Zumbis e transhumanismo

Algumas anotações para que eu não perca o fio da meada nas ligações tentativas entre zumbis, transhumanismo e distopia.

Essa resenha do Theories of International Politics and Zombies é muito boa, pelo texto e pelos links que abre para estudos acadêmicos sobre zumbis (alguns sérios, outros cômicos, mas… isso não importa, se imaginamos, se brincamos, se fazemos piada, é tudo verdade): http://www.insidehighered.com/views/mclemee/mclemee323


“As my morbid fascinations go, this one is evidently not that idiosyncratic. In the opening pages of Theories of International Politics and Zombies, just published by Princeton University Press, Daniel W. Drezner presents a couple of graphs showing the long-term growth of popular and academic interest in zombies in the years since George Romero and his friends in Pittsburgh made their low-budget masterpiece Night of the Living Dead (1968). The number of movie releases and scholarly publications appearing each year remains modest until the early 1990s. At that point, the curves spike upward and continue to grow rapidly, year by year. The output in cultural commodities about the living dead underwent surges again around 2005.

Nor was it slowed by the economic downturn. On the contrary. Today, the danger that cannibalistic ghouls might swarm the planet, laying waste to the routines of everyday life, is, if not exactly plausible, at any rate part of the standard repertoire of worst-case scenarios.

This hardly means the genre has a great future ahead of it. Clearly the rot is setting in. But the mythology is now so well-established that, for example, the University of Florida posted an emergency-preparedness contingency plan for zombie apocalypse on its homepage in 2009 (available here in PDF) and received praise in a local newspaper: “Simple actions such as this sharing of information and planning ahead will be what stays our species from annihilation.”

Whatever else it may be, an attack by bloodthirsty ghouls offers a teachable moment. And Drezner, who is a professor of international politics at Tufts University, does not waste it.”

Aqui, outro trecho interessante:

But if I read him correctly, the author does seem to think that the realist paradigm in international relations theory has a special relationship with the zombie-apocalypse scenario. It rests on the intertwined principles that “anarchy is the overarching constraint of world politics” (that is, there is no “centralized, legitimate authority” able to enforce a particular order among nation-states) and that “the actors that count are those with the greatest ability to use force,” namely “states with sizable armed forces.” While nation-states possessing an advanced military-industrial complex would have a definite advantage in human-zombie combat, the balance of terror is not one-sided. The tendency of zombies to swarm is a staple of movies and fiction; it turns them into something like an army. The logic of the realist paradigm is to treat states as driven by “an innate lust for power.” Likewise, the undead “have an innate lust for human flesh.” Power and flesh alike count as scarce resources. One has an interest in preserving them both.

A comparação entre Estados e zumbis é provocativa. “Lust for human flesh”, como metáfora, não pode servir como lust por corpos/trabalho (trabalho que pode ser entendido como arregimentar para o exército, o que no fim resulta no mesmo “lust for power”)?

+ hipóteses sobre pq zumbis se tornaram moda

Tongue in cheek? Yes, but with serious intent. In ways that are more entertaining than allegory tends to be, the zombie scenario can express any number of social anxieties — about terrorism, consumerism, pandemics, and mass culture itself, for example. These problems seem unrelated. But it is perhaps not a total coincidence that the output of zombie films, literature and scholarship began growing rapidly during the 1990s and 2000s.

Thomas Friedman (whose prose often makes me feel that someone is eating my brain) once defined the contemporary world as flat. Zombies started swarming across it in record numbers once the Cold War was over. Ghouls went global. Possessing no memory or long-term plans — and tending to move in groups, their sheer numbers generating surplus dread — they are the nightmare side of recent world politics.


Isso aqui é interessante, cheguei a partir da resenha (que me levou a um curso que referenciava esse autor). Mas parece uma definição ampla demais de zumbis.

