge argument.

    But if you want to use "physicalism" synonymous with "naturalism", I can't really stop you. I guess we should then distinguish the discussions about "physicalism" in one sens... (read more)

    I don't think that's correct. Scientists presuppose naturalism when they study a phenomenon.
    No. When scientists find a phenomenon that doesn't fit into the current understanding of what the natural world can do, they change their understanding and expand the list of natural things.

    What scientists DO presume is that the world can in some measure be described and understood.


    Tanasije: That works, yes. Thanks for the clarification.


    I call BS. I've been to open-source conferences, and I've never seen attractive women at them, zombie nurses or otherwise!

    Good story, though.

    Clearly you need to go to the SF / Open-Source conferences, since Eliezer did state the zombie nurses were a result of just such a combination.

    Grant: I call BS. I've been to open-source conferences, and I've never seen attractive women at them, zombie nurses or otherwise!

    maybe Eliezer has acquired groupies?

    Dan, If you reread my recent posts, I think you'll find I've already stopped using "zombie" to describe what I'm talking about. Although I suspect many of the posters here have latched onto Chalmer's definition of zombie, not because it makes the most sense or is the most practical definition of the term, but because it makes it an easy foil, for reasons I've described above.

    Or maybe it's because that is what the word 'zombie' is used to refer to in philosophy, and trying to redefine the term arbitrarily is pointless.

    If you have a different concept you'd like to discuss, use a different term - or provide some good reasons for why you must adopt an already-existing term with an already-existing accepted meaning.

    Tanasije, I'd say "Quinean empiricism" plus scientific realism (if I may sum those two) gives you physicalism, or something near enough. In any case, what is "supervenience" if not an account of what metaphysical naturalism is, on the one hand, or an explanation for the success of methodological naturalism, on the other?

    (Yes, some scientists are in a sense metaphysically pluralist, since they grant or pressuppose the nonmateriality of abstract objects like mathematical entities or theories [profigately, in my view]. The point here, though, is that with respect to the phenomena they study as scientists, they presuppose physicalism.)


    Chalmers gets the attention because his type of argument is both popular with philosophers and full of implied dualism (boo! hissss! dualism!). It's not so much foil-seeking as chasing the red cape, in my opinion. I would choose a nicer metaphor, but I seriously doubt any philosophers involved would change their opinion on the matter for any reason that's anything short of earth-shaking. For instance, if Chalmers caught an epiphenomenal virus ... but, yes, you get the idea.


    I'm not sure you insist of calling this combination "physicalism", contra all those discussions of physicalism in philosophy. First, one can be empiricist and scientific realist, and not be physicalist. For example there is nothing contradictory in thinking that the all the beliefs are revisable in the light of new empirical data, and also believe that sciences give us explanation of the real world, and still not believe that that the mental phenomena can be deduced from the physical facts. Of course you may be a physicalist, who also is scient... (read more)

    I'll discuss this further on my blog, including addressing all of Caledonian's concerns in his latest post in this thread (actually, I think I've already done that on my blog), so as not to hijack/flood this thread with further posts.

    Make this a South Park episode.

    Is there a genre of Daniel Dennett fan fiction yet, or is it still in its infancy?

    the story continued...

    The XXII World Congress of Philosophy 2008 inaugurated emergency gathering to solve this philosophical zombie problem.

    Chalmers: We must find the neural correlates of consciousness.

    Searle: No, lock them up in the Chinese room and see if they "understand" Chinese.

    Kim: No, we must find the condition for these zombies to supervene consciousness again.

    Putnam & Fodor: No, we should make consciousness to be not reducible to physics. Let's make these philosophical zombies multiply realizable!

    Paul & Patricia Churchland: It's ... (read more)

    Tanasije, you said "Quinean empiricism," not empiricism simpliciter. Quine was at least epistemologically physicalist (to whatever degree physicalism can be so restricted), so I thought adding realism made the point cleanly enough.

    Anyway, I'm arguing that the reason successful, productive scientists presume "the world can in some measure be described and understood" is that they presuppose a rough-and-ready physicalism with regard to the phenomenon they study. (As I see it, the lack of any scientifically productive appeal to "intri... (read more)

    I think you need to explain what you mean by "physical" facts.

    What are some examples of things that you consider physical, and what examples are not? What defines that category and contrasts it with things not within it?

    Foil-seeking/attacking soft targets can be useful for clearly demonstrating a point (Follow The Improbability, here).

    I still can't stop laughing at "BRIDGING LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY".

    The current plotline of Battlestar Galactica is not entirely unlike this movie. Which is one reason I find this allegedly superior show rather unsatisfying.


    Haha, this was great. I think you pulled the punch on one of your jokes, though. You should have added, "...at the middle of humanity as we know it."

