Turning the Tables on Dualism

Chair: Richard Brown

Presenter: Richard Brown, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

Richard’s paper or a larger version of the video

 

Commentator: Robert Howell, Southern Methodist University

Robert’s paper or a larger version of the video

Advertisements

30 Comments

  1. First I want to thank Robert for his very helpful comments. They are very useful in helping me think through the argument more carefully and I am grateful for the time he spent on my paper.

    I have read through his comments, and I have some things that I want to say in response, but I have been so busy organizing the conference that I have not had the time to put my thoughts together. So, I’ll be back later today with a response.

  2. Hi, I’m back.

    There is a lot I want to say in response to Robert’s comments, so I appologise if this is a bit long.

    I guess I’ll start with addressing the issue of question begging. Of course every valid argument is, in a technical sense, question begging in the formal sense, but that is not the sense I has in mind. On begs the question, in the informal sense, by employing a premise in an argument that one’s opponent doesn’t accept. In this sense one has to beg the question against someone. My claim is that the zombie argument begs the question against those like me who do not accept the firat premise. Of course this will mean that someone like Robert (that is, someone who does accept the premise) will not find the argument question begging in this sense. When a question is begged in this sense then what one needs is an argument for the premise in question. Part of my complaint is that no such argument is ever given for the conceivability of zombies. We are simply told that they are conceivable and then reason about what follows from this. So when Robert accuses my argument of doing that I want to say, as he predicts, ‘of course it is that way, and that’s exactly how the zombie classic argument is!’ I’ll come back to this point a little later on.

    There is another informal sense of question begging that is worth bringing up. This is the sense in which an argument will only be convincing to someone who is already persuaded that the conclusion is true. I think that a priori anti-mterialist arguments are question begging in both these senses.

    Now, I certainly think that Robert is right in pointing out that a priori arguments are useful for getting conceptual confusions cleared up. So, if Chalmers is right then materialists like Robert are confused when they think that they can conceive of a zombie and that that doesn’t have any implication for physicalism. But at any rate, this is in line with my claim that it simply lets you know what cmp you are in and does not show that any view is false.

    Now Robert says that many physicalist insist that they can conceive of zombies, and he is right that they insist this. But I have given an argument which is aimed at showing that our seeming to conceive of something is no guarentee that we really are conceiving of that thing. It sure seems like we can conceive of THAT STUFF (pointing at some water here on Earth) as being an elemental simple but it turns out that we cannot do that. What you really end up conceiving is something different; viz. some stuff which looks like THAT STUFF but which is physically different. This kind of case doesn’t give any support to Chalmers’ claim that we can really conceive of a creature physically just liek me and which lacks consciousness.

    Now, as for Robert’s claim that the zoombie argument is invalid, I guess I am a little confused about that. This means that the premises can be true while the conclusion is false. From what Robert says I take it he thinks that zoombies are possible but that even so dualism could still be true. But I don’t see how this is supposed to go. Take me. I have phenomenal consciousness. Now I am conceiving of a creature that is just like me in all non-physical respects and yet which lack consciousness. How could dualism still be true? If I have some physical properties which result in non-physical conscious properties then they would be manifested in the zoombie world, but they aren’t. So maybe Robert can elaborate on that point.

    As for the square-circle stuff. The zoombie argument isn’t doing anything like that. It is not the case that the zoombie argument ask us to “imagine there being two things which have the same properties whcih are sufficient for a certain global state differing in their global phenomenal states”. Rather the point is this. Take some pain of mine (like the one I have in my lower back from all this computer work!). The can be a creature that lacks no non-physical property that I in fact have. That is, a creature who is non-physically identical to me while I am consciously experiencing the lower back pain and which lack phenomenal consciousness. That isn’t round-squarish.

    Ok, so let’s trun to the brief sketch of an argument that Robert gives in order to show that zombies are in fact conceivable. This is, in my view,exactly what the charge of question begging is supposed to produce. He says,

    a crude version of the argument goes like this. Physical properties are defined by structure and dynamics. In other words, what physical properties a thing has is defined by what a thing can do. Phenomenal properties are defined by how they feel. Nothing about what a property can make the bearer do seems to say anything about how the bearer must feel. So one can conceive of physical indiscernibles that are phenomenally discernable.

    I think that Robert is right that this is the only argument that is ever given that zombies are in fact conceivable but it does not license that conclusion. Notice that Robert says “nothing about what a property can do seems to say anything…” and that I can certainly grant. Nothing, that we now know about physical properties seems to say anything about how it must feel,but all that will get us as a conclusion is that it SEEMS, therefore, that we can conceive of zombies. Not that we actually CAN conceive of them. Itis exactly this inference that I am trying to call into question. From our seeming to be able to do something nothing follows except that it seems that way to us.

    Now, of course, Robert knew I was going to say this and in response he asks what kind of physical fact we might be leaving out. It would be nice, he says, “to point to what physical properties our alleged zombies are missing”. I agree that this would be nice, but doing so would require knowing what the physical basis of consciousness is, which we don’t know right now. One answer might be the kind of answer given by the Russellian Physicalist as Barbara Montero sees her. We might be leaving out the ‘inscrutable’ properties…but at any rate the point I was trying to make is that we won’t be able to know one way or another until after we have answered the question of whethe rphysicalism is true or not and so a priori methods cannot help us to answer the question of whether dualism is true or physicalism is false. Only a posteriori methods will work (of course after we have done the work then we would be able to do teh a priori deductions that Chalmers wants, but not before).

    This is getting really long, so I think i am going to leave it here for now and see if Robert has a response. I will be back later to finish talking about his very interesting comments.

  3. I’ll pick up on my response to Robert with his claim on page 4 that someone, like me, who wants to distinguish between issues of reduction and issues of the ontoltogy of physicalism is really claiming that zombies are conceivable and is denying that the conceivability o zombies entials their possibility. I don’t see that this is necessarily the case. Suppose that something like Davidson’s anomalous monism turns out to be true. Then when I conceive of a physical duplicate of me I conceive of a being that has conscious mental states (since according to A.M. mental and physical events are identical and identities are necessary) and so I can’t really conceive of zombies if A.M. is true. But even so there would be no reduction of the mental to the physical on this view. Given this it seems to me that whether or not mental terms can be reduced to physical terms is besides the point here; either way zombies might not be conceivable.

