Phenomenal Powers: A New Response to Hume.
Hedda Hassel Mørch (Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences)

November 15, 2019, 10:30am - 12:30pm
Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

32 Vassar Street
United States


"Hume argued that there are no causal powers, at least not as far as we can know or positively conceive of, because all causes are conceivable without their effects. But a seeming exception to this claim can be found in the realm of phenomenal properties: it is difficult to conceive of the feeling of pain making a subject who experiences it pursue it (or do anything else than avoid it), or the feeling of pleasure making a subject avoid it (or do anything else than pursue it)—at least in the absence of interfering motives. These connections are standardly explained away as merely psychological, as analytic or constitutive (as per analytic functionalism), or as merely normative. I will argue that they should rather be taken at face value: as indicating that phenomenal pain and pleasure truly necessitate their effects in a properly causal way, and thereby constitute real, irreducible causal powers. I will then suggest that this view supports a kind of panpsychism, and that this is no reason to reject it."

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