You say this, yet you don't take the impartial standpoint. In fact, you make fundamental assessments about the spirit in both of your posts. If this were really true, then we couldn't know either way. You also make fundamental assessments about further objects:
How can you know this? By your own standard, you cannot make this statement. Are you arguing that simply because you haven't had any experience with the post-mortal existence of the mind, there must not be any evidence to suggest it's possibility? Many people have had experiences which would contradict such a view. I don't think I need to point out how many fallacies this entails.
Additionally, I don't think you realize the impacts of your statement. Should we abide by your standards of what is worthy or not of fundamental assessments, then you must provide a reason why morality / ethics should be discussed - these are also completely theoretical. Is this something you want to advocate?
No but for every position there must be a default position. There are no such things as neutral positions as far as ideas go. It is either of existing or not. You can't have a half existence or a half not existence. So you can take a default position. If something lacks evidence of existing then by all means the default position would be to say that, "until there is more evidence it much be concluded that such a thing does not exist."
When it comes to the spirit or the soul, you have absolutely no evidence or nothing to base it off of. It is a complete guess. This is like a person who says it's safe to cross the street because they don't see any invisible cars.
You do not need to have a soul for morals or ethics to still have their position. I don't need to have any sort of fear of an after life punishment to be reasonable respectful person towards others. I simply see myself in others and I understand through empathy that if I respect others lives then I can assume they can come to some terms to respect my own. This does not mean that they will, it just means I am not giving them any cause for not respecting mine, because I am respecting theirs. For some people this is still not good enough and I understand some will even put their religious beliefs far above the value of my life.
Morality does not need to come from any divine being or some subscribed to holy book. It is not necessary. I don't have to believe in any of that garbage to be a respectful person. I don't need to fear an imaginary being to do anything. In fact I say, those who do fear such things, only behave because of that fear. If that fear were lifted they would probably not care. This to me means they are not good or respectful because they empathize with others, but instead they only behave because they fear this imaginary beings wrath. That to me means those people are not good people at all. If you have to be forced into being respectful then you are truly not a respectful person. If you have to be forced not to kill other people, then you truly are not a good person (perhaps not even worthy to be a person.)
I say the lawless society will reveal who the truly good people are from those who care nothing for others. As far as I can tell, from all the hype around religion is that a huge majority of religious people lack empathy for other people. They place their religious views far above the lives of these other people and that to me is the worst moral offense you can have.
The Hebrew word for spirit is Ruach, breath, ie, the inner substance of something. Its there but yet cannot see it but yet know its effects.
This is related to Jeeprs post. Geist (and spirit) could be conceived of as mind and passion conjoined. Man can be conceived of as logos incarnate. He is a thinking being whose thoughts are one and the same with the intelligible structure of the world as he experiences it.
But because man clings to the afterlife, he tends to conceive of spirit as something somehow apart from the flesh and the mind. And yet this notion of spirit exists only within the mind, but then so does the notion of the mind.
The reason that geist and spirit are potentially good concepts, in my opinion, is that they point toward a fusion of mind, emotion, and sensation.
The bad thing about describing man as an animal is that this ignores a significant difference. Man evolves personally and socially, and not just genetically. His projects for the future change, whereas animals generally want the same old things.
Presumably, animals do not radically change their conception and therefore their experience of the world, although they do of course learn something from experience. But men exist in a community that is not only local and contemporary, but extends into the past and the projected future. Do animals bother thinking about how they will be remembered when they are gone? Not likely. Do animals contemplate the members of their species who existed centuries before? Not likely. Korzybski called man the time-binding animal. He evolves as a species culturally.
The man of today is not the man of yesterday. Today's man lives in a world wide web of information, and this information is audio and visual. He is changed by the tools he creates. Man is an historic "animal." Yes, his body remains much the same, but in some ways his skyscrapers and videocameras are part of his body. They extend his skin, his eyes, etc. They manifest his desire, and his desire (according to Spengler at least as far as "Faustian" man goes) is infinite, or a desire for infinite space, power, freedom, etc. Sounds like the word "spirit" could be applied, but perhaps without its discarnate afterlife associations...:flowers: