Followers

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cognitive Materialism: Gedanken Experiments




While the existence of a soul is intuitively very unlikely considering modern psychology and neuroscience, there are several theoretical experiments that could be utilized to further disprove the existence of a soul:

  1. Using incredibly advanced biotechnology, amputate parts of a subject gradually and replace them with synthetic organs. Allow the patient to remain conscious and communicating (obviously under heavy anesthesia). As sections of the brain are removed, locations of personality, decision making, and consciousness will be pinpointed (along with various other regions; a rigorous protocol would glean much from this experiment).
  2. Clone a human being using conventional cloning techniques. Rear that human being in precisely the same environment as its twin. Similarity between the two will correlate very highly with similarity in environment and nurture, in every aspect (personality, decision making, behavior, etc.). Nature (genetic makeup) is kept constant while nurture is varied. If nature and nurture are identical and an identical person is produced, whence the soul?
  3. Perform a brain transplant, and question the subjects on self-identity. Admittedly, this could be interpreted merely as the brain being the vessel for the soul.
  4. Simply imagine that humans are material objects. In the future, it is conceivable that we will have the power to expertly craft identical material objects. We already understand the flow of chemical, electrical, and mechanical energy throughout the body, so we could effectively engineer an android that is indistinguishable from a natural human being. If this works, it will be evident that a soul is a superfluous notion. This is similar to item #1.

27 comments:

  1. Very interesting stuff. Good read!

    ReplyDelete
  2. From what I know, if you look into the japanese philosophy, they believe that everything has a soul (including stones and robots). So the tests are only capable of proving some of us wrong. And it also begs the question, how a soul finds it owner and how it becomes part of somebody.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Throw 2 and 3 out right away.

    2 could never be done correctly or to the experiments qualifications. That is to say it would be incredibly hard to haver the two experience the same life.
    3 If in an argument already creates a flaw in itself without a corresponding rebuttal it is inherently a weak argument.

    4 Watch ghost in the shell, no really. This is exactly what the movies and show were about. They seem to conclude that any sentient being up to a humans standard bares a soul, to which it then laments over the fabric of the soul.

    1 This process seems highly complicated, especially when considering activities, thoughts, etc, work with multiple areas of the brain at once. This idea actually seems to bond more with 3 than 4, to me at least.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This reminds me of that movie Repo Men, pretty cool concept

    ReplyDelete
  5. Pretty interesting. I personally disagree, but I wont throw a bunch of religious junk at you, lol

    ReplyDelete
  6. shut up youuuu

    i have a soul dammit!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your points are all well and good but you may want to define what a soul is first. Different schools of philosophy have different definitions of what a soul is.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What about the fact that people's characters change if they go through a physical trauma? That's got nothing to do with a soul...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Seems a bit extreme lol. Do people who aren't religious still believe in a soul?

    Good read though, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I thought the word 'soul' was religious in origin, whereas a lot of us refer to that intangible as 'our core' or 'being'; the sum product of our DNA and environmental upbringing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. TL;DR: A soul is a superfluous notion.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I always wondered this. I think the first step is to disprove the existence of "ghosts."

    ReplyDelete
  13. It's too sad to think about. Can't you just let people be ignorant?!

    ReplyDelete
  14. i post alot of philosophy like this. thats great, thanks for the read:)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Fantastic read, it wont be long before cloning becomes more common.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I absolutely love your philosophical posts. Please don't stop! <3

    ReplyDelete
  17. if thats waht the futures gonna look like im scared

    ReplyDelete
  18. I remember learning about this in high school. Thanks for the nostalgia

    ReplyDelete
  19. While those experiments perhaps would test and explain a "soul", is it really necessary? I find that not everything needs to be scientifically proven, especially at the detriment of human beings.

    ReplyDelete
  20. very interesting, cant wait for more :D

    ReplyDelete
  21. It's very interesting indeed. There are some things in this world that we many never come to fully understand.

    Maybe one day.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hey , very good post my friend.
    Keep posting i'll follow you

    ReplyDelete