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What is self?

keithprosser
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12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?
philochristos
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12/18/2017 6:08:50 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?

I think the self is you. It is what is referred to when you use the personal pronoun, "I." The self is what has mental states such as sensation, though, belief, emotion, desire, etc. The self has the faculty of volition. It's what acts, wills, etc.

At least that's how I use the word.
"When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest." ~Proverbs 29:9

"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
keithprosser
Posts: 5,450
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12/18/2017 6:30:19 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 6:08:50 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?

I think the self is you. It is what is referred to when you use the personal pronoun, "I." The self is what has mental states such as sensation, though, belief, emotion, desire, etc. The self has the faculty of volition. It's what acts, wills, etc.

Yet people use terms such as 'my self'and 'your self' (with and without spaces)as if a self was something 'you' own rather than being 'you'. Another thing to ponder is what 'self' is made of if it has all the powers ascribed to it by philocristos.
philochristos
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12/18/2017 6:35:49 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 6:30:19 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:08:50 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?

I think the self is you. It is what is referred to when you use the personal pronoun, "I." The self is what has mental states such as sensation, though, belief, emotion, desire, etc. The self has the faculty of volition. It's what acts, wills, etc.

Yet people use terms such as 'my self'and 'your self' (with and without spaces)as if a self was something 'you' own rather than being 'you'. Another thing to ponder is what 'self' is made of if it has all the powers ascribed to it by philocristos.

That is true, but I think it's just a manner of speaking. I think the soul is equivalent to the self, and I think that's how it's primarily used in the Bible, too, but both I and the Bible still say things like, "his soul" or "my soul" as if it were something a person had rather than being the person him/herself.

I think the soul/self is an immaterial entity. It's not made of anything physical. I suppose if I were to give a name to the substance it's made of, I'd just call it "soul." The properties I would ascribe to it would be the same properties I'd ascribe to a mind, although I don't think being conscious is necessary to be a self or soul. A soul/self can be unconscious. Maybe a better way to ascribe properties to it is to say it has the capacity for having mental states or something like that.
"When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest." ~Proverbs 29:9

"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
SecularMerlin
Posts: 1,829
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12/18/2017 6:52:04 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 6:35:49 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:30:19 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:08:50 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?

I think the self is you. It is what is referred to when you use the personal pronoun, "I." The self is what has mental states such as sensation, though, belief, emotion, desire, etc. The self has the faculty of volition. It's what acts, wills, etc.

Yet people use terms such as 'my self'and 'your self' (with and without spaces)as if a self was something 'you' own rather than being 'you'. Another thing to ponder is what 'self' is made of if it has all the powers ascribed to it by philocristos.

That is true, but I think it's just a manner of speaking. I think the soul is equivalent to the self, and I think that's how it's primarily used in the Bible, too, but both I and the Bible still say things like, "his soul" or "my soul" as if it were something a person had rather than being the person him/herself.

I think the soul/self is an immaterial entity. It's not made of anything physical. I suppose if I were to give a name to the substance it's made of, I'd just call it "soul." The properties I would ascribe to it would be the same properties I'd ascribe to a mind, although I don't think being conscious is necessary to be a self or soul. A soul/self can be unconscious. Maybe a better way to ascribe properties to it is to say it has the capacity for having mental states or something like that.

I'm that case is your physical being something you have or something we are?

Also how have you determined that there is a soul and what is a soul?
philochristos
Posts: 3,074
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12/18/2017 7:57:46 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 6:52:04 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:35:49 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:30:19 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:08:50 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?

I think the self is you. It is what is referred to when you use the personal pronoun, "I." The self is what has mental states such as sensation, though, belief, emotion, desire, etc. The self has the faculty of volition. It's what acts, wills, etc.

Yet people use terms such as 'my self'and 'your self' (with and without spaces)as if a self was something 'you' own rather than being 'you'. Another thing to ponder is what 'self' is made of if it has all the powers ascribed to it by philocristos.

That is true, but I think it's just a manner of speaking. I think the soul is equivalent to the self, and I think that's how it's primarily used in the Bible, too, but both I and the Bible still say things like, "his soul" or "my soul" as if it were something a person had rather than being the person him/herself.

I think the soul/self is an immaterial entity. It's not made of anything physical. I suppose if I were to give a name to the substance it's made of, I'd just call it "soul." The properties I would ascribe to it would be the same properties I'd ascribe to a mind, although I don't think being conscious is necessary to be a self or soul. A soul/self can be unconscious. Maybe a better way to ascribe properties to it is to say it has the capacity for having mental states or something like that.

I'm that case is your physical being something you have or something we are?

Also how have you determined that there is a soul and what is a soul?

What I just gave you was my best attempt at explaining what a soul is. Since I equate the soul with the self, that's the reason I think there is a soul. The mere fact that anybody exists means that souls exist because souls are persons. I know at least that I exist, and I'm fairly confident that everybody else does, too.

On the one hand, I don't think our physicality is essential to our existence, but on the other hand, we have such an intimate connection with our physical bodies, I'm reluctant to say it's merely something we have either. I am willing to identity certain physical parts we have, though. For example, we have fingers, but we are not the same thing as our fingers. They are parts of us, and if they were removed, we wouldn't be any less ourselves because of it.
"When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest." ~Proverbs 29:9

"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
keithprosser
Posts: 5,450
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12/18/2017 8:01:04 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 6:35:49 PM, philochristos wrote:

I think the soul/self is an immaterial entity. It's not made of anything physical. I suppose if I were to give a name to the substance it's made of, I'd just call it "soul."

That's fair enough - but I don't like that view because it is 'dualist'. That is to say it proposes that there are two sorts of stuff in the universe - ordinary matter and 'soul stuff'. That isn't actually totally unscientific - inventing a second sort of stuff to explain something is what lies behind the notion of 'dark matter'! Dark matter is proposed to explain the otherwise anomalous rotation curve of galaxies; soul-stuff is proposed to explain such things as consciousness and free will!

The big problem with such dualistic ideas was noticed as soon as Decartes gave the first clear exposition of dualism in the c17 - how does an immaterial soul interact with the ordinary matter of body? AFAIK descartes never solved that probem. He famously suggested that the pinneal gland was the interface between body and soul, but no-one really believed him even then!

To describe a more monist apprach i am going to make an assumption about you, philochristos, that I hope you do not find too offensive - ie that you prefer black coffee to white coffee, ie opposite of my taste.

Now we both have similar taste buds and brains made of neurones, so how come we have different preferences about coffee? I think its not controversial to say that it's because while our brains are made of the same stuff - ie neurons etc - they are configured differently. So should we say that your - or my - taste in coffee is made of neurons? No, because it's not made of neurons per se - it is 'made of' a configuration of neurons. And what is a configuration made of? It might be easier to think of what the difference in our taste in coffee is made of. It's not made of anything - it's a difference in the way the neurons are interconnected. That means there is no dualistic 'non physical material' involved in coffe preference - just ordinary matter and the way it is arranged.

Your taste in coffee is a trivial asopect of you, (or your self or soul whatever you want to call it!) but the idea can be extended and it removes the need for 'soul stuff' - all you need is plain ordinary matter and information regarding its configuration.
SecularMerlin
Posts: 1,829
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12/18/2017 8:05:02 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 7:57:46 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:52:04 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:35:49 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:30:19 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:08:50 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?

I think the self is you. It is what is referred to when you use the personal pronoun, "I." The self is what has mental states such as sensation, though, belief, emotion, desire, etc. The self has the faculty of volition. It's what acts, wills, etc.

Yet people use terms such as 'my self'and 'your self' (with and without spaces)as if a self was something 'you' own rather than being 'you'. Another thing to ponder is what 'self' is made of if it has all the powers ascribed to it by philocristos.

That is true, but I think it's just a manner of speaking. I think the soul is equivalent to the self, and I think that's how it's primarily used in the Bible, too, but both I and the Bible still say things like, "his soul" or "my soul" as if it were something a person had rather than being the person him/herself.

I think the soul/self is an immaterial entity. It's not made of anything physical. I suppose if I were to give a name to the substance it's made of, I'd just call it "soul." The properties I would ascribe to it would be the same properties I'd ascribe to a mind, although I don't think being conscious is necessary to be a self or soul. A soul/self can be unconscious. Maybe a better way to ascribe properties to it is to say it has the capacity for having mental states or something like that.

