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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.
Eduk
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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Eduk » January 14th, 2019, 7:59 am

@Wmhoerr ah I think I understand now. I think when many people use the word soul they are using it in a similar way as you are proposing. Even though I don't believe there is a soul I still use the word. For example I find many posts on this forum soul destroying.
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Greta
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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Greta » January 14th, 2019, 8:55 am

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.
I wonder if the body would be similar enough to be recognised as the same person as, say, an identical twin raised normally? Gait, posture and grooming would only subtly hit at the personality one might have been in a human society.

The way I see it, the individual part of us is very small, like the tip of an iceberg - the berg consisting of culture, plus more general attributes of being human, a mammal, a chordate and, ultimately, an Earthling. Meanwhile, when I consider just about every thought I have, it's impossible to imagine any of them without cultural conditioning and influence.

So what is this individual remainder - the common "I" between one raised by wolves or by humans? Seemingly a blend of fairly basic attributes like how adventurous or timid we are, how aggressive or submissive, extroversion and introversion, nothing wildly important or valuable. So why do we cling so desperately to life if we are only preserving a prosaic and largely replaceable existence? Probably because the ancestors of ours who clung desperately to life survived better than their less intense peers.

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Eduk » January 14th, 2019, 10:20 am

The way I see it, the individual part of us is very small, like the tip of an iceberg - the berg consisting of culture, plus more general attributes of being human, a mammal, a chordate and, ultimately, an Earthling. Meanwhile, when I consider just about every thought I have, it's impossible to imagine any of them without cultural conditioning and influence.

So what is this individual remainder - the common "I" between one raised by wolves or by humans? Seemingly a blend of fairly basic attributes like how adventurous or timid we are, how aggressive or submissive, extroversion and introversion, nothing wildly important or valuable.
Sure the I raised by wolves or the I raised by more conventional means would be quite a different I. But you do only define I by what is common to all possible I's? Surely you should instead take all those possible tips and add them together, you would get a bigger I that way.
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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Felix » January 14th, 2019, 6:29 pm

Wmhoerr: "Where were souls before the earth formed?"

Felix: "In the universe before it was formed."

Wmhoerr: Souls existing before the universe? What's your evidence?
That was just a way of saying that souls are not a product of material processes.
Wmhoerr: What i'm trying to say is that genes are passed, in part, to offspring. This pattern of the genes survives death.
And if one has no offspring, is that the end of one's "soul"? It's an inadequate metaphor.
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Greta
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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Greta » January 14th, 2019, 7:49 pm

Eduk wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 10:20 am
The way I see it, the individual part of us is very small, like the tip of an iceberg - the berg consisting of culture, plus more general attributes of being human, a mammal, a chordate and, ultimately, an Earthling. Meanwhile, when I consider just about every thought I have, it's impossible to imagine any of them without cultural conditioning and influence.

So what is this individual remainder - the common "I" between one raised by wolves or by humans? Seemingly a blend of fairly basic attributes like how adventurous or timid we are, how aggressive or submissive, extroversion and introversion, nothing wildly important or valuable.
Sure the I raised by wolves or the I raised by more conventional means would be quite a different I. But you do only define I by what is common to all possible I's? Surely you should instead take all those possible tips and add them together, you would get a bigger I that way.
"All possible I's" makes sense to me. Different stimuli will raise different potentials.

I expect there'd mainly just be the commonality of having the same body - "I am me and I am here now" - in the same way as we are the same "I" as the children we no longer are and sometimes barely seem to resemble. As you suggested, that "I" can, have a range of variant potentials that can be awakened at various times in one's life, and it depends on the interaction of genetics with the environment, which is basically an exchange between past and current conditioning.

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Greta » January 14th, 2019, 7:55 pm

Felix wrote:
January 14th, 2019, 6:29 pm
And if one has no offspring, is that the end of one's "soul"? It's an inadequate metaphor.
When I go, the law of averages suggests that there'll be plenty of people born in the future with attributes so similar to mine that you'd think I'd been reincarnated.

However, that's just a probabilistic recurrence of "an organism that operates in this way" ("this" basically being a bundle of attributes).
As such, while I don't expect to to thinking my kind of thoughts and doing my kind of things after I die, others will have very similar attributes and sense of being so it's not a matter that I will live on but "personalities like mine" will continue to pop up, just as branches of a certain shape will continue to appear on trees.

It's not so much about oneself but one's family (in a broadest sense) or personality tranch running through history, of which we are just one of the current examples.

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Eduk » January 15th, 2019, 4:35 am

It's a matter of perspective really. I think the phenomena that @Greta is describing is basically correct. The argument would come over the importance. A negative person may say their environmental and biological influence upon death is trivial and pointless. A more romantic person may say one never really dies. I lean more towards the romantic.
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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by LuckyR » January 15th, 2019, 5:03 am

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.
The concept of the eternal soul was originally a psychological crutch that was invented to perform two functions. The first is as an emotional salve to those mourning the death of a loved one. The second (and more important socially) is as a method to control the rabble who owned next to nothing while the king and the clergy had almost infinite wealth, that is the rabble's reward would be in the afterlife, so don't usurp the king and take it in this life.
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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Greta » January 15th, 2019, 5:11 pm

Eduk wrote:
January 15th, 2019, 4:35 am
It's a matter of perspective really. I think the phenomena that @Greta is describing is basically correct. The argument would come over the importance. A negative person may say their environmental and biological influence upon death is trivial and pointless. A more romantic person may say one never really dies. I lean more towards the romantic.
Yes, it's a matter of perspective. Do bacteria live forever or does each bacterium die quickly in donating all of its body to its two offspring? It brings us back to the extended "I" you referred to and the perhaps multifaceted nature of "I" and "we".

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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Eduk » January 15th, 2019, 7:02 pm

It brings us back to the extended "I" you referred to and the perhaps multifaceted nature of "I" and "we".
Quite Buddhist really :)
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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Felix » January 16th, 2019, 12:47 pm

Greta: When I go, the law of averages suggests that there'll be plenty of people born in the future with attributes so similar to mine that you'd think I'd been reincarnated.
Yes, the concept of individual souls is problematic for that reason - our shared traits far outweigh our individual differences. It would make more sense to talk about the soul of the human race, plural, and it's possible evolution.

When one looks for a distinct I, it's like pondering a Zen koan, "what was my face befire I was born?"
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Greta
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Re: An immaterial soul from materials.

Post by Greta » January 18th, 2019, 12:56 am

Felix wrote:
January 16th, 2019, 12:47 pm
Greta: When I go, the law of averages suggests that there'll be plenty of people born in the future with attributes so similar to mine that you'd think I'd been reincarnated.
Yes, the concept of individual souls is problematic for that reason - our shared traits far outweigh our individual differences. It would make more sense to talk about the soul of the human race, plural, and it's possible evolution.

When one looks for a distinct I, it's like pondering a Zen koan, "what was my face befire I was born?"
Yes, the broader souls of subcultures, cultures, species, mammals, chordates and so forth. We and our families and friends are largely just expressions of these. We're like cells - easy come, easy go.

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