Philosophical Zombies (And Sex)

In our Philosophy class, we recently discussed the topic of “Philosophical Zombies” or people who can function normally in society and experience that same stimuli as everyone else, but have no deeper consciousness and do not feel it in the same way as others do. We discussed the functional consciousness and the phenomenal consciousness, which are basic stimulus response and what David Chalmer’s calls our “inner movie”, or our thoughts about everything happening to us, respectively. Philosophical zombies lack the phenomenal consciousness, making them experience the world in a bland manner.

So, then, can philosophical zombies even exist?

Honestly, I’m not sure. But I do know that there are people who experience nothing when others experience strong emotional and physical cues in the same context: sex.

Some people are asexual, and when they engage in sexual activity they generally do not feel the same as many other people do. Essentially, their phenomenal consciousness may be lacking when it comes to sexual encounters, so they may be seen as philosophical zombies.

2 thoughts on “Philosophical Zombies (And Sex)

  1. I think you offer a really interesting perspective. I wonder if the concept of philosophical zombies could be applied to psychopaths and criminals. Some experience no emotions or anything when do harm to others. Criminal psychology studies show that some indviduals feel no remorse and actually take pleasure in knowing what the’ve done but otherwise feel nothing.

  2. Thanks, Kevin, for this interesting post. I am wondering now that, if philosophical zombies exist, are they born that way? Moreover, can people become philosophical zombies? Mansi brought up the possibility of psychopaths and criminals committing abhorrenet acts without showing remorse. Could these people have become philosophical zombies due to an upbringing that numbed them or desensitized them to experiencing normal human emotions. Often times, people respond to trauma by building up walls. Could this phenomenon be akin to the phenomenon of philosophical zombies?

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