Zapping the Zombie Idea

Robert Kirk

in Zombies and Consciousness

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780199285488
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603150 | DOI:
 Zapping the Zombie Idea

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Although the zombie idea seems to fit in with some ‘natural and plain’ intuitions (Chalmers), it conflicts with others. Reinforced by the ‘jacket fallacy’, it both feeds on and feeds an incoherent conception of phenomenal consciousness. The ‘sole-pictures argument’ shows that a certain variety of epiphenomenalism is inconceivable in the relevant sense. Then it is argued that if zombies are conceivable, so is that kind of epiphenomenalism. If the reasoning is sound, the inconceivability of zombies follows. Among other corollaries of the main conclusion is that the idea of the inverted spectrum (transposed qualia) without physical differences is incoherent too.

Keywords: Chalmers; dualism; epiphenomenalism; intuitions; inverted spectrum; jacket fallacy; phenomenal consciousness; qualia; sole-pictures argument; zombies

Chapter.  10500 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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