logo Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register.
2023-03-27 21:32:25 CoV Wiki
Learn more about the Church of Virus
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Read the first edition of the Ideohazard

  Church of Virus BBS
  General
  Philosophy & Religion

  Souls
previous next
Pages: [1] 2 3 Reply Notify of replies Send the topic Print 
   Author  Topic: Souls  (Read 3681 times)
Rodger
Neophyte
*

Posts: 1
Reputation: 0.00





View Profile
Souls
« on: 2003-03-26 09:04:10 »
Reply with quote

[[ author reputation (0.00) beneath threshold (3)... display message ]]

Report to moderator   Logged
boygoboom
Neophyte
**

Gender: Male
Posts: 13
Reputation: 0.00



I am the Abyss.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:Souls
« Reply #1 on: 2003-03-26 16:45:08 »
Reply with quote

[[ author reputation (0.00) beneath threshold (3)... display message ]]

Report to moderator   Logged

>-n-e-l-s-o-n-<


The chains of life are forged in definition. We've become slaves to our convictions. Freedom lies in disinvention.
localroger
Magister
**

Gender: Male
Posts: 44
Reputation: 6.72
Rate localroger



Never!

View Profile E-Mail
Re:Souls
« Reply #2 on: 2003-04-06 11:01:39 »
Reply with quote

Speaking in roger to rodger fashion...

I regard the "soul" as the "information content of the brain."  Inasmuch as a human being is a physical system it has rules of operation which could be emulated, and encoded information which we have learned (presumably by growing processes, changing the behavior of synapses, or whatever).  If you were to set up a duplicate system with the same rules and the same encoded information it would be "you," even if the original "you" was walking around somewhere.

I'd regard this collection of information my "soul."  Not me per se, but the hard(wet)ware specification and software pack which would produce me when you run it.

There are some futurists betting on implementing just this sort of thing as a step to immortality, but one problem is that so far the only physical way anybody can envision to collect the data is to start by killing the original you.

OTOH if the Universe is coded at a high level of abstraction we may all be simply object-oriented data structures of Type Mammal.Human which can be conveniently copied and emulated in out-of-body context.  That would have a lot of implications for metaphysics, but the system might also be riddled with sanity checks meant to keep us from hacking it.

Report to moderator   Logged
David Lucifer
Archon
*****

Posts: 2641
Reputation: 8.95
Rate David Lucifer



Enlighten me.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:Souls
« Reply #3 on: 2003-04-06 11:30:27 »
Reply with quote


Quote from: boygoboom on 2003-03-26 16:45:08   

I don't subscribe to the Atheist philosophy (there is no God), but I do favor Agnosticism (God either does not exist or is unknowable. At either rate, it's not worth worrying about).

Whenever I see someone say that I have to ask, Are you agnostic about werewolves and Mother Goose too?
Report to moderator   Logged
David Lucifer
Archon
*****

Posts: 2641
Reputation: 8.95
Rate David Lucifer



Enlighten me.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:Souls
« Reply #4 on: 2003-04-06 11:34:30 »
Reply with quote


Quote from: localroger on 2003-04-06 11:01:39   

I regard the "soul" as the "information content of the brain."  Inasmuch as a human being is a physical system it has rules of operation which could be emulated, and encoded information which we have learned (presumably by growing processes, changing the behavior of synapses, or whatever).  If you were to set up a duplicate system with the same rules and the same encoded information it would be "you," even if the original "you" was walking around somewhere.

That is a perfectly valid interpretation of the word, but I don't think it should be confused with what most people mean when they say "soul".


Quote:

There are some futurists betting on implementing just this sort of thing as a step to immortality, but one problem is that so far the only physical way anybody can envision to collect the data is to start by killing the original you.

