Sunday, January 17, 2010

The inverted spectrum

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. An interesting problem.


Blue Devil Knight said...
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Blue Devil Knight said...

It seems the same intuition drives this thought experiment as drives the zombie thought experiment. That is, the intuition that natural facts don't fix the phenomenal facts. These arguments always strike me as question-begging when they are used as arguments against various -isms.

The arguments are always of the form, '(1) Imagine X is possible' (where X is physically identical being (including same causal history with the world) without qualia (zombie argument) or with systematically different qualia (inverted spectrum argument)).

Given (1), let's discuss all these interesting implications for naturalism, representationalism, and such.

Well, duh. Now imagine ~(1). Then what follows?

Claim (1) should be treated as a conclusion, not taken as a premise. What good biofunctionalist would accept (1) in its usual guises?

Sometimes naturalistic philosophers seem to be too eager to take up the problems of the past rather than step aside and be patient, wait for the biologists to tell them how the brain works. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that all those conceivability arguments depend on something along the lines of (1). But (1) Seems to be a lot more than mere intuition. The move from conceivability to possibility is central for our everyday life, science and philosophy. Physicalists of all sorts seem eager to give up this move without understanding how much they loose by it.