I'm that case is your physical being something you have or something we are?

Also how have you determined that there is a soul and what is a soul?

What I just gave you was my best attempt at explaining what a soul is. Since I equate the soul with the self, that's the reason I think there is a soul. The mere fact that anybody exists means that souls exist because souls are persons. I know at least that I exist, and I'm fairly confident that everybody else does, too.

By that definition the soul is the electrical and chemical signals in the brain. If it has a meaning beyond that please elucidate.

On the one hand, I don't think our physicality is essential to our existence, but on the other hand, we have such an intimate connection with our physical bodies, I'm reluctant to say it's merely something we have either. I am willing to identity certain physical parts we have, though. For example, we have fingers, but we are not the same thing as our fingers. They are parts of us, and if they were removed, we wouldn't be any less ourselves because of it.

What is your minimum requirement for personhood? How much of a person's physical self would have to be removed or lost before you are not you?
philochristos
Posts: 3,074
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12/18/2017 8:05:59 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 8:01:04 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:35:49 PM, philochristos wrote:

I think the soul/self is an immaterial entity. It's not made of anything physical. I suppose if I were to give a name to the substance it's made of, I'd just call it "soul."

That's fair enough - but I don't like that view because it is 'dualist'. That is to say it proposes that there are two sorts of stuff in the universe - ordinary matter and 'soul stuff'. That isn't actually totally unscientific - inventing a second sort of stuff to explain something is what lies behind the notion of 'dark matter'! Dark matter is proposed to explain the otherwise anomalous rotation curve of galaxies; soul-stuff is proposed to explain such things as consciousness and free will!

The big problem with such dualistic ideas was noticed as soon as Decartes gave the first clear exposition of dualism in the c17 - how does an immaterial soul interact with the ordinary matter of body? AFAIK descartes never solved that probem. He famously suggested that the pinneal gland was the interface between body and soul, but no-one really believed him even then!

To describe a more monist apprach i am going to make an assumption about you, philochristos, that I hope you do not find too offensive - ie that you prefer black coffee to white coffee, ie opposite of my taste.

Now we both have similar taste buds and brains made of neurones, so how come we have different preferences about coffee? I think its not controversial to say that it's because while our brains are made of the same stuff - ie neurons etc - they are configured differently. So should we say that your - or my - taste in coffee is made of neurons? No, because it's not made of neurons per se - it is 'made of' a configuration of neurons. And what is a configuration made of? It might be easier to think of what the difference in our taste in coffee is made of. It's not made of anything - it's a difference in the way the neurons are interconnected. That means there is no dualistic 'non physical material' involved in coffe preference - just ordinary matter and the way it is arranged.

Your taste in coffee is a trivial asopect of you, (or your self or soul whatever you want to call it!) but the idea can be extended and it removes the need for 'soul stuff' - all you need is plain ordinary matter and information regarding its configuration.

Are you saying that a person's tastes and preferences are identical with their neurons, or are you saying the neurons are what give rise to a person's tastes and preferences?
"When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest." ~Proverbs 29:9

"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
philochristos
Posts: 3,074
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12/18/2017 8:15:02 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 8:05:02 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/18/2017 7:57:46 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:52:04 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:35:49 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:30:19 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:08:50 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?

I think the self is you. It is what is referred to when you use the personal pronoun, "I." The self is what has mental states such as sensation, though, belief, emotion, desire, etc. The self has the faculty of volition. It's what acts, wills, etc.

Yet people use terms such as 'my self'and 'your self' (with and without spaces)as if a self was something 'you' own rather than being 'you'. Another thing to ponder is what 'self' is made of if it has all the powers ascribed to it by philocristos.

That is true, but I think it's just a manner of speaking. I think the soul is equivalent to the self, and I think that's how it's primarily used in the Bible, too, but both I and the Bible still say things like, "his soul" or "my soul" as if it were something a person had rather than being the person him/herself.

