Author Topic: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?  (Read 5260 times)

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Offline Volnutt

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Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« on: December 01, 2014, 12:29:12 AM »
From what I've seen of neuroscience and the philosophy of mind, it seems like the academic community has turned pretty hard against the idea that the mind/soul and the brain are in any way separate (or at least any way that independently exists, a la epiphenominalism).

There is a growing number of Protestants, especially aninihlationists, who are completely fine with this. I'm just wondering if there are accepted Orthodox writers who are of a similar bent?

Obviously, it would seem at first glance to cancel out the intercession of the Saints, since there can be no life after death without the body (so from our human perspective, Seventh Day Adventist-style "soul sleep" would essentially be true. The only "afterlife" would be when we all rise from the dead at the End of Days). It seems to me though, that we could still conceive of the Saints as "already" existing in the New Earth outside of time and "already" having their bodies back.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: December 01, 2014, 12:31:01 AM by Volnutt »
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Offline WPM

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2014, 12:34:25 AM »
In the traditional God vs Satan sense? ...
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2014, 12:59:25 AM »
That's only one definition of the word dualism. I'm talking about substance dualism. Is matter the only "stuff" in the universe or do other kinds of "stuff" exist?

This question does not really apply to God as God is outside the normal categories of "being/nonbeing."

So, the question is, "What is soul/spirit?"

My question narrows this down to only talking about humanity (instead of the question of what angels are made of). The Bible says that we have souls (if not souls as well as separate things called spirits) but what does this mean? Is soul simply a metaphor for some activity of the brain? And would this fit in or not with Orthodox ideas of the "nous" "dianonia" and "heart?"
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
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Offline yeshuaisiam

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2014, 01:02:46 AM »
From what I've seen of neuroscience and the philosophy of mind, it seems like the academic community has turned pretty hard against the idea that the mind/soul and the brain are in any way separate (or at least any way that independently exists, a la epiphenominalism).

There is a growing number of Protestants, especially aninihlationists, who are completely fine with this. I'm just wondering if there are accepted Orthodox writers who are of a similar bent?

Obviously, it would seem at first glance to cancel out the intercession of the Saints, since there can be no life after death without the body (so from our human perspective, Seventh Day Adventist-style "soul sleep" would essentially be true. The only "afterlife" would be when we all rise from the dead at the End of Days). It seems to me though, that we could still conceive of the Saints as "already" existing in the New Earth outside of time and "already" having their bodies back.

Thoughts?

2 Corinthians 11:3
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Sometimes I think it's best to let God's business be God's business.  Questions such as what souls do, when they rise, and exactly what the afterlife is like are impossible to really answer.   Any real answer is speculation and will always be speculation.

Any writer who would speculate what the soul is outside of their mind is simply imagining.  This is because they are using their mind to speculate that which is the soul which we have no idea how it works outside the mind itself.   It's like figuring out what it was like before you were born.

Sometimes I fear (and I am guilty) of going so complex and involved in theological issues - especially involving "what happens with souls and how do they function - along with dual natures of souls", can send us on a journey where we forget the simplicity in Jesus Christ.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2014, 01:10:46 AM »
From what I've seen of neuroscience and the philosophy of mind, it seems like the academic community has turned pretty hard against the idea that the mind/soul and the brain are in any way separate (or at least any way that independently exists, a la epiphenominalism).

There is a growing number of Protestants, especially aninihlationists, who are completely fine with this. I'm just wondering if there are accepted Orthodox writers who are of a similar bent?

Obviously, it would seem at first glance to cancel out the intercession of the Saints, since there can be no life after death without the body (so from our human perspective, Seventh Day Adventist-style "soul sleep" would essentially be true. The only "afterlife" would be when we all rise from the dead at the End of Days). It seems to me though, that we could still conceive of the Saints as "already" existing in the New Earth outside of time and "already" having their bodies back.

Thoughts?

