Interactionist dualism is often rejected based on the claim that the physical world is causally closed. Another claim against interactionist dualism is that, were it to hold, it would violate energy/momentum conservation or the second law of thermodynamics. Here I show that the phase of the quantum wave function may provide a loophole in the causal closure of the world through which the mind can affect behavior without violating any physical law.
In this article I build on Gertler's recent version of the disembodiment argument to defend a modern and "weak" dualism. The hardest part in disembodiment arguments is to imagine oneself disembodied if that was even possible. In my article I avoid this weakness by introducing body swapping argument. In my novel argument we don't need the problematic image of disembodied self, it's sufficient to imagine one's consciousness in another body, an image too easy to imagine that it became a movie (...) cliche. The weakness in this modified argument is that it proves a weaker version of dualism. Namely, it proves that the mind can't be reduced to a specific physical property other than materiality itself. Hence, either the physical is fundamentally mental, or mental isn't physical. (shrink)
Your belief that Obama is a Democrat wouldn’t be the belief that it is if it didn't represent Obama, nor would the pain in your ankle be the state that is if, say, it felt like an itch. Accordingly, it is tempting to hold that phenomenal and representational properties are essential to the mental states that have them. But, as several theorists have forcefully argued (including Kripke (1980) and Burge (1979, 1982)) this attractive idea is seemingly in tension with another (...) equally attractive thesis, namely, the token-identity thesis; the thesis according to which every mental state token is identical with some or other token physical state. In this paper, we show that these seemingly incontrovertible essentialist intuitions are in fact compatible with ‘token physicalism’ regarding the mental.1 Given a suitably plentitudinous ontology of objects, we argue that there are physical things with which our token mental states can be identified. This is preferable to existing views that give up the essentiality claims or simply reject the token-identity thesis. (shrink)
The great task of cognitive science is to explain the phenomenal, first-person experience through the brain’s biophysical processes. This articles takes up this challenge by presenting the theory of how to reconcile the distinguishable properties of a material and mental processes. For this purpose, I describe how knowledge representations arise and how they can correlate with the emotions that accompany their formation. These associations can lead to first-person sense impressions, that is, qualia, which are the gist of phenomenal awareness. I (...) hypothesize that perception and consciousness and their causal role can only be explained by pointing to two aspects of consciousness: The event reporting aspect responsible for being aware of what is happening and the executive aspect responsible for the body’s actions and bodily responses. Both of these aspects are functionally accomplished by two separate neural mechanisms. Explaining the stream of consciousness required diversification of the concept of consciousness and the distinction of “executive” and “reporting” consciousness, respectively. Impression of feeling, a stream of consciousness, and a train of thought felt as conscious perception are the effect of stimulation of the lower sensory fields of the brain by feedback stimuli from upper cerebral areas. Subjectively perceived sequences of such recreated images only accompany brain processes but do not affect them directly. However, they are not objectively epiphenomenal since they modify the neural representations of knowledge embedded in memory and thus influence future states of consciousness. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Researchers in the psychological sciences have put forward the thesis that various sources of psychological, cognitive, and neuroscientific evidence demonstrate that being conscious of our mental states does not make any difference to our behaviour. In this paper, I argue that the evidence marshalled in support of this view—which I call psychological epiphenomenalism—is subject to major objections, relies on a superficial reading of the relevant literature, and fails to engage with the more precise ways in which philosophers understand mental states (...) to be conscious. I then appeal to work on implementation intentions to demonstrate that an intention’s being “access conscious” enhances its functional role, which makes it more likely that we will successfully carry out our intended behaviour. The result is that consciousness in at least one relevant sense is not epiphenomenal, with further work remaining to be done to show how other kinds of consciousness cause behaviour too. (shrink)
This is an introduction to mental causation. It is written primarily for students new to the topic. The chapter is organized around the following argument: P1. Everything we do is caused by biochemical processes within our bodies and brains. P2. If everything we do is caused by biochemical processes within our bodies and brains, then nothing we do has a mental cause. C. Therefore, nothing we do has a mental cause.