I think the soul/self is an immaterial entity. It's not made of anything physical. I suppose if I were to give a name to the substance it's made of, I'd just call it "soul." The properties I would ascribe to it would be the same properties I'd ascribe to a mind, although I don't think being conscious is necessary to be a self or soul. A soul/self can be unconscious. Maybe a better way to ascribe properties to it is to say it has the capacity for having mental states or something like that.

I'm that case is your physical being something you have or something we are?

Also how have you determined that there is a soul and what is a soul?

What I just gave you was my best attempt at explaining what a soul is. Since I equate the soul with the self, that's the reason I think there is a soul. The mere fact that anybody exists means that souls exist because souls are persons. I know at least that I exist, and I'm fairly confident that everybody else does, too.

By that definition the soul is the electrical and chemical signals in the brain. If it has a meaning beyond that please elucidate.

I've already explained the meaning about as far as I'm able. It doesn't seem to follow from my meaning that the soul is the same thing as electrical and chemical signals in the brain. After all, the electrical and chemical signals in my brain and radically different today than they were thirty years ago, but I myself am still me. It isn't as if somebody else ceased to exist, then I came into existence. It was just as much me back then as it is me today. I do not think the self is identical with our mental activity either. Rather, I think the self is what has mental activity. Likewise, the self is what has the brain with all its electrical and chemical activity.

On the one hand, I don't think our physicality is essential to our existence, but on the other hand, we have such an intimate connection with our physical bodies, I'm reluctant to say it's merely something we have either. I am willing to identity certain physical parts we have, though. For example, we have fingers, but we are not the same thing as our fingers. They are parts of us, and if they were removed, we wouldn't be any less ourselves because of it.

What is your minimum requirement for personhood? How much of a person's physical self would have to be removed or lost before you are not you?

I don't know what the minimum requirement for personhood is. I do think consciousness is a sufficient indicator of personhood, though. What I mean is that while it may be possible for a person to exist without consciousness, I don't think it's possible for consciousness to exist without their being a person.

I think it's at least possible that we could lose our entire physical body and still be ourselves. But that is hard for me to conceptualize because of the intimate connection we have with our physical bodies. For example, when you walk into a room full of people, you're never confused about which body is your own body. And you identify your own location with that of your body. Also, when you wake up in the morning, it seems that no matter what position you're in, you can keep your eyes closed and still know exactly where each part of your body is. And there's a deep connection between willing and body movement. And we have physical sensations. This is the interesting one for me because if you think about it, all sensation occurs in the brain. Whether somebody touches my hand or my foot, in either case, the signal gets sent to my brain before I can feel it. Yet when I feel it, the sensation doesn't feel like it's happening in my brain. It feels like it's happening in my hand or foot.
"When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest." ~Proverbs 29:9

"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
SecularMerlin
Posts: 1,829
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12/18/2017 9:45:12 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 8:15:02 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 8:05:02 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/18/2017 7:57:46 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:52:04 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:35:49 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:30:19 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:08:50 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?

I think the self is you. It is what is referred to when you use the personal pronoun, "I." The self is what has mental states such as sensation, though, belief, emotion, desire, etc. The self has the faculty of volition. It's what acts, wills, etc.

Yet people use terms such as 'my self'and 'your self' (with and without spaces)as if a self was something 'you' own rather than being 'you'. Another thing to ponder is what 'self' is made of if it has all the powers ascribed to it by philocristos.

That is true, but I think it's just a manner of speaking. I think the soul is equivalent to the self, and I think that's how it's primarily used in the Bible, too, but both I and the Bible still say things like, "his soul" or "my soul" as if it were something a person had rather than being the person him/herself.

I think the soul/self is an immaterial entity. It's not made of anything physical. I suppose if I were to give a name to the substance it's made of, I'd just call it "soul." The properties I would ascribe to it would be the same properties I'd ascribe to a mind, although I don't think being conscious is necessary to be a self or soul. A soul/self can be unconscious. Maybe a better way to ascribe properties to it is to say it has the capacity for having mental states or something like that.

I'm that case is your physical being something you have or something we are?

Also how have you determined that there is a soul and what is a soul?

What I just gave you was my best attempt at explaining what a soul is. Since I equate the soul with the self, that's the reason I think there is a soul. The mere fact that anybody exists means that souls exist because souls are persons. I know at least that I exist, and I'm fairly confident that everybody else does, too.

