In a stunning set of developments, a philosophical zombie definitively resolved three perennial philosophical problems over the course of a single graduate seminar. The class in question, taught by Professor Gödel-Schmidt, was scheduled to focus entirely on René Descartes' famous proof of his own existence--cogito, ergo sum. However, it quickly evolved into a wide ranging discussion culminating in the establishment of several fantastic new philosophical paradigms.
"As I wasn't reading Descartes, I couldn't believe what I wasn't reading. Descartes kept stating so many false things!" When asked to elaborate, the zombie continued, "First, Descartes wrote, 'I suppose, then, that all the things that I see are false; I persuade myself that nothing has ever existed of all that my fallacious memory represents to me. I consider that I possess no senses; I imagine that body, figure, extension, movement and place are but the fictions of my mind.' But I had no idea what she was talking about. I don't see anything. I don't have a memory. I have no mind at all!" The session then quickly coalesced around the zombie's worries. "I kept reading passages from Descartes," Professor Gödel-Schmidt reported, "but nothing convinced him. First, I read, 'of a surety I myself did exist since I persuaded myself of something [or merely because I thought of something].' But the zombie just said, "No, it's a surety I don't exist...because I think nothing!" Then I read, 'But there is some deceiver or other, very powerful and very cunning, who ever employs his ingenuity in deceiving me. Then without doubt I exist also if he deceives me, and let him deceive me as much as he will, he can never cause me to be nothing so long as I think that I am something.' But again, the zombie said, 'That's obviously false--I don't think anything: I don't exist!' And when I came to, 'I am, I exist, is necessarily true each time that I pronounce it, or that I mentally conceive it', all he said was, 'I don't pronounce or conceive anything. 'I am, I exist', is false every time I pronounce it.'" Professor Godel Schmidt added, "Well, I had to give him credit for consistency."
Having met a truly formidable dialectical opponent, Professor Gödel-Schmidt turned to G.E. Moore's proof of the external world. "I thought, okay, maybe I can't convince him that he has a mind--but surely I can convince him that he has hands!" Alas, it was not to be. The zombie definitely refuted Professor Moore's proof. "I said, 'here's a hand, and here's another', and both statements were false! There were no hands at all. There were no tables, no chairs, no people--and again...no me." When the zombie's classmates suggested his argument was self-refuting, as the zombie kept using the indexical 'I' to refer to himself, the zombie simply replied, "You're totally not getting it. 'I', when I use it, has no referent. Like I've been telling you, I don't exist.' The truly astounding results, however, were still yet to come.
After establishing both that he doesn't exist and that the external world doesn't exist, the zombie meticulously followed through these surprising propositions to their stunning logical conclusion. "Philosophers have always wondered why there is something rather than nothing," the zombie explained, "but it's unbelievable how easy this question is to answer: nothing exists. As we have seen, I don't exist, and the external world doesn't exist--so the correct question is not, "Why is there something rather than nothing?"; it is, "Why is there nothing rather than something?" When asked how it could possibly be true that nothing exists when he is asking these very questions, the zombie readily answered, "I'm a solipsist!" Professor Gödel-Schmidt could not be reached for comment.
Alas, neither the zombie nor Professor Gödel-Schmidt had a good answer to the question of why there is nothing rather than something. "I can only hope to have opened a new chapter in philosophical inquiry", the zombie pronounced, adding however, "but, on second thought, I guess I can't really take credit for these findings."
[Happy April Fools everybody!] :)