Substance Dualism Part 3

mind-over-matter-10

Enjoy the Podcast:

Anchor Audio Link = https://anchor.fm/skeptics-and-seekers/episodes/Supplemental–Substance-Dualism-Series-Part-3-e394ct

In Part 3, I provide 4 pro-soul arguments in favour of my minimal definition of substance dualism (i.e.- that our essential selves are not a physical substance).

The 4 arguments include; i)The Unity of Consciousness Argument, ii) The Enduring Self Argument, iii) The Freewill Argument (which involves a detailed excursus on the 5 general areas of disagreement between Libertarian and Compatibilists notions of “freedom”) and finally, iv) The Modal Argument for Substance Dualism.

Enjoy!

Recommended Sources (for further study);

1. Four 15-min videos presenting some Pro-Soul/Substance Dualism arguments which including 3 arguments for substance dualism that I neglected to use in my series for time sake (Parts 17a-d) by Dr. Dale Tuggy, starting here = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btAwpXhqmiw

Note that this series includes the version of the Modal Argument I used in the show (with a better explanation and visual aids) in Video 17d at approx the 5 min 50 seconds mark, here = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXw7-yKhZ-U

2. Two short 10-min videos on Substance Dualism by a skeptic, starting in Part 1 here = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS4PW35-Y00

3. Where Does our Mental Substance reside Video by Crash Course (10-min) = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SJROTXnmus

 

4. One of our Skeptical listeners Darren, provided the following resources related to the material I presented during this episode;

For those that are curious, here is the current philosophical landscape around free will.

The Short Version:
Determinism vs Free Will: https://youtu.be/vCGtkDzELAI
Compatibilism: https://youtu.be/KETTtiprINU

The Long Version:
Free Will: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/
Determinism: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/
Compatibilism: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/
Incompatibilism: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/incompatibilism-theories/

How philosophers fall on the subject:

Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will (determanism)?
Accept or lean toward: compatibilism 550 / 931 (59.1%)
Other 139 / 931 (14.9%)
Accept or lean toward: libertarianism 128 / 931 (13.7%)
Accept or lean toward: no free will 114 / 931 (12.2%)
https://philpapers.org/surveys/results.pl

 

*** Note- We also had a mention on the Measure of Faith blog site (Travis R)- https://measureoffaith.blog/2019/08/20/im-still-here/#comment-817 .

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69 thoughts on “Substance Dualism Part 3

  1. So Dale, even after I explained how the enduring self argument doesn’t work, how it completely misses the point and is completely useless as an argument, why did you still use it as if it was relevant?

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    1. Hey Darren,

      That is fair question, I still use it because I still find it persuasive but that said I have to be honest, its been a few weeks and so I think I forgot what your refutation was- is it something in your document? If so, I’m saving that and other Counter-Substance Dualism for Part 4.

      What I tried to do here in Part 3 was highlight the main objection (as I see it at least) that Skeptics give to each of the 4 arguments- so with the freewill argument, I used the Ben Libet experiment as a case study for why I think privileging neuroscience data over our own experiential knowledge is not necessarily the correct thing to do in all cases and in particular in the case of freewill the obvious fact that we are free to make choices in our lives should overwhelm any neuroscientific defeaters that exist (at least with our present knowledge of mere correlations, etc)- to me the rational person should trust their properly basic beliefs in this case.

      To be fair though, one thing I wish I had remembered to mention on the show (as some could see me as being somewhat hypocritical), is that sometimes the scientific data does win out or overwhelm our obvious properly basic beliefs- I pointed to one such occasion myself with the mereological essentialism notion in using modern atomic theory over and above our obvious commonsense notion of trees being the same or identical physical object even after they lose a leaf. That was my failing there but I forgot to mention that.

      My main point with Libet though was to show that in the case of modern atomic theory, I think the evidence is so strong that for any rational person it should overwhelm the “obvious” claim to be having a properly basic belief (in this case the scientific defeater is just too powerful) but in the case of using neuroscientific experiments like Libets to prove we don’t have freewill, well the evidence is just not strong enough to warrant a strong conclusion about whether we are determined or not, it would be like me saying that they discovered the “free wont” phenomena scientifically so that proves the conclusion that we do have a dual ability just as Libertarians say- No its not that simple, maybe the RP activity doesn’t causally determine our choice to raise our fingers on its own but there could be any number of other complicated factors at play here which might be consistent with determinism/compatibilism. Essentially, it was my attempt to illustrate that on this question philosophical/logical reasoning is superior to sketchy conclusions based on neuroscientific data.

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      1. “That is fair question, I still use it because I still find it persuasive but that said I have to be honest, its been a few weeks and so I think I forgot what your refutation was- is it something in your document?

        Not directly but here is my document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1R7rmjuPaAwUSjQ5qA1Mi_QzSztKGSWsoGeWaxA0MVVA/edit?usp=sharing

        It still isn’t completely done, but it is far enough along for you to understand the argument I’m making.

        As for my direct refutation of the enduring self argument, I can summarize the main problems with the argument here.

        First off, it just isn’t true that you can replace matter in the brain and keep your sense of self in tact.

        If you start replacing neurons with green cheese, or any type of cheese really, you will start loosing parts of your consciousness until you loose so much of it that you stop having any sense of self at all. While still keeping you alive. You can go even further until you die.

        Even if you replace a neuron with another of the exact same type, you will still face the same problems when you replace your neurons with green cheese. If you change the connections that the neuron has, you will still have a loss of sense of self, personality, etc, until again you die if you change enough of those connections.

        So just replacing the matter isn’t enough. You have to replace the matter so that the matter you are putting in has the exact same structure as the one you are removing as well as the same exact relationship with the rest of the matter in the brain.

        That is why the argument is completely useless and completely misses the point. It doesn’t address the actual processes that are going on in the brain and most importantly, the physicalist model is not harmed at all with the realization that you can change the matter in your brain and still have a sense of self. In the physicalist model it isn’t the matter that produces the sense of self, it is how the matter is configured.

        “…. the case of freewill the obvious fact that we are free to make choices in our lives should overwhelm any neuroscientific defeaters that exist (at least with our present knowledge of mere correlations, etc)- to me the rational person should trust their properly basic beliefs in this case.”

        And yet something like 83% of philosophers would disagree with you since only about 14% think that the free will arguments are valid.

        “Essentially, it was my attempt to illustrate that on this question philosophical/logical reasoning is superior to sketchy conclusions based on neuroscientific data.”

        The biggest problem with this assertion is that the philosophers don’t actually agree with you and neither do the neurosciences. You seem to think the philosophical argument for free will is not sketchy itself, and your argument in particular is based on something you have already admitted is not necessarily reliable.

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  2. For those that are curious, here is the current philosophical landscape around free will.

    The Short Version:
    Determinism vs Free Will: https://youtu.be/vCGtkDzELAI
    Compatibilism: https://youtu.be/KETTtiprINU

    The Long Version:
    Free Will: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/
    Determinism: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/determinism-causal/
    Compatibilism: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/
    Incompatibilism: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/incompatibilism-theories/

    How philosophers fall on the subject:

    Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will (determanism)?
    Accept or lean toward: compatibilism 550 / 931 (59.1%)
    Other 139 / 931 (14.9%)
    Accept or lean toward: libertarianism 128 / 931 (13.7%)
    Accept or lean toward: no free will 114 / 931 (12.2%)
    ~ https://philpapers.org/surveys/results.pl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome, would you mind if I added these to the blog section just so its easy to find in case over time more comments accumulate?

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      1. “Awesome, would you mind if I added these to the blog section just so its easy to find in case over time more comments accumulate?”

        Go for it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dale, you do realize that logic is just a tool. One that is included in the scientific discipline, right?

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  4. Just to clear up some misunderstanding for the audience. There is no empirical scientific NDE evidence. There are just a bunch of stories that can’t be demonstrated to be accurate.