By that definition the soul is the electrical and chemical signals in the brain. If it has a meaning beyond that please elucidate.

I've already explained the meaning about as far as I'm able. It doesn't seem to follow from my meaning that the soul is the same thing as electrical and chemical signals in the brain. After all, the electrical and chemical signals in my brain and radically different today than they were thirty years ago, but I myself am still me. It isn't as if somebody else ceased to exist, then I came into existence. It was just as much me back then as it is me today. I do not think the self is identical with our mental activity either. Rather, I think the self is what has mental activity. Likewise, the self is what has the brain with all its electrical and chemical activity.

So the soul is not a material construct. It must be energy then. Can you tell me anything about the nature of this energy, most especially what allows it to continue after your body stops metabalizing calories?

On the one hand, I don't think our physicality is essential to our existence, but on the other hand, we have such an intimate connection with our physical bodies, I'm reluctant to say it's merely something we have either. I am willing to identity certain physical parts we have, though. For example, we have fingers, but we are not the same thing as our fingers. They are parts of us, and if they were removed, we wouldn't be any less ourselves because of it.

What is your minimum requirement for personhood? How much of a person's physical self would have to be removed or lost before you are not you?

I don't know what the minimum requirement for personhood is. I do think consciousness is a sufficient indicator of personhood, though. What I mean is that while it may be possible for a person to exist without consciousness, I don't think it's possible for consciousness to exist without their being a person.

I think it's at least possible that we could lose our entire physical body and still be ourselves. But that is hard for me to conceptualize because of the intimate connection we have with our physical bodies. For example, when you walk into a room full of people, you're never confused about which body is your own body. And you identify your own location with that of your body. Also, when you wake up in the morning, it seems that no matter what position you're in, you can keep your eyes closed and still know exactly where each part of your body is. And there's a deep connection between willing and body movement. And we have physical sensations. This is the interesting one for me because if you think about it, all sensation occurs in the brain. Whether somebody touches my hand or my foot, in either case, the signal gets sent to my brain before I can feel it. Yet when I feel it, the sensation doesn't feel like it's happening in my brain. It feels like it's happening in my hand or foot.

So theoretically a brain is enough to house a soul?
philochristos
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12/18/2017 9:56:57 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 9:45:12 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:

So the soul is not a material construct. It must be energy then. Can you tell me anything about the nature of this energy, most especially what allows it to continue after your body stops metabalizing calories?

I've told you about all I know.

So theoretically a brain is enough to house a soul?

Yes.
"When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest." ~Proverbs 29:9

"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
SecularMerlin
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12/18/2017 10:07:37 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 9:56:57 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 9:45:12 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:

So the soul is not a material construct. It must be energy then. Can you tell me anything about the nature of this energy, most especially what allows it to continue after your body stops metabalizing calories?

I've told you about all I know.

I don't know is often the only honest answer we can give, just wanted to cover everything I could think of.

So theoretically a brain is enough to house a soul?

Yes.

Many animals have brains, do they have souls?
philochristos
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12/18/2017 10:09:55 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
So theoretically a brain is enough to house a soul?

Yes.

Many animals have brains, do they have souls?

I think any animal with a mind has a soul. Or rather is a soul. I don't know about things like worms or small insects like lice. I don't know whether they're sentient or not.
"When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest." ~Proverbs 29:9

"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
SecularMerlin
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12/18/2017 10:15:46 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 10:09:55 PM, philochristos wrote:
So theoretically a brain is enough to house a soul?

Yes.

Many animals have brains, do they have souls?

I think any animal with a mind has a soul. Or rather is a soul. I don't know about things like worms or small insects like lice. I don't know whether they're sentient or not.

Things like starfish for example which have no brain. Starfish seem however to be 'aware' of where there arms are in the same kind of unconscious way that we do. Isn't this a soul experiencing a starfish body and being aware without the necessity of a brain? I know you already stated that you are not and cannot be sure and I respect that, but what do you think? Do you have any person theories?
philochristos
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12/18/2017 10:18:30 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 10:15:46 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/18/2017 10:09:55 PM, philochristos wrote:
So theoretically a brain is enough to house a soul?

