Evolution and Conscious Experience
Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on January 14, 2007
A week ago Jeff at Minds, Meaning and Morals, wrote a post about how evolution+epiphenomenalism=weirdness.
Here is my contribution to the topic. It is simple argument, so I guess lot of people have come to it after short consideration…
The combination of evolution and epiphenomenalism yields this weird conclusion:
That evolution made us so that
we act as if we have conscious phenomenal experience (For this or that reason, we end up writing about this “conscious phenomenal experience”. Maybe Dawkins can figure out why do our genes prefer survival-machines who talk about phenomenal experience.), and only by chance (as consciousness doesn’t affect the world if we are epiphenomenalist) made us so that we *actually have* conscious experience.
What should be understood by “chance” is anything that is not metaphysically necessary. (e.g. even some kind of psychophysical laws would count as chance.)
How do epiphenomenalists respond to those problems?
UPDATE:Brandon pointed in the comments that the phrase “acting as if we have conscious experience” doesn’t make sense in argument against epiphenomenalism, and I agree, so scratch that sentence. What I was referring by that phrase is those acts that we usually take as being there because of the conscious experience. But there is no real need to refer to them in that way. We could instead enumerate those acts… What I meant is e.g. writing a paper or book on the issue of phenomenal experience or qualia, discussing and defending that we have conscious experience,etc…