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Reply #36: I disagree with this: [View All]

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Terran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-16-09 10:08 AM
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36. I disagree with this:
It seems to me that if you believe in free will from an ethics point of view, then you believe in the soul. That is, if you believe that people should be held morally accountable for their actions, then you believe in the soul. I say that because it seems to me that if all the decisions that a person makes are wholly determined by the physical composition of his or her body (including their brain) plus the sum total of everything the person experiences or is exposed to, I dont see how that person could legitimately be held morally accountable for anything. Im sure that someone will tell me Im wrong about that. But I just dont see how a person can justifiably be held morally accountable for anything if all of his actions are determined wholly by things that are beyond his control.

While I don't necessarily disagree with you overall about the existence of the soul, I think you're missing something here, which is idea of sentience. I do believe that possession of free will is an a priori truth, but I believe its existence is grounded in intelligence. We as humans (and possibly a couple of other species on this planet) have a gift that allows us to contemplate the consequences of our actions before we commit them, to think long-term, to empathize with others, and to know that our own deaths are inevitable. I think that comes from sentience, which is grounded in our physical bodies and minds, not in something immaterial. Is there a connection between the soul and sentience? Maybe. I almost think that's the bigger question: does one require the other? My personal feeling is that it does not.
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