The Dualist’s Dilemma: The High Cost of Reconciling Neuroscience with a Soul
Augustine (Keith) & Fishman (Yonatan I.)
Source: Martin & Augustine - The Myth of an Afterlife, Part 1, Chapter 10
Paper - Abstract

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Editors’ Abstract1

  1. Tight correlations between mental states and brain states have been observed time and again within
    1. the ethology of biologically ingrained animal behaviors,
    2. the comparative psychology of animal minds,
    3. the evolutionary psychology of mental adaptations,
    4. the behavioral genetics of inherited mental traits,
    5. the developmental psychology of the maturing mind,
    6. the psychopharmacology of mind-altering substances, and
    7. cognitive neuroscience more generally.
  2. They imply that our mental lives are only made possible because of brain activity — that having a functioning brain is a necessary condition for having conscious experiences.
  3. This dependence thesis yields predictions that have been spectacularly confirmed by the evidence, whereas its antithesis has been massively disconfirmed — at least so long as it is not formulated so vaguely as to yield no specific empirical consequences at all.
  4. Dualists are thus forced to make a difficult choice: either
    1. retain a belief in personal survival at the expense of ignoring or dismissing the implications of our best evidence, or
    2. accept those implications at the expense of acknowledging that the prospects for personal survival are extremely dim.

  1. Introduction: A Probabilistic Argument
  2. Scientific Reasoning I: Mill's Methods and Modern Epidemiological
  3. Scientific Reasoning II: Inference to the Best Explanation, Testability, and Predictive Success
    • Parsimony: Tempering Explanations to Minimize False Beliefs
    • Plausibility: Harmonizing Explanations with Background Knowledge
    • Testability & Confirmation: Checking Hypotheses Against the Data
      • Confirmation of the Dependence Thesis from Failed Attempts to Falsify It
      • Confirmation of the Dependence Thesis from the Falsification of its Rival
    • Scope: Bringing Disparate Facts Together
    • Fertility: Generating New Lines of Research
    • Overview
      • Table 10.1: Evaluation of the dependence and independence theses according to inference to the best explanation
  4. Scientific Reasoning III: Bayesian and Information-Theoretic Approaches
    • Bayesian Probability
    • Bayesian Confirmation Theory
    • A Bayesian Approach to the Dependence and Independence Theses
    • The Probabilistic Price of Ad Hoc Accommodation: Simplicity vs. Goodness of Fit
      • Simplicity Reflected in the Likelihood
      • Simplicity Reflected in the Prior Probability
    • Prediction vs. Accommodation
    • Bayesian Analysis of the Dependence and Independence Theses
  5. The Dualist's Dilemma: Reject Science, or Reject Personal Survival?
    • What's Left for a Soul to Do?
  6. Conclusion

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Taken from Link, numbering mine.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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