I don't think that is entirely true, I remember reading about non-destructive scanning techniques at least a decade ago. The main problem with uploading from my perspective is that if it works then I will have a copy in a computer medium (which is good), but I will still be here in physical space and the copy and I will quickly diverge into different minds. It is not a way to immortality.
Report to moderator   Logged
boygoboom
Neophyte
**

Gender: Male
Posts: 13
Reputation: 0.00



I am the Abyss.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:Souls
« Reply #5 on: 2003-04-06 12:22:31 »
Reply with quote

[[ author reputation (0.00) beneath threshold (3)... display message ]]

Report to moderator   Logged

>-n-e-l-s-o-n-<


The chains of life are forged in definition. We've become slaves to our convictions. Freedom lies in disinvention.
Hermit
Archon
*****

Posts: 4274
Reputation: 8.96
Rate Hermit



Prime example of a practically perfect person

View Profile WWW
Re:Souls
« Reply #6 on: 2003-04-06 15:01:24 »
Reply with quote

On Souls.

"Of course, we all have at least two. One on each foot." - Hermit


*Preordination
There was once a man who said, "Damn!
At length I perceive what I am.
Just a creature that moves,
In predestined grooves,
Not a bus, or a car, but a tram."


More usefully, I suspect that the idea of the soul being the sum of experience while self-aware (i.e. from sometime after about 8 months after birth, until death or senility) is a good (based in observation, highly defensible and not contradicting observation) model. The more pedestrian meaning is, I would suggest, based on the fact that we don't recall most of our early formative experiences and most people do not realize how utterly their genes determine their potential (and remarkably often, its realization or lack of it)*. They look at themselves (particularly as they become aware of their own mortality at somewhere between 6 and 10 years old) from when they first recall, and do not see a state (mythical though the the genetic impetus would make this) of tabula rasa, and so assume that their time-line of experience transcends their birth in order to explain themselves. A similar phenomena, triggered by the experience (or at least awareness) of loss of a personality through death, leads the ever optimistic Joe to project existence past the grave.

On Agnostics

Lucifer is, I suspect, entirely correct.


A - without
Gnosis - intuitive knowledge of spiritual truths (as claimed by the gnostics).


Here is the unarguable "horse's mouth" (Huxley coined the word)
Quote:
...it is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.  This is what Agnosticism asserts;  and, in my opinion, it is all that is essential to Agnosticism.  That which Agnostics deny, and repudiate as immoral, is the contrary doctrine, that there are propositions which men ought to believe, without logically satisfactory evidence."
["Agnosticism and Christianity and Other Essays", Thomas Henry Huxley 1889, Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1992, p. 193.]

So an agnostic, asserts that the nature or attributes of the gods is unknowable except through the intuition. This of course, has as the corollary, as Huxley (as a Deist) most certainly meant, the proposition that gods exist in some shape, form and quantity, albeit "necessarily" objectively unknown** (and sometimes meant as an assertion that these attributes are unknowable) to the agnostic (and sometimes meaning to everyone).

A - without
Theism - belief in gods.


So an atheist is merely somebody without belief in gods; and although some atheists (strong atheists) will make the assertion that there are no gods (I have never met one), most atheists, including weak atheists (those atheists who accept that there may be some gods somewhere that we have not yet looked), will deny the existence of particular self- or nature-contradicting gods.

So as you can see, most people who imagine themselves to be agnostics are really "weak atheists", but have been well trained in identifying themselves with the wrong word by a society which tends to consider atheists, nasty, dangerous and imoral. However, despite this widespread abuse, the meaning of the words (as defined by current  dictionaries and encyclopedias) has certainly not changed. So, an agnostic, unless he vests belief in gods despite the lack of objective evidence, is neccessarily an atheist. The  reverse is equally definitely not the case.

For more, I append and reference earlier discussions on the CoV on this issue.

Kind Regards

Hermit

** Objectivism was one of the principles of the Vienna school, which long predated (and I would assert outshone) the Randists.


Excerpt from [ Hermit, "virus: On the failure of 'Pascal's Wager' and the non-existence of Agnosticism", 2002-01-25 ] which in turn quoted a much more substantial discussion at [ Hermit, "Re: virus: sophomoric atheism (literalness issues)", Reply 1,  1999-10-27 ]

[Hermit] An Atheist is simply somebody who places no <i>belief<i> in gods. Any gods. This applies to all atheists. If you vest belief in gods, any gods, you are not an atheist.

