• 0 thru 9
    828
    {Preamble: The question of the existence of God (or gods) may be a fascinating one to some. Even to one who considers it a relevant matter, it may seem a bit “too much all at once”. Like swinging for the fences, or eating an apple all in one bite. However, let us put the God question aside for the moment.

    To make the intent of this thread clearer by stating what it is NOT:

    This thread is NOT about the existence or non-existence of God. (There are many such threads already).

    Or to put it positively, the topic is “The Possible Existence (and Definition) of Spirit”}

    To start simply, with something that is (or might be) part of our nature... SPIRIT. Does such a thing exist? Is so, what could it possibly be? Is it by nature mostly undefinable, or only partially “knowable”? Is matter, energy, both, neither? Does the mind, body, actions, and spirit of a person intersect in some way?

    If you argue that spirit does NOT exist in any form, please give your definition of it anyway for the sake of clarity and understanding. If not factual, is the idea of spirit symbolic or representative of something in the human experience?

    And for those feeling adventurous, compare and contrast the idea of “spirit” with that of “soul”. Could a thing or animal be thought to have a spirit, if perhaps not a soul?

    Thoughts? Please feel free to add your own questions (like the ones above) about the topic, for they may spur some insights.

    EDIT: THE INTENT OF THIS THREAD IS TO READ AND DISCUSS YOUR DEFINITION OF SPIRIT. But please don’t be distracted if someone else (including me) does not give a definition! :victory: :smile:

    What is your definition of spirit? Does it exist?
    or... Does spirit exist? What is your definition of it?
    Thanks!
  • DingoJones
    834


    In order to ask or answer whether or not something exists, one must first know what that something is.
    How do you expect anyone to answer such a poorly framed question?
  • NKBJ
    1.1k


    I think you got the questions backwards. First ask, what is it, and then you can assess whether ot exists.

    My personal take:
    Supernatural spirits: by definition cannot exist.

    Spirit as in character of person, idea, nation, etc.: yes, though it's not physical.

    Alcoholic spirits: yes and yum!
  • Devans99
    2k
    Spacetime was apparently created in the Big Bang. What created it? Something not of spacetime. Could that something be non-material?
  • Tarun
    16
    In order to ask or answer whether or not something exists, one must first know what that something is.
    How do you expect anyone to answer such a poorly framed question?
    DingoJones

    First of all, this is a question and a question's purpose is an answer. He/She didn't write a book with mistakes to be pointed down. Criticism is welcomed when it comes with an answer.
    I see his question has a mistake. But that doesn't make you a reason to deny it's answer. Hope you understand.

    Now, for that question, I could say spirit is existent in everyone. I could say so firmly because all of us are bound by spirits. This is not much than a name. In science, we call it energy. In spirituality we call it a spirit.
  • 0 thru 9
    828
    Such picky Professors in this university! :blush:

    In order to ask or answer whether or not something exists, one must first know what that something is. How do you expect anyone to answer such a poorly framed question?DingoJones

    That’s what I was earnestly attempting to do, in several different ways. How would you frame it?

    I think you got the questions backwards. First ask, what is it, and then you can assess whether ot exists.NKBJ

    I think the questions are valid (if not perfect) as written. It was not necessarily written or intended as a syllogism. But flip around if that helps!

    My personal take:
    Supernatural spirits: by definition cannot exist.
    NKBJ

    Interesting. Care to expand upon that statement?
  • DingoJones
    834


    If you want to know what people think “spirit” means, then ask that.
    If you want to know if people think a “spirit” exists, define what you mean by spirit and then ask that.
    I do not think Im being picky, your framing just wasnt clear, or sensical. Generally, it is the responsibility of the OP to set the terms of the discussion.
  • 0 thru 9
    828
    Spacetime was apparently created in the Big Bang. What created it? Something not of spacetime. Could that something be non-material?Devans99
    Interesting... but (with all due respect) we are intentionally and with IMHO good reason NOT talking about “what created it?”. In the OP, I tried to nip that whole God question in the bud. The first rule of Fight Club is... :wink:
  • Devans99
    2k
    It was the only justification for a spirit world I could think of. I was approaching the problem from if you could justify the existence of one spirit (IE God) then maybe other spirits are possible too.
  • 0 thru 9
    828
    First of all, this is a question and a question's purpose is an answer. He/She didn't write a book with mistakes to be pointed down. Criticism is welcomed when it comes with an answer.
    I see his question has a mistake. But that doesn't make you a reason to deny it's answer. Hope you understand.
    Tarun

    :up: Thank you. You get the gist and intent of the question.

