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Flashcards in Soul Deck (46):

Who holds the view of materialism ?

Aristotle and others hold the view that the explanation is a physical one and that we are one material substance.


What is 'Qualia' ?

This is the actual feel of our conscious experiences


What do Dualist argue about the first reason of materialism ( First reason in favour of materialism)?

Dualist argue that no matter how much knowledge we acquire of our brains, this knowledge is from the outside. However consciousness is a first- person phenomenon and cannot be solved by first person science.


Does Dawkins believe in the idea of a 'soul'?

No, Dawkin's argues that the idea of a 'soul' is a mythological concept invented by the ancients to explain the mystery of consciousness.


Does Dawkin's accept the Platonic or Religious idea of the soul ?

Dawkin's strongly rejects the Platonic or religious idea of the soul, but he does accept that it is possible to use the term metaphorically.


What is the third reason in favour of materialism?

Category error


How does Gilbert Ryle argue that belief that there is a separate soul is a category error?

Gilbert Ryle uses his example of the visitor to the university to illustrate how Descartes and other dualists are thinking of the mind in the wrong way.


What is Gilbert Ryle's example of the university?

Imagine a foreign visitor to Oxford or Cambridge university. He is shown the libraries, the playing fields, museums, accommodations, and offices. Suppose he were to say, 'Yes, I have seen all these things but where is the university itself?' The visitor wrongly assumes that the university is something extra, this is the same sort of mistake that Descartes makes with the mind.


What is the first reason in favour of materialism ?



What is neuroscience?

Neuroscience is the branch of science that studies the brain. Our states of consciousness are affected by brain chemistry, an example being depression, which can be treated with medication that alters the chemistry of the brain. Materialists (Dawkins) are strong in their beliefs that we eventually we will all be able to identify all of the mental processes in the brain and have a complete explanation of consciousness.


What is the masked man fallacy?

One famous counterexample to Descartes is called the 'masked man fallacy'. It may be possible to doubt that my father is the masked robber and impossible to that he is married to my mother, but this does not mean that both cannot be true. Whether we are able to doubt something isn't a property of itself, it is a property of our minds. Just because I think that one thing is uncertain and another thing is certain does not mean that this is the case.


Describe Descartes differences between mind and body.

Cogito- the idea that he can doubt everything but his ability to doubt and therefore think ,enables him to identify the essential nature of the mind and this is that it is a 'thinking thing'. The essence of mind is thought, which is non-physical, while the essence of body is extension of physical space- this means that they can't be one and the same thing.


How does Descartes use Liebniz law to back up his belief in the differences between mind and body?

Descartes uses Leibniz law to argue that whilst a physical thing can be divided into sections, something that has no physical location can't be divided. Therefore there is a difference between the mind and body, proving that they are not the same!


What does 'cogito ergo sum' mean?

' I think therefore I am'


How does Descartes come up with 'cogito ergo sum' ?

Descartes realizes that there is one thing that it is not possible to doubt; he is certain he exists. Even if he were wrong about everything, the very act of thinking proves that there is a thinker. This argument proves the thinking part of us.


What were Aristotle's beliefs in the afterlife?

There is some evidence that Aristotle believed that the ability to reason survives after death. It does NOT mean that our identities survive.


What is Plato's belief about where are soul was in the past?

Plato believed that the soul was in the realm of forms and therefore has knowledge of the forms before being pulled to the earth by the appetites.


What is Plato's belief about the soul in the present?

Plato believes that the soul is presently incarnated in a body and experiences all the tension of the conflict between the body and the soul.


What is Plato's belief about the soul in the future ?

Plato believes that the soul will be freed from the body and will eventually return to the realm of the forms.


What is the second reason in favour of materialism?

The problem of interaction.


Definition of problem of interaction

How can a non-physical mind or soul interact with a physical body/brain - they are completely incompatible substances.


What is a philosophers counter argument against the problem of interaction?

One philosopher has explained that the problem of interaction is like asking how the ghost rides the bicycle; its non-physical 'feet' can never apply pressure to the physical pedal? likewise, if our though that we would like a cup of coffee is a non-physical thing, how does it transmit to our brain and lead to the action of going to the kitchen.


What is Liebniz law?

If two objects are identical they have to have exactly the same properties. So if object A and object B don't both have a certain property then they must be different.


Does Aristotle agree with Plato’s substance dualism?

Aristotle rejects the substance dualism of Plato, as he believes that the soul is not something completely different and extra to the body.


What is Aristotle’s definition of a form ?

Aristotle’s definition of a form is a property that is possessed by something yet, unlike Plato, it is not additional to the body.


How would Aristotle’s and Plato’s different ideas on the forms form their perception of the idea or ‘form’ of beauty?

Plato would argue that beauty exists as an idea even if there were no beautiful things whereas Aristotle argues that beauty is an idea that we have from observing beauty in beautiful things.


What did Gilbert Ryle think of Descartes dualism?

Ryle thought that Descartes dualism is mistaken, not in detail but in principle, it is a category mistake. The mind-body problem comes from thinking about the mind in the wrong way. He illustrates this with his famous university example.


What is the fourth reason in favour of materialism?



How is Ockham’s razor used to support materialism ?

Dualism suggests that there are two aspects of us and that one of these is beyond our ability to empirically investigate it. Materialism suggests we are one substance that can be empirically examined.


Why is simplicity used in favour of materialism?

Materialists argue that consciousness being explained by material events in the brain is the simplest explanation.


What is Ockham’s razor ?

You should not multiply entities beyond necessity.


What is the metaphysics of consciousness?

I am aware of my thoughts, feelings, aches and pains in a unique way. While others may tell me what they are feeling or what is on their mind, I cannot know for certain that this is the case not know that their headache feels the same as mine.


What is Descartes first argument for substance dualism?



What is divisibility?

Descartes uses Leibniz law in his first argument for substance dualism, the body is divisible- it can be separated into parts. The mind is indivisible as it is not possible to split consciousness.


Why would some psychologists disagree with Descartes argument if divisibility?

Some psychologists would disagree with the argument of divisibility because when people suffer from personality disorders, they seem to experience a split in consciousness.


What is Descartes second argument for substance dualism?



What is Descartes argument of doubt ?

The cogito ergo sum shows that it is not possible to doubt the existence of the “I”, the thinking thing.


What is Richard Dawkins Soul One?

The traditional idea of a principle of life; a separate thing that contains our personality,the real person. This view is to be rejected.


What is Richard Dawkins Soul Two?

Defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘intellectual or spiritual power. High development of the mental faculties’. This is a meaningful way of speaking provided we are clear that this is not a separate thing from the brain.


What is materialism?

Materialism is the believe that the soul and body aren’t separate substances. Modern materialists believe that consciousness can be explained by physical or material interactions.


What does Plato believe is of more importance, the soul or the body.

Plato believes that the soul is more important than the body and that our bodies distract us from philosophical thought.


Where does Plato believe the body is part of?

Plato believes that the body is part of the empirical world and is therefore part of the cycle of change and can’t be relied upon to guide truth.


What does Plato think about the relationship between the body and the soul ?

The soul is trapped in the body, the relationship between body and soul is not a partnership, it is an imprisonment.


What are Plato’s arguments for dualism?

Plato argued that the soul is required to explain a priori knowledge. Our innate knowledge of other forms seems to suggest a soul that pre-exists in the body.


What examples does Bertrand Russell use to show Aristotle’s definition of a form being a property that is possessed by something else?

Football could not exist if there were no footballers likewise redness could not exist as a property if there were no red objects.


How did Descartes prove that it is possible to doubt everything but the ability to doubt ?

(1) - His senses have at times been unreliable, what if they are always unreliable?
(2) - It is often hard to do the difference between dreaming and being awake.
(3) - An evil demon-who has nothing better to do than deceive us about everything, could be in charge of the universe. This last point is hypothetically, it is just to proof how everything but the soul can be doubted.