The Mental Lives of Zombies
Ohio State University
What is the relationship between consciousness and cognition? A common view is that consciousness and cognition are independent phenomena. For instance, it is widely assumed that the problem of explaining consciousness is a hard problem, whereas the problem of explaining cognition is an easy problem (Chalmers, 1996). However, I will argue that these problems are essentially intertwined. On my view, there can be no cognition without consciousness. In particular, there cannot be a cognitive zombie—that is, a creature with the capacity for cognition but with no capacity for consciousness. Moreover, the interest of this conclusion is not restricted to fans of science fiction. On the contrary, it illuminates the role of consciousness in our own cognitive lives.
Thursday, September 20th, 4:30 p.m.
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