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    1. One thing I would be interested on your opinion, if you don’t mind me asking. Do you think that the NDE evidence at least plays a role in helping to warrant the “possibility” of our existing apart from our bodies at all?

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      1. “Do you think that the NDE evidence at least plays a role in helping to warrant the “possibility” of our existing apart from our bodies at all?”

        No. First off it isn’t evidence since it can’t be shown to be a fact of reality. Sure the belief that people think they are having the experience is a fact of reality, but it hasn’t been established that what they think is going on is actually what is going on.

        In order to qualify it as evidence you would first have to demonstrate that the beliefs match reality.

        Beyond that, to answer your question, there are several reasons why it isn’t even possible that the beliefs about NDE’s are accurate.

        I know you favor the soul idea without any spacial dimensions, so I will use that to show why it isn’t possible.

        The reason our brains are able to make a 3d representation of the outside world is because light bounces off objects and hits the photo-receptors in our eyes that produce electromagnetic pulses that then send that information to our brains to then interpret. Brains are fairly good at this, but not perfect given the fact that optical illusions are a thing.

        We know that if there is a soul, that there is no backup system for this process, since if you disrupt any step in the process the mind doesn’t get the information of what exists outside of our body. We are even still at the mercy of optical illusions which for most of them we understand why they work because for the physical systems.

        If a soul is leaving the body, then all of the physical processes that gather that information are no longer at its disposal.

        Information about the world around us is carried via a photon which has dimensions in space. It is just not logically possible for something with no spacial dimensions to interact with a 3d object. There just isn’t any way to transfer that information because the transfer in information necessarily requires 3d physical processes.

        Any soul that is aware enough of the photons around it, to gather that information would make a shadow since the photon would be transferring its energy to the soul. That is just how photos transfer the information they possesses. Shadows can be seen and measured.

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        1. Hey Darren,

          Thanks for giving me permission to share your links, my mission has always been to share the knowledge from both sides as I believe the evidence will ultimately lead all real seekers to the conclusion that Christianity is true- plus I have to admit I kind of slacked off on the sources this time around and didn’t do the reading I wanted to originally (for example, I wanted to include an appendix by Swinburne on the Modal Argument) but I had to rush to get this one out and kind of cheated on the prep and sources aspects for Part 3.

          Anyways, OK that is cool, I was just interested if you thought NDE’s might make any difference at all; that said even if not, I did try to address the general reliability of our modal evaluating faculties issue a bit by tackling a common objection on the imaginability vs. conceivability question at least.

          As to that argument, yeah I do remember this now, I think it was in your doc in Part 2, the other one was related to the violation of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics issue if I remember correctly (or that could have been another skeptical source I was reading through a few weeks back). As to the configuration thing- yep I called it the physical relations, same thing- so yeah it is both the parts and relations that have to be the same for something to be identical- change one up and you something different than what you had before.

          I will fit these and the other objections you raise into Part 4 as best I can, I have plenty of time this time around so I will try to make sure to get everything I can and somehow squeeze it into 1-1.5 hour format 🙂

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          1. “Anyways, OK that is cool, I was just interested if you thought NDE’s might make any difference at all;”

            You would first have to demonstrate they are real things before they would make a difference.

            “that said even if not, I did try to address the general reliability of our modal evaluating faculties issue a bit by tackling a common objection on the imaginability vs. conceivability question at least.

            I guess the next step for you then is to show that conceivably is actually achieved when people don’t have any real understanding of what it is they are trying to determine is conceivable.

            “As to the configuration thing- yep I called it the physical relations, same thing- so yeah it is both the parts and relations that have to be the same for something to be identical- change one up and you something different than what you had before.”

            Sure, and when it isn’t something exact that you are replacing, consciousness, and sense of self are altered. People that can’t store long term memories are a good example as they don’t have a sense of an enduring self. Just a self in the past and then an ever larger gaping hole that is completely skipped over until their current self.

            Changing out your stomach with an exact duplicate isn’t going to change how your body processes food for energy, but yet you wouldn’t say that digestibility is immaterial and not what the stomach does because of it.

            “I will fit these and the other objections you raise into Part 4 as best I can, I have plenty of time this time around so I will try to make sure to get everything I can and somehow squeeze it into 1-1.5 hour format 🙂”

            Just be honest. In addition to saying you don’t buy the arguments, also freely admit that you don’t have any mechanism at all, for how the soul is supposed to work on your side.

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            1. Darren,

              OK, alright but understand that showing NDE’s are real or “actual” is different than showing they are conceivable, but I know we have been down this road before, so I won’t go into that again, just wanted to know what you thought there.

              Your next question is pretty easy to do actually, we conceive of things I can’t understand or imagine all the time, I can conceive that quantum entanglement is possible even though I would fail miserably at a physics exam. I can conceive of consciousness being nothing more than a bunch of brain states even though I have very little knowledge of neuroscience or how the brain works as a mechanism. So, this is easy to prove. This latter example also proves the meaningless nature of not being able to provide a scientific mechanistic explanation for how the soul interacts with the body (i.e. the Problem of Interactionism) but yes I will be honest as you request and admit that no one knows exactly how the soul and brain/body interact- that doesn’t mean the soul isn’t conceivable or even that its not true.

              The problem you raise of people suffering from memory loss is interesting, of course this relates to the problem of interactionism rather than a proof that the self/soul does not endure through time (I assume these people you mention remember they were the same person back in the day). Also, the fact that others cognitive faculties can be damaged to the point they don’t know the truth does nothing to deny that I have actual knowledge- I know for a fact I’m the same person that typed the last paragraph of this comment despite the fact that under physicalism I should be an entirely new brain based on varying brain states/relations and/or parts like memories being formed.

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              1. “OK, alright but understand that showing NDE’s are real or “actual” is different than showing they are conceivable,…”

                Conceivable in the sense that you can make up a story of it happening sure. But not conceivable when you take physics or biology into consideration.

                “Your next question is pretty easy to do actually, we conceive of things I can’t understand or imagine all the time,”

                Yes, but in this case that is functionally the same as using your imagination and making up stories of how the world works. It tells us nothing about what actually is possible.

                “…but yes I will be honest as you request and admit that no one knows exactly how the soul and brain/body interact- that doesn’t mean the soul isn’t conceivable or even that its not true.”

                Will you also be honest and say that no one even knows how it exists or what is made of and that when you are talking about conceivably in this case you mean just making up a story that sounds good to you?

                ” I know for a fact I’m the same person that typed the last paragraph of this comment despite the fact that under physicalism I should be an entirely new brain based on varying brain states/relations and/or parts like memories being formed.”

                Then you should probably also admit that your definition of knowledge isn’t what everyone else say it is since you don’t seem to understand that “the same person” (a temporal continuity of matter) is the same even with different brain states. Whereas if you are defining “the same person” as a collection of memories, preferences and motivations, then you aren’t actually the same person as those have changed since you wrote that paragraph.

                I think your biggest problem is that you aren’t actually trying to understand the physicallist argument. If you were then you would be making better arguments. You seem to think that the arguments you are making somehow favor dualism over physicalism, and yet none of your arguments actually exclude physicalism.

                Nothing you have presented is outside the expected bounds of the physicalist model.

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                1. Fair enough Darren, I will try my best to represent the physicalists as best I can in Part 4. That said, you mention that I should be making better arguments to support dualism, I’m curious if I could recruit you as a Christian for a second and ask you what you think the better arguments for substance dualism are that I missed?

                  Do you have any sources on them from a pro-substance dualist perspective?

                  Thanks 🙂

                  Dale

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                  1. “I’m curious if I could recruit you as a Christian for a second and ask you what you think the better arguments for substance dualism are that I missed?”

                    None of the arguments are good. But I can point out the places you should avoid, that are completely pointless to bring up and don’t support the duelist position.