[Hermit] Atheists come in two principle flavors each having multiple subtly different sub-classes which I will ignore. There are, I am told, "Strong atheists" (I have never met one) who assert, without evidence, that there are no "gods"; and "weak atheists" who acknowledge that there may be "gods" but that it is not worth believing in them.

[Hermit] There are also certain atheists, myself amongst them, that combine these two positions. For example, I assert that the ridiculous and vicious Christian gods cannot exist except in the diseased minds of their followers (innumerable internal and external contradictions) but that there may be some creatures somewhere in the Universe that I might call "gods" if I knew about them. This does not affect my atheism, as I do not consider investing anything (let alone something as pernicious as "belief") in some hypothetical, undefined possibility. I use the singular, as, in our experience, the only way there could be a singular god would be if it were nasty enough to have killed the rest of its own kind - which wouldn't be deserving of acknowledgement, never mind inviting them to tea or anything more personal.

[Hermit] I once described it like this:
Quote:
[Hermit 3.2] On the one hand we have "god-thingies as defined by the religious", in other words specific gods with specific attributes and generally speaking, easy refutation due to the "impossible" nature of the assigned attributes (through internal or external contradiction). On the other hand, there is the general class of god-thingies without assigned attributes which are impossible to refute, and in fact not worth refuting as the proponents of the idea of such god-thingies cannot provide any evidence for the necessity of such god-thingies and in fact, generally speaking, the existence or non-existence of such god-thingies would not make a difference to the mankind. Finally we have the idea of god-thingies, which while it definitely exists, has no positive effect on humans.


[Hermit] Most so called agnostics are simply confused. Some people do call themselves agnostics as they prefer to think of themselves as 'not being as nasty' as the common portrayal of atheists as child-murderers and cannibals. But the term agnosticism was invented by Thomas Huxley, so it seems fair to let himself define it. [supra]

[Hermit] So unless an agnostic believes (that word again) that there are reasons to "believe" in gods, without evidence for those gods (which would be even more ludicrous than the typical bible wielding believer's faith), the agnostic is simply an atheist, wearing a label permitting him to socialize with the vicar (and vice versa).

[Hermit] For myself, when I see a turd ("belief") floating in the teapot, I prefer to avoid joining the party no matter who labels it as something else.

Hermit
« Last Edit: 2003-04-06 16:25:50 by Hermit » Report to moderator   Logged

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
localroger
Magister
**

Gender: Male
Posts: 44
Reputation: 6.72
Rate localroger



Never!

View Profile E-Mail
Re:Souls
« Reply #7 on: 2003-04-06 15:50:38 »
Reply with quote

Lucifer,

Quote:

That is a perfectly valid interpretation of the word, but I don't think it should be confused with what most people mean when they say "soul".
While most people wouldn't use information theory I think if you got them to describe exactly what a soul is and what it does in lay terms, you'd find they are describing exactly what I did, just less exactly.

Quote:

I remember reading about non-destructive scanning techniques at least a decade ago.
I don't think you can get the resolution required with non-destructive radiation, unless you posit some wholly unsuspected new physical process.

Quote:

The main problem with uploading from my perspective is that if it works then I will have a copy in a computer medium (which is good), but I will still be here in physical space and the copy and I will quickly diverge into different minds. It is not a way to immortality.
I'd have to agree with this.  John Varley did a really good SFnal treatment of the whole idea in The Ophiuchi Hotline.
Report to moderator   Logged
boygoboom
Neophyte
**

Gender: Male
Posts: 13
Reputation: 0.00



I am the Abyss.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:Souls
« Reply #8 on: 2003-04-06 17:08:46 »
Reply with quote

[[ author reputation (0.00) beneath threshold (3)... display message ]]

Report to moderator   Logged

>-n-e-l-s-o-n-<


The chains of life are forged in definition. We've become slaves to our convictions. Freedom lies in disinvention.
Hermit
Archon
*****

Posts: 4274
Reputation: 8.96
Rate Hermit



Prime example of a practically perfect person

View Profile WWW
Re:Souls
« Reply #9 on: 2003-04-06 18:18:18 »
Reply with quote

I based my post on Encyclopedia Brittanica (previous responses on this topic), The Oxford English Dictionary (same), and for this response, a refresher from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and wordsmyth.net.

