Dennett’s Contradiction on Zombies

Has Daniel Dennett ever directly addressed this apparent contradiction in his views?

  1. He believes that people who think philosophical zombies are conceivable are mistaken. See, for example, his discussion of the “zombic hunch” in Sweet Dreams.
  2. He believes that phenomenal consciousness is an illusion, i.e. that we are phenomenal zombies.

This seems like such an obvious problem that he must have addressed it somewhere.

One attempt to get out of the contradiction is to say that philosophical zombies are inconceivable because someone who was just like me but lacking phenomenal consciousness would be discernible from me because their *reports* of their experience would be different from mine. This is basicalliy the same argument that Jason Holt uses against Dennett’s superblindsight conceivability example. In that sense, I’d say a p-zombie is not conceivable. But it is conceivable that somebody could be just like me except that they lack phenomenal consciousness and have different reports of their experience. In fact, cases such as blindsight, deafhearing, and numbtouch tell us that this is more than just conceivable. But then this falsifies point 2 above. So it is not clear how a person can hold both those views.

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