How to understand and explain the soul?

I did not just assume that an immaterial soul exists. In Post#24 I gave the OP the premises he needs to deduce the conclusion that an immaterial soul exists. Right at the beginning I said: “We are capable of operations or actions that are immaterial or free of the conditions of materiality. Since everything acts according to its nature, an immaterial operation must proceed from a source whose nature is also immaterial, which the soul is.” Since it is already obvious, I let the OP add the final conclusion himself: “Therefore, an immaterial soul exists.” Am I wrong in presuming that the OP is intelligent and can add that conclusion himself?

That’s bad substitution, Freddy. Your pet dragon is not immaterial; it is imaginary. A human soul is immaterial but real, and is the source or principle of the real intellectual operations that produce our universal concepts. An imaginary entity, like your pet dragon, cannot be the source of real operations, but is only the plaything of the imagination. It exists as long as the brain (which is also the seat of the imagination) is alive. Once the brain dies, your pet dragon ceases to exist, which betrays its materiality and intrinsic dependence on matter. It is totally unlike our immaterial soul which, because it is unaffected by changes in the body, will survive the death of the body. Now I hope you understand why I spent some time explaining what the soul does in my Post # 24. In paragraph # 2 of that post I talked about our consciousness as giving us internal and introspective evidence that our soul is unaffected by changes in our body. That is vastly important because it gives us a clue, not only to the immateriality of the soul, but also to its immortality. If our soul is intrinsically independent of the changes that happen to the body, then it also will survive the death of the body.

Read Post #24 again. The conclusion you seek is implicitly there, but if you want to make it explicit, just add at the end of my opening paragraph, where I said “which the soul is,” this statement: "Therefore, an immaterial soul exists." Obviously, if the immaterial soul is the source of the immaterial operations that we make, then that immaterial soul exists. Are you happy now?

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I did and your argument doesn’t advance any further than this:

A concept is immaterial but how we perceive them or understand them is not an immaterial process. Politics is immaterial but we conceptualise that idea using our grey matter. And I showed you that in the link I provided earlier. We can actually see parts of tbe brain that are doing the work of conceptualising light up. We can actually see the brain doing the work. It matters not in the slightest whether what the brain is thinking of is material or immaterial. It’s still the brain doing the work.

Let’s say I have a memory of an event that happened when I was very young. I remember my grandmother being taken out of the house to hospital after she was taken ill. This was a material event and you’d accept that the memory was formed and stored within my brain using some combination of neurons, electrical charges, chemical changes etc. No problem there - you’ve already accepted this upstream.

Now let’s plug me into a scanner so we can actually see parts of my brain lighting up remembering this event. Now we actually have the evidence that a material event is presented as a memory by the material operation of my brain. And I think of another event from the same period - getting a puppy, and the same thing happens. This is pretty conclusive. We can actually see physical changes in the brain which are producing memories of physical, material events.

Now what happens if one of the events never took place? I believe they did. But one of them didn’t. What happens is that we get exactly the same response in my brain for both events.

So what use is a Theory of The Soul which says that the brain is involved with material things and the soul with immaterial things if there is ZERO difference in how the brain is seen to work with either?

Incidently, the episode with my grandmother didn’t happen. It was a false memory I had for very many years.

The argument is already there. You just have to add the obvious conclusion. I’ll just do it for you. Here:

“We are capable of operations or actions that are immaterial or free of the conditions of materiality. Since everything acts according to its nature, an immaterial operation must proceed from a source whose nature is also immaterial, which the soul is. Therefore, an immaterial soul exists.”

Concept formation itself is not material because no material process can produce a universal content. What lights up in the scanner is the neural network in the brain. It is a particular arrangement of neurons, which is why it can NEVER be a universal concept. Think of a TV screen or monitor. Using different pixel lights and colors, you can display an image of your mother, or my mother, or his mother, or her mother. But you cannot have an image of “motherhood” or “mother in general.” It’s always an image of a particular woman, with a particular facial feature, a particular hairstyle, etc. Analogously, our grey matter can exhibit different patterns of neurons in the brain, but they are always a particular pattern, not a universal concept.

Now, a particular pattern can be used as a symbol that represents a universal. For example, you can have an image that displays “MOTHER.” The word itself is particular, but the meaning that it stands for, is universal. You can have images of words, symbols, or objects in the brain, but not images of their meaning. You need an immaterial intellect to handle the universal meaning of your thoughts. That’s where the soul comes in.

When we are thinking, our brain is busy indeed, but it is not the only power at work. Because the brain is busy making neural arrangements of particular symbols, but it is our soul, and its power called the intellect, that handles the meaning of the symbols, since meanings are universal and cannot be handled by the neural patterns of the brain. So it is wrong to think that the brain is doing all the work. Brute animals also have brains that will light up in a scanner, but they have no understanding because they have no intellect.

If you say that the neurons in the brain can handle universals, then that is a bold assertion that you have to prove. The article that you cited did not prove it. It did not even define what a “concept” is, or what a universal is. It did not distinguish the particular image (which results from the particular arrangement of neurons) from the universal concept in the mind. That’s why the evidence is FLAWED. It is ok as evidence of “images,” but not as evidence of concepts. Yes, the scientists call these images “concepts,” but they don’t mean universals as we understand them. Merely calling them “concepts” don’t make them universals.