    You mean to tell me that I spent my entire weekend at PenguiCon with... Zombies?! Perhaps it's best that no one else knew, otherwise one particularly trigger-happy member of the panel on "Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse" probably would have shot all attendees in the head at least once, just to be safe.


    Perhaps the most embarrassing part about all of this--and there is much embarrassing in silly insults aimed at one's opposition being thrown around at a blog named "Overcoming Bias"--is that epiphenomenalists know the arguments, know quite well the apparent absurdity of the position, and have responses, and none of these seem to show up in all this discussion. For example, here. Alas, rather what we have here seems to be a gleeful variant of Ludditism: "Look at those fancy philosophers with their logic and their rationality and their big wor... (read more)

    I've read those arguments you link and they always seem to boil down to thin self referential definitions and using synonyms as if they're explanations. "For example, my concept of phenomenal 'redness' is grounded in the phenomenal quality of redness that I experience" you might as well say that my concept of wibble is grounded in the wib quality of ble that I experience. it shares the same level of insigtfulness.
    Qualia are kind of supposed to be indefineable. OTOH, if someone claims not to know what one is, you could jab them with a needle or something.

    It doesn't just appear to be nonsense. It actually is nonsense.

    And that is the crux of the problem right there. The intellectual standards of academic philosophy are incredibly low, and as usual the Law of the Minimum applies. It takes real effort to exceed Sturgeon's Law, but the field of philosophy has managed to do so.

    Actual philosophical thought, as opposed to mere sophistry with a new hat, comes from people working in disciplines that have high standards for consistency, coherence, and permittable evidence. Their professional work has illuminated ... (read more)

    "In this manner, philosophers have demonstrated the dangers of being self-righteous[...]"

    Cal, you're really not helping our cause here.

    What? They're absurd! Why should we not point, and laugh, at their folly?

    For the record, I am no kind of righteous, self- or otherwise.

    @ mtraven; can you expand an the similarities between this blog post and BSG? That would be very interesting.

    Caledonian, It's possible that you're right, but the evidence increasingly seems to be that you're pretending to knowledge and certainty about both academic philosophy and the physical sciences that's unjustified based on your level of competency or literacy in either field. In that sense, your skepticism about the level of useful contributions to enlightenment by recent academic philosophy could, by your own standards, be reasonably turned towards your skepticism about those claimed contributions.

    As for me, I'm woefully illiterate about the recent work of... (read more)

    It's possible that you're right, but the evidence increasingly seems to be that you're pretending to knowledge and certainty about both academic philosophy and the physical sciences that's unjustified based on your level of competency or literacy in either field.

    Ah, I see where you've become confused. What you're asking for is credentials, not competency. Richard has credentials. I have competency.

    The question them becomes: how can one demonstrate competence in the absence of credentials, when your audience doesn't have the level of competence to wh... (read more)

    "Richard has credentials. I have competency."

    Funny. Again, just out of curiosity, what is your basis for thinking yourself philosophically competent? A self-gratifying intuition, perhaps? (Credentialing by acknowledged experts, though an imperfect guide, is at least some protection against quackery.) I haven't even seen you make an argument, let alone a good one; all you do is make unsupported assertions and attempt to ridicule people who know more than you do. You appear to suffer delusions about your own abilities and the extent of your underst... (read more)

    If the twelve examples of solved philosophy you link to are actually your favorite, then I really, really don't understand why anybody bothers with it at all. All twelve seem completely useless to me.
    I understand why you might think that for most of his list, but I'm confused as to why one would have that attitude about some of them, such as number 7, the Bayesian solution to the raven paradox. A more substantive critique seems to be that many philosophers who are taken very seriously don't consider many of these problems to be solved.
    Upon reflection, I suppose I was not considering all of what philosophy can entail, particularly since Richard's list was incredibly underwhelming. I was also thinking of metaphysics when I wrote that, and I over-generalized. Logic, for one thing, I think is very useful when it is applied, and that is considered a philosophical discipline. So, I take back my statement, somewhat. Philosophy just seems mostly useless, but I'll concede that I could be wrong.
    They strike me as useful enough to practicing philosophers (to the extent that they are correct, that is!). But it appears that you are looking for something more immediately useful to ordinary people. Sorry. Just ain't going to happen. But you did get something useful from that list. The realization that you are probably not cut out to be a philosopher (at least not in the English-speaking world).
    It just seems to me that philosophy itself, as a separate discipline, isn't particularly useful for anything outside of philosophy. Perhaps that is a little clearer. And actually I think I would be pretty good at philosophy - I love to argue, and often quite accidentally take absolutely useless positions. ;) (I'm kidding! Sort of.)

    Everytime a philosopher does something useful outside philosophy, they kick him out of the philosopher's guild, name a new scientific or mathematical discipline after him, and make him work for a living as a scientist or mathematician. (I'm kidding too! Sort of.)

