William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Summary Against Modern Thought: Our Intellects Are Not Material

This may be proved in three ways. The first...

This may be proved in three ways. The first…

See the first post in this series for an explanation and guide of our tour of Summa Contra Gentiles. All posts are under the category SAMT.

Previous post.

Our intellects are not material, i.e not bodies. The proof of this is this week. The enormous consequences of this amazing fact have to wait until later.

Chapter 49 The the intellectual substance is not a body(alternate translation)

1 FROM the foregoing it is shown that no intellectual substance is a body.

2 For no body is found to contain anything except by quantitative commensuration: wherefore also if a thing contain a whole thing in the whole of itself, each part will contain a part, the greater part a greater part, and the lesser part a lesser part. But an intellect does not contain a thing understood by quantitative commensuration: because by its whole self it understands and comprehends both whole and part, things both great and small in quantity. Therefore no intelligent substance is a body.

Notes You can’t chop your intellect into pieces. Your arms, legs, nerves, and, yes, your brain, but not your intellect.

3 Moreover. No body can receive the substantial form of another body, unless it lose its own form by corruption. But an intellect is not corrupted, but rather is it perfected by receiving the forms of all bodies; since it is perfected by understanding, and understands by having in itself the forms of things understood. Therefore no intellectual substance is a body.

Notes Forms, don’t forget, are not material. For instance, there is no material form “as tray” in a clay ash tray, but there is clay.

4 Further. The principle of distinction between individuals of the same species is the division of matter in respect of quantity: because the form of this fire differs not from the form of that fire, except by the fact of its being in different parts into which matter is divided; nor is this otherwise than by division of quantity, without which substance is indivisible. Now that which is received into a body, is received into it according to quantitative division. Therefore a form is not received into a body, except as individualized. If, therefore, an intellect were a body, the intelligible forms of things would not be received into it except as individualized. But the intellect understands things by their forms which it has at its disposal. Consequently the intellect would not understand universals but only particulars. Now this is clearly false. Therefore no intellect is a body.

Notes Thus, contra some science fiction stories I vaguely remember, you can’t eat somebody’s brain and assimilate their intellect.

5 Again. Nothing acts except in accordance with its species, because the form is the principle of action in everything. If, therefore, an intellect be a body, its action will not transcend the order of bodies. Wherefore it would understand nothing but bodies. Now this is clearly false: since we understand many things that are not bodies. Therefore the intellect is not a body.

Notes Question: What’s 1/0? Answer: Not a body. (Joke.)

6 Again. If an intelligent substance is a body, it is either finite or infinite. Now, it is impossible for a body to be infinite actually, as is proved in the Physics. Therefore it is a finite body, if we suppose it to be a body at all. But this is impossible, since in no body can there be infinite power, as we have proved above. Now the power of the intellect in understanding is in a manner infinite, for by adding it understands species of numbers to infinitude, and likewise species of figures and proportions. Moreover it knows the universal, which is virtually infinite in its compass, since it contains individuals which are potentially infinite. Therefore the intellect is not a body.

Notes How can we know that 1, 2, 3, … goes to infinity? How can we know that (my old saw) that for natural numbers x and y, that if x = y then y = x for x, y = 1, 2, 3, …? How can we grasp any infinite concept? This is what induction is about. This is wonderful subject, to be explored later. For now, it is enough to concede our intellects somehow operate in an infinite manner.

7 Moreover. It is impossible for two bodies to contain one another, since the container exceeds the contained. Yet two intellects contain and comprehend one another, when one understands the other. Therefore the intellect is not a body.

8 Again. No body’s action reflects on the agent: for it is proved in the Physics, that no body is moved by itself except in respect of a part, so that, namely, one of its parts be mover and the other moved. Now the intellect by its action reflects on itself, for it understands itself not only as to a part, but as to the whole. Therefore it is not a body.

Notes Ain’t those last two arguments pretty, as Captain Aubrey would say?

9 Again. A body’s action is not the object of that body’s action, nor is its movement the object of its movement, as proved in the Physics. But the action of the intellect is the object of its action: for just as the intellect understands a thing, so does it understand that it understands, and so on indefinitely. Therefore an intellectual substance is not a body.

10 Hence it is that Holy Writ calls intellectual substances spirits: in which way it is wont to name God Who is incorporeal, according to Jo. iv. 24, God is a spirit. And it is said (Wis. vii. 22, 23): For in her, namely Divine Wisdom, is the spirit of understanding,…containing all intelligible spirits.

11 Hereby is excluded the error of the early natural philosophers, who held that there was none but corporeal substance: wherefore they said that even the soul is a body, either fire, air, or water, or something of the kind. Which opinion some have endeavoured to introduce into the Christian faith, by saying that the soul is the effigy of a body, like a body outwardly imitated.