The `zombie problem’ is the problem of consciousness, stated in a particularly provocative way. Given _any_ functional description of cognition, as detailed and complete as one can imagine, it will still make sense to suppose that there could be insentient beings that exemplify that description. That is, it is possible that there could be a behaviourally indiscernible but insentient simulacrum of a human cognizer: a zombie. This is so because the best functional description can only map inputs onto behaviours by means of computations of some sort. That certain computations are associated with consciousness is at most a contingent fact about them. The problem is reiterated at the level of any possible physical description of cognition as well. In this case, the intervening processes between inputs and behaviour will be of a causal, rather than formal, sort.[1] Nevertheless, the link between those processes and consciousness is still contingent. As long as the link between publicly observable states of any sort and consciousness is contingent, zombies are a possibility. The zombie problem is a variation on the `other minds’ problem, but I hope to show that it is not an idle variation. It offers, I think, a vivid way of conceptualizing the philosophical questions about consciousness. Suppose there is a world much like our own, except for one detail: the people of this world are insentient. They engage in complex behaviours very similar to ours, including speech, but these behaviours are not accompanied by conscious experience of any sort. I shall refer to these beings as zombies.[2] This scenario, though surprising, is a possibility suggested by a theory recently referred to by Owen Flanagan as `conscious inessentialism’, which is defined as follows:

    the dominant philosophical theory of mind, _computational functionalism_ was (and still is) committed to the view of _conscious inessentialism_. This is the view that for any mental activity M performed in any cognitive domain D, even if _we_ do M with conscious accompaniments, M can in principle be done without these conscious accompaniments. (Flanagan, 1991)

O artigo, de Moody, está aqui http://www.imprint.co.uk/Moody_zombies.html

Aqui, artigos sobre zumbis e  estudos sobre consciência: http://www.imprint.co.uk/jcs_2_4.html


Mais interessante para o propósito do curso (para que ele não se transforme em um curso sobre zumbis)

Entrevista no IEET sobre transhumanismo e filosofia da mente em que esse conceito amplo de zumbis acaba sendo utilizado (e explorado no título): http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/notaro20100823

O IEET é (http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/about)

The IEET’s mission is to be a center for voices arguing for a responsible, constructive, ethical approach to the most powerful emerging technologies. We believe that technological progress can be a catalyst for positive human development so long as we ensure that technologies are safe and equitably distributed. We call this a “technoprogressive” orientation.

O conceito de tecnoprogressive talvez seja chave para definir a ideologia como um todo.

Voltando aos zumbis. Abaixo o trecho da entrevista que explica o conceito:

KN: Can you please explain your own interest in phenomenal concepts?

KB: My dissertation advisor, Brian Loar set the course for my work for the coming decade. He proposed, in a very important paper published in 1990(1)  that the mind-body problem can be solved if we consider the special cognitive mechanisms involved in introspecting our experience, i.e., if we focus on the nature of phenomenal concepts. Phenomenal concepts, roughly expressed in words as “this sensation” are typically applied in introspection; I apply a phenomenal concept when I think to myself “I have felt this sensation in my shoulder before” upon noticing a strange yet vaguely familiar feeling as I throw a frisbee. The “mind-body problem”, as it is traditionally called, is the problem of how the mind, and especially experience relates to the rest of nature, and more specifically, to the brain. Is the mind a wholly physical – albeit monumentally complex – feature of the brain or is it radically distinct from it, i.e., is it wholly or partly unphysical? In recent decades a number of dualist arguments have been proposed, following Descartes’s argument in his Sixth Meditation – by Thomas Nagel, Frank Jackson, and David Chalmers, among others – to support the latter view. Chalmers, for example, argues, that, roughly, since we can conceive of beings physically just like us, yet without any experience, experience is really non-physical. By experience I mean states that – like perceptual states, sensations, emotions, or acts of imagination – have a phenomenal quality, so that, in Thomas Nagel’s felicitous term, there is “something it’s like” to have them. Recent literature calls creatures that are physically just like us yet lack phenomenal experience, “zombies”, so this argument can be called the zombie-conceivability argument.

Loar’s suggestion is that the conceivability of zombies is compatible with physicalism. Physicalism is the view that, at the fundamental level, everything is physical, that there is nothing more, at bottom, to the universe than hugely complex physical goings-on which give rise to all that exists, including the planets and stars, the oceans and rivers, the animals and plants, all the seemingly non-physical processes and properties in the world studied in such fields as astronomy, chemistry, geology, biology, sociology, economy, and psychology. The successful reduction – at least in principle – of chemistry, geology and biology to physics has given a big boost to physicalism in the 20th century. It has turned out that no emergent forces and properties are needed to explain chemical combination and the behavior of chemical substances, and there is no need to posit an elan vital to account for the behavior of living organisms. The last frontier for accounting for everything in the world in purely physical terms is the mind, and especially consciousness. That is where the last battle is being waged.