The epistemic argument against epiphenomenalism aims to prove that even if epiphenomenalism is true, its adherents are not able to justify their inferential beliefs. This would mean that they cannot know that they are right which is a self-stultifying consequence. I elaborate on this problem and then present an updated version of epiphenomenalism based on property dualism. I argue that this position is capable of refuting the conclusion of the epistemic argument even in spite of accepting its essential assumptions. This (...) was made possible by an upgraded property exemplification account of events. I also argue against a view which, if true, gives substantial support to the epistemic argument: that a belief justified by other beliefs is knowledge only if it is caused by those beliefs in virtue of their contents. (shrink)
Epiphenomenalism is the thesis that though physical events may cause mental events, those mental events never cause physical events. In this paper, I will be concerned with the claim that our thoughts, intentions, and awareness play no causal role in producing actions. Though epiphenomenalism has been defended with a priori philosophical arguments, the majority of the support that it has gained in recent years has come from advances in neuroscience. At the center of these experiments is the Libet paradigm that (...) aims to show that our actions are initiated by unconscious brain processes prior to our awareness of the intention or decision to perform the corresponding actions. It has been widely suggested that these studies support the view that consciousness is epiphenomenal, and if Libet-style experiments support this conclusion, the results have direct implications for free will. I argue by way of a dilemma that any study that relies on reports of subjects’ awareness in its methodology cannot be used to support epiphenomenalism because the experimenters would have to rule out the possibility that consciousness plays a causal role in order to do so. (shrink)
The standard objection to dualist theories of mind is that they seemingly cannot account for the obvious fact that mental phenomena cause our behaviour. On the plausible assumption that all our behaviour is physically necessitated by entirely physical phenomena, there appears to be no room for dualist mental causation. Some argue that dualists can address this problem by making minimal adjustments in their ontology. I argue that no such adjustments are required. Given recent developments in philosophy of causation, it is (...) plausible that mental phenomena cause behaviour in standard dualist ontologies. (shrink)
In this essay I argue that Darwinian theory, far from supporting a philosophy of metaphysical materialism, actually calls materialism into question. Once this is recognized we see that evolutionary theory, for all its successes (which are considerable), is more limited than is generally supposed in its ability to reveal or explain the ultimate thrust of life.
This paper argues that qualia share their physical correlates' locations. The first premise comes from the theory of relativity: If something shares a time with a physical event in all reference frames, it shares that physical event’s location. The second premise is that qualia share times with their correlates in all reference frames. Having qualia and correlates share locations makes relations between them easier to explain, improving both physicalist and dualist theories.
Kim’s causal exclusion argument purports to demonstrate that the non-reductive physicalist must treat mental properties (and macro-level properties in general) as causally inert. A number of authors have attempted to resist Kim’s conclusion by utilizing the conceptual resources of Woodward’s interventionist conception of causation. The viability of these responses has been challenged by Gebharter, who argues that the causal exclusion argument is vindicated by the theory of causal Bayesian networks (CBNs). Since the interventionist conception of causation relies crucially on CBNs (...) for its foundations, Gebharter’s argument appears to cast significant doubt on interventionism’s anti-reductionist credentials. In the present article, we both (1) demonstrate that Gebharter’s CBN-theoretic formulation of the exclusion argument relies on some unmotivated and philosophically significant assumptions (especially regarding the relationship between CBNs and the metaphysics of causal relevance), and (2) use Bayesian networks to develop a general theory of causal inference for multi-level systems that can serve as the foundation for an anti-reductionist interventionist account of causation.1. (shrink)
