The Instigator
Con (against)
The Contender
Pro (for)

The Spiritual Realm Exists

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 358 times Debate No: 98215
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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The rules are we both must use formal deductive arguments. For example, you must use premises in each paragraphthat are clearly connected and the last statement in the paragraph must form a conclusion based on those premises. Informality will be tossed out.

I will argue the spiritual realm does not exist.

Here is my deductive argumentation:

Spiritualists claim the spiritual world is not the material world. Material things all have mass. Things that have no mass cannot interact with things that have mass. Only things that have mass can be sensed by humans and become thoughts. Therefore, the spiritual realm could not be represented in the human mind as a thought.

Something that has no mass does not exist. The spiritual realm is claimed not to have mass. Therefore the spiritual realm does not exist.


Greetings, I would like to thank con for putting forth this debate topic.

The proposition is such that, there is no spiritual realm. One must note that, spiritual in this context, that is in the context of the philosophy of mind, spirit is used interchangeably with mind.

Both shall be taken to denote the following:”of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things”

As one more preliminary, it is necessary to understand con’s position. There are typically three physicalist/materialist positions:

  1. Mental/ spiritual events supervene on physical events

  2. Mental/Spiritual events are reducible to physical events

  3. There are no mental events

Con states:”Something that has no mass does not exist. The spiritual realm is claimed not to have mass. Therefore the spiritual realm does not exist.”

It appears to me that con is making the third kind of claim

Also, I don’t what is exactly meant by “realm”, but it seems to denote a collection of things, so I am just gonna interpret it as a “Set”.

I will aim to directly refute con’s claims in the next 2 rounds and as such will provide a positive case in this round.

I am a materialist, but not an eliminative materialist.

My argument shall be as follows:

Axiom I: On balance, for every property P, there is a set of A’s that have property P

I: X supervenes on Y, is not to say X=Y

II:There is a distinction between ontologically subjective and objective phenomena

III: Ontologically subjective phenomena supervene on ontologically objective phenomena

IV: Ontologically subjective exist and have no mass

V: Ontologically subjective phenomena are spiritual

VI: There is more than one or more ontologically subjective phenomena

VII: There is a set of ontologically subjective phenomena

VIII: There is a spiritual set

Axiom I: I do qualify this with on “on balance”, because of Russell’s paradox, however in the case in which I am using the notion, you’ll have a hard time convincing me any such paradox is at play. Say there is some thing X that has some property P, which is curly hair. Then it follows that there is a set that has at least one element with curly hair.

{ X | X > P} X such that X implies property P.

I: In this context, supervene means that X is necessarily contingent on Y. For example, if I drop a ball, it’s fall is necessarily contingent on me dropping it and gravity, however it would be nonsensical to claim that the fall of the ball is identical to either of two, and to me, this is the kind of claim eliminativism makes. It is true that mental events are contingent on physical ones, but it doesn’t seem rational to conclude that mental events are physical events, or that mental events don’t exist.

II: I borrow this distinction from John Searle, and it’s such that, there is a difference between phenomena that exist independently of our experience of them, and phenomena that exist because we experience them. For example, consciousness only exists because we experience it, however if you remove every mind from the universe, there would be no consciousness.

III: This is a bit contentious, but I find that it makes sense. For example, I can conceive that my physical body exists independent of my experience of it. For example. One in a vegetative state exists, but has no experience of their existence. Likewise, a tree exists rather I experience it or not, however the mental experience of my perception of the tree is contingent on the independent existence of the tree. Or even more generally put, the experience of X is necessarily contingent on the independent being of X.

IV: To validate this, imagine any experience and ask what is the mass of this? What is the mass of consciousness, love, etc. Note, I have admitted that these are contingent on a physical phenomena, namely the brain, however, it appears to be a category mistake to say consciousness or love is the brain. The source of a phenomena and the manifestation of said phenomena are not the same thing.

V: Since con has stated that things that have mass exist and are physically, the negation is that things that do not have mass do not exist and are not physical, however per the prior discussion this seems to be false. Conscious blatantly exists and it doesn’t seem coherent to place a mass value on it. Therefore, we can conclude that ontologically subjective exist and do not have mass.And per con’s definition, we can thereby say that ontologically subjective phenomena don’t have mass, so they are spiritual.

VI: This is a rather trivial matter. Love and consciousness are both ontologically subjective, which fulfils the conditions for there being one or more such phenomena.

VII: This is true by AX I. By there being one more or more such phenomena it seems rather easy to put this property into a set. {X| X=P, C, L} There is some thing x, such that x is p, an ontologically subjective phenomena, and X is fulfilled by C, consciousness, and L, love.

VII: And it therefore follows that there is a set of ontologically subjective phenomena, which are by definition spiritual phenomena.

And, I once again do have to state that within the context of the philosophy of mind, the terms mental and spiritual are used interchangeably as they both denote something not physical, and I really cannot not overstate this in order to avoid the mistaken notion that I am referring to an immortal, religious sort of soul, which once again, I am not. I shall now pass it back over to con, and look forward to continuing this discussion.
Debate Round No. 1


I believe my opponent has misunderstood my position. I did not intentionally imply there are no mental events. I did not explicitly claim there are no mental events.

Mental events are physical events. If they were not physical, they could not interact with the physical so that we had a conscious representation of the world.

I do not agree that spiritual and mental are interchangeable or categorically related in a physical way. Instead, spiritual ideas are merely composed of physical ideas and physcial abstractions of which we all sense from the physical world and extrapolate them to a fanastic and mystical one and mistakenly label it real.

My opponent states:

III: Ontologically subjective phenomena supervene on ontologically objective phenomena
IV: Ontologically subjective exist and have no mass

The implication of these premises in this arguments context violates Newton"s First Law which states: An object continues in a state of motion or rest, unless it is impelled to change that state by a force outside itself.

The phenomena of supervention is what occurs when a force acts upon this object. If an object has no mass, no supervention can occur. My opponent has stated something impossible that clearly violates the laws of physics.

If the light beam enters the human eye, if the mind itself were not physical, it could not receive the chain reaction the leads to and produces what we call vision. Light has mass and everything in the chain reaction up to the point we sense light in the mind has mass. If one link in the chain reaction did not have mass or was missing, then we would have no knowledge of light.

We need not be able to understand that which is representing (mind, consciousness) in some exhaustive way to understand it is part of the physical world because it consistently represents the physical on a regular basis.

In summary, my opponent has made interesting philosophical arguments, but still are only fantasy, because if the mental and spiritual have no mass, they cannot interact with the physical to create a representation. In order to know anything, it needs to interact with your mind. You mind will need to be touched by it directly or indirectly for that to occur. Things need to touch, to be to be touched, otherwise they miss and are unknown. That is what scientists call nonsense.

I challenge my opponent to show how something with no mass can impress upon something without mass. Please describe this process, or how I've somehow confused things so it will make sense. Or can it?
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Sidetrack 1 year ago
of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.
Posted by ephemere 1 year ago
define spiritual
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