    Turning to the reverse-knowledge arguments. I agree with what Robert says about the Churchland style argument. It doesn’t show that a subjective version of the theory has any problems and so it begs the question against that kind of view. The very same is true of the standard knowledge argument. This is exactly in line with the main thrust of my argument; these kinds of a priori methods cannot show us that these views are false. Only a posteriori methods will resolve this dispute.

    Ok, so finally then I will adress Robert’s final challenge against my reverse-knowledge argument from Maria, the super phenomenologist. He argues that this argument is question begging in the sense that it is a one premise argument…something like Maria learns that dualism is false, therefore dualism is false. the original Mary argument doesn’t do this because, says Robert, it only claims that Mary learns something or other about red and “given her circumstance this is supposed to entail that physicalism is false”. But this is not exactly fair. The dualist thinks that Mary leanrs a lot about red when she gets out of her black and white room. She will learn how the non-physical color properties, say, correlate with the physical properties of the brain for instance. So the original Mary does depend on Mary learning one particular thing, she learns that there is more to color perception than physical properties. So, both of the arguments beg the question this way. This is, of course, the point I am trying to make! The Mary argument depends on our having a certain intuition that learning what it is like to see red would be truely learning something unaccounted for by the physical facts. So too in the Maria case I have the intuition that Maria will learn that there is nothing more to consciousness than the physical. In this sense the two arguments are on a par. Mary leanrs that there is more to reality than the physical. Maria learns that there is nothing more to reality than the physical.

    So in sum, in response to Robert’s final assesment,

    The anti-materialist arguments start with a specification of the type of information that Mary has, physical information about structure and dynamics, and then says it doesn’t look like that sort of information can lead Mary to know anything about how they feel. It is not enough to say “yes it can.” A response needs to either give some indication of how it can do that, or explain why it doesn’t need to in order for physicalism to be true. Brown’s reverse arguments do neither

    In the first place, I haven’t said ‘yes I can’. I have said ‘it seems to me like it can’ and given some intuition pumps to see if it seems to you that it can as well. This, I claim, is actually all that the other side can say as well: ‘it seems to me like it can’t’. And of course this doesn’t show us anything accept what kind of theory we accept. So, I don’t think we can show how to do this yet, but that doesn’t show that it can’t be done and this does show why physicalism doesn’t have to explain how it can be done (yet) and still be true. The take home message, for me, is that a priori methods won’t do us any good until we know all of the details and by then it will be too late.

  4. I agree with Robert about a number of things, and especially regarding begging the question. I’ve discussed the case for the conceivability of zombies in a number of places, and there’s certainly a prima facie case that doesn’t beg questions. As far as I can tell, Richard’s reply in the comments above turns on reading conceivability as what I call “secondary conceivability”, whereas the notion used in my arguments is primary conceivability, which is tied definitionally to apriority, and which isn’t subject to the Kripke-style illusions of conceivability that Richard mentions.

    I think that the zoombie argument misses a crucial subtlely about how the zombie argument is stated. When the argument is stated properly, the key premise is not “It is conceivable that the complete microphysical truth about our world obtains without consciousness.” Rather, it is “If P is the complete microphysical truth of our world, it is conceivable that P obtains without consciousness”. Note the key difference in the scope of the conceivability operator, which is crucial to making the argument for dualism go through. Richard’s zoombie premise “It is conceivable that the complete nonphysical truth about our world obtains without consciousness” is analogous to the first version. I agree that this is conceivable (it is conceivable that our world contains no consciousness but just nonphysical ectoplasm, for example), but this point has no force against dualism. The analogous premise would be “If N is the complete nonphysical truth about our world, it is conceivable that N obtains without consciousness”. As Robert notes, even this premise is compatible with the truth of some versions of dualism, but I think in any case that it’s false.

    I’ve argued for the stronger version of the P premise by arguing (using structure/dynamics considerations) that however microphysics could turn out (i.e. whatever P turns out to be), zombies will be conceivable. There’s no analogous support for the stronger version of the N premise. That is, there’s no reason to think that however nonphysics turns out, zoombies will be conceivable. If it turns out that consciousness is itself a fundamental nonphysical property, for example, then N without consciousness will be straightforwardly inconceivable. To make an analogous response to the zombie case, one needs to respond to the structure/dynamics considerations. The most directly analogous response would be to suggest that physics might itself invoke consciousness. I don’t rule this out, but I think it’s clear that this route takes one in the direction of panpsychism or panprotopsychism.

    As for reverse zombies, these have been a staple of the literature for quite a while now. They appear to have been rediscovered many times (including by Frankish and Piccinini, who Richard cites, and by Kati Balog in a recent paper), but as far as I know the originators are Peter Marton in a 1998 article, and Scott Sturgeon in his 2000 book. I think that these these pose a more serious challenge to the zombie argument than zoombies do, and a more serious challenge than Robert suggests (in fact the objection is closely related to the main objection in Robert’s own paper “The Two-Dimensionalist Reduction”), but of course I think that the challenge can be answered. I respond to this challenge in “The Two-Dimensional Argument Against Materialism”, under “The conceivability of materialism”.

  5. Hi Dave, thanks very much for the comments! They are very helpful.

    You say,

    I’ve discussed the case for the conceivability of zombies in a number of places, and there’s certainly a prima facie case that doesn’t beg questions.

    I certainly agree that there is a prima facie case that doesn’t beg the question. What I am questioning is whether or not you can get from there to the ideal case.

    As far as I can tell, Richard’s reply in the comments above turns on reading conceivability as what I call “secondary conceivability”, whereas the notion used in my arguments is primary conceivability, which is tied definitionally to apriority, and which isn’t subject to the Kripke-style illusions of conceivability that Richard mentions.

    I can definitely see why you might think I am casting the argument in terms of secondary conceivability; I need to make that clearer in the paper. But I don’t think that is what I am doing. So, you say that primary conceivability is concerned with the sense that ‘water is not H20’ is correctly described as conceivable. Just what sense is this? Well, it is the sense in which we can conceive that there is some physically distinct stuff that could exhibit the appearance properties that H20 does to us. What is not primary conceivable is that THAT STUFF {pointing to a glass of water on my desk} is not H20. Before we knew that THAT STUFF was H20 it seemed conceivable to us that it might have been something else, but we were wrong abut that. That is not ideally primarily conceivable. But determining that depended on the a posteriori (from our point of view) discovery that THAT STUFF was H20.

