PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn the zombie argument against materialism, we are asked to conceive of a creature just like ourselves, but without subjective experiences or phenomenal consciousness. But in what ways is this zombie really just like you or me? In this paper, I show that we can imagine a zombie as physically identical to some human, functionally identical to some human, or both. I argue that, if we take the role of phenomenology in our lives seriously, then we are mistaken when we think we can conceive of a physically identical and functionally identical zombie, whose possibility would threaten materialism. In order to support this argument, I discuss the role of phenomenology in episodic memory, and then try to imagine a zombie with episodic memory. Since I cannot conceive of a zombie that has an episodic memory system and is also physically and functionally identical to me, I conclude that zombie arguments against materialism are untenable barring a better scientific understanding of the role of phenomenology in our mental abilities.
Degree ProgramHonors College