                    Here is a good overview of what the physicalist position is. https://youtu.be/SvBfAqk70LU – You can see a lot of the holes in your argument just by watching that video and seeing what the actual physicalist argument is.

                    The unity of consciousness argument doesn’t work because there is no demonstration of why having a brain makes the unity of consciousness impossible. And the unity of consciousness is a part of the physicalist model. So it does you no good to point it out since it isn’t an argument against the physicalist model. It is in fact well within the expected outcome of the model.

                    The freewill argument doesn’t work because even christian philosophers don’t buy it. Only about 13% of philosphers accept it, and yet 30% of the same philosophers are theists of some sort. Plus you have the entire neuroscience endeavor that points away from it. Its a lost cause, its time to let it go. Even if you think it works, no one else does and you aren’t going to convince people from such a deep pit that you have to dig yourself out of.

                    The enduring self argument is another that just doesn’t help out because having an enduring self is fully within the physicalist model. And pointing out that you can swap out matter is completely useless because the fact that you can swap out a neuron with an exact duplicate and be fine, and yet if you swap it out with green cheese you aren’t is a point for the physicalist model not for the dualist model. Its a direct contradiction of the identity test that is a huge thing for the dualist position.

                    And the modal argument isn’t going to convince anyone. I know you aren’t going to let that one go. But you really aren’t doing any favors to yourself by keeping it.

                    The identity argument also haves problems because it completely ignores emergent properties, sort of like an electron has no property of hardness, and yet when you add that electron with protons in a specific order, you get the emergent property of hardness, say for granite, or gold.

                    There is a lot that needs to be fixed and shored up. The first thing you should do is to look into the science and see what is actually being said rather than arguing against things that aren’t being claimed.

                    I know you have a hard on for philosophers, but the reality is that they don’t know what they are talking about. You should be looking at the people who are actually studying the brain and figuring out how it works, not the people that are just making things up without any investigation at all.

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                    1. Darren;

                      OK, not exactly what I asked you for, but it is pretty helpful to get a full overview of your take on all 4 of the arguments that I think are amoung the best for substance dualism. Just to confirm then, you would agree that in terms of pro-substance dualism arguments, the ones I present are amoung the best or do you there are other ones (such as Swinburne’s split brain thought-experiment or the existence of indexicals, etc. for example)- I’m just wondering because your last comment seemed to imply you thought there were better pro-dualist arguments then the ones I chose to use, so wanted to see what you think would have been better.

                      Anyways, yes a fundamental difference between us is that I think philosophers of mind are in a much better position to come up with well-thought out conclusion than neuroscientists- this was why I took a time out to address the Libet experiment as a simple and famous case study. A major theme I find from my scan of your document is you pointing to various known and undeniable examples which seem to imply the brain can affect various faculties that are traditionally attributed to the soul and you think this disproves the its existence- this will be in Part 4 as common skeptical argument but this is what I mean by skeptical scientists usually not being able to reply logical reasoning as rigorously as philosophers- you are still arguing as though its the 1800’s and dualists hold to some kind of ghost-in-the-machine type view, but under substance dualism interactionism all of the fats that you mention are expected and/or at least equally possible to occur.

                      I know that won’t sound persuasive to you as we do clash a little over the science vs. philosophy issue (on that front, I thought the debate between JP Moreland and Stephen Law on the mistaken and self-refuting position of Scientism on the Unbelievable? show was great this week, I’m with JP all the way). That said, I want to make clear that I’m not diminishing the neuroscience data or field, you are absolutely right that it supplies valuable knowledge and insight into how the brain works and should be considered insightful for any philosophers’ understanding of how the soul might interact with the brain/body and vice-versa but beyond that the data just can not warrant the physicalists over-exaggerated claims that our choices are physically determined and/or substance dualism is false.

                      EDIT: And actually, sorry to bug you again but if you don’t mind me asking you, on the Libet experiment specifically, what did you make of my presentation or use of this example- do you agree that in this case at least, skeptics who use this as “proof” for determinism (i.e. no freewill) are wrong to do so?

                      If not, then why couldn’t a Libertarian simply turn around and say the Libet experiments actually prove Libertarian freewill via the demonstrable scientific evidence for the truth of our dual ability (to do or refrain from doing) via the the “free wont” phenomenon?

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                    2. “Just to confirm then, you would agree that in terms of pro-substance dualism arguments, the ones I present are amoung the best…..”

                      And to be clear, it depends on what you mean by “best”. Best implies good, which none of them really achieve. If by best you mean persuasive, then my analysts is as follows:

                      The unity of consciousness argument might be persuasive if you can convince people that physicalism can’t do a unity of consciousness. But you would have to be dishonest in your presentation since the physicalism model does include a unity of consciousness, and there is nothing about a consciousness being physical that prevents a unity of conscious. But you might be able to to make this one persuasive if you don’t mind being dishonest about it.

                      The same goes with the enduring self argument. Because the enduring self in physicalism is about the emergent properties of matter when arranged in a certain way (example protons and neutrons arranged for granite has different physical properties as when arranged to create gold or water) and not the matter itself, you could make this one persuasive by being dishonest about what the physicalist model presents. But there is no way to make this one persuasive if you are honest about the physicalist model.

                      The freewill argument you might be able to make persuasive if you ignore the philosophers and neurosciences and push towards a naive intuition. But again you would have to be dishonest in your presentation and ignore the science and philosophy.

                      I’m not sure there is much you can do to make the Modal argument persuasive. It really is just a bad argument with no foundation to salvage it.

                      The law of identity test is probably the best out of the bunch, and could actually be persuasive, but you would have to start from the ground up on this one since the way it is being used is completely ignorant of the the physical world and how it works. You would have to add in physical emergent properties in order to make it work, but that would make the argument backfire on you.

                      “…or do you there are other ones (such as Swinburne’s split brain thought-experiment or the existence of indexicals, etc. for example)-…”

                      No, the ones you mentioned don’t hold any real value because they are talking about hypotheticals that no one has any clue how they would actually come out, they are basically just guessing and trying to make conclusions based on those guesses without really understanding of what is going on.

                      “…..I’m just wondering because your last comment seemed to imply you thought there were better pro-dualist arguments then the ones I chose to use, so wanted to see what you think would have been better.”

                      No, that wasn’t what I was trying to convey. The problem is that the people making these arguments have absolutely no clue what we have been able to discover about how the brain works. And as such the arguments aren’t actually addressing the real world that we are finding to be true.

                      The law of identity test is a great example. It is saying that if two things don’t have the same property, then they are not the same thing. But when used the arguments being made completely ignore physical emergent properties.

                      For example there is no property at all of wetness in a proton. You can examine all the science books you want, examine the proton as much as you want and you will not find any property of wetness or liquidity or anything else that is a physical property of water. And yet add protons with electrons in the correct mix and you get these physical emergent properties.

                      The physicalist model is recognizing emergent physical properties, like those capable of producing consciousness and all of the law of identity arguments completely ignore that. They instead focus on the properties of the matter, without taking into consideration the properties that come about because of how the matter is arranged.

                      That is what I mean by making stronger arguments. I’m not suggesting using different ones, I’m suggesting fixing the rather blatant holes in the existing arguments.

                      “A major theme I find from my scan of your document is you pointing to various known and undeniable examples which seem to imply the brain can affect various faculties that are traditionally attributed to the soul and you think this disproves the its existence-…”

                      When we find that physical processes are doing what the soul is being said to be doing, then yes that does disprove the existence of that version of a soul. You can make up a new version of the soul that doesn’t include the physical functions, but that doesn’t change the fact that the existence of the old version has been shown to not exist.

                      “….you are still arguing as though its the 1800’s and dualists hold to some kind of ghost-in-the-machine type view,…”

                      That’s because 99% of the people that believe in a soul do hold that position. In fact that is how the general public views the soul. You can look at any poll to find that is the case, and if you believe that your soul goes to a heaven where you maintain your personality, memories and mental faculties, you also believe in a ghost in the machine. You just may have gotten so into the philosophy you may have forgotten that is what you think will happen after you die.

                      “…but under substance dualism interactionism all of the fats that you mention are expected and/or at least equally possible to occur.”

                      If you believe in a soul that doesn’t actually do anything and is just a backup of the physical processes, that is fine, but this document isn’t just about what you believe, it will eventually be going on my blog and is meant for a wider audience. Not just one narrow view, among many, of the dualist position.

                      “….but beyond that the data just can not warrant the physicalists over-exaggerated claims that our choices are physically determined and/or substance dualism is false.”

                      And yet the people that actually study the brain for a living completely disagree with you (99%). Even the majority of the philosophers (70%) disagree with you.

                      So either the people that actually study the brain and the philosophers that take the philosophical arguments seriously are completely and totally wrong, or there is something you are missing. Given you have never decided to actually look at the science, and I can tell from your arguments you don’t actually understand the physicalist argument, I would say you have a lot of studying left to do before you can say with any authority that the physicalists are over-exaggerating their claims or that choices aren’t determined.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Alright, I think I get your perspective there, thanks for answering my questions on that 🙂

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  5. Just wanted to briefly chime in that I’ve enjoyed the series and the conversations about them. Darren, I think you’re carrying the skeptic torch admirably. Keep up the irenic tone too, Darren and Dale!

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    1. Cool, I’m working on getting Part 4 done soon for you guys as well, so I’m sure Darren will like that one as it finally addresses some of his points directly. Also you might be hearing Darren join us sometime on S&S in the near future as well 🙂

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  6. Dale,
    I’m a few weeks behind on my podcast rotation and just finished listening to this episode, so I apologize for the tardiness of this comment. I’m glad you’re back on board with the show and contributing these kinds of extras (though I am categorically NOT endorsing any more shroud episodes). It’s clear that you’ve put a lot of effort into examining these things and I appreciate that you are sharing the fruits of that effort with the rest of us.

    Regarding the content, Darren has already covered most of what I would say in response, which largely comes down to the many ways that I feel that the physicalist and compatibilist positions have been misrepresented, but I did want to add a couple thoughts.

    First, it doesn’t seem like much was said about your modal argument, so here’s the response that comes to mind for me:
    It seems to me that you’ve introduced a new modal dimension to the law of identity that does all the work. You said that two things are not identical if they are possibly different. I was not aware that identity spanned all possible worlds (apparently this is a thing called “transworld identity”). If person A and person B are identical in every way except that person A exists in the possible world where her consciousness continues after her body is annihilated, and person B is in the possible world where her consciousness terminates when her body is annihilated, then yes, they are not the same person. But how does that lead to the conclusion that our world, the world that obtains, is the one with Person A? I admit that I don’t have a strong background with modal logic and might be missing something, but it seems like you’ve done nothing more than define two possible worlds and shown that they aren’t the same world. I don’t see how that tells us anything about our world.

    Second, with regard to the presentation, I find that my openness to your arguments is severely diminished when the arguments are routinely littered with assertions that lump all skeptics together into a position that is clearly rubbish, obviously wrong, contrary to scientific fact, foolish, desperate, nonsense, a farce, backwards, denies the obvious, lazy, sloppy, etc… And when we feel that our position is being misrepresented, this language borders on infuriating. I can literally feel my stress level go up as a result of what I’m hearing. Just some food for thought.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Travis,

      Thanks, I do appreciate your comments whenever they ome up as they do tend to be balanced. As to the modal dimension- yes that is correct- there are modal properties which obtain and thus when two things have different modal properties we can conclude they are not identical so I was correct in what I said there. So if “I” am not identical to my body then this shows that physicalism is false. So yes it could be a fact that our souls/consciousness terminate at the time of our deaths or something as per the other possible wolrd you conceive of but that doesn’t matter actually as we can at least know that we are not identical to our bodies even if there is no afterlife based on the fact there is one world where such obtains and thus proves we are not identical to our bodies. This translates because the “I” and body postulated in the possible world where it survives is the same as “I” in this world (I have the modal property of possibly existing without my body in this actual world). So, its not conceiving of a different person/body in these possible worlds.

      As to the presentation, I hear ya, but in Part 3 I did do that purposefully as I thought about Matt/Limey saying how it annoyed him and I was going to cut out the “obvious” comments out. I chose to keep those in because it is actually accurate to how strong I think the arguments are and some people seem to only respond when you state things confidently (as people have told me on other boards that they found Alan convincing simply because he asserted things with confidence presentation wise even when what he asserts is total nonsense). However, out of respect for you, I would not recommend you listen to Part 4 then as I go way too overboard in that Podcast- my reasons for doing so are admittedly less noble there. But yeah good food for thought and good advice, I know it 🙂

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      1. Dale,

        This translates because the “I” and body postulated in the possible world where it survives is the same as “I” in this world (I have the modal property of possibly existing without my body in this actual world). So, its not conceiving of a different person/body in these possible worlds.

        So this is the problem. You are conceiving of two possible worlds, and those worlds have different persons – in one world the person has a non-physical component that survives annihilation, and in the other world the person does not have a non-physical component that survives annihilation. On what grounds can you assert that “the ‘I’ and body postulated in the possible world where it survives is the same as ‘I’ in this world”? You say that “I have the modal property of possibly existing without my body in this actual world”, but that is also true if the actual world is the possible world where persons do not survive annihilation. I don’t see how this tells us anything.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. OK, put it this way Travis,

          I (the Dale in the actual world) am claiming that I have the modal property of existing without my body after death in Possible World #1 and also the modal property of not continuing to exist after my death in Possible World #2. These are both modal properties that I possess in the actual world.

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          1. You don’t know whether Dale in the actual world is Dale in Possible World #1, or Dale in Possible World #2. In either case, we can say that you possess both modal properties. If your body is annihilated and there’s no surviving consciousness then we learn that the actual world was Possible World #2 and you are possibly identical to your body in the actual world. If your body is annihilated and your consciousness survives then we learn that the actual world was Possible World #1 and you are not identical to your body in the actual world.

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            1. Travis,

              There is only Dale in the actual world here and Dale in the actual world has the modal properties of possibly having both worlds obtain, just like I have the modal properties of possibly choosing to wear a blue shirt today vs. a red shirt.

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              1. Ok. So the possible worlds are temporally branching? At what point in time do the two worlds in question branch?

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                1. No, they are not temporally branching at all- not sure how you got that to be honest. Possible worlds are not ontologically existing or concrete universes/worlds.

                  See this description of it from the 8 min mark onwards here = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnnKsa-exVE . See if this explanation helps at all.

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                  1. I don’t think the ontological status of possible worlds matters to the question at hand.

                    I got to the temporal branching by necessity. You said that none of the possible worlds include Dale except the one that is also actual, even though you’ve defined two different possible Dales. The only way that works is if the possible worlds are future, as was also implied by the future tense in “has the modal properties of possibly having both [either?] worlds obtain”. That means you’re going from one possible world to two possible worlds at some point in time. A temporal branching.

                    Given that this is apparently not what you intended, you must be adopting the “transworld identity” concept?

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                    1. I’ll say it again this way- I, Dale (as a substance) bear the modal property- that it is possible I continue to exist apart from my body in the afterlife. This is a property that I possess and my body doesn’t- thus the two are not identical.

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                    2. Yes. I understand that. But you need to unpack the meaning of that modal property to defend the argument. You rejected the interpretation where this simply means that we don’t know which of the two possible worlds are actual, so I’m trying to understand the interpretation that would sustain the argument. Simply claiming the modal property is not sufficient, as this discussion demonstrates.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. Travis,

                      I wanted to say that I appreciate that you actually take my arguments seriously and provide substantive comebacks- this is a very thoughtful line of objection to the Modal Argument for Substance Dualism and yes I didn’t address the “transworld identity” issue in my Podcast at all. I do hold to this position and the qualified definition of the Law of Identity similar to how Alvin Plantinga defines it in making my argument in Part 3.