You may validate my assertion on the meaning of agnosticism at http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=Agnosticism, and at http://www.wordsmyth.net/live/home.php?script=search&matchent=agnosticism&matchtype=exact. I will cite the latter
Quote:
1. one who believes it is impossible to know anything about the existence of God or the essential nature of anything.
. Notice that a "belief" about the nature of "God" or "the essential nature of anything" is a prerequisite to holding an agnostic position. Just as it was when Huxley coined the word. I am not quite sure upon what "objective" basis you are asserting such a belief may be founded, or why "belief" would be required if "objective evidence" compelled acceptence. This is exactly the point Huxley was making when he coined the word - that there is no "objective" basis for evaluating a super-dooper god-idea. Now you might argue that every dictionary I consulted is wrong, and that when I say you are using the word incorrectly, that I am wrong about that too; but don't you think that just perhaps, tossing the dictionary out of the window and redefining the meanings of words on the fly might just possibly interfere with the ability to communicate? After all, even Humpty-Dumpty chose to define new words, rather than simply serving up new interpretations for old ones (like some Wiccan lamp seller <grin>)?

A brief trip to the library will give you the Encyclopedia Brittanica's lengthy piece on agnosticism as an instantiation of weak atheism. But, perhaps, even if I am not deemed an acceptable source, and my dictionaries flawed, you can save yourself the trouble of a library visit, as the references cited below may suffice to convince you. Note in particular the passage I have highlighted. Huxley held, as I said previously, "He defined an agnostic as someone who disclaimed both ("strong") atheism and theism, and who believed that the question of whether a higher power existed was unsolved and insoluble." (and I would add), because of the "necessary limits of the human mind." Huxley's god (similar to all gods, I would argue and he would disagree) "passed all understanding."

So you might care to save yourself further embarrassment by reading the following two brief excerpts and possibly visiting the linked references. [ RE: virus: sophomoric atheism (literalness issues), Reply #1, 1999-10-28 ]
...[T]he portrayal of an atheist as one who ***believes*** that there are no gods is a distortion, an incorrect definition and attribution, which is propagated by the religious community. The fact that an error is widely held (including by myself for a time :-) ), does not make it less of an error unless the definition itself changes. Which it has not. The redefinition makes it much simpler to argue against atheism. Which is why it is a strawman. The straw man fallacy originates when you misrepresent someone else's position so that it can be attacked more easily, knock down that misrepresented position, then conclude that the original position has been demolished. It's a fallacy because it fails to deal with the actual arguments that have been made. Let us put the argument into the form of a proposition: "To be an atheist, you have to believe with absolute certainty that there is no God. In order to convince yourself with absolute certainty, you must examine all the Universe and all the places where God could possibly be. Since you obviously haven't, your position is indefensible." The above straw man argument appears about once a week on the net. If, given the definition of atheism, you can't see what's wrong with it, read the "Introduction to Atheism" document at http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/intro.html.
[Hermit 2] Essentially atheism argues that until some evidence for the existence of gods, other than in diseased minds, comes to light, we should take the position of discarding them.

And further:

So as good a set of definitions as I know, from
http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/intro.html

Atheism is characterized by an absence of belief in the existence of gods. This absence of belief generally comes about either through deliberate choice, or from an inherent inability to believe religious teachings which seem literally incredible. It is not a lack of belief born out of simple ignorance of religious teachings.

Some atheists go beyond a mere absence of belief in gods: they actively believe that particular gods, or all gods, do not exist. Lacking belief in Gods is often referred to as the "weak atheist" position. Believing that gods do not (or cannot) exist is known as "strong atheism".
...
It is important, however, to note the difference between the strong and weak atheist positions. "Weak atheism" is simple skepticism; disbelief in the existence of God. "Strong atheism" is a positive belief that God does not exist. Please do not fall into the trap of assuming that all atheists are "strong atheists". There is a qualitative difference in the "strong" and "weak" positions; it's not just a matter of degree.

