Robinson's paper focuses on the argument that epiphenomenalism
not being able to explain the link between pleasure and efficaciousness as being no worse than interactionism not being able to explain the causation of physical behaviour by nonphysical sensations, or the inability of physicalism to account for the identity of neural states and sensations.
(1989), "Type Epiphenomenalism
, Type Dualism, and the Causal Priority of the Physical," Philosophical Perspectives 3: 109-135.
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).
This position of Hume seems to have set the stage for other materialist account of mind/body problem which include identity theory and epiphenomenalism
. Identity theorists such as Armstrong and Smart argue that there is no such thing as mind, if at all there is, it is not different from the brain.
Right now I want to focus on another absurd consequence that I mentioned earlier: Epiphenomenalism
. If consciousness has the features of qualitativeness, subjectivity, unity, and intentionality, but is not part of the material or physical world, then how on earth could it possibly function in the physical world?
(2) Bedke's argument seems compatible with epiphenomenalism
, so an alternative to premise
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
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
. Campbell's conclusions are particularly interesting, and the work should appeal to students and researchers interested in debates about mental causation.
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
. I attempt to induce productive shock in my students by teaching them these facts and urging them not to colonize the Daode jing.
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).