Introducing the brain (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, May 18, 2018, 00:08 (6 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: […] your soul cannot THINK in life without the brain. So how can it be an entity?

DAVID: Why can't it be an entity? [..]

dhw: An entity is something that “exists as a single and complete unit” (Longman). According to you, the soul is an entity after death, because it thinks without the brain, but if in life it depends on the brain for its THINKING, it can’t be single and complete. The discrepancy is removed by my theory.

DAVID: [..] I do not view the soul as one rigid form. It obviously must be different in the afterlife and you have previously agreed.

dhw: How can an immaterial soul have a form? You keep agreeing that your soul in life and death remains the same thinking you. I have agreed that the same soul must FUNCTION differently (e.g. it would have to communicate by telepathy).

I was using the term 'form' to mean mechanism, not materialism. We start at an initial point where neither of us knows what a soul is like or of what it might consist. I have suggested pure quanta. Nor do we know what it might be capable of doing on its own. I don't view the soul as an entity within the limits of your very circumscribed definition. We know how closely it is tied to various areas of the brain, primarily the cortex. There is no way to be able to state dogmatically whether a garbled thought is because the soul using the damaged brain produces a garbled thought or the soul produces a correct thought and the brain garbles it. We don't know, and neither does anyone else, whether the result is primary to the soul or secondary. Nor can we solve the dichotomy with your rigid definitions, and if we did we would gain the Nobel.

DAVID: The soul and brain must work intimately together to produce thought in life.

dhw: If dualism is correct, the thinking soul (which continues to think after death) and the brain must work intimately together to produce the material expression and implementation of immaterial thought in life.

For the reasons above I don't accept your view of dualism.


DAVID: You refuse to accept that our brain, with all its complexity, is the best brain every produced as shown by its artifacts. I'm not discussing the cause of enlargement.

dhw: The starting point of this discussion (some time ago) was not the quality of our brain, which I have always accepted, but your insistence that your God enlarged the pre-sapiens brain so that pre-sapiens could think new thoughts. That is materialism, and has major bearings on our interpretation of evolution and on the dichotomy between materialism and dualism.

God producing a larger brain for us is materialism? God works immaterially to guide evolution. A larger more complex brain receives a larger more complex soul as its software. I do not accept that the larger brain gives rise to the soul on its own. It is God at work.


DAVID: Your view of the soul is that it is entirely a separate entity which somehow transmits to a separate brain while it obviously resides in the brain during life. I dispute your idea of a separation. With this difference, your logic is not my logic. We start at two very different points. Dualism does not require complete separation, as in my computer analogy.

dhw: Your computer analogy has two separate pieces of equipment with different functions, combining thought and implementation of thought. Dualism does not mean “complete separation” – it means that two entities (conventionally, mind and body) combine to produce material expression/implementation of immaterial thought. You can hardly deny that your own view of the soul is that it is an entirely separate entity in your afterlife, but in life it resides in the brain. So why should the soul be the thinking you in death but not in life?

You want the soul to be the same in life and death. We do not know what form the soul takes in death, any more than we know how it is in life. As above I see no reason why it cannot be viewed as having two separate mechanisms in life and in death.


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