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But studies have shown that people can track scents really well if they focus on the task, Voytek said. In one study, blindfolded undergraduates at the University of California, Berkeley, were able to track a streak of chocolate in the grass by smell alone, and did it surprisingly well. So the zombie's ability to tell healthy bodies from decaying ones i. All of these theories about zombie neuroscience are idle speculation. But could zombies exist in real life? The concept of zombies has its roots in Haitian lore, in which voodou or voodoo priests create a powdery substance that allegedly turns people into zombies.

A component of this powder is a nerve toxin from pufferfish capable of keeping people in a state of suspended animation. Haiti has actually banned the practice of making these human zombies. The animal world has its own share of zombie stories. A fungus that infects carpenter ants causes the insect to climb underneath tree leaves and die.

Zombie - Wikipedia

The fungus sprouts a stalk from the zombie ant's head , sending out a shower of spores to infect other ants. Wasps are known to inject their venom into cockroaches, paralyzing but not killing them. The wasp drags the helpless roach to its nest and lays its eggs inside the bug's abdomen. When the baby wasps hatch out, they eat the cockroach alive from the inside out. And, of course, there's the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, which can infect humans. In rats, the parasite makes rodents stop fearing the smell of cat urine, which usually proves fatal for the rats.

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In pregnant women, toxoplasma infection can cause congenital problems such as deafness or mental retardation in the baby. But when it comes to flesh-eating, shuffling monsters, the zombie phenomenon remains firmly rooted in fiction. She received a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Brown University.

Tanya has lived on a tropical island, witnessed volcanic eruptions and flown in zero gravity without losing her lunch! Also, logical insolubility is a common problem of all counterfactual scenarios that is, considering imaginary situations: Such scenarios contain false counterfactual, not coinciding with reality "if" and false "then".

But this means that, the truth function of any counterfactual scenario, it is not a truth function of its components. That is, in the case of Chalmers' argumentation, although judgment is similar to modus tollens , but it is not modus tollens , and even from the true of the antecedents , the consequent is not necessarily true.

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This is a common problem of considering counterfactual implication inference. For example, you can considering the world, where until a certain day everything is exactly the same as in our world - but after, a single event happens differently. For example, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was not killed. Then the question is asked - what would happen? But to answer this question is impossible. Another example is the consideration of the world in which only one of some physical or non-physical, in the case of Chalmers parameter differs from that in our world.

The problem is that this is logically possible only if nothing causal effects on this parameter and this parameter does not have a causal effect on anything. But then the consideration of this scenario can not give any new information. If we consider an example with history, then to evaluate the truth of the scenario and inference from it, we required to consider all possible alternatives and interconnections, that is, we need to consider a potentially infinite number of counterfactual worlds in order to assess the validity or truth of a conclusion from consideration of one counterfactual world.

But people not have the cognitive ability to consider all potentially infinite sets of possible worlds, and they cannot compare all counterfactual alternatives, interconnections, etc.

Philosophical zombie

Consideration of a minimal counterfactual world is attractive and persuasive for people. Chalmers's argument contains a simple formal logical error. But these two implications have completely different properties. Chalmers' argument is logically valid: However, other philosophers dispute that its premises are true. For example, is such a world really possible?

Chalmers states that "it certainly seems that a coherent situation is described; I can discern no contradiction in the description.

Most physicalist responses deny that the premise of a zombie scenario is possible. Many physicalist philosophers argued that this scenario eliminates itself by its description; the basis of physicalist argument is that the world is defined entirely by physicality, thus a world that was physically identical would necessarily contain consciousness, as consciousness would necessarily be generated from any set of physical circumstances identical to our own.

One can hold that zombies are a logical possibility but not a metaphysical possibility. If logical possibility does not entail metaphysical possibility across the domain of relevant truths, then the mere logical possibility of zombies is not sufficient to establish their metaphysical possibility. The zombie argument claims that one can tell by the power of reason that such a "zombie scenario" is metaphysically possible.

Chalmers states; "From the conceivability of zombies, proponents of the argument infer their metaphysical possibility" [8] and argues that this inference, while not generally legitimate, is legitimate for phenomenal concepts such as consciousness since we must adhere to "Kripke's insight that for phenomenal concepts, there is no gap between reference-fixers and reference or between primary and secondary intentions. According to Chalmers, whatever is logically possible is also, in the sense relevant here, metaphysically possible.


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Another response is denial of the idea that qualia and related phenomenal notions of the mind are in the first place coherent concepts. Daniel Dennett and others argue that while consciousness and subjective experience exist in some sense, they are not as the zombie argument proponent claims. The experience of pain, for example, is not something that can be stripped off a person's mental life without bringing about any behavioral or physiological differences. Dennett believes that consciousness is a complex series of functions and ideas.

If we all can have these experiences the idea of the p-zombie is meaningless. Dennett argues that "when philosophers claim that zombies are conceivable, they invariably underestimate the task of conception or imagination , and end up imagining something that violates their own definition". P-zombies in an observed world would be indistinguishable from the observer, even hypothetically when the observer makes no assumptions regarding the validity of their convictions.

Furthermore, when concept of self is deemed to correspond to physical reality alone reductive physicalism , philosophical zombies are denied by definition. When a distinction is made in one's mind between a hypothetical zombie and oneself assumed not to be a zombie , the hypothetical zombie, being a subset of the concept of oneself, must entail a deficit in observables cognitive systems , a "seductive error" [4] contradicting the original definition of a zombie. Verificationism [1] states that, for words to have meaning, their use must be open to public verification. Since it is assumed that we can talk about our qualia, the existence of zombies is impossible.

A related argument is that of "zombie-utterance". If someone were to say they love the smell of some food, a zombie producing the same reaction would be perceived as a person having complex thoughts and ideas in their head indicated by the ability to vocalize it. If zombies were without awareness of their perceptions the idea of uttering words could not occur to them. Therefore, if a zombie has the ability to speak, it is not a zombie. Artificial intelligence researcher Marvin Minsky saw the argument as circular. The proposition of the possibility of something physically identical to a human but without subjective experience assumes that the physical characteristics of humans are not what produces those experiences, which is exactly what the argument was claiming to prove.

To show this, he proposes "zoombies", which are creatures non physically identical to people in every way and lack phenomenal consciousness. If zoombies existed, they would refute dualism because they would show that consciousness is not nonphysical, i. Paralleling the argument from Chalmers: It's conceivable that zoombies exist, so it's possible they exist, so dualism is false.

Stephen Yablo 's response is to provide an error theory to account for the intuition that zombies are possible. Notions of what counts as physical and as physically possible change over time so conceptual analysis is not reliable here.

FYI: Do Zombies Experience Consciousness?

Yablo says he is "braced for the information that is going to make zombies inconceivable, even though I have no real idea what form the information is going to take. The zombie argument is difficult to assess because it brings to light fundamental disagreements about the method and scope of philosophy itself and the nature and abilities of conceptual analysis. Proponents of the zombie argument may think that conceptual analysis is a central part of if not the only part of philosophy and that it certainly can do a great deal of philosophical work.

However others, such as Dennett, Paul Churchland and W. Quine , have fundamentally different views. For this reason, discussion of the zombie argument remains vigorous in philosophy. Some accept modal reasoning in general but deny it in the zombie case. Hill and Brian P. Mclaughlin suggest that the zombie thought experiment combines imagination of a "sympathetic" nature putting oneself in a phenomenal state and a "perceptual" nature imagining becoming aware of something in the outside world. Each type of imagination may work on its own, but they're not guaranteed to work when both used at the same time.

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