2 Corinthians 11:3
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Sometimes I think it's best to let God's business be God's business.  Questions such as what souls do, when they rise, and exactly what the afterlife is like are impossible to really answer.   Any real answer is speculation and will always be speculation.

Any writer who would speculate what the soul is outside of their mind is simply imagining.  This is because they are using their mind to speculate that which is the soul which we have no idea how it works outside the mind itself.   It's like figuring out what it was like before you were born.

Sometimes I fear (and I am guilty) of going so complex and involved in theological issues - especially involving "what happens with souls and how do they function - along with dual natures of souls", can send us on a journey where we forget the simplicity in Jesus Christ.
This is very good advice, to be sure. But I think that the Christian default for so long has been a form of dualism and now science seems to have thrown out the concept. We need to determine whether dualism is really an article of faith and respond accordingly.
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
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Offline WPM

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2014, 01:25:06 AM »
That's only one definition of the word dualism. I'm talking about substance dualism. Is matter the only "stuff" in the universe or do other kinds of "stuff" exist?

This question does not really apply to God as God is outside the normal categories of "being/nonbeing."

So, the question is, "What is soul/spirit?"

My question narrows this down to only talking about humanity (instead of the question of what angels are made of). The Bible says that we have souls (if not souls as well as separate things called spirits) but what does this mean? Is soul simply a metaphor for some activity of the brain? And would this fit in or not with Orthodox ideas of the "nous" "dianonia" and "heart?"

I would guess that you're taking simplistic non-dual thought and making it complex. In how we generally think ~ There is not really any need to make complex subjects.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2014, 01:25:43 AM by WPM »
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2014, 01:52:38 AM »
Sorry, I don't follow.
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
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Offline Gunnarr

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2014, 01:52:51 AM »
The Orthodox response is plug ears and say oh well, the science is wrong!

(kidding)
« Last Edit: December 02, 2014, 01:53:18 AM by Gunnarr »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2014, 02:27:06 AM »
From what I've seen of neuroscience and the philosophy of mind, it seems like the academic community has turned pretty hard against the idea that the mind/soul and the brain are in any way separate ...

Succinct reporting, but then you go on to speak as tho this has got something to do with the Church?
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2014, 02:41:30 AM »
From what I've seen of neuroscience and the philosophy of mind, it seems like the academic community has turned pretty hard against the idea that the mind/soul and the brain are in any way separate ...

Succinct reporting, but then you go on to speak as tho this has got something to do with the Church?
If it's true, then what is a soul? Where are the Saints "right now?" Did Christ's humanity cease to exist for the three days in the Tomb?

And a related question that is slightly off-topic, How can the "Bodiless Powers" possibly exist?

Wouldn't these be important questions? At the very least it could be relevant to the abortion question. When does an infant gain its soul, at what point of brain development?
It's the double-edged sword of being lazy and being bored.- Reliant K

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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2014, 03:03:31 AM »
You can't really test for something like a Christian soul with any reliability, so this seems like a matter of philosophy (and I would add that a number of books have been published complaining about how sensationalized and oversimplified to the point of absurdity "neuroscience" is by the time it gets to the public, especially if you are relying on people with a specific philosophical agenda they are trying to promote, such as Sam Harris). Neuroscience, like genetics, seems to have huge potential... but both fields are still in their terrible twos stage.

Christianity teaches that in a natural state the soul (with the spirit perhaps being part of the soul) and the earthly body are united, and thus their separation is unnatural and temporary. However, all created things (angels, souls) have some kind of substance, so there aren't any kind of "pure spirit" created things out there; only God is, they say, pure spirit, immaterial, uncreated, not formed of compounded parts, etc. This is not to say that 'substance' is the same as bodily-type matter here, though they usually didn't speculate as to what this meant (or in some cases they outright spoke against speculation on the point). The difference was thought of as so great between body and soul that, in normal and even common theological talk, it was standard to speak of the soul as immaterial, incorporeal, spiritual, etc. On questions like you are asking, however, the more nuanced point of view (as for example mentioned by St. John of Damascus) might be helpful, but only insofar as providing a (middle way) alternative perspective between the two positions of a sharp distinction between body and soul on one side, and the elimination of the soul on the other.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2014, 03:07:09 AM by Justin Kissel »

