Mad Qualia

Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):467-485 (2019)
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Abstract

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 falseā€”or for that matter, true. Connections between qualia epiphenomenalism, physicalism, and non-physicalist property dualism are further explored.

Author's Profile

Umut Baysan
University of Oxford

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