Epiphenomenalist dualists hold that certain physical states give rise to non-physical conscious experiences, but that these non-physical experiences are themselves causally inefficacious. Among the most pressing challenges facing epiphenomenalists is the so-called “paradox of phenomenal judgment”, which challenges epiphenomenalism’s ability to account for our knowledge of our own conscious experiences. According to this objection, we lack knowledge of the very thing that epiphenomenalists take physicalists to be unable to explain. By developing an epiphenomenalist theory of subjects and mental states, this (...) paper argues that there is nothing paradoxical or problematic about the epiphenomenalist’s understanding of phenomenal judgments or phenomenal self-knowledge. The appearance of paradox emerges from inconsistently combining (epiphenomenalist) dualism about qualia with a physicalistic conception of subjects of experience. The lesson we should take from this is not that there is anything wrong with epiphenomenalism, but that epiphenomenalist dualists should be “dualists all the way down”—embracing a picture of mind that gives phenomenology a central place, in its understanding of both subjects and their knowledge of their own minds. Epiphenomenalist-friendly accounts of reference and memory are also developed, showing that neither of these issues creates a paradox for the epiphenomenalist. (shrink)
Epiphenomenalism denies some or all putative cases of mental causation. The view is widely taken to be absurd: if a theory can be shown to entail epiphenomenalism, many see that as a reductio of that theory. Opponents take epiphenomenalism to be absurd because they regard the view as undermining the evident agency we have in action and precluding substantial self-knowledge. In this paper, I defend epiphenomenalism against these objections, and thus against the negative dialectical role that the view plays in (...) philosophy of mind. I argue that nearly in all cases where a theory implies one kind of epiphenomenalism, it is an epiphenomenalism of a non-problematic kind, at least as far as issues about agency and self-knowledge are concerned. There is indeed a problematic version of epiphenomenalism, but that version is not relevant to the debates where its apparent absurdity is invoked. (shrink)
Many philosophers argue that exclusion arguments cannot exclude non-reductionist physicalist mental properties from being causes without excluding properties that are patently causal as well. List and Stoljar (2017) recently argued that a similar response to exclusion arguments is also available to dualists, thereby challenging the predominant view that exclusion arguments undermine dualist theories of mind. In particular, List and Stoljar maintain that exclusion arguments against dualism require a premise that states that, if a property is metaphysically distinct from the sufficient (...) cause of an effect, this property cannot be a cause of that effect. I argue that this premise is indeed likely to exclude patently causal properties, but that exclusion arguments against dualism do not require this premise. The relation that enables metaphysically distinct properties to cause the same effect in the relevant way turns out to be tighter than the relation typically posited between dualist conscious properties and their underlying physical properties. It is therefore still plausible that the latter causally exclude the former and that compelling exclusion arguments against dualism can be formulated by using a weaker exclusion premise. I conclude by proposing such a formulation. (shrink)
According to one conception of strong emergence, strongly emergent properties are nomologically necessitated by their base properties and have novel causal powers relative to them. In this paper, I raise a difficulty for this conception of strong emergence, arguing that these two features are incompatible. Instead of presenting this as an objection to the friends of strong emergence, I argue that this indicates that there are distinct varieties of strong emergence: causal emergence and epiphenomenal emergence. I then explore the prospects (...) of emergentism with this distinction in the background. (shrink)
Russellian monism—an influential doctrine proposed by Russell (The analysis of matter, Routledge, London, 1927/1992)—is roughly the view that physics can only ever tell us about the causal, dispositional, and structural properties of physical entities and not their categorical (or intrinsic) properties, whereas our qualia are constituted by those categorical properties. In this paper, I will discuss the relation between Russellian monism and a seminal paradox facing epiphenomenalism, the paradox of phenomenal judgment: if epiphenomenalism is true—qualia are causally inefficacious—then any judgment (...) concerning qualia, including epiphenomenalism itself, cannot be caused by qualia. For many writers, including Hawthorne (Philos Perspect 15:361–378, 2001), Smart (J Conscious Stud 11(2):41–50, 2004), and Braddon-Mitchell and Jackson (The philosophy of mind and cognition, Blackwell, Malden, 2007), Russellian monism faces the same paradox as epiphenomenalism does. I will assess Chalmers’s (The conscious mind: in search of a fundamental theory. Oxford University Press, New York, 1996) and Seager’s (in: Beckermann A, McLaughlin BP (eds) The Oxford handbook of philosophy of mind. Oxford University Press, New York, 2009) defences of Russellian monism against the paradox, and will put forward a novel argument against those defences. (shrink)
