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Balog, Katalin, , . Conceivability, possibility, and the mind-body problem
1999, Philosophical Review 108 (4):497-528.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: This paper was chosen by The Philosopher’s Annual as one of the ten best articles appearing in print in 2000. Reprinted in Volume XXIII of The Philosopher’s Annual. In his very influential book David Chalmers argues that if physicalism is true then every positive truth is a priori entailed by the full physical description – this is called ‘the a priori entailment thesis – but ascriptions of phenomenal consciousness are not so entailed and he concludes that Physicalism is false. As he puts it, ‘zombies’ are metaphysically possible. I attempt to show that this argument is refuted by considering an analogous argument in the mouth of a zombie. The conclusion of this argument is false so one of the premises is false. I argue at length that this shows that the original conceivability argument also has a false premise and so is invalid.

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Brogaard, Berit, , . The Status of Consciousness in Nature
2015, In Steven Miller (ed.), The Constitution of Phenomenal Consciousness: Toward a science and theory. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio, Contributed by:
Abstract: The most central metaphysical question about phenomenal consciousness is that of what constitutes phenomenal consciousness, whereas the most central epistemic question about consciousness is that of whether science can eventually provide an explanation of the phenomenon. Many philosophers have argued that science doesn’t have the means to answer the question of what consciousness is (the explanatory gap) but that consciousness nonetheless is fully determined by the physical facts underlying it (no ontological gap). Others have argued that the explanatory gap in the sciences entails an ontological gap. This position is also known as ‘property dualism’. Here I examine a fourth position, according to which there an ontological gap but no explanatory gap.

 

Comment: In this paper, the author addresses the so-called “explanatory gap”. In a nutshell, the “explanatory gap” refers to the existing difficulty of explaining consciousness in physical terms. The author considers Chalmers’s argument which aims to show that there is a metaphysical gap. She argues that the existence of a metaphysical gap does not entail the existence of an explanatory gap, thereby failing to prevent scientists from discovering the nature of consciousness. Good as background reading on the topic of consciousness, its nature, and on whether we can explain in physicalist terms. The first half of the paper is particularly useful, as the author provides a survey of different theories regarding the link between consciousness and the neurological system.

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Kind, Amy, , . Chalmers’ zombie argument
2011, In Michael Bruce & Steven Barbone (eds.), Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by:

Introduction: In the late twentieth century, zombies began to play an important role in philosophical discussions about consciousness. But unlike the zombies of Hollywood, philosophical zombies are very much alive – or at least, they would be were they to exist. As philosophers use the term, a zombie is a creature that is microphysically identical to a human being – and thus produces behavior that is indistinguishable from that of a normal human being – but lacks any sort of consciousness in the phenomenal sense. Zombies behave as if they are in pain when you stick them with a pin, and they will report that they are in pain, but they don ‘ t experience any painful sensations.

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