Russel Standish wrote:
>> 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 dualism.
>Exactly what species of dualism? Dualism usually means that 
>minds and brains are distinct orthogonal things, interacting 
>at a point - eg pineal gland. What I think of as mind is an 
>emergent property of the interaction of large numbers of 
>neurons coupled together. I do not think of emergent 
>properties as dualism - but if you insist then we simply have 
>a language game.

Nope, I'm thinking of dualism as "the mind (or consciousness) is separate
from the body". Ie. The mind is not identical to the body.

>> 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.
>I disagree completely. You will need to argue your case hard 
>and fast on this one.

See below.

>> 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?"
>> Jonathan Colvin
>The tree, if conscious, could ask the question of why it isn't 
>a lion. The only thing absurd about that question is that we 
>know trees aren't conscious.

That seems an absurd question to me. How could a tree be a lion? Unless the
tree's consciousness is not identical with its body (trunk, I guess), this
is a meaningless question. To ask that question *assumes* a dualism. It's a
subtle dualism, to be sure.

As a little boy once asked, "Why are lions, lions? Why aren't lions ants?"

Jonathan Colvin

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