mind/soul (blueprint??))

Ray Scanlon rscanlon at wsg.net
Wed Nov 4 16:00:19 EST 1998



Neil Rickert wrote in message <71ofsg$p01 at ux.cs.niu.edu>...
>"Ray Scanlon" <rscanlon at wsg.net> writes:
>>Neil Rickert wrote in message <71ioga$ks6 at ux.cs.niu.edu>...
>
>>>No, I am not a Marxist, and I do not consider DNA a dirty word.  I
>>>happen to like science to be accurate, and not just a set of "Just
>>>So" stories.
>
>>Wouldn't we all.
>
>>It is for this reason that I argue that people should use the word "soul"
>>instead of "mind" when referring to that which is aware.
>
>The problem with this is that it conflicts with ordinary usage.  The
>usual idea is that the soul is spiritual or immaterial, whereas the
>mind might well be material - something like an executing process or
>virtual machine.  Since I don't believe in souls, I prefer the term
>mind.


What is "ordinary usage"? "Mind" is widely used among religious people (the
majority by any reasonable count) to refer to the part of the soul that
thinks and reasons. They would say that the soul also feels and decides. and
is thus more than just mind.

"Might well be material". The brain is certainly material and one who has no
use for soul might easily limit himself to "brain" when others say "mind".
When I observe the direction in which neuroscience is headed, I see no other
outcome than a brain that thinks and decides. Talk of an "executing process"
is just babble by those who will not undertake the labor of "hard" science.

Whether there is any material manifestation of soul (mind, self, personhood,
understanding, intellect, consciousness) is the subject matter of cognitive
science. So far they have produced absolutely nothing. When speaking of what
is to be, Chalmers is an optimist, Mcginn a pessimist. I stand with McGinn
and expect to see cognitive science gradually wither away as neuroscience
explains the brain.

So let us use "brain" and "soul" so that we remind ourselves when we slip
off into theology.

Ray
Those interested in how the brain works might look at
www.wsg.net/~rscanlon/brain.html







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