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What is the human soul?

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    themightypuckthemightypuck MontanaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    That was the point. Social Darwinism is stupid and you would be pretty stupid to think that kind of philosophy is ever valid or applicable.

    Redundant limeage. But idiots trying to use Darwin for stupid shit doesn't make actual Darwinism wrong. Which is also redundant I suppose.

    themightypuck on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2008
    Why should I assume a soul? What question exactly is being asked about observable phenomenon that cannot be explained without resorting to undefinable mysticism?

    ViolentChemistry on
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    themightypuckthemightypuck MontanaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Why should I assume a soul? What question exactly is being asked about observable phenomenon that cannot be explained without resorting to undefinable mysticism?

    I think the thread defines "soul" in a less mystical way. More like the batness of Nagel's bat. Or at least that's what I got from it.

    Edit: although I'm still with you even with the Nagel's bat shit. To talk about an immaterial soul requires a leap of something.

    themightypuck on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2008
    The thread defines "soul" as half a dozen distinct phenomenon, none of which are actually synonymous with soul. I could define soul as "tricycle" just for the sake of trying to pretend that souls aren't undefinable mysticism but that would be retarded and if I did that I should be ignored or mocked.

    Edit: Besides, one would assume that that definition is just a suggestion since otherwise he has answered his own question and the thread outlived its usefulness before the end of the first post.

    ViolentChemistry on
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    themightypuckthemightypuck MontanaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I think the thread was exposed quite rapidly as an attempt by someone who has a flying spaghetti monster view of souls to ensnare unwary theists and then pillage them with logic and reason. It continued past that point because there is something interesting about consciousness and identity that is hard to pin down.

    themightypuck on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2008
    I think the thread was exposed quite rapidly as an attempt by someone who has a flying spaghetti monster view of souls to ensnare unwary theists and then pillage them with logic and reason. It continued past that point because there is something interesting about consciousness and identity that is hard to pin down.

    What makes consciousness and identity synonymous with souls? Or with each other?

    ViolentChemistry on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Also, Functionalism doesn't seem to be mutually exclusive with identity theory. Functionalims defines pain in terms of observable behavior; identity theory defines it in terms of physiological phenomena. But if pain is both, as identity theory holds, then they're both right.

    Functionalism is mutually exclusive with identity theory, because they claim that pain is different things. Neither defines it quite the way you put, either--Functionalism claims that pain is a functional state that realizeable on multiple hardwares (not that it's merely observed behavior, that's behaviorism), identity theory claims that it's the firing of C-fibers (a physiological, not psychological, state). If functionalism is true, then my cat can feel pain. If Identity theory is true, then my cat may feel something unpleasant, but it's distinct from human pain. If functionalism is true, then robots can have conscious experience provided they're programmed right--even ridiculous contraptions built out of towels and rocks. If Identity theory is true, then there's no guarantee that such a robot would have conscious experience at all.
    [The state my cat feels] may not be the exact same state of pain that I feel, but the sensantion is certainly similar. In the same way, my C-Fibers are not identical to yours; I may not experience the same exact sensation of pain, but this is hardly a valid criticism of the idea. We can tell that other people feel pain in the same way that we can tell that cats feel pain: by observing their behavior and reactions to stimuli (screaming, recoiling, fear afterwards, etc).

    I don't think identity theorists generally deny that cats have any conscious experience, or that they ever have any unpleasant conscious experience. Instead, they deny that they could have the exact same pain we have. An identity theorist is, of course, also tasked with defining how that works among people, who as you point out, may all have C-fibers (which cats lack), but do not have identical C-fibers.

    Multiple realizeability can be considered an advantage to functionalism, and it seems to be something you're into. However, I would read the end of that section, and the objections.

    MrMister on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Dudes!

    You can use the word "soul" in a non-mystical way!

    If you really don't like the word then replace it with "consciousness" or whatever the fuck you want, but I think I've been pretty consistently clear about what I mean with the word.

    And this thread was not intended as a trap for religious people! It was mostly intended to discuss the ideas in Hofstader's book—which I happen to agree with, but I'm genuinely curious as to what other people think.

