epiphenomenalism
The view that some feature of a situation arises in virtue of others, but itself has no causal powers. In the philosophy of mind this means that while there exist mental events, states of consciousness, and experiences, they have themselves no causal powers, and produce no effect on the physical world. The analogy sometimes used is that of the whistle on the engine, that makes the sound (corresponding to experience), but plays no part in making the machinery move. Epiphenomenalism is a drastic solution to the major difficulty of reconciling the existence of mind with the fact that according to physics itself only a physical event can cause another physical event. An epiphenomenalist may accept one-way causation, whereby physical events produce mental events, or may prefer some kind of parallelism, avoiding causation either between mind and body or between body and mind (see occasionalism ). A major problem for epiphenomenalism is that if mental events have no causal relationships it is not clear that they can be objects of memory, or even awareness. See also base and superstructure.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • epiphenomenalism — [ep΄ə fə näm′ə nəl iz΄əm] n. the theory that mental or conscious processes simply accompany certain neural processes as epiphenomena …   English World dictionary

  • Epiphenomenalism — In philosophy of mind, epiphenomenalism, also known as Type E Dualism is a view according to which some or all mental states are mere epiphenomena (side effects or by products) of physical states of the world. Thus, epiphenomenalism denies that… …   Wikipedia

  • epiphenomenalism — noun a) The doctrine that mental states and processes are simply incidental effects of physiological events in the brain or nervous system and cannot themselves cause any effects in the material world. The textbook account of epiphenomenalism… …   Wiktionary

  • epiphenomenalism — noun Date: 1899 a doctrine that mental processes are epiphenomena of brain processes …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • epiphenomenalism — epiphenomenalist, n. /ep euh feuh nom euh nl iz euhm/, n. the doctrine that consciousness is merely an epiphenomenon of physiological processes, and that it has no power to affect these processes. [1895 1900; EPI + PHENOMENALISM] * * * …   Universalium

  • EPIPHENOMENALISM —    the theory that PHYSICAL PHENOMENA are entirely responsible for our mental states and actions so that thoughts in the brain are entirely determined by physical and not mental causes. The theory undermines TRADITIONAL religious teachings about… …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • epiphenomenalism — doctrine that mental processes are epiphenomena of brain activity Philosophical Isms …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • epiphenomenalism — n. theory that consciousness is a secondary creation of physiological processes …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Epiphenomenalism — the view in philosophy of mind according to which physical events have mental effects, but mental events have no effects of any kind. In other words, the causal relations go only one way, from physical to mental. In recent times it is usually… …   Mini philosophy glossary

  • epiphenomenalism — epi·phenomenalism …   English syllables

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”