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2014, 03:11:08 AM »
You can't really test for something like a Christian soul with any reliability, so this seems like a matter of philosophy (and I would add that a number of books have been published complaining about how sensationalized and oversimplified to the point of absurdity "neuroscience" is by the time it gets to the public, especially if you are relying on people with a specific philosophical agenda they are trying to promote, such as Sam Harris).
I guess I was relying too much on my Philosophy of Mind course. It was upper division, but my teacher was definitely biased.
Christianity teaches that in a natural state the soul (with the spirit perhaps being part of the soul) and the earthly body are united, and thus their separation is unnatural and temporary. However, all created things (angels, souls) have some kind of substance, so there aren't any kind of "pure spirit" created things out there; only God is, they say, pure spirit, immaterial, uncreated, not formed of compounded parts, etc. This is not to say that 'substance' is the same as bodily-type matter here, though they usually didn't speculate as to what this meant (or in some cases they outright spoke against speculation on the point). The difference was thought of as so great between body and soul that, in normal and even common theological talk, it was standard to speak of the soul as immaterial, incorporeal, spiritual, etc. On questions like you are asking, however, the more nuanced point of view (as for example mentioned by St. John of Damascus) might be helpful, but only insofar as providing a (middle way) alternative perspective between the two positions of a sharp distinction between body and soul on one side, and the elimination of the soul on the other.
Oh, I did not know that. I guess I was assuming the Orthodox view was derived entirely from Platonism.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2014, 03:11:22 AM by Volnutt »
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2014, 03:15:45 AM »
From what I've seen of neuroscience and the philosophy of mind, it seems like the academic community has turned pretty hard against the idea that the mind/soul and the brain are in any way separate ...

Succinct reporting, but then you go on to speak as tho this has got something to do with the Church?
If it's true, then what is a soul? Where are the Saints "right now?" Did Christ's humanity cease to exist for the three days in the Tomb?

And a related question that is slightly off-topic, How can the "Bodiless Powers" possibly exist?

Wouldn't these be important questions? At the very least it could be relevant to the abortion question. When does an infant gain its soul, at what point of brain development?

A soul is what the Church says it is. The saints are where the Church says they are. The Christ's humanity is wholly intact. The bodiless powers are in their ranks in heaven. What in God's name has some babble in the neuroscience journals got to do with any of this? Is it really news to you that God and the god of this world will disagree?
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2014, 03:18:55 AM »
You think science is of the devil?
« Last Edit: December 02, 2014, 03:19:53 AM by Volnutt »
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
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Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2014, 03:19:21 AM »
Have you looked at The Soul Hypothesis? It's a collection of essays by reputable philosophers and scientists about the compatibility of the soul with our scientific knowledge. I don't think any of it proves the existence of a soul or mind distinct from the body, but it shows, I think, that science has not disproven their existence.

The most philosophy I know about this subject is what I read in an article by Charles Taliaferro: we know that mental states supervene on brain states (as observed in fMRI scans etc), but we can't show how the brain states cause the mental states. We can surmise that mental states and subjective experiences in general have no substance or reality, that they are just neurological states and events, but that raises philosophical problems: qualia and all that.

Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2014, 03:19:54 AM »
You think science is of the devil?

Some people take their penitential's injunction not to read the works of heretics a little too literally.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2014, 03:20:46 AM »
Have you looked at The Soul Hypothesis? It's a collection of essays by reputable philosophers and scientists about the compatibility of the soul with our scientific knowledge. I don't think any of it proves the existence of a soul or mind distinct from the body, but it shows, I think, that science has not disproven their existence.

