The Soul

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Metaphysics
  3. » The Soul

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 07:23 am
Ok....The Soul. What is it? Is it separable from body? Is it a concept drawn up by man? Or is it defunct as a concept altogether? Is it material or is it an idea?

Discuss and enjoy.

Sorry if it has already been brought up before.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 09:33 am
@Ramsey phil,
Quote:
Is it separable from body? Is it a concept drawn up by man? Or is it defunct as a concept altogether? Is it material or is it an idea?


Good topic for conversation, but I think I could rightly answer yes to all of your above questions. Depends on how we use the term, the context.

Is there a particular conception of the soul you are interested in?
 
de budding
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 10:55 am
@Didymos Thomas,
The soul is, usually, used to describe the unique character of some one and is, usually, a separate entity which travels off after death to a theme park in the cloud. Focusing on the 'character' part the soul is, in my opinion- a culmination of all your experience giving way to preference and opinion depending on the perceived 'quality' of said experience, or something to that effect.

If your interested, see if you can find to buy/download, 'Ghost in the Shell', it's a cool anime film that uses androids to convey the point of gathering experience to develop personal preference.

I guess my idea of the soul/character also relates to Hume as well; the way Hume describes our understanding by observing cause and effect and learning the uniformity which leads to certain effects from causes. If every time I was nice to a certain person I received money from them, I could develop a very manipulative tendency, based on a behavioural cause-and-effect uniformity that I've learnt. So its easy to see how the 'soul' is shaped into a unique character but, unfortunately this means when it comes to choices we are limited to what we know; we can't have a personal preference for that which we have never tried (unless one has learnt to appreciate the mystery of it, but this to is learnt by exposure to the cause of picking what one doesn't know and the desirable effect of surprise.)

Another test could be to monitor very closely, two clones living the exact same life; going to school together, sitting next to each other at school, having same friends etc. Every thing is exactly the same but, because they can't physically occupy the same space, all the little discrepancies in sensual information that result from them standing next to each other (as opposed to on each other, in the same physical space) add up and equal to extremely different personalities. For example, sitting next to each other in class would give two slightly different stereo images of the teacher's voice, and would mean the clones are both sitting with different people on there left and right who they would probably interact with.

But I think the soul is part of the brain- memory, not a separate ghost living inside us waiting to break out.

Dan.
 
Ramsey phil
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 12:09 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:

Is there a particular conception of the soul you are interested in?


No particular conception, I'm leaving it totally open to what ever conception one has.
 
nameless
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 05:13 pm
@Ramsey phil,
Ramsey;17043 wrote:
Ok....The Soul. What is it? Is it separable from body? Is it a concept drawn up by man? Or is it defunct as a concept altogether? Is it material or is it an idea?

The problem with your OP is that you begin with an unsupported assumption; that a 'soul' actually exists.
Once that assumption is uncritically accepted, one can 'progress' to "what is it?", etc...
Personally, I think that it is a 'fantasy', an illusion of 'appearances', in the 'spiritual' (there's another one!) sense, anyway.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 08:53 pm
@nameless,
To me the soul is an abstraction / idealization of the "us as persons" that lives inside the "us as animals".

When someone dies, all that's left is the dead "him/her as an animal". That human vitality and uniqueness is gone forever. No wonder the soul has taken on such importance as a concept, no wonder it is central to our sense of self esp in religious contexts.
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Thu 26 Jun, 2008 10:09 pm
@Aedes,
I know that it's popular today to disbelieve in that concept that human beings throughout history have called the "soul". And that is nearly enough of a reason for one to go right ahead and claim it for oneself as real!!
But seriously one has to find out these things for oneself. Consider the importance of the question if you may entertain just for a moment the possible existence of it.

I have spent a considerable amount of time myself contemplating the question in meditation and looking hard around me for any clues. I was quite surprised to discover that in fact the soul is real and also that substance or matter is what is in reality the more questionable concept. And the fact that matter is what pragmatists rely upon to the exclusion of everything else should give a more noble thinker the proper amount of pause...to meditate and perhaps rediscover for himself that premodern preoccupation which was the tending of that all too real thing which we call the soul.

