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So, this is what I mean by problem of unconsciousness - temporary loss of consciousness and permanent loss of memory. One possible dance out of this problem, if reader have not already guessed, is to say that since body-brain is equipment of soul, it should only be expected that its operations would be affected when part of equipment is damaged. That sounds plausible, but not exactly coherent. For one thing, if consciousness and memory were on side of soul as claimed, it is incoherent to think that a soul would lose its consciousness and memory simply because part of its equipment is down. As a matter of fact, if this type of reasoning were allowed, it would be equivalent to admitting that consciousness and memory are partially dependent on body-brain, if not totally carried by it. That would render soul theory very confusing indeed. It should thus be seen that unless this problem is also coherently explained, this traditional belief in detachability of soul from body is about to graduate from kinder garden of empirical experience.
The crux of problem is this. If consciousness and memory were indeed on side of soul as presumed, it should follow that temporary unconsciousness and permanent loss of memory for anyone under any bodily circumstance should not have occurred. The fact that these do occur should be sufficient to show that belief in persistence of persons as souls in a spiritual hereafter is not really intelligible for what it is about. More to point, what this means is that it is more straightforward and probable to believe that consciousness and memory are feats of body-brains. It also means that a human person should not have been construed as composite of a body and a soul, much less that consciousness and memory could actually be carried forward by soul into a spiritual realm.
But why, you may wonder, are there still so many soul-believers around? Let me submit that main reasons are two. One is our human desire for a more pleasant time in a personal hereafter. The other is that it is not easy to explain how consciousness, memory, and thought could possibly have arisen from body-brains or any of their material constituents. How is it possible for a mere material thing such as brain with texture not too unlike bean curd and ice cream, to become conscious, remember and think? This is a question that has refused to go away. And if I may say so, this is also reason why belief in spiritual souls has managed to keep its creditors at bay and thus prevented from total bankruptcy for so long. As a matter of fact, question is so sticky that modern philosophy had eventually also decided to give it a name. It is usually referred to timidly as mind-body problem. I said ‘timidly’ because no philosopher then would want to step too explicitly on soul’s toes.
======================================== The neighbour of truth is always less comfortable that familiar circle of falsehood –PMKChan. http://www.geocities.com/philosophyofreligion_pmkchan/index.html http://www.geocities.com/themysteryofmind ========================================
Author of two books copyrighted and published in the United States: Soul, God, and Morality (published 2004) The Mystery of Mind (published 2003)