Friday, April 6, 2012

Ed Feser: "What is a soul"?

Philosopher Ed Feser has a characteristically lucid discussion of what the human "soul" means in the Aristotelian-Thomist tradition.

A beautiful example of common sense and deep insight. A palate-cleanser to materialist gibberish.  


  1. Michael,

    I've read Ed Feser's post. What gibberish. A whole thread and numerous comments on the 'soul', for which there isn't the slightest evidence and the definitions and nature of which are just made up.

    1. Bach:

      Care to explain? In what way is the A/T concept of the soul "gibberish"?

      What is your concept of the soul?

    2. "What is your concept of the soul?"

      The "soul" is a gibberish concept with no basis in reality that was invented by people to make themselves feel special.

      Feser's entire post is idiotic in the extreme.

    3. Wow. It looks like poor Dr. Feser is hopelessly outmatched. These counterattacks are philosophically devastating.

    4. Michael,

      I take the view that what is asserted without evidence can be rejected without evidence.

      There is no evidence that the soul (or angels, which Ed Feser's includes in his blogpost) exist, therefore it doesn't exist.

      The 'soul' might 'explain' your worldview, but it doesn't make it true.

      Similarly, I reject String Theory. When String Theorists manage to work it out and get some experimental verification, then I might accept it. Having a theory that 'explains' why gravity is so very much weaker than all the other forces isn't a point in its favor.

      In an earlier post, you refused to discuss the science of AGW on the grounds that you're not a climate scientist and I'm not a climate scientist.

      Well, you're not a philosopher or a theologian either, but that doesn't stop you posting on and debating philosophy and theology extensively.

      Similarly, lack of specialized knowledge hasn't stopped you posting on history, politics, economics, biology, neuroscience, astronomy, cosmology, etc etc etc.

    5. You seem obsessed with bizarre climate science arguments. Yet you can't even explain the lack of warming for the past 15 years despite rising CO2, or the existence of the medieval warm period (worldwide) or the fact that climate models have failed so miserably to predict current trends.

      I tend to avoid scientific arguments outside of my field, because there is a large body of empiric observations in any scientific discipline that non-experts have no real opportunity to master.

      My arguments against Darwinism, AGW, materialism, etc are primarily philosophical and logical. Those are fields in which non-experts can reasonably hold credible opinions.

      Besides, Darwinism, materialism, etc are so transparently nonsense that one no need expertise to see the logical flaws.

  2. Michael,

    Besides the fact that the Earth has warmed in the past 15 years and the Medieval Warm Period wasn't a global event (in some regions it was warmer, in some regions it was wetter) and no climate scientist insists that CO2 is the only factor driving climate (the Sun has been in a prolonged quiet period which would have been expected to cause global cooling, which it has, but only in the stratosphere, the troposphere continues to warm due to GHGs), you're not a philosopher or theologian, but are quite happy to post with wild abandon on these topics.

    Consistency isn't one of your strong points.

  3. My children have outgrown the fantasy of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. These fantasies added a bit of magic to their early years, and they look back on the ruse with happy memories. But they're old enough now that they no are no longer comfortable with the cognitive dissonance, and they are ready to face the real world and to appreciate the wonder that it brings.

    I wonder, Michael, how you're able to live with the cognitive dissonance as you promote Feser's nonsense of angels and ghosts. Do you fear reality because without your immaterial fantasies you have no framework for how to behave? Does the concept that we are tiny, insignificant specks of carbon in an unimaginably vast universe offend your sense of self-importance, so you must invent a story which puts you at the center of the universe? Or is it that reality simply holds no wonder for you, so you must dress it up with demons and djinni and saints and miracles? How terribly sad that would be - to have the power to investigate and understand parts of our wonderful universe, and to be unable to appreciate the knowledge without investing it with human-devised magic.

  4. RickK:

    [Michael, how you're able to live with the cognitive dissonance as you promote Feser's nonsense of angels and ghosts.]

    Feser makes Aquinas' case for the soul and for angels. It's a detailed, logical, elegant argument, based on the concept of Tree of Being. You wouldn't know anything about it. Sad.

    [Do you fear reality because without your immaterial fantasies you have no framework for how to behave?]

    I understand reality, in the sense that I understand that there exist things not considered in materialist superstition.

    You're the guy who thinks that everything came from nothing. Crazy.

  5. Funny stuff from the the materialist jesters.
    They, who assume all is matter and matter is all have the audacity to call ANYTHING childish.

    The Easter Bunny and Santa Clause are used for examples, when in fact even these children's tales hold more merit and have more history than their own 'scientific' beliefs.
    Yes that's right: I am suggesting a child who believes in Santa is more functional than an adult who's reason and imagination is so atrophied that they cannot conceive of anything beyond the material. You know who I mean. I mean positivists, 'new Atheists', and all other hard/eliminative materialists.
    How can this be? How could I assert such a thing?

    A child who believes in Santa is open minded, attentive to the legend, and at least accepting of other people's versions of it. Santa is not a lazy legend, it requires little girls and boys to be GOOD (for goodness sake, no less). Not efficient, effective, or genetically superior - just GOOD.
    A Santa believing child, for example, would not dogmatically attack a child who believes in a green clad Father Christmas, or an orange cloaked St Nick mocking him or his beliefs, especially on Christmas eve.
    Yet ADULT Atheists/Materialist on this very post do just that.
    They attack a Christian's post on the soul.
    This hypothetical child, rightfully, understands that he does not understand. He has a 'grasp' of an idea handed to him by his elders and refined by his reason.
    He could be wrong. He knows it.
    He is not utterly convinced. He may know Christmas is coming. He may know (hope) he gets presents. But he cannot be sure who or what 'Santa' REALLY is or how his actions are judged. Maybe he DOES wear Green in Europe? He only knows that this 'Santa' fellow is good, and the other child calls him something else.
    If only materialists could get THAT much; could reach THAT far intellectually... If they could only match that child's humility and introspective ability.
    If their minds were but 1/100th as open...
    Unfortunately they cannot. They possessed with an obsessive certainty.
    That open, free, and tolerant part of them is gone. Not grown, not changed. Just gone.
    Shrivelled and killed by the pains of life. Probably laughed at as it wasted away.
    Dead and gone, much like their inevitably poor relations with Mum and Dad, their many ex's, and eventually their kids.

    Like some ass following a carrot on a stick, they are slaves to a whole mythology of 'empiricism' and 'proof'. Poor bastards.
    They have forgotten TRUTH and MEANING.

    So what to do for an atheist/materialist at Easter?
    Well naught, but to troll some Christian doctor guy's blog at Easter time and attempt to poke fun at something they haven't a CLUE about.
    Something they have spent most of their life WILLING away: The Soul. That most important aspect of existence that is, at once, a man's purpose, design, and destiny.
    No sign of a counter. No attempt at pointing to other ideas of the soul as viewed by other faiths or philosophies, nor concepts of 'information' layers (as Paleyists are want to), nor any ideas existential gnostic 'created' being.
    Nothing at all except derision and detraction from people too small minded to imagine THEMSELVES - The very definition of 'gibberish'.

    Lost souls.

    I pray for them this Easter.

    1. Leave me out of your stupid prayers you condescending asshole.


    2. Now we're going to have to do all of those prayer redactions...

  6. KW--

    Your most recent outburst only serves to illustrate that atheists are far, far too emotionally affected by the "God Question" to have anything rationally compelling to say on the topic. Just about all of you are habitually reduced to insults and invective on a nearly immediate basis. Rather like women in a state of hysteria, actually. Plenty of heat, but no light.