    So what is the moral of the story for zombies from this? Well a zombie is supposed to be a creature that is physically identical to, say, ME {pointing at myself sitting at my desk}. Is it primarily conceivable that there should be a creature in every respect physically identical to ME which lack consciousness? The water/H20 case certainly doesn’t provide evidence for this. Taken at face value that case shows that we might be able to conceive of creatures which resemble us from “the outside” but lack consciousness. This is compatible with claiming that the lack of consciousness comes with a difference in some physical respect. And, also as in the water/H20 case, which one we actually ends up to primarily conceivable (i.e. zombies or zoombies/shombies) depends on a posteriori (from our point of view) discoveries.

    So, Dave is right that the is a possible world that we access when we conceive of zombies. The question is whether it is really a world that is physically identical (in all respects) to ours. I am arguing that we can’t tell before we know the truth or falsity of materialism and so a priori arguments aren’t useful at this stage in the game (except for telling us where our allegiance lays). The two-dimensional distinction between primary and secondary conceivability doesn’t affect my argument.

    The analogous premise would be “If N is the complete nonphysical truth about our world, it is conceivable that N obtains without consciousness”. As Robert notes, even this premise is compatible with the truth of some versions of dualism…

    I certainly mean to be saying the more subtle premise. I think you can see that I it in mind, for instance, when I deal with the objections (due to Richard Chappell) that I deal with; but I definitely need to make this clearer.

    As for Robert’s point that this is compatible with some forms of dualism, I think this is right. But the corresponding zombie premise is compatible with some forms of materialism (i.e. ones that don’t think that the relevant identities between physical and mental are necessary. As far as I know this is still the version held by Smart). But the question is ‘what is the most plausible version of dualism and does the zoombie argument cut ice against it?’ This point doesn’t address that, does it?

    To make an analogous response to the zombie case, one needs to respond to the structure/dynamics considerations.

    This strikes me as unfair to the materialist. I am granting that there is a prima facie case to be made that more of structure and dynamics will not get us qualitative consciousness (but there is ALSO a prima facie case that it will). This explains why so many people find the anti-materialist thought experiments intuitively compelling. But, I claim, this doesn’t show that an ideal case can be made. Just like it is prima facie conceivable that the parralell postulate is a necessary truth about reality, but this isn’t ideally conceivable or that it is prima facie conceivable that the law of non-contradiction doesn’t hold necessarily but might not be ideally conceivable. Wouldn’t it be unfair of Euclid to demand that someone show how it could be false before non-Euclidean geometry was discovered? It seems to me that all the materialist needs iscases like these to defuse the challenge about structure and dynamics.

    Besides, as you yourself say, the intuition that structure and dynamics won’t work is based on your claim that functionalism about consciousness isn’t a viable doctrine. But until we can rule out these kinds of accounts we won’t know if structure and dynamics is enough for consciousness or not. So, at the very least this is an a posteriori matter (functionalism is not ruled out a priori; i.e. there is no contradiction in conceiving it to be true) from where we are right now. There are viable materialist accounts of consciousness (my money is on some kind of higher-order account). Until these are decisively defated the structure and dynamics argument is a push.

    I couldn’t find that section of your paper called ‘the conceivability of materialism’…is it in the one available on your website?

    I did find this passage when you are discussing an objection related to Yablo meta-modal stuff (my argument is similar, as I claim that zombies, zoombies, and shombies are all semingly conceivable but can’t all be ideally conceivable and we have no way to tell, at this point, which is actually ideally conceivable and so CP can’t, at this point, give us an argument against materialism);

    My response here parallels the response in the god case. It may be prima facie negatively conceivable that materialism is true about consciousness, but it is not obviously conceivable in any stronger sense. Many people have noted that it is very hard to imagine that consciousness is a physical process. I do not think this unimaginability is so obvious that it should be used as a premise in an argument against materialism, but likewise, the imaginability claim cannot be used as a premise either. And if I am right that CP is a priori, then there is an a priori argument that P⊃Q is not necessary, so that it will not even be ideally negatively conceivable that P⊃Q is necessary.

    But notice how my response to this is exactly the same:

    My response here parallels the response [given by Dave Chalmers]. It may be prima facie negatively conceivable that dualism is true about consciousness, but it is not obviously conceivable in any stronger sense. Many people have noted that it is very hard to imagine that consciousness is a non-physical process. I do not think this unimaginability is so obvious that it should be used as a premise in an argument against dualism, but likewise, the imaginability claim cannot be used as a premise either. And if I am right that [Chalmers is right that] CP is a priori, then there is an a priori argument that P⊃Q is necessary, so that it will not even be ideally negatively conceivable that P⊃Q isn’tnecessary.

  6. I have been thinking more about the structure and dynamics line that Dave C. has been pushing against myself, and Derek. In this thread Dave C. puts it as follows,

    I’ve argued for the stronger version of the P premise by arguing (using structure/dynamics considerations) that however microphysics could turn out (i.e. whatever P turns out to be), zombies will be conceivable. There’s no analogous support for the stronger version of the N premise. That is, there’s no reason to think that however nonphysics turns out, zoombies will be conceivable. If it turns out that consciousness is itself a fundamental nonphysical property, for example, then N without consciousness will be straightforwardly inconceivable.

    But as far as I can tell there is no argument to the effect that however physics turns out zombies will still be cocneivable. What we have is the fact that *some* people have strong intuitions that no matter how physics turns out zombies will be conceivable. I don’t share this intuition, nor do many of my physicalist ilk. This is because if consciousness is just a physical fact then P without Q will be straightforwardly contradictory.

    What about Dave’s claim that we don’t have any analogous reason to think that however nonphysics turns out zoombies will be conceivable? Well one way this might happen is if it turns out that there are no nonphysical properties associated with consciousness. But this is not quite what Dave C. is after. What he is after is some way of getting the intuition that no matter how nonphysics turns out it won’t have consciousness. But I would argue that we do have reason to suspect this. Tell me what a nonphysical property is and I will explain why those kinds of things can’t be conscious properties. How could something that lacks structure and dynamics possibly have anything to do with consciousness?

  7. Re primary/secondary conceivability: I think you must be understanding these notions differently to me, as the way I define things, “That stuff is not H2O” (pointing at a glass of water) is certainly primarily conceivable. It’s not a priori, one can imagine epistemic (N.B. epistemic) possibilities where it turns out false, and so on. I suspect that what you mean to say is that the claim “Where K is a specification of the nature of that stuff, it is primarily conceivable that K is not H2O” is false. That’s a quite different claim, with the same sort of difference in scope as in my earlier comment. I’m happy to accept that this claim (which comes to the claim that it is primarily conceivable that H2O is not H2O) is false.

    Re zoombies: Well, at this point what’s relevant are my arguments that however physics turns out, zombies will still be conceivable. I certainly give such arguments — see the section on type-C materialism in “Consciousness and its Place in Nature” for some of them. I see that you engage some aspects of those arguments in a comment in the thread on Derek Ball’s paper, so I might say something there.

    Re shombies: Ah, it looks like I haven’t put the final version of the paper with “The conceivability of materialism” online. I’ll try to put it online soon — it’s also now in print, in the new Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Mind. In any case that section is just a small modification of what’s at the end of the section on metamodal objections in the currently online version. (I think the underlying issues are very much the same as with Yablo’s God objection.) Your response doesn’t quite seem to be to the point. Even if you’re right that the prima face imaginability of physicalism and dualism about consciousness is on a par, the parity point just establishes that one shouldn’t take the imaginability of dualism as a premise in an argument for dualism. But I don’t anywhere appeal to such a premise. And from these considerations I don’t think you get any prima facie argument that “P -> Q” is a priori (and so necessary), analogous to the prima facie argument that “P -> ~Q” is not a priori (and so not necessary) that one gets from the conceivability of zombies and from CP.

  8. Hi Dave, thanks again for the very helpful remarks.

    Sorry about the mix-up with the primary/secondary distinction (I suspect it has to do with how I hear ‘that stuff’. I hear it as ‘that H20’ and you hear it as ‘that watery-stuff’…I’ll try to be more careful). I did mean what you suspected that I meant so let me try and restate the point using that language. We agree that “Where K is a specification of the nature of that stuff [pointing at some water on Earth], it is primarily conceivable that K is not H2O” is false; this is not primarily conceivable. But it certainly may have seemed to be primarily conceivable to, say, Aristotle. He would be wrong though. So from where Aristotle was in time (to speak somewhat loosely) it is a posteriori that this is false. For us, it is a priori that it is false.

    So, too, it might be this way for us about consciousness: “Where P is a complete physical specification of the nature of me (pointing at me at my desk), it is primarily conceivable that P and ~Q” may turn out to be false. From where we are in time, to speak loosely again, whether this is false or not will be an a posteriori matter (though afterwards it will be a priori). Some evidence for this is found in the fact that P & Q seems just as conceivable (and from the conceivability of NP & ~Q).

    Now, you argue that when we conceive of ‘water isn’t H2O’ as being true we actually conceive of a world where there is watery-stuff that isn’t H2O. This is enough to show that “it is conceivable that ‘water is not H2O” is true in some sense, and more importantly in a sense which doesn’t reduce the space of possibilities. In the zombie case, you continue, the sense in which we imagine a zombie world is the same as the sense in which we imagine that water isn’t H2O. But the water/H2O case doesn’t get you that. When we apply the lesson of the water/H2O case to the zombie case all that we get is that there may be a world where there is some physicalish-stuff without consciousness. What is physicalish-stuff? Physicalish-stuff is stuff that looks like the physical stuff around here but is physically different than the physical stuff around here in some important way. Or maybe physicalish-stuff is the stuff around here but being operated on by different laws (and so this world is not a complete duplicate world of this world). Your defusal of the type-B Kripkean move doesn’t work as a response to this argument. There are important differences between water/H2O cases and physical/phenomenal cases such that the analogy doesn’t help. At the very least more needs to be done to show that you really are conceiving of P & ~Q in the right way. Simply pointing out the way that “water is not H2O” works on 2-D semantics isn’t enough to get you the conceivability of zombies.

    I definitely agree that to resolve the zombie/zoombie issue we need to move to the debate about the structure and dynamics argument; this, it now seems to me, is where the reall action is. I am going to re-read that section of your paper (and perhaps wait to see what you say in Derek’s session) and try to address the arguments more directly. So, I’ll come back to that.

    Finally, you say,

    Even if you’re right that the prima face imaginability of physicalism and dualism about consciousness is on a par, the parity point just establishes that one shouldn’t take the imaginability of dualism as a premise in an argument for dualism. But I don’t anywhere appeal to such a premise

    But my point is precisely that the first premise of the zombie argument just is (tacitly) using the imaginabilty of dualism as a premise! (just like the first premise of the shombie argument is using the imaginibility of physicalism as a premise). You object that you are merely imagining that P is the complete set of physical truths about our world and they do not entail that there is phenomenal consciousness. But if physicalism is true then this is not imaginable; so to ask me to imagine P & ~Q is to ask me to imagine that dualism is true.

  9. Two notes: (1) I discuss the “physical-ish” stuff move in various places, including “The 2-D argument against materialism” (I argue that it leads at best to a sort of Russellian monism). (2) It seems just wrong to say that to imagine P&~Q is to imagine that dualism is true, or even that the case for the imaginability of P&~Q uses the imaginability of dualism as a premise. At best, there a case for the conceivability of the possibility of zombies that takes the conceivability of dualism as a premise (and it’s this that’s analogous to the shombie premise, invoking the conceivability of the impossibility of zombies based on the conceivability of materialism). But what’s at issue here isn’t the (metamodal) conceivability of the possibility of zombies but just the conceivability of zombies. See my reply to Braddon-Mitchell, Hawthorne, and Stalnaker for more on this.

  10. It’s late, and I’m tired but I can’t resist a quick response.

    Re (1); Russellian Monism is one way we might end up thinking we are conceiving of a zombie world when we aren’t, but it isn’t the only conceivable way (as I’ve tried to argue).

    Re (2); I just don’t see how it could be wrong to say that to imagine P & ~Q isn’t to imagine that dualism is true. To imagine P & ~Q is to imagine that the phsyical doesn’t suffice for consciousness, what else is tehre to imagining that dualism is true?

  11. Re (2): To imagine P&~Q is to imagine a world where eliminative materialism is true! Although eliminative materialism and dualism agree that the physical doesn’t suffice for consciousness, I think it’s pretty clear that eliminative materialism and dualism are very different views.

  12. I think what Richard means is that to imagine a world where there’s P&¬Q, given that our world contains consciousness, is to imagine that ours is a dualistic (or at least supermaterialistic, to borrow Dave Beisecker’s helpful phrase) world, since that constitutes imagining the actual falsity of physicalism. Right?
    Not sure I agree, but I think that’s how it runs.