The chief motivation for epiphenomenalist dualism is its promise to solve dualism’s causal exclusion problem without inducing causal overdetermination or violations of the causal closure of the physical. This paper argues that epiphenomenalist dualism is itself susceptible to an exclusion problem. The problem exploits symmetries of determination and influence generated by a wide class of physical theories. Further, I argue that there is an interference effect between solving epiphenomenalist dualism's exclusion problem and using epiphenomenalist dualism as a solution to the (...) causal exclusion problem. What emerges is an overlooked, empirically-motivated challenge to epiphenomenalist dualism. (shrink)
Can perceptual experiences be states of uncertainty? We might expect them to be, if the perceptual processes from which they're generated, as well as the behaviors they help produce, take account of probabilistic information. Yet it has long been presumed that perceptual experiences purport to tell us about our environment, without hedging or qualifying. Against this long-standing view, I argue that perceptual experiences may well occasionally be states of uncertainty, but that they are never probabilistically structured. I criticize a powerful (...) line of reasoning that we should expect perceptual experience to be probabilistic, given their interfaces with unconscious probabilistic information, with behavior responsive to it, and with credences. (shrink)
This paper revisits some classic thought experiments in which experiences are detached from their characteristic causal roles, and explores what these thought experiments tell us about qualia epiphenomenalism, i.e., the view that qualia are epiphenomenal properties. It argues that qualia epiphenomenalism is true just in case it is possible for experiences of the same type to have entirely different causal powers. This is done with the help of new conceptual tools regarding the concept of an epiphenomenal property. One conclusion is (...) that it is not obvious if qualia epiphenomenalism is false; and it is also not obvious what should make us believe that it is false—or for that matter, true. Connections between qualia epiphenomenalism, physicalism, and non-physicalist property dualism are further explored. (shrink)
Some physicalists (Balog 2012, Howell 2013), and most dualists, endorse the acquaintance response to the Knowledge Argument. This is the claim that Mary gains substantial new knowledge, upon leaving the room, because phenomenal knowledge requires direct acquaintance with phenomenal properties. The acquaintance response is an especially promising way to make sense of the Mary case. I argue that it casts doubt on two claims often made on behalf of physicalism, regarding parsimony and mental causation. I show that those who endorse (...) the acquaintance response face special obstacles to invoking parsimony in an argument for physicalism. And I show how acknowledging the phenomenon of acquaintance can ease the dualist’s problems with mental causation, by dispelling three key objections to epiphenomenalism. The most challenging of these objections is that epiphenomenalism blocks an evolutionary explanation of the so-called “hedonic/utility match”. I propose that pleasures and pains, while themselves epiphenomenal, can nonetheless explain positive and negative associations with stimuli, associations that can contribute to fitness. (shrink)
James developed an evolutionary objection to epiphenomenalism that is still discussed today. Epiphenomenalists have offered responses that do not grasp its full depth. I thus offer a new reading and assessment of James’s objection. Our life-essential, phenomenal pleasures and pains have three features that suggest that they were shaped by selection, according to James: they are natively patterned, those patterns are systematically linked with antecedent brain states, and the patterns are “universal” among humans. If epiphenomenalism were true, phenomenal patterns could (...) not have been selected (because epiphenomenalism precludes phenomenal consciousness affecting reproductive success). So epiphenomenalism is likely false. (shrink)
What is an epiphenomenal property? This question needs to be settled before we can decide whether higher-level properties are epiphenomenal or not. In this paper, I offer an account of what it is for a property to have some causal power. From this, I derive a characterisation of the notion of an epiphenomenal property. I then argue that physically realized higher-level properties are not epiphenomenal because laws of nature impose causal similarities on the bearers of such properties, and these similarities (...) figure as powers in the causal profiles of these properties. (shrink)
Mind and the Causal Exclusion Problem The causal exclusion problem is an objection to nonreductive physicalist models of mental causation. Mental causation occurs when behavioural effects have mental causes: Jennie eats a peach because she wants one; Marvin goes to Harvard because he chose to, etc. Nonreductive physicalists typically supplement adherence to mental causation with … Continue reading Mind and the Causal Exclusion Problem →.
