Zombies and the Conceivability Illusion

By Neil Campbell.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Daniel Dennett proposes that philosophers who claim to be able to imagine the possibility of zombies actually fail to do so, in which case such philosophers are labouring under an illusion. I call this problem the conceivability illusion. Dennett tries to show that Todd Moody and Owen Flanagan fall prey to this illusion, but I argue that Dennett’s concerns with these authors reflect distinct problems. Nevertheless, I tend to agree that the conceivability illusion is a genuine problem for debates about the possibility of zombies. I show that Robert Kirk is a clear example of the illusion at work, and so the conceivability illusion is a useful diagnosis of zombiephiles.

Keywords: Philosophy, Mind, Consciousness, Dualism, Zombies, Conceivability

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.1-6. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 536.713KB).

Dr. Neil Campbell

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada


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