  13. Hi Dave and Sam, I am awake and refreshed now 🙂

    Sam, you have got the gist of my point, but let me try to flesh it out.

    So, let’s set eliminative materialism aside for the moment. Phenomenal consciousness surely exists. I am sympathetic to Galen Strawson’s point that this is really the only fact that we absolutely know for sure. Trust me, I have in my life had access to the right pharmaceuticals and I have had the qualia-ist qualia around. There is definitely something that it is like for me to have conscious mental states. And I absolutely agree with Dave that this is something that needs to be explained. The eliminative materialist denies that there is any such thing to explain; this is something like silly.

    Given the (seemingly obvious) fact that phenomenal conscious exists, is real, and needs to be explained what are our options? Our options are some kind of dualism or some kind of non-eliminative physicalism. Non-Eliminative physicalism is obviously very desirable; science has made terrific strides (especially) in the last 400-500 years. So, it would be nice if consciousness could be explainable in/reducible to terms of physics. Dualism with respect to consciousness is just the claim that consciousness is not explainable/reducible to the physical.

    So now you come along and ask me to imagine a world that is physically identical to the world I live in and which lacks phenomenal consciousness. It seems like I am able to do this, but it also seems to me that I can imagine a world that is in all and only physical respects like the one I live in having phenomenal consciousness. And conversely it seems to me that I can imagine a world that is just like the one I live in in all nonphysical repects and which lack consciousness.

    But physicalism carrys with it a strong modal claim which follows from plausible considerations about identity. If it is true of our world, which is at least prima facie negatively conceivable and at best prima facie positively conceivable, then it is necessary that any world that is physically identical to this world in all respects is a world where there is phenomenal consciousness (which means that it can’t be the case that both zombies and shombies are ideally conceivable). To really imagine otherwise is only possible if there is a world where dualism is true. So, imagining the zombie world depends on being able to (really) imagine that dualism is true. Or put in another way, to imagine the zombie world in any thing more than a prima facie way is to already be committed to a certain set of possible worlds being all of the possible worlds. Were non-eliminative physicalism to be true of our world a different set of possible worlds would comprise the space of what’s possible. But what possible worlds make up the total space of possible worlds is exactly what we are arguing about. So you cannot employ the imaginiability of zombies without already being committed to the imaginibility of dualism.

  14. Aha! But how is phenomenal consciousness explainable in terms of the physical? This is where Dave’s structure and dynamics argument comes into play.

    The argument in its basic form goes as follows. Physics deals with structure and dynamics. From these kinds of facts we can deduce only more strucural/dynamics facts. But structural/dynamical properties don’t explain phenomenal properties so consciousness isn’t explainable in physicalist terms. This is roughly the way that Dave puts the argument in ‘Consciousness and it Place in Nature’. The challenge, then, is for the physicalist to show some plausible way in which we might be able to get phenomenal facts from structural/dynamical facts.

    There are various moves that someone like me might make at this point and Dave anticipates them and offers some considerations against them. I will only look at the one that I find likely. To me, the most promising strategy is some kind of representationalism (broadly construed so as to count higher-order theories). In fact the main motiviating force behind the higher-order approach to consciousness just is its claim to be able to explain what consciousness is in physicalistically respectable way (in particular this puts it at an advantage with respect to first-order theories that loose this ability since they are committed to every mental state being conscious). On this kind of account my phenomenal consciousness, in all of it qualitative glory, is captured completely and without remainder by my being (transitively) conscious of myself as being in a certain first-order sensory state.

    Dave insists that this kind of account does not explain phenomenal consciousness without remainder others, like David Rosenthal for instance, insist that it does (and I insist that it might). Who is right here is at the very least an a posteriori matter (from our point of view now). One cannot at this point invoke zombies as support because the structure/dynamics argument was offered as a way to justify the conceivability of zombies in the first place.

    What is especially nice about the higher-order thought theory in this respect is that it does provide the conceptual link that Dave wants. But explaing that would take a while and I have to get in the shower and head out to Devitt’s talk. I would be happy to sketch it out when I get back if anyone is interested. But at any rate the general point is just as Dave says in his paper; the fate of type C materialism stands or falls with the success of these kinds of theories. These theories cannot be ruled out a priori (from our point of view now) and so whether physicalism or dualism is true is an a posteriori matter (from our point of view now).

  15. Richard,

    I don’t think it is accurate to say that the structure/dynamics argument is used to justify the conceivability of zombies. What “justifies” the conceivability of zombies is simply that our concept of experience is not a physical/functional concept. Zombies, Mary’s, etc., make this fact vivid. The structure/dynamics argument uses this fact about our concepts to show that no further amount of information about structure/dynamics will help with the hard problem. So what you are holding out hope for would require us to say that our concept of experience is really about something else (and we are currently ignorant of this fact). This has the consequence that we don’t really understand (in fact, we radically misunderstand) our concept of experience (this is the line that Dennett often takes). Thus, I don’t think it is correct to say, as you do, that “Who is right here is at the very least an a posteriori matter (from our point of view now).”

  16. In the spirit of turning the tables on dualism, I concocted the following dialogue between a qualiaphile (Phil) and a qualiaphobe (Phoebe). Obviously, it is not meant to settle the issues one way or another, and it is admittedly a bit tendentious. But I do think it reflects many of the questions and concerns that have been raised in this conference.

    Phil: Phoebe! How delightful to see you again! Even if you are not delighted to see me, I know you are feeling something—really Phoebe, when are you going to join the rest of us and admit we have experiences?

    Phoebe: I am delighted to see you as well, Phil. The feeling could not be stronger! Happy now? Of course we have experiences, and I have never denied that we do. Sometimes, Phil, I think you deliberately misread me.

    Phil: There was a time when I would have owned up to that charge, Phoebe, but not any more. You say that you do not doubt experiences, but whenever you discuss them you end up talking about something else. Something in the vicinity, perhaps, but not the experience itself. So I must conclude that you really are an eliminativist about experience.

    Phoebe: It’s just a matter of how we choose to talk. I say that experiences are real, so I don’t call myself an eliminativist. Because I don’t think experiences are something in addition to the performance of functions, you call me an eliminativist. But what are we really arguing about? I don’t doubt that when you stub your toe, it hurts. You say, “Phoebe, you know what it is like when you bite into a lemon? That’s what I mean by experience!” If that’s what you mean, then I concede everything to you, except what you want.