    The real reason to knock philosophy as a discipline is that when they finally do solve a problem, and the solution is actually useful (as with, believe-it-or-not, that black raven / red herring thing), most philosophers don't accept the solution, even though the solution is in use out there in the real world (if AI research counts as the real world).

    From what I can tell, you are completely ignorant of the field of philosophy and the work that goes on in it;
    Because there is no work that goes on in it!

    But you lack the authority to make mere assertions
    There is no amount of authority that justifies mere assertions. It wouldn't matter if I descended directly from Heaven on a sunbeam, carrying a potted burning bush and the Reader's Digest Condensed Edition of the Ten Commandments on pocket-sized tablets. Authority is not a concept that determines the validity of arguments.


    Caledonian, perhaps if you had taken even a high school philosophy course, you would have learned that to dismiss the worth of philosophy is to engage in philosophy. I'm not sure whether your comments deserve to be ignored or mocked. They're that ridiculous.

    OK Caledonian, I think it would help to make explicit your position (others too but first yours) tell me how much I have right....

    1) you think that there can be philosophical progress (i.e. not the strong position being argued against above)

    2) you think that progress tends not to happen in the field of philosophy (I presume because of how philosophy forms free floating ideas rather than ones 'grounded' by their attachment to empirical evidence)

    • the practical implication being that philosophy should no expect answers to some questions before groundwork is
    ... (read more)

    I think there is an equivocation being made between the various usages of 'philosophy', primarily between a type of thought and a profession, and my observation is that those who are professionals supposedly dedicated to that type of thought rarely even try to engage in it, and when they do they're not very good at it. If 'philosophy' is 'what philosophers do', I hold that philosophy is useless in every sense. If 'philosophers' are 'those that practice philosophy', the professionals are almost universally undeserving of that title. In that light:

    Yes to #1, YES to #2, no to #3, yes to #4.

    I stumbled upon this page, and am new to this site. I love the movie script, but it seems to me that qualiaphobes are making a difficult topic even more difficult than it needs to be. As I see it, 'qualia' is just a term that makes it easier for us to discuss the nature of our experiences. Experience is complex. At any given moment I am aware of many different colors, shapes, sounds, smells, etc. Complexity implies a multitude of elements that constitute a complex system. The constituent elements of a complex system (so far as we are able to identify them)... (read more)

    I was just looking around for more Penguicon pictures, and came across this one.

    I am amused by the responses to it. ^-^ (And yes, we are from Silent Hill.)

    - Amanda, the Zombie Nurse on the right.


    I sent a link to Dennett. He wrote back:

    "Wonderful. I’ve saved it for future use. Thanks. DCD"

    I'm amazed no one thought to do that before.
    I agree. Bystander effect?

    This, of all the "directed to IQ greater than 125" entities of the world, is the funniest thing I have ever seen. The first time, I cried, fell, laughed, set myself straight, read more, woke up my father, and eventually offered hosting for life for Eliezer, in case he ever came to São Paulo. Now, reading it again, I have laughed, cried, contorted, and am wondering what to eat to celebrate.


    Would David Chambers have written "A P-zombie in Carcosa"?

    Personally I enjoyed the movie :) Just because I am consciousness ))

    Greg Egan (who, you may remember, started out in supernatural horror before he switched to hard science fiction) has now written (and published) a p-zombie horror story: https://www.tor.com/2018/07/19/the-nearest-greg-egan/

    The story isn't far off from reality, there have been cases of people murdering their loved ones due to Capgras delusion. The only fictional part was describing it as a contagious disease.

    Yeah. This is basically a great summation to the philosophical zombie question; what does it even matter? It's as you mentioned with the dissolving the question posts: what do the pro-zombie people think a world in which they are correct looks like? What do we learn from this thought experiment which is just basically another flavor of solipsism?

    I'd say "inevitably generates the worst sort of Mysterious Answer to a Mysterious Question" is pretty spot on. The Zombie thing doesn't really tell us anything new or let us predict anything. Just a bunch of sophistry really.

    Absolutely excellent and hilarious! I think these Bayesop's Fables are exactly what the world needs right now. The humor really puts everything into perspective.

    Also, I just have to mention: Eliezer looks a lot like one of my Chemistry professors who happens to have a similar sense of humor. (Could one gasp be the zombie version of the other?! I'll need to run some epiphenomenal experiments to determine the total absence of evidence . . .)

    2Ben Pace
    Bayesop's Fables is a great name, I'm stealing it.

    If you think P-zombies can be equivalent (behaviourally speaking) to conscious beings, try to imagine an 'army' of zombie philosophers like Sam Harris et al, arguing about the meaning and origins of consciousness. Why would zombie 'minds' even raise that topic when by definition don't have an experience of it?