And seeing how it is as difficult to "prove" as it is to disprove I would say that the real debate should rest upon the importance of the question as opposed to its definitive resolution. I say this because I don't believe that those who reject the concept of the soul without proper refutation (which as I say is too difficult) simply don't think the question of it's existence is important at all.

--
 
Khethil
 
Reply Fri 27 Jun, 2008 05:17 am
@Ramsey phil,
My feeling is that there is no reason to believe that the Soul is a separate entity (apart from the biology; the chorus of electrochemical and neurological processes that create that effect). Nonetheless, I find it a useful term to describe that part of me that is self-aware, individual and feeling.
 
nameless
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 01:36 am
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;17129 wrote:
I know that it's popular today to disbelieve in that concept that human beings throughout history have called the "soul".

Amazing what scientific advancement in knowledge and understanding of the world around us can do to old and (dearly held/believed) superstitions..

And that is nearly enough of a reason for one to go right ahead and
Quote:
claim it for oneself as real!!

Yup! Science be damned! I 'believe' what I 'believe'!

Quote:
Consider the importance of the question if you may entertain just for a moment the possible existence of it.

You mean beyond your 'concepts'? Give me some evidence and I'll join with you in a critical examination thereof. No actual evidence means idle speculation means waste of time...

Quote:
I have spent a considerable amount of time myself contemplating the question in meditation and looking hard around me for any clues. I was quite surprised to discover that in fact the soul is real

Really? How exciting! Please share this 'evidence' that I might join in the conversation. Always willing to learn something new.

Quote:
that all too real thing which we call the soul.

Yeah, yeah.. "All too real" for you, perhaps. Other than that, other than 'beliefs', show me.
It is a common phenomenon that the more often that we hear something, like about a 'soul', the more apt we are to 'accept as true' that which we often hear, without critical thoughtful examination.

Quote:
And seeing how it is as difficult to "prove" as it is to disprove

One cannot 'disprove' a fantasy. One cannot 'disprove' a hazy nebulous 'notion' that you don't really understand but accept because you heard it often enough. "If they have been talking about it for centuries, it must be real.." Hogwash!
And one can never adequately 'disprove' the subject of a 'belief' to a 'true believer'. Again, because there is no room for logic/rationality in the home of a 'belief'. Go ahead and argue a true believer in Allah and Mahommet away from their 'belief'. Or a Xtian. It is not possible when the 'belief' is strong enough. No matter the 'evidence', it will be 'refuted' with pathological psychological processes and logically fallacious mumbo-jumbo. Might even get violent. Try to cut a Sikh's hair and he is supposed to kill you to prevent it. The hair is just a 'symbol' of a belief and yet...

Quote:
I say this because I don't believe that those who reject the concept of the soul without proper refutation (which as I say is too difficult) simply don't think the question of it's existence is important at all.

More nonsense. What does 'this' mean; "those who reject the concept of the soul without proper refutation"? Again, one needn't 'refute' the FSM simply because there is no evidence to support it's 'actuality'. Nothing to 'refute'. Neither is the question important (except to a freakish few, I'd imagine) of the dietary habits of the FSM (Flying Spaghetti Monster).

"The great snare of thought is the uncritical acceptance of irrational assumptions." -Will Durant
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 02:28 am
@nameless,
nameless,

Sorry, but I can not really be a partner in such a hateful discussion because such discussion is against the rules of the forum as set down by its owner.

Your post is very cruel and not thoughtful at all. I really don't appreciate the gratuitous invective and name-calling.

I already said that it was too difficult to prove or disprove. I can't be more evenhanded than that. Unless you can definitively prove to the whole world and everybody in it that it does not exist, which neither you nor the sciences can do. More importantly, science does not even demand that the soul doesn't exist, there are many great scientists who are active today who believe. Any decent and intelligent person would know this. Religion doesn't refute science and science doesn't refute religion or else one would abolish the other. That is what a refutation is.

