Do humans have a soul?

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

Moderators: AMod, iMod

Univalence
Posts: 492
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:28 pm

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Univalence » Fri May 31, 2019 2:54 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:02 pm
The question you are going to ask always takes its assumptions from ontology. "What is the boiling point of water?" already assumes the existence of a thing called "water
Interesting. So what kind of ontology do you end up with following this line of enquiry:

What is there? The Universe.
What is The Universe?
Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:18 am
"Ontology." Not "cosmology."

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 8381
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri May 31, 2019 4:22 pm

Justintruth wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:28 pm
A "reflex" is usually defined so that no conscious action is required. It is an autonomous sensor to motor response that occurs without the need to route to the brain. At least that is my understanding. So consciousness is not playing in a reflex at all. What are you thinking?
Only that when the person with apnea is unconscious, they do not breath independently. That's the danger -- there is not an automatic reflex in play there in an apnea sufferer, one that is in play in the case of a non-apnea sufferer.

So in this case, consciousness is required. And that's interesting.

How do we decide whether or not the mind persists beyond death?
Well, remember we need evidence to believe that something is happening. And while the absence of evidence is not strictly evidence for absence...
Right. And let's accept that humanly speaking, there's no evidence for consciousness beyond death. As I said before, I think we have to say that the "dead-and-back-again" experiences of people are very weak evidence for this, at least for us, no matter how compelling they may seem to the person experiencing them at the time. So I'm resting nothing on them at the moment.

Science, then, is powerless to provide anything but "absence of evidence" in this case, and can't get us "evidence of absence." I think we also agree on that. But what if we accept that science is not the totality of truth? I don't mean to imply that science is hokey, or that science is flawed; but what if we have to accept (and indeed, I think it's quite obvious that we do) that science is not going to tell us everything about the world, just as biology won't, and chemistry won't, and physics won't. It's not that these disciplines are flawed, but that being disciplines, they pertain only to a certain, bounded way of looking at a question. And we have no certainty that between physics, chemistry and biology, say, we have the complete set of disciplines to describe everything real in the world.

For example, what can physics tell us about aesthetics? What can chemistry tell us about morality? What is the "meaning" inherent to biology? And so forth. And, I would add, what can mere physiology tell us about consciousness? I think that if we take a full view of what consciousness is, we're going to find all physiological "answers" a bit dusty and reductive. And I think that a lot of other philosophers have found the same.
We have know way of knowing a lot of things are not genuine. But there is a lot of evidence suggesting that they are not and we have no hard evidence that they are so again, it requires evidence that stands up in a certain way to investigation for a claim to be considered factual.

Yes, I think that's true.

But one of the limitations of science is that it refuses to deal with the truly unique, unreproduceable and untestable. If something won't get into a test tube, lie down for a meter stick, rest over a bunsen burner, make itself available to a telescope or microscope, then science simply doesn't have any way to address that thing. And the facile assumption, then, would be that whatever science cannot register must be unreal.

The assumption, then becomes what philosophers have dubbed "Scientism." That's not "science," but rather a belief about science. It's an ungrounded a priori assumption that science and truth are absolutely co-extensive: what is not science is not truth, and all truth is nothing but something science registers. And while we have every reason to admire science in the realms in which it proposes to speak, we have absolutely no warrant for Scientistic belief that that is the end of the story.

The problem remains this: that there are realms of experience, like consciousness, morality, mind, meaning, aesthetic judgment, and so on, that everybody but hard-headed Materialists believes to exist, and in fact, upon which every human being acts every day of their lives, but about which science itself is having a great deal of trouble speaking. And that's not a reason for rejecting science, but rather a reason to question whether our science is capable of dealing with everything that really exists.

Still, I accept your idea that we need evidence. And I suggest that the failure of science to unpack these issues in a convincing way ought to convince us that we're not getting enough evidence to ground a belief in anything from there. So we're in a paradox: we need to -- and do, in fact -- believe in a few things that science is not helping us with; and these things are too essential to being human, and too widely observed as phenomena (indeed, they're universal, and even strong Materialists act upon them every day) to be dismissed.

What to do? My suggestion would be this: that from the human side, we are making no progress. But what about the Divine side? IF (and let us just say this as a theory for the moment, not as a fact claim) there is a God, can He (in theory) reveal something to us that science cannot discover? Could He, for example, reveal His own existence? Could He tell us what happens after death? Could He tell us what objective morality is? Could He explain the meaning of life?

