Russel Standish wrote:
>> Since it is coming from Nick B., over-exhaustive :) I don't think
>> anybody, Nick included, has yet come up with a convincing way to
>> define appropriate reference classes. Absent this, the only way to
>> rescue the DA seems to be a sort of dualism (randomly
>emplaced souls etc).
>Nooo! - the DA does not imply dualism. The souls do not need
>to exist anywhere else before being randomly emplaced.
Ambiguous response. Are you saying that the DA requires that souls must be
randomly emplaced, but that this does not require dualism, or that the DA
does not require souls?
It seems to me that to believe we are randomly emplaced souls, whether or
not they existed elsewhere beforehand, is to perforce embrace a species of
To rescue the DA (given the problem of defining a reference class), one must
assume a particular stance regarding counterfactuals of personal identity;
that "I" could have been someone else (anyone else in the reference class of
observers, for example). But unless I am an immaterial soul or other sort of
cartesian entity, this is not possible. If I am simply my body, then the
statement "I could have been someone else" is as ludicrous as pointing to a
tree and saying "Why is that tree, that tree? Why couldn't it have been a
different tree? Why couldn't it have been a lion?"