Some atheists believe in the non-existence of all Gods; others limit their atheism to specific Gods, such as the Christian God, rather than making flat-out denials.

The term 'agnosticism' was coined by Professor T.H. Huxley at a meeting of the Metaphysical Society in 1876. He defined an agnostic as someone who disclaimed both ("strong") atheism and theism, and who believed that the question of whether a higher power existed was unsolved and insoluble. Another way of putting it is that an agnostic is someone who believes that we do not and cannot know for sure whether God exists.

They also have a caveat which speaks to the confusion I attempted to address:

Beware of assuming that you can work out someone's philosophical point of view simply from the fact that she calls herself an atheist or an agnostic. For example, many people use agnosticism to mean what is referred to here as "weak atheism", and use the word "atheism" only when referring to "strong atheism".

Happy studying

Hermit
« Last Edit: 2003-04-06 18:24:09 by Hermit » Report to moderator   Logged

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
Hermit
Archon
*****

Posts: 4274
Reputation: 8.96
Rate Hermit



Prime example of a practically perfect person

View Profile WWW
Re:Souls
« Reply #10 on: 2003-04-06 19:18:54 »
Reply with quote

[boygoboom] Back to the topic of the soul, let us not get into the habit of redifining terms to suit our purposes.

[Hermit] Err, is "agnostic" a term?

[Hermit] But in this case, I think that from a scientific perspective, the word "soul" can only be either meaningless, or the perception of self against space-time  Let's see.

[boygoboom] The soul is a religious, supernatural, ethereal construct.

[Hermit] Religious has no weight, it is a feeling generated by the electrochemical jelly we use to do our thinking with. (Refer e.g. The God Module)

[Hermit] Supernatural has no weight either. For if the "supernatural" were to become objective, it would be something much more serious, weighty even, it would be natural.

[Hermit] Ethereal. Now there is an appropriately chosen word, again of little weight. "extremely light, airy, and delicate; insubstantial."

[Hermit] So rephrasing the identity you established above, "The soul" = "nothing."

[Hermit] Is that true? I don't think so. I think that when I read the words of poets and playwrights, that when they say "soul", I know of exactly what they speak. That which is almost unique about man, shared with few animals we share our genes with. A sense of self, of context, of time and of empathy. While we can certainly say that all any human is, is encapsulated in a few hundred grams of not terribly good biological computer in a not particularly useful body, that is certainly by no means all that is human. Like any general purpose system, we are (almost; in our experience) unique, because of our Wetware - how we use our brains, and how we develop our brains. Which comes right back to the definition you don't seem to like very much.

[Hermit] So let me offer you a dichotomy (hopefully not false). Is the "soul" of the poets indeed "nothing" - as you offered, or is it what makes each of us unique and precious - at least if we were not born in Iraq. And if the latter, then when we can capture it (and I think the day will be here before all of those now in the CoV are dead), then what have we captured?

[boygoboom] If we find that it is possible to copy the mind (whatever that may mean), to deem that copy to be "the soul" reeks of romanticism.

[Hermit] We are romantic. It is part of the joy of being human and of being alive. Even so, this need not be romantic at all. Think on it. Are you saying that a molecule-by-molecule, charge-by-charge "copy" of a human will not capture the "soul"? If that is the case, are you saying that it does not exist at all? In which case, what is that "essence" that we mean when we speak of the "soul"? Is not the soul "the central or vital part of something"? Once a person is "digitized", their "wetware" captured, is not the complete person - including the "central or vital part" captured?

[boygoboom] Such practices are the residual effects of years of Judeo-Christian programming in our culture.

[Hermit] This is nonsense. Aristotle spoke of the soul. At great length. And that was way before the mythical Christ was invented - and long before Judaism troubled much of the world. And made much more sense than most people who have followed him. Refer e.g. Aristotle, On the Soul, 350 BCE. The idea of the soul is common not only in Theistic cultures, but in many Deistic and atheistic cultures. My partner had heard of the  Judeo-Christian mythos only vaguely, as nonsensical  myths, carrying diseased lessons for inferior cultures, before she arrived in the US. Yet she talks of the "soul" - meaning exactly what I do - or Socrates did. As the essence of being.

[boygoboom] Science is about progress (ideally), not hanging onto outdated ideas.

[Hermit] Science is not about denying evidence. The evidence is quite clear that we see that spark of self-awareness suspended in spacetime that is ourselves as being more than just a blue-screened biological computer without any software loaded onto it. All the evidence we have points to the fact that each of us carries programs - some important, some trivial, and that those programs are (largely) unique precisely because we have enough chromosomes with enough variance not express duplicates very often if at all, and also because of the number of learning events we experience.  And to call that Wetware package other than the soul will make an awful lot of poetry seem less comprehensible than even Chaucer (in the original Middle English) to the average modern reader.

[boygoboom] Being admittedly more disposed to scientifically-based skepticism than agnoticism, I find our susceptibility to such dogma to be repulsive, and would prefer to delete religious jargon from our language.

[Hermit] But as I have, I hope, shown, it is part of man. Scientifically based evidence says it is there. It exists. The soul is certainly not "nothing." And just because the Judeo-Christians appropriated the idea (as they did everything else they could reach), doesn't mean that it has no validity.

Soul and Body
POOR Soul, the centre of my sinful earth, 
Foil'd by those rebel powers that thee array, 
Why dost thou pine within, and suffer dearth, 
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay? 
 
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend? 
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess, 
Eat up thy charge? is this thy body's end? 
 
Then, Soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss, 
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross; 
Within be fed, without be rich no more: 
 
So shalt thou feed on death, that feeds on men; 
And death once dead, there's no more dying then.

W. Shakespeare

« Last Edit: 2003-04-06 19:49:53 by Hermit » Report to moderator   Logged

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
boygoboom
Neophyte
**

Gender: Male
Posts: 13
Reputation: 0.00



I am the Abyss.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:Souls
« Reply #11 on: 2003-04-06 21:17:44 »
Reply with quote

[[ author reputation (0.00) beneath threshold (3)... display message ]]

Report to moderator   Logged

>-n-e-l-s-o-n-<


The chains of life are forged in definition. We've become slaves to our convictions. Freedom lies in disinvention.
Hermit
Archon
*****

Posts: 4274
Reputation: 8.96
Rate Hermit



Prime example of a practically perfect person

View Profile WWW
Re:Souls
« Reply #12 on: 2003-04-07 00:02:57 »
Reply with quote

As an opinion, I would suggest that Aristotle surpassed his master by far. I'd go further and suggest that the Egyptians and Indus people were far too "nice" to have had much to do with Christianity as it evolved, even if the Christians stole the gnostics "Christ" (Horus/Osiris), the Hindu Krishna as well as the Buddha and a slew of others in constructing their simulcrum. But I don't think that you give the (very) unpleasant Semites their full due. The nastiness of the JudeoChristian gods and that of the Jewish gods are all of a piece - and it took the bitterness of the "Liar", the Aramaic Saul/Paul to polish its edges into fiendishly competent wickedry on the shards of Rome.

But that is a side issue to why I replied, buried though I am in the depths of a different problem entirely. A small point of fact, relating to "It is highly likely that Plato's own ideas, like that of the soul (which was the first time that such an idea existed in Western culture), were the result of influence from Egyptian and the Hindu mythologies."

I'd suggest that many people had discussed the "soul" prior to Plato. Indeed, I suggest that it dates back into prehistory, and probably beyond. Consider the earliest discovered burial sites where artifacts accompanied the corpse (c180k BCE) - or around 60k to 110k years before we think we began to speak. If these creatures had not envisaged a "soul", what would the point have been of equipping bodies with (very expensive)  goods for the afterlife? But for the purpose of the discussion, somebody prior to Plato is all that is required. And there, Aristotle provides us the needed answer (I previously referenced this, Aristotle, On the Soul, 350 BCE in an edit to the post wherein you replied and which you might like to skim again). Anyhow, from:  http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/soul.1.i.html - Part 2 et ff:

For our study of soul it is necessary, while formulating the problems of which in our further advance we are to find the solutions, to call into council the views of those of our predecessors who have declared any opinion on this subject, in order that we may profit by whatever is sound in their suggestions and avoid their errors.

and he goes on to mention many historical (to him) figures, many of whom predate Plato, and most of whom reached the same conclusions as I suggested on the "nature of the soul" as mind or knowledge/experience. e.g.

