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Monday, September 11, 2017

Most of us believe in dualism

Just read an article at America Magazine ... Who's afraid of transhumanism? (We all should be). What this is all about for some Catholics is how the body and mind/soul go together .... it's all about dualism and has its roots in the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, with guys like JD Crossan and Keith Ward weighing in on it. This probably sounds boring, but really the subject is so essentially cool that it's a theme even in science fiction (think Avatar) because it asks an important question .... who is the real me (my mind, my body, my soul, a combo of these)?

I had a couple of posts about this in the past ... 'm a dualist ... and ... We have no souls :)

Catholics like the guy who wrote the America Magazine article believe that people have no right to make any changes to their bodies to improve them (transhumanism) because God made each of our particular bodies just the way he wanted them to be for us and we don't have the right to make updates (a sort of Aristotelian/Aquinas anti-dualist point of view). I think that's wrong - I'm more of a dualist who thinks the real me is my mind/soul (Platonism) and that I can change my body while still retaining the real me, and I believe most people would agree with me. One of those people is Keith Ward. Here's his past lecture Superhumans? - Interfering with nature ...


Superhumans? Interfering with Nature - Professor Keith Ward from Gresham College on Vimeo.


3 Comments:

Blogger Jana said...

Thank you for this very interesting post and video.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Steve Hampton said...

Duelists have nowhere to feel at home. But if I stand upon the earth as a being of Body Soul and Spirit, a trinity; then as a soul ( thinking-feeling-doing) I am responsible to and for the Earth (body) and the Heavens (spirit). Being so bereft of deep perception, we seen to so often conflate mind and self and soul and spirit.
We are truly the children of Earth and Sky.
Without the body we live in illusion.
Without the spirit we despair.
As souls we are Human.
Thanks for the perspective.

5:16 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Steve :)

I don't know if this is a Christian thing in general or just a Catholic thing, but some Catholics, like the guy who wrote the article in America magazine, believe that God made the bodies of each one of us exactly as we are on purpose and that nothing should be changed. They believe that the desire to eradicate suffering and genetic diseases and and to lengthen life is messing with God's plan. They don't consider that all life here is constantly mutating, that the way we are now has more to do with survival traits than God's aesthetic preferences.

The article 'says' ... "Why would we want to abolish aging and dying, essential constituents of the human drama, the fountainhead of our art and literature? Can there be love and creativity without anguish? "

I think this is romanticized bullshit. Some Catholics believe suffering is a gift from God and that we can only grow and create if we're suffering, if we're constantly haunted death and the frailty of our mortal lives (memento mori). They *have* to believe this because if they don't then they can't get out of asking that big question of why allows so much suffering here.

But anyway, I think most of us are dualists because most of us identify ourselves mostly with our minds/souls. It's not that we don't need bodies, but if our bodies changed, most of us would still consider ourselves to still be ourselves. The same usually can't be said if our minds/souls were radically changed.

7:29 PM  

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