On 29 April 2004 Bruno Marchal wrote:
At 23:16 28/04/04 +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
There is a single idea underlying much of the confusion in discussions of personal identity: the belief in a soul.
I use this term for a quality or substance which resides in a person throughout his life and is somehow responsible for his identity, and which (here is the problem) is not captured by a complete description of the person's physical and psychological state. Often, it is a hidden assumption.
That's a nice definition of the soul, quite similar to the provable properties
of the "first person", once we will define it precisely (in the Thaetetus way). And comp will
entails, *as a theorem*, the existence of the soul, then!
Actually, I didn't mean to use "soul" as a synonym for consciousness or subjective experience, which is why I said it was something not captured by a complete description of a person's physical *or psychological* state. Subjective experience differs from other empirical data in that it can only be fully understood in a first person context, but I do not see why this should disqaulify it from being a fit subject for scientific study. Cognitive psychologists write rigorous scientific papers of which they are very proud, and they seem to have replaced the behaviourists (who thought consciousness was at best unimportant and at worst non-existent) in most academic psychology departments.
What I meant by "soul" was something beyond reason or empirical fact, whether of the first or the third person variety; something magical or supernatural, in other words.
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