Do humans have a soul?

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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Harbal
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Re: Re:

Post by Harbal » Sat May 04, 2019 5:12 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 3:19 pm
Are we going anywhere with this?
As far as I can see, there isn't anything to go anywhere with.

Belinda
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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Belinda » Sat May 04, 2019 5:29 pm

Yes, okay "comes in gradations" if you prefer. I agree, mine was clumsy.

"Holy writ' is in a sort of vernacular which I wrongly thought was widely known. My bad. It means the Holy Bible.

Amphiboly:

https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/amphiboly
n an ambiguous grammatical construction; e.g., `they are flying planes' can mean either that someone is flying planes or that something is flying planes. Synonyms: amphibology Type of: ambiguity. an expression whose meaning cannot be determined from its context.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat May 04, 2019 6:11 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 5:29 pm
Yes, okay "comes in gradations" if you prefer. I agree, mine was clumsy.

"Holy writ' is in a sort of vernacular which I wrongly thought was widely known. My bad. It means the Holy Bible.
Oh. Usually it's used to avoid specifying whose "religion" you're talking about.
Amphiboly:

https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/amphiboly
n an ambiguous grammatical construction; e.g., `they are flying planes' can mean either that someone is flying planes or that something is flying planes. Synonyms: amphibology Type of: ambiguity. an expression whose meaning cannot be determined from its context.
Yep. That's it.

"Relative" is ambiguous. To say "volition is relative" could mean more than one thing, and it's impossible to determine from context which you meant. That's why I think "comes in gradations" works better...I think (unless it's still ambiguous) that you meant that different creatures had different capabilities of volition, not that the particular volition of any creature was relative to its state, or that volition could only be detected with relative accuracy, or something like else like that.

Assuming, then, that that's what you meant, we can observe that volition seems differently distributed both among and within populations. But we have no assurance from this fact that the volition we observe is of a single, same quality. It might be, for example, that the "volition" of paramecia differs both in amount and in quality from the "volition" of fish. And the "volition" of both might be different again from the "volition" of foxes.

But the most important case comes in the discussion of possible differences, both qualitative and quantitative, of "volition" between lower animals and humans. How do we know that the "volition" of human beings is not unique in kind, not merely greater in quantity than that of foxes, fish and paramecia? Of course, we don't know that for certain: but we have reasons to think it's not the same. One thing that suggests this is the ability to fend off instinct, which seems especially possible for human beings, and not apparently possible for paramecia. Another might be the ability to theorize, that is well-developed in human beings, but is only very marginally evident in primates, and not at all evident in lower life forms. But these will have to be taken as indicative evidences, not as conclusive proof: because where we're dealing with ostensible behaviour (on the merely physical level), we're not yet touching on motivation (which is on the soul-mind level, and has to do with volition).

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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Belinda » Sat May 04, 2019 6:59 pm

Immanuel you are right to differentiate between quality and quantity of volition. I do recognise difference in quality between the volitions of living species. If you imply that 'soul' means human quality of volition then I'd rather you steered clear of this usage of 'soul' as it's obviously a contentious word in the context of human volition.

We need to relegate 'soul' to that large category of words about which Wittgenstein said "the meaning of a word is its use".

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat May 04, 2019 8:50 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 6:59 pm
If you imply that 'soul' means human quality of volition then I'd rather you steered clear of this usage of 'soul' as it's obviously a contentious word in the context of human volition.
No, I'm not saying that volition IS soul. I'm saying that absent a soul, you'd have no such thing as volition. That's quite different.

It's like saying, "Without eyes, you'd have no sight." Eyes are not sight: sight is one property of eyes. Colour would be another. Expression would be another...

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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Belinda » Sun May 05, 2019 10:59 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
No, I'm not saying that volition IS soul. I'm saying that absent a soul, you'd have no such thing as volition. That's quite different.

It's like saying, "Without eyes, you'd have no sight." Eyes are not sight: sight is one property of eyes. Colour would be another. Expression would be another...
What you describe would equally well suit what I call, not 'soul', but 'human brain-mind'.

Do you realise that what most moderns connote to 'soul' is religious devotions?

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Harbal
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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Harbal » Sun May 05, 2019 11:11 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 8:50 pm
No, I'm not saying that volition IS soul. I'm saying that absent a soul, you'd have no such thing as volition.
So far it just sounds like a variation in terminology. The thing that provides volition, you call a soul; whereas another person may have a more prosaic word for it. It just sounds odd to some people that one's volition might persist after there is no longer a body for it to act upon.

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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by attofishpi » Sun May 05, 2019 12:13 pm

Harbal wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 11:11 am
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 8:50 pm
No, I'm not saying that volition IS soul. I'm saying that absent a soul, you'd have no such thing as volition.
So far it just sounds like a variation in terminology. The thing that provides volition, you call a soul; whereas another person may have a more prosaic word for it. It just sounds odd to some people that one's volition might persist after there is no longer a body for it to act upon.
It takes a shitload of matter to provide the attributes required of volition.
A soul on the other hand, is perhaps a contingent part of matter, a seed that traverses time in the form of recursion through matter ..and 'time'

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Sun May 05, 2019 1:19 pm

Harbal wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 11:11 am
So far it just sounds like a variation in terminology.
It's not.

I'm suggesting that volition is an attribute or aspect -- just one attribute -- of soul...not that soul is an attribute of volition, or that volition is the total summation of what a soul is.