"Similarly also Anaxagoras (and whoever agrees with him in saying that mind set the whole in movement) declares the moving cause of things to be soul. His position must, however, be distinguished from that of Democritus. Democritus roundly identifies soul and mind, for he identifies what appears with what is true." etc.

And in III.8 et ff "Let us now summarize our results about soul, and repeat that the soul is in a way all existing things; for existing things are either sensible or thinkable, and knowledge is in a way what is knowable, and sensation is in a way what is sensible: in what way we must inquire.

Knowledge and sensation are divided to correspond with the realities, potential knowledge and sensation answering to potentialities, actual knowledge and sensation to actualities. Within the soul the faculties of knowledge and sensation are potentially these objects, the one what is knowable, the other what is sensible."

I don't think that this smacks of a religious perspective. Do you? As for your suggestion of "guilt through association", he was dead long before others started manipulating his words, so I don't think it fair to blame him for that.

I suspect that you will find the entire work (not long) fascinating, particularly in the breadth of his integration of fact and in the advanced views of the world which he offers. In all of this work, Aristotle attempted, not always successfully, to focus on the empirical, and in my opinion, it was Socrates, not Aristotle, who comes across (through Plato of course (see esp the Dialogues of Plato, Phaedo, so "it ain't necessarily so") as propounding a Platonic perspective whch most Christians would recognize, e.g.
I suppose that we shall attain that which we desire, and of which we say that we are lovers, and that is wisdom, not while we live, but after death, as the argument shows; for if while in company with the body the soul cannot have pure knowledge, one of two things seems to follow - either knowledge is not to be attained at all, or, if at all, after death. For then, and not till then, the soul will be in herself alone and without the body. In this present life, I reckon that we make the nearest approach to knowledge when we have the least possible concern or interest in the body, and are not saturated with the bodily nature, but remain pure until the hour when God himself is pleased to release us.

And then the foolishness of the body will be cleared away and we shall be pure and hold converse with other pure souls, and know of ourselves the clear light everywhere; and this is surely the light of truth. For no impure thing is allowed to approach the pure. There are the sort of words, Simmias, which the true lovers of wisdom cannot help saying to one another, and thinking. You will agree with me in that?

I'm fairly sure that we can both agree to disagree with Socrates, at least on that count.

Regards

Hermit
Report to moderator   Logged

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. - Steven Weinberg, 1999
boygoboom
Neophyte
**

Gender: Male
Posts: 13
Reputation: 0.00



I am the Abyss.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:Souls
« Reply #13 on: 2003-04-07 08:56:43 »
Reply with quote

[[ author reputation (0.00) beneath threshold (3)... display message ]]

Report to moderator   Logged

>-n-e-l-s-o-n-<


The chains of life are forged in definition. We've become slaves to our convictions. Freedom lies in disinvention.
David Lucifer
Archon
*****

Posts: 2641
Reputation: 8.95
Rate David Lucifer



Enlighten me.

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:Souls
« Reply #14 on: 2003-04-07 10:35:32 »
Reply with quote


Quote from: localroger on 2003-04-06 15:50:38   

While most people wouldn't use information theory I think if you got them to describe exactly what a soul is and what it does in lay terms, you'd find they are describing exactly what I did, just less exactly.

Most people that use the word would say a soul is that part of a human that exists before birth and after death. Those that believe in reincarnation would say that one soul could be part of two completely different humans or even part of one or more animals. Does that still agree with the way you defined it?
Report to moderator   Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 Reply Notify of replies Send the topic Print 
Jump to:


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Church of Virus BBS | Powered by YaBB SE
© 2001-2002, YaBB SE Dev Team. All Rights Reserved.

Please support the CoV.
Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS! RSS feed