Yes.

Many animals have brains, do they have souls?

I think any animal with a mind has a soul. Or rather is a soul. I don't know about things like worms or small insects like lice. I don't know whether they're sentient or not.

Things like starfish for example which have no brain. Starfish seem however to be 'aware' of where there arms are in the same kind of unconscious way that we do. Isn't this a soul experiencing a starfish body and being aware without the necessity of a brain? I know you already stated that you are not and cannot be sure and I respect that, but what do you think? Do you have any person theories?

I have no idea about starfish. Reaction to stimuli is one thing, but mental activity is more than that. A venus fly trap, for example, can react to its environment, but I seriously doubt there's any awareness or mental activity going on with a venus fly trap. It may be something similar with star fish. But I dunno. I mean Patrick may not be a smart chap, but he does have feelings.
"When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest." ~Proverbs 29:9

"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
SecularMerlin
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12/18/2017 10:34:41 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 10:18:30 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 10:15:46 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/18/2017 10:09:55 PM, philochristos wrote:
So theoretically a brain is enough to house a soul?

Yes.

Many animals have brains, do they have souls?

I think any animal with a mind has a soul. Or rather is a soul. I don't know about things like worms or small insects like lice. I don't know whether they're sentient or not.

Things like starfish for example which have no brain. Starfish seem however to be 'aware' of where there arms are in the same kind of unconscious way that we do. Isn't this a soul experiencing a starfish body and being aware without the necessity of a brain? I know you already stated that you are not and cannot be sure and I respect that, but what do you think? Do you have any person theories?

I have no idea about starfish. Reaction to stimuli is one thing, but mental activity is more than that. A venus fly trap, for example, can react to its environment, but I seriously doubt there's any awareness or mental activity going on with a venus fly trap.

But didn't you specifically say that when the brain shuts down the soul continues? Your inability to explain this aside wouldn't it stand to reason, if we assume that a soul doesn't require brain function that a brain is not necessarily the hallmark of a soul possessing entity?

It may be something similar with star fish. But I dunno. I mean Patrick may not be a smart chap, but he does have feelings.

I like that you can admit when you don't have all the answers. I don't have all the answers either, that is why I ask so many questions.
philochristos
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12/18/2017 11:21:45 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 10:34:41 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/18/2017 10:18:30 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 10:15:46 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/18/2017 10:09:55 PM, philochristos wrote:
So theoretically a brain is enough to house a soul?

Yes.

Many animals have brains, do they have souls?

I think any animal with a mind has a soul. Or rather is a soul. I don't know about things like worms or small insects like lice. I don't know whether they're sentient or not.

Things like starfish for example which have no brain. Starfish seem however to be 'aware' of where there arms are in the same kind of unconscious way that we do. Isn't this a soul experiencing a starfish body and being aware without the necessity of a brain? I know you already stated that you are not and cannot be sure and I respect that, but what do you think? Do you have any person theories?

I have no idea about starfish. Reaction to stimuli is one thing, but mental activity is more than that. A venus fly trap, for example, can react to its environment, but I seriously doubt there's any awareness or mental activity going on with a venus fly trap.

But didn't you specifically say that when the brain shuts down the soul continues? Your inability to explain this aside wouldn't it stand to reason, if we assume that a soul doesn't require brain function that a brain is not necessarily the hallmark of a soul possessing entity?

The brain may be necessary for the soul to function in certain ways, but I don't think the brain is necessary for the soul to exist. I think disembodied souls are possible. I have no idea what it would be like to be a disembodied soul, though.
"When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest." ~Proverbs 29:9

"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
SecularMerlin
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12/18/2017 11:31:31 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 11:21:45 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 10:34:41 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/18/2017 10:18:30 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 12/18/2017 10:15:46 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/18/2017 10:09:55 PM, philochristos wrote:
So theoretically a brain is enough to house a soul?

Yes.

Many animals have brains, do they have souls?

I think any animal with a mind has a soul. Or rather is a soul. I don't know about things like worms or small insects like lice. I don't know whether they're sentient or not.

Things like starfish for example which have no brain. Starfish seem however to be 'aware' of where there arms are in the same kind of unconscious way that we do. Isn't this a soul experiencing a starfish body and being aware without the necessity of a brain? I know you already stated that you are not and cannot be sure and I respect that, but what do you think? Do you have any person theories?

I have no idea about starfish. Reaction to stimuli is one thing, but mental activity is more than that. A venus fly trap, for example, can react to its environment, but I seriously doubt there's any awareness or mental activity going on with a venus fly trap.

But didn't you specifically say that when the brain shuts down the soul continues? Your inability to explain this aside wouldn't it stand to reason, if we assume that a soul doesn't require brain function that a brain is not necessarily the hallmark of a soul possessing entity?

The brain may be necessary for the soul to function in certain ways, but I don't think the brain is necessary for the soul to exist. I think disembodied souls are possible. I have no idea what it would be like to be a disembodied soul, though.

So there is no reason to think that if souls exist they can't occupy inanimate objects?
keithprosser
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12/19/2017 5:54:49 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 8:05:59 PM, philochristos wrote:

Are you saying that a person's tastes and preferences are identical with their neurons, or are you saying the neurons are what give rise to a person's tastes and preferences?

I certainly wouldn't ever say 'tastes and preferences are identical with neurons'. Tastes and preferences are nothing like neurons - neurons are a species of cell and tastes and preferences certainly aren't cells!

However, if I had no neurons I would have no tastes or preferences but having neurons can't be all there is to it because you and I both have neurons but our tastes and prefences are different.

The reason we have differerent tastes is (according to a popular theory) because the neurons in our brains are interconnected differently.

Earlier SM implied the only alternative to the soul being ordinary matter was that it was energy, but that's not the case. If soul/self is bound up with the way neurons are interconnected then soul/self is neither matter nor energy but information.
SecularMerlin
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12/19/2017 6:03:35 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/19/2017 5:54:49 AM, keithprosser wrote:
At 12/18/2017 8:05:59 PM, philochristos wrote:

Are you saying that a person's tastes and preferences are identical with their neurons, or are you saying the neurons are what give rise to a person's tastes and preferences?

I certainly wouldn't ever say 'tastes and preferences are identical with neurons'. Tastes and preferences are nothing like neurons - neurons are a species of cell and tastes and preferences certainly aren't cells!

However, if I had no neurons I would have no tastes or preferences but having neurons can't be all there is to it because you and I both have neurons but our tastes and prefences are different.

The reason we have differerent tastes is (according to a popular theory) because the neurons in our brains are interconnected differently.

Earlier SM implied the only alternative to the soul being ordinary matter was that it was energy, but that's not the case. If soul/self is bound up with the way neurons are interconnected then soul/self is neither matter nor energy but information.

These neural interconnections are actually expressed only when electrical signals travel along them. We don't store memory we reconstruct it from scratch every time
keithprosser
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12/19/2017 6:28:20 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/19/2017 6:03:35 AM, SecularMerlin wrote:

These neural interconnections are actually expressed only when electrical signals travel along them. We don't store memory we reconstruct it from scratch every time

I wouldn't deny it. My point is that what makes your tastes/memories/personality (ie your self or soul) different from, say, mine is not something made of matter nor of energy - the difference is in the pattern or configuration of the matter and energy involved. Patterns/configurations aren't made of matter nor energy but of information.

That suggests that if you had a sufficiently detailed description of the way your neurones are inter-connected it would be possible to construct an entity with your tastes, preferences, memories and so on.
However it also suggests that when we die the configuration and pattern of neural activity in the brain quickly falls apart and with it our self (or soul) disappears.
SecularMerlin
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12/19/2017 6:37:15 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/19/2017 6:28:20 AM, keithprosser wrote:
At 12/19/2017 6:03:35 AM, SecularMerlin wrote:

These neural interconnections are actually expressed only when electrical signals travel along them. We don't store memory we reconstruct it from scratch every time

I wouldn't deny it. My point is that what makes your tastes/memories/personality (ie your self or soul) different from, say, mine is not something made of matter nor of energy - the difference is in the pattern or configuration of the matter and energy involved. Patterns/configurations aren't made of matter nor energy but of information.

