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Old September 26 2013, 09:59 AM   #266
CorporalCaptain
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Re: What Happens After Death

thestrangequark, real life intervened, and I was unable to compose a reply of the length and care that seemed to be required, until now.

thestrangequark wrote: View Post
^I get all that, what I don't get is why you've tried to shift the burden of proof to me. I don't think the logic behind that shift is sound.
I imagine that you simply misunderstood exactly which claim it is of yours that I say you have a burden to prove.

I tried to get you to ask narrow questions about what I wrote, but since you didn't, I'm still just shooting in the dark, not knowing exactly where it is that I'm being unclear. I'll try to clarify one more time. However, if this doesn't clear it up, then I really just don't know what else to say.

As I said explicitly several times, your burden is not to prove that souls in the classical sense exist; I have no Earthly clue why you would think I believed that, or what in the world I wrote that would lead you to think that I thought anything like that.

Your burden is, rather, to support your claim that, and I quote:

thestrangequark wrote: View Post
I absolutely contend that what people believed was going on in definition #2 was all along caused by definition #1, and I absolutely contend that people just got it wrong for thousands of years.
Evidently, you don't see your need to prove this claim of yours, so I'll elaborate on why your claim here is not self-evident.

First, let's recap the definitions #1 and #2.

thestrangequark wrote: View Post
1. The soul is an emergent property based in the physical construction of the brain, and it does not persist in any form after death.

2. The soul exists independently of the physical construction of the brain in some way -- either as a product of the brain/body that is capable of moving on upon death after reaching a level of maturity, or it is dualistic in nature, and occupies the body for a period of time, moving on upon death.
The main problem is that psyche and consciousness don't fully capture the essence of what is regarded as the classical soul. The brain may be the seat of consciousness, but it is not the seat of life.

Fused or conflated in the classical concept of the soul, along with psyche and consciousness, are notions of essence and vitality, and the supposed very "breath of life". It was assumed classically that the psyche was what animated matter, so, naturally, when preoccupied with the question of what the essence of life was, consciousness sprang to mind, as something essential. Ergo, when classical philosophers were considering what we call the soul, you have to ask yourself whether their concern was primarily with respect to the mind, or whether it was primarily with respect to the essence of life, or a combination.

To cite an important example contrary to your assumptions, Aristotle was concerned with the essence of life; in his view, even plants, as a form of life, had a kind of soul. His notion of soul, hardly an unimportant one in the history of philosophy, does not really resemble your interpretation of the soul, as something primarily pertaining to what we consider consciousness.

The conflation of consciousness and animation in classical philosophy is what makes your claim, that what people thought was going on according to #2 was really going on according to #1, problematic. In contemporary terms, we might recognize this as a conflation of cognition and metabolism.

My point is that at least some classical philosophers were really thinking about what we call metabolism when they were talking about the soul, while others might have been thinking of what we call either cognition or consciousness. Establishing how many went which way and what the important trends were is precisely the sort of research that would need to be performed, in order to settle the question of exactly how the classical philosophers got off track. Establishing what people were primarily concerned with is not simple, especially when there was this sort of conflation between what we now recognize as quite distinct processes.

All this is even beside the fact that more than a few people consider immortality and incorporeality to be essential aspects of what they call souls.

I hope this sheds some light on what I was trying to say.
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