Notes It’s not only the early natural philosophers who make this error, many modern-day natural philosophers, i.e. scientists, make it, too. Hence we see experiments where a live body is weighed and weighed again after death to determine the weight or mass of the soul. Or we see others, usually on television, where researchers look for “energy patterns” of the soul. And so on.

33 Comments

  1. Intellect is not material, but still we can measure it, unlike God who cannot be measured and is therefire a purely symbolical entity.

  2. The underlying premise being: ‘Everything that cannot be measured is a purely symbolic entity’ (whatever that is). Astounding!

  3. Sander van der Wal

    August 28, 2016 at 11:47 am

    So why is it that some people are much smarter than others? If an intellect can understand an infinitude of things, then all people should be as snart as ecerybody else. I.e, everybody could understand Quantum Mechanics.

    in practice, this is clearly not the case.

  4. Sander, why is it than some people can jump higher than others or run faster? Your question seems to be irrelevant to the notion of mind and consciousness. St. Augustine said that the concept of infinity was inborn, which doesn’t mean that a 6 month old could express that concept, nor someone born with a mental deficiency. Understanding “an infinitude of things” is a poetic way of describing the mind’s ability to grasp many sorts of things.
    And, by the way, according to Richard Feynman, “no one understands quantum mechanics.”

  5. Our intellects are not material but depend on the material for existence and performance. Is this not correct?

  6. Our thoughts may very well be just immaterial imagery, but there’s no reason to think there’s some magic about that. I can make a warrior slash with his sword in a video game. He is not a material thing either. And he started out in my head, and before that in many, many other heads, including real warriors slashing with real swords. Metaphysics need not enter this. It’s just self-gratification.

    JMJ

  7. Do animals have quale?
    And are these quale material or immaterial?
    Is animal mind material or immaterial?

  8. Ye Olde Statistician

    August 29, 2016 at 12:50 am

    Do animals have quale?

    Do you mean “qualia”?

    If so, the answer is yes.

  9. If intellectation is an operation done by the brain, then it is entirely unproblematic for a materialist to say that “our intellects are not material”.

    What is the difference between immaterial intellects and immaterial mental images or immaterial qualia?

    It also needs to be questioned whether Aquinas is operating with the same definition of “material” as the modern readers do. Light that is electromagnetic radiation is a material thing, I suppose. But to Aquinas?

  10. Forms, don’t forget, are not material. For instance, there is no material form “as[h] tray” in a clay ash tray, but there is clay.

    So, configurations of matter are not material? Does that apply to trees, flowers and humans, too? After all they are just arrangements of subatomic particles.

  11. ex Mactoul. :
    “If intellectation is an operation done by the brain, then it is entirely unproblematic for a materialist to say that “our intellects are not material”.”

    But it is entirely problematic for a materialist to say that “our intellects are not material” because they would have to suppose that “not material” intellects arise from random chance of material accidents.

    I contend that Materialism and Empiricism are absurd concepts that assume the very precepts that they deny.

  12. Dowdy said:
    “Our intellects are not material but depend on the material for existence and performance. Is this not correct?”

    As usual I think you’re pretty close to the mark.

    However, I would suggest a qualification. Intellect is just one faculty of a rational human soul which is immaterial. It is a matter of simple observation that the intellect is “fed” through the senses (which is why we have schools, for example) and it “operates” or “acts” mainly through physical activities of the body with which it is intimately connected (as in it is the “essence” of a musician to compose or play music).

    The “mind”, which is a more general attribute of a rational soul, also has “functions” that are not necessarily acquired from sensory inputs that might be called innate, instinctual, or intuitive. In a rational, “free-willed” being these can be overridden by a wilful perversity. Such “freedom” is not of the “nature or essence” of lesser beings whose soul, or animating principle, is only to order the physical (and chemical) processes of organic life. Once their purpose is accomplished they have no “being”… no essence or “thingness” anymore.

    I suggest, therefore, that our minds are not so much dependent on ” the material for existence and performance” but that there is such an intimate connection between the body and soul of a Man that a Man is not a Man without a body and the soul that makes it work.

    I can hardly leave this discussion without provoking W’m Briggs to invite his most influential contacts to dig even deeper pits in Hell to consign me to for unrepentant public reification. Intellect, minds and souls are “things”.

  13. Isn’t it proven that IQ has a large genetic component like up to 50-60%?

    So how is intellect not connected to the functionality of the brain enabled by genetics?

  14. @Sander wan der Val:

    “If an intellect can understand an infinitude of things, then all people should be as snart as ecerybody else. I.e, everybody could understand Quantum Mechanics.”

    What Aquinas is telling is that the Intellect could understand infinitely many things, not that it does actually understand all things that could be understood or even actually understands infinitely many things. Nothing in what Aquinas says implies or even so much as suggests that different intellects cannot understand a different number of things.

