Review of Understanding Phenomenal Consciousness [Book Review]

Brad Weslake
New York University, Shanghai
In recent philosophy of mind, epiphenomenalism—that strain of dualism according to which the mind is caused by the body but does not cause the body in turn—has undergone something of a renaissance. Contemporary epiphenomenalists bear only partial resemblance to their more extravagantly metaphysical ancestors, however. Traditional epiphenomenalists thought that (at least) two sorts of mental properties were epiphenomenal—intentional properties such as the meaning or representational content of the propositional attitudes (beliefs, desires and so on); and conscious properties such as awareness and the qualitative nature of experience. Contemporary epiphenomenalists, on the other hand, are largely sanguine about the prospects for intentionality to be brought within the purview of a physicalist worldview; what forces their dualism is one particular feature of consciousness—what irks them are qualia, the..
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