The most philosophy I know about this subject is what I read in an article by Charles Taliaferro: we know that mental states supervene on brain states (as observed in fMRI scans etc), but we can't show how the brain states cause the mental states. We can surmise that mental states and subjective experiences in general have no substance or reality, that they are just neurological states and events, but that raises philosophical problems: qualia and all that.
I haven't. I'll check it out. Thanks.
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2014, 03:25:05 AM »
Oh, I did not know that. I guess I was assuming the Orthodox view was derived entirely from Platonism.

If I may say so, I notice you keep saying on this forum that Plato was a "dualist." Someone else was saying that he hated the body and physical things. There's nothing like this in Plato, whose philosophy was humanistic and holistic. Perhaps the Neo-platonists -- most of whom were rather ignorant, really, and whose purpose was to erect a religion to rival Judaism and Christianity ("the school of Moses and Jesus") -- attributed some smack of this to him, I don't know. Or perhaps the fad in the seminaries to Hebraize understandings of "primitive" Christianity and to exaggerate a contradiction with Greek thought is affecting you. At any rate, beware reading too much criticism of a source without reading the source.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2014, 03:35:43 AM »
Oh, I did not know that. I guess I was assuming the Orthodox view was derived entirely from Platonism.

If I may say so, I notice you keep saying on this forum that Plato was a "dualist." Someone else was saying that he hated the body and physical things. There's nothing like this in Plato, whose philosophy was humanistic and holistic. Perhaps the Neo-platonists -- most of whom were rather ignorant, really, and whose purpose was to erect a religion to rival Judaism and Christianity ("the school of Moses and Jesus") -- attributed some smack of this to him, I don't know. Or perhaps the fad in the seminaries to Hebraize understandings of "primitive" Christianity and to exaggerate a contradiction with Greek thought is affecting you. At any rate, beware reading too much criticism of a source without reading the source.
I have read The Republic. He sure was down on the body and on sex (that line about how a philosopher must live as though he did not need food and drink to survive, he must treat his wife with indifference, the hatred of mimetic art)- without the theological reasons of Judeo-Christian ascetics. Also, the Allegory of the Cave could be seen as a rejection of the the material.

Maybe this would be clearer if I read The Symposium?
« Last Edit: December 02, 2014, 03:35:59 AM by Volnutt »
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2014, 03:47:15 AM »
You can't really test for something like a Christian soul with any reliability, so this seems like a matter of philosophy (and I would add that a number of books have been published complaining about how sensationalized and oversimplified to the point of absurdity "neuroscience" is by the time it gets to the public, especially if you are relying on people with a specific philosophical agenda they are trying to promote, such as Sam Harris). Neuroscience, like genetics, seems to have huge potential... but both fields are still in their terrible twos stage.

Christianity teaches that in a natural state the soul (with the spirit perhaps being part of the soul) and the earthly body are united, and thus their separation is unnatural and temporary. However, all created things (angels, souls) have some kind of substance, so there aren't any kind of "pure spirit" created things out there; only God is, they say, pure spirit, immaterial, uncreated, not formed of compounded parts, etc. This is not to say that 'substance' is the same as bodily-type matter here, though they usually didn't speculate as to what this meant (or in some cases they outright spoke against speculation on the point). The difference was thought of as so great between body and soul that, in normal and even common theological talk, it was standard to speak of the soul as immaterial, incorporeal, spiritual, etc. On questions like you are asking, however, the more nuanced point of view (as for example mentioned by St. John of Damascus) might be helpful, but only insofar as providing a (middle way) alternative perspective between the two positions of a sharp distinction between body and soul on one side, and the elimination of the soul on the other.

If I were a skeptical scientist, I think I'd ask this:

How do you know the soul even exists as an entity distinct from the body, including the brain?

If it exists, how do you know it can be separate from the body, albeit temporarily?