                      Hopefully that clarifies the concept I’m using to make my case there- I would just say to the audience that you should read through the link on transworld identity that Travis gives here- I confess I dropped the ball in addressing this in the series and in all honesty it just wasn’t something that occurred to me would need to be brought up- good job Travis, this is the way to give a critique, no insulting judgements and you skipped over my rhetoric (despite it angering you)- you are a model interlocuter and a better man than I am as I tend to respond in kind way too much when under unfair attack. So good on ya here 🙂

                      One thing to ask you, could you clear Darren and Bryan up on their lack of understanding between cause and effect vs. identity relationships- I don’t think they seem to get it and this is obviously a key component to my whole case. They are too biased to take what I say seriously, but maybe if a fellow thoughtful skeptic can explain the difference involved between them then they will see their error and recognize the significance of my arguments as you obviously do via your objection here on Law of Identity with a modal application.

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                    4. “….good job Travis, this is the way to give a critique, no insulting judgements…”

                      So does this mean you are going to apologize for putting out a series of podcasts that are full of insulting judgments? Or is it only ok when you do it?

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                    5. Yes Darren,

                      I feel I was not the one to start it as part of my attitude in Part 4 here was based off all the negative reaction skeptics like you and others were giving me on my appearance on David Smalley’s show (this includes a comment from you straight out of the gate asking David how it feels working with an insane murderer or something like that).

                      Anyways, regardless two wrongs don’t make a right and so I should apologize for the spirit and tone that Part 4 of the Soul series was done- I was tired and exhausted and wanted it over with; plus I was annoyed with all the unfair skeptical attacks and so I used the Podcast as a means to vent- I should not have done that and so I will apologize to you and everyone for that. Insulting judgements are never OK whenever done by anyone.

                      With Part 3 though, I don’t apologize for saying things are obvious as that was not done to be mean-spirited but purposefully because I do think skeptics have to deny the obvious in order to deny those arguments and the counter evidence/arguments are quite weak and contrived by comparison.

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                    6. “With Part 3 though, I don’t apologize….”

                      Ok, just don’t be surprised that the tone of the comments reflects the tone of the podcast you put out.

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                    7. Darren,

                      OK, but understand with Part 3, I wasn’t trying to be mean-spirited or insulting in that one though, just stating how confident I am that these arguments are strong and overwhelming in nature.

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                    8. “I wasn’t trying to be mean-spirited or insulting in that one though,…”

                      I believe you.

                      That doesn’t mean you didn’t come across as mean-spirited or insulting. Intention is very rarely respected. If it were, you wouldn’t be labeling my comments as such. I accept that people take my words in a different light than I intend them, if you aren’t going to moderate your own rhetoric, then you are going to have to start accepting the same thing.

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                    9. Hmm Darren,

                      I didn’t realize Part 3 came across in that way to be honest- I knew in advance that Matt said it was annoying and I did so anyways because I felt it was important to do so but I definitely didn’t realize that came across as mean or insulting in the same way Part 4 can be said to have been (by design).

                      I guess I will have to work on moderating my own rhetoric but that is hard for me as I’m not really socially wise all the time and sometimes there a re occasions where people’s reactions baffle me such as with the show on slavery for example.

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                    10. “One thing to ask you, could you clear Darren and Bryan up on their lack of understanding between cause and effect vs. identity relationships-……

                      Travis, I am game if you want to humor Dale or if you honestly think there is something I am missing and would like to address it.

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                    11. Can you guys point me to where this has been discussed? I’m not familiar with the context of this request.

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                    12. Travis,

                      Basically, I should let Darren speak for himself here but he has pointed to various established cases where a given brain state can be shown to cause a certain mental state to occur (and/or hinder one from occurring in the case of damage to the brain). This shows the brain stands in cause and effect relations with our mental phenomena.

                      However, Darren then makes the leap to say well this also shows the brain states are identical to the mental phenomena in question.

                      My point is that logically cause and effect relations are different then identity relations and in point of fact, if we know one obtains then the other cannot be the case; they are mutually exclusive relations where the one eliminates the other from being true). It makes no sense to say the smoke caused the smoke to come into existence (self-causation is totally illogical)- instead we say the fire (non-identical entity) caused the smoke to come into existence.

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                    13. “Basically, I should let Darren speak for himself here but he has pointed to various established cases where a given brain state can be shown to cause a certain mental state to occur (and/or hinder one from occurring in the case of damage to the brain). This shows the brain stands in cause and effect relations with our mental phenomena.”

                      Do you happen to remember when I told you this is exactly NOT what I was saying, and that because you were saying this I could tell that you didn’t actually understand the argument?

                      Is there a reason you choose not to even pay attention to what I am saying? Or to even try to understand what is being said?

                      “However, Darren then makes the leap to say well this also shows the brain states are identical to the mental phenomena in question.”

                      This is the only actual thing that the physicalist says. The brain state IS the mental phenomena. The mental phenomena is not caused by the brain state. The mental phenomena IS the brain state.

                      There are a lot of cause and effect reactions withing the brain state that are a part of the identity labels we apply, but the brain state causing the mental state is not one of them.

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                    14. Darren,

                      OK good then my arguments do refute your actual position in showing we are not identical to our brain states but yes that is fine- I’ve seen that people misunderstand my stuff and so I will believe that I misunderstood you when you were interacting with Anthony- it sounded to me like you were supporting the notion that they caused by brain states and not getting the implications.

                      But yeah, I can’t read your comments fully anymore, I don’t have time and also the way you post is just not my style (nothing worng with it and it is helpful if one wants to see exactly what your replying to) but when in a rush, I just hate having to read my comments and then find yours- if there was a way to format on here that might be different and so I do tend to glance over your longer comments and try to find one thing to latch onto and address most of the times. So, I recognize there could be misunderstanding caused by my having to glance over your long comments rather than reading all of them fully.

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                    15. “…good then my arguments do refute your actual position in showing we are not identical to our brain states…”

                      Actually your arguments don’t refute my actual position. Your arguments don’t successfully show a difference because you don’t actually understand what a brain state is or how it works.

                      You have never bothered to understand the science, and it shows in your failed arguments. The fact that you don’t understand that your arguments don’t do what you claim just goes to show your lack of understanding.

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                    16. Darren,

                      So, I guess this is the famous response in kind to my Part 3 you were going on about before- that’s fine.

                      Prove to me that I don’t understand the science, let’s start with the mirror neurons example that I used in Part 4;

                      1. First issue; Did I misunderstand the science involved there? Is it not the case that damage to one’s mirror neurons causes one to be hindered in expressing empathy?

                      2. What other scientific facts related to the feeling/quale of empathy is relevant to the question I was addressing and that I failed to understand or leave out in this example do you think?

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                    17. “So, I guess this is the famous response in kind to my Part 3 you were going on about before- that’s fine.”

                      No it isn’t. Telling you that you don’t understand something is not rhetoric, it isn’t an insult. It is a statement of fact based on what you have written and the questions you are asking.

                      “Prove to me that I don’t understand the science,…”

                      That is easy enough to do.

                      The science says that the brain state is the mental phenomena.

                      One of your arguments is that swapping out Protons for different Protons proves the mental phenomena is different from the brain state.

                      So explain how your argument proves there is a difference using the language of the science involved. If you understand the science, this should be trivially easy to do

                      “1. First issue; Did I misunderstand the science involved there?”

                      Yes. Damage doesn’t hinder the expression of empathy. Damage removes the ability to have empathy.

                      I’ll ignore the other question since you will just ignore what I write if it is too involved.