    Phil: Yes, I want you to admit that the functioning cannot account for experience—or rather, it cannot be the experience; there is something more and it is this something more that you are acknowledging exists. Just call it what it is!

    Phoebe: I will not—not until you give me an argument for why I should.

    Phil: You are something else, Phoebe! Until I give you an argument? You know all the arguments! And you know that you are in the vast minority in your rejection of them. Zombies are conceivable. Mary does not know everything about color vision until she sees the tomato. The reason so many people are persuaded by these arguments is that they reveal, in no uncertain terms, that our concept of conscious experience is not a functional concept. At times you seem to admit as much, but then simply dismiss the conclusions that follow as resting on confusions. But you give no persuasive arguments to show that most people are in fact wrong about experience.

    Phoebe: Let’s take a closer look at these zombies. They lack phenomenal consciousness; do they differ in any other way? For example, we are supposed to imagine that in the zombie world there is a Zombie Frank Jackson. Zombie Frank Jackson gives an argument for the conclusion that there are non-physical aspects of our mental lives—or Zombie Jackson did, at one point! Zombies can believe that conclusion, right? How do we explain this? We would want to say, I suspect, that it has something to do with Zombie Jackson’s concepts. He has the concept of something non-functional, a concept that he applies to properties of perceptual states. Of course, there are no such properties in the zombie world, but he thinks that there are; otherwise, why would he give the knowledge argument? So, Zombie Jackson thinks that there are non-functional aspects of his perceptual states. He is wrong. If you are willing to grant this, why not consider ourselves in the same situation? Maybe we are zombies, too!

    Phil: But we have experience! There is no doubt about it, and if we have experience, then by definition, we are not zombies.

    Phoebe: This response is question begging, and it misses the point. Of course we have experiences. What you don’t get to say is that those experiences are non-functional. This is not part of the data, but something that needs to be argued for. If Zombie Jackson thinks that when he peers into his mental cookie jar it is filled with non-functional goodies, he is flat out wrong. It does not mean that Zombie Jackson lacks experience, though. What I am suggesting is that these zombies do have experiences, the same experiences you and I have. We cannot say that we are right even though Zombie Jackson is wrong simply because we have experiences, for this presupposes that our experiences are non-functional. I submit that when we conceive of a zombie world, we are conceiving of a world where experiences exist and they are completely functional, not a world where everything is functional but no experiences exist. Furthermore, I have a strong suspicion that the zombie world is our world!

    Phil: The way you put it, Phoebe, makes it sound like our knowledge of the nature of experience is some sort of complicated theoretical inference. Are you saying that although our experience seems to be a certain way, it really isn’t? This makes no sense! If my experience seems a certain way, then it is that way. The character of experience seems intrinsic and non-functional; thus, it is! Look, Phoebe, I’ve got to run. It was nice seeing you again. I hope you get over your qualiaphobia one of these days!

    Phoebe: Thanks Phil; it was nice to see you, too. One last point, though. What I am denying is that our judgments about the nature of our experiences are somehow privileged or special. The story you tell about coming to know the nature of experience is lovely, but it isn’t a given. You have more convincing to do! Until next time.

  17. Richard: Sorry, I still don’t follow the argument that conceiving a zombie world requires conceiving a dualist world. You note that a zombie world is possible only if physicalism is false. From this, I suppose it follows that conceiving that a zombie world is possible requires conceiving that physicalism is false. But that doesn’t get us to a conclusion about conceiving a zombie world (simpliciter). You also say that conceiving the zombie world requires commitment to a certain set of worlds being possible (including zombie worlds). But this seems obviously false: many physicalists say that they can conceive of zombie worlds, but they don’t think that such worlds are possible.

    For similar reasons, I don’t really see an argument for Sam’s suggested thesis that conceiving zombie worlds is conceiving dualism about our own world. Of course it’s true that if (i) conceives of a zombie world, (ii) notes that one is conceiving it, (iii) accepts that conceivability entails possibility, and (iv) accepts that the possibility of a zombie world entails dualism about our world, then one will accept dualism about our world. So in this sense conceiving of a zombie world leads to accepting dualism about our world, given (ii)-(iv). But this is very different (in multiple respects) from the claim that conceiving of a zombie world is to conceive dualism about our world.

    As for HOT theory, there’s a lot to say, but prima facie I’d say the same as I say about representionalism. HOT theory comes in reductive and nonreductive forms (depending on whether having the relevant HOTs is itself taken to be reducible to the physical), and the reductive forms comes in both type-A and type-B forms (depending roughly on whether one takes there to be a functional analysis of having the relevant HOTs). I’d say that the type-A and type-B forms are subject to precisely the standard critique of type-A and type-B materialism. And for familiar reasons I don’t see the conceptual room for a plausible “type-C” version of HOT theory that denies that there’s a functional analysis of having the relevant HOTs but holds that having the relevant HOTs is a priori entailed by a physical account all the same. I needn’t have an objection to HOT theory in general for present purposes, though — nonreductive HOT theory is fine with me, just like nonreductive representationalism.

  18. Hi Martin, thanks for the comment.

    I claim that I can conceive of the following situation: Where NP is the complete set of non-physical facts about me and Q is the complete set of phenomenal facts about me, NP obtains without Q. Such a creature I call a zoombie. If this is conceivable then dualism is false.

    Dave, you, and others, say you can conceive of the zombie world (a world where P, the complete physical facts about our world, obtain without Q). If this is conceivable then physicalism is false.

    Each of these is (seemingly) just as conceivable as the other; but my bet is that only one if them is ideally conceivable. So which is it? Zombies or zoombies? At this point there is a stalemate. To break that stalemate Dave begins pressing the structure/dynamics considerations to tilt the balance towards zombies being the ones that are ideally conceivable. This is what I meant when I said that the structure/dynamics considerations were brought in to justify the conceivability of zombies. I should have made that clearer. Sorry about that.

    But the point stands then and it is an a posteriori matter from where we are now. This is because the structure/drynamics argument being sound is not an a priori matter. It cannot be justified by the conceivability of zombies (because of zoombies) and saying ‘yeah but it doesn’t seem like discovering more structural/dynamic facts will allow us to explain phenomenal consciousness’ doesn’t resolve the issue. This is because we have, for instance, the higher-order theory of consciousness which aims to show exactly that we can explain consciousness in a physicalistic way. This theory is a live option and so from our point of view this is going to be an a posteriori matter.

