Игорь Джадан (igor_dzhadan) wrote,
Игорь Джадан

Zombie argument for dualism in pragmatic-nominalistic interpretation

The dualism-physicalism dilemma is one of the most discussed in contemporal philosophy. It became an apple of discord between those who think any 'qualitative fact' (thought experience) can be deduced from microphysic state of brain (physicalist or 'materialist') and their opponents. The February Online consciousness conference has become a last showdown in this 'war'. There is lot of interesting stuff there. And especially – the discussion around Chalmers' zombie and knowledge arguments for dualism started with Richard Brown's reverse-zombie and reverse-knowleage arguments ('Turning the Tables on Dualism').

What I could have been recognized there was – lack of cutting a priory arguments for or against dualism during this discussion. Seems to me, a different approach could be helpful in such occasion. In this occasion it's one of explicitly nominalistic version of discourse with pragmatic interpretation of verity.

Let's conceive nominalism as an approach saying that names or terms have no objective reality outside of the mind. Let's also put aside the classic dispute about universals for now… So, any our conception we can discuss is only a model in our mind, any 'ontology' is only a constructed model too. Of course, now we cannot do the distinction between 'true' and 'not true' on the ground of 'accordance to reality', because only 'reality' we can discuss is our own thoughts. Instead, we are starting to give to our statements some value with accordance to their pragmatic significance.

For example the proposition 'A = A' is universally valuable ('a priory true'), because this assumption is helpful in most (if not all) conceivable conditions when we want to make other useful conclusions. Another proposition 'the gravity law is working' – is valuable ('a posteriori true'), because it's helpful in some conceivable situations.

Now let's start from the original zombie argument, which is basically it is "conceivable that we could have a world that was microphysically identical to the world that we live in and which lacked qualitative consciousness".  . And from this conceivableness you deduce possibly existence of our full microphysical twin all but without qualitative consciousness. Thus, physicalism fails in its assertion to determine consciousness microphysically.

The problem is the conceivableness of non-physical reality or even its possible existence does not mean an obligatory existence (the Kripkean counter-argument, vocalized by Richard Brown).Till now the efforts of the materialistic (physicalistic) critics were directed against the ontological status of zombie, arguing zombies are non-conceivable or not possible.

From inside the represented nominalistic paradigm is appearing that when we speak about 'zombie microphysics' we use a physical model, that exists in our mind. When we speak about other's 'qualia' (qualitative facts), we use a mind model too. The classic, realistic, form of the question was 'whether zombie could exist'. Perhaps from nominalistic POV the question should be reformulate as 'weather a theory that says zombie could exist is something valuable?' In best case, it has to be more valuable than contradicting one. Let's do it step by step:

1. Realistic - {P and ~Q is conceivable} Microphysical but not qualitative copy of human (zombie) is conceivable. --->
becomes to:
1'. Nominalistic - Zombie theory exists in our mind (=conceivable).
- As one could see the nominalistic variant of the thesis isn't arguable at all – it's just a fact of our mind. A zombie cannot be also 'seemingly conceivable' because there is no such thing in nominalism as distinction between 'true conceivable' and 'seemingly conceivable' or 'false conceivable'. If somebody thinks otherwise, it's not a problem for nominalism since human's minds have no to be uniformal. It's rather clear that peoples with limited IQ cannot conceive many things. In such case, we always can follow our discourse with the set of minds who can conceive. So 'conceivable' means conceivable for set of minds in our discourse. The really begged question here is follow: if my mind decides zombie theory is incompatible with accepted ontology model, would it be worth to change the ontology?

2. Realistic - {If (P & ~ Q) is conceivable, then (P & ~ Q) is possible}If zombie is conceivable thus it's possible --->
becomes to:
2'. Nominalistic - If the theory about zombie exists in our mind, thus there can be a compatible ontological model.
- This argument is valuable, then nominalistically true. Indeed, our scientific mind always rejects theories, which are not compatible with our world-view. There are different sorts of mind too, but it's their problem… Yeah, we are accepting zombie conceivability together with the ontology model, but there is no a priory symmetry between physicalistic and dualistic ontology: physicalistic ambitions beg empirical proving while dualism – is only constatation of a priory clear difference between phenomena and outer reality models. So, accepting dualistic ontology is a priory valuable while accepting physicalistic ontology may be only conditionally (a posteriory) valuable. Consequently physicalists cannot invoke a parity argument against our a priory ontological choice. Thus let's go to 3:

3. Realistic - {If (P & ~Q) is possible then materialism is false} If zombie is possible then physicalism (materialistic reduction of consciousness to microphysics) is false. --->
becomes to:
3'. Nominalistic – Zombie theory isn't compatible with physicalistic ontology.
- It's true because the contrary sentence has no value: if zombie twin existence is still compatible with physical determinism, we can predict nothing in this ontology model. However, the original sentence has value because allows us to do some prediction. For example we can predict, that our microphysical twins have qualia.

4. Realistic - {Therefore materialism (physicalism) is false}. --->
becomes to:
4'. Nominalistic – We chose a non-physicalistic ontology (dualism).
- Indeed, we can accept zombie theory and refuse physicalism or do vice versa. As have been explained above refusing dualism is more valuable scenario for us.

However, there is a good way for grounding dualism even without invoking zombie argument. Until qualitative facts cannot be regularly deducted from the microphysical facts, the distinct phenomenological theory is needed for orientation in qualia. Till that physicalism cannot help for orientation in qualia. Then dualism is more valuable, than physicalism. Thus, dualism is true in nominalistic sense.
Tags: Теория сознания

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