These seem to be reasonable questions to ask. Conceding that the soul's existence can't be tested for is probably wise. I'd fall back on the unobservability of subjective experience, even as said experience is known to be real by the experiencer. Perhaps the modal argument a la Plantinga if you're feeling brave. We should also note that we can't demonstrate how the body causes the mind, or that the causal relationship is even always in that direction. Once the soul/mind's separate existence is acknowledged, the temporary separation of soul from body can be entertained as a logical possibility. Since it clearly does not exist on the material plain, there's no reason to suppose it would be bound to that plain, and if we don't know that the body causes the mind we can't say the mind would suffer destruction along with the body after death.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2014, 04:04:15 AM »
I have read The Republic. He sure was down on the body and on sex (that line about how a philosopher must live as though he did not need food and drink to survive, he must treat his wife with indifference, the hatred of mimetic art)- without the theological reasons of Judeo-Christian ascetics. Also, the Allegory of the Cave could be seen as a rejection of the the material.

Maybe this would be clearer if I read The Symposium?

"That line"? The Republic is a search for the happiness of mankind, much as the Church would undertake several hundred years later. As for the Cave, and related material, the discernment of the Forms is not a denial of substance but an illumination of what substance -- and essence and God and everything else -- is. You can't take a line or two and overthrow an oeuvre of thousands of lines written over decades. Plato is full of concern for the health and happiness of mankind -- that is his main concern -- and in fact the medical science was his oftenest-invoked analog to philosophy.

Of course, if you think there is nothing but what some present-day researcher can poke or measure, then you will find any discussion of Forms or souls or askesis (or God) intolerably extraneous.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2014, 04:06:47 AM »
If I were a skeptical scientist, I think I'd ask this:

How do you know the soul even exists as an entity distinct from the body, including the brain?

If it exists, how do you know it can be separate from the body, albeit temporarily?

These seem to be reasonable questions to ask. Conceding that the soul's existence can't be tested for is probably wise. I'd fall back on the unobservability of subjective experience, even as said experience is known to be real by the experiencer. Perhaps the modal argument a la Plantinga if you're feeling brave. We should also note that we can't demonstrate how the body causes the mind, or that the causal relationship is even always in that direction. Once the soul/mind's separate existence is acknowledged, the temporary separation of soul from body can be entertained as a logical possibility. Since it clearly does not exist on the material plain, there's no reason to suppose it would be bound to that plain, and if we don't know that the body causes the mind we can't say the mind would suffer destruction along with the body after death.

To be skeptical is not to be reasonable. To be skeptical is to break apart and break down and deny. To reason should be to accept and compare and imagine. Because our own age's collective mind is atrophied enough to be able to undertake only the former should not make it a standard (or matter for pride).
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2014, 04:24:55 AM »
If I were a skeptical scientist, I think I'd ask this:

How do you know the soul even exists as an entity distinct from the body, including the brain?

If it exists, how do you know it can be separate from the body, albeit temporarily?

These seem to be reasonable questions to ask. Conceding that the soul's existence can't be tested for is probably wise. I'd fall back on the unobservability of subjective experience, even as said experience is known to be real by the experiencer. Perhaps the modal argument a la Plantinga if you're feeling brave. We should also note that we can't demonstrate how the body causes the mind, or that the causal relationship is even always in that direction. Once the soul/mind's separate existence is acknowledged, the temporary separation of soul from body can be entertained as a logical possibility. Since it clearly does not exist on the material plain, there's no reason to suppose it would be bound to that plain, and if we don't know that the body causes the mind we can't say the mind would suffer destruction along with the body after death.

To be skeptical is not to be reasonable. To be skeptical is to break apart and break down and deny. To reason should be to accept and compare and imagine. Because our own age's collective mind is atrophied enough to be able to undertake only the former should not make it a standard (or matter for pride).
Doubting something is the only way to actually ask a question about it.
It's the double-edged sword of being lazy and being bored.- Reliant K

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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2014, 04:25:59 AM »
I have read The Republic. He sure was down on the body and on sex (that line about how a philosopher must live as though he did not need food and drink to survive, he must treat his wife with indifference, the hatred of mimetic art)- without the theological reasons of Judeo-Christian ascetics. Also, the Allegory of the Cave could be seen as a rejection of the the material.