    Now, for that question, I could say spirit is existent in everyone. I could say so firmly because all of us are bound by spirits. This is not much than a name. In science, we call it energy. In spirituality we call it a spirit.Tarun
    Ok, thanks for your reply. FWIW, I would not disagree with any of it. I also am interested in the possible energy/spirit relationship. Could you expand on what you mean by “all of us are bound by spirits”?
  • Frank Apisa
    896
    Or to put it positively, the topic is “The Possible Existence (and Definition) of Spirit”}0 thru 9

    If your question includes the notion, "Are there things involved in REALITY that humans either do not know exist or are not capable of knowing"...then of course the "possibility" of those things existing does occur.

    I do question the use of the word "supernatural" in this type of question, though.

    Supernatural usually is defined as, "something attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature."

    If it is "beyond scientific understanding"...then by definition it is beyond human understanding.

    Surely there ARE things beyond human understanding.

    However, the second understanding of "supernatural"..."something beyond the laws of nature" is stickier.
    If a thing "exists"...it exists. It IS a part of nature whether humans are capable of understanding it or not.

    If "ghosts" or "spirit entities" exist...they ARE part of nature.

    Any of the things normally held to be "supernatural"...shouldn't be considered that at all.

    IF they exist...they are a part of nature...not other than natural at all.
  • 0 thru 9
    828
    It was the only justification for a spirit world I could think of. I was approaching the problem from if you could justify the existence of one spirit (IE God) then maybe other spirits are possible too.Devans99

    Ok, that sounds fair enough! Thanks. I see the logic of that line of thinking. (My previous response about “the God question” was with the intent to not open up a can of worms, or put the cart before the horse. But YMMV.) :smile:
  • Devans99
    2k
    With eternalism, the past is real in some sense. I wonder if the ghosts that are reported across many different cultures are somehow accessing the past sort of like a video recording. Eternalists hold that Socrates still exists, maybe in some sense what could be called his spirit does.
  • whollyrolling
    412
    Any assertion of the existence of any of these preternatural things humans have irrationally feared for millennia is baseless. None has been evidenced reliably. All are based on personal experiences, typically of unbalanced individuals seeking attention, experiences no one has ever been able to demonstrate or duplicate under any controlled conditions. Even in this, the information age, when everyone has a smart phone equipped with a video camera, no paranormal activity has ever been recorded, and no "spirit" has ever been detected. It might be time to start thinking about where to bury all of this nonsense.
  • leo
    435
    To start simply, with something that is (or might be) part of our nature... SPIRIT. Does such a thing exist? Is so, what could it possibly be? Is it by nature mostly undefinable, or only partially “knowable”? Is matter, energy, both, neither? Does the mind, body, actions, and spirit of a person intersect in some way?

    And for those feeling adventurous, compare and contrast the idea of “spirit” with that of “soul”. Could a thing or animal be thought to have a spirit, if perhaps not a soul?
    0 thru 9

    There is so much to say.

    The material world is the world we construct out of our usual five senses, out of colors sounds touch smell and taste. They are usually correlated in some way, which the mind notices, for instance the motion of a shape may correlate with a sound or a touch or a smell or a taste, or several at once.

    Feelings, emotions are less evidently correlated with the above, but some correlation can still be found, for instance the view of a sunset or of a person may give rise to specific emotions, which may change over time.

    We tend to separate the world of the senses (the material world) from the world of feelings and emotions, maybe because people agree more about what they sense rather than what they feel, which could be what gives rise to the idea that the material world is external while feelings are internal. But we could also see senses and feelings as two aspects of a whole, both of them resulting from interactions between us and the world around us.

    Then there are the desires that drive us, which lead us to react in specific ways depending on the world around us, and which are also impacted by the world around us, but they seem to mostly originate from within, which may be what gives rise to the idea of a soul that exists independently from the material world