In our exchange in the book, C. S. Lewis’s Christian Apologetics: Pro and Con, edited by Gregory Bassham, David Kyle Johnson argued that four naturalistic views, property dualism, the identity theory, epiphenomenalism, and eliminative materialism, can all meet the challenge posed by a C. S. Lewis–style argument from reason. I maintain that his response fails to take into account what a consistent naturalism is committed to, and that his defenses of these positions fail to put those positions in the clear.
Abstract: Nietzsche’s famously wrote that “consciousness is a surface” (EH, Why I am so clever, 9: 97). The aim of this paper is to make sense of this quite puzzling contention—Superficiality, for short. In doing this, I shall focus on two further claims—both to be found in Gay Science 354—which I take to substantiate Nietzsche’s endorsement of Superficiality. The first claim is that consciousness is superfluous—which I call the “superfluousness claim” (SC). The second claim is that consciousness is the source (...) of some deep falsification—which I call the “falsification claim” (FC). I shall start by considering Nietzsche’s notion of consciousness. Here, I shall argue that the kind of consciousness he is concerned with is in fact self-consciousness and that he put forward a higher-order theory of it. Then, I shall address the two claims. Regarding (FC), my proposal will be that, according to Nietzsche, the content of (self-)conscious mental states is falsified in virtue of its being articulated propositionally. Regarding (SC), I shall claim that it is best read as a weak version of epiphenomenalism about conscious causation. In addressing both points, I shall discuss in particular the influential reading of Nietzsche’s theory of consciousness offered by Katsafanas (2005). (shrink)
According to epiphenomenalism, our behavior is caused by events in our brains that also cause our mentality. This resulting mentality reflects our brains¿ organization, but does not in turn cause anything. This book defends an epiphenomenalist account of philosophy of mind. It builds on the author¿s previous work by moving beyond a discussion of sensations to apply an epiphenomenalist outlook to other aspects of mental causation such as beliefs, desires, pleasure, and displeasure. The first four chapters of the book argue (...) for a dualistic theory of sensations and develop an epiphenomenalist version of dualism. The remaining chapters discuss propositional attitudes and valence. The author also responds to potential objections to epiphenomenalism by considering how sensations, intelligence, or understanding might be built into a robot. This book will be of interest to scholars and students in philosophy of mind who are interested in consciousness, mental causation, and how our mentality is situated in the world. (shrink)
Hitchcock demonstrated that the validity of causal exclusion arguments as well as the plausibility of several of their premises hinges on the specific theory of causation endorsed. In this paper I show that the validity of causal exclusion arguments—if represented within the theory of causal Bayes nets the way Gebharter suggests—actually requires much weaker premises than the ones which are typically assumed. In particular, neither completeness of the physical domain nor the no overdetermination assumption are required.
In this paper I reconstruct and evaluate the validity of two versions of causal exclusion arguments within the theory of causal Bayes nets. I argue that supervenience relations formally behave like causal relations. If this is correct, then it turns out that both versions of the exclusion argument are valid when assuming the causal Markov condition and the causal minimality condition. I also investigate some consequences for the recent discussion of causal exclusion arguments in the light of an interventionist theory (...) of causation such as Woodward's (2003) and discuss a possible objection to my causal Bayes net reconstruction. (shrink)
Evidence that minds are neural electromagnetic fields comes from research into how separate brain activities bind to form unified percepts and unified minds. Explanations of binding using synchrony, attention, and convergence are all problematic. But the unity of EM fields explains binding without these problems. These unified fields neatly explain correlations and divergences between synchrony, attention, convergence, and unified minds. The simplest explanation for the unity of both minds and fields is that minds are fields. Treating minds as the fields' (...) underlying, intrinsic nature has the further virtue of avoiding mind-body problems. There's also rising evidence that EM fields interact with brains. McFadden argues here that fields help shift the focus of attention by initiating synchrony in different neural networks, which boosts their own fields and thereby binds their activity. This evidence that minds are fields that bind and guide brain activities supports free will over epiphenomenalism and supervenience. (shrink)
This paper argues that emergent conscious properties can't bestow emergent causal powers. It supports this conclusion by way of a dilemma. Necessarily, an emergent conscious property brings about its effects actively or other than actively. If actively, then, the paper argues, the emergent conscious property can't have causal powers at all. And if other than actively, then, the paper argues, the emergentist finds himself committed to incompatible accounts of causation.
