Re: q***** (and incorrigibility)

Zeb Haradon (
Sat, 11 Dec 1999 21:24:58 -0800

-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Fabulich <> To: <> Date: Saturday, December 11, 1999 7:31 PM Subject: Re: q*****

>Your answer amounts to, "well, it would feel different if I were a zombie,
>that is, it wouldn't feel like anything at all!" but if you were a zombie,
>you would think/say exactly that! Sure, you can CLAIM that you have an
>inner life, but you may be decieved in exactly the same way a zombie would
>be deceived.

This touches on the idea of direct access, or incorrigibility - the idea that you cannot be mistaken about what you are feeling. I am going on the assumption that it is indisputable that you can be wrong when you think you feel something. You cannot think you are in pain and "not really be" in pain. Regarding the example someone might bring up of phantom pain felt by amputees - these people really do "feel pain", they are mistaken in the fact that they have an appendage which is undergoing some damage, but they are not mistaken in the fact that they "feel pain". Some philosophers (for example both of the Churchlands) believe it is possible to be mistaken about what you are feeling. Paul Churchland gives the example of being tied in a chair and tortured by someone who keeps pressing hot coals into your back - one of the times he presses an ice cube into your back - according to Churchland, you think you feel a burn, but you actually feel cold. Churchland is very confused on this issue - you actually DO feel burn - you are mistaken about the cause of it, but you cannot be mistaken about what you are feeling.
So, a zombie might deceive others in convincing them that he is conscious, but you cannot be a zombie and deceive yourself into believing that you are not, because you know (in a deeper sense, you are) your feelings. I would indeed "say exactly that", but I wouldn't think exactly that. You are looking for evidence that I can convince you that I am not a zombie. There is none. This is an entirely different issue from that of what evidence you can present yourself that you are not.

>If you think that if "you" were a zombie, there would be no "you," then I
>think the "you" you're referring to doesn't exist. When I say "you," I
>mean that thing sitting in front of a monitor reading this. Whether that
>thing has qualia or not is therefore up for grabs.

ok. What I meant was my mind or consciousness.

> -unless you love someone-
> -nothing else makes any sense-
> e.e. cummings

Zeb Haradon
My personal website:
A movie I'm directing: