It probably helps that my background is in the sciences and I can speak the scientists’ language.
There’s certainly nothing original about the observation that conscious experience poses a hard problem.
I think the existence of zombies would contradict certain laws of nature in our world. It seems to be a law of nature, in our world, that when you get a brain of a certain character you get consciousness going along with it.
Because the idea of zombies seems to make sense, and seems to, in a certain sense, be possible, I think one can use that to argue against the thesis that everything is purely physical. Now many people, I think, agree that the idea of zombies are conceivable, including people who want to be physicalists.
Here, the broader issues are already familiar, and discussion has focused at a more sophisticated and detailed level. Within the philosophy of mind, the problem of consciousness is no big news.
I had the idea that it would be wonderful to be a physicist or a mathematician maybe 500 years ago around the time of Newton when there were really fundamental things just lying around to be discovered.
What does it mean, exactly, for a given system to be a ‘neural correlate of consciousness’?
Although I’m Australian, I find myself much more in sympathy with the Austrian version!
I think that consciousness has always been the most important topic in the philosophy of mind, and one of the most important topics in cognitive science as a whole, but it had been surprisingly neglected in recent years.
Anyway, there is a lot of really interesting work going on in the neuroscience and psychology of consciousness, and I would love to see philosophers become more closely involved with this.