In response to the do you have a soul discussion I think I would just share this essay I wrote some time ago. Historically the mind body problem has challenged mankind’s greatest thinkers. Everyone think and makes reference to their minds for their thoughts. So many questions have been raised about the mind such as what is it and what is its nature. We know for a fact that our body is physical based on its chemical composition of matter. So one may ask what the relationship between the mind and the body is. Many philosophers have derived several theories. U.T Place (1924-2000) a British philosopher explained that mental states are identical with neurophysiological states U.T Place (British journal of philosophy 1955,45: 243-255). This principle constitutes the mind body identity theory. This theory seems to give a more scientific solution to the mind body problem. I personally think it’s a credible concept and will discredit the argument that it is incomplete in that it doesn’t explain qualia. I think the mind body identity theory covers qualia. My two arguments that I will propose to support this claim is that firstly other species display qualia so dualism will have to apply to animals too, if not we have to assume that qualia are instincts. And secondly if the mind is not physical how can mankind use physical substances to manipulate the mind.
The argument that qualia are not addressed by the mind body identity theory is what is considered a problem with the theory. Qualia are mental states that are unique to a character. Perceptual experiences, for example, experiences of the sort involved in seeing green, hearing loud trumpets, tasting liquorices, smelling the sea air, handling a piece of fur, bodily sensations, for example, feeling a twinge of pain, feeling an itch, feeling hungry, having a stomach ache, feeling hot, and feeling dizzy. Think here also of experiences such as those present during orgasm or while running flat-out. Felt reactions or passions or emotions, for example, feeling delight, lust, fear, love, feeling grief, jealousy, regret. Felt moods, for example, feeling elated, depressed, calm, bored, tense, miserable (Haugeland 1985, pp. 230-235). One seemingly good argument for qualia not being a physical phenomenon is Frank Jackson's famous knowledge argument that came about in the 1980's. The knowledge argument suggests that qualia do not supervene on the physical structure of the brain and thus, cannot be explained in physical terms. The knowledge argument tell of a woman called Mary who has never seen any other color that black and white even though she was thought about them. One day she goes outside and sees colors for the first time. Jackson’s argument was that Mary had complete knowledge of the world but did not know how the world works. Daniel Dennet another famous philosopher argued that Mary learns how to recognize the phenomenal properties that her complete physical knowledge of the world had predicted the existence of. Mary now learns to apply practical to theory. I agree with Dennet. We understand things more as we experience it. Qualia are understandable phenomenon because we can distinguish them by experience. I personally think these phenomenons are evolutionary adaptations of the brain. Your mind regulates your body by a process called homeostasis. If you feel hungry it’s because your body lacks food. A woman’s love for her child doesn’t seem different from a chickens love for her chicks. Qualia and other mental phenomenon developed within species over the course of time. It would be more of a problem to use qualia to refute the mind body identity theory. An example of this problem would be animal qualia. According to the three major religions declare that mankind has souls but animals do not. If qualia are therefore used as grounds to argue against the mind body theory, then the following argument can be made.
Humans have qualia.
Humans have a separate soul.
Dogs have qualia.
Dogs have souls.
It’s hard to argue that dogs don’t have qualia. I think a dog gives a good indication of anger a well as a good indication of it having fun. There could be a doggie heaven for doggie souls but I would wonder why there is no theological awareness of this place. Animals such as dogs in a scientific opinion are just lesser intelligent species than humans. The mind of a dog doesn’t seem to be able to think of a way to make computers but it can make a dog feel moods. This suggests that qualia aren’t what are puzzling here. What’s puzzling philosophers is the mind in terms of intelligence. Many behavioral patterns are common to more than one species. Man’s brave enough to hunt crocodiles. Crocodile are brave enough to hunt man. However mans smart enough to use a gun, a crocodile hasn’t invented a device to help in hunting man. Both the crocodile and man have a brain and qualia. This indicates that the brain controls qualia, and the amount of qualia in the mind of a species is proportional to its degree of intelligence.
Another reason why qualia cannot be used as grounds to refute the mind body theory is that the mind and the body are dependent on each other to exist. What affect the body affects the mind. If the body ceases to exist the mind seems to disappear. The brain which I think is the medium for mental activity will also go cease when the body cease under natural conditions. Also the body ceases to operate when the brain ceases to operate. When someone is considered brain dead he or she only needs a funeral unless divine intervention is involved. This I doubt will happen. Scientist has over the years link emotions to the cerebella hemispheres of the brain. This idea can be tested by the effect of drugs on the mind. Drugs affect the brain in different ways. Stimulants like cocaine stimulate the mind while painkillers such as heroine block senses. If one smokes pot which is a hallucinogenic drug one will think differently from when one is sober. Say for example I had two weeks to do this essay. A sober me will se this essay as being a long one that needs to begin early. if I keep my mind in a hallucinogenic state it will keep thinking you can start tomorrow until before you know it I am rush to finish a seven page essay without a plot. If the mind is not physical why when I do physical things like taking drugs it directly affect my mind? This then strengthen Places Arguments that the mind and the brain are just like water and H20. The brain is physical it is the organ affected by drugs. Then my mind must have some physical relativity to the brain that allows it’s to be affected by psychological phenomenon such as getting high. This may lead to the argument that drugs affect the brain as well as the mind then the brain is as physical as the mind. Diseases are also a medium with which we can identify the mind with the body. Alzheimer’s disease of the brain affects people’s memory. If the mind was separate from the brain diseases that affect the brain will not have an effect on the mind. Obviously in reality we can observe that any defect with the brain affect’s a characters mental ability. This indicates that we have no real grounds to separate the mind from the body. If we were to separate the mind from the body using the concept of qualia how would we treat mental sicknesses such as schizophrenia?. This mental disease affects someone’s qualia by switching their moods. A normally calm and sweet person can become a violent and hyperactive character. This disease is one that affects qualia itself. This is where I have the qualia argument back in a corner. Schizophrenia can be treated by drugs. This direct link between physical drug treatment and qualia indicates that qualia are a physical phenomenon. If the mind can be affected by drugs seemingly our minds are the accommodators for addicting. This is troubling to those who think the mind is our soul. Could you ever imagine your souls having withdrawal symptoms? Well here again one would have to assume that the mind has physical properties since drug addition requires physical drugs to provide a qualia. Is a pharmacist so powerful they can manipulate souls? I think like hypnosis they can manipulate the mind. Your mind is as vulnerable as your body is vulnerable.
The mind body theory may not be as clear as most other definitions but it’s pretty consistent with life's observations. If one fails to observe how emotions and other qualia are integrated with ones character it means there is a lack of scientific ideology. Selective breeding of species of species shows how we can dictate the qualia of offspring. This theory can be applied to society in terms of statistics. How many children of well accomplished geniuses become convicted criminals? It does seem more like that most repeat offenders of our judicial system are bi products of ignorant parents. My point is just to indicate that even society can control qualia therefore it cannot be as supernatural as many would perceive.
In conclusion I think that qualia are just phenomenons that categorize species in term how they interact with the environment. According to the Encarta dictionary, evolution relates to natural variation in the genetic material of a population favors reproduction by some individuals more than others, so that over the generations all members of the population come to possess the favorable traits. Qualia are just some things that the brains have adapted for species to survive. Why are we scared when someone sneak up beside up and say roar. Consider that early man had less protection against nature. It was necessary for us to develop a conscious idea of what a vicious predator sounds like so we can retreat. If not when a lion approached us and roared we would have been eaten because we didn’t understand what the lion was doing. This fear of a low pitch roar evolved in our ancestors so we can be careful as a species which increased our fitness. The same principle can be applied to reproduction. We get horny because nature allows us to see the need to reproduce. Imagine humans never got horny; we wouldn’t reproduce often so we would not have evolved over the years to become so populous. Hormones evolved in humans to affect the mind so that we see the need to have sex. This lends more support to the mind body theory as hormones are naturally occurring drugs that affects the mind as well as the body. Qualia allow us to survive in the world. Qualia are as necessary as blood in the body. Without qualia the body is like a fully fueled train running on a track without any driver. If that train track was to end the train is doomed. Qualia are also factors with respect to variation. Just like there are tall people there are short people. Qualia constitute the same type of continuous variation. Qualia are too dependent on physical behavior to not be considered to have physical properties. Place’s mind body theory hold consistent with the existence of qualia.