THE EXPERTS SPEAK OUT ON THE ZOMBIE THREAT

With the proliferation of low grade B movies about zombies, many have come to beleive that zombie attack is not a serious threat to home and family.  In the hallowed halls of our great universities and institutions, however, that is not the case.  Although some ultra-liberal academics have suggested that zombiehood is simply a case of normal people who are metabolically challenged, the vast majority of scientists and researchers remain seriously concerned about the zombie threat to the American way of life.

Below are excerpts from many scholarly papers addressing the zombie issue.  Each is linked to the original article so you can examine the documents yourself.  We at Onko beleive that an informed citizenry is a protected citizenry and urge you to carefully study what these experts have to say.

(Comments in italics have been inserted by representatives of Onko to make the transition between quotes easier to follow)
Zombie Killer
by Nigel J.T. Thomas {1}. Humanities, Rio Hondo College, Whittier, CA 90610-1699. nthomas@calstatela.edu
1. Largely written whilst a participant in the 1996 NEH Summer Seminar: "Metaphysics of Mind".

They have the same information processing capacities that we humans have, and, because of this, a similar capacity to form cognitive representations and perhaps even to enter into intentional states, but they are not conscious because they do not have sensations, or _qualia_ as the jargon has it. A zombie can tell you that the rose before it is red, and it will wince and hastily withdraw its hand if it touches a hot stove; however, unlike us, it never experiences the quintessential redness, the 'raw feel' of red, or the awfulness and misery of burning pain.

(In short, zombies do not suffer.  So fire away)


Zombies

The Zombie's performance is a sham, a shell of behaviour covering a core of nothingness.

Technically speaking, a Zombie is a human being who, despite having full mastery of a set of sensation-concepts, is nevertheless himself unable to have any sensations appropriate to those concepts.


IN DEFENSE OF IMPENETRABLE ZOMBIES
Selmer Bringsjord Dept. of Philosophy, Psychology & Cognitive Science Department of Computer Science Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY 12180 USA selmer@rpi.edu http://www.rpi.edu/brings

Zombies can't understand anything;

Zombies are in principle no more than encased rocks


The Zombie Attack on the Computational Conception of Mind
Selmer Bringsjord Department of Philosophy, Psychology & Cognitive Science Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY 12180 selmer@rpi.edu http://www.rpi.edu/ brings

(1) Brains cause conscious mental phenomena. (2) There is some sort of conceptual or logical connection between conscious mental phenomena and external behavior. (3) The capacity of the brain to cause consciousness is conceptually distinct from its capacity to cause motor behavior. A system could have consciousness without behavior and behavior without consciousness.

[W]hat about the zombie problem? Very simply, heterophenomenology by itself cannot distinguish between zombies and real, conscious people, and hence does not claim to solve the zombie problem or dismiss it. ([25], 95)

(Where heterophenomenology fails, Zombie Alert and a good shotgun succeed)


Self-Ascription Without Qualia: A Case-Study
David J. Chalmers, Department of Philosophy University of California Santa Cruz, CA 95064  chalmers@paradox.ucsc.edu
[Commentary on Alvin Goldman, "The Psychology of Folk Psychology", Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1993.]

First, let us ask: Does Zombie Dave have beliefs? It seems to me that he does. If we ask him where his car is, he'll tell us that it's in the driveway. If we ask him whether he likes basketball, he tells us that he does. If we tell him that there's a basketball game starting across town in half an hour, he'll immediately head for the driveway.

(Yea, he beleives there will be a lot of tasty human brains at the game)

The self-ascription mechanisms that Zombie Dave uses are equally the mechanisms that we use; at most, the difference consists in the fact that his ascriptions might be wrong, whereas ours are right.

(But you should do your arguing with a sharp axe.)