Loar suggests that the conceivability of zombies is due entirely to the peculiar cognitive character of phenomenal concepts, concepts that we apply in thought to phenomenal experience – and not to the non-physical nature of phenomenal experience. The paradigm examples of phenomenal concepts are found in introspection. When we introspect an experience as it happens, we form a concept of that experience that in some way exemplifies the experience itself. When I say to myself “I have felt this sensation in my shoulder before” the phenomenal concept roughly related as “this sensation” presents the experience itself. In some strange way, the concept is not wholly distinct from what it is a concept of. This is different from any other concept. Without getting lost in the details, the thing to notice is that all other concepts can occur without their referent being instantiated at the moment of thought. I can think of brain states, shoulders injuries, cats, chairs, colors or particles without any of what I am thinking about being present. But I can’t introspectively think of my current experience without that current experience present. It is not just that if my shoulder sensation is not present, my introspective thought about it would be false. I can simply not introspect what is not there. This is controversial but at least in core cases I think it is true. And because phenomenal concepts in general, even when used in theoretical argument, are closely linked to introspection the unique nature of introspective thought explains why we can conceive of zombies, irrespective of whether physicalism is true. The conceivability of zombies is a direct consequence of how phenomenal concepts work, and is therefore no guide to the metaphysical nature of experience.

Here is why. When we conceive of a zombie – i.e., a physical duplicate of a human organism – we are free to conceive of it as devoid of phenomenal experience since nothing in the way we think of the physical constitution of the brain (its chemical and electrical properties, etc.) compels us to apply phenomenal concepts to it. Physical and phenomenal concepts are conceptually unrelated. You can apply one independently of the other. The cognitive mechanisms involved in applying physical concepts to the brain are wholly distinct from the cognitive mechanisms of introspection. And that is the whole explanation of the conceivability of zombies. It is merely an artifact of the human conceptual scheme. The physicalist, of course, needs to explain how something as seemingly unphysical as experience is, could nevertheless be purely physical, purely a matter of what happens in the brain. But that is another story.

I think this approach to the mind-body problem is extremely fruitful, and can be used by physicalists to fully answer the dualist challenge. David Papineau, Brian McLaughlin, Chris Hill, Ned Block and myself, among others, have been proposing different ways to develop Loar’s suggestion into a full-blown account of phenomenal concepts. My approach is to understand phenomenal concepts on the analogy of linguistic quotation. At this point, such accounts necessarily have a speculative character; we don’t know enough about what concepts are, let alone what phenomenal concepts are, for the theory to have real empirical consequences. In the long run, one of these accounts hopefully will be vindicated by cognitive psychology and neuroscience. But even if vindication is too much to hope for, at a minimum, any such account has to be compatible with future cognitive science.

While I think that the phenomenal concept strategy is key to understanding the mind-body problem – and that learning more about the nature of phenomenal concepts and phenomenal thought is a really interesting scientific, as well as philosophical project – my own view is that the physicalism/dualism debate is overblown. Not only does it seem ultimately undecidable both on empirical and on a priori, rational grounds – there are no more knock-down arguments against dualism as there are against physicalism – it might even be that the distinction is not drawn clearly enough for it to be meaningful. At least this is what I argue for in the book I am writing. But, whatever neuro-science, psychology and philosophical thought will reveal about consciousness in the future, I think – and I hope – it will always remain a bit baffling. Experience eludes and outpaces thought and that is just part of its nature. As long as we are attuned to it we will find it mysterious.


A questão aqui talvez seja entender porque zumbis se tornou a palavra para designar “réplica humana sem consciência”.  Pq não humanóide? E em que medida esses zumbis podem ser entendidos como um estado alterado de consciência de um transhumano. Ou não podem.


PS: Gracias a @lavignatti pelos miolos

PS2: O conceito amplo de zumbis de que falava está definido na wikipedia: zumbi filosófico http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_zombie


É, essa coisa dos zumbis é meio infinita.

Hipótese sobre crescimento do interesse no personagem:

the zombie chimes perfectly with a fiercely individualistic culture whose members are forever trying to distinguish themselves from the other people around them. To become a zombie is to become a part of the herd, and what kind of consumer-rebel wants that?

Vem daqui, um texto que parece bem interessante: http://futurismic.com/2009/09/16/fear-of-a-transhuman-future-zombies-and-resident-evil/

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