Analysis Of Frank Jackson 's Paper, Epiphenomenal Qualia, By Michael Jackson

1787 Words May 5th, 2015 8 Pages
In Frank Jackson’s paper, “Epiphenomenal Qualia,” Jackson rejects physicalism, a philosophical theory that states that everything in the world that exists, including all that is mental, is physical. Additionally, physicalists believe that everything in the world can be explained through the laws of fundamental physics. Furthermore, Jackson uses thought experiments such as Mary’s room, in order to demonstrate the non-physical nature that certain experiences can create. Rather, Jackson believes that these non-physical experiences can be explained by information known as “epiphenomenal qualia.” In this paper, I argue that Jackson successfully introduces epiphenomenalism and proves his theory that physicalism is false, since there are certain experiences, or “qualia”, that we have that can’t simply be explained through physical notions.
In order to fully understand how Jackson came up with his argument, one must first understand what the words “physicalism” and “epiphenomenal qualia” actually mean in relation to Jackson’s paper. Jackson explains physicalism as a certain type of materialism, which is the belief that there’s only one main substance in the world and that is matter, or the physical material that make up the “material world.” Materialism essentially rejects substance dualism, which says that there are two different types of substances that exist, the matter that make up the “material world” and the mind, which is responsible for our “mental awareness” and how we feel…
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