I think it's quite clear that IF there were such a Being, He could do all of the above. That would be true by definition. That does not yet impose upon us a belief that He exists, or that if He does, He has chosen to do so. But it raises the question of how a universe without a God would be quite different from one with a God -- at least in the matter of establishing the reality of things like "mind," "morals" and "meaning." And it would mean that human science, as great as it is, could not rationally be viewed as the totality of truth, but only as a part of truth...that is, a certain set of truths about the Material world.
Ok, let's think this through. We could posit that water is a form of hydrogen.
Yes. And that would be a bad theory. The fact that we go on to test further means that we have found that theory inadequate.

What would not make sense (and this is what I'm arguing against) is if we said, "Well, one thing is one posit; and those loonies who thing there ought to be more want at least two posits, so they must be wrong."
a no-ghost/no-zombie world
.
As I said before, we're not talking about "ghosts" or "zombies." I have no idea why this keeps reappearing, because they are not the only alternatives. Both in life and (possibly, I won't insist) after death, a human entity is plausibly comprised of two co-ordinated entities, both body and soul. It just may be, as the Bible insists it is, that "body" is not only one thing.
...we can't seem to reliably produce ghosts or zombies...
Right. And science deals only with what we can "reliably produce." There are two problems, though: one is that we can't "produce" everything that exists. A second is that not everything real is "reliably" within our power. I can't reproduce a black hole...but they are real.
...we are trying to add a posit to material science
No, we're actually not doing that. Rather, we're trying to decide what "material science" should comprise, how far "material science" is informative, and when our certainty about it's pronouncements must rationally end. But there's no "adding" going on, unless we've already accepted -- without any proof at all, and many reasons to doubt -- that "materials" are the totality of all that is real. And that's the basic theory I'm disputing. I'm saying that Materialism is narrow and dogmatic, not inclusive of all phenomena and not grounded in reason. It's a faith position only, and in the worst sense of that word.
The current physics predicts zombies. That is why it needs to be fixed. David Chalmers championed this view.
Then why would you say that Materialism is all there is? If it's so clear that the present physics is predicting wildly wrongly, then it ought also to be clear that something is profoundly deficient in our present understanding of physics.
...it could be that the matter itself so assembled experiences.
This claim glosses over a lot. Chiefly, it creates an "emergent" problem. How does "mind" spring from that which has no mind? That needs a very precise sort of explanation, if we are to accept it as a theory. And we have none. But it also just assumes that things "assemble" themselves, without even trying to describe what power or intelligence "assembles" these things. That's awfully close to magical thinking, and it's certainly bad explaining.

What we CAN observe, what we DO reproduce every time, and with no need for any fiddling in a lab, is that things that are genuinely random do not "design" themselves. If I take a stack of black dots, and throw them into the air so that they land on the ground, they will not "design" anything out of themselves. I could do it a billion times, and they will never even form a single word or phrase, let alone assemble themselves into a monkey or man. And that's a test anybody can do, anytime, any place. It's a demonstration of the second law of thermodynamics, essentially.

So we can expect no "design" to happen by means of chaos. But there's a secondary problem too. Even if the second law of thermodynamics were suspended, there is no automatic correspondence between something having a "design" and the thing itself being "conscious." So now we've got two problems: one, how did design appear, and secondly, how did the designed thing become conscious?
If we assume that brains experience...
We cannot. By definition, "brain" is limited to the materials. Materials don't experience.
experiencing is accounted for
It hasn't been "accounted for," there: instead, it's been denied by way of saying, "It's just the brain." That's mere Reductionism, not explanation, if "mind" is a real thing.

If "mind" is not a real thing, then we need no explanation for it. But if it is (and it's true we all think it is), then it cannot be dismissed as "materials," but needs an explanation adequate to the phenomenon we are all experiencing.
Justintruth wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:50 pm
Whether is its controversial is irrelevant.
All the facts are accounted for. Name one that isn't.

That we all have minds. You're using yours right now, and I'm using mine.
There are plenty of instances where normal assumptions are proven to be false.
Sure. And some when they turn out to be true. The latter are often marked by being universal, which is what "mind" is.
What? You do see a primate when you look in the mirror?!!! What do you see? A zebra?
Of course not. But not a "primate."

"Primate" is a word from the old, now failed, ape-to-man theory. No present Evolutionists thinks that we are descended directly from apes. They go with the "common ancestor" theory, this "ancestor" being something back in the primordial soup (called "UCA"). The newer theory presumes that correspondence equals causality, which is itself a fallacy.