Epiphenomenalism is the view that phenomenal properties – which characterize what it is like, or how it feels, for a subject to be in conscious states – have no physical effects. One of the earliest arguments against epiphenomenalism is the evolutionary argument (James 1890/1981; Eccles and Popper 1977; Popper 1978), which starts from the following problem: why is pain correlated with stimuli detrimental to survival and reproduction – such as suffocation, hunger and burning? And why is pleasure correlated with stimuli (...) beneficial to survival and reproduction – such as eating and breathing? According to the argument, the fact that we have these particular correlations and not other ones must have an evolutionary explanation. But given epiphenomenalism, differences in phenomenal properties could not cause differences in fitness, so natural selection would not be expected to favor these correlations over any other ones. Epiphenomenalism thus renders these correlations an inexplicable coincidence, and should therefore be rejected. The evolutionary argument has been widely criticized and few have deemed it cogent (Broad 1925; Jackson 1982; Robinson 2007; Corabi 2014). In this paper, I will consider previous and potential criticisms and conclude some of them are indeed fatal to the argument if it is understood, as it traditionally has been, as an argument for any standard version of non-epiphenomenalism such as physicalism and interactionism. I will then offer a new and improved version of the argument, as an argument for a particular non-epiphenomenalist view, which I will call the phenomenal powers view. This is the view that phenomenal properties produce and thereby (metaphysically) necessitate their effects in virtue of how they feel, or in virtue of their intrinsic, phenomenal character alone – along the lines of C. B. Martin and John Heil’s powerful qualities view (Martin and Heil 1999; Heil 2003). I will argue that the phenomenal powers view explains the correlations given natural selection far better than any other view. It follows that if (and only if) understood as an argument for the phenomenal powers view, the evolutionary argument is far stronger than it is usually thought to be. (shrink)
I examine the debate between reductive and non-reductive physicalists, and conclude that if we are to be physicalists, then we should be reductive physicalists. I assess how both reductionists and non-reductionists try to solve the mind-body problem and the problem of mental causation. I focus on the problem of mental causation as it is supposed to be faced by non-reductionism: the so-called overdetermination problem. I argue that the traditional articulation of that problem is significantly flawed, and I show how to (...) articulate it properly: what I call the ‘super-overdetermination problem’. In doing so, I demonstrate that the problem of mental causation faced by non-reductionism is in fact a special case of the mind-body problem, as faced by non-reductionism, and that the former can’t be solved independently of the latter. I then assess the prospects for a particular family of non-reductive views that I call immanentism, and show that they fail to solve the super-overdetermination problem. Finally, I put forward two arguments to support the conclusion that physicalism entails reductionism. Both arguments establish, via distinct reasoning, the proposition that mental property instances are identical to physical property instances; and then each argument employs the inference, which I also defend, that if mental instances are physical instances, then mental properties are physical properties; hence, reductionism follows. (shrink)