Maybe this would be clearer if I read The Symposium?

"That line"? The Republic is a search for the happiness of mankind, much as the Church would undertake several hundred years later. As for the Cave, and related material, the discernment of the Forms is not a denial of substance but an illumination of what substance -- and essence and God and everything else -- is. You can't take a line or two and overthrow an oeuvre of thousands of lines written over decades. Plato is full of concern for the health and happiness of mankind -- that is his main concern -- and in fact the medical science was his oftenest-invoked analog to philosophy.

Of course, if you think there is nothing but what some present-day researcher can poke or measure, then you will find any discussion of Forms or souls or askesis (or God) intolerably extraneous.
Ok, I'll take your word for it. I need to read more of his stuff.
It's the double-edged sword of being lazy and being bored.- Reliant K

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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2014, 04:27:04 AM »
If I were a skeptical scientist, I think I'd ask this:

How do you know the soul even exists as an entity distinct from the body, including the brain?

If it exists, how do you know it can be separate from the body, albeit temporarily?

These seem to be reasonable questions to ask. Conceding that the soul's existence can't be tested for is probably wise. I'd fall back on the unobservability of subjective experience, even as said experience is known to be real by the experiencer. Perhaps the modal argument a la Plantinga if you're feeling brave. We should also note that we can't demonstrate how the body causes the mind, or that the causal relationship is even always in that direction. Once the soul/mind's separate existence is acknowledged, the temporary separation of soul from body can be entertained as a logical possibility. Since it clearly does not exist on the material plain, there's no reason to suppose it would be bound to that plain, and if we don't know that the body causes the mind we can't say the mind would suffer destruction along with the body after death.

To be skeptical is not to be reasonable. To be skeptical is to break apart and break down and deny. To reason should be to accept and compare and imagine. Because our own age's collective mind is atrophied enough to be able to undertake only the former should not make it a standard (or matter for pride).

If only it were so self-evident to my contemporaries. I suppose you've never gone through a skeptical phase? A skeptic says that one shouldn't accept truth claims without investigation. Like that character in Sartre, it was my skepticism that led me to doubt the claims of atheists. But it's a double-edged sword and leads people to question claims of the Church. I know, it's horrible that anyone should even entertain the idea that what the Church teaches is not true, but the fact is, they do, and if you want to persuade them you need to entertain their claims and try to see things from their point of view. If you don't want to do that, there's no point in you continuing the conversation.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2014, 05:09:21 AM »
Doubting something is the only way to actually ask a question about it.

How can you think this? I weep for our age. Can't you imagine at least the question, "Tell me more?"
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2014, 05:27:34 AM »
... A skeptic says that one shouldn't accept truth claims without investigation. ...

Modern schools of thought aren't shy about casting themselves in the most flattering molds. In truth, the school of skepticism is hardly so ingenuous. It is an etching acid, a barb that can only pierce and not be retracted, a knife that cuts over and over, a tool that cannot mend; infecund, uncreative, a contempt for God and men.

Quote
I know, it's horrible that anyone should even entertain the idea that what the Church teaches is not true, but the fact is, they do, and if you want to persuade them you need to entertain their claims and try to see things from their point of view. If you don't want to do that, there's no point in you continuing the conversation.

The age, the machinery of the Evil One, these compel us to question God and the Church. We as individual cogs know not what we do. The purpose of "continuing the conversation" to which you're disinviting me, if I do not want to join in the laceration of the forebears of mankind and the grinding of God into an infinitely-fine grit (yes, I continue describing skepticism and analytical thought), is to inject into that conversation a reminder of a Father who births all truth and loves all souls, a reminder of a Rescuer who can preserve us, a Spirit that can "teach us all things." An invitation to sanity and wholeness and love, which are the only real apposites to skepticism and doubt and destruction.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #27 on: December 02, 2014, 05:34:16 AM »
Doubting something is the only way to actually ask a question about it.

