Consciousness: Egnor on dualism: another example (General)

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 16, 2018, 18:11 (37 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: ...what is your objection to my proposal that the soul (IF it exists) comprises all the immaterial attributes of the self which believers think will survive the death of the body, e.g. consciousness, the ability to think, emotion, the will, memory, etc.?

DAVID: Because in life I see different circumstances as you know. […]

dhw: What is the point of an afterlife if you are no longer you? Apart from the means of observing and communicating, what has to change?

DAVID: The brain is no longer present for the soul to use.

dhw: That is why a surviving soul would need psychic means of observing and communicating. What other changes would be required, and what is your objection to the above description of the soul?

No objection to the description as stated.

DAVID: The soul and I since we are one and the same use the brain by creating thought in the electricity of the brain.

dhw: What does “creating thought in the electricity…” mean? If the brain RESPONDS to the thoughts of the soul, the soul creates thoughts!

By using the brain as I do in life.


David: Definition from Britannica:
https://www.britannica.com/topic/soul-religion-and-philosophy
"Soul, in religion and philosophy, the immaterial aspect or essence of a human being, that which confers individuality and humanity, often considered to be synonymous with the mind or the self. In theology, the soul is further defined as that part of the individual which partakes of divinity and often is considered to survive the death of the body."

dhw: I see no difference between the two definitions. Individuality consists in each person’s immaterial thoughts, will, emotions, memories etc., and believers think these will survive death. How could the immaterial essence exclude consciousness and the ability to think?

It depends on how the soul operates in life and in death


dhw: Of course the soul learns. Consciousness and the ability to think are a blank (unlike personality) until they have something to be conscious of/to think about. The developing brain provides the information that the learning soul is conscious of and thinks about. For example, the soul learns the language by hearing the words through the brain (information), and it learns to say the words by using the brain (material expression). As the brain develops, so the soul has more and more information to think about and to express. That is the sense in which your soul depends on your brain to produce thought. […] Your materialism arises out of statements such as “a sick brain produces sick thought”, “the immaterial output from the brain is thought”, "...the thought producing electrical impulses".

DAVID: Note, in the early part of your response we see you stating the soul uses the brain directly to learn. That is also me learning. Why does the soul have to stop using the brain to think when I know I use my brain to create thought as a living being?

dhw: Yet again you separate the soul from “me”! I have illustrated HOW the soul uses the brain: acquiring information and giving material expression. This process never stops, and I never said it did.

If your soul is in intimate communication with the brain, while learning, it is not separate so why can't you consider it uses the brain to think as I know I do.?


DAVID: [..] Since the soul is myself (defined above) and I think with my brain, my soul thinks with my brain as represented by the electricity that appears when thought is in progress.

dhw: But we don’t know if the brain-engendered electricity is the source of thought (materialism) or the result of thought (dualism).

That is your definition of dualism to which I disagree.

dhw: Above you opted for the result of thought, which means the soul thinks and the brain responds. The soul therefore doesn’t need the electric waves to THINK.

That is how you interpret what I think.


DAVID: My theory accounts for all the aspects of what we know about thought and brain function and is a dualistic theory.

dhw: Which theory? You have offered us multiple theories, including a “translation” theory which (mercifully) seems to have disappeared. If only you would stick to your now confirmed belief that the electricity is the brain’s response to the soul’s conscious thoughts, there would be none of this confusion over the meaning of dualism, and we could turn our attention to resolving the dichotomy between the two schools of thought.

Where do you think I said this? The electricity is the required means for I/soul to think.


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