Free Will: Egnor shows neurological proof (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 19, 2020, 14:59 (10 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: While living, the soul cannot gather information or materially implement its thoughts without the brain. We could hardly live our material life without any means of perceiving and using materials! But the dualist's brain does not do the thinking, even in your form of dualism! Therefore it makes no sense to argue that the same soul which processes information from the brain can’t process the information that the brain is acting weirdly.

DAVID: A brain under seizure cannot function properly during the time of the seizure. Therefore the soul cannot think during the seizure with the brain basically inoperative for the time the seizure lasts.

dhw: I don’t understand your “therefore”, if you believe that the soul does the thinking, and only uses the brain for information and for implementation of its thoughts. If it is able to think during an NDE, when the brain “cannot function properly” and is “basically inoperative”, why is it unable to think during a temporary seizure?

In Grand Mal seizure the person becomes unconscious from the wave of electricity that covers the brain.

dhw: And I thought the whole point of the NDE argument was to prove that there IS such a thing as the soul, and that it does all the thinking. Once again, a diseased brain giving rise to diseased thought suggests that the brain is the source of thought and is an argument against dualism.

DAVID: A diseased brain does not allow the soul to think properly. You are again interpreting my theory based on your underlying theory of dualism which is not mine and it not classical. My dualism asserts the soul must use the brain to create thought while the brain is living.

dhw: So does mine. The dualist’s soul creates thought by using the information provided by the brain, and it implements its thoughts by using the brain to give them material expression. There is no other way we could live our material life in the material world. But the dualist’s brain does not think. The “classical” definition of dualism is “the theory that mind and matter are two distinct things” (Oxford Companion to Philosophy). In dualism, the mind = the soul, and does all the thinking. Matter does not think. Yes or no?


DAVID: 40% is in the past and I am making a decision in the present with my personality formed from the past but acting in the present.

dhw: Yes, that is a somewhat truncated version of the second half of my argument (in favour of free will). But the first half argues that there is no escape from the influence of the past. The 40% you were born with, plus every other past “cause” that has been beyond your control, influences your present decision (argument against free will). Why can’t you acknowledge that there are two approaches to the subject, and the conclusion depends entirely on what you think free will is free from? The rest of your post circles round the same point.

DAVID: No circles. I develop my personality from my past and so what is present is a major modification of all those factors, and my point is my present thoughts/desires are a major distillation of all my experiences and continuous thinking. Many past influences are destroyed in the process.

dhw: I have presented two arguments. The first is that we are never free from influences beyond our control – hence there is no such thing as free will. The second is what you have presented here: the independent uniqueness of the individual makes him/her the one and only maker of the decision, regardless of the influences, i.e. he/she is free from any outside constraints beyond those imposed by the situation or his/her capabilities. There is no disagreement between us, except that you choose the second option, whereas I recognize the validity of both arguments. It all depends on what you think you are free from.

I think your point: 'we are never free from influences beyond our control' is an over-blown view of what influences us. They are background issues we can overcome or ignore.

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