    Qingu on
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    themightypuckthemightypuck MontanaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I think the thread was exposed quite rapidly as an attempt by someone who has a flying spaghetti monster view of souls to ensnare unwary theists and then pillage them with logic and reason. It continued past that point because there is something interesting about consciousness and identity that is hard to pin down.

    What makes consciousness and identity synonymous with souls? Or with each other?

    Well I don't really care much about souls so my take from the OP was that he was using "soul" to mean "conciousness". I probably should have left identity out of the last post. In any case it is all very murky. I don't think there is a lot of real science to work with here so most of what I've read is circular arguments that posit the soul to find the soul. Cogito ergo sum and all that jazz. If someone can point me to an idea of the soul that can be talked about using the scientific method I'd be happy to look at it.

    themightypuck on
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    themightypuckthemightypuck MontanaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Qingu wrote: »
    Dudes!

    You can use the word "soul" in a non-mystical way!

    If you really don't like the word then replace it with "consciousness" or whatever the fuck you want, but I think I've been pretty consistently clear about what I mean with the word.

    And this thread was not intended as a trap for religious people! It was mostly intended to discuss the ideas in Hofstader's book—which I happen to agree with, but I'm genuinely curious as to what other people think.

    I read Godel, Escher, Bach but not the loop book. I think Hofstader and Daniel Dennet are buddies and I think I pretty much agree with Dennet about consciousness (except to the extent of his certainty--I think it is something we are going to learn a lot more about in the coming years).

    themightypuck on
    “Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.”
    ― Marcus Aurelius

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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    MrMister wrote: »
    Functionalism is mutually exclusive with identity theory, because they claim that pain is different things. Neither defines it quite the way you put, either--Functionalism claims that pain is a functional state that realizeable on multiple hardwares (not that it's merely observed behavior, that's behaviorism), identity theory claims that it's the firing of C-fibers (a physiological, not psychological, state). If functionalism is true, then my cat can feel pain. If Identity theory is true, then my cat may feel something unpleasant, but it's distinct from human pain. If functionalism is true, then robots can have conscious experience provided they're programmed right--even ridiculous contraptions built out of towels and rocks. If Identity theory is true, then there's no guarantee that such a robot would have conscious experience at all.
    I still don't see how they're mutually exclusive. They define things differently but both definitions can be true.

    Similarly, rigorous scientific understanding defines "touching" differently than most people define touching. Most people think of touching as physical contact between two objects, whereas science tells us that touching is actually the repelling force between the electrons in two objects. Both are correct; they are simply different frameworks in which the definition of "touch" operates. This is really just semantics, is what I'm trying to say.
    I don't think identity theorists generally deny that cats have any conscious experience, or that they ever have any unpleasant conscious experience. Instead, they deny that they could have the exact same pain we have.
    Would anyone—functionalist or otherwise—claim they do? I don't even see how two humans' pain would be thought of as identical.
    Multiple realizeability can be considered an advantage to functionalism, and it seems to be something you're into. However, I would read the end of that section, and the objections.
    Perhaps I will.

    Qingu on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2008
    Qingu wrote: »
    Dudes!

    You can use the word "soul" in a non-mystical way!

    And I can use the term "automobile" to refer to things other than automobiles. I would expect people to opt not to listen to a damn word I said at that point, though. So what's to discuss? It seems it's pretty damned verifiable that consciousness is an extremely complicated electrochemical reaction confined to the nervous-system that we so far lack the technology to fully explain on a mechanical level. Identity is a non-necessary resultant phenomenon. Where's the meat? Why is this thread? And what is the function of the deceptive word-choice?

    ViolentChemistry on
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    electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    MrMister wrote: »
    Also, Functionalism doesn't seem to be mutually exclusive with identity theory. Functionalims defines pain in terms of observable behavior; identity theory defines it in terms of physiological phenomena. But if pain is both, as identity theory holds, then they're both right.
    Functionalism is mutually exclusive with identity theory, because they claim that pain is different things. Neither defines it quite the way you put, either--Functionalism claims that pain is a functional state that realizeable on multiple hardwares (not that it's merely observed behavior, that's behaviorism), identity theory claims that it's the firing of C-fibers (a physiological, not psychological, state). If functionalism is true, then my cat can feel pain. If Identity theory is true, then my cat may feel something unpleasant, but it's distinct from human pain. If functionalism is true, then robots can have conscious experience provided they're programmed right--even ridiculous contraptions built out of towels and rocks. If Identity theory is true, then there's no guarantee that such a robot would have conscious experience at all.
    I don't see any real conflict between those two things there when we're talking about building "minds" out of fundamentally different building blocks. The usual imagining though of man -> machine is that a computer simulates a perfect neuron (something which is probably impossible in practice).

    electricitylikesme on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Qingu wrote: »
    I still don't see how they're mutually exclusive. They define things differently but both definitions can be true.

    Not these two; for instance, they imply very different things about robots.
    I don't think identity theorists generally deny that cats have any conscious experience, or that they ever have any unpleasant conscious experience. Instead, they deny that they could have the exact same pain we have.
    Would anyone—functionalist or otherwise—claim they do? I don't even see how two humans' pain would be thought of as identical.


    Again, robots are the test case here.

    MrMister on
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    themightypuckthemightypuck MontanaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    MrMister wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    I still don't see how they're mutually exclusive. They define things differently but both definitions can be true.

    Not these two; for instance, they imply very different things about robots.
    I don't think identity theorists generally deny that cats have any conscious experience, or that they ever have any unpleasant conscious experience. Instead, they deny that they could have the exact same pain we have.
    Would anyone—functionalist or otherwise—claim they do? I don't even see how two humans' pain would be thought of as identical.


    Again, robots are the test case here.

    Why are we different than robots. We are robots. We don't have souls.

    themightypuck on
    “Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.”
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2008
    I must have missed the part that explains why those two things can't both be pain.

    ViolentChemistry on
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    MrMisterMrMister Jesus dying on the cross in pain? Morally better than us. One has to go "all in".Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I must have missed the part that explains why those two things can't both be pain.

    They imply different things. For instance, functionalism implies that anything possessing the same functional description as a person would have mental life. Identity theory, however, does not. In fact, it's generally taken to imply the reverse.

    MrMister on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2008
    MrMister wrote: »
    I must have missed the part that explains why those two things can't both be pain.

    They imply different things. For instance, functionalism implies that anything possessing the same functional description as a person would have mental life. Identity theory, however, does not. In fact, it's generally taken to imply the reverse.

    Well then say that instead of some big long thing about how only half the pain I've borne in my life was actually pain.

    ViolentChemistry on
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    Grid SystemGrid System Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    MrMister wrote: »
    I must have missed the part that explains why those two things can't both be pain.

    They imply different things. For instance, functionalism implies that anything possessing the same functional description as a person would have mental life. Identity theory, however, does not. In fact, it's generally taken to imply the reverse.

    Well then say that instead of some big long thing about how only half the pain I've borne in my life was actually pain.
    I can't even imagine what sort of horrid reading style you must have to arrive at that understanding.

    Grid System on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    MrMister wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    I still don't see how they're mutually exclusive. They define things differently but both definitions can be true.

    Not these two; for instance, they imply very different things about robots.
    How would robots be different from animals in either functionalism or identity?

    Identity says their pain is their Q-circuits overloading, Functionalism says their pain is observable reaction. I don't really see how robots inject anything interesting into this particular discussion. (In fact, since everyone here seems to be a materialist it doesn't actually look like robots inject much of interest to this thread in general....)

    Qingu on
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    Grid SystemGrid System Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Qingu wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    I still don't see how they're mutually exclusive. They define things differently but both definitions can be true.

    Not these two; for instance, they imply very different things about robots.
    How would robots be different from animals in either functionalism or identity?

    Identity says their pain is their Q-circuits overloading, Functionalism says their pain is observable reaction. I don't really see how robots inject anything interesting into this particular discussion. (In fact, since everyone here seems to be a materialist it doesn't actually look like robots inject much of interest to this thread in general....)
    Q-circuits and C-fibers are not identical. If pain is C-fibers firing, then it is not Q-circuits overloading. Q-circuits overloading is something else, call it "shmain".

    Grid System on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2008
    MrMister wrote: »
    I must have missed the part that explains why those two things can't both be pain.

    They imply different things. For instance, functionalism implies that anything possessing the same functional description as a person would have mental life. Identity theory, however, does not. In fact, it's generally taken to imply the reverse.

    Well then say that instead of some big long thing about how only half the pain I've borne in my life was actually pain.
    I can't even imagine what sort of horrid reading style you must have to arrive at that understanding.

    That's a clever argument. But unfortunately your momma's so fat that she has her own zip code, and thus your argument is countered.

    ViolentChemistry on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Qingu wrote: »
    MrMister wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    I still don't see how they're mutually exclusive. They define things differently but both definitions can be true.

    Not these two; for instance, they imply very different things about robots.
    How would robots be different from animals in either functionalism or identity?

    Identity says their pain is their Q-circuits overloading, Functionalism says their pain is observable reaction. I don't really see how robots inject anything interesting into this particular discussion. (In fact, since everyone here seems to be a materialist it doesn't actually look like robots inject much of interest to this thread in general....)
    Q-circuits and C-fibers are not identical. If pain is C-fibers firing, then it is not Q-circuits overloading. Q-circuits overloading is something else, call it "shmain".
    Semantics! Why not call it "robot pain," like you call it "cat pain"? It's a physiological mechanism that results in observable behavior that we empathetically classify as pain similar to our own.

    Maybe identity theory is actually this retarded, but I can't see anyone seriously suggesting that there is only one kind of "pain" that is defined by a particular set of C-fibers, and that any other set of C-fibers or physiological structure not completely identical to it cannot result in "pain." That is just a stupid definition of pain and it seems to ignore the main thrust of the identity theory argument anyway.

    Qingu on
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    MandaristaMandarista Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Well, I don't have any witty commentary or any elaborate theories as to how I've come about my conclusion.... Just personal observations, highly open to interpretation.

    For what it's worth though, I've always thought that the "soul" was the whole sum of it's parts.
    It's not just a portion of the brain, or any sort of "spiritual energy" that could be left behind after you die.
    Nor is it at all entirely contained in your left pinky finger, or some other easily identifiable portion of the body.
    From my observances a "soul" is an individual itself, in it's entirety.

    In other words, it's all of you, not just a part of you.
    Yup. That's right. If you are indeed sentient, intelligent (debatable ;-)), and confirmably "alive" by modern medical and scientific standards, then you count as a "soul" in my book.

    It can't be just some form of brain power alone, because even if people go into comas or lose their mental capabilities (think "vegetable") they're still people.
    They don't lose their individuality, just their ability to express it (among other bodily functions).

    It's not just a matter of a certain body part or organ either - just because your heart can ache with emotion doesn't mean the heart muscle is truly where your emotions lie.
    People lose body parts all the time, but they are still themselves - still a whole "soul".

    And as far as any sort of spiritual debates are concerned, well, no one theory can be proven definitively, so it's kind of a personal matter whether or not you believe in such things.
    Personally, I don't.

    I've been "clinically dead" (complete flatline for 3-5 minutes) not once, but twice - and believe me, there were no "bright lights" or "tunnels", no "floating above my body" or "visions of the past", or any other of that nonsense that you hear on those psychic TV commercials.
    I got cold. I blacked out. And then I thankfully woke up again a few minutes later. :lol:
    So I don't fall for any of that "souls flitting off to the afterlife" nonsense.

    Parts of people can be lost for varying reasons, but those people are still "a soul" until they die.
    It's after death, when all of the parts are eventually destroyed that the sum of said parts becomes notably lacking..... Then, IMO, there is no more "soul" left of whoever it was.

    Artificial intelligences are a whole 'nother can of worms - I've no energy in me to even try and go there :P

    Edit: Just for the record, I also believe that many things besides fully developed human adults can fall into the category of having a "soul".
    Including animals, "pre-born-human-fetus-creatures" or whatever the PC term for babies before birth is, any kind of advanced form of AI (I'm not talking about my electric can opener here), or any other as of yet unknown or unproven life forms such as aliens from other planets or other dimensions that may or may not exist (which is an entirely different discussion)
    But I'll spare you guys the details.

