New collection of essays published to defend mind-body dualism

Here’s the new book on J.P. Moreland’s web site.

Full text:

In the Soul Hypothesis: Investigations into the Existence of the Soul (Continuum), co-editors Mark C. Baker and Stewart Goetz have assembled an impressive interdisciplinary team of scholars to address questions about the existence and nature of the soul.

“The Soul of the Matter” – Charles Taliaferro
“Minds, Brains and Brains in Vats” – Daniel N. Robinson
“Brains and Souls; Grammar and Speaking” – Mark Baker
“Making Things Happen: Souls in Action” – Stewart Goetz
“Energy of the Soul” – Robin Collins
“The Measure of All Things: Quantum Mechanics and the Soul” – Dean Zimmerman
“From Seeing to Seer” – Hans Halvorson
“Souls Beastly and Human” – William Hasker
“A Scientific Case for the Soul” – Robin Collins

You can preview the book here.

The book is unique is combining philosophical and scientific arguments for dualism, and the result is a rigorous, exciting, persuasive presentation of the issues and a stimulating challenge to so much of the reductionism that reigns in the sciences. As was noted in a recent review of the book in the WSJ,

Sooner or later, the contributors to “The Soul Hypothesis” warn, scientists will pinpoint the exact three neurons whose firing accompanies the thought of our deciding to make a phone call or, if you prefer, deciding to get up and get a beer from the refrigerator. As ever more such micro-couplings are observed, we will—so scientists tell us with unseemly glee— gradually come to see that our cherished conscious life is nothing but a long series of electrical impulses, not an autonomous realm of free will and free thought. Co-editor Mark C. Baker cites the psychologist Steven Pinker, who finds it plausible to say that neural “activity in the brain” simply “is the mind.”

The book’s contributors set out this scientific challenge fully and engagingly, but they also expose its fallacies. They note, for instance, that even if two things differ in their essential nature, as do mental thoughts and physical actions—or legislatures and laws—there is no reason why the one can’t cause the other. As David Hume argued, what establishes our idea of cause and effect is the regular “conjunction” of two events. That a physical act regularly follows a mental decision suggests, as co-editor Stewart Goetz writes, that the one is “causing” the other and that voluntary human action exists.

The Soul Hypothesis is an excellent text that is sure to provoke a vigorous dialog about its content. I highly recommend it.

I really would like to be able to use this argument more – I just need a good book. I’m a big admirer of Charles Taliaferro. I even met him once at a conference!

One thought on “New collection of essays published to defend mind-body dualism”

  1. “..need[ed] a good book.” and this is the one you think Wintery? seems very good indeed.

    Charles Taliaferro reviewed Ed Feser’s ‘The Philosophy of Mind’ which goes into “the clear and distinct ideas argument (these days often called the conceivability argument or the modal argument), and the indivisibility argument (which is related to what is often called the unity of consciousness argument)in detail. The first argument holds that since – the argument claims – it is metaphysically possible for mind to exist apart from anything material, it cannot be material. The second holds that the mind has a kind of unity or indivisibility-in-principle that nothing material can have. (Variations on this basic idea were also defended by the likes of Leibniz and Kant.)”

    If its just realism w.r.t universals then living things need an organising principle (form) too – an anima (Greek) soul (Latin). Aristotle’s De Anima, therefore Aquinas any Aristotelian Thomist like Ed Feser or David Oderberg would explain why it is only because the intellect is immaterial that it can take in and make connections with real external objects that contain immaterial universals. As Aristotle said “the soul is all things”.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s