: In The Varieties of Consciousness, Kriegel argues that it is possible to devise a method to sort out the irreducible primitive phenomenologies that exist. In this paper I argue that his neutrality notwithstanding, Kriegel assumes a form of realism that leaves unresolved many of the conundrums that characterize the debate on consciousness. These problems are evident in the centrality he assigns to introspection and his characterization of cognitive phenomenology. Keywords : Consciousness; Introspection; Realism; Type-identity; Dispositional Properties I primitivi della (...) coscienza e la loro realtà Riassunto : In The Varieties of Consciousness Kriegel sostiene la possibilità di concepire un metodo per mettere ordine tra le esperienze fenomenicamente primitive effettivamente esistenti, ciascuna nella propria irriducibilità rispetto alle altre. In questo testo intendo sostenere che, nonostante la sua neutralità, Kriegel assume una forma di realismo che lascia aperti molti dei problemi che caratterizzano il dibattito sulla coscienza. Questi problemi diventano evidenti sia nella centralità assegnata all’introspezione sia nella caratterizzazione specifica della fenomenologia cognitiva. Parole chiave : Coscienza; Introspezione; Realismo; Identità di tipo; Proprietà disposizionali. (shrink)
I examine some of the key scientific pre-commitments of modern psychology, and argue that their adoption has the unintended consequence of rendering a purely psychological analysis of mind indistinguishable from a purely biological treatment. And, since these pre-commitments sanction an “authority of the biological”, explanation of phenomena traditionally considered the purview of psychological analysis is fully subsumed under the biological. I next evaluate the epistemic warrant of these pre-commitments and suggest there are good reasons to question their applicability to psychological (...) science. I conclude that experiential aspects of reality give us reason to remain open to the need for psychological explanation in the treatment of mind. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim used the causal exclusion argument as a weapon against non-reductive physicalism in the philosophy of mind. The aim of this paper is to inquire into the consequences of this argument in order to check whether they are devastating to the initial position. The main focus will be the question of whether type epiphenomenalism, the alleged consequence of the causal exclusion argument, really leads to eliminativism about the mental. In order to cast some doubt on this claim I use (...) David Lewis's distinction between sparse and abundant properties and draw a comparison between mental predicates and deflationary truth. The conclusion is that the causal exclusion argument doesn't lead to eliminativism as traditionally conceived and some of Kim's theses might in fact be approved by non-reductive physicalists. (shrink)
This paper proposes that if individual X ‘inherits’ property F from individual Y, we should be leery of explanations that appeal to X’s being F. This bears on what I’ll call “emergent substance dualism”, the view that human persons or selves are metaphysically fundamental or “new kinds of things with new kinds of causal powers” even though they depend in some sense on physical particulars :5–23, 2006; Personal agency. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008). Two of the most prominent advocates of (...) this view, Lynne Rudder Baker and E.J. Lowe, suggest that emergent particulars have physical properties in virtue of the relations they bear to physical particulars—they ‘inherit’ their physical properties. In Sect. 1, I argue that having a property F this way is not instantiating F. In Sect. 2, I raise concerns that if emergent particulars don’t instantiate physical properties, then facts about emergent particulars don’t explain intentional actions. I suggest that emergent dualism would be more attractive if it could avoid this apparent consequence. In Sect. 3, I propose a view according to which some instances of physical properties are instantiated by both an emergent particular and its body. (shrink)
I shall understand physical determinism as the doctrine that every physical event has a physical event as its necessary and sufficient cause. This paper seeks to show that no one would be justified in holding this doctrine unless it could be shown to make successful predictions; and that such predictions could only be obtained if we assume the doctrine to be false.
What does it mean to say that mind-body dualism is causally problematic in a way that other mind-body theories, such as the psychophysical type identity theory, are not? After considering and rejecting various proposals, I advance my own, which focuses on what grounds the causal closure of the physical realm. A metametaphysical implication of my proposal is that philosophers working without the notion of grounding in their toolkit are metaphysically impoverished. They cannot do justice to the thought, encountered in every (...) introductory class in the philosophy of mind, that dualism has a special problem accounting for mental causation. (shrink)
This paper suggests that reference to phenomenal qualities is best understood as involving iconicity, that is, a passage from sign-vehicle to object that exploits a similarity between the two. This contrasts with a version of the ‘phenomenal concept strategy’ that takes indexicality to be central. However, since it is doubtful that phenomenal qualities are capable of causally interacting with anything, indexical reference seems inappropriate. While a theorist like David Papineau is independently coming to something akin to iconicity, I think some (...) of the awkwardness that plagues his account would be remedied by transitioning to a more inclusive philosophy of signs. (shrink)
Epiphenomenalism holds that mental events are caused by physical events while not causing any physical effects whatsoever. The self-stultification objection is a venerable argument against epiphenomenalism according to which, if epiphenomenalism were true, we would not have knowledge of our own sensations. For the past three decades, W.S. Robinson has called into question the soundness of this objection, offering several arguments against it. Many of his arguments attempt to shift the burden of proof onto the opponents of epiphenomenalism, hoping to (...) show that epiphenomenalism is no less stultifying than its contenders, such as dualism, functionalism, or identity theory. In the current paper I attempt to shift the burden of proof back to Robinson, and thus to defend the self-stultification objection, by offering two counterarguments against one of Robinson's objections to one of the key premises of the self-stultification objection. (shrink)
Frank Jackson (1982) famously argued, with his so-called Knowledge Argument (KA), that qualia are non-physical. Moreover, he argued that qualia are epiphenomenal. Some have objected that epiphenomenalism is inconsistent with the soundness of KA. One way of developing this objection, following Neil Campbell (2003; 2012), is to argue that epiphenomenalism is at odds with the kind of behavioral evidence that makes the soundness of KA plausible. We argue that Campbell’s claim that epiphenomenalism is inconsistent with the soundness of KA is (...) false. (shrink)
In this chapter I consider various potential challenges to free will from the modern mind sciences. After motivating the importance of considering these challenges, I outline the argument structure for such challenges: they require simultaneously establishing a particular condition for free will and an empirical challenge to that condition. I consider several potential challenges: determinism, naturalism, and epiphenomenalism, and explain why none of these philosophical challenges is bolstered by new discoveries from neuroscience and psychology. I then respond to relevant empirical (...) challenges to the role of consciousness and rationality in action. (shrink)
What we've considered so far about the epistemology of human sciences comes up again as to the concept of "destiny''and human free will: who "must" tell us if we are destined or not? Either Neuroscientists or sociologists? Either Philosophers or biochemists? Has psychology anything to say? Do we need a pool to gather them all? Many other questions come up: what determines us and how much? ls there any sense in talking about destiny? We are a complex system and our (...) conscience is an epiphenomenon of a unitary hierarchical system: would this exclude any possibility of choice? And what does "free choice" mean? And what about the consequences on the ethics? Being Jung and Pauli’s thought a reference point, might we outline a comprehensive reading as regards such problems, even thinking of a sort of quantum psychoid free will? (shrink)
Die Annahme, dass mentale Zustände wie Überzeugungen, Wünsche und Gefühle physische Ereignisse bewirken (wie körperliches Verhalten und willentliche Handlungen) ist ebenso verbreitet wie problematisch, weil sie im Widerspruch zu der Überzeugung steht, dass mentale Zustände Phänomene nicht-physischer Natur sind und physische Phänomene ausschließlich physische Ursachen haben. Der Epiphänomenalismus, der diesen als Leib-Seele-Problem bekannten Widerspruch auflöst, indem er die kausale Wirksamkeit des Mentalen bestreitet, stößt unter Laien und Philosophen jedoch auf erheblichen Widerstand. Die vorliegende Studie wendet sich den Intuitionen zu, die (...) sich einer epiphänomenalistischen Auflösung des Leib-Seele-Problems in den Weg stellen: einerseits die innere Erfahrung unserer Urheberschaft, andererseits unser Selbstverständnis als handelnde Personen. Es wird argumentiert, dass die durch die Berufung auf diese Intuitionen zum Ausdruck gebrachten, selten jedoch ausdrücklich vorgebrachten Argumente für die These der mentalen Kausalität allesamt nicht überzeugen können. Vielmehr ist der Epiphänomenalismus sowohl mit unserer inneren als auch unserer äußeren Lebenswirklichkeit vereinbar. (shrink)
I formulate an argument against epiphenomenalism; the argument shows that epiphenomenalism is extremely improbable. Moreover the argument suggests that qualia not only have causal powers, but have their causal powers necessarily. I address possible objections and then conclude by considering some implications the argument has for dualism.