    Mandarista on
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    Grid SystemGrid System Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Qingu wrote: »
    Semantics! Why not call it "robot pain," like you call it "cat pain"? It's a physiological mechanism that results in observable behavior that we empathetically classify as pain similar to our own.
    Because if you start defining mental states in terms of their functional or behavioural states then you've stopped using identity theory.
    Maybe identity theory is actually this retarded, but I can't see anyone seriously suggesting that there is only one kind of "pain" that is defined by a particular set of C-fibers, and that any other set of C-fibers or physiological structure not completely identical to it cannot result in "pain." That is just a stupid definition of pain and it seems to ignore the main thrust of the identity theory argument anyway.
    I don't like identity theory anyway. Don't expect a passionate defense.

    Grid System on
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    PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    The thread defines "soul" as half a dozen distinct phenomenon, none of which are actually synonymous with soul. I could define soul as "tricycle" just for the sake of trying to pretend that souls

    I'm pretty sure that I defined a soul.

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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    The thread defines "soul" as half a dozen distinct phenomenon, none of which are actually synonymous with soul. I could define soul as "tricycle" just for the sake of trying to pretend that souls

    I'm pretty sure that I defined a soul.

    No, you kinda didn't, you pointed out some of the common assumptions people make about the nature of the soul and made some pretty bold claims about what it does but failed to back them up with anything. Basically the first post I made in this thread is where you need to start, since if you jump right in after assuming that there must be a soul you lose me and anyone else who hasn't made that assumption right there.
    Why should I assume a soul? What question exactly is being asked about observable phenomenon that cannot be explained without resorting to undefinable mysticism?

    ViolentChemistry on
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    DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    The thread defines "soul" as half a dozen distinct phenomenon, none of which are actually synonymous with soul. I could define soul as "tricycle" just for the sake of trying to pretend that souls

    From the first post
    Rather, I mean the human identity, consciousness, personhood, the sense of "I" that you feel in your mind. "I think, therefore I am"—but what is the "I"?

    So whatever else other people may have identified the soul as in the thread, this is what the OP was inquiring about. So it is reasonable to reword it simply as consciousness rather than soul.

    Daenris on
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    DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    So you guys are trying to define something that's unknown?

    Right? I mean because consciousness clearly isn't a soul. Because it's consciousness.

    DasUberEdward on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2008
    Daenris wrote: »
    The thread defines "soul" as half a dozen distinct phenomenon, none of which are actually synonymous with soul. I could define soul as "tricycle" just for the sake of trying to pretend that souls

    From the first post
    Rather, I mean the human identity, consciousness, personhood, the sense of "I" that you feel in your mind. "I think, therefore I am"—but what is the "I"?

    So whatever else other people may have identified the soul as in the thread, this is what the OP was inquiring about. So it is reasonable to reword it simply as consciousness rather than soul.

    But then why call it a soul? There are assumptions here about what a soul is and does that I've not been convinced to accept. So much of this conversation is going to be dependent on how people think of these phenomena, arguably more on that than on neurophysiology.

    ViolentChemistry on
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    DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    So you guys are trying to define something that's unknown?

    Right? I mean because consciousness clearly isn't a soul. Because it's consciousness.

    Well, the OP seemed to be asking specifically about consciousness/identity. It's unfortunate that he labeled it as a "soul" because that leads to the obvious and current argument about how to even define the word.

    Daenris on
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    DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Daenris wrote: »
    The thread defines "soul" as half a dozen distinct phenomenon, none of which are actually synonymous with soul. I could define soul as "tricycle" just for the sake of trying to pretend that souls

    From the first post
    Rather, I mean the human identity, consciousness, personhood, the sense of "I" that you feel in your mind. "I think, therefore I am"—but what is the "I"?

    So whatever else other people may have identified the soul as in the thread, this is what the OP was inquiring about. So it is reasonable to reword it simply as consciousness rather than soul.

    But then why call it a soul? There are assumptions here about what a soul is and does that I've not been convinced to accept. So much of this conversation is going to be dependent on how people think of these phenomena, arguably more on that than on neurophysiology.

    I'm not arguing that. I think it was a bad idea to label it as soul in the original question, when he immediately defined it as something which people could argue was not consistent with their personal definitions of soul.

    I believe a rewording of the question to "What is consciousness/identity" would have led to less confusion because these words are less controversial, though still up for debate.

