The contemporary world is pervasively artifactual. Even our most mundane, biologically based activities, such as eating, sleeping, and sex, depend on engagement with artifacts. Moreover, many of the plants and animals we encounter on a daily basis qualify as biological artifacts Sperber But unlike language—which also pervades human life from top to bottom—artifacts as such are not the subject matter of any well-defined area of philosophical research. This is as much the case today as it has been throughout the history of Western philosophy Dipert
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Epiphenomenalism is a position in the philosophy of mind according to which mental states or events are caused by physical states or events in the brain but do not themselves cause anything. It seems as if our mental life affects our body, and, via our body, the physical world surrounding us: it seems that sharp pains make us wince, it seems that fear makes our heart beat faster, it seems that remembering an embarrassing situation makes us blush and it seems that the perception of an old friend makes us smile. In reality, however, these sequences are the result of causal processes at an underlying physical level: what makes us wince is not the pain, but the neurophysiological process which causes the pain; what makes our heart beat faster is not fear, but the state of our nervous system which causes the fear etc. Accordingly, epiphenomenalism in the philosophy of mind holds that our actions have purely physical causes neurophysiological changes in the brain, say , while our intention, desire or volition to act does not cause our actions but is itself caused by the physical causes of our actions. To assume that regular successions of mental and physical events—volitions followed by appropriate behavior, fear followed by an increased heart rate, pains followed by wincings etc. Huxley was convinced that the body of humans and animals is a purely physical mechanism and that the physical processes of life are explainable in the same way as all other physical phenomena.
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Last Updated: October 20, References Approved. This article was co-authored by Alexander Peterman, MA. Alexander Peterman is a Private Tutor in Florida.