Ideal reasoners don’t believe in zombies

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The negative zombie argument concludes that physicalism is false from the premises that p ∧¬q is ideally negatively conceivable and that what is ideally negatively conceivable is possible, where p is the conjunction of the fundamental physical truths and laws and q is a phenomenal truth (Chalmers 2002; 2010). A sentence φ is ideally negatively conceivable iff φ is not ruled out a priori on ideal rational reflection. In this paper, I argue that the negative zombie argument is neither a priori nor conclusive. First, I argue that the premises of the argument are true only if there exists an adequate finite ideal reasoner R that believes ◊(p ∧ ¬q) on the basis of not believing p→q on a priori basis. Roughly, a finite reasoner is a reasoner with cognitive limitations (e.g. finite memory). I argue that R is finite only if R reasons nonmonotonically and only approach ideal reflection at the limit of a reasoning sequence. This would render the argument nonconclusive. Finally, I argue that, for some q, R does not believe ◊(p ∧ ¬q) on the basis of not believing p→q on a priori basis (e.g. for q =‘something is conscious’). This would render the choice of an adequate q dependent on empirical information (and the argument a posteriori). I conclude that the negative zombie argument (and, maybe, all zombie arguments) is neither a priori nor conclusive.
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First archival date: 2017-10-14
Latest version: 2 (2017-11-05)
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Constructing the World.David Chalmers - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
Supervenience.Bennett, Karen & McLaughlin, Brian

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