Zombies

Non-physicalists use the apparent conceivability of p-zombies to argue that it is impossible to explain how phenomenal consciousness arises using physical facts alone. P-zombies are presumably not be possible in our universe, but they are conceivable (on this view) because a physically identical universe with different psychophysical bridging laws or different quiddities could indeed harbor p-zombies.

Merge these posts into the 'Consciousness' tag (no need for a separate 'zombie' tag). Can leave this up as a pure wiki/glossary page if wanted.

4Ruby2y
I have converted it to wiki-only now.
21point7point42y
It seems like a separate 'zombie' tag might be useful if people are specifically looking to read people's thoughts on p-zombies, as opposed to just reading about consciousness in general. (There's probably some inferential step I'm not catching on to, though).
5Rob Bensinger2y
The set of posts that are about 'p-zombies', 'the hard problem of consciousness', 'phenomenal consciousness', 'Mary's room thought experiments', 'the mysterious redness of red', 'the explanatory gap for qualia', 'arguments for and against epiphenomenalism', etc. are more or less talking about the same topic. I think it's more useful to lump those together than split them apart, since those aren't the kinds of conversations we want to fragment off from each other; someone who follows the latest debate about zombies should also be paying attention to the latest debates about Mary's room, and vice versa. I'm less confident about whether that hub page should be the 'consciousness' tag. Another option would be to make 'consciousness' a disambiguation page, and have a clearer name for the 'hard problem of consciousness' discussion. But this is a pretty disputed topic, so giving it a clearer name might be seen as biasing the conversation. (E.g., some people might object that the 'hard problem' isn't hard, or isn't a real problem.) I guess I also have a bit of a minimalist philosophy about tags, which I might be talked out of if I hear others' perspectives. Tags create more work by forcing future users to remember 'oh yeah, there's a tag for [X]', and by forcing users to upkeep the tag indefinitely (lest it get confusing which posts are where). If a tag is only mildly useful, I'd usually prefer replacing it with a static list of 'here are some useful places to start if you want to read about zombies on LessWrong'. The page could even remind people that 'zombies' is very text-search-friendly on LW.
31point7point42y
Thanks for responding so quickly! I agree with you now (and I'm going to agree with your minimalist policy for now too, just since I think you're better-informed than me). Minor clarification that you might have already been aware of: I was thinking that posts tagged 'zombie' should also be tagged 'consciousness', if they didn't merge. Now I'm fairly sure they should be merged.

A philosophical zombie or p-zombie is a hypothetical entity that looks and behaves exactly like a human (often stipulated to be atom-by-atom identical to a human) but is not actually conscious: they are often said to lack qualiaphenomenal consciousness or phenomena consciousness. .

A p-zombie is as likely as anyone else to ask, "When I see red, do I see the same color that you see when you see red?", but they have no real experience of the color red; the zombie's speech canmust be explained in some other terms which do not require them to have real experiences.

The zombie thought experiment is purported to show that consciousness cannot be reduced to merely physical things: our universe is purported to perhaps have special "bridging laws" which evokebring a mind into existence when there are atoms in a suitablesuitably brain-like configuration.

CriticsPhysicalists typically deny the possibility of zombies: if a p-zombie is atom-by-atom identical to a human being in our universe, then our speech can be explained by the same mechanisms as the zombie's,s — and yet it would seem awfully peculiar that our words and actions would have onean entirely materialistic explanation, but also, furthermore, our universe happens to contain exactly the right bridging law such that our experiencesutterances about consciousness are meaningfultrue and our consciousness syncs up with what our merely physical bodies do. It's too much of a stretch: Occam's razor dictates that we favor a monistic universe with one uniform set of laws.

SupportersOther physicalists accept the possibility of p-zombies, but insist that we are p-zombies and consciousness is an illusion.

Non-physicalists use the apparent conceivability of p-zombies to illustrate the factargue that no-one canit is impossible to explain how phenomenal consciousness arises from matter.using physical facts alone. P-zombies mayare presumably not be possible,possible in our universe, but they seem possibleare conceivable (on this view) because we do not know of a set ofphysically identical universe with different psychophysical bridging laws that make consciousness inevitable in some entities, but impossible in others.or different quiddities could indeed harbor p-zombies.