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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Belinda » Sun May 05, 2019 1:51 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 1:19 pm
Harbal wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 11:11 am
So far it just sounds like a variation in terminology.
It's not.

I'm suggesting that volition is an attribute or aspect -- just one attribute -- of soul...not that soul is an attribute of volition, or that volition is the total summation of what a soul is.
How do you decide what's an attribute of soul and what isn't an attribute of soul?

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Sun May 05, 2019 1:57 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 1:51 pm
How do you decide what's an attribute of soul and what isn't an attribute of soul?
It's not too hard, actually.

Unanimated bodies do very little. It's pretty obvious the the fusion of soul and body are essential to life, and that absent this quality we call "soul," or sometimes "consciousness" or "identity," if you will (though perhaps we might also view those as aspects) the body is dead. It has no volition or even motion at all.

And it's in a mere 100% of the cases wherein this turns out to be empirically true.

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Harbal
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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Harbal » Sun May 05, 2019 2:01 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 1:19 pm
Harbal wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 11:11 am
So far it just sounds like a variation in terminology.
It's not.

I'm suggesting that volition is an attribute or aspect -- just one attribute -- of soul...not that soul is an attribute of volition, or that volition is the total summation of what a soul is.
As a human being, it feels to me that I make a conscious decision to do something and then do it. That is the process I think of when I hear the word "volition". Are we talking about the same thing here? As far as I know, they haven't yet figured out exactly what consciousness is, but are you saying consciousness is an attribute of the soul? Or maybe you are thinking of some kind of epiphenomenalism where the soul is calling the shots and merely informs the consciousness afterwards, but lets it think it is in charge. I don't know what you are saying but, given different terminology, we may well agree. What I am pretty sure we would not agree on is the notion of us having a soul which survives our physical death and then goes knock, knock, knocking on Heaven's door.
Last edited by Harbal on Sun May 05, 2019 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Sun May 05, 2019 2:57 pm

Harbal wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 2:01 pm
As a human being, it feels to me that I make a conscious decision to do something and then do it. That is the process I think of when I hear the word "volition". Are we talking about the same thing here?
Essentially, I think.
As far as I know, they haven't yet figured out exactly what consciousness is, but are you saying consciousness is an attribute of the soul?
It's hard to say. It could be that "consciousness" is the primary descriptor. Or is it "identity"? Or is "volition" more important?

Our difficulty is that we are not able to find "soul materials" of any kind, but also can't find a way to explain why this "soul" thing is so able to produce material results. That's a bit of a difficulty. Our only methodology is a kind of deduction-from-results. But there's no way to dissect whatever it is that is producing these obvious results.
Or maybe you are thinking of some kind of epiphenomenalism
Definitely not. I think epiphenomenalism is simply a non-answer.
What I am pretty sure we would not agree on is the notion of us having a soul which survives our physical death and then goes knock, knock, knocking on Heaven's door.
That's not the issue at the moment, and to worry about it would be to try to avoid a whole line of thought simply because we didn't want a particular extended conclusion -- and that would be a faulty way of doing our reasoning. More importantly, we have a situation in which this "body" thing seems to need some kind of "soul" thing, and while we can see they "need" each other in some sense, we can't seem to satisfactorily reduce one to the other.

That's a problem for the here-and-now, not yet for whatever future is to come.
Last edited by Immanuel Can on Sun May 05, 2019 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Harbal
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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Harbal » Sun May 05, 2019 3:27 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 2:57 pm

What I am pretty sure we would not agree on is the notion of us having a soul which survives our physical death and then goes nock, nock, nocking on Heaven's door.
That's not the issue at the moment, and to worry about it would be to try to avoid a whole line of thought simply because we didn't want a particular extended conclusion -- and that would be a faulty way of doing our reasoning. More importantly, we have a situation in which this "body" thing seems to need some kind of "soul" thing, and while we can see they "need" each other in some sense, we can't seem to satisfactorily reduce one to the other.

That's a problem for the here-and-now, not yet for whatever future is to come.
Immanuel, I don't suppose you would be kind enough to edit your post so that my quote contains the correctly spelt versions of the words "knock" and "knocking", would you? I have edited the original post but am powerless to do anything about the quote in your post. If you could do it before too many people notice the rather embarrassing error, I would be most grateful. :oops:

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Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Belinda » Sun May 05, 2019 3:47 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Unanimated bodies do very little. It's pretty obvious the the fusion of soul and body are essential to life, and that absent this quality we call "soul," or sometimes "consciousness" or "identity," if you will (though perhaps we might also view those as aspects) the body is dead. It has no volition or even motion at all.
There are several sorts of consciousness. Waking consciousness, hallucinating consciousness, and dreaming consciousness, possibly also meditative states of consciousness. I guess by 'consciousness' you mean fully waking awareness.

There are two sorts of identity.There's how I feel myself to be the same person who is in my memories of me. And there is also how others identify me by their memories, my thunb prints, my DNA, dental record, and my personal identification papers.The former is not fixed because there are people who have more than one set of memories, and also there are people who lose their memories.

I have heard of 'soul' as a reference to a music genre, and also as a synonym for sensibility.

I really think that you would do more for your cause if you would stop trying to prove it and if you would stop assigning a fixed meaning to a word which ,unlike scientific and mathematical terms, has no fixed meaning.

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