That suggests that if you had a sufficiently detailed description of the way your neurones are inter-connected it would be possible to construct an entity with your tastes, preferences, memories and so on.
However it also suggests that when we die the configuration and pattern of neural activity in the brain quickly falls apart and with it our self (or soul) disappears.

I agree and I doubt that a soul could last beyond this ,if soul is even the right word.
keithprosser
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12/19/2017 7:25:15 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/19/2017 6:37:15 AM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/19/2017 6:28:20 AM, keithprosser wrote:
At 12/19/2017 6:03:35 AM, SecularMerlin wrote:

These neural interconnections are actually expressed only when electrical signals travel along them. We don't store memory we reconstruct it from scratch every time

I wouldn't deny it. My point is that what makes your tastes/memories/personality (ie your self or soul) different from, say, mine is not something made of matter nor of energy - the difference is in the pattern or configuration of the matter and energy involved. Patterns/configurations aren't made of matter nor energy but of information.

That suggests that if you had a sufficiently detailed description of the way your neurones are inter-connected it would be possible to construct an entity with your tastes, preferences, memories and so on.
However it also suggests that when we die the configuration and pattern of neural activity in the brain quickly falls apart and with it our self (or soul) disappears.

I agree and I doubt that a soul could last beyond this ,if soul is even the right word.

Words are tricky things! I tried to be careful in my post and wrote about constructing "an entity with your tastes, preferences, memories and so on." Would a entity with your 'tastes, preferences, memories and so on' reconstructed after your death be a 'reincarnation' of 'you', or a different person?

I'd say that whether you call it 'you' or a different person doesn't change anything physical. The objective description of the situation i.e. "a newly created entity with the tastes (etc) of the late SM now exists". Whether that entity "is SM" is an issue for lawyers, ethicists and maybe dictionary writers but no actual paradox or anomaly exists,

What i am closing in on is that self is not matter nor energy; Self is a bundle of subjective states (tastes, memories etc) that are the manifestation of a particular configuration of neural activity in a working brain. But I'm only puting that forward as a first stab at saying 'What is self.' - no doubt there's more to be said!
s-anthony
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12/19/2017 3:52:56 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?

I do not think self is an entity; I believe self is a matter of perception, and, as our ideas of whom we are, change, so do our ideas about ourselves.
3RU7AL
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12/19/2017 3:55:48 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?

Identity is one of our most fundamental and difficult to recognize philosophical assumptions.

You are not your mind, you are not your body.

There is no indisputable demarcation point between "you" and "everything else".
Believing in "objective reality" is just like believing in heaven.

Please adhere to obvious epistemological limits.

ethang5, PureX, and I agree on... http://www.debate.org...

Cognitive bias https://www.youtube.com...
Bias blindspot https://www.youtube.com...
Alief ------------ https://www.youtube.com...
breakingamber
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12/19/2017 8:53:20 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?

Ayn Rand is the best philosopher in the history of Western Civ as well as the best novelist. Only she can answer your question.
SecularMerlin
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12/19/2017 9:33:20 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/19/2017 8:53:20 PM, breakingamber wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?

Ayn Rand is the best philosopher in the history of Western Civ as well as the best novelist. Only she can answer your question.

Okay that's nice, but what do you think?
breakingamber
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12/19/2017 10:18:29 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/19/2017 9:33:20 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/19/2017 8:53:20 PM, breakingamber wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?

Ayn Rand is the best philosopher in the history of Western Civ as well as the best novelist. Only she can answer your question.

Okay that's nice, but what do you think?

Sorry; this was part of a game I was doing.
SecularMerlin
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12/19/2017 10:25:51 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 12/19/2017 10:18:29 PM, breakingamber wrote:
At 12/19/2017 9:33:20 PM, SecularMerlin wrote:
At 12/19/2017 8:53:20 PM, breakingamber wrote:
At 12/18/2017 6:00:34 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I was tempted to say something in the free will thead, but I think it would be good to get people's views on what 'self' is first. To serve a starting point, is 'self' something you are or something you have?

Ayn Rand is the best philosopher in the history of Western Civ as well as the best novelist. Only she can answer your question.

Okay that's nice, but what do you think?

Sorry; this was part of a game I was doing.

Okay but what do you think?