epiphenomenalism


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epiphenomenalism

The belief that mental events are solely a consequence of physical events, specifically neural activity, and never the causes of them. Once considered heretical, the view is now widely held by scientists.
References in periodicals archive ?
Elsewhere in the chapter Carter sketches a number of the problems associated with three garden variety forms of materialism: eliminative materialism (the view that consciousness does not exist), identity theory (the view that consciousness and brain states are identical), and epiphenomenalism (the view that consciousness, though distinct from brain states, lacks causal efficacy).
Does not this approach just return us to the absurd epiphenomenalism that Searle has rejected so unequivocally?
The resulting view, wherein consciousness is distinct from material reality but unnecessary to it, is called epiphenomenalism.
This distinction was revisited in one of the 2008 presentations, which observed that accepting a philosophical thesis of epiphenomenalism sets aside intensionality worries that the distinction presumes.
In France, Althusser spearheaded the critique of Marx's writings, but despite his pathbreaking work, he remained stuck in the theoretical deadlocks of classical marxism, unable to circumvent the epistemological shortcomings of epiphenomenalism and reductionism.
Campbell moves beyond Davidson as he defines the problem of mental causation and its relation to anomalous monism, the basic objections to anomalous monism, the causal relevance objection, the accidental connection and exclusion arguments, explanatory pluralism, and its extension to exclusion and epiphenomenalism.
The extreme of that thrust continues today, as hundreds of Westerners continue to assume that they are entitled to decide for themselves what the Daode jing says, ignoring not only two thousand years of Chinese interpreters, but even the text itself, thereby reducing it to epiphenomenalism.
Some neuroscientists have as a result revived epiphenomenalism, arguing that all of our mental descriptions of action are irrelevancies to the real business of what makes us do one thing rather than another (Wegner, 2002).
The implication of the cybernetic theory that minds are similar to machines is that all earlier objections to a materialist theory of mind such as epiphenomenalism, it would seem, have been severely undercut.
Various positions have been taken in that debate including dualism, monism, epiphenomenalism, interactionism, and radical behaviorism, to name but a few (Uttal, 2000).
Whatever the merits of my suggestion (developed elsewhere), Merricks's ontology of persons has the following attractive features: (1) it offers a way of rejecting epiphenomenalism without accepting systematic over-determination (by mental and microphysical causes) of the effects of the mental; (2) it eliminates the threat to free will posed by the thesis of the supervenience of the mental on the microphysical; and (3) it accounts for the sense that many of us have that the identity of persons is less a matter of convention than is the identity of statues and other inanimate macroscopica.
While they may not be familiar with the argument just given, Cosmides and Tooby seem to grasp that epiphenomenalism follows from [EP.