NYR DAILY

‘Magic, Illusions, and Zombies’: An Exchange

Daniel Dennett: We say that there isn’t any conscious experience in the sense that Strawson insists upon. We say consciousness seems to involve being “directly acquainted,” as Strawson puts it, with some fundamental properties, but this is an illusion, a philosopher’s illusion. Galen Strawson: According to Dennett, we’re not conscious at all, in the ordinary sense of the word: “We’re all zombies.” He can say this because the zombie is conscious in his terms: it has all the “informational/functional” properties of a human being; it is behaviorally indistinguishable from a human being.