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                    18. Great Darren,

                      So I got it perfectly right then, however you allude to the fact that there may be more involved physically that I failed to miss. Here is a breif Wiki section discussing mirror neuons and their relationship to Empathy =

                      “Empathy

                      Stephanie Preston and Frans de Waal,[53] Jean Decety,[54][55] and Vittorio Gallese[56][57] and Christian Keysers[3] have independently argued that the mirror neuron system is involved in empathy. A large number of experiments using fMRI, electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) have shown that certain brain regions (in particular the anterior insula, anterior cingulate cortex, and inferior frontal cortex) are active when people experience an emotion (disgust, happiness, pain, etc.) and when they see another person experiencing an emotion.[58][59][60][61][62][63][64] David Freedberg and Vittorio Gallese have also put forward the idea that this function of the mirror neuron system is crucial for aesthetic experiences.[65] However, these brain regions are not quite the same as the ones which mirror hand actions, and mirror neurons for emotional states or empathy have not yet been described in monkeys.

                      More recently, Christian Keysers at the Social Brain Lab and colleagues have shown that people who are more empathic according to self-report questionnaires have stronger activations both in the mirror system for hand actions[66] and the mirror system for emotions,[63] providing more direct support for the idea that the mirror system is linked to empathy. Some researchers observed that the human mirror system does not passively respond to the observation of actions but is influenced by the mindset of the observer.[67] Researchers observed the link of the mirror neurons during empathetic engagement in patient care.[68]”

                      Now, perhaps its not as simple as saying empathy = (is identical) to mirror neurons firing, there can be other related physical processes involved in the brain- who gives a flip- totally meaningless, just modify my explanation to be more descriptive of every physical process involved. So yes, I hear your challenge to my positive argument about mereological essentialism which modern atomic theory supports me on this by the way and I will simply have to ignore that temporarily as this is you changing the subject but I promise to come back to it after your reply to the below on the below is a Contra-Soul argument from neuroscience that you want to make- thus you bear the burden of proof in this convo, if you can’t meet that burden apart from begging the question like saying the modern scientific method only allows for the truth of naturalism or physicalism than you fail to meet your burden of proof in any meaningful way; its equivalent to saying- there is no soul because its a non-physical thing and non-physical things are by definition impossible according to the scientific method- No one cares- the scientific method is wrong, the humans who made up that rule were doing so only as methodological constraint to be a helpful heuristic tool but not a metaphysical constraint on reality that you ignorantly seem to assume it to be. If you make the latter claim then how do you know that to be the case- prove to me that metaphysical naturalism/physicalism is true (and do so using the scientific method only if you claim to be an adherent of the even more foolish position of scientism). Without being able to establish scientism or metaphysical naturalism then the question of whether substance dualism interactionism can equally explain the same data (mirror neurons removing the ability to feel empathy totally as you say), then you can’t simply beg the question and claim only the mirror neuron-empathy identity theory (aka. strict physicalism) is true vs. substance dualism interactionism being true.

                      You claim to know that they are identical to each other and not different kinds of things that merely stand in causal relations with each other like substance dualists believe to be the case (i.e. the belief that conscious states in the soul are caused and/or cause physical states in the brain)

                      Great, prove it! How do you prove (without begging the question) that the conscious quale of empathy is identical to whatever brain states (including mirror neurons firing)- this was the Strict Physicalism option I mentioned in Part 4?

                      To illustrate, Bryan gave an interesting example of a headache (naturally) vs. a bunch of demons banging on his brain or something to that effect. Both options would seem to be empirically equivalent to me, I can’t prove scientifically (at least) that demons are pounding away and so there must be some kind of philosophical reasoning that is being employed here to rule out these options. What is the difference, why do I rule out demons pounding on Bryan’s head vs. the soul interacting with the mirror neurons in the brain? OR since I’m asking you to meet your burden of proof here, I will ask you how do you prove that the soul interacting with mirror neurons explanation is comparable (or not as I would claim) to the demons pounding on Bryan’s head to give him a headache explanation?

                      I will be happy to let you have the last word on this issue as I want to see if you are capable of assessing these situations at the deep level I’m asking you to rather than just doing your usual assume scientism is true circular reasoning or appeal to authority spiel; than I will be happy to move on and address your question based on my Part 3 on the issue of establishing Merelolgical Essentialism via the use of modern atomic theory.

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                    19. “So I got it perfectly right then,… ”

                      No you didn’t. The wiki article you quoted goes to show that you didn’t get it right, and that you still don’t understand what a brain state is.

                      Did you happen to notice that throughout the entire article you posted that there was no indication of cause and effect as you understand it? That it only talked about the factions of the brain as part of the feeling of empathy?

                      “…just modify my explanation to be more descriptive of every physical process involved.”

                      The problem, is if you do this then your statements no longer make even a bit of sense and you would disagree with what the statement is then saying.

                      “…modern atomic theory supports me on this by the way…”

                      If this is true, then why is it that the scientific community universally disagree with you then?

                      “….as this is you changing the subject….”

                      How is you asking me to prove something, and me proving it change the subject?

                      “…thus you bear the burden of proof in this convo,….”

                      Do you even understand how to have a conversation? This conversation is you not understanding the phisicalist argument. Empathy is just the example you wanted to use to make that point.

                      “….fail to meet your burden of proof in any meaningful way;…..”

                      So I should do it the way you do? Just make up stories and make unsupported proclamations?

                      Like for example this unsupported proclamation “..the scientific method is wrong,…”

                      “If you make the latter claim….

                      You already know I don’t make this claim, so why are you needlessly ranting about it?

                      Perhaps the rant is because you can’t demonstrate your claims are actually true so you are trying to distract from that fact by making baseless claims?

                      “Great, prove it! How do you prove (without begging the question) that the conscious quale of empathy is identical to whatever brain states (including mirror neurons firing)- this was the Strict Physicalism option I mentioned in Part 4?”

                      Because without the brain in those states the conscious quale doesn’t exist for that person and it isn’t possible for the damaged person to have it.

                      It’s just like if you remove the engine in a car, it isn’t possible for the car to combust gas to move pistons.

                      “To illustrate, Bryan gave an interesting example of a headache… ” “What is the difference, why do I rule out demons pounding on Bryan’s head vs. the soul interacting with the mirror neurons in the brain?”

                      Because you can’t give any indication that demons are a real thing, yet we understand how pain receptors in the brain work. We understand the physical processes that go into a headache. We have phisicalist medicines that take away a headache and it doesn’t include blocking demons.

                      Give us a real reason to think that demons are a real thing, and we will add that to the possibility list. Untill then there is no reason to take the unsupported stories of demons seriously.

                      If you want people to take dualism seriously, to think deeply about it as you put it, you need more than unsupported proclamations and stories you can’t demonstrate are anything other than made up.

                      You have to first demonstrate there is a ‘there’ there.

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                    20. Sigh, it honestly feels like you are not even trying to have a real convo here Darren, I know that is not the case as you guys have said the same about me and so I will just let the Part 4 argument go at this point.

                      So, you want to challenge mereological essentialism- one of the premise elements that I use in the enduring self argument of Part 3- is that correct Darren?

                      I can’t believe you are saying this as most physicalists/scientists agree with me on this part.

                      OK let’s start with these simple questions;

                      1. Would you say you hold to the Brain View as a physicalist?

                      2. Do you agree that the brain comes to be a completely brand new (no old parts at all) every 7 years?

                      3. Do you believe “I” (whatever that entails) endures past 7 years?- Do you think humans have some essential physical part of them that “endures” despite physical alteration like an Animalist or Material Constitutionalist does (i.e. the “life” and/or the “person”)?

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                    21. “Sigh, it honestly feels like you are not even trying to have a real convo here Darren…”

                      Are you truly that fucking oblivious and hypocritical?

                      Are you not the one that just posted that you don’t even bother to read most of what I write?

                      Are you not the one that doesn’t even try to understand what it is that you are arguing against?

                      I tell you what. When you have demonstrated that you have pulled your head out of your own ass, I will have this conversation with you.

