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Consciousness survives death

189 posts in this topic

Posted

davidm that sounds like a really interesting theory. I'll have to check that website out, I'd be grateful if you could give me the web address. Thanks.

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Posted

Unfinishable Scroll. Google is your friend. :mrgreen:

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Posted

:welcome:Danny

I should mention I've now come upon, on the Web, a third person putting forth the idea that consciousness is a kind of continuum in which, after "you" die, "you" become the consciousness of a new infant. The person putting forth this idea also cogently raises and answers a number of objections to the very coherency of the idea, so much so that, for me anyway, his presentation is much clearer and more concise that either that of Wayne Stewart or the author of the Naturalism.org site, the other two places were this idea -- essentially, reincarnation without a soul, or existential passage as Stewart has called it -- was put forth.

I'll post more on his argument later, but it's from an interesting Web site, The Unfinishable Scroll, in which, among many other topics, the author almost brutally deconstructs and demolishes, point by point, Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion. An interesting site and a very interesting writer with many unorthodox ideas.

Thanks David,

I found that paper here: http://www.eskimo.com/~msharlow/cgi-bin/blosxom.cgi/2009/07/08#why_science_cannot_disprove_the_afterlife

Is that the right one? If so, why exactly do you think this guy/girl makes a better argument than Stewart or Clark?

Is this the only page he/she talks about his version of 'existential passage' or is there other parts to it?

Also, is he/she a naturalist? I ask this because it seems he/she has spent a lot of time arguing against Dawkin's book, 'The God Delusion'. Which leaves me wondering if his/her version of 'existential passage' is naturalistic.

Thanks for posting it anyway, I'll pass it on to Stewart and Clark.

P.S. Incidentally, there is a forum discussion occurring at dawkins.net with Wayne Stewart himself in that forum talking about 'existential passage'.

The thread title is the same as this one "Consciousness Survives Death". So now is your opportunity to talk directly to Stewart in public forum.

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Posted (edited)

:welcome:Danny

I should mention I've now come upon, on the Web, a third person putting forth the idea that consciousness is a kind of continuum in which, after "you" die, "you" become the consciousness of a new infant. The person putting forth this idea also cogently raises and answers a number of objections to the very coherency of the idea, so much so that, for me anyway, his presentation is much clearer and more concise that either that of Wayne Stewart or the author of the Naturalism.org site, the other two places were this idea -- essentially, reincarnation without a soul, or existential passage as Stewart has called it -- was put forth.

I'll post more on his argument later, but it's from an interesting Web site, The Unfinishable Scroll, in which, among many other topics, the author almost brutally deconstructs and demolishes, point by point, Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion. An interesting site and a very interesting writer with many unorthodox ideas.

Thanks David,

I found that paper here: http://www.eskimo.com/~msharlow/cgi-bin/blosxom.cgi/2009/07/08#why_science_cannot_disprove_the_afterlife

Is that the right one? If so, why exactly do you think this guy/girl makes a better argument than Stewart or Clark?

Is this the only page he/she talks about his version of 'existential passage' or is there other parts to it?

Also, is he/she a naturalist? I ask this because it seems he/she has spent a lot of time arguing against Dawkin's book, 'The God Delusion'. Which leaves me wondering if his/her version of 'existential passage' is naturalistic.

Thanks for posting it anyway, I'll pass it on to Stewart and Clark.

P.S. Incidentally, there is a forum discussion occurring at dawkins.net with Wayne Stewart himself in that forum talking about 'existential passage'.

The thread title is the same as this one "Consciousness Survives Death". So now is your opportunity to talk directly to Stewart in public forum.

That is the right passage of his work relevant to this issue. I'm not aware that he talks about existential passage anywhere else. Also, it seems pretty clear that Mark is a guy. :mrgreen: Unless the name Mark has been co-opted by the other gender.