  15. @Sander van der Wal:

    Ack, apologies for mispelling your name, swapping the “v” and the “w”.

  16. G. Rodrigues said:
    “What Aquinas is telling is that the Intellect could understand infinitely many things, not that it does actually understand all things that could be understood or even actually understands infinitely many things. Nothing in what Aquinas says implies or even so much as suggests that different intellects cannot understand a different number of things.”

    I think your observation is a beauty.

    If we get our intellect to Heaven we’ll have an infinity of “time” to get to know and understand an infinity of “things” and “stuff” according to our aptitude and inclination.

  17. Ye Olde Statistician

    August 29, 2016 at 11:48 am

    whether Aquinas is operating with the same definition of “material” as the modern readers do.

    The four aitia are different ways of asking how a thing is made. The material aition, sometimes called the material “cause,” answers the question “What is the thing made of?” So the matter of a wall is a brick, the matter of a brick is clay, the matter of clay is a phyllosilicate mineral, and so on.

    Form is the aition that answers the question “What makes it this thing this particular [kind of] thing?”

    Every “thing” (ousia, substantia) is a compound of matter and form. For example, Don Quixote is a subject matter in the form of a novel.

    Neither matter nor form are things in themselves. And neither can exist physically without the other. “Every thing is some thing” means that every thing has a form. “There is no white without a white thing” means that a form cannot exist independently of some matter. The two concepts can however be separated intellectually as objects of the mind.

    If form were a physical thing, then it would require matter and form of its own, and so into an infinite regress. But when we see this apple and that apple and this and that other apple, arranged in the form of a rectangle, we do not see five things — the four apples and a rectangle — only four. Otherwise, by arranging the four apples into a rectangle, we would add matter and increase the weight of the four apples.

    Even a logical argument shows this division: there are material fallacies (e.g., composition) and formal fallacies (e.g., asserting the consequent). A material fallacy depends on the subject matter of the argument and cannot be slung with the gay abandon of a formal fallacy, which depends only on the structure of the argument.

    Hence, a living being is a compound of body and soul, with different sorts of souls appropriate for different sorts of living beings. “Soul” is the particular name for the form of a living thing. In Greek, energeia, in Latin, anima. Both terms came to mean simply “alive” or “life,” as “energetic,” “animated,” and “lively” do to this day. These are simply Greek, Latin, and Germanic ways of saying the same thing.

    A sodium atom is a compound of matter and form. The matter is called protons, neutrons, and electrons; the form is the number and arrangement of those parts. Notice that sodium gets its powers from this number and arrangement. A different form (a different number and arrangement of parts) would make a different substance with different powers.

    Hope this helps, since the answer is yes and no. 🙁
    +++
    So, configurations of matter are not material? Does that apply to trees, flowers and humans, too? After all they are just arrangements of subatomic particles.

    But they are not “just” their arrangements. The arrangements also consist of the way different parts are organized into a whole. That is why we distinguish between things and heaps, between a horse and its carcass, for example. Notice that the carcass consists for the moment of all the same matter as the lively horse; except they are not “in motion”. So where did the motion come from?

    Intellect, minds and souls are “things”.

    Not really. The first is a “power” of the third. The second is simply another way of speaking of the powers. They are intellective things, in that they can be abstracted from the whole thing and considered independently.

    Isn’t it proven that IQ has a large genetic component like up to 50-60%?
    So how is intellect not connected to the functionality of the brain enabled by genetics?

    IQ is not the intellect; and the intellect is not IQ. The IQ is a way of measuring the ability to take an IQ test; but the intellect is the ability to reflect upon one’s perceptions and memories and imaginations and abstract from them universal concepts. Like IQ or word or reflect.

    The custom of the Moderns, following Decartes’ program, is to focus exclusively on those facets of reality that can be measured and to which therefore mathematics can be applied. Heisenberg warned of the trap of confusing nature with what our methodology can detect.

  18. Bob K says something profound about poetry !
    and truth about physics and it’s understanding.
    Bless him, I wish I’d read it in the small hours of the morning.

    I think these points came up before.

    Notes
    10 and 11 are wrong, I agree and for different reasoning I conclude the same and with different ‘language’ in my mind.
    The pints on intellect are inarguable but this is the first time I have heard YOS admit just some of the content of what he is calling intellect.
    It is not the first time I have heard Briggs admit that the intellect cannot be chopped about. He did so in the dreadful podcast to end all podcasts.

    “Are we intelligent enough to know we are intelligent?” was more rhetoric.

    Clearly in contrast with what Thomas says about understanding and knowing of understanding. Something which only the intellect can do.

    However when others know about other’s understanding they have entered the realms of entering other people’s minds and reading their souls.

    However the intellect is being flattered with all that it can do.
    The mind being rather a better and less problematic word.
    This doesn’t get away from the problem of certainty about true essence.

    Or atheists would agree too.

