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Scott Staples

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The theory of Dualism raises interesting questions about the existence of the Soul

I'm talking about the main/matter distinction. Matter can obviously be measured in terms of the physical but consciousness and self-awareness for example, where does this come from? The brain is the source of intelligence, this is able to be scientifically measured and it was René Descartes to propose the distiction between that intelligence, which could be attributed to a physical being, and other mental phenomona, for which were inexplicably unable to be physically measured.

A type of dualism called substance dualism proposes that the mental does not have an extension in space, that is to say, our thoughts cannot be measured physically, and the material cannot think. This is an interesting proposal considering the brain, the source of all our thoughts, is entirely material.

I don't consider myself religious but I do have an open mind. Consider for example that the 'soul' was the source of intelligence and self-awareness, it makes sense that the soul would be 'weightless'. If consciousness does not arise from matter, which is widely accepted, where does it come from?

This is not supposed to raise arguements about the existence of God but rather, the existence of the soul.


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    Apr 16 2011: "If consciousness does not arise from matter, which is widely accepted, where does it come from?" completely false premise. It isn't widely accepted at all.

    Consciousness can be altered following diverse brain traumas which would tend to void the utility and existence of a soul. There is a known case of a split-brain patient appearing two have two separate conscious experiences, would that mean this person has two souls?
    • Apr 16 2011: It was once widely accepted that the world was flat..... that's not so any longer. Because something is widely accepted doesn't mean that it is correct.
      A person that has had a brain trauma can experience their consciousness as being two just as a psychotic person may feel themselves as two. Often people can talk to themselves as they were two.But it may also mean that the soul can manifest itself in more than one place at a time. I can give you this example...take a flock of birds or a school of fish. They move as one.... and in a soul / spiritual sense they are one. They have a group soul or you might say they share one consciousness. Just as your ten fingers do. If I put my fingers through ten holes in a cardboard box and you are on the other side, you would have the experience that these fingers are ten individuals (with ten individual consciousnesses) If I moved them simultaneously you might say to yourself ... gee, that seems strange... how they can move as one being at exactly the same moment in time...just like a flock of birds. Well this is exactly how consciousness works, although our consciousness, as human beings, is within us... also.."incarnated" While the animals still live in a form of a "group soul" Consciousness may "appear" to be altered but it may be that it is only being hindered in its ability of expression or its manifestation. This is the same with handicapped individuals. They are only hindered in their manifestation of their consciousness ... while their true spirit self is "whole"
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        Apr 17 2011: well I wouldn't be one to make the ad populum falacy, but it's still the case that saying this idea is widely-accepted is factually incorrect.
        I'm not sure your definition of consciousness is one I recognise. Couldn't you similarly argue that since atoms in a solid or (to a certain extent) in a liquid move in tandem, they have one soul? I don't know if cases of synchrony in nature can really be said to be equivalent to some shared consciousness. The example of fingers doesn't really seem to concern one's consciousness but rather an observer's perceived interpretation of consciousness. That a person revises their definition of the finger-consciousness mapping doesn't really affect the actual state of consciouness of the owner of the ten fingers.

        Also I'm not sure where you derived your ideas about incarnated souls vs. group souls and all that.
        • Apr 18 2011: Mat, can I call you Mat?
          Could be that Scott mixed up what he meant to say there in the intro. But I'm not so sure that it is widely accepted that consciousness does not arise out of matter. But regardless of what the general consensus might be, the question is clear that the one side of the debate says that consciousness arises out of material and the other side says that consciousness can exist itself without any physical basis for its existence. This is a the crutch of the matter (excuse me... the crutch of the consciousness..)
          It's quite OK that you don't recognize my definition but it may get clearer as we move on in the discussion. I also prefer to characterize than to define. It brings the truth more into view than quickly setting a definition upon something... as the plant you observe growing today is not the same plant that you observe tomorrow or the day after. The river... where is the river?... is it the water itself flowing by... the water you saw yesterday has already reached the ocean... is it the river bed ? We have to first agree that certain foundations in our understanding of the world and ourselves must be taken as a fact if we are to get any closer to any form for truth.
          One of these facts is that ... by our agreement on a definition ... the " I " in man / woman exists. To say as Chabel means to say... that the " I " is just a construct is not leading anywhere. Then there is no truth to find. There is no emotion. There are no thoughts... everything is just a construct.... This to me is not even worth discussing. The " I " is something that " I "experience directly... as "I am hungry... I am tired" etc.etc. ...to say "My construct of my I is now hungry" is simply foolishness. Chabel has thought himself around in a big circle... like Pinker might do.
          I think we can agree that the " I " in you and the " I " in me both exist in their full reality... even the " I " in Chabel exists though he might try to deny it.
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          Apr 20 2011: Sorry, I did there too. I should have said 'still debated' instead of 'widely accepted' which it cleary isn't
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        Apr 20 2011: Taking on a genius like Steven Pinker? Now that could prove to be interesting.

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