College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
BA (Bachelor of Arts)
Session and Year of Graduation
Honors Major Advisor
My work defends Wittgenstein’s continued relevance to philosophy of mind by presenting a close exegesis of §420 of the Philosophical Investigations, a remark in which he anticipates contemporary debates concerning the conceivability of so-called “zombies”, or imaginary creatures who lack consciousness, but are otherwise identical to human beings. In §1, I survey some of the major historical developments that led to the emergence of the idea of zombies in the mid-1970’s, before discussing David Chalmers’ use of the idea in a modal argument against physicalism. In §2, I turn to the work of one of Chalmers’ most prominent opponents, Daniel Dennett, whose rejection of the conceivability of zombies is informed by the scientifically-minded approach to consciousness that he advocates. Despite avowing his influence, I argue in §§3 and 4 that Dennett’s externalist approach to consciousness diverges sharply from that taken by Wittgenstein.
Wittgenstein, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, hard problem of consciousness, zombies, automata
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