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The philosophical zombie is a theory developed by David Chalmer that suggests that humans have the ability to create their very own identical twin from their mind, making a personal creature that exists but lacks consciousness (Westphal). This theory substantiates the idea that the mind is not physical but an attribute that is part of the physical brain (Westphal). An argument that Chalmer uses to further his point is that while the mind is not referring to the central nervous system, it is still a component of it (Westphal). There is apparently ambiguity with this statement but I find it perfectly coherent. This confusion is similar to being perplexed with the statement that the brain does not refer to the body but refers to an organ that is composed of it. There are distinctions and departments that exist to refer to particular parts and their functions. While the mind does exist within the brain, it is not the brain because it is a component of it, a piece that constitutes of a larger whole. If referring to a chocolate chip cookie, the chip is the tiny delicious sweet portion of it, not the cookie in its entirety. The issue that is presented in the readings is strictly semantical. A counter to my claim could be that there is a dilemma with stating the mind is part of the brain, since it is not the brain and therefore, lacks the necessary form to exist in the first place. I would respond by saying that the mind has its very own form that is within the brain but is not. If we reduce the brains makeup down to the very cells and DNA of its development, those cells and DNA are a building block that formed each and every organism’s brain. Steel beams are what make-up the infrastructure of a building, but they are not the building at it’s whole, they are the steel beams. 


Jonathan Westphal. The Mind-Body Problem. The MIT Press, 2016. EBSCOhost,


After reviewing this week’s material and some of the supplemental material, I became very interested with his thought experiment. When viewing it in depth I believe it is only effective against the physicalist theories if “…if she has learned something new, and gained information in addition to the totality of physical information, then not all information is physical information” (Westphal).  I do believe that there is something to be learned from the experience that Mary had but not sure what that would be. I would assume that seeing the color for the first time would be a learned experience since its new to Mary despite knowing the scientific detail. I feel like this is like if a blind person regained their sight and saw the apple for the first time. Something would have been learned from the experience. The blind person could have all the same knowledge as Mary as to colors but to have never seen them before something would have to be gained from the experience. While some may consider that nothing was really learned I feel that whether consciously or sub consciously you mind took what it perceived and stored the information upon the first sight of the red apple. Your mind would now have an association between apples and red which could be visually interpreted.

Is the red I see the same as the red you, see? I feel this is something that should also be considered. Despite all the science how can one truly know what is being seen by another. My red could be what I think of as green through your eyes, but we both call it red. (Hope this thought isn’t overly confusing)


Westphal, J. (2016). Reading 5.2: Anti-Physicalist Theories of the Mind & Consciousness – PHIL 336 6380 Ideas Shaping the 21st Century (2228). Learn.



“What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2020)

A basic summary of the anti-physicalist conclusions of Thomas Nagel’s 1974 paper “What is it like to be a Bat?” with respect to explaining consciousness.


Kind, Amy, “Qualia.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2020)

A good overview of the definition and uses of qualia in philosophy and in theories of consciousness, including a good summary of the “hard problem” of consciousness.

(3) Tye, Michael, “Qualia.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2017)

A good overview of the definition and uses of qualia in philosophy and in theories of consciousness. Article focus on linguistic uses of the term and their implications.


Van Gulick, Robert, “Consciousness.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2014)

An excellent overview of the concepts covered this week, in addition to several which are not touched upon, or only superficially.


Chalmers, David, J. “Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness.” Australian National University (2010).

David Chalmer’s groundbreaking essay on the easy and hard problems of consciousness.

Supplemental Online Audio/Video

(1) “Consciousness: Crash Course Psychology #8.” YouTube, uploaded by CrashCourse Mar 24, 2014. [9:33] 

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