So, I thought taking a philosophy module would be a great way to earn enough credits to make it through this year and get stuck into the serious psychology next year which I actually came to university to do.
Turns out, philosophy isn't easy. Really not easy. And I haven't even begun planning the essay yet.
The big question at the moment is: Do we have an immaterial mind (soul) or are we wholly physical? Another thing I've noticed about philosophy: it's a lot harder when you have strong convictions which hold you to a certain side of the debate. You'd probably be less condemned to jump off a 3000 metre high building than to express a bias in the debate. But if Descartes or Kant had held that, ahem... philosophy, then there'd be no debate in the first place so I guess it's our duty to keep philosophy alive with our assertions of our beliefs.
So back to Dualism.
The view I don't hold: There's no point to life. When you're dead you're dead. Hopes, dreams, fears, love, sorrow, happiness etc are all a result of neural activity. Our mind is the sum of the parts of our brains, anything that cannot be accounted for physically must as yet be undiscovered. We are undifferentiated from animals, each other, or even computers.
The view I hold: We have a soul which, whatever it is, is what is more than the sum of our parts. I can't believe a Numskulls version of life in which our brain contains all the components needed to function as a person. Humans differ from animals in that, along the line of evolution (ie the origin of humans as opposed to any animals before that) God "upgraded" humans to be what we'd call humans today (probably not a view agreed on by all Christians) and he began creating spiritual beings (of which adam and eve were the 1st) with a soul that allowed them to connect to God in a way animals don't. I believe a Dualist view is heavily reliant on the acceptance of God existing and I suppose it is possible to accept Dualism without accepting a God but my personal view is that it'd be hard to accept God without agreeing on the existence of souls.
I've heard compelling arguments for both sides during the course already. I feel Dualists have a harder time of it than Materialists, thanks to the view that you belong to either the Science Society or the God Squad. I mean, gosh, as if there could be any crossover! Using my tutorial class as a basis, the split is about 75:25 materialists:dualists. The disdain Materialists hold towards the notion that there could be more than what is explained by science is actually quite comical. The word maggot springs to mind...
So, although this post has no point apart from to rant, I'll throw in a final thought which I suppose is the point of this post.
I believe in a soul and I'm never going to be convinced otherwise. If God says it, I believe it. If Jesus, CS Lewis* and my mum can believe it, then I can believe it too and no amount of scoffing from any lecturer or tutor will override that.
Besides, seeing as it's engraved into my skin, I don't suppose there's any going back even if science does command it so.
*Edit: CS Lewis said it best: "You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body."