A third view denies the existence of qualia, and therefore maintains that "we are all zombies" (Daniel Dennett)

Applied to The map of p-zombies by Multicore at 2y

A Philosophical Zombiesphilosophical zombie areor p-zombie is a hypothetical beings who appearentity that looks and behaves exactly like a human (often stipulated to be ordinary humans,atom-by-atom identical to a human) but is not actually conscious: they are often said lack qualia or phenomena consciousness.

From Zombies! Zombies?:

Your A p-zombie is as likely as anyone else to ask, "zombie", inWhen I see red, do I see the philosophical usagesame color that you see when you see red?" but they have no real experience of the term,color red; the zombie's speech can be explained in some other terms which do not require them to have real experiences. The zombie thought experiment is putativelypurported to show that consciousness cannot be reduced to merely physical things: our universe is purported to perhaps have special "bridging laws" which evoke a mind into existence when there are atoms in a suitable brain-like configuration.

Critics deny the possibility of zombies: if a p-zombie is atom-by-atom identical to a human being that is exactly like you in our universe, then everyour respect—identical behavior, identical speech, identical brain; every atom and quark in exactly speech can be explained by the same position, moving according tomechanisms as the same causal laws of motion—zombie's, and yet it would seem exceptawfully peculiar that your zombie isour words and actions would have one entirely materialistic explanation, but also, furthermore, our universe happens to contain exactly the right bridging law such that our experiences are meaningful and our consciousness syncs up with what our merely physical bodies do. It's too much of a stretch: Occam's razor dictates that we favor a monistic universe with one uniform set of laws.

Supporters use the apparent conceivability of p-zombies to illustrate the fact that no-one can explain how phenomenal consciousness arises from matter. P-zombies may not conscious.

It is furthermore claimedbe possible, but they seem possible because we do not know of a set of laws that ifmake consciousness inevitable in some entities, but impossible in others.

A third view denies the existence of qualia, and therefore maintains that "we are all zombies are "possible" (a term over which battles are still being fought)(Daniel Dennett)

External links

webDavid Chalmers

See also

Applied to Zombie Responses by Multicore at 2y
Applied to Nonperson Predicates by Multicore at 2y

From Zombies! Zombies?:

Your "zombie", in the philosophical usage of the term, is putatively a being that is exactly like you in every respect—identical behavior, identical speech, identical brain; every atom and quark in exactly the same position, moving according to the same causal laws of motion—except that your zombie is not conscious.
It is furthermore claimed that if zombies are "possible" (a term over which battles are still being fought), then, purely from our knowledge of this "possibility", we can deduce a priori that consciousness is extra-physical, in a sense to be described below; the standard term for this position is "epiphenomenalism".
Applied to GAZP vs. GLUT by Multicore at 3y

A philosophical zombiePhilosophical Zombies or p-zombie is aare hypothetical entity that looks and behaves exactly like a human (often stipulatedbeings who appear to be atom-by-atom identical to a human)ordinary humans, but is not actually conscious: they are often said lack qualia or phenomena consciousness. A p-zombie is as likely as anyone else to ask, "When I see red, do I see the same color that you see when you see red?" but they have no real experience of the color red; the zombie's speech can be explained in some other terms which do not require them to have real experiences. The zombie thought experiment is purported to show that consciousness cannot be reduced to merely physical things: our universe is purported to perhaps have special "bridging laws" which evoke a mind into existence when there are atoms in a suitable brain-like configuration.

Critics deny the possibility of zombies: if a p-zombie is atom-by-atom identical to a human being in our universe, then our speech can be explained by the same mechanisms as the zombie's, and yet it would seem awfully peculiar that our words and actions would have one entirely materialistic explanation, but also, furthermore, our universe happens to contain exactly the right bridging law such that our experiences are meaningful and our consciousness syncs up with what our merely physical bodies do. It's too much of a stretch: Occam's razor dictates that we favor a monistic universe with one uniform set of laws.

Supporters use the apparent conceivability of p-zombies to illustrate the fact that no-one can explain how phenomenal consciousness arises from matter. P-zombies may not be possible, but they seem possible because we do not know of a set of laws that make consciousness inevitable in some entities, but impossible in others.

A third view denies the existence of qualia, and therefore maintains that "we are all zombies" (Daniel Dennet)

Blog posts

External links

See also

Applied to Zombies: The Movie by Zack_M_Davis at 3y
Applied to Zombies Redacted by Zack_M_Davis at 3y
Applied to Zombies! Zombies? by Zack_M_Davis at 3y