                      You of all people have absolutely no room to be accusing other people of anything.

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                    22. Darren,

                      First off, I said that I knew it wasn’t the case that you were trying to do so even though it seems like it, but like the juvenile jack rabbit that you are have responded very disrespectfully and by swearing; you are the very definition of “can give it but can’t take it”- this convo is over- I engage in intellectual convos with intellectuals and not down in the gutter with people like you.

                      Good bye bud!

                      EDIT- For the readers of these comments Darren here also calls me out for being honest and confessing that I don’t always have the time or inclination to respond to his long rambling posts (part of it is his format just turns me off)- I gave this not as an insult but a confession as to why sometimes my replies to him don’t deal with everything he says but I usually have to take 1-2 things out and respond to them. Darren, takes my confessing this deficiency on my part as some kind of insult to him personally- GROW UP! In doing my substance dualism show I read everything he gave in his google docs at the time I read them, no idea if he has updated it since and I also read fully his last comment before I replied with the comment that caused this infantile reaction.

                      Thank you.

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                    23. “GROW UP!”

                      Well, I suppose that is one way to prove my point. I have never seen anyone act like such a petulant child…. ever. And yet you are telling me to grow up.

                      Oblivious, hypocritical, and head shoved way up your ass. It is still all there.

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                    24. FYI – I’m understanding the subsequent discussion between you two as an indicator that the request for my intervention is now obsolete.

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                    25. Yeah that is correct Travis, you can leave it alone

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                    26. Dale,
                      Thanks for the clarification and kind words. Sorry I’m not the fastest with responses. Life gets in the way.

                      Though I admit I only learned of the concept of transworld identity a few days ago, it appears clear that ‘identity’ in the case of transworld identity is not a strict Leibnitzian identity and allows quite substantial differences, with the examples allowing for completely divergent mental states. This is allowed so long as there is some sort of ‘essence’ that carries the core identity. So if you’re using transworld identity in your argument then I see three issues you need to contend with:
                      1) As the article makes clear, transworld identity is contentious and there’s an uphill battle just to defend that assumption. But even if we grant it …
                      2) If the person in the possible world where consciousness does NOT survive (Wp) is transworld identical to the person in the possible world where consciousness DOES survive (Wd), then the essence which preserves identity between those possible worlds must be something other than a soul, since the person does not have a soul in Wp. What is carrying transworld identity in this case?
                      3) You seem to be mixing two different criteria for identity within the argument. As noted, the transworld identity allows variations without any clear constraints – the lack of reasons for constraints appears to be the thrust of Plantinga’s argument for accepting transworld identity. However, you’ve been applying a strict Leibnitzian identity for ‘self’ and ‘body’. The flexibility allowed under transworld identity could feasibly allow that an identity’s self is only body in Wp but also includes a soul in Wd, in which case the argument does not hold.

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                    27. You are welcome Travis (though I would like to see you take up Darren’s request to explain to him the difference between identity vs. cause and effect relation and their mutual exclusivity).

                      1. OK, yeah but I don’t really mind being controversial if I think its true.

                      2. No, its not possible for Dale to exist without a soul- so the possible world there entails that we have a soul but just that it doesn’t survive after death- annihilationism is what is in view here because its conceivable that God could cease from sustaining us in existence. This notion of mine is also controversial some philosophers like JP Moreland would say no its not conceivable for my soul to be annihliated and thus there is no such logical possible world where I cease to exist after my body is destroyed (they claim our souls are of such an infinite value that it would be immoral for God to annihilate it); I disagree but just be aware of that controversy and distinction that avoids the issue.

                      3. Yes, its true I didn’t mention a modified version of the law of identity which I should have done if I had this objection in mind but my argument still holds even with the more nuanced version of the law of identity which accommodates the transworld notion. Again there are no logically possible world where my self is just a body (no soul)- that is logically impossible I claim (and this modal intuition is backed up by the other arguments I provide which prove that certain essential features of what it means to be a “self” or “Dale” includes things like having freewill for example and this cannot obtain if physicalism is true. So that is how I escape your objections.

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                    28. Dale,
                      Can you please restate your argument now, taking all of the nuances in our discussion into account? I’m confused because your latest response indicates that a world where selves do not have souls (Wp) is NOT a possible world in your original argument. I understood the point of the argument as showing that Wp is not the actual world, but now you seem to be saying that it isn’t even a possible world. Assuming I’m reading this correctly, note that you stated that the criteria for possible worlds was conceivability; which implies that you think a self without a soul is not even conceivable (which would accord with the statement that it is logically impossible). Certainly you can appreciate that this is not inconceivable to most everybody else. Is it possible that this is begging the question by only allowing a conception of ‘self’ which is synonymous with a soul?

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                    29. Well no Travis,

                      I don’t think it is conceivable actually- at least not once properly understood. So I’m talking about broad logical possibility first off (which you probably already know). I’m saying that the notion of Dale existing without a soul is logically incoherent or impossible like conceiving of a world where 1+1=4 is impossible or square circles exist or where Abraham Lincoln is a prime number. There are no logical possible worlds where a square circle exists/is true and the same is for the notion of a souless or purely physical person.

                      Remember, that this is about ontological or metaphysical possibility not epistemic possibility where some non-critical thinker simply says for all I know maybe I could exist without my body or maybe I am my body- I don’t know. That’s not what the argument uses to establish its truth- imaginability is not necessarily the same as conceivability unless one has properly reflected on and understands what they are imagining.

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                    30. Yes, that’s how I understood your most recent response, but I don’t see how that fits with the original argument. Can you please restate the argument with these updates taken into account?

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                    31. Travis,

                      No actually the premises I provided are correct as they allow for possible or modal properties having to be the same. I copied it from Dr. Richard Swinburne/Dr. Dale Tuggy and they were factoring these issues in when he made the argument already. I suppose what I would do differently is just explain the objection better and why I define the law of identity the way I do based on transworld issues- but the argument is good as stated premise wise- its just more work needed to be done in warranting the premises.

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                    32. Dale,
                      It’s time to wrap this up. I don’t think it’s obvious how the updated claims fit with the original argument, so I’ll try and steelman it. To start, here’s the original argument, per the podcast:

                      P1) It is logically possible that I exist after all my physical parts are completely destroyed.
                      P2) It is not possible for my physical parts to exist after they are completely destroyed.
                      P3) The logical law of identity, A = B only if everything true and possibly true of A is also true and possibly true of B.
                      C1) Therefore, I am not identical to my physical parts, and consequently I have an essential, non-physical part in addition to my non-essential physical parts.

                      First, let’s put P1 and P2 into the language of possible worlds so that it’s easier to see the relation to transworld identity:
                      P1) There is a possible world (Wd) in which I exist after all my physical parts are completely destroyed.
                      P2) There is not a possible world in which my physical parts exist after they are completely destroyed.

                      Then things get a bit more complicated with P3. The intent here is to show that the difference in the set of possible worlds for ‘I’ and ‘my physical parts’ shows that they are not identical. However, as we have noted, we are dealing with possible worlds and have to adopt some form of transworld identity rather than the logical law of identity (i.e., Identity of Indiscernibles). So the language of P3 must be revised accordingly:

                      P3) A can only be transworld identical to B if A exists in all possible worlds in which B exists (where A or B are the essence of an entity, such that non-essential properties can differ across possible worlds).

                      This revised premise then slightly changes the conclusion:

                      C1) Therefore, I am not transworld identical to my physical parts, and consequently I have an essential, non-physical part in addition to my non-essential physical parts.

                      I think this is an accurate revision of the argument that accounts for the additional considerations we discussed, but I still think that there are several reasonable objections:

                      1. You could reject the notion that talk of possible worlds can provide any insight into the actual world. That’s a reasonable position to take and many philosophers would seem to prefer this. I think there can be utility in this kind of exercise, so my inclination is to pragmatically accept modal reasoning without strong commitments to any conclusions.