How can you think this? I weep for our age. Can't you imagine at least the question, "Tell me more?"
I sure can. Gaining information is the key to making correct determinations. You seem to be one who's afraid of actually thinking and won't even glance twice at something that wasn't said by either a priest or a guy in a toga.
It's the double-edged sword of being lazy and being bored.- Reliant K

Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2014, 08:27:32 AM »
I have read The Republic. He sure was down on the body and on sex (that line about how a philosopher must live as though he did not need food and drink to survive, he must treat his wife with indifference, the hatred of mimetic art)- without the theological reasons of Judeo-Christian ascetics. Also, the Allegory of the Cave could be seen as a rejection of the the material.

Maybe this would be clearer if I read The Symposium?

"That line"? The Republic is a search for the happiness of mankind, much as the Church would undertake several hundred years later. As for the Cave, and related material, the discernment of the Forms is not a denial of substance but an illumination of what substance -- and essence and God and everything else -- is. You can't take a line or two and overthrow an oeuvre of thousands of lines written over decades. Plato is full of concern for the health and happiness of mankind -- that is his main concern -- and in fact the medical science was his oftenest-invoked analog to philosophy.

Of course, if you think there is nothing but what some present-day researcher can poke or measure, then you will find any discussion of Forms or souls or askesis (or God) intolerably extraneous.
Ok, I'll take your word for it. I need to read more of his stuff.

Plato is very much one for thought experiments more than simply laying down planks of belief, and The Republic is a major example of that. Taking these experiments as doctrinal statements can be hazardous to your health.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2014, 09:08:05 AM »
Noted
It's the double-edged sword of being lazy and being bored.- Reliant K

Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2014, 01:57:14 PM »
Modern schools of thought aren't shy about casting themselves in the most flattering molds. In truth, the school of skepticism is hardly so ingenuous. It is an etching acid, a barb that can only pierce and not be retracted, a knife that cuts over and over, a tool that cannot mend; infecund, uncreative, a contempt for God and men.

Skepticism is a tool. People can use this tool for its purpose--cut away, dismantle, and destroy that which is toxic--and then move on to one of the other hundred tools in the toolbox. But perhaps you were unaware that you can use more than one tool? I shouldn't assume...

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #31 on: December 02, 2014, 01:59:28 PM »
Modern schools of thought aren't shy about casting themselves in the most flattering molds. In truth, the school of skepticism is hardly so ingenuous. It is an etching acid, a barb that can only pierce and not be retracted, a knife that cuts over and over, a tool that cannot mend; infecund, uncreative, a contempt for God and men.

Skepticism is a tool. People can use this tool for its purpose--cut away, dismantle, and destroy that which is toxic--and then move on to one of the other hundred tools in the toolbox. But perhaps you were unaware that you can use more than one tool? I shouldn't assume...
If you expect to be taken seriously, Justin, you need to use words like infecund.  :P
God bless!

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Does Orthodoxy require anthropological dualism?
« Reply #32 on: December 02, 2014, 02:41:28 PM »
Modern schools of thought aren't shy about casting themselves in the most flattering molds. In truth, the school of skepticism is hardly so ingenuous. It is an etching acid, a barb that can only pierce and not be retracted, a knife that cuts over and over, a tool that cannot mend; infecund, uncreative, a contempt for God and men.

Skepticism is a tool. People can use this tool for its purpose--cut away, dismantle, and destroy that which is toxic--and then move on to one of the other hundred tools in the toolbox.
You'rea Luigi! Number 1!
It's the double-edged sword of being lazy and being bored.- Reliant K

Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things