On Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 10:45 PM, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com>wrote:

> On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > Pain is anything but epiphenomenal.  The fact that someone is able to
> talk about it rules out it being an epiphenomenon.
> The behaviour - talking about the pain - could be explained entirely
> as a sequence of physical events, without any hint of underlying
> qualia. By analogy, we can explain the behaviour of a billiard ball
> entirely in physical terms, without any idea if the ball has qualia or
> some other ineffable non-quale property. In the ball's case this
> property, like the experience of pain, would be epiphenomenal, without
> causal efficacy of its own.

If it has no causal efficacy, what causes someone to talk about the pain
they are experiencing?  Is it all coincidental?

I find the entire concept of epiphenominalism to be self-defeating: if it
were true, there is no reason to expect anyone to ever have proposed it.
If consciousness were truly an epiphenomenon then the experience of it and
the resulting wonder about it would necessarily be private and
non-shareable.  In other words, whoever is experiencing the consciousness
with all its intrigue can in no way effect changes in the physical world.
So then who is it that proposes the theory of epiphenominalism to explain
the mystery of conscious experience?  It can't be the causally
inefficacious experiencer.  The only consistent answer epiphenominalism can
offer is that the theory of epiphenominalism comes from a causally
efficacious entity which in no way is effected by experiences.  It might as
well be a considered a non-experiencer, for it would behave the same
regardless of whether it experienced something or if it were a zombie.

Epiphenominalism is forced to defend the absurd notion that
epiphenominalism (and all other theories of consciousness) are proposed by
things that have never experienced consciousness.  Perhaps instead, its
core assumption is wrong.  The reason for all these books and discussion
threads about consciousness is that experiences and consciousness are
causally efficacious.  If they weren't then why is anyone talking about


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