[quote=313cristnogion]“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” C.S. Lewis
It is the role that we as souls play that Ryle’s Regress can find an application in and how we can inform and interact with our physical bodies.
But instead of talking about Ryle’s Regress let us look at the problem of interaction itself.
If we as incorporeal souls animate a physical body then there is the problem of how the soul with its innate (but often unconscious) knowledge (perhaps informed by the Holy Spirit) of God interacts with our physical body.
To take an example:
If I perform a kindly act involving movement then it is understood that the firing of neurons causes the physical and observable movements and this in turn is caused by a transfer of energy. The problem lies with the supposition that the mind - which we shall take to be the emergent properties of the complex brain - has to be informed (not necessarily directed, otherwise all human actions would be kindly, which is difficult in itself to measure and also not true quite a lot of the time) by the soul and its or rather our innate knowledge of what is right. How can it be that a supposedly immaterial entity - the soul - can cause or in any way influence the physical movements of a material body, without a violation of the Principle of Conservation of Energy, i.e. where did the energy come from to initiate a physical event such as the firing of neurons (for as the soul is immaterial it cannot according to current physical laws, possess the physical energy needed)?
The body, as a physical substance, derives it’s energy, not from the soul, but from physical fuel, as you implied. The energy comes from our food, drink, respiration, sunlight (to a small extent), etc.
The most beautiful explanation I read was in Peter Kreeft’s “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven”. We tend to think of the soul as an ingredient in the body, hence the ridiculous experiments where a body is weighed before and after death. The soul, as purely spiritual, has no weight. Kreeft, however, explains it this way. Our soul is not within our body. If anything, our body is within our soul or part of our soul. But even that doesn’t completely express it. The body IS the physical form of our soul and the soul IS the substance of our body. Notice that I said that the soul is the substance of the body, and not our cells or organs. They will decompose and be eaten by worms when we die. However, our body is the “form” of our existance, so even when God gives us new, supernatural material in Heaven, it will take the form of our “resurrected” form, or body.
Rather than an existing duality, it is a psychosomatic union. By animating the body, we mean that, while the cells and organs derive their energy from physical fuel (obeying the Principle of Conservation of Energy). The body derives its direction and discretion from the fact that the soul directs our potential and actualized energy.
Sorry, I wrote this in a rush, but might expand later.