Zombie Dawn: Slavery and the Self in the Twenty-First Century

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter attempts to explain the emergence of the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness in the late twentieth century. Hawkes connects this theoretical development to the spread of wage labor. He points out that wage labor meets the classical definition of slavery, and he notes that slavery has traditionally been conceived as producing a materialist cast of mind among the enslaved, as well as eliminating their capacity for autonomous, subjective reflection. David Chalmers’s famous concept of the ‘philosophical zombie’ is located in its historical context, and connected to the rise of zombie myths in societies newly introduced to an economic system based on the systematic sale of human life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHistory, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages22
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameHistory, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences
ISSN (Print)2211-1948
ISSN (Electronic)2211-1956


  • Ancient World
  • Autonomous Subjectivity
  • Conscious Experience
  • Slave Trade
  • Wage Labor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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