[SydPhil] USyd Philosophy Postgraduate Colloquium August 4: Laura MacDonald, "Chalmersian Positive Conceivability: What It Is (Maybe) and Why It Doesn’t Help"
elenawalsh at gmail.com
Sat Aug 2 00:26:24 AEST 2014
The first USyd Postgraduate Colloquium for semester 2 will be held this
Monday, August 4 @ 2pm in the Muniment room, Quadrangle building. All
As usual, we will have an afternoon tea immediately after the talk at 3pm,
in the common room.
*Speaker: Laura MacDonald*
*Title: Chalmersian Positive Conceivability: What It Is (Maybe) and Why It
David Chalmers says that we can positively conceive of Zombie World, and
that positive conceivability is a strong indicator of possibility. One
thing he doesn’t do is properly explain what positive conceivability is. I
ask whether, using what little direction Chalmers gives us, we can actually
zero-in on any familiar mental activity and identify that as the activity
of positively conceiving (of something). I conclude that we can’t, because
the positive descriptors that he offers point us toward phenomena precluded
by his negative descriptors. If we are charitable and ignore some of the
inconsistencies then we can move in one of two directions: we can waterdown
the complexity requirements and conclude that Zombie World is positively
conceivable, but uninterestingly so; or we can maintain our standards of
completeness and Chalmersian verification and conclude that neither
subjectivity nor its determinate absence should be positively conceivable.
Either way, this doesn't help Chalmers.
*Special request:* As the postgraduate committee is a little bit short of
funds until we pass around the future-afternoon-tea-donation-jar, it would
be great if anyone coming to the talk happened to feel like bringing
something to share for the first afternoon tea of the semester -- it could
be anything; biscuits, cheese and crackers, a tea bag (no contribution is
too small). Look forward to seeing you on Monday.
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