Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Spring Cleaning

Over the last year I have tried to take the blog in to a more focussed direction and try to concentrate in more depth on certain issues. For example personality theory and my latest piece was focussed on dualism and mental causation. When I start out on a piece I find a really strong tangent of thought that I think will blow peoples minds and they will find interesting, or will clearly highlight how a specific belief doesn't work when we investigate it.

Unfortunately, I cannot give this blog all the attention it needs and with my busy schedule, I often lose this tangent and get side tracked because of the time in between writing sessions, and my tendency to go deep in to subjects. Also, I have a tendency to digress as you will probably have noticed!
Also it sadly means that other ideas I come up with in the mean time get pushed aside temporarily and then don't end up making it in to a piece. 

I had some brilliant insights in to the emptiness of our conceptions of 'success' but since I was focussed on writing another piece I never jotted them down and I have forgotten the great ideas I had since it was a few months ago! I would have to sit there and think and work them out again, but it is hard to flow when you don't have a fresh idea burning brightly in the mind.

I have also noticed that it is perhaps not so helpful to beginners when they come across articles going in to immense depth and complexity. So, for this reason, I am going to shift the focus on shorter posts related to more common enquiries, and hopefully my posting regularity will be somewhat more frequent. I hope this shorter format will be more digestible and be more useful to people who show up on this blog for the first time.

I could start a more complex philosophy blog and ditch www.ghostvirus.com but at the end of the day, this project was always about being accessible and I would hate to discourage people from investigating Anatta by going in to extreme complexity and in a more academic format.
This more rigorous kind of work needs to be done in proper academic circles and needs proper criticism and debate in order to augment or diminish the parts of the argument that are strong or weak accordingly. I hope to start a masters degree soon and that would be the right place for that sort of debate.

I feel that many of my ideas have already weathered the storm from numerous attacks by academic philosophers whom I hold great respect for, and plenty of clueless idiots who were unable to recognise the circular logic they were spouting even when it was presented to them in a bullet point list.
Many aspects of my work are not so outlandish and support for many of my ideas has coming from people working independently in the field, such as Prof. Thomas Metzinger from Johan Guttenberg university Mainz, and Prof. Bruce Hood at Bristol university to name a few.

Whilst we differ in some ways we certainly share the same fundamental premise and many people are on board with this new theory. The New Scientist is onesuch journal that has embraced this view. 
The division between my claim and this new orthodoxy is related to recognising the fundamental truth that 'you' is an illusion can be recognised in phenomenological enquiry. I have already well documented the fact that there is more than just an intellectual understanding to be gleaned here, and I have also documented the fact the Buddhists recognise this insight by the name of Anatta.

Anatta is one of Bhuddisms three characteristics namely, suffering, impermanence, and no self. Whilst I do not subscribe to Bhuddism, having witnessed the perversion of certain sects whilst living in South East Asia, there are certain aspects that I find agreeable. Namely the adherence to phenomenological enquiry and the fact that it encompasses teachings on ethics.

It was never meant to be a religion of any kind as it has no deity and was supposed to be focussed on the truth and awakening. All I will say is that there is much wisdom to be gained, but one should only take on truths demonstrated experientially.

That goes for anything anyone tries to claim, and includes anything you may read on my blog.

I find it much easier to write replies to people as it focusses my mind more intently than trying to approach broader subjects. So please feel free to drop me any burning questions you may have about a post, or about anything relevant in general. It might just be that I am mulling over the same curiosity as you, and hopefully it will help inspire me to post in a more ubiquitous manner.

I also hope to finish an e book that I started a while ago that will help give beginners an introduction to phenomenology and looking. I should be finishing an updated 'How to Look' section in the next week or three, depending on time so watch this space.


Sunday, 17 May 2015

The 'Hard Problem' and Self Hood

This is a reply to a comment on the article 'Self requisite for causation'. This is a sidetrack from the essay but it is an interesting set of musings nonetheless.

I am kind of convinced that there is, or has been, no a selves ever on the Earth. For animals I think all vertebrates have phenomenal, attentional, and cognitive self models. I don't know much about invertebrates.

Hi, glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for bringing this up!

It is certainly fascinating to uncover the similarities that organisms share, especially when it comes to consciousness and cognition. It is always mind blowing looking in to this field but there is always the danger of anthropomorphising - where we assign the attributes of humans to animals.

