Catholic. Formerly StarshipEnterprise
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If you count information and consciousness and our conversation here and the ideas we discuss as "physical", then you can count me in on your materialism.
Yes, it sounds like you'd fit my definition of materialist.
What's your definition of idealism?
Not sure idealism is really relevant here, idealism being the view that only ideas exist. [Edit: I should say idealism is the view than only ideas and minds exist] Its an uncommon position to take. Materialism should really be contrasted with dualism/hylomorphism. [Edit: really I should say materialism should be contrasted with (substance) dualism, as I go on to say hylomorphism is compatible with materialism.]
When it comes to human spirits, I hold to the hylomorphic view, which I suppose is not mutually exclusive with materialism. This view was formulated by Aristotle, who spoke of the matter and form of physical objects. A table is a table because it is made of some matter--such as wood or metal--in the form (shape) of a table. Aristotle further said of living beings that the soul is the form of the body. This lies in contrast to some dualists like Descartes, who said the mind was a different type of substance from the body that interacts with it. Aristotle's view is more in line with what we know about the brain being responsible for cognition.
Many materialists implicitly hold the hylomorphic view, as they have some idea of the soul. This is evident when they speak of transhumanism, and the idea of uploading their consciousness onto a computer. In this view, the soul/consciousness is the pattern of interactions of neurons in the brain, and if the same pattern of interactions can happen through transistors in a computer, the consciousness is preserved.
As a Christian, I believe the soul continues to exist after our death. This is somewhat analogous to our consciousness being uploaded, but instead of being on a computer it is preserved by God. However, the soul being the form of the body means that this disembodied soul is in some sense incomplete without its body. At the final resurrection, we will be given perfected bodies.
There also exist spirits who never had bodies, namely angels and demons. I think these can be said to be something more like what Descartes described as a mental substance. I hesitate to call God a disembodied spirit, as he is so much more. He is Being and Truth itself.
Edited to add: What is your opinion on embodiment/incarnation/having a body: when I am dreaming or falling asleep or in deep meditation, and I experience voices or visions, are these embodied spirits which happen to share a body with me? Or do they represent different parts of my own, embodied spirit? What are your thoughts?
There are several possibilities here. Our minds are complex, and a lot of thought happens on the subconscious level. These voices and visions likely come from your own mind, but it is also possible they come from other spirits, such as angels or demons. Possibly even from God.
What made you choose reverence for divinity over, say xenophobia as your moral compass? Both can be said to seem to be "intrinsic to human nature". There must be additional pluses on the side you chose. What are they?
I'm not sure there is much more to be said here, except that it can be empirically demonstrated that this is the way human minds operate. Reverence for divinity has been the central basis for human value systems that have withstood the test of time.