Ep. 222: Debating Functionalism (Block, Chalmers) (Part One)

Jul 29, 05:05 AM

On Ned Block's "Troubles with Functionalism" (1978) and David Chalmers's "Absent Qualia, Fading Qualia, Dancing Qualia" (1995).

If mental states are functional states, there couldn't be zombies. Yet Block claims that there could be zombies: for example, a functional duplicate of you whose components are actually citizens of China obeying algorithmic rules. Even if the resulting system acts like you, it obviously isn't conscious. Chalmers argues that you'd then need to explain the experiences of a creature half way between you and the zombie, but you can't, so Block's argument doesn't work and functionalism is left standing. What do you think? Do you hate weird thought experiments like these?

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