Assuming dualism

Okay, starting with cogito ergo sum assumed. You can’t be deceived that you exist. What’s next?

1. You are God: Only your consciousness exists in limbo, hovering in a non-spatial void, and what you experience as noumena (sensations) are actually phenomena (constructions of the mind) by which you are deceiving yourself to believe external things exist.
2. The Matrix: You exist and an external supernatural world exists as noumena, but there is no material world (any indications to the contrary are an illusion).
3. Dualism: You exist, other supernatural noumena exist, and material noumena are real and not an illusion.

The third possibility is what dualists assume. Within this assumption, there are now three domains in question: 1) The consciousness, 2) the supernatural “spirit stuff”, and 3) the material “stuff that’s not spirit”. These realms can either affect each other or not, leading to 512 possible interactions. Let’s enumerate the possibilities using a matrix of bits that can be either true or false.

Consciousness Supernatural Material
Consciousness causes effects in True/False True/False True/False
Supernatural causes effects in True/False True/False True/False
Material causes effects in True/False True/False True/False

I’m currently agnostic on the question of whether a domain can interact with itself, so it is included for completeness. If not, cells (1,1), (2,2), and (3,3) would all be false, and only 64 configurations would be possible.

I’m going to start pruning the possibilities with some amateur opinions.

First, it seems pretty clear to me that the physical world influences my consciousness. I experience noumena as phenomena, and I read words that somehow encourage me to form new ideas, so I assign truth to cell (3,1). Second, I believe intuition is a supernatural sensation, which assign truth to (2,1). The prime mover argument assigns truth to (2,3) and raises the possibility of further interventionism. Okay, down to 64 possibilities, or just 8 if (1,1), (2,2), and (3,3) are nonsense.

It may be true that the material world can create effects within the consciousness (physical sensations translated to the conscious conception of them), but the consciousness may not be able to create effects within the material world. So our bodies are merely pre-programmed meat robots realizing their environmental and genetic destinies, with our conscious minds along for the ride as observers (receiving noumena as phenomena for their trouble). When I think to myself “I’m going to do X”, it is because my meat robot decided to do X and passed the awareness of this decision to me as a noumenon, and I’ve deceived myself in thinking it was a conscious decision. Call this possibility “dualism with physical determinism”.

Contrarily, maybe we are able to influence the actions of our meat robots. When I think to myself “I’m going to do X”, I use magic to nudge the neurons in my meatbrain in the right directions to cause this to happen, or it just happens by coincidence because the prime mover was able to read my mind.


About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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3 Responses to Assuming dualism

  1. Heaviside says:

    I don’t know why anybody would pick anything other than 1. The only question it leaves unanswered is “Who are you?”.

    “Philosophy, as long as a drop of blood shall pulse in its world-subduing and absolutely free heart, will never grow tired of answering its adversaries with the cry of Epicurus:

    Not the man who denies the gods worshipped by the multitude, but he who affirms of the gods what the multitude believes about them, is truly impious.

    Philosophy makes no secret of it. The confession of Prometheus:

    In simple words, I hate the pack of gods
    [Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound]

    is its own confession, its own aphorism against all heavenly and earthly gods who do not acknowledge human self-consciousness as the highest divinity. It will have none other beside.” — Karl Marx

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