                      2. You could accept modal reasoning but reject transworld identity, perhaps preferring something like David Lewis’ counterpart theory. In the limited exposure I’ve had over the last few days to the different ways of thinking about identities in possible worlds, I would currently definitely favor counterpart theory over transworld identity, given that it preserves Leibnizian identity and I am skeptical of essentialism in general. But I also don’t think that the transworld view is unreasonable.

                      3. You could reject P1 and argue that there is not a possible world without a physical self. This largely comes down to definitions and the frameworks we use to define possible worlds, so I think two people can disagree on this while being entirely reasonable. I’m more likely to grant this premise, but I also would not be surprised if I could be persuaded to reject it.

                      4. You could reject P3 and argue that a transworld identity can be preserved even if the sets of possible worlds are different. Given that transworld identity already allows for substantial differences between the entities, this doesn’t seem all that unreasonable. For example, you could posit a divisible essence, where the identity is preserved if any part of the essence exists in the possible world. I’m ambivalent with regard to this option, but given that transworld identity is already somewhat arbitrarily defined there doesn’t seem to be a strong reason to rule this out.

                      5. You could reject the entailment of the conclusion through a hybrid between transworld identity and counterpart theory, where instead of there being one unique identity for each possible world, there can be some number of counterpart essences which each have their own separate transworld identities while retaining a counterpart relation between each other. I prefer counterpart theory, but I would also find this hybrid approach preferable to the transworld identity approach.

                      So, in the end, I think the modal argument is interesting and worth scrutinizing but I find that there are several reasonable objections that, for me, collectively overwhelm the force of the argument. I’m curious Dale – given the fruits of our discussion, do you still have 99.99% confidence that this argument disproves physicalism?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    33. Travis,

                      I must say I really enjoyed and found your final critique of the Modal Pro-Soul argument to be interesting and helpful for those reading the comments- you approach these issues in the same way I tend to (when I’m at my best at least) and thus I like the 5 various objections you provide and think they provide some good counters for people to think on.

                      I will say this; most of your objections do not change my opinion on the strength of the argument- but objections #2 & 5 based on Lewis’ counterpart theory have somewhat diminished my confidence somewhat but to be honest I’m still quite certain that transworld identity is true vs. counterparts or a hybrid notion and so I still remain convinced based on this argument and quite strongly so- I would say I’m about 90%-95% certain. Again this would need to be addressed as an objection as to why I find your counterpart, etc. objection wanting.

                      Objections #1, 3 & 4 just have no persuasive value at all and so I remain just as unconvinced of those as I did before, these are very weak objections to my mind.

                      Thanks again for your contribution, I confess by the time I did Part 4, my heart just wasn’t in the series anymore b/c I felt I was just wasting my time as the skeptics like Darren kept repeatedly not getting the point and simply beg the question in their favour. You actually took my argument seriously enough to provide some counters that I hadn’t taken the time to reflect too deeply on myself in preparing the show and so I’m glad this issue was raised for people 🙂

                      Dale

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                    34. Thanks. So, I disregarded your suggestion and listened to Part 4 and heard your disclaimer at the end about the presentation. For what it’s worth, I would suggest that the polemics yield the complete opposite effect of the stated goal of getting us to take the arguments seriously. Reflecting on why this could be, I recognize that people often resort to polemics when they are desperate to defend their position and lack substantive content to present. That’s an association you would want to avoid if the goal is getting people to think deeply about the content. I didn’t engage the modal argument because I thought that I might actually be a desperate fool if I were to reject it; I engaged because it was new and interesting and nobody else was trying to unpack it. My two cents.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    35. OK that’s good advice and I must confess to some extent this is why Darren’s comments tend to seem that way to me a lot of times and I have skip past all the meaningless rhetoric- so there is some truth in the perception of lack of substance when people get into the polemics. At the same time, I tried very hard in the Shroud debates not to engage in any polemics with Alan whereas he repeatedly bashed the STURP scientists in unfair ways based on his ignorance of only looking at the one side whereas I looked at both sides on the background (including letters from the men involved) but on the Unbelievable Boards people seemed to be backing him up simply because he was forceful and polemical in his presentation whereas I was more passive. It honestly seems like there is such a double standard as no one calls out David or Alan or Darren for their polemics but the second I stand up and give a dose of their own to them, all the skeptics jump on me as though I’m totally out of line or something.

                      I feel that if anyone wants to scold me for using polemics than they had best call out their own for doing the same, else it just seems to me to be a double standard on the part of skeptics. But yeah, part of the reason I respond so well to you is that I appreciate you are willing to be fair and call out both sides when they do something wrong.

                      BTW on the Modal Argument- I forgot to mention that I appreciate the way you reformulated the argument- that is exactly how I would have done it myself but there was a deliberate reason I want to stand my ground and stick to the original formulation as the way it is stated there can include your revised premises but also doesn’t necessarily exclude other applicable notions of modal possibility which the argument could also use- for example the hybrid version could actually be used by the argument depending on what the hybrid version you had in mind entails. So while, the version you give is true to what I believe, I don’t necessarily want to restrict the argument artificially and have it fail simply because I insisted on my notion of transworld identity- this is why they and I want to state the Law of Identity premise vaguely and then one can clarify what they mean in more detail when they provide the warrant for the premise later on.

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                    36. There is a double standard for content producers vs commenters. The content producer will be held to a higher standard.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    37. OK cool thanks for your take there Travis- I must confess though that I somewhat take issue personally with this conventional double standard; its like the cliche “the customer is always right”- no they are not and the use of unfair polemics of those you disagree with is wrong no matter who does it. Plus, I could say that Darren and some others unfairly attack me even given the context of only being commenters. They never point out David J. or Alan (both content producers in the shows they were on) when they use polemics in this way, in fact on the rare occasions were it is explicitly addressed its usually encouraged as being entertaining, heroic or powerfully conveying their points or something. If I do anything like that, its instantly condemned and called out as treating the poor skeptics in a bullying manner.

                      I have agreed with David that I to some extent I need to conform to these expectations so as to not cause unnecessary offence (its why I voluntarily submitted to the dirty deleting rule for example- something I think is a ridiculous rule); but just to give you my own personal opinion on the matter, I think the world will be a better place when people do what’s right regardless of whether society expects them to do so or not. I think that if a commenter uses polemics to unfairly attack a host that is just as bad as the host attacking the commenter with unfair polemics- I tend not to see the distinction as clearly as you and others seem to.

                      BTW, it hasn’t been posted yet but David J. was on Ask an Atheist Anything to discuss the strategy of effectively using Polemics in persuading people- if you wouldn’t mind, when that comes out and if I post a link to it for you to listen to- would you mind giving me and David some feedback on what you make of David’s reasons for using polemics as a good discussion strategy- I’m curious if you’ll agree with him or not?

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                    38. I wasn’t defending the double standard, just pointing out that it exists. It’s understandable how it would arise by virtue of the fact that content producers are far more invested in the product than commenters, and so would be expected to be more concerned with quality and integrity.

                      I disagree with the use of polemics as a good tactical move by anybody in most any discourse, though I admit that I have not engaged any research on its relative effectiveness. My perspective is largely anecdotal, and even if it were shown to be more effective at changing minds, that’s a Machiavellian approach that is more focused on winning than on coming to truth. There is good research which shows that we are better at arriving at the right answer when we work together. If the goal is truth, then the strategy is collaboration, not division.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    39. Agreed and well said; that is why I made the point about 2 wrongs not making a right and apologized for the deliberate provocative and demeaning tone I displayed in Part 4 of my series- I’m with you in theory even if not always in practice, as I said I have a lot of work to do be more like Jesus and I recognize that I could learn a lot from how you have interacted with me on here during our convo 🙂

                      Thank you for being one of our loyal listeners, people like you are the reason I got involved in this Podcast in the first place 🙂

                      Dale

                      Liked by 1 person

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