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Against Semantic Externalism and Zombies

Tappenden, Paul (2016) Against Semantic Externalism and Zombies. [Preprint]

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It is widely believed that the semantic contents of some linguistic and mental representations are determined by factors independent of a person’s bodily makeup. Arguments derived from Hilary Putnam’s seminal Twin Earth thought experiment have been especially influential in establishing that belief. I claim that there is a neglected version of the mind-body relation which undermines those arguments and also excludes the possibility of zombies. It has been neglected because it is
counterintuitive but I show that it can nonetheless be intelligibly worked out in detail and all obvious objections met. This suggests that we may be faced with a choice between embracing a counterintuitive interpretation of the mind-body relation or accepting that a currently very promising theory in cognitive science, Prediction Error Minimization, faces a fundamental problem. Furthermore, blocking that threat entails that any physicalist/materialst theory of mind is freed from the spectre of zombie worlds. The proposal also makes the ideas of personal
teleportation of mind uploading more plausible.

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Item Type: Preprint
Keywords: semantic internalism, Twin Earth, philosophical zombies, mind uploading, prediction error minimization
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Depositing User: Dr. Paul Tappenden
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2017 15:45
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2017 15:45
Item ID: 12990
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Cognitive Science
Date: 31 October 2016

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