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An immaterial soul from materials.

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
Wmhoerr
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An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Wmhoerr » January 5th, 2019, 8:08 pm

Most religions include some sort of soul. Examples could be a soul that goes to heaven upon death or another that transmigrates to a human baby or some other animal. The soul is usually taken as something separate from the material body. While the body decays upon death and disappears the soul does not and remains.

But I have yet to hear a good explanation of “soul”. Where were souls before the earth formed, who makes new souls with our population explosion, how does the material interact with the immaterial, or in what species on our evolutionary tree did souls start? Any answers are elusive.

Are there different explanations? One book tells a story and another book of the exactly the same weight tells another story. The atoms in each book are the same so in one sense there is no material difference. But in another sense the arrangement of the atoms in each book is different. Could it be that the pattern of atoms is the soul rather than the material itself? Evidence could be that when this pattern is disturbed, say from concussion, a person’s character has changed. The pattern is damaged.

The ancients, noticing similar attributes passed down the generations but not knowing much science, used the metaphor “soul”. Taking this metaphor for pattern transfer, there are then two souls to each person. The first is a genetic soul which is a pattern of genes passed in part to offspring, and the other is a cultural soul where mental ideas are passed in part to children and other associates. Alternatively, there could be one soul with two components.

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Greta » January 5th, 2019, 10:55 pm

I think of "soul" as an abstract form, a pattern that operates "this way". Wmhoerr is a soul that operates like Y while Greta is a soul that operates like X. There are no doubt numerous others who operate fairly similarly to us, with equivalent likes, dislikes, habits, beliefs, tendencies etc.

This comes down to the "I", the self. My favourite thought experiment there is imagining what similarities there would be between me as I am today and me if I was raised by wolves or chimps. What would there be of me that is unrelated to human culture? Not very much, I suspect!

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Wmhoerr » January 5th, 2019, 11:27 pm

If you raised by wolves or chimps, the body would be eventually be similar, but the mind or "I" (or pattern of chemicals in the brain) would differ significantly. The genes would be unaffected. But with a different mind the "I" would almost certainly choose a different partner and therefore different genes would result in any offspring. In this way, the genetic and cultural patterns are interwoven.

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Eduk » January 6th, 2019, 6:01 am

@Wmhoerr I think I can give a very easy answer to your question. It's probably one which has already occurred to you though. Namely that there aren't immaterial souls which survive us.
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Felix » January 6th, 2019, 1:58 pm

"Where were souls before the earth formed?"

In the universe before it was formed.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by cavacava » January 6th, 2019, 4:41 pm

Wmhoerr wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 8:08 pm
Most religions include some sort of soul. Examples could be a soul that goes to heaven upon death or another that transmigrates to a human baby or some other animal. The soul is usually taken as something separate from the material body. While the body decays upon death and disappears the soul does not and remains.

But I have yet to hear a good explanation of “soul”. Where were souls before the earth formed, who makes new souls with our population explosion, how does the material interact with the immaterial, or in what species on our evolutionary tree did souls start? Any answers are elusive.

Are there different explanations? One book tells a story and another book of the exactly the same weight tells another story. The atoms in each book are the same so in one sense there is no material difference. But in another sense the arrangement of the atoms in each book is different. Could it be that the pattern of atoms is the soul rather than the material itself? Evidence could be that when this pattern is disturbed, say from concussion, a person’s character has changed. The pattern is damaged.

The ancients, noticing similar attributes passed down the generations but not knowing much science, used the metaphor “soul”. Taking this metaphor for pattern transfer, there are then two souls to each person. The first is a genetic soul which is a pattern of genes passed in part to offspring, and the other is a cultural soul where mental ideas are passed in part to children and other associates. Alternatively, there could be one soul with two components.'
I think the soul is a social construction whose development starts at birth, I also think that 'We' is necessarily prior to an 'I', 'We' separates and becomes 'I' with the development of self-awareness. But, this 'I' is a multiplicity of lines, ways of living, reactions to life, which have a common locus developed over time in conjunction with our associations and responses (or lack of) with others. ..the soul.

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by h_k_s » January 6th, 2019, 6:56 pm

cavacava wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 4:41 pm
Wmhoerr wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 8:08 pm
Most religions include some sort of soul. Examples could be a soul that goes to heaven upon death or another that transmigrates to a human baby or some other animal. The soul is usually taken as something separate from the material body. While the body decays upon death and disappears the soul does not and remains.

But I have yet to hear a good explanation of “soul”. Where were souls before the earth formed, who makes new souls with our population explosion, how does the material interact with the immaterial, or in what species on our evolutionary tree did souls start? Any answers are elusive.

Are there different explanations? One book tells a story and another book of the exactly the same weight tells another story. The atoms in each book are the same so in one sense there is no material difference. But in another sense the arrangement of the atoms in each book is different. Could it be that the pattern of atoms is the soul rather than the material itself? Evidence could be that when this pattern is disturbed, say from concussion, a person’s character has changed. The pattern is damaged.

The ancients, noticing similar attributes passed down the generations but not knowing much science, used the metaphor “soul”. Taking this metaphor for pattern transfer, there are then two souls to each person. The first is a genetic soul which is a pattern of genes passed in part to offspring, and the other is a cultural soul where mental ideas are passed in part to children and other associates. Alternatively, there could be one soul with two components.'
I think the soul is a social construction whose development starts at birth, I also think that 'We' is necessarily prior to an 'I', 'We' separates and becomes 'I' with the development of self-awareness. But, this 'I' is a multiplicity of lines, ways of living, reactions to life, which have a common locus developed over time in conjunction with our associations and responses (or lack of) with others. ..the soul.
Aristotle assumes the soul to be simply the life force of all animals including humankind.

The "I" self awareness part is the mind according to him.

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by h_k_s » January 6th, 2019, 6:57 pm

Felix wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 1:58 pm
"Where were souls before the earth formed?"

In the universe before it was formed.
I would agree with you about the "mind" being there pre-existent and pre-universe.

But not necessarily the "soul" being preexistent.

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by h_k_s » January 6th, 2019, 7:00 pm

Wmhoerr wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 11:27 pm
If you raised by wolves or chimps, the body would be eventually be similar, but the mind or "I" (or pattern of chemicals in the brain) would differ significantly. The genes would be unaffected. But with a different mind the "I" would almost certainly choose a different partner and therefore different genes would result in any offspring. In this way, the genetic and cultural patterns are interwoven.
It would be a great scientific experiment to place an infant with wolves. But until we do it is pure speculation about how the experiment would turn out.

As far as this as a mind experiment goes, I would think that the child would eventually stand up and become dominant over the wolves.

It is also possible that the alpha male wolf would kill the child at that point, seeing the child as a challenge to his own dominance.

If the child survived the dominance struggle, then it would eventually become the leader of the pack. Especially after it learned how to use stone tools to make a spear.

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by h_k_s » January 6th, 2019, 7:01 pm

Aristotle is a great source of reading on the topics of body, soul, and mind.

Descartes jumps straight to mind and body only. He has no need for a soul in his construction.

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Wmhoerr » January 6th, 2019, 8:04 pm

h_k_s wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 7:01 pm
Aristotle is a great source of reading on the topics of body, soul, and mind.

Descartes jumps straight to mind and body only. He has no need for a soul in his construction.
You have missed the point. From the original topic, here the mind is the pattern of atoms, and the body is the atoms themselves. The pattern, mind, soul, or whatever else you want to call it, in part survives the death of the body. The pattern is in this sense immaterial. Part of this pattern is passed both genetically and culturally to others. If we call this pattern the soul, then the soul in part survives the death of the body.

Maybe a modern analogy, while not perfect, will help. The body of a computer is called "hardware", and the mind/soul is like the "software". When your old computer expires, some of the software you want from it is loaded onto the new computer (provided you have kept a backup). But what is "software"? it is again a pattern that is in one sense is material as it is an arrangement of atoms contained in a physical computer, and in another sense is immaterial as it is more than the atoms themselves.

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by h_k_s » January 6th, 2019, 9:15 pm

Wmhoerr wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 8:04 pm
h_k_s wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 7:01 pm
Aristotle is a great source of reading on the topics of body, soul, and mind.

Descartes jumps straight to mind and body only. He has no need for a soul in his construction.
You have missed the point. From the original topic, here the mind is the pattern of atoms, and the body is the atoms themselves. The pattern, mind, soul, or whatever else you want to call it, in part survives the death of the body. The pattern is in this sense immaterial. Part of this pattern is passed both genetically and culturally to others. If we call this pattern the soul, then the soul in part survives the death of the body.

Maybe a modern analogy, while not perfect, will help. The body of a computer is called "hardware", and the mind/soul is like the "software". When your old computer expires, some of the software you want from it is loaded onto the new computer (provided you have kept a backup). But what is "software"? it is again a pattern that is in one sense is material as it is an arrangement of atoms contained in a physical computer, and in another sense is immaterial as it is more than the atoms themselves.
You have missed the point … by skipping over Aristotle.

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Fdesilva » January 12th, 2019, 1:58 pm

I have a lot to say on this topic but will be brief as possible. Firstly what is the soul? Consider the conscious experience of looking at some thing. Say a computer screen. This experience consist of two components.
1. The computer screen (referred to as “U”)
2. The “Me” looking at it (referred to as “I”).
This “Me thing” or the “I” is the soul.

Next where does this conscious experience take place?

From what is known from studying vision, light from the computer screen hits the retina within the eye. This results in stimulating the brain, meaning creating neural activity consisting of nerve impulses and activity at synapses. It is this activity that results in creating the “U” and possibly also “I”. What we can be sure is that it creates the “U” as when we close our eyes we cannot see. How ever can it also account for the “I” this is the big question. I think not for the following reasons.

Firstly from the above we can see that the neural activity of the brain is like the perfect mirror, it reproduces what is out side the body “U” just like the perfect mirror. The “I” cannot see the brain but only the reflection of the world out there. This is an important aspect to keep in mind when evaluating the following statements.

The experience of the “I” is one of a single thing. It is the essence of the concept 1. The experience of the “U” is a distributed thing. It cover a whole area (computer screen) as such it must cover an area of the brain. Thus at any given instant “U” would consist of a set of simultaneous events distributed across the area of the brain. “I” a single thing by it awareness must interact with all these simultaneous events of “U”. However from special relativity physics we know that nothing physical can interact with simultaneous events even if the events are a fraction of a millimetre from each other. As such the “I” is not physical but no-physical or immaterial.

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Wmhoerr » January 14th, 2019, 5:21 am

Felix wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 1:58 pm
"Where were souls before the earth formed?"

In the universe before it was formed.
Souls existing before the universe? What's your evidence?

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Wmhoerr » January 14th, 2019, 5:27 am

Eduk wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 6:01 am
@Wmhoerr I think I can give a very easy answer to your question. It's probably one which has already occurred to you though. Namely that there aren't immaterial souls which survive us.
What i'm trying to say is that genes are passed, in part, to offspring. This pattern of the genes survives death. Similarly with cultural ideas.

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