Correct. The sensible images of the events that happened when you were young are stored in your brain and can be recalled or reconstructed by the neurons. Because these images are particular images in the sensitive memory. Even brute animals have this power. It is not the same as the ideas and concepts that are understood and kept in the intellective memory. These are universals and cannot be reconstructed by neurons. The neurons can only reconstruct their particular symbols, but not the universals that they stand for.

The fact that you see parts of your brain light up in your scanner is no evidence of the presence of universals. It is only evidence of the presence of particular images in your brain.

I’m going to be busy now. I will be back on Monday. Have a great weekend.:slight_smile:

Some atheists are open to Reasoned discussion while others are set to reject any pearls shown them.

Our Lord never went on and on. He said what He did and some believed and some didn’t…

Your Soul? The ancients wrote “soul” as if it were something all knew…

Soul? You? Your Finger and even Your Mind can get lost . yet YOU are still there…

Ask him to learn more about Jesus - so as to get to know Jesus’ Mind

Mental mechanisms we share with animals are imagination and memory. In the animal, the reproduction of the images from memory corresponds exactly to the reality perceived before by the senses. So, even In the absence of the exact objects, the imagination drawing on memory reproduces them and moves the animal to act.

Unlike the animal, man can also abstract, that is, unite or separate the images in his imagination from the particulars and combine them in diverse ways. By associating these novel combinations, man develops alternative options to adapting his behaviors in order to satisfy his desires in creative ways not possible for animals.

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But as I said, the event never took place. It was totaly immaterial. So my soul was dealing with it. Which means that I thought it was real and my soul knew it wasn’t. You think it might have mentioned it to me…

And as regards universals, as has been agreed, they don’t rely on anything else for their existence. So even if no-one existed they would still be there. But if no-one existed then there’d be no souls. So souls aren’t required for their existence. They don’t have to reconstruct them. And neither does the brain. Which only needs to understand them.

One plus one equals two is a universal. Your argument boils down to claimig that our brain can’t understand that and we need a soul for simple mathematical concepts.

Have a good weekend anyway.

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It’s not brains which understand… The brain’s an organ.

it’s your Soul - aka You -
which has a Mind and Senses and Memory and Intelligence
and has free choice Will - as to which spirit it follows.

The Holy Spirit or the evil one.

If the event that you remember did not actually happen, then it means that you did not actually see it happen. Therefore, the event was something that you only imagined. In that case, you have a memory of what you imagined to have happened, not a memory of something that actually happened.

Wrong choice of words. It wasn’t totally immaterial; it was totally imaginary. Imaginary images are particular images and are recorded in a material brain. Therefore, they are not really immaterial, although you cannot touch them in the same way that you can touch a rock.

If your soul didn’t know that an event didn’t really happen, then your soul didn’t know that it was purely imaginary. Once your soul realizes that the event was fictitious, then it realizes that what it remembers was an imaginary event.

I did not agree with that. Universals, as universals, do not exist except in the concept, which is in the mind (or intellect) of the knower. Therefore, they DO depend on the intellect or mind of the knower for their existence as a universal.

False again. If no one existed, then there would be no knowers, and without knowers, there would be no concepts and no universals.

It’s a philosophical argument. What kind of “evidence” do you think is reasonable to expect? A formal proof, maybe? But not empirical evidence, right?

Does the brain participate in processing them, though? When we ratiocinate – let’s say, by moving from concepts to particulars in a rational process – aren’t we utilizing our brains?

That’s right, we also use our brains when we make a judgment or ratiocinate about singular objects. We do not need the brain only when we make judgment or ratiocinate about universal essences. Unlike judgments that involve only universals, a judgment that involves a particular or singular object requires the brain because the concepts that are being compared, affirmed or denied, are referred back to the singular sensible species (phantasm) from which they were derived by abstraction.

However, when the soul is separated from the body (after death), and the brain is not there to supply the phantasms to which the intellect can return, the soul is still able to make judgments and know about singular objects through a species infused by God. This species is like a participated similitude of the Divine Essence, in which universal and singular things can be known.

To ask a clarifying question, would this last point be an article of faith, or at least a “postulation of faith”? It does not seem like something an intellect without a body could accomplish by natural means, given how you stated it.

Soul music.

God hides wisdom from the learned and reveals it to the humble.

That’s not correct as far as Aquinas thought. He believed the ‘object of mathematics’ to be a real quantity: ‘It is not a being of reason (ens rationis) but a real being (ens reale)’.

So again, souls aren’t required for their existence. And we only require a material mind to understand them.

But I think that Lews had this wrong. We don’t have a soul or have a body. We are body and soul.

I do not think that philosophy alone would let us know that separated souls have knowledge of the singular. St. Thomas bases his opinion on a text of St. Luke where, in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man in hell said: “I have five brethren” (Luke 16:27). See ST, I, Q.89, Art. 4. So, I think it is at least what a theologian might call a theological opinion, if not a "theological conclusion.”

The objects of mathematics are real, but they do not exist in reality as universals. They exist in singular material objects. For example, “circle” does not exist in reality except in something circular, such as a wheel, a round table, etc. The “circle,” as a universal, is only in the mind of the knower. Universals, as universals, exist only in the mind of the knower. That is why you need souls for universals to exist as universals.

If the universal as such does not have the limitations of matter, then a material brain cannot understand it. For, the universal cannot exist in anything material without losing its freedom from matter, or its character as a universal. You need an immaterial mind to know a universal as universal.

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