    To believe that intellect is an illusion undermines the person’s very being, not just their rationality. That must smart a bit. I don’t even think that thought can be done! I say it can only be said.

  19. Sander van der Wal

    August 29, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    If some people are smarter than other people, and if intellect is immaterial, you still need to explain why some people are smarter. Is it a matter of speed, is it a matter of amount? Can intellect be improved, and how does that work?

  20. Sander van der Wal,
    Why should one assume that immaterial intellect must be identifically endowed for each person?
    Speed and amount do not apply for an immaterial thing. It is the quality that matters.

  21. YOS,
    I have previously asked the question without getting a response. Briggs in a 21 August post had
    ““Free will is the apprehending and choosing what seems good, the rest following by physics and chemistry”

    But Aquinas had a threefold distinction between man, irrational animals and plants along with stones. Plants and stones move by the laws of necessity aka physics and chemistry. The animals move by instinctive judgement and man moves by free judgement.

    I am left perplexed. Do animals follow physics or chemistry or not. If they do, what about the distinction made by Aquinas. Is Aquinas mistaken that animals have a certain liberty from physics?

    So, we have an apparent divergence between Briggs and Aquinas that leads me to wonder if it is possible to square the circle of harmonising physics with free will without seeking resort of supernatural. Does free will work by supernatural swerve of atoms in the brain?

  22. Ye Olde Statistician

    August 30, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Do animals follow physics or chemistry or not.

    Of course they do; but they may not be entirely determined by it. Take the example of a human being and a sack of potatoes both thrown from the roof of a tall building. Both will follow the laws of physics and accelerate toward the lowest potential at the rate of 32 ft/sec^2. The sack of potatoes, however, is less likely to object to the proceedings.

    The thing to remember about anima is that it is layered and integrated.

    At the bottom layer is the inanimate form, which endows the material body with four powers: the gravitational, electromagnetic, nuclear, and radiative forces.

    At the next layer is the nutritive soul, which incorporates and directs the lower powers to the benefit of the organism. The nutritive soul adds four more powers: digestion (the most primitive form of cognition), metabolism, homeostasis, and reproduction.

    The animal possesses in addition the powers of the sensitive soul, which includes sensation (a second level of cognition), perception (incl. imagination and memory), emotion (or sensitive appetite, which is a desire for or repugnance to the products of perception), and motion. These govern and modulate the nutritive and inanimate powers. There is also a short cut in the stimulus response model direct from perception to motion for the reflex actions of the autonomic nervous system, an outgrowth of the homeostasis of plant life.

    The rational animal possesses in addition the all the above, the powers of intellection (a/k/a conception) which reflects on perceptions and abstracts concepts from them and volition, which is a desire for or repugnance to the products of conception.

    Both the appetites and the volition must have a judgmental power in order to distinguish between those percepts or concepts that are desirable and those that are repugnant. Plants seem to have this power simply through chemical tropisms: the roots will grow toward water, though the plant does not ‘sense’ water, by following moisture gradients in the soil. Animals possess the estimative power of instinct — a far more supple thing than the Enlightenment supposed — by which they recognize predators, food or mates without being taught. A rational being forms additional judgments by means to the deliberative power of the intellect. Thus a sheep may perceive a wolf and esteem it an enemy and so flee, whereas a man may decide to stand his ground with weapons in hand. An animal will instinctively eat when hungry and perceives what it esteems as food, but a man may decide to refrain from eating in order to stick to her diet or to fast for Lent.

    I wish I knew how to add diagrams.

  23. YOS,
    Your summary is exactly what is problematic with Briggs’ statement:
    ““Free will is the apprehending and choosing what seems good, the rest following by physics and chemistry”
    For Briggs, animal motion is exactly determined by physics and chemistry. The sensitive soul is just a (in)convenient term for a slew of chemical reactions and there is nothing up and above it.
    But you say that the animal motion are not determined by physics so I suppose you disagree with Briggs.
    Would you be able to say that “animals have an immaterial component as well viz the sensitive soul”?

  24. Ye Olde Statistician

    August 31, 2016 at 1:15 am

    The sensitive soul is just a (in)convenient term for a slew of chemical reactions and there is nothing up and above it.

    And the Moonlight Sonata is just a slew of vibrating strings. I get it. A souffle is just a slew of ingredients. But I thought you guys approved of “emergent properties.”

    I didn’t think there was anything much controversial about the stimulus-response loop.

    I am curious however which chemical you feel accounts for the estimative power; or which chemical reaction accounts for the ability to select these photons from those in the sense of sight. (The eyes are inundated with a cascade of photons bouncing off everything around you; so what accounts for seeing the red apple? I don’t mean ‘Are these acts carried out by means of chemicals?’ That’s a big 10-4, good buddy. But wet streets don’t cause rain. All the same chemicals are present in the corpse, but nothing happens.

