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

Dan Fabulich (
Sat, 11 Dec 1999 23:43:23 -0500 (EST)

'What is your name?' 'Zeb Haradon.' 'IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS!!!':

> 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.

Actually, I don't agree with the way you're using the word "thinks." I use the word in the functionalist sense: you're "thinking" if you're exhibiting the right sort of functional properties. You seem to be using the word in some "deeper sense."

But you claim that the fact that you're Thinking, in whatever sense of the word you're using, shows that you must not be a zombie, and that this disproves my argument. But you DON'T have absolute knowledge that you are Thinking. You could be "thinking" (in the functional sense) but not Thinking in the spooky sense. How do you Know that you're Thinking when you could just "think" that you're Thinking?

This is not an idle skeptical concern. I really DON'T think that you're Thinking. I think that you're "thinking." If you're Thinking, then we as scientists and philosophers have a difficult problem on our hands, and it casts some concern on whether uploading, AI, and a number of other handy technologies are really possible. If you're "thinking," then we've got no problems at all.

> >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.

Right. That's what I meant to deny.


-unless you love someone-
-nothing else makes any sense-

e.e. cummings