I'm not convinced I'm not a zombie...

A number of people have been curious about this qualia I speak of. So, I decided to write a little bit about it and throw in some of my opinion and why I'm searching for it.

Qualia, by definition, are introspectively accessible, phenomenal aspects of our mental lives. They are the properties of our so-called mental states that is not contingent on our brain states. Still a little confused? Simply, qualia are things like the redness of an apple, the sensation of touching silk, smelling the ocean, and hearing a siren. They are the QUALITIES of your mind, not your brain. This is the center point for the mind-body problem (Do we have minds and brains, or are there just brains? Some refer to the mind as the soul.)

Why do I have a problem with qualia? Because I don't know that they are intrinsically tied to the physical object they are meant to represent. Let's say, for instance, that John Doe was locked up in a room for the duration of his life up until adulthood. John has little language skills and knows very little at all. When we let John out he is missing a number of things. One important thing is that the visual cortex of his brain has not full developed. What this means is that John can not see color because his brain did not need to develop it. So when I look at an apple, I see that it is red. When John sees the apple he sees a shade of grey. John does not know the existence of red, this proves that things like redness is not inherent of apples. Not to mention such sensations are subjective.

How does this relate to me not being convince I'm not a zombie? I know immediately the average person thinks of the walking undead being when they hear zombie. I'm speaking of the philosophical zombie. A p-zombie looks, smells, tastes, and feels like a regular human but lacks qualia. Simply, if a zombie is stabbed in the leg it will not exactly have the sensation of pain, but will have the brain state of pain and will say "ouch!" or "why the fuck did you stab me in the leg, asshole?"

Here is the basic argument for the existence of p-zombies through the argument against physicalism:

1. If physicalism is true, then it is NOT possible for there to be a world in which all the physical facts are the same as those of the actual world but in which there are additional facts. (This is because, according to physicalism, all the facts are fully determined by the physical facts; so any world that is physically indistinguishable from our world is entirely indistinguishable from our world.)
2. But there is a possible world in which all the physical facts are the same as those of our world but in which there are additional facts. (For example, it is possible that there is a world exactly like ours in every physical respect, but in it everyone lacks certain mental states, namely any phenomenal experiences or qualia.)
3. Therefore, physicalism is false.

Uploaded 10/25/2008
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