bag of bones

If I am just a bag of bones, a sack of meat and blood, then what are my thoughts, feelings, memories? Where do they come from? And where do they reside?

[This is not a path which no-one has boldly trod before: many have, eg Descartes to name just one. These are well-trodden paths, to date all leading nowhere.]

What then, is belief? Knowledge? Planning? Goal-seeking? Visualisation? And where do they all reside?

[Ah, the frailty of telos--grasp it gently, for it shatters easily, crumbling to dust, which then crumbles to nothingness in a (to date unobserved) process called proton decay.]

To grant the existence of a non-material thing and/or a non-material domain is to tread a very slippery slope. Once you start you can’t stop. Once you admit the possibility that a non-material thing exists, you are forced to consider, grudgingly or otherwise, the possibility that other non-material things exist. The possibility, for instance, of the truth or partial truth of such things as souls, ghosts, 'psychic powers', and even---dare I utter the Word---God.

[But let's move away from a discussion involving the name or concept of God. It's too sensitive, too controversial, it prevents people from thinking clearly. We'll talk about this in great detail somewhen else.]

But for now let's just settle for the grudging admittance that non-material things exist, and that they can and do impact upon, influence or affect material things in material realities. For example, a recipe in the mind of a chef can result in a delicious material meal in a material world (no Madonna jokes please) in a material restaurant, yet recipes and minds are non-material. In one sense, the recipe can be said to be the cause of the meal. The recipe is the efficient cause and/or possibly the formal cause of the meal, to use Aristotle’s classification.

Now, all of the above is by no means proof or even strong argument that non-material things exist. The above simply clarifies an important principle re discussions between materialists and idealists. The principle is that if you admit the possibility that a particular member of a set has a particular attribute (eg existence) then you must at least consider the possibility that all of the other members of that set have the same attribute.


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Anonymous said...

rather strange if you ask me