Ryle argued that the idea of the soul –which he described as ‘the ghost in the machine’- was a ‘category mistake’.
He argued that it was a mistake in the use of language. The mistake was that it resulted in people speaking of the mind and the body as different phenomena – as if the soul was something identifiably extra within a person...
He used the example of a foreigner watching a cricket game and asking ‘But where is the team spirit?’ The foreigner expected ‘team spirit’ to be something identifiably extra to the players etcetera... This is the same as people mistaking the idea of a soul
Hard Materialists do not accept that an individual’s characteristics are anything more than physical ones. Any idea of consciousness is nothing more than brain activity. The mind cannot be separated from the body. When the body dies, then so does the brain.
Soft Materialists do not accept that all characteristics are physical ones. Consciousness is more than just a brain process. The mind and body are related and do not act independently of each other. Still however, there is no believe in an identifiable, extra soul
If you disappeared from the classroom, but then a different ‘version’ of you reappeared in Australia with the same appearance, memories, experiences, ways of thinking and opinions as you currently have, is this still you ?
“ I am dying of a heart condition. I am informed that the technique exists to transplant my brain into the body of someone who has died of a brain tumour. I agree and my brain is transplanted into this new body. The body works perfectly and all my memories are intact, but I look totally different. My friends and family no longer recognise me, while the friends and family of the person into whose body my brain has been transplanted greet me in the street. Who am I? Am I the person who died from a brain tumour or the person whose brain was transplanted? Could I be a new identity all together?”
It’s quite long, but fascinating to think about...
To tackle the dilemma on the previous slide, we have to think about what is ‘I’...
Does anyone have any ideas what ‘I’ could be?
What could ‘I’ be? The way people recognise you – your physical self Your personal way of thinking Your own opinions Just everything about you The actions you commit Things that we are interested in, for example, philosophy!