    But you say that the animal motion are not determined by physics so I suppose you disagree with Briggs.

    So which is it, chemistry or physics?

    Would you be able to say that “animals have an immaterial component as well viz the sensitive soul”?

    Patterns are not themselves material, so whatever arrangements exist among the various faculties of a living thing are not material, either.

  25. YOS,
    The point is being obscured. Aquinas has a threefold classication–stones and plants, animals, man. Explicitly he denies that animals move by laws of necessity (meaning physics, chemistry ). Your comment “So which is it, chemistry or physics?” is obscure. Physics and chemistry both describe necessary behavior and more over chemistry is supposed to be reduced to physics.

    Briggs is writing of twofold classification. Freewill and laws of physics/chemistry.
    So how does this twofold classification relate to Aquinas threefold one?

  26. As used in physics, the term “emergent properties” is a bit of weasel word, generally used any physicists to hide their ignorance. It actually points that the phenomenon in question is outside of the domain of physics. Statements like
    thinking is an emergent property of brains, or music is emergent property of vibrating strings do not properly belong to physics.

  27. Ye Olde Statistician

    September 1, 2016 at 12:51 am

    I recollect reading in a book by a physicist that biology is not reducible to chemistry and chemistry is not reducible to physics; so I will wait until someone actually makes such a reduction. Perhaps, if he is sufficiently Platonic, he can go to the next step and reduce physics to mathematics.

    “Free will is the apprehending and choosing what seems good, the rest following by physics and chemistry”

    It does not seem difficult.
    Stones are moved automatically by the laws of physics.
    Animals initiate their own movements by instinct (in addition to the above) and after that the execution follows the laws of physics.
    Rational animals initiate their own movements by deliberation (in addition to the above) and after that the execution follows the laws of physics.

    The estimative power of the instinct is a precursor to the deliberative power of the intellect. It represents a sort of middle ground between passive subjection to the physics and full-monte deliberate choices.

    But the ability to choose, whether deliberately or instinctively, does not mean that physics has nothing to do with it. An animal that falls will do so at the same rate of acceleration as a stone. An animal that instinctively eats a particular plant will then digest it by chemistry.

    Watch someone eating in a restaurant. Whatever they are eating, they deliberately chose from a menu; but their digestion of it is entirely chemical and automatic. In between… Notice that now and then the diner will raise his head and glance around the restaurant and then return to eating. This last is an instinctive motion, probably related to the stealthy approach of jackals or others coming to seize the food. Rational animals are still animals and thus still subject to instincts.

  28. Ye Olde Statistician

    September 1, 2016 at 12:53 am

    As used in physics, the term “emergent properties” is a bit of weasel word

    When I have noted that it is often used that way, atheists have been quick to pounce, so take care.

  29. YOS,
    I totally agree with what you are saying regarding animals and man being subject to the laws of necessity. As you say animal instinct is a kind of precursor to rational deliberation.
    But then does
    1) It mean instinct is also immaterial ? like intellect?
    2) Briggs is not correct to say that there are only two things either free will or laws of necessity (physics/chemistry). (Hopefully we agree that chemistry is ruled by necessity whether it is reducible to physics or not).
    3) My solution: Material is not reducible to laws of necessity. There are aspects to material that can not be computed. These aspects are behind instinct. But not free will and intellect which are immaterial.

  30. Ye Olde Statistician

    September 2, 2016 at 9:33 am

    But then does
    1) It mean instinct is also immaterial ? like intellect?

    An intriguing thought. But AFAIK instinct deals only with the concretely perceptible — that is: its matter is material — whereas the intellect deals with immaterial matters (“concepts”), so there is that important difference. When the sheep esteems the wolf an enemy, it is dealing with a concrete wolf — sensed in the present or remembered from the past — not with the abstracted idea of ‘wolf.’

    Neither instinct nor intellect are “things” but are powers possessed by things. A basketball possesses the power of bounciness and this bounciness proceeds from its matter; but bounciness as such is not a material thing.

    But then does…
    2) Briggs is not correct to say that there are only two things either free will or laws of necessity (physics/chemistry).

    I’m not sure that he meant it in the way you are considering. It sounded to me that the immaterial intellect would make a judgment and then what followed after that (i.e., emotions and motions) would follow necessary laws of chemistry and physics. It did not sound like they were two exhaustive and mutually exclusive categories.

  31. To any old soul:

    “’m not sure that he meant it in the way you are considering. It sounded to me that the immaterial intellect would make a judgment and then what followed after that (i.e., emotions and motions) would follow necessary laws of chemistry and physics. It did not sound like they were two exhaustive and mutually exclusive categories.”

    This is more vagueness to underpin an absolute truth.

    The reality, I would argue is exactly the other way around.
    Some academics have difficulty with the concept of emotions.

