3 Epiphenomenalism and Eliminativism
Consider the following argument about an alleged baseball causing atoms arranged windowwise to scatter, or, for ease of exposition, causing 'the shattering of a window'. 1
(1) The baseball—if it exists—is causally irrelevant to whether its constituent atoms, acting in concert, cause the shattering of the window.
(2) The shattering of the window is caused by those atoms, acting in concert.
(3) The shattering of the window is not overdetermined.
Therefore,
(4) If the baseball exists, it does not cause the shattering of the window.

The rest of this chapter will, in one way or another, involve this argument, which I shall call 'the Overdetermination Argument'. I shall begin by defending its validity, and then proceed to explicate, and defend the truth of, each of its

-56-

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Objects and Persons
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Objects and Persons iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • 1: Explaining Eliminativism 1
  • 2: Considerations in Favour of Eliminativism 30
  • 3: Epiphenomenalism and Eliminativism 56
  • 4: Surviving Eliminativism 85
  • 5: Considerations in Favour of Eliminating Us? 118
  • 6: Mental Causation and Free Will 138
  • 7: Belief and Practice 162
  • References 191
  • Index 201
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