Zombies and the Function of Consciousness
Owen Flanagan Departments of Philosophy, Psychology, and Neurobiology, Email: ojf@acpub.duke.edu. and Thomas Polger Department of Philosophy, Email:twp2@acpub.duke.edu, Box 90743 Duke University, Durham, NC, 27707, USA.[*]

The zombie is a mere automaton. There is 'nothing that it is like' to be a zombie. But zombies can and will fool even the sharpest 'mental detector.' Zombies behave just like we do, but are completely 'mindless' in the conscious sense.

(But nothing reeking of the living dead gets by Zombie Alert)

How can we be sure that some or all of the people around us are not zombies?

Zombies who grew up in our midst might become glib in the use of our language,

A zombie, or an isolated population of zombies, could 'originate'

No one thinks that the existence of zombies who display no 'mark of zombiehood' is likely in this actual world. It is just that the existence of zombies who are behaviourally indistinguishable from us appears to be metaphysically, logically, and nomically possible.

Zombie inhabitants of Zombie Earth would be distinguishable from us, because, lacking conscious lives, the zombies would never--indeed, could never--develop the mentalistic concepts and vocabulary that we have.

The occupants of Zombie Earth are smart

(But those who protect themselves with Zombie Alert are smarter)

Zombies sometimes bump into trees.

(So they aren't so smart after all?)

The laws of nature as we know them in our vicinity allow that very intelligent, informationally-sensitive, but non-conscious creatures, could evolve.

Zombies won't be able to do philosophy.

(Most of them aren't too good at math either)


Revenge of the Zombies
American Philosophical Association Eastern Division Colloquium: Philosophy of Mind, December 29, 1995.{1}
Larry Hauser (lshauser@aol.com)

Zombies recently conjured by Searle and others threaten civilized (i.e., materialistic) philosophy.

These humanoid beings look like they see, harken like they hear, and act like they want. They even talk like they understand our language and know things; but it's all without conscious experiences.

Zombies must be stopped before they destroy civilized philosophy

They still dine on brains

No sooner are such zombies conjured, of course, than they're off on their destructive rampage

There seems no way to stop them

All zombies eat brains

(But they won't be eating yours when your home is protected by zombie alert)


You Can't Argue with a Zombie
by Jaron Lanier

A zombie has a different philosophy. That is the only difference. Therefore, zombies can only be detected if they happen to be philosophers.

(Or by Zombie Alert)

I walked with a ZombieArguing with zombies is generally futile

Zombies are having a significant indirect influence on cultural and political thought, and I wish to thwart them.

(And so do we at Onko.  That's why we developed Zombie Alert)

And then, there's a lot to be learned from zombies; they are useful, at the very least, as conversation pieces.

I faced a class comprised mostly of zombies at Dartmouth

(If they can be found at Dartmouth your home town is not far behind.)

I wondered if there might be a cure after all for zombie-hood.


Todd Moody's Zombies
John McCarthy Computer Science Department Stanford University Stanford, CA 94305 jmc@cs.stanford.edu http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/

Wouldn't a real moody zombie behave?

(Only if you shoot him.  And then it doesn't matter what mood he is in.)


Conversations with Zombies
Todd C. Moody Department of Philosophy St. Joseph's University 5600 City Avenue Philadelphia PA 19119 USAEmail: tmoody@sjuphil.sju.edu
Journal of Consciousness Studies, 1 (2), 1994, pp. 196-200.

The `zombie problem' is the problem of consciousness.

(At Onko, we've been conscious of the problem for years.)

Zombies are possible

They speak zombie- English, a language that looks much like our own English language.

Zombies understand[z] many of the same things that we understand.

If there are zombie philosophers, they would be able to make no sense

Zombie philosophers would be persistently baffled

This means that at the level of culture there are _necessary behavioural differences_ between zombies and non- zombies, because those differences are the result of the differences in the conceptual vocabularies available to each culture.

Zombies may be able to ape our consciousness-talk, but they cannot _originate_ it with any hope of getting it right.


These are just a few of the philosophers, scholars and scientists who have addressed the problem of the living dead.  For look at zombie resources from Z to A on the web please take a look at

Zombies on the web

Or return to the other fine pages presented by Zombie Alert