    Glad to see the new ;admission of the autonomic nervous system! It doesn’t help the argument for the soul being only intellect and will. Stare at anatomy and observe physiology all day long and you will still be utterly mystified.

    I don’t believe you recognise that this system works with and is coupled with the nervous system of which you previously spoke. A mind needs a body to function and the rest is conjecture which is used to justify all sorts of things in the realms of politics, theology being subject to politics is full of conjecture.

    There is still a subliminal message here which is incorrect, that the mind and body can be separated for study of the living human. This is important because it is used to justify the next part of the doctrine to which certain people cling. This has to do with blame, credit, sin, and virtue. Buyers beware, you know the latin.

    Since nobody knows where the mind resides, where pain resides, where emotions reside and how they reside it is very unwise to speak of separating and classifying emotions as separate from intellect. When we speak of patients we peak of thoughts and feelings. We do not deny either. He who thinks he knows the difference is really kidding himself. Perhaps calculation and logic can be said to exist without a body. This is all that computers do.

    Little is known about what is actually happening other than in the physical and in that respect only in what is observed and measured. This is far from the full picture.

    It is wrong to talk of what is happening in the non physical, with such arrogant certainty. That is, if you want results.

    If you don’t understand animals beyond the cleche ideas how do yu know a sheep won’t stand it’s ground? I can show you video evidence of it doing just that. The sheep is a pet and the german shepherd is known for catching wild animals on a daily basis. The sheep is owned by my friend, not a random hoax youtube video. Nor was the dog playing piano an example of hoax. What moved the dog to play piano and to do so only when it thought it was alone? No treats were given, no training, just observation of the owner who found out by hiding a camera! When he heard the activity but could never observe it as the dog would jump down on hearing him coming. Now you have to at least concede that this was copying. Voluntary copying, not the training by reward and punishment normally spoken of. It is not a reach to think the dog was pleased by or enjoyed the sounds he was making. So now you have to argue that this is just pleasure and insist you can read it’s mind to argue what isn’t there. Better not to argue about animal since you know so little about them.

    If this argument has any validity it must be describable without resorting to disproved and outdated notions of animals. It doesn’t do just to use a straw man, imaginary sheep or clip clopping horse.
    Disney style anthropomorphism. These are veiled insults which aren’t salient.

    So rather than demoting animals to make the argument it is better to tell the truth. Ignorance of a truth is no way to reach ultimate truth.

    As for intellect and the weasel it’s the quality not the quantity. This flattery starts to look like a guessing game, which it is.

    To anyone who believes in only intellect and will = soul:
    Where do you have a happy thought?
    Where does pain reside?
    Where do you have a thought that is original?
    Where do you have a thought that is dull?
    Do you have a thought without a feeling? If so, you are a robot, or some kind of three dimensional book. Just because you do not always or even mostly summon emotion it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. This argument gives credit only to the computational or calculating part of the function of the mind. Why bother with ‘a soul’?
    By your own description, It’s not worth the contemplation.

    This argument diminishes the importance and nature of the soul, and therefore of God from the bible.

  32. Ye Olde Statistician

    September 3, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Glad to see the new ;admission of the autonomic nervous system! It doesn’t help the argument for the soul being only intellect and will.

    But who said the soul is only intellect and will. Those are simply the two powers of the rational soul that do not depend on matter.

    A mind needs a body to function

    Does it? Then you do not believe in the immortality of the soul?
    https://thomism.wordpress.com/2009/03/28/the-eschatological-importance-of-imagination/

    Since nobody knows where the mind resides, where pain resides, where emotions reside and how they reside it is very unwise to speak of separating and classifying emotions as separate from intellect.

    That’s not because no one knows “where” these “reside.” Pain and emotion “reside” in the brain, including the neural signals to various relevant glands or sensory receptors. We can speak imaginatively of the thorn as “pain-full” but in reality the pain is felt in the brain. A nerve block stops the pain quite nicely, as I can attest from personal experience.

    That a thing has many powers does not mean that we can’t consider them independently. An automobile has acceleration and comfort. Every automobile possesses these powers or qualities, whether to a greater degree or a lesser. They cannot be separated in physical sense, but they can be separated by the intellect.
    https://thomism.wordpress.com/2007/02/16/intellect-imagination-and-sense/

    Emotions vs. intellect: these are not the same kind of thing. It’s like comparing apples vs. orangutangs.
    The emotions are sensory appetites, which are desires for (or revulsions against) things that are perceived (sensed, imagined, remembered), such as the sound of a piano or the taste of apples. This differs from the intellective/rational appetite (or volition), which is a desire/revulsion for things that are conceived, such as justice, world domination, or a sonata. The imagination and the intellect are cognitive powers; the emotions and the volitions are actuating powers. Intellect:volition::imagination:emotion.

    https://thomism.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/imagination-as-a-tool-for-intellect/
    https://thomism.wordpress.com/2009/01/19/the-universal-in-imagination-and-in-intellect/
    https://thomism.wordpress.com/2008/12/09/the-two-powers-of-imagination-most-like-intellect/

    Now you have to at least concede that this was copying. Voluntary copying, not the training by reward and punishment normally spoken of. It is not a reach to think the dog was pleased by or enjoyed the sounds he was making.

