virus: The "Non-Zombie" Solution

B. Lane Robertson (
Thu, 18 Mar 1999 14:48:54 PST

RE: "attributes"

I like this word (and what it implies about what thought "sees").

I have been working with these words:
symbolic (attribution)
abstract (property)
theoretical (characteristic)
hypothetical (characteristic)

I would say that:

Objects have *characteristics* (which are neither properties nor attributions-- they just ARE). These characteristics work together to create an image which implies the properties of objects as regards these characteristics (the image is "ball"-- "roundness", a characteristic, implies the property "rolling").

Similarly, the hypothetical (square ball) implies the theoretical (sphere) which suggests the symbolic (circle). These ideas are applied in experimental situations in ways which attempt to isolate certain properties from certain characteristics (What is round? How does something roll?).

BUT, the object itself doesn't create an image so that it might know what characteristics imply which properties (the ball just rolls). AND, the object is neither hypothetical nor theoretical.


The object "self" has characteristics which allow for the property "thinking". So, can we symbolize this self and thereby separate these characteristics from their properties in hypothetical and theoretical situations?

This is the "zombie" question popular in evolutionary psych right now. Can we hypothesize a non-human such that humans, theoretically, "think"; and in that way, can we discern the characteristics of humanity which allow for the property of thinking? If so, how well does this human *symbol* represent the abstract property, *thought*?

How does a symbol relate to an abstraction? I say that the symbol applies equally in both the hypothetical and theoretical situations. Both zombie and human are equally able to be imagined. So, thought would apply equally to both the zombies and the human. That is, the symbol shows no correlation to the abstraction.

BUT, what characteristics of the objective human allows for the abstraction thought?: Putting this into a formula (the idea results in the individual which suggests the ideal by way of the icon as contrasted from the idol and exemplified in the image). One might say that the evolution of the human suggests thinking by way of the average person as contrasted from the zombie and as exemplified in the individual which thinks.
So, does the potential for zombies to THINK--rather than they "not think", as the question is usually formulated... does thinking deviate from the average in the direction of the superior IQ? Thus, the *non-zombie* question becomes : How is the zombie not average; and also, how is the zombie average (such that the average is merely symbolic and thus applies equally in both the hypothetical negative and a theoretic positive direction)?

This question exactly represents its alternate formulation: How can we say that the average person fails to "think" (for himself)?


As such, the question can be adequately demonstrated using the average performance on an IQ test.

It will be established through inverse correlation that the abstracted, or average, condition on an IQ test contains NO properties (to an acceptable degree of error) which illustrate the presence of thinking in this condition. As such, this control condition will be contrasted from a superior condition in which it can be shown that the characteristic properties of thought are singularly contained in the highest score achieved on this same test.

In this way, the properties of intelligence may be isolated from the null condition implied by the "zombie" problem. And, symbolic *zombies* can be said to contain NONE of these characteristics.

Brett Lane Robertson, MindRecreation Metaphysical Assn. (c)1998,1999 LIST: