Phenomenal Realist Physicalism Implies Coherency of Epiphenomenalist Meaning

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Abstract:

Recent criticisms of epiphenomenalism include a meaning objection. This is a self-stultification objection according to which epiphenomenalism is incoherent, because phenomenal terms could not mean what epiphenomenalists say they mean if epiphenomenalism were true. This paper seeks to remove the sting of this objection by showing that one can construct a coherent epiphenomenalist theory of meaning from any coherent account that may be offered by a phenomenal realist physicalist. This argument bears adversely on an important argument offered by Balog (1999), and some arguments given in support of her view can be re-targeted as arguments against my conclusion. These arguments are reviewed and answered.

Keywords: A. Bailey; G. Gomes; K. Balog; Semantic Problem; Zombie Refutation; conceptual dualism; epiphenomenalism; meaning; phenomenal qualities; zombies

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Iowa State University, Email: wsrob@iastate.edu

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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