  19. Hi Dave, let me try to make the argument clearer.

    The argument between a non-eliminative physicalist like myself and a dualist like you is really about what the space of possible worlds is going to look like from the standpoint of an ideally rational being. If I am right then in that space there will be no zombie worlds and no dualist worlds. If you are right then there will be zombie worlds and dualist worlds. The debate is at its heart a metamodal one and so you cannot, it seems to me, make the kind of move that you do here (and in response to Yablo).

    So to tell me that you are really (and not just prima facie) conceiving of a zombie world is really to say that at the limit the space of possible worlds will look your way (just like telling you that I can really conceive of the zoombie/shombie worlds is just to say that it will look my way at the limit). Therefore to really (and not just prima facie) imagine a zombie world depends on there being a dualist one. Or to put it another way, to conceive of a zombie world is to tacitly assume that dualism is true (at some) possible world.

    You object to this argument when you say,

    But this seems obviously false: many physicalists say that they can conceive of zombie worlds, but they don’t think that such worlds are possible.

    But according to me (and you) these physicalists are confused about the relationship between (really ideal) reasoning and conceivability (CP is supposed to be itself a priori, right?). I add that they might also be confusing prima facie conceivability with ideal conceivability (or in the Kripkean terms I am more at ease with; they confuse epistemic possibility with metaphysical possibility). So, according to me, these physicalists need to either (a) admit that zombies are only prima facie conceivable and move to a non-eliminative physicalism like mine or (b) admit that they are ideally conceivable and give up physicalism. If we accept this as the situation (as I do) the conceiving of zombies requires conceiving the truth of dualism.

  20. My Dearest Phoebe,

    You know I love you, darlin’, I really do! But I sure wish you hadn’t let pass so easily that creep Phil’s claim that the nature of experience so much as seems intrinsic and non-functional. Our experience seems to me so durned diaphanous that I have virtually no purchase on what its nature will turn out to be. That being said, let’s not forget that while we have little idea about experience’s intrinsic nature, our judgements about its qualitative character (or how experiences should be sorted) may yet be privileged.

    xoxo
    Dave B.

  21. Richard,

    Thanks for clarifying. I understand what you are getting at now. Perhaps this point has already been made, but I think talking about the physical vs. the non-physical facts is apt to be misleading. David C is arguing that, even given all the functional/structural facts, we can conceive of the phenomenal facts not obtaining. This is how we should gloss “the physical facts” for the purposes of the anti-physicalist argument. It seems for your reply to work, we need to say that, even given all the non-functional/non-structural facts about us, we can conceive of the phenomenal facts not obtaining. But if we can conceive this, doesn’t it follow that our concept of experience is the concept of something functional/structural? And if it does, in what sense are you a non-eliminative physicalist (I am not sure what you mean by “non-eliminative physicalist”).

    Related to this last point, I am unclear in what sense there is a stand-off between the dualist and the physicalist. You say that both zoombies and zombies are prima-facie conceivable, and so the issue is which is ideally conceivable (and thus metaphysically possible). But we cannot say they are both really prima facie conceivable (that is, we cannot say that both are live options at this point, and that the matter needs to be settled in some other way). If I say zoombies are prima facie conceivable, this is because I understand experience in functional/structural terms. But if I do that, then I will deny that zombies are even prima facie conceivable.

    Perhaps one way to get around the problem would be to say that our concept of experience is simply “neutral” (it is silent, so to speak, with respect to structure/function, and that is why both zoombies and zombies are prima facie conceivable). But this strikes me as implausible, for it conflicts with how most people have typically talked about experience.

  22. Hi Martin, thanks for the follow up.

    Eliminativism is the view that says that there is no such thing as phenomenal consciousness. One way of putting this is that the eliminativist thinks that the details of present physical theory are enough to close the (seeming) gap between physical andf phenomenal. They thus end up denying that there is any hard problem of consciousness, which is rather strange. I do not deny that there is a hard problem. I admit that consciousness is prima facie puzzling (hence all of the puzzlement over it). As an undergraduate I sat with my classmates and nodded along eagerly when asked ‘can’t you imagine that you exist without your body?’ And I used to think that it was easy to imagine a zombie world.

    But now I wonder if I actually succeded in doing what I thought I had done. Now it seems that instead what is conceivable is that the totality of the non-structural/non-functional facts can be instatiated without phenomenal consciousness. Does that mean that our phenomenal consciousness will turn out to be a structural/functional thing (or at least explainable by structural/functional things)? Yes at some point. Am I therefore an elliminativist? Absolutely not. If we are at some point in our adventures in brain science able to explain how I have phenomenal consciousness in just the sense that I am having it right now then the only thing eliminated is the sense of mystery surrounding phenomenal consciousness. That we can’t see how this might be done is simply due to our ignorance (for instance Newton didn’t seem to think that gravity could be explained in terms of structure and function (also notice that the explanandum here is not just more structure and function, as Dave argues witht the vitalism case), we now have a theory about how this could be done (the gravition, for instance) that fits with our more advanced post-Newtonian physics).

    As for your other point, when I say that both are prima facie conceivable I mean that there are people who can conceive of both. I don’t mean that any given person can conceive of both. As you point out it may be the case that once a person has got themselves deeply in the grip of a theory the other position may actually become unimaginable even in a prima facie sense but notice that Dave does allow that physicalism is negatively prima facie conceiveble. There is no obvious contradiction involved in the idea that it is true, so it is not like square circles. Dave denies that it is positively conceivable, but I say that it is. So both are prima facie concievable.

    But you are absolutely right that I think that what a person finds intuitively conceivable depends on what theories they hold.

  23. I just wanted to follow up on something I said in my last post. Dave and other dualists want to put a lot of pressure on their intuition that structure/dynamics/function (a.k.a. the physical) can’t explain phenomenal consciousness. But how seriously should we take this intuition? Well, let’s look at one example: life.

    We used to think that we could not explain life (i.e. what distinguished the living from the non-living) in terms of the physical (cf Plato & Socrates vs. Aristotle or Democritus). This turned out to be wrong.

    We then thought that the functions of life needed a non-physical explanation (cf vitalism/four humors theory). This turned out to be wrong and now these functions are among the paradigms of the physical.

    It then was suggested (by our old friend Descartes) rational thought/language use needed a non-physical explanation (Descartes was not the only one. Recall Bishop Stillingfleet’s fit of anger at the very idea that matter could think). This too turned out to be false (or, is most likely false).