I find his argument better than Clark's or Stewart's argument because it is concise and to the point, and it forthrightly deals with key objections, the most important being: "Why should I think that a baby born after I die is me?" Lest there be any confusion, recall that what's being proposed here is that we never actually die, but become other people, but that this is NOT reincarnation in the ordinary sense, since there is no essence or soul that is reincarnated. As Sharlow states, this "existential passage" (Stewart's term) is all physical, just a matter of physical brain states.

He has spent a lot of time debunking Dawkins' book because the book deserves to be debunked. Sharlow is an atheist. Not only does he show how philosophically inept the book is, but he raises the point that the book really is just hate speech. Not that hate speech by itself indicates a bad argument -- that plainly would be ad hominem -- but hate speech combined with rotten arguments equals a book that is not very good, to say the least.

ETA: If Stewart wants to discuss existential passage, he's welcome to do so here. After all, he's a member here, and I, personally, don't feel like tracking him down at Dawkins' board, particularly since (a) Dawkins's board does not seem to be functioning right now; and (B) I find Dawkins' arguments, as does Sharlow, to be bad and his books to be hate speech. I don't like hate speech.

Sharlow rightly homes in on the point that this whole idea of existential passage crucially turns on the philosophical notion of personal identity, of which there is a massive literature. But alas, like all philosophical ideas, there is no chance, IMO, that there will ever be a resolution to the debate. I should also like to recommend that folks here who are interested in the philosophy of personal identity check out a book by Norman Swartz that has a long chapter devoted to this issue, a book that is free online. Prof. Swartz is also a member here, alas, and perhaps one day I can persuade him to resume participating.

Edited by davidm

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Posted

I sent Wayne Stewart and Tom Clark a copy of the link to Sharlow's paper and Stewart has responded. I pass on his thanks to you. I invite you to join discussion at the thread in dawkins.net (it is progressing very nicely, 16 pages last time I checked). The dawkins forums are currently under maintenance but they should be back up soon.

Re: your dislike of Dawkins.... just because you don't like Dawkins doesn't mean you can't participate in a forum that happens to display his name.

I find his argument better than Clark's or Stewart's argument because it is concise and to the point, and it forthrightly deals with key objections, the most important being: "Why should I think that a baby born

after I die is me?"

Wayne Stewart provides three objections and replies to them after the proposal of "existential passage" in chapter 9 of MBD. We should think that the baby is me because it is that same theme of subjectivity that makes me, me right now. The time gap coordinates are defined by my death and the baby's conscious birth. Here, at temporal limits, the universality of subjectivity allows for an ontological inference such as EP/GSC.

Lest there be any confusion, recall that what's being proposed here is that we never actually die, but become other people, but that this is NOT reincarnation in the ordinary sense, since there is no essence or soul that is reincarnated. As Sharlow states, this "existential passage" (Stewart's term) is all physical, just a matter of physical brain states.

Yes, we become other people because what makes them, them is exactly the same as what makes me, me ..ergo they ARE me.

He has spent a lot of time debunking Dawkins' book because the book deserves to be debunked. Sharlow is an atheist. Not only does he show how philosophically inept the book is, but he raises the point that the book really is just hate speech. Not that hate speech by itself indicates a bad argument -- that plainly would be ad hominem -- but hate speech combined with rotten arguments equals a book that is not very good, to say the least.

Hate speech or not, at least hes out there promoting atheism. Although you may not agree with everything he says, at least hes letting people know there is an alternative to religion.

ETA: If Stewart wants to discuss existential passage, he's welcome to do so here. After all, he's a member here, and I, personally, don't feel like tracking him down at Dawkins' board, particularly since (a) Dawkins's board does not seem to be functioning right now; and (B) I find Dawkins' arguments, as does Sharlow, to be bad and his books to be hate speech. I don't like hate speech.

As I said before, dawkins.net should be up soon (its only been down recently, for the past day or so).

Sharlow rightly homes in on the point that this whole idea of existential passage crucially turns on the philosophical notion of personal identity, of which there is a massive literature. But alas, like all philosophical ideas, there is no chance, IMO, that there will ever be a resolution to the debate.

Why do you think Stewart includes chapter 8 on personal identity theory?