    Daenris on
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    BurnageBurnage Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Mm, the OP was really talking about consciousness and sentience, things of that ilk. 'Soul' is very rarely used as a synonym for them.

    If we want to discuss the vaguely classical definition of a soul - that of a consciousness that survives death - then I think we need to figure out what causes consciousness first.

    Burnage on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    But then why call it a soul? There are assumptions here about what a soul is and does that I've not been convinced to accept. So much of this conversation is going to be dependent on how people think of these phenomena, arguably more on that than on neurophysiology.
    Nobody is holding a gun to your head telling you to call it a soul. It's obvious that the topic of this discussion is what you would call "consciousness."

    I don't think "soul" is as poor word choice as you think it is, but this isn't a thread on word choice.

    Just call it consciousness. Jesus.

    Qingu on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2008
    Burnage wrote: »
    Mm, the OP was really talking about consciousness and sentience, things of that ilk. 'Soul' is very rarely used as a synonym for them.

    If we want to discuss the vaguely classical definition of a soul - that of a consciousness that survives death - then I think we need to figure out what causes consciousness first.

    Why do we think there's a consciousness that survives death? What observable phenomena require something of that nature to explain? And is that really all a soul is? Because with consciousness being basically just a rather impressively complicated chemical reaction I can't see how there could be a soul. I don't see why that reaction couldn't theoretically be moved to a different medium or vehicle, but if the reaction stops and doesn't start back up it's done and gone.

    ViolentChemistry on
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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2008
    Qingu wrote: »
    But then why call it a soul? There are assumptions here about what a soul is and does that I've not been convinced to accept. So much of this conversation is going to be dependent on how people think of these phenomena, arguably more on that than on neurophysiology.
    Nobody is holding a gun to your head telling you to call it a soul. It's obvious that the topic of this discussion is what you would call "consciousness."

    I don't think "soul" is as poor word choice as you think it is, but this isn't a thread on word choice.

    Just call it consciousness. Jesus.

    Well that's not a very exciting discussion. I like Podly's discussion better.

    ViolentChemistry on
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    BurnageBurnage Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Burnage wrote: »
    Mm, the OP was really talking about consciousness and sentience, things of that ilk. 'Soul' is very rarely used as a synonym for them.

    If we want to discuss the vaguely classical definition of a soul - that of a consciousness that survives death - then I think we need to figure out what causes consciousness first.

    Why do we think there's a consciousness that survives death? What observable phenomena require something of that nature to explain? And is that really all a soul is? Because with consciousness being basically just a rather impressively complicated chemical reaction I can't see how there could be a soul. I don't see why that reaction couldn't theoretically be moved to a different medium or vehicle, but if the reaction stops and doesn't start back up it's done and gone.

    Well, there are cases of reincarnation on record. How truthful those claims are, I personally do not know; I've also seen several reports of personality traits being 'carried' on donated organs. In some of those cases the organ receiver has reported some degree of interaction with the personality of the donor.

    "Consciousness being a complicated chemical reaction" sounds plausible, but the honest truth is that nobody actually knows what causes consciousness at this point in the time. There are lots of hypotheses, sure, but no firm answers. Most neuroscience textbooks tend to just go with the assumption that consciousness doesn't exist, even.

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    PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    VC, would you just say that humans are animals that are very successful at communicating? I was not saying that humans are super-animals, but I think that humans are certainly distinct from other animals.

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    ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    VC, would you just say that humans are animals that are very successful at communicating? I was not saying that humans are super-animals, but I think that humans are certainly distinct from other animals.

    That would explain why homo sapiens are classified as distinct from other animals, yes, but saying that a giraffe is certainly distinct from other animals doesn't really say anything about souls.

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    PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    VC, would you just say that humans are animals that are very successful at communicating? I was not saying that humans are super-animals, but I think that humans are certainly distinct from other animals.

    That would explain why homo sapiens are classified as distinct from other animals, yes, but saying that a giraffe is certainly distinct from other animals doesn't really say anything about souls.

    Yes, but humans are so different from any other animal. Giraffes have big ole necks to eat from trees, but humans are so categorically different from other animals that it would seem there has to be a completely unique agent in human characteristics.

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