EVIDENCE FOR THE SOUL


1.Jewish Sources: deaths of Avraham, Yaakov, Rachel, I Sam. 28, Deut. 30.

2. Kripke, Nagel, Chalmers: inconceivability of the reduction of consciousness to the brain.

Standard reductions start with a concept that is defined solely in functional terms, and then a physical mechanism is discovered that performs the function. Consciousness has a function plus a positive character, and we have no concept of how that positive character could be reduced to the brain [or anything physical].

The positive character includes felt experience and the first-person point of view ["how it is for the subject"] the possibility of a zombie refutes the reducibility of the felt experience; the public character of physical facts refutes the reducibility of the first person character of experience.

3. Quantum Mechanics: the double slit experiment – when not observed there is a wave-like pattern of [square root of] probability. When observed there is a particle. [So it behave like a particle and a wave under the identical conditions.] The state of each thing that interacts with the probability splits up into probabilities also. Measurement "collapses the probabilities" and recovers the particle. The problem: The measurement apparatus – machine or human/machine – is also just more particles which ought to split up! How does measurement collapse the split? John Wheeler, David Mermin, David Albert: consciousness of the effect cuases the collapse – and that consciousness must not be physical! [Other "solutions": heat, gravity, many worlds….]

4. Philosophy of mathematics: knowledge and reference seem to require interaction with the object of knowledge. Mathematical objects are abstract – non-physical. How can there be interaction with them? Godel: we "perceive" mathematical objects in a non-physical way. [Math not a generalization from experience, not "true by definition". Wigner: the unreasonable applicability of mathematics.]

5. John Searle, Rationality in Action: The reasons for a decision are experienced as not a sufficient cause for the decision. We act on the reasons, we carry them out in action. [We do not just wait to see what happens.] There is a gap in the causation between the reasons and the action. The responsibility for the action is due to a continuing conscious self that makes the choice and experiences the results. If the underlying neuro-physiology is deterministic, then the experience of the gap is an illusion, then the conscious response to the gap has no real effect on the action – it is a systematic property of the brain as a whole that is an "epiphenomenon". Evolution would not have produced that. So the underlying neuro-physiology must be indeterministic. [So far Searle.] But given #2, since this self must be conscious, it cannot be reduced to the brain….


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