Why do you think the proposal of existential passage follows directly on the heels of that chapter?

Yes, I have said before that there can be no evidence for the fate of our subjectivity upon death, since it is SUBJECTIVE and therefore beyond scientific enquiry, hence metaphysics. However, it doesn't mean that every proposal about what happens when we die is EQUALLY PLAUSIBLE.

I should also like to recommend that folks here who are interested in the philosophy of personal identity check out a book by Norman Swartz that has a long chapter devoted to this issue, a book that is free online. Prof. Swartz is also a member here, alas, and perhaps one day I can persuade him to resume participating.

Thanks, I'll check it out. You are quite good at locating these very interesting papers, much appreciated. If you are in contact with Prof. Swartz ask him to read MBD/DNS and see what he thinks.

Looking forward to conversing with you on the dawkins thread soon David and thanks again for the papers, keep me posted if you find anymore.

Thanks,

Avalon.

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Posted

Hello everyone ;), long time no see

This is not a contribution to the talk, but rather I am seeking advice to what papers should I read to be able to become a competent debater on this topic.

Stewart, norman swartz and sharlow papers, anything else apart form having a basic knowledge of metaphysics?

P.d: David I have been reading your articles on Modern Art, they are excellent! but there is a problem with the pictures format, some of them are too small to appreciate them.

ADios

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Posted

Hello everyone ;), long time no see

This is not a contribution to the talk, but rather I am seeking advice to what papers should I read to be able to become a competent debater on this topic.

Stewart, norman swartz and sharlow papers, anything else apart form having a basic knowledge of metaphysics?

P.d: David I have been reading your articles on Modern Art, they are excellent! but there is a problem with the pictures format, some of them are too small to appreciate them.

ADios

Thank you, Paulus, I'm glad you like the art series. :) It reminds me that I've been thinking of going in and editing them down somewhat. I also have another five chapters or so that need to be written.

I will try to come up with some stuff for you to read on this thread topic.

BTW, I think I sent you my Gorram Yonks story, did I not? Did you get it OK? Maybe you already told me and I forgot; I've got a lot on my plate these days.

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Posted

I have not received yet your story:( I will snet you my msn now;)

By the way I'll be waiting for the list of documents to read to talk about his topic;)

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Posted

I have not received yet your story:( I will snet you my msn now;)

By the way I'll be waiting for the list of documents to read to talk about his topic;)

I'm sorry, I thought I sent it. :confused: I will rectify that matter shortly.

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Posted

BTW, Paulus, Happy Birthday! :)

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Posted

What follows is a refutation of Wayne Stewart

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Posted

Thinking it over, I decided it was best to summarize the main arguments in a single post, and I did that at the discussion on this topic at Richarddawkins.net. The post is here.

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Posted (edited)

Hi, I read this article too, and have a question, though I dont wanna talk about the reborn thing.

Clark says in the beginnig that we don´t fall into nothingness and simply cease to exist, like epicurus said "When I am, death is not, and when death is, I am not"

Is this the most logical theory if we don´t have an immortal soul or are there science based theorys that we somehow can fall into nothingness without an immortal soul?

Edited by hawk

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Posted (edited)

This "fall into nothingness" bit is a bit of a red herring, in my opinion. Clark is saying that many people seem to feel that we "fall into nothingness" or into blackness upon death, or some such, and that this is impossible. And he's right. He just draws the wrong conclusion from it. Clark (and Stewart) acknowledge that we cease to exist, as ourselves, but that somehow, inexplicably, there is a shift of conscious perspective such that we "pass" to a new person being born. This is done, mind, without any notion of reincarnation or a soul.

No one can fall into nothingness, because no one can experience the fall. If you were to experience nothingness, you would be having an experience, and hence would not be in nothingness. You would be in somethingness.

Clark's generic subjective continuity and Stewart's existential passage, which purport to be a rejoinder to the "fall into nothingness" paradox, are simply wrong. They are fatally flawed philosophically and I can demonstrate this very easily, if you are interested.

Edited by davidm

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