Original Research

From the emergent property of consciousness to the emergence of the immaterial soul or mind’s substance

Ahmad Ebadi, Mohammadmahdi Amoosoltani
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6551 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6551 | © 2021 Ahmad Ebadi, Mohammadmahdi Amoosoltani | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 February 2021 | Published: 27 July 2021

About the author(s)

Ahmad Ebadi, Department of Islamic Philosophy and Theology, Faculty of Ahl al-Bayt Studies, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran, Islamic Republic of
Mohammadmahdi Amoosoltani, Department of Islamic Philosophy and Theology, Faculty of Ahl al-Bayt Studies, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran, Islamic Republic of


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Abstract

According to property-emergentism, consciousness is an emergent property of certain aggregate neurological constructions, whereas substance-emergentism maintains that the emergence of consciousness depends on the emergence of mental substance or soul. In this article, we presented some arguments supporting substance-emergentism by analysing various properties of consciousness, including the first-person perspective, referral state, qualia, being active, causative, non-atomic, interpretative, inferential and inventive (emanative and innovative). We also explored the impossibility of representing big images on the small monitor and the incapacity of physical entities being conscious because of their intrinsic multiplicity, absence and deficiency. These arguments, which apply the philosophy of Mulla Sadra, could be considered by philosophers of mind and religion, as well as theologians who follow some religious beliefs such as the afterlife on existence and survival of the soul. Also, we attempted to respond to property-emergentists’ objections to substance-emergentism.

Contribution: This research contributes to prove and accept the emergence of the immaterial soul after the stages of natural evolution of the body. It uses the basics of emergentism, including natural evolution, to link science and religion in believing the existence of the immaterial soul. Demonstrating the immaterial reality of human existence provides the ground for theological issues such as afterlife and religious morality.


Keywords

property-emergentism; substance-emergentism; consciousness; mind; soul

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