Similarly, if you knew everything about X, and then learned something new, then there must be more to the world than X… The Short Excerpt Below was drawn from the Full Answer Posted here. It is derived from the idea that someone with total physical knowledge regarding another conscious individual might still lack knowledge regarding how it feels to have the knowledge of that individual. In his argument, Mary is aware of everything that can be described in physical terms concerning the physical procedures that are pertinent to color vision. However, Mary has never experienced other colors apart from black, white, and grey. It appears that Mary has total physical understanding, although she does not possess absolute phenomenal awareness.

Author:Tutaur Tusar
Language:English (Spanish)
Published (Last):16 November 2015
PDF File Size:16.18 Mb
ePub File Size:9.79 Mb
Price:Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]

He defended the idea of automatic behavior , or the performance of actions without conscious thought. Descartes questioned how the immaterial mind and the material body can interact causally. The idea that even if the animal were conscious nothing would be added to the production of behavior, even in animals of the human type, was first voiced by La Mettrie , and then by Cabanis , and was further explicated by Hodgson [3] and Huxley In , Huxley argued, in the Presidential Address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science , that animals are conscious automata.

Huxley proposed that psychical changes are collateral products of physical changes. He termed the stream of consciousness an "epiphenomenon;" like the bell of a clock that has no role in keeping the time, consciousness has no role in determining behavior.

Huxley hypothesized that frogs that undergo lobotomy would swim when thrown into water, despite being unable to initiate actions. He argued that the ability to swim was solely dependent on the molecular change in the brain, concluding that consciousness is not necessary for reflex actions.

According to epiphenomenalism, animals experience pain only as a result of neurophysiology. Every few weeks the soldier would enter a trance-like state, smoking, dressing himself, and aiming his cane like a rifle all while being insensitive to pins, electric shocks, odorous substances, vinegar, noise, and certain light conditions. Huxley used this study to show that consciousness was not necessary to execute these purposeful actions, justifying the assumption that humans are insensible machines.

Watson , and B. Skinner began the attempt to uncover laws describing the relationship between stimuli and responses, without reference to inner mental phenomena. Instead of adopting a form of eliminativism or mental fictionalism , positions that deny that inner mental phenomena exist, a behaviorist was able to adopt epiphenomenalism in order to allow for the existence of mind.

George Santayana believed that all motion has merely physical causes. Because consciousness is accessory to life and not essential to it, natural selection is responsible for ingraining tendencies to avoid certain contingencies without any conscious achievement involved. Participants in that revolution, such as Jerry Fodor , reject epiphenomenalism and insist upon the efficacy of the mind. Fodor even speaks of "epiphobia"—fear that one is becoming an epiphenomenalist.

However, since the cognitive revolution, there have been several who have argued for a version of epiphenomenalism. In , Keith Campbell proposed his "new epiphenomenalism", which states that the body produces a spiritual mind that does not act on the body. How the brain causes a spiritual mind, according to Campbell, is destined to remain beyond our understanding forever see New Mysterianism.

They offered that epiphenomenalism bridges, but does not close, the explanatory gap between the physical and the phenomenal realms.

Imagine both Pierre and a robot eating a cupcake. Unlike the robot, Pierre is conscious of eating the cupcake while the behavior is under way. This subjective experience is often called a quale plural qualia , and it describes the private "raw feel" or the subjective " what-it-is-like " that is the inner accompaniment of many mental states.

Thus, while Pierre and the robot are both doing the same thing, only Pierre has the inner conscious experience. Frank Jackson , for example, once espoused the following view: I am what is sometimes known as a "qualia freak".

I think that there are certain features of bodily sensations especially, but also of certain perceptual experiences, which no amount of purely physical information includes.

Tell me everything physical there is to tell about what is going on in a living brain If Pierre takes a second bite, it is not caused by his pleasure from the first; If Pierre says, "That was good, so I will take another bite", his speech act is not caused by the preceding pleasure. The conscious experiences that accompany brain processes are causally impotent. The mind might simply be a byproduct of other properties such as brain size or pathway activation synchronicity, which are adaptive.

Some thinkers draw distinctions between different varieties of epiphenomenalism. Arguments for[ edit ] A large body of neurophysiological data seems to support epiphenomenalism. Some of the oldest such data is the Bereitschaftspotential or "readiness potential" in which electrical activity related to voluntary actions can be recorded up to two seconds before the subject is aware of making a decision to perform the action.

