Definition of epiphenomenon in US English:


nounPlural epiphenomena

  • 1A secondary effect or byproduct that arises from but does not causally influence a process.

    • ‘They are unapologetic about regarding museums as part of the epiphenomena of cultural studies.’
    • ‘The epic contest between capitalism and socialism, in Huntington's view, thus turned out to have been an epiphenomenon masking the real struggle among the followers of Jesus, Mohammed, Vishnu et al.’
    • ‘First put forward in response to reductionist theories that treated race as an epiphenomenon of class, ethnicity, or nation, racial formation theory has reshaped the sociological study of race.’
    • ‘Is hysteria fundamentally a psychological disorder with physical manifestations; an organic disease with mental and emotional epiphenomena; or some inseparable intermixture of the two?’
    • ‘But he saw monopolistic distortions largely as epiphenomena resulting from an undue concentration of wealth and power whose ultimate source lay in the ‘great problem’ posed by private land ownership.’
    • ‘Others see crying as a so-called epiphenomenon, a secondary event that serves no real function.’
    • ‘Why, then, relegate these exemplary films to the margins of cinema, as if they were only epiphenomena?’
    • ‘Schwarzmantel argues that the concept of ideology is an epiphenomenon of modernity.’
    1. 1.1Medicine A secondary symptom, occurring simultaneously with a disease or condition but not directly related to it.
      • ‘It is unclear whether psychologic or muscle tension is actually present and, if present, whether these are primary events or epiphenomena.’
      • ‘Further research is needed to establish whether oxidative stress has an active role in the pathogenesis of asthma, or whether oxidative stress might be an epiphenomenon of the disease.’
      • ‘For example, if an infectious disease is associated with high levels of a factor X in the blood, it is often difficult to know whether this is of pathogenic importance or simply an epiphenomenon of the disease process.’
      • ‘During sepsis, we are learning that immune-endocrine crosstalk is not an epiphenomenon but is critical to the organism's capacity to cope with severe stress.’
      • ‘It is unknown whether the staining of hemoglobin reflects a pathologic response or is an epiphenomenon.’
    2. 1.2 A mental state regarded as a byproduct of brain activity.
      • ‘Functionalism therefore holds that it is in the nature of certain mental states to have certain effects; therefore there can be no mental epiphenomena.’
      • ‘‘Consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the brain.’’
      • ‘In Wolfram's view of the universe there is no continuum, and particles are a mere epiphenomenon; indeed, motion and geometry are also little more than illusions.’
      • ‘What he wished to avoid was a materialism that saw mental states as only epiphenomena, and an idealism not open to scientific investigation.’
      • ‘By the same token, the critics of the sense-datum theory argued that the mistaken pictorial view of mental images arises mainly from our confusion about ordinary language and claimed that mental images are epiphenomena.’