from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Philosophy The doctrine holding that mental activities are simply epiphenomena of the neural processes of the brain.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. 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.
- n. Such a doctrine, as advanced by a particular thinker or school of thought.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The doctrine that consciousness, or mind, is an added or secondary phenomenon (epiphenomenon); the doctrine that consciousness is the incidental result of the phenomena of neural structure and of neural activity according to the laws of mechanics.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
In contrast to Huxley, I am here using the term epiphenomenalism 'to denote any view according to which belief isn't involved in the causal chain leading to behavior, whether or not that view involves the dualism apparently part of
Let's say you are six feet tall and weigh 200 pounds and believe that epiphenomenalism is false and that 5+1 = 51 and that tomorrow more than 93 of your ancestors will be reincarnated as bright orange unicorns or bluish centaurs in a parallel universe, and you would love to be a time-traveling psychotic computer program that designs completely undetectable entities.
The theory called epiphenomenalism simply denies that the metal can affect the physical, and contents itself with an explanation of why the mental appears to affect the physical.
More likely, the view that depression is purely a physical illness reflects a school of thought known as epiphenomenalism, which argues that the mind has no causal effect at all, and is just the subjective experience of our brain at work.
This view is known as epiphenomenalism, a term coined by Thomas Henry Huxley, a.k.a. Darwin's bull-dog for his defense of evolution, though by the way while Thomas Huxley is a good name to know, I don't know how similar his views are to those of the contemporary guys we'll be talking about, and you'll only be tested on the modern guys.
Of course, it is possible that Huxley made oral use of "epiphenomenalism" in lecturing.
; Does physicalism imply that mental events and states cannot really be causes (does physicalism imply a kind of epiphenomenalism)?
The medical philosophers of the eighteenth century, with their cramped Cartesianism, have had a great part in the genesis of the "epiphenomenalism" and "monism" of the present day.
"epiphenomenalism" came into philosophy from medicine in the late nineteenth century, possibly, though less certainly, through William James's use of the term in his influential Principles of Psychology (1890).
"epiphenomenalism" that associates consciousness with certain particular vibrations and puts it here and there in the world in a sporadic state, and sometimes to a "monism" that scatters consciousness into as many tiny grains as there are atoms; but, in either case, it is to an incomplete Spinozism or to an incomplete Leibnizianism that we come back.
Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.