    Now it is suggested that phenomenal consciousness needs a non-physical explanation but by this time isn’t the track record of this intuition sufficiently battered so that we can at least see that whether this is the case or not is going to be an a posteriori matter for us? And this is only one example…there are many many more.

    In closing let me present a Non-Structure/Non-Function argument.

    (1) Non- physical accounts explain only non-structure and non-function

    (2) Explaining non-structure and non-function doesn’t suffice to explain consciousness, so

    (3) Non-physical accounts don’t explain consciousness.

    An opponent might try to deny (1) and claim that non-physics explains more than non-structure and non-function but that is not a very attractive view for a dualist to take. One might also deny (2) but then we would need some very good arguments telling us just what these non-physical/non-dynamical properties are, how they work, etc. But it seems that any way one fills in this story about the non-physical it won’t suffice to explain consciousness.

  24. Richard,

    As Chalmers has argued before, the analogy with life does not work. Vitalists were trying to explain functions, but did not understand how physical stuff could account for them–thus, vital spirits. Now we know better. In Descartes’ case, we might make the same move: what needs explaining is how inferential processes can respect rational relations (structure/function). Since matter is governed by mechanical laws, and since mechanical laws are insensitive to content (or rather, semantic properties do not figure into the statement of mechanical laws), Descartes did not see how mere machines could be rational. But the computational theory of mind (the mind is a syntactic engine driving a semantic one) explains this (Leibniz was actually somewhat sympathetic to this possibility). But the case of consciousness is supposed to be different.

    With that said, perhaps the Cartesian case is not that easy. Think about Searle’s Chinese Room argument. We can phrase it as follows: given all the functional/structural facts about the computer, we can conceive of it lacking semantic properties (“syntax is not sufficient for semantics”). Note, by the way, Searle does not think that adding causal relations between symbols and the external environment helps here (the robot reply fails, says Searle). The appropriate reply is to say, pace Searle, that when you get the right functions, you get intentionality. If you would like, we can say that we are “reconceiving” the target phenomena. Just think about the history of functionalism in this regard, especially as it developed out of the work of Armstrong and Lewis. It started with Ryle. Ryle said that our mental concepts are dispositional concepts. Armstrong agreed, but says Ryle was wrong about the nature of dispositions. But Armstrong accepted Ryle’s claim that there was a logical connection between mental states and behavior. Was Ryle simply recapitulating what everyone already thought about the mind? I don’t think so. Ryle was saying, “Look, we’ve got these mental concepts, but everyone is confused about them. Here is how they work.” Those like Dennett are saying that the same thing will happen with consciousness: our ways of thinking about consciousness are simply confused.

    By the way Richard, thanks for all your work with the conference!

  25. Hi Martin, organizing the conference was my pleasure! And of course it wouldn’t be nearly as fun without all of the enthusiastic participation.

    You say, “As Chalmers has argued before, the analogy with life does not work,” but that’s not quite right. As you go on to point out, Dave is concerned with the vitalism example. I started back with Plato. At that time the question was precisely whether structure and function could explain whther something was alive or not. Democritus thought so (the animating principle for him was just a uniquely shaped atom). Plato and Socrates thought that no account in terms of structure (shape in Democritus’ case) could possibly explainwhy something was alive.

    By the time of the vitalists what was at issue was whether a physical expanation could account for various functions carried out by living creatures but this isn’t the way the debate started. So, while Dave is right about the vitalists, the point is that at that time even structure and function seemed unable to fully account for structure and function. This now seems laughable to us; of course structure and function explain structure and function! But it wasn’t laughable 400 years ago.

    You then say, “But the case of consciousness is supposed to be different,” and of course it is supposed to be different. Bu tthe only evidence for that is that it seems that way to us (now). The same claim could have been made by any of the people in the history of the universe: of course it has those kinds of atoms but the fact that it is living is supposed to be different; of course it has those functions but the fact that it is…well you get the idea.

    I agree with you about the Chinease room, but as you say all it shows is that you don’t get semantics from syntax. But who, besides AI theoriests, ever said you did? You get semantics from causal relations between symbols and the world as well as causal relations between symbols. So, pace Searle, teh robot reply does work. Of course what Searle is really on about there is consciousness (since he thinks that thoughts are phenomenal like all mental states) and you don’t get that in the robot case (at least not simply in virtue of causal relations between symbols and symbols and the world) so this is no objection. Searle says that the robot doesn’t understand Chinease because understanding for him is a phenomenal experience (the phenomenology of understanding is one of his main arguments for the phenomenality of thought). But if you are someone like me who thinks that it is wise to distinguish between conscious understanding and non-conscious understanding, this case presents no problem. The robot understands Chinease but all of its mental states are unconscious and so there is nothing that it is like for the robot to understand Chinease.

    You say “Those like Dennett are saying that the same thing will happen with consciousness: our ways of thinking about consciousness are simply confused” and I of course agree that this is what those like Dennett say but I am not like Dennett. I think folk psychology is fine (for the most part). I don’t think we need to get rid of it or to redefine the terms. I think we need to find out what the things we are talking about really are. That’s why I am not an eliminativist in any sense (except the banal sense in which I want to eliminate the mystery surrounding phenomenal consciousness).

  26. Richard,

    Many of the objections to Searle come from those folks who are convinced that, despite what Searle says, computers can have genuine intentionality. Think about Fodor, in this regard. He thinks consciousness is a mystery, and this is why he does not talk about it. But he does not think intentionality is a mystery. Mental content (or at least a lot of it) can be given a perfectly respectable, naturalistic explanation. For example, we believe things like “water is wet” and “trees grow in forests,” and none of this requires first explaining phenomenal consciousness. Furthermore, Fodor thinks that an appropriately embedded computer can have such beliefs, too. Now, if you agree with any of this (as many philosophers do), then there is an important sense in which we’ve solved the problem of content (the conceptual problem) without having solved the problem of consciousness.

    In pointing this out, I am trying to agree with you. I think it would be anachronistic of us to say that what Fodor thinks is sufficient for intentionality was what Descartes thought was sufficient for it. In other words, I can imagine Descartes saying, “Even given your description of the computer (specifying its programs, stating how it is embedded in the environment), I can conceive of it lacking intentionality. Intentionality is an intrinsic property of thought, and cannot be explained in terms of function/structure/dynamics.” What should someone (e.g. Fodor) say to this, except that Descartes is wrong?

Comments are closed.