The Reluctant Nihilist


Meta-Theorem 2:  No rational argument for the existence of the mind-body problem is possible.

Proof:  Any rational argument could and would be made by a zombie. Since zombies by hypothesis are unconscious any such argument would be logically invalid.

Corollary:  No rational solution of the mind-body problem is possible.

Proof:  A problem that cannot be stated can certainly not be solved.

Priority for the corollary goes to Colin McGinn in his 1989 paper “Can We Solve the Mind–Body Problem?” The theorem may be original with me.

The theorem I think demonstrates that the mysterian position on consciousness is beyond the realm of phlogiston, it’s right in “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” territory.

I’m saddened by that. I would really like to defend the ineffability of consciousness but reason keeps getting in the way. The best I can do presently is to say that it may be an illusion, but it’s an extraordinary and precious illusion.

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