Your thoughtless and cruel attitude doesn't really have a place in this forum in my opinion.
 
de budding
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 04:07 am
@Pythagorean,
Pyth,
Is there anything in or about yourself that you recognised as your soul?
What is the purpose and implications of your soul?
Dan.
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 04:25 am
@de budding,
Dan,

I subscribe to Plato's theory of the human soul. Philosophy is according to Plato the care of one's soul. And the purpose of the soul is beauty and knowledge; to discover beauty and truth, that is its end.

I'll be so bold as to speak for Plato himself and say that there is no philosophy without recognition of the soul; without the soul there is mere sophistry.

As for my soul, I can't give a personal account for I don't posess such descriptive abilities at present. Even if I did (there are some notes that I have as well as some old posts here on the site), I would not be able to share them with a general audience too easily as it would be so pollitically incorrect as you can see.

Many great writers have included descriptions of the human soul within their art. I mean writers of novels and poetry. Anyone who reads the classics will know this of course. I would definitely suggest reading the classics to get such descriptions. Plato is a good start. Smile

good luck

--Pyth
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 05:25 am
@Pythagorean,
I'm as immersed in science as one can be, but I would never take Nameless' tact here. Sure, science makes no stipulation about the soul, though it hardly matters since everyone has a different definition of it. But something doesn't have to be physically real to be important. We can think of parts of ourselves allegorically and still hold them important. There are things I do, like my photography, that I could say 'feed my soul'. It may just be an arcane metaphor for "an enriching activity that gives me relaxation and satisfaction", but that sterilizes the concept. Whether or not the soul exists independently of us, or is merely a figurative element of who we are, really doesn't alter how we think of it (at least in a living person).

And while we could disagree about what happens to the soul after death, that's similarly outside the interest of science and more pertinent to one's hopes, fears, and religious beliefs.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 06:43 am
@Aedes,
Pythagorean wrote:
I was quite surprised to discover that in fact the soul is real...


Pythagorean,

I'm curious; would you mind expounding on this a bit? How did you make this discovery? What elements were involved, etc.
 
boagie
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 12:01 pm
@Pythagorean,
Smile
Is not the burden of proof on the person making the claim? If there is no proof, it should then not be claimed-------and to expect respect in the same breath, is pushing the evelope. The immortal soul does have poetic licence only to play with our sentiments. Poetry and philosophy don't mix well.:rolleyes:
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 01:21 pm
@boagie,
Quote:
Is not the burden of proof on the person making the claim? If there is no proof, it should then not be claimed-------and to expect respect in the same breath, is pushing the evelope.


You are right that burden of proof rests on the claimant. But what do we consider 'proof'?

Quote:
The immortal soul does have poetic licence only to play with our sentiments. Poetry and philosophy don't mix well.
Emerson and Whitman come to mind.
 
Ramsey phil
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 02:05 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Could this soul become material with the advent of Quantum Mechanics? Does this not give some form to a soul?

Just throwing in a talking point there.
 
boagie
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 02:21 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
You are right that burden of proof rests on the claimant. But what do we consider 'proof'?

Emerson and Whitman come to mind.


:)Proof, but of so many definations

:)Point taken on Emerson, not real familar with Whitman.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 03:08 pm
@boagie,
Quote:
Point taken on Emerson, not real familar with Whitman.


Whitman is considered by many to be the American poet.

Point being that not only do poetry and philosophy seem to mix, but that they also inform one another. A poet without consideration for philosophy isn't much of a poet. And if I recall correctly, it was George Santayana who highly prized the beauty of philosophy.

As for the issue of proof, I asked because often times we encounter claims that can neither be supported nor undercut by evidence - in that no evidence exists to either confirm or deny the claim.
 
boagie
 
Reply Sat 28 Jun, 2008 03:49 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
"As for the issue of proof, I asked because often times we encounter claims that can neither be supported nor undercut by evidence - in that no evidence exists to either confirm or deny the claim."Quote

Thomas,Smile

Would not logic assume then, that the claim should not have been made. Many such claims and the individual making them would be taken for town fool.
[RIGHT]http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/images/PHBlue/misc/progress.gif[/RIGHT]
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Metaphysics
  3. » The Soul
Copyright © 2024 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 07/18/2024 at 08:26:16