I'm not completely sure who invented the zombie concept. Let me know if you find out.

David Chalmers believes in the concept of philosophical zombies. He defines a philosophical zombie as: "Zombies are physically and behaviorally identical to a conscious human, but lack any conscious experience". Essentially, they lack qualia. Chalmers argues that the idea of zombies is logically consistent, he says the existence of zombies is entirely plausible.

Chalmers argues that since our zombie counterparts can exist, and they are physically identical to ourselves and somehow lack res cogitens, then res extensa must not give rise to res cogitens. (For if res extensa gave rise to res cogitens, then identical sets of res extensa would give rise to identical sets of res cogitens, and our physically identical zombies would otherwise have minds. Since they lack qualia but are physically identical, qualia must be independant of the physical world). To him, this thought-experiment destroys materialism.

The argument is decent, except it depends on believing in dualism to swallow the presupposition of "imagine that something physically identical can be somehow intrinsically different".

The argument actually goes back and forth quite a lot. It's pretty much the good old dualism vs monism fight.

Daniel C. Dennett fights for monism. He claims that physical indistinguishability is all there is. I agree with him.

The individual cells that compose you are alive, but we now understand life well enough to appreciate that each cell is a mindless mechanism, a largely autonomous micro-robot, no more conscious than a yeast cell. [...] it has been tempting over the ages to imagine that [the mind] must be due to the special features of some extra thing--a soul--installed somehow in the bodily headquarters.
Until fairly recently, this idea of a rather magical extra ingredient was the only candidate for an explanation of consciousness that even seemed to make sense. For many people, this idea (dualism) is still the only vision of consciousness that makes any sense to them, but there is now widespread agreement among scientists and philosophers that dualism is–-must be–-simply false: we are each made of mindless robots and nothing else, no non-physical, non-robotic ingredients at all.

In fact, Chalmers makes the same logical flaw that Plato made, way back in the day. Plato assumed that because he could imagine his mind existing without his body, that therefore minds can always exist without bodies, and therefore res extensa is separate from res cogitens. The flaw is this: just because you can imagine something (such as zombies, or a body-independant mind) doesn't make it possible.

Now for a bit of my own personal philosophy. If zombies were possible, and you asked one of them "do you feel qualia?" he would respond in the affirmative, the same way his conscious counterpart would. In fact, he would believe (as much as zombies can believe anything) that he is conscious, he believes that he has an active mental life.

So if we were zombies, we would have no way of knowing it. So maybe qualia is an illusion. This point is made by a story by Raymond Smullyan (sorry I don't know the title) about a soul-less man who isn't aware he's soul-less.

There are problems with talking to a zombie about qualia, and then extrapolating this kind of behaviour to other beings, especially one's self. In short, you can't actually believe what they say.

By asking a zombie about his qualia, it would, at least in the realm of gedanken experiments, be possible to to get a zombie to say that he does have an internal state, and that he strongly believes he does. But, since we know he doesn't, since he's a zombie, there is no question about the fact that he is incapable of actually believing he has an internal state, since beliefs are subjective. He can only act as if he had a belief – and that is all that has been happening with our zombie conversation.

It is therefore not possible for a person to believe he is not a zombie when in fact he is one, since a belief, although clearly behaviorally expressible, is subjective. A zombie cannot believe anything, so cannot believe he is conscious even though he isn't. We can therefore know that we are not zombies since we can believe that we're not zombies. Even believing we are zombies proves we're not zombies.

There is, of course the problem of solipsism with this issue. I know I am not a zombie, since I am able to ascertain I am not just behaving as such – as I can have a belief which is not behaviourally expressed – but I cannot know this about others. I only have their behaviour to go by. I may be surrounded by zombies and never know.

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