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On Zombie-Beliefs

4. Oktober 2011 von Martina Fürst

The phenomenal concept strategy is considered as a powerful response to famous anti-physicalist arguments such as the knowledge argument, the explanatory gap or the Zombie-argument. The basic idea of this strategy is to rely on specific concepts which are supposed to explain why we draw dualistic conclusions from these arguments. Therefore, the target of this physicalist move is to give a satisfactory account of dualistic intuitions without being committed to draw ontological dualistic conclusions. In my talk I will concentrate on the phenomenal concept strategy as reply to the Zombie-argument. The Zombie-argument aims at demonstrating that phenomenal states cannot be reduced to physical states. Type-B-physicalists deny the metaphysical possibility, but grant the conceivability of Zombies and try to explain the conceivability in terms of phenomenal concepts. I will start elaborating the crucial particularities of phenomenal concepts by focusing on their conceptual isolation as well as on their cognitive role. Next, I will propose a constitutional account of phenomenal concepts which captures their uniqueness adequately. Finally, I will analyze the impact of phenomenal concepts on intentional content and, hence, their explanatory power as far as the conceivability of Zombies is concerned. I will address the following questions: Can Zombies entertain thoughts such as “I believe that I am currently undergoing a red-experience” by thinking of the red-experience in terms of phenomenal concept or do we conceive of Zombies lacking such concepts? What happens if we take Zombie-beliefs to involve just pseudo-phenomenal concepts, as for example Chalmers suggests? Can pseudo-phenomenal concepts play the same functional and cognitive role as genuine phenomenal concepts do? Therefore, the key-issues of my talk will be the consequences of a specific account of phenomenal concepts for the conceivability of Zombies and for the debate between physicalism and anti-physicalism.

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