Physical-Effect Epiphenomenalism and Common Underlying Causes

Dialogue 51 (3):397-418 (2012)
Abstract
Qualia epiphenomenalism is the view that qualitative properties of events, such as the raw feel of tastes or painfulness, lack causal efficacy. One common objection to qualia epiphenomenalism is the epistemic argument, which states that this loss of causal efficacy undermines our capacity to know about these epiphenomenal qualitative properties (Sterjnberg, 1999; Watkins, 1989). A number of rejoinders have been offered up to insulate qualia epiphenomenalism from the epistemic argument. In this paper I consider and ultimately reject two such replies, namely, the common underlying cause reply and the appeal to physical-effect epiphenomenalism
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