More recently Benjamin Libet et al. The conclusions of this experiment have begun to receive some backlash and criticism, mainly by neuroscientists such as Peter Tse, who claim to show that the readiness potential has nothing to do with consciousness at all. This also suggests a delay for processing data before conscious experience occurs. The scientific data seem to support the idea that conscious experience is created by non-conscious processes in the brain i.

These results have been interpreted to suggest that people are capable of action before conscious experience of the decision to act occurs. Some argue that this supports epiphenomenalism, since it shows that the feeling of making a decision to act is actually an epiphenomenon; the action happens before the decision, so the decision did not cause the action to occur.

Arguments against[ edit ] The most powerful argument against epiphenomenalism is that it is self-contradictory: if we have knowledge about epiphenomenalism, then our brains know about the existence of the mind, but if epiphenomenalism were correct, then our brains should not have any knowledge about the mind, because the mind does not affect anything physical.

For example, Victor Argonov states that epiphenomenalism is a questionable, but experimentally falsifiable theory. He argues that the personal mind is not the only source of knowledge about the existence of mind in the world.

A creature even a zombie could have knowledge about mind and the mind-body problem by virtue of some innate knowledge. Epiphenomenalists can say that God created immaterial mind and a detailed "program" of material human behavior that makes it possible to speak about the mind—body problem.

That version of epiphenomenalism seems highly exotic, but it cannot be excluded from consideration by pure theory. However, Argonov suggests that experiments could refute epiphenomenalism. In particular, epiphenomenalism could be refuted if neural correlates of consciousness can be found in the human brain, and it is proven that human speech about consciousness is caused by them.

Some philosophers, such as Dennett, reject both epiphenomenalism and the existence of qualia with the same charge that Gilbert Ryle leveled against a Cartesian " ghost in the machine ", that they too are category mistakes. A quale or conscious experience would not belong to the category of objects of reference on this account, but rather to the category of ways of doing things. Functionalists assert that mental states are well described by their overall role, their activity in relation to the organism as a whole.

In principle, multiple realisability would guarantee platform dependencies can be avoided, whether in terms of hardware and operating system or, ex hypothesi, biology and philosophy. Because a high-level language is a practical requirement for developing the most complex programs, functionalism implies that a non-reductive physicalism would offer a similar advantage over a strictly eliminative materialism.

Eliminative materialists believe " folk psychology " is so unscientific that, ultimately, it will be better to eliminate primitive concepts such as mind, desire and belief, in favor of a future neuro-scientific account. A more moderate position such as J. Others have argued that data such as the Bereitschaftspotential undermine epiphenomenalism for the same reason, that such experiments rely on a subject reporting the point in time at which a conscious experience and a conscious decision occurs, thus relying on the subject to be able to consciously perform an action.

That ability would seem to be at odds with early epiphenomenalism, which according to Huxley is the broad claim that consciousness is "completely without any power… as the steam-whistle which accompanies the work of a locomotive engine is without influence upon its machinery".

Although it does not entail substance dualism, according to Green, epiphenomenalism implies a one-way form of interactionism that is just as hard to conceive of as the two-way form embodied in substance dualism. Green suggests the assumption that it is less of a problem may arise from the unexamined belief that physical events have some sort of primacy over mental ones. Eccles and Donald Symons , dismiss epiphenomenalism from an evolutionary perspective.


Jackson’s argument on Physicalism in “Epiphenomenal Qualia” by Frank Jackson

He defended the idea of automatic behavior , or the performance of actions without conscious thought. Descartes questioned how the immaterial mind and the material body can interact causally. The idea that even if the animal were conscious nothing would be added to the production of behavior, even in animals of the human type, was first voiced by La Mettrie , and then by Cabanis , and was further explicated by Hodgson [3] and Huxley In , Huxley argued, in the Presidential Address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science , that animals are conscious automata.



Related Entries 1. History of the Underlying Ideas The Knowledge Argument became the subject of intense philosophical discussion following its canonical formulation by Frank Jackson However, there are numerous precursors of this argument in the literature. These thought-experiments typically involve a being who has complete knowledge of the physical information or physical facts concerning certain experiences, but who it is claimed lacks knowledge of what those experiences are like. Dunne Around the same time as Dunne was writing, C. Broad used a thought-experiment as part of an argument against a mechanistic version of physicalism.

Related Articles