Re: origin of ideas, civilization, reading list

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Tue Aug 07 2001 - 08:12:50 MDT

----- Original Message -----
From: Samantha Atkins <>
> > .
> > > > Unlike Plato and Aristotle (Hegel, etc.) we do not believe that
there is
> > a
> > > > little divine element in us that needs to be nurtured. Darwin killed
> > that
> > > > idea forever. > > >

> > >
> > Plato held that humans are composite creatures: bodies plus souls.
> Evolution does not conclusively show this view is false.
> Dualism is alive and well.
You are right on both accounts, I guess I overstated the Darwinian case when
I said it killed the soul hypothesis forever. The fact that empirical
theories are underdetermined by the evidence means that any theory might
rise from the ashes. The geocentric conception of the universe may yet turn
out to be true as well. What we need to discuss with empirical theories is
the probability that some view is false rather than it be conclusively shown
to be false. Furthermore, as the Damien Brodericks complex shows in another
post, our bodies might be the headquarters for multiple souls: the single
soul hypothesis is itself underdetermined by the evidence.

> Some religious folks teach that
> evolution was the means for perfecting a body for living in this
> sort of world but that the souls chose to enter these bodies.
Indeed, see my:

> Before you jump all over that consider that many of us here
> honestly expect to be able to upload the essence of ourselves
> (or or progeny) into computers (astral plane anyone?) and to
> possibly download into bodies designed to our current needs in
> whole or part. Dualism is still alive and well.
Dualism is usually understood as an ontological doctrine, namely, that there
are two radical different sorts of stuff in the universe: soul stuff and
matter stuff. Is this your understanding? Are you saying that the only
possible (or plausible) explanation of human uploading requires appeal to
dualism in this sense? What would you say to matter-monists who believe that
this does not require dualism anymore than the fact that when say The Spike
comes out as a movie we might view it on VHS or DVD? Or do we need dualism
to explain VHS and DVD? Of course I am pulling your leg, but it does raise
the question of why a matter-monist cannot explain the soul being encoded as
information on different platforms. Mark

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