But Evolutionism is a big topic. Personally, I'm not a subscriber, especially in regard to human origins.
...look at the similarities..
That's the fallacy that created the now-rejected theory in the first place.
Do you really think that my position is that there is something non-sentien(t) about matter?
Oh, I would hope so. Otherwise, you are imagining that basic elements like "oxygen" and "hydrogen" or "carbon" are sentient. And I don't think that outside of Panpsychists of various kinds, anybody thinks that.
Ok, I have now told you that many times I think I will call that "Mistake 1"
I'm not clear...what is "Mistake 1," in your view, precisely?
Fictive. Hmmm. Just a moment ago you were saying that possibly a ghost is the what survives death.
Oh, I see your misunderstanding here.

No, I'm not arguing for ghosts.
You don't need panpsychism if it requires a certain type of assembly.
I think that's an inadequate response on two bases: firstly, that "assembly" is only complexity, not consciousness (though for something to be genuinely "assembled" or to be recognized as such would definitely have to include the action of an intelligence), and secondly that we have no reason to think that mere materials, however "arranged" can think at all. We have too many counter-cases to think that. Snowflakes look both "complex" and "arranged," (some might even say they look "assembled") but are 100% lacking in consciousness, for example.
Remember that whenever someone has a child they are "assembling a pile" of molecules.
Or is something being "designed" in the human womb? That's the contentious question. Your explanation is like those people who want to call a baby "a cluster of cells": it's so reductive as to be absurd. You are yourself a "cluster of cells," if that explanation is sufficient. But I think it's really not.
Right now they are building a bridge in Holland that will be both designed and buit automatically by and algorithm that, presumably, is not aware.

But some aware person programmed the algorithm. And without him/her, the algorithm itself would not exist.
Let's call this Mistake 2 - that complex competent function requires a designer.
Incorrect. It's true that complexity does not entail a designer, as when a pile of rocks is complex. But "function" is quite different. Nothing can be said to have "function" unless it is "functioning as" something...which means we have to be surmising a role for the functioning entity, so as to judge it as functioning properly in that role. But "role" implies both design and teleology.

You've assumed too much there. It would only be a mistake to say that complexity is not always designed, not that function exists apart from a role in a design.
If this is your basic supposition, we need proof for it.
Let's call this mistake 3, that you need to prove your assumptions.
No, there's no mistake there.

I said "supposition," not "assumption." One can have all kinds of "assumptions" for which one has no basis...but if you turn it into a "supposition," you are expecting rational persons to have to share it as a premise in an argument. You are asking them to "suppose" it too. And that brings back in their right to ask for proof.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 8381
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri May 31, 2019 4:23 pm

Univalence wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 2:54 pm
Interesting. So what kind of ontology do you end up with following this line of enquiry:

What is there? The Universe.
What is The Universe?
I don't follow that line.

Univalence
Posts: 492
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:28 pm

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Univalence » Fri May 31, 2019 4:30 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 4:23 pm
I don't follow that line.
OK. All roads lead to Rome.

Do you never arrive at the cosmological ontology?

Belinda
Posts: 3497
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Belinda » Fri May 31, 2019 4:54 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
So is the consciousness necessary to the activation of the reflex, or does the reflex produce the consciousness? It looks like the former is more plausible. But if all we are is physiology, it should be the other way round...we just don't know.

Consciousness is not necessary for the reflex response. You become conscious of your knee jerk reflex because there are afferent nerves which connect your knee with your conscious brain. If your afferent nerve up your spinal cord was disabled for some reason you would still get your knee jerk reflex. In addition you can of course view your own and others' knee jerk responses.

Physiology is simply one way among others of explaining natural phenomena. Poetry, anthropology, and history, also explain what we are

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 8381
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri May 31, 2019 8:41 pm

Belinda wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 4:54 pm
Consciousness is not necessary for the reflex response.
It is for sufferers of sleep apnea...not for those who don't have it.

An apnea-sufferer can actually suffocate while coming out from under anaesthetic. What's equally interesting is that as soon as he is conscious, he can breathe again, perfectly normally, with no impediment. But he won't do so automatically. He will have to be conscious.

Belinda
Posts: 3497
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Belinda » Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:06 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 8:41 pm
Belinda wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 4:54 pm
Consciousness is not necessary for the reflex response.
It is for sufferers of sleep apnea...not for those who don't have it.

An apnea-sufferer can actually suffocate while coming out from under anaesthetic. What's equally interesting is that as soon as he is conscious, he can breathe again, perfectly normally, with no impediment. But he won't do so automatically. He will have to be conscious.
Some reflexes are more susceptible to inhibition than others. For instance there may be a few rare people who can inhibit their eye blink reflex.
There are pathologies which destroy protective reflexes and I suppose that apnoeia/apnea is pathological in that a protective reflex is wrecked. I voluntarily blink several times in quick succession when there is a speck of dust in my eye.

