Rejecting epiphobia

Synthese 199 (1-2):2773-2791 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

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.

Author's Profile

Umut Baysan
University of Oxford

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-10-08

Downloads
755 (#20,508)

6 months
143 (#25,794)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?