Philosophical Zombies Don't Share Our Epistemic Situation

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Virginia Tech

Chalmers (2007) has argued that any version of the phenomenal concept strategy will fail, given that phenomenal concepts will either fail to explain our epistemic situation, or fail to be physically explicable themselves. Carruthers and Veillet (2007) have offered a response, arguing that zombies do share our epistemic situation. In the following paper I aim to show that philosophical-zombies do not share our epistemic situation concerning phenomenal consciousness. I will begin with some background material regarding the general dialectic I am addressing in section (I) before outlining the debate between Chalmers (2007) and Carruthers and Veillet (2007) in more detail and its relevance for mind-body considerations in section (II). Next, in section (III) I will suggest a worry related to Carruthers and Veillet’s position: that phenomenal concepts fail to refer in zombie worlds in the first place. Finally, in section (IV) I will argue that even if a zombie’s phenomenal concepts successfully refer, there is still good reason to think that zombies will fail to share our epistemic situation. I will defend this claim by explaining three asymmetries between me and my zombie twin’s corresponding epistemic situations.

mind-body, phenomenal concept strategy, zombies