The central nervous system can exert some control over involuntary reactions to physical and mental stimuli. The central nervous system can exert control over some potential reactions that are deemed to be immoral.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 8381
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:59 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:06 am
The central nervous system can exert some control over involuntary reactions to physical and mental stimuli. The central nervous system can exert control over some potential reactions that are deemed to be immoral.
If that's true, it's an interesting counter case to your point. For there, the consciousness 'inhabiting' the nervous system can, at the will of the person, "exert control" over the purely physiological aspects. That means the "control" comes from the consciousness.

And from a Materialist perspective, that should be impossible.

Belinda
Posts: 3497
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Belinda » Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:26 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:59 pm
Belinda wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:06 am
The central nervous system can exert some control over involuntary reactions to physical and mental stimuli. The central nervous system can exert control over some potential reactions that are deemed to be immoral.
If that's true, it's an interesting counter case to your point. For there, the consciousness 'inhabiting' the nervous system can, at the will of the person, "exert control" over the purely physiological aspects. That means the "control" comes from the consciousness.

And from a Materialist perspective, that should be impossible.
You must realise that "inhabiting" connotes independent entity. There are several ways in which the brain-mind is conscious. Moreover some individuals are more than others able to control their reactions. To attribute the capability to an independent entity borders on fantasy fiction.

It's unwise to try to prove that souls, God, salvation, sin, Christ, resurrection ,and so forth can be proved to materially to exist or existed. These symbols pertain to what Wittgenstein called a language game and as such cohere together. Modern science and scientific evidence is a separate language game which does not include these symbols.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 8381
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:44 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:26 pm
You must realise that "inhabiting" connotes independent entity.
I'm not intending to imply how "inhabiting" should be construed there. That's why I put it in quotes. I don't want to choose the word to describe the interaction of the two, and so to be tipping the scales artificially in my own favour. So I won't defend that coinage. You may choose a different one. The important point is only that consciousness is overruling physicality, in these cases. And that is not to be expected, were Materialism true.

Belinda
Posts: 3497
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Belinda » Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:16 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:44 pm
Belinda wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 2:26 pm
You must realise that "inhabiting" connotes independent entity.
I'm not intending to imply how "inhabiting" should be construed there. That's why I put it in quotes. I don't want to choose the word to describe the interaction of the two, and so to be tipping the scales artificially in my own favour. So I won't defend that coinage. You may choose a different one. The important point is only that consciousness is overruling physicality, in these cases. And that is not to be expected, were Materialism true.
Okay that's fine.

I don't share your interpretation of the theory of existence called materialism. Materialists don't usually deny that reason is better than unreason and that it can overrule unreason. Anyway I don't particularly like materialism I prefer dual aspect monism.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 8381
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:24 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:16 pm
I don't share your interpretation of the theory of existence called materialism. Materialists don't usually deny that reason is better than unreason and that it can overrule unreason.
I don't know where you got this idea from, honestly. I certainly never said it.

Belinda
Posts: 3497
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Belinda » Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:40 pm

I quote Immanuel :

The important point is only that consciousness is overruling physicality, in these cases. And that is not to be expected, were Materialism true.
I replied materialists would usually agree reasoning is better than unreason.

How I got to that from what you actually wrote is "consciousness overruling physicality" does not make sense as it stands, all varieties of consciousness being physical. So I tried to interpret what you may have meant. I understand you would agree voluntary thoughts can cause behaviour in the body proper. If so I agree. I also understand you would agree voluntary thoughts cause behaviour in the brain-mind. By the latter I refer to habits of thought which tend to become persistent to the effect that what we call good thoughts can become habitual if persisted in ,
and what we may call bad thoughts become habitual if persisted in.

I claim in the name of prudence that good thoughts are reasoned thoughts.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 8381
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:44 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:40 pm
I quote Immanuel :

The important point is only that consciousness is overruling physicality, in these cases. And that is not to be expected, were Materialism true.
I replied materialists would usually agree reasoning is better than unreason.

How I got to that from what you actually wrote is "consciousness overruling physicality" does not make sense as it stands, all varieties of consciousness being physical.
That's assumptive on your side, not shown-to-be-true. I think it's wrong.

Belinda
Posts: 3497
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: Do humans have a soul?

Post by Belinda » Sat Jun 01, 2019 5:47 pm

What's assumptive? That consciousness is physical?

There's sufficient evidence backed by sound theory that states of consciousness are physical states.
Immanuel, if you prefer Cartesian dualism, please just say so and we can conclude.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests