Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ontology of the Soul Part 2

The task in separating abortion sense from nonsense is decided in the metaphysics of classifying the various stages of the existence of an "incomplete" human. At what point in its existence does it become "complete enough" to be unalienably endowed with the rights of individual sovereignty? see The Ontological Taxonomy of the Human Soul

Ontology is the science of identifying fundamental principles, the doctrine of making distinctions between: 1) "entities", i.e., existents; 2) the qualitative attributes of entities; and 3) the relationships between 1) and 2).

So can the existence of the human soul be identified by the doctrine of ontology? "The New Advent" Catholic Encyclopedia (CA) makes the central argument of the ages when it says, "The question of the reality of the soul and its distinction from the body is among the most important problems of philosophy, for with it is bound up the doctrine of a future life."

However, the ontological argument is missed by most people--not whether the soul has to do with future life; that is theological and is in the realm of religion and faith--but rather the argument of what the soul is as an entity; whether or not the soul actually exists (the qualitative elements), and whether it is distinct from the body if it does exist (the relationship).

It is self evident to most people that the soul exists. It is self-evident because we are aware of it. Identifying what exactly it is that most people are self-evidentially aware would appear to be the first task. But that must be put off until the attributes, the qualities, are identified. How we may know something exists is by the qualities of the existent. A thing with no qualities whatever cannot, by definition, exist.

"The New Advent" gets it right with the relationship part, identifying "the ultimate internal principle by which we think, feel, and will, and by which our bodies are animated."

Principle is not the word I would use. A principle is taken by most of us to mean a fundamental truth, and calling the soul a truth, while accurate in one sense because of its self-evidentiary nature, is not the same as an intellectual principle. Most people use the word principle in its intellectual sense, as in the principle of marital fidelity, or the principle of not coveting what is not yours to have.

My "Webster's" lists the first definition, however, as "the ultimate source, origin, or cause of something." So the "New Advent" gets it right, but for the purpose of this discussion I will substitute the word motivation.

As the fundamental motivation of human animation, we must make a distinction between involuntary and voluntary animation. A newborn life involuntarily moves: animals such as giraffes and horses stand up; birds peck at the inside of their shell until they free themselves; humans take a breath and then usually begin to cry.

The child has no choice but to take a breath. It is the difference between life and death, and the involuntary nature of life is to do whatever is necessary to stay alive. There is no conscious motivation on the part of any creature to do what the hard-wiring of its brain tells it to.

It is only after a creature gains motivation attached to some form of consciousness, the form present in its specie, that it can act in a way that may have nothing to do with sheer survival. It applies to other species than just humans. Why did a dog recently refuse to leave a burning house until it had rescued all the helpless newborn kittens inside? Why did a monkey befriend a white tiger cub abandoned by its mother? Why did two silverback gorillas, in two separate incidents in two separate zoos, rush to protect from the other gorillas human children who fell into their pits?

There is clearly a difference between voluntary and involuntary volition. So we cannot say at the present point in this discussion that the soul did or did not animate the newborn of any species. Catholics, who believe human life is endowed at conception with a soul would say it does animate the newborn. [see Continuation] The antithetic argument is that human volition begins with the first syllogism. All other determinations of when the soul begins falls between these two extremes.

These two extremes will be the basis for this topic of making the identification of the entity we call the soul. Continuation

McCain and Obama On Iraq’s Opposition To Granting Amnesty To Terrorists

In 2006 the U.S. Senate debated an amendment, Vote 177, that commended the government of Iraq for affirming its position of not granting amnesty to terrorists who attack U.S. armed forces. This occurred at a time when the situation in Iraq was bleak and terrorist activity high, in the year prior to the onset of the “surge” and the new counterinsurgency strategy successfully executed by General Petraeus. For the Iraqi government, during this time, to affirm its position that terrorists who attack U.S. armed forces should not be granted amnesty, was a commendable act of courage by Iraqi leaders. This courage deserved our support. John McCain voted FOR this amendment. Barack Obama voted AGAINST this amendment, as did his running mate, Joe Biden. To see other votes profiled in the ACT! for America Congressional Scorecard, please click here. Visit our News page

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