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Feeling Causes

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Abstract:

According to qualia-epiphenomenalism, phenomenal properties are causally inefficacious, they are metaphysically distinct from, and nomologically connected with certain physical properties. The present paper argues that the claim of causal inefficacy undermines any effort to establish the alleged nomological connection. Epiphenomenalists concede that variations of phenomenal properties in the absence of any variation of physical/functional properties are logically possible, however they deny that these variations are nomologically possible. But if such variations have neither causal nor functional consequences, there is no way to detect themanot only in scientific experiments, but also from the first-person perspective. Since neither third- nor first- person evidence can rule out the actual occurrence of such dissociations, the alleged nomological connection between phenomenal and physical properties cannot be established, in principle. As a consequence, the distinction between logical and nomological possibility breaks down and it cannot be ruled out that such dissociations occur in an unlimited number of cases.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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