    Certainly. That is entirely in line with Aristotelian and Thomistic psychology. A bit unusual to speak of “playing the piano” when fingers are entrely lacking, but striking the keys to make sounds, surely. All that is required for that is sensation and perception of the sounds, memory of the sounds from the past, and imagination of the sounds when not present — plus a pleasant response to the sounds that encourages imitation and repetition.
    https://lastedenblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/intellect-vs-imagination/

    If this argument has any validity it must be describable without resorting to disproved and outdated notions of animals.

    You mean the Enlightenment notion of animals as meat puppets and instinct as no more than mechanical responses? Surely you cannot mean the medieval notion, which “provides a way in which we can see a deeper likeness between human and non-human animals than is afforded by the purely mechanical view.”
    https://thomism.wordpress.com/2008/10/11/what-really-are-uniquely-human-traits/

    The distinction between reason and imagination, however, rests on a mode of analysis that is not metrical and therefore not open to analysis by the scientific method. It rests on our experience of a universal term which transcends any object given by a sense power. Aristotle will describe the difference as between seeing flesh and seeing what flesh is (this role of the ‘what it is’ dovetails with the idea that reason is most of all speculative).
    — James Chastek

    Notice the reappearance of “essence” (the what-it-is) from a previous post. One of the things that distinguishes the perennial philosophy from Modern philosophies is this dovetailing: All the parts fit together. Whereas each modern philosophy begins by denying what the previous modern philosophy affirmed; thus, it never gets very far before another comes along to debunk it. Hence, no “progress” and questions remain unresolved.

  33. “Glad to see the new ;admission of the autonomic nervous system! It doesn’t help the argument for the soul being only intellect and will.

    But who said the soul is only intellect and will. Those are simply the two powers of the rational soul that do not depend on matter.”

    It is clear that this is where the argument comes from.
    Finally it is in focus.
    Who said it? Several et als. You have been defending this.

    “A mind needs a body to function

    Does it? Then you do not believe in the immortality of the soul?”

    Why do you tell me what I believe?

    Besides, you know that I do believe in the immortality of the soul.

    The mind is the living embodiment of the soul.
    ‘mind’ is also a description used to explain intelligibility of the universe. In this case the ‘mind’ referred to is divine.
    It has will and intelligence. it is omnipotent, ALL powerful.

    On Where emotion and pain reside?
    “That’s not because no one knows “where” these “reside.” Pain and emotion “reside” in the brain, including the neural signals to various relevant glands or sensory receptors. We can speak imaginatively of the thorn as “pain-full” but in reality the pain is felt in the brain. A nerve block stops the pain quite nicely, as I can attest from personal experience.”

    We are not speaking imaginatively about thorns Not today.
    Yos you are mistaken in your universal depiction of pain and how it ‘behaves’.
    In particular how it responds or not to nerve block.
    You speak of “clinical physiological” peripheral nociceptive type pain. The sort that occurs when you stub your toe, pluck a hair or even fracture a bone. Fibres (correct English spelling) differ under close examination but that is peripheral in both senses of the word.
    (pain has classifications for management purposes which is obviously problematic in a purist academic sense but is practically vital. It is precisely that so little is known or understood which is why there is so much ambiguity. Couple this with people ‘selling’ solutions and academic interests, professional jealousy and you can also see why progress is slowed.

    There is pain which remains despite the healing of tissue. Pain of all descriptions and types of which you have been familiar.
    The peripheral neurogenic pain which you experienced or a person experiences when a nerve or tissue is impinged upon or otherwise insulted may persist permanently when there is nothing to see. There are problems with nerve conduction studies, instruments are blunt and that’s no slight, but in the end, if healing does not occur by natural process, discovering how to make that happen is not a straight forward situation.
    Imagine a pain like your fracture which comes when you reach for a door handle; but not every time! I am not speaking of “malingerers” they have problems too but of a different nature and there are plenty of those who need a different kind of help.

    Pain which is bad enough to result in extreme pain avoidance behaviour. When a person is run over by a viking tank on concrete and has only a second ( gap between tracks) to decide whether to save his testicles and head or legs you might find it surprising what transpires from the mind and the body’s entanglement given the dilemma when you were just doing your job and the fella’ driving the tank just wanted to buy some cigarettes so didn’t do the proper checks.

