Why Can’t I Drive Anywhere in My Zombie Car?

June 26, 2014

If you think philosophical zombies are possible, you are assuming there is some non-physical ingredient to consciousness. That’s what the p-zombie thought experiment is trying to illustrate. On the other hand, if you assume consciousness is entirely physical, then the idea of a p-zombie makes no sense.

Pirate ship for kids in Kinuta Park - March 29, 2014

Pirate ship for kids in Kinuta Park – March 29, 2014 (Enlarge)

Suppose two automobiles are physically identical in every way, but one can’t go anywhere. There’s no physical explanation, but the one car somehow just doesn’t have that ethereal spark of locomotion.

This car example seems absurd because we assume there’s no such thing as an “ethereal spark of locomotion.” We assume cars are entirely physical. So then the question is: Why do we assume locomotion is physical and consciousness is non-physical? Clearly locomotion is physical, but why can’t consciousness also be a kind of locomotion?

By the way, the p-zombie thought experiment doesn’t provide evidence that philosophical zombies are possible. It just assumes they are.