Epiphenomenalism is a mind-body dualist proposal that states that the brain can affect the mind but the mind cannot affect the brain. However, it has a big problem. It doesn't explain why the brain knows about the mind (qualia).

"The most powerful argument against epiphenomenalism is that it is self-contradictory: if we have knowledge about epiphenomenalism, then our brains know about the existence of the mind, but if epiphenomenalism were correct, then our brains should not have any knowledge about the mind, because the mind does not affect anything physical."


One of the proposed solutions is that God programs in our belief of our own qualia. How can one solve this problem without invoking God?

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    Wikipedia is not a very good source on such subtleties, a better source is Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, see Epiphenomenalism. This specific objection is called self-stultification, and it is discussed there in detail. The standard response is to reject the premise that knowledge of a mental event requires causation by that mental event. – Conifold Oct 10 at 21:32
  • I see no solution for this problem other than to abandon epiphenomenalism. I've considered the work-around suggested by Conifold and to me it does not work. But it would not be necessary to invoke God since there are options, one of which would be to deny that the distinction between Mind and Body is fundamental. Descartes speculated along these lines but this is often forgotten. . . – PeterJ Oct 11 at 12:49
  • @Conifold What about PeterJ 's objection? – Noah Oct 11 at 21:03
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    I do not see an objection, only a mention of private reflections without details. – Conifold Oct 11 at 21:27
  • See also here: philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/54474/… – present Oct 13 at 0:41

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