    Testicles saved, thigh bone shattered and crushed, but healed to miraculous perfection with no obvious scar, permanent neural changes due to the patient ripping his own (long thoracic) nerve resulting from his shoulder girdle manoeuvre whilst his wrists were trapped between his legs, breaking both wrists) in avoidance response and a pain which persists but is life altering.
    Two implants with shunts in his brain no change, I knew there wouldn’t be.
    Tank driver promoted.
    Neuroscience tells them where to place the implant!
    To pick on one example of a pain response to prove something about it’s essence is to miss most of the information. So your universal all encompassing statement about where pain resides is shown to be wrong.

    If you are genuinely interested I would highly recommend your not reading about it but going to a pain clinic
    Some pains are complex in a mechanical way. i.e they can be a puzzle which can be dismantled and chain of causes worked out. Others take on another dimension and level of complexity altogether. “nerve block” won’t do as any kind of panacea in the clinic or in the argument for which you use the analogy. Pain does not reside in a given place other than within the human experience, in the person who is whole and complete even if bits are missing. Simplify the system for practical purposes and when that doesn’t work, admit you’re feeling in the dark.

    Central pain is not understood. It is managed.

    There is no place where pain resides. This is the same for happiness or any other emotion. Thoughts are not separable from feelings except in theory. Theory is not the same as reality. Patients prove this time and time again and not just on occasion either. Tried and tested methods stick because they work which is your point about Aristotle and with which I don’t argue. However I object to tried and tested being raised up as the final word. Tried and tested is better than theory alone. Tried and tested with a theory that fits is good justification. Humans aren’t cars or computers.

    “That a thing has many powers does not mean that we can’t consider them independently. “

    Yes but that isn’t my argument. It’s the one you say I hold.

    In the Ed Feser article which is being defended there is clear and present certainty about the nature of the soul.

    Preparatory and off the shelf. I did not read the ‘unfortunate’ one which was wiped clean by a gremlin.

    As I said before, anybody’s certainty is as good as anybody else’s. Argument is not made stronger because someone ‘feels’ certain.

    “Emotions vs. intellect: these are not the same kind of thing. It’s like comparing apples vs. orangutangs.”

    (That type of orange, ginger monkey doesn’t have a G at the end!)

    But your point is not altering the argument. That they are different, as we all experience and agree, is my point about the constitution of the soul. Experience is real. It is what might be said to be an identifier of the person inside. That cars contain liquids and computers and velvet is an analogy which isn’t clear enough because those things can absolutely be stripped out.
    It is that point to which I object. Of course they can be considered just as an abstract word can but consideration is not certainty.
    Please spare me the “sensory appetites.” Is it just me?

    “Now you have to at least concede that this was copying….

    Certainly. That is entirely in line with Aristotelian and Thomistic psychology. A bit unusual “to speak of “playing the piano” when fingers are entrely lacking, but striking the keys to make sounds,”

    You’ve introduced a distraction. to argue about “playing” The dog is ‘playing’ no point arguing. He is using the instrument for his own amusement. Otherwise you could, and I’ve seen it done, argue that any bad pianist isn’t playing the piano! Andrew Preview would agree with you.

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x31b29r

    ” surely. All that is required for that is sensation and perception of the sounds, memory of the sounds from the past, and imagination of the sounds when not present .”…and some of you go a bit further than that, which is unnecessary and speculative I give them more credit than you do, let’s leave it there.

    “If this argument has any validity it must be describable without resorting to disproved and outdated notions of animals.

    “You mean the Enlightenment notion of animals as meat puppets and instinct as no more than mechanical responses? Surely you cannot mean the medieval notion, which “provides a way in which we can see a deeper likeness between human and non-human animals than is afforded by the purely mechanical view.”

    Yes, but not because it’s medieval! It is you who keeps insisting this. I think you argue for the animal more like the meat puppet in your description and apparent experience of animals. I warn you not to do this because you seem to be the ‘peddler of that kind of idea.

    The distinction between reason and imagination, however, rests on a mode of analysis that is not metrical and therefore not open to analysis by the scientific method. It rests on our experience of a universal term which transcends any object given by a sense power. Aristotle will describe the difference as between seeing flesh and seeing what flesh is (this role of the ‘what it is’ dovetails with the idea that reason is most of all speculative).
    — James Chastek” aIs a better quote than the last one you gave about essence and nature and their derivation. My argument is not with Aristotle. It is with you YOS.
    That quote is more or less what I was saying all along, you knew it and I knew it. So why did we have to do the dance?

    “All the parts fit together. Whereas each modern philosophy begins by denying what the previous modern philosophy affirmed; thus, it never gets very far before another comes along to debunk it. Hence, no “progress” and questions remain unresolved.”

    But I wish you wouldn’t keep blaming me for all the ‘bad’ philosophy! Mine is perfect!
    Don’t call me an Aristotelian. Aristotle wouldn’t. Don’t say I’m coming round. You’re just tuning in!

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