Philosophical Zombies

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
Posts: 4
Joined: November 13th, 2008, 8:53 am

Post by grawler » November 13th, 2008, 10:06 pm

Most people are mindless zombies. They go home every night and watch the same sit-coms week after week, night after night, watching other people live lives instead of living their own. Then they buy into the marketing that they see on TV or the propaganda the government sells them without doing any research to try and discern the facts for themselves. Flocks of sheep being herded around. I'm not convinced people are fully conscious.

User avatar
New Trial Member
Posts: 5
Joined: March 23rd, 2012, 6:37 pm

Re: Philosophical Zombies

Post by John_Leaf » March 24th, 2012, 2:14 am

Well, we have two different types of "zombies" we can deal with here. One is a zombie in the sense that the person can not think up new ideas, and the other in the sense that they're like animals. They're giving natural responses based solely on past experiences that their physical senses understood, and then twisted these experiences to make up something that has no new components to it.

This type of zombie could be disproved by a simple thought experiment that proves that man is capable of formulating new ideas just by being asked leading questions. AKA Socrete's discussion with the slave boy. Without being given new information, and just being led towards what he SHOULD examine, he was able to come up with his own ideas based on the information around him.

Not only would he now know that to quadruple the area of a square with area 4, you need only to double the sidelength, but he would be able to know this without even testing the theory afterwards. He would have an understanding in his mind, without needing to see the proof of his thoughts. He would be able to come up with an understanding of his surroundings, proving both his sentient-ness, and his consciousness. He both interacted with the world around him, and without past experience developed a new idea.

EDIT: Of course, he would test the theory, although he wouldn't need to in order to understand that his new answer was right. He could go through it in his mind.

These are just my thoughts on the matter, at least.

Edit: And then I realize the last post here was from 2008. Whoops I think?

Posts: 278
Joined: July 13th, 2011, 4:20 pm

Re: Philosophical Zombies

Post by Windy34 » March 31st, 2012, 3:15 pm

cynicallyinsane wrote:How do we know that other people are actually conscious? How do we know that they aren't just mindless zombies who behave like they are conscious?

You know you are conscious because you are walking around, eating, sleeping, going to work, going to school, etc. If you are conscious and doing those things other people are conscious and doing those things as well because you can see them doing those things. Yep I know it is a mundane life where everyone is going about their mundane mindless zombie life.

User avatar
Posts: 422
Joined: May 27th, 2013, 2:02 am

Re: Philosophical Zombies

Post by Wuliheron » May 27th, 2013, 2:34 am

Will Rogers once complained audiences will only laugh at jokes based on the stupid truth. I don't find the idea of everyone else being a zombie funny.

Posts: 364
Joined: April 15th, 2013, 7:22 am

Re: Philosophical Zombies

Post by Keithprosser3 » May 28th, 2013, 5:17 am

A philosophical zombie is indistinguishable from a conscious person because that is how the term 'philosophical zombie' is defined, so the question of identifying a zombie does not arise.

From introspection of your own nature you know conscious entities (or at least one conscious entity) exists. The question is whether a zombie can exist. Put another way, is it the case that a 'simulation of consciousness' so good as to pass for the real thing would have to be the real thing?

User avatar
Posts: 869
Joined: November 25th, 2012, 8:06 am
Favorite Philosopher: Toadny

Re: Philosophical Zombies

Post by Toadny » May 28th, 2013, 7:25 pm

cynicallyinsane wrote:How do we know that other people are actually conscious? How do we know that they aren't just mindless zombies who behave like they are conscious?
I have at least 4 different answers to this question.

1. Because we are they. What I mean is, everybody asking this question is asking it about everybody else. But each of us who is conscious knows he or she is conscious. Add all the individuals together, they become we, we know we are conscious.

2. Because you can't behave like you are conscious if you aren't. Try it.

3. Because we know a lot about how consciousness works, and we see the same things going on in different people's brains.

4. Because it's so unlikely, implausible, far-fetched, that some people would be conscious and others not but behaving the same.

User avatar
Peter Griffin
New Trial Member
Posts: 1
Joined: June 15th, 2014, 9:13 am

Re: Philosophical Zombies

Post by Peter Griffin » June 15th, 2014, 9:32 am

Consciousness depends on the mind right? but since brain cells take three to four minutes to die and the brain itself to decompose in roughly a day the dead wouldn't come back from their graves.

User avatar
Posts: 227
Joined: May 28th, 2011, 11:12 am

Re: Philosophical Zombies

Post by H M » June 17th, 2014, 12:35 pm

cynicallyinsane wrote:How do we know that other people are actually conscious? How do we know that they aren't just mindless zombies who behave like they are conscious?

Eh. Speaking of zombies, yet another old thread exhumed from the rear lot that serves as a cemetery. Walking about among the living topics again with an OP likely long gone. But there's the superficial facade of someone still here that I'm responding to, right?

As long as that outward body activity (as deceptive consciousness) traces back in origin to the applicable microphysical causes and expected NCCs in the brain, then our being p-zombies might not even make a difference to some physicalists or anti-panphenomenalists. IOW, a minority is a bit offended to begin with that an otherwise absent manner of existence should be showing itself at all, in these special and extremely rare instances of experience-generating brains. Much easier to deal with the brutely emergent discrepancy of consciousness having manifested content by dismissing the latter as illusory (albeit that introduces a contradiction itself, of how there can be misleading appearances when appearance in general is unfounded).

User avatar
Posts: 56
Joined: April 18th, 2016, 2:55 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Immanuel kant
Location: Haleiwa hawaii

Re: Philosophical Zombies

Post by Skydude » January 4th, 2020, 12:04 pm

Accepting my own ignorance in the matter allows me to be content with the truth in either situation, whether people are zombies or not. All I know is that I exist in and am able to manipulate my experienced reality. Due to the physical nature of the brain, it becomes A problem of us being unable to experience the world from two different reference points without losing ourselves in the process, there is no way of truly knowing by reasoning alone whether we are alone or not. we have to acquire physical evidence through the study of quantum physics and neurology or we may never know for sure.

Post Reply