This is where 'the hard problem' really comes in to play, since there is no way we could even begin to imagine what 'other experience' was like. That being said though, it is not in the realms of fantasy to imagine that other neural networks support phenomenal consciousness in other vertebrates.

I think you are quite right to discount the possibility in creatures which lack neuronal functioning, such as insects. However, me might ask where do we draw the line?

As a thought experiment we might look at simpler brain structures until we find a species with one neuron say. We would then likely suggest that it is too simple to be conscious. Then we would be obliged, according to our categorisations of conscious & non conscious beings, to account for what level of neuronal functioning - i.e. number of neurons and patterns of firing etc. - is requisite for consciousness.

This problem is intractable and can only ever be an inference within the constraints of our hard problem of consciousness. Interestingly it also asks many more questions too such as, is there a golden ratio for neuronal functioning?
Is degree of consciousness something linearly or logarithmically related to neuron complexity?
Is consciousness some kind of on/off state that only occurs once a threshold has been reached?

In this sense, we are currently shut out of an answer to these problems and our attribution of what species are, or are not conscious, is nothing more than arbitrary guesswork. Add to this the problem of other minds, and the fellow sceptics among us have a field day everyday!
However, a recent article in New Scientist suggests that consciousness arises from temporal stable states in neuron firings, that last hundredths of a second. This really is interesting and may hold a key to unlocking this problem. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22630164.500-sparks-of-consciousness-mapped-in-most-detail-yet.html

It is at least intuitive that chimpanzees and the like have quite a rich phenomenal experience. As far as the existence of self model is concerned, I have previously postulated that it arose as a structural requirement necessary before language appeared. 

I wrote an article about it in 2011 You will probably find it interesting but you will have to forgive my poor writing style and RT style erroneous reasoning as it was written before I was versed in philosophy! 

In any case, the kinds of brain function we would be looking at would include episodic memory i.e. remembering events, the re-sequencing of 'nyeeps' (chunks of phenomenal data), behavioural recognition, and crucially, awareness of another's knowledge or cognitive ability.
The kind of example behaviours we would see from this functioning might include evidence of planning according to past experience, ability to make tools, noticing the intentions of others, and demonstrating awareness of whether others have noticed danger.

Interestingly, all these attributes are displayed by different members of the ape family. Crucially, this leads us to suggest that the self model is not limited to humans, and allows us to postulate that the brains modelling of the world in a relational capacity to the body that contains and protects it, is a function that could have evolved and is present in other species. There we have a plausible explanation of what self hood really is, instead of trying to say it is an entity divided from the 'objective world' as such.

As far as agency is concerned, I would suggest self hood consists in embodied human agency manifested as phenomenal experience. I.e. we are not something calling the shots separate from the brain, or passing judgement on the phenomena that arises, or rearranging 'nyeeps' in to new sequences to make plans.

'We' are nothing but the manifestation of the appearance of phenomenal experience arising within the brain as it goes about its business in the world. Hence, we can demonstrate the lack of control and free will that we thought we had because life lives itself, it always has without the need for bringing a separate 'you' in to the equation.

Naturally, we throw up many more questions (its always a can of worms!) such as, am I committed to saying consciousness is epiphenomena? How do we suppose there really is an external world in which these brains subsist? - I could go on but there is plenty to chew on here and I hope to explore these questions in my future ramblings!

The aim of self requisite for causation was not to 'convince' you there were never any selves, it was more to trash dualism and really question the suppositions upon which the notion of selves are based. 
Its not much use for me to convince anyone one model of reality is true over the other, however, I do want you to look in experience. Admittedly here we are dealing with the logical end of the bargain and I hope this helps to highlight the untested assumptions we have never dared or even thought about questioning.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Self Requisite For Causation? Part VI

Part 1 Here

The Conditions For Self hood

If we take the fear response we investigated in part II for example, we analysed this and discovered we did not control the process. We might see similar behaviour to our fear response in dogs, perhaps in response to fireworks or a gun shot.
At this point we might question whether or not a self was responsible for this. As we illustrated earlier in part II, we are inconsistent in the way we attributed the cause of emotions. On one hand we might describe ourselves as being afraid and attributing this to ourselves, yet on the other, we think of it as an automatic response that we have no control over.

As far as the dog is concerned we have to ask the question of whether we consider it as a rational agent in charge of its (dogged?) emotions, or as being subject to the changing environment? Naturally, the former sounds completely absurd. However, the latter description seems to fit both the animal and even ourselves.
We might go on to draw other comparisons between ourselves and animals. For instance, we can start to question whether or not the dog would have some extra ability to sense or perhaps even control the amount of glycogen that is synthesised into ATP, to quote an example from part II.

Whilst we certainly cannot know what the dog's experience is like, it is not beyond the bounds of reason to suggest that there are many processes that happen outside the stream of phenomenal experience that the dog is conscious of. Moreover, it again raises the question of whether or not the dog has any kind of rudimentary self that is aware?

The hard facts seem to suggest that dogs have no self awareness. For example they cannot pass the mirror test but chimps can. Whilst this is a contentious area of study it is certainly fascinating.
The implications that we have to look at are whether or not 'being aware' is a property of self hood. We might like to consider a range from the simplest single cell organism all the way up to humans.

We might ask ourselves at what point do we draw a line and say something is actually aware?
Is a virus aware that it is replicating?
Are insects aware of where their food is?
Is a gecko aware of whether the mosquito is looking the other way?
Is a dog aware of an intruder outside?

This leads us to question what we mean by 'being aware'. If we use it as a descriptive term we can say an insect is aware of where the food is because it is moving towards it. However, if we mean having a complex mental life consisting in being consciousness then we are talking about something else entirely.
Essentially, we can break down the meaning of the word 'aware' as being a predicate of descriptive language, or as being phenomenally conscious. When we use 'aware' as a predicate, i.e. the insect is aware of x, we need to distinguish between this purely descriptive use and what we mean by consciously being aware of mental phenomena - phenomenal consciousness. 

It is quite legitimate to believe that if we were to strip down the functions of the brain it would eventually lead to a more rudimentary kind of phenomenal consciousness. We might attribute this to chimpanzees but we may think twice before we attributed it to insects.
The key point here, is that these kinds of reasoning are nothing more than mere speculation. All we are doing is trying to validate our model of the world by means of inference. However, we have no means of validation for such inferences and we are left facing the aptly named 'hard problem' of consciousness (See Nagel, 1979). 

Whilst our inferences about consciousness fit our model they are always out of reach of empirical validation. In this sense the attribution of phenomenal consciousness is only ever theoretical and we are always at a loss when we are looking for certainty. 

In any case, taking a step back from all this talk of whether dogs and insects have consciousness, we might also ask what is the main difference between dogs and humans? We might say the ability to think, language, intelligence, and also inability to lick genitals, disdain for dog faeces for good measure too! Joking aside though, we might look at the kinds of criteria that we would use to make this comparison.

Dogs can communicate in simple ways, even if it is just scratching the door to be let out. Dogs can be taught to do tricks with repetition although I would draw a line quite quickly regarding intelligence as barking at passers by repeatedly does not do much for their case.

At this stage it is up to you whether you denote dogs as having some kind of rudimentary self or deny it completely. Its early days for you to make up your mind if you are just starting out in an investigation. Obviously it would be hard to say anything meaningful about the conscious experience of a dog, but what we can say is that we can witness quite a lot of processes going on that do not require a self.
In order to be a self of any kind, it appears requisite that some kind of self awareness is needed, such as monitoring of thoughts for example. But is it only thinking that presupposes a self?

The title of this article is 'Self requisite for causation?' and the point of this series was to highlight the internal contradictions of dualism and investigate our assumptions about causation. Now it seems we are in a murky realm postulating which beings have consciousness or not.
However, it is worthwhile in the sense that we have opened up some of the taken for granted assumptions regarding what self hood might consist of. 

We have highlighted the contradictions of how we identify with our emotions, whether we believe these are dualistic or not. We have also shown how dualism falls apart, when we try to stick to its model, in the face of howling contradictions. We have also seen how intelligence cannot be a criteria of other people having minds when we assume dualism is true. (Even monism has its issues regarding this [See Chalmers, 1996]). 

Evolution of the Self

Putting dualism aside for now, it should be clear at this point that if we are to postulate that there is some kind of self, we are going to have to account for its evolution in another capacity. Going down the evolutionary chain to single celled organisms such as amoeba, we are hard pressed to claim that some kind of self is going to be present. If we start scanning up the chain in terms of complexity of the brain and the like, we might want to insert it somewhere, but we might ask where?

We started to consider the possibility and we came up with a few candidates like awareness, consciousness, and intelligence. We could grant these things to dogs though, and this led us to start looking at the ability to communicate and think conceptually.
Communication exists to a degree in other animals but certainly not to the degree of complexity in which us humans do so everyday. There are examples of captive primates recognising symbols and the like if you do a web search on animal intelligence. Furthermore, other creatures show the ability for self awareness in the mirror test.

What we have to do is specify the necessary and sufficient conditions for self hood. The reason being is that we have to be able to state what the difference is between the amoeba and human having this virtue of self hood. If we cannot state what this difference consists in, then how can we be sure there is a difference? From our list of candidates we have:

Being phenomenally consciousness
Awareness of ones self and others
Possessing intelligence
Exhibiting intentionality
Ability to Communicate
By virtue of thinking abstractly

At this point I could walk you through each of these but it is probably better if you do the work to demonstrate it in your own experience. As a brief overview we know consciousness is a tricky one, but it seems absurd to suggest that your pet dog is not conscious in some capacity, and we can take that down to smaller animals like rats who have the ability to navigate mazes and solve very basic puzzles for food rewards. We have to remember the absurdity of displaying intelligence without a mind on the dualist account but here, we are postulating whether intelligence presupposes consciousness. 

Apes demonstrate awareness of the mindset of other apes around them before communicating, and I wrote an article about this research a few years ago. Other animals appear to communicate in more limited capacities. 
Apes are able to solve complex tasks as we illustrated with Kanzi the bonobo cooking marshmallows, and various other studies also demonstrate signs of inelligence. 

Thinking abstractly seems to be the strongest candidate here, but if we say this is the necessary condition, then we have to deny that anything that cannot think abstractly has no self.

This would be problematic in the case of a new born child if we were to try and say that there is some innate self in humans (viz. a dualist). Without the ability to think we would have to deny that they had any kind of self. If we were to admit this and say the self develops, then we would have to explicitly admit the self is constructed from experience and concepts - which is my argument.

However, if you want to reject this assertion you have to account for how a self exists independently from the very thinking that you believe is requisite for self hood. To compound this issue research has shown that it is possible that animals are capable of abstract thinking without having any kind of language, and that animals are capable of planning with episodic memory - just to muddy the water a little. 

Of course, these examples are extreme case formulations but the key is to notice that none of the candidates are sufficient to explain what has and does not have a self - in isolation and even in various combinations. We might argue that all of these are necessary conditions for self hood, but they are certainly insufficient to state what does have and does not have self hood. 

To demonstrate this to yourself you can pick away at the threads we have started here and see if you can unravel them to provide a suitable explanation for self hood on your own. I will save you the bother and tell you that these concepts are completely inadequate. 
What we do find is that we can give the vaguest definitions and then try and say that other facts are needed. We can also say that our current terms are derived from scientific study and therefore must be true. 

However, I cordially invite you to look in to scientific explanations of terms such as intelligence and consciousness. What you will find is that these are heuristic terms that mean a kind of phenomena we think we can intimately know but there is no objective grounding for them, nor any kind of satisfactory explanation for why they occur. Try defining 'intelligence' and you will see it is problematical. A starting point might be this.

Intelligencecapacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc. 

Almost immediately, we open up a quagmire when we ask what does this presuppose? Many organisms can learn, where do we draw the line between those that can or can't? Define reasoning. Can we be sure that rats aren't reasoning when they navigate a maze, do they need to understand a problem and then solve it? How do we know there is mental activity ongoing in other animals, or for that matter other humans? - AKA the problem of other minds.

Of course, to follow all these threads would require tomes of reading but since we do not have a clear starting point, we are only capable of guess work. The point I am making is that we like to form a model of the world based on the foundations of these concepts. 
In practice though, the very terms upon which we are basing the model are merely sense making concepts that do not, in of themselves, give an explanation of the phenomena they supposedly represent when we try to apply them universally. In this instance they break down and we see that they are quite empty and lack universal application. 

In order for such an idea regarding the nature of creatures to have any traction, it must be universally applicable. If it lacks this universality we can question whether we are talking about some real phenomena, or an artifact of our way of making sense of the world. 
Were these ideas to possess the attribute of universality then they would be sufficient for us to make divisions according to our categories. 

The point here is that we are unable to do so.

This means our ideas about self hood, consciousness, and intelligence, to name a few, are inadequate for us to carve up the domain neatly and the boundaries are always going to be blurred. We are also left with the absurdity of accounting for a self that could not think at some point in our evolutionary past even if we could. 
The idea that self hood is innate is incompatible with evolution, and the prospect of accounting for 'selves' that did not think is difficult. 

We might ask for example when did self hood first appear? Unfortunately, we run in to the same problem providing any distinction that is not arbitrary. Moreover, we also have to admit that the self is the product of more complex brain functioning if we follow this chain of reasoning.
If the self is the product of the more complex functionality of the brain, the product of the mind as such, then we are left with the admission that the self is nothing more than the story the brain phenomenally experiences about its supposed place in the world.

In other words, it is a fantasy projection of thought. Although, I will grant this fantasy is coherent and exhibits a degree of predictability but on this view it cannot be anything more. 

Moreover, and most importantly, what grounds does this give us to make any assertions about agency and mental causation? 

If we are now a little sceptical about all our prior untested reasoning, which you should be, then how can we simply establish that a self is requisite for mental causation when we cannot even delineate what does and does not possess agency? 
If we cannot even make a division between ourselves and other simple species such as insects, then what grounds do we have for establishing facts about self hood being requisite for causation?

Of course, we have a couple of things not mentioned in the list above, for example, you may believe you have free will and volition over your actions and thinking. You might accept the idea that the ownership of emotions story may be beyond our control but you may be able to establish this argument in some other way.

If this is the case check out my thought experiments on the home page and you will see that our idea of what the self is, turns out to be insufficient to demonstrate that it is requisite for causation. 
We will of course explore this further in future posts but for now we can now be at least satisfied that our presumptions are quite groundless and, ultimately you will discover they are in fact completely empty.

As I have always said, you don't exist in the sense that you have the quality of essential existence, or are some kind of self sufficient entity. The reality is there is no division between the world and the brain processes that form the 'self'. 
Everything is all bound in the interconnected fabric of reality and the distinction made between 'you' and the 'world' is simply a conceptual distinction, nothing more. I invite you to take a look....

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Self Requisite For Causation? Part V

Part 1 Here

Dualism: A Religious Doctrine

Having established the absurd nature of holding to the Cartesian picture, we need to draw a few more comparisons. Our next stage is to illustrate that we cannot hold on to a dualism of body and mind and reject theism at the same time. Religion and Cartesian dualism are bound as part of the same package and the two are inseparable.
This is a slight deviation from the scope of the article as we were concerned more with mental causation, however, this will set us up nicely for the final part next week.  

The analysis we have made so far between animal and human minds is tentative at best. Since we don't know what animal experience is like, we can't be certain animals are not zombie like. 
However, the same criteria we use to attribute minds to other beings, namely intelligence, means that there is a sceptical argument about 'other minds' that the Cartesian view cannot deal with - without bringing in god.

One example that may provide a counter example in favour of the Cartesian picture is that computers may carry out complex tasks and not have any kind of 'mind-like' intelligence. 
This means that watching behaviour that even resembles any kind of intentionality, does not necessarily presuppose a mind. By intentionality, we are simply talking about some kind of agent acting with purpose or intention.

This example seems to reconcile the Cartesian picture but we have merely shifted our intuitions, and the same problem remains: How do we assert that anything has a mind?
The Cartesian response here is that we are human beings created by God with incorporeal souls and for this reason we are more than just animals. The Cartesian has not provided an independent justification of this ontological viewpoint though.

The truth is, we were asked how we were to determine that others could have minds?

This chain of reasoning simply entails that the Cartesian is restating their ontological viewpoint without qualification of how we could ever know the nature of non-physical beings. 

For this reason, this view can only make sense to some one whose framework supposes a deity.

For those of sound faculties of mind, it should be clear that theists start out from the position that god exists. One of the next steps then, is to justify how it is possible to survive bodily death to go to heaven. 
Simply saying 'god made it this way' is not even an argument, but is tantamount to the foaming at the mouth madness that underpins monotheistic religions.

When faced with the absurdity of trying to explain how one can survive bodily death, they have to rely on their presupposition of god to explain it. The problem is, they were arguing for the Cartesian view as a result of starting from the presupposition of their being a god in the first place - hence we have a circular chain of reasoning.
To argue in favour of the Cartesian picture by using god as a justification is to straightforwardly beg the question. Despite this though, this is exactly the kind of pattern that theists use to defend their delusion.


The inadequacies of dualism are further highlighted by modern evolutionary theory. Evolution is the theory that life on earth evolved from a common ancestor and relies on genetic changes, within a population, over time. This change is driven by successive recombinations of genetic material, which is inherited by subsequent generations.
This process is subject to genetic drift, mutation and natural selection influencing the gene pool within a population. Evolutionary theory makes empirical observations and also provides us an excellent understanding of how there came to be so much complexity in the natural world.

We can plausibly see how 'speciations' appeared in nature and that beneficial mutations can occur in genes, which provide a survival advantage over other members in the gene pool. These advantages mean an organism stands more chance of surviving and replicating and this results in an increased frequency of the trait within a gene pool.
This accounts for the complexity and functionality of biological life and plausibly shows a realistic alternative to metaphysical and superstitious explanations.

Whilst we see folk like Ken Ham and his deluded 'young earth creationism' nonsense, many reasonable theists have had to accept some facets of evolution. When we see viruses mutate and bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, we have demonstrable proof of micro-evolution.

One of the main arguments theists bring against evolution centres around macro-evolution and speciation. That is to question whether or not the small-scale micro-changes over time were sufficient for new species to appear and diverge in separate developmental paths. 
It also questions whether or not new abilities could appear for example flagella appearing on bacteria, and this is referred to as 'irreducible complexity'. In this sense theists are trying to resort to what is termed 'God of the gaps' thinking, where every conceptual gap is exploited as proof that evolutionary theory is false and only God's existence could account for it.

There is much literature on the Internet about this and we could talk about it all day but before we get sidetracked, we will draw a line and try and plug our theories about self hood into this matrix. Naturally, dualism completely fails at this point if we believe that evolutionary theory is true. This is for the reason that we have no plausible explanation for how a non-physical thinking could evolve.

In order for dualism to be true, it is necessary that the soul/thinking stuff is some kind of self sufficient entity. If it is self sufficient it must, by necessity, subsist entirely separately from physical matter.

Remember, the thinking component can subsist separately from the physical body in heaven according to dualism.

Therefore, it follows that if there is any relation between the two then we need a theory to account for this. Since we already have trouble accounting for how physical and non-physical matter interact with each other at a causal level, then we are going to have real trouble trying to explain more complex interactions.

The ability to think in concepts and language is related to Wernickes and Broca's area in the brain, and these regions are more developed in humans than in apes. In order to account for this in a dualistic framework, we might want to theorise that as the brain 'hardware' improved so did cognitive ability.
At this point then we are obliged to provide a theory of how souls evolve and, once again, we are in the realms of foaming at the mouth crack pottery. It should be crystal clear now that in order for us to believe in dualism, we must also reject evolutionary theory.

Dualism is only compatible with creationism as modern evolutionary theory asks too many embarrassing questions that the doctrine is in no position to answer. You might want to rebuke my assertion here, but all I will say is that if dualism had any substance (lol!) then it would dovetail with modern theory.
As such, dualists have to reject modern theory in order to maintain their convictions. It may be tempting at this point to side with the god of the gaps thinking and say there is micro-evolution but something else played a hand in macro-evolution. However, you are basically saying you believe in god or some other supernatural force. If you are denying evolution is real then pay Ken Ham a visit, you will be in good company there.

Hence, there is no way you can accept dualism of body and mind but reject god simultaneously. The two go hand in hand together and it is very surprising how many people who consider themselves as secular, still subscribe to dualism as a result of its prevalence in mainstream society. This is because these people have never investigated the taken for granted assumptions and presuppositions upon which their model of reality is based - and we are talking about the majority of ordinary folk.

There is a synthesis of substance dualism that is non-religious, however, it brings in its own set of problems, not to mention many of these we have covered in this series. The main problem is centred around the fact that the theory of dualism was required to explain a religious ontology. Without this need then the conceptual difficulties it faces alone are sufficient reason for us to disregard it. Dualism is such an accepted ontological viewpoint in society, but when we question it we find that it is full of holes.

The next step is to start to look at what the theory of evolution means for our theories of self hood. Essentially, we have to take what we have learned so far and try to make some sense out of our traditional ideas of self hood within the context of evolutionary theory. What we will see is that, like the notion of dualism, our ideas evaporate under scrutiny and our conceptual presuppositions about the self were quite empty.  

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