Saturday, March 16, 2013

Video: The Case for the Existence of the Soul by J.P. Moreland

In this lecture, given in 2012, philosopher J.P. Moreland argues that human consciousness and the soul are not physical, but immaterial.

Moreland wrestles with questions such as:
  • Is man just matter?
  • Is man's mind just a brain?
  • Is there an immaterial world?
  • Is consciousness just material?
  • If materialism is true, can man have free will?
For more of Dr. Moreland's work, see here.

Courage and Godspeed,


John B. Moore said...

Using Moreland's own fire-smoke example, a materialist could admit that the brain/body causes the mind, just as fire causes smoke. They aren't identical, but that still doesn't imply there's something immaterial involved. Both fire and smoke are entirely physical phenomena, after all.

When materialists say consciousness is "nothing but an electrical state in the brain," they might simply mean that the brain/body causes consciousness and no other cause is needed to explain consciousness.

Using another example: My arm in motion is not identical to a ball being thrown, yet there's nothing else causing the ball being thrown. We don't need to postulate angels carrying the ball through the air or anything immaterial like that. It's enough just to talk about the simple physics of my arm throwing the ball.

JP Moreland spends a lot of time talking about how the brain/body is not identical to consciousness, but I think he has missed what the materialists were really saying.

John B. Moore said...

I really like his argument from divisibility (Physical objects are divisible. I am not divisible. So I am not a physical object.) But why does he assume consciousness is not divisible or measurable? To quote a common phrase: "I'm of two minds about this."

When you sleep, you are less conscious than when you're awake. When you're an infant, you're less conscious than when you're an adult. Some parts of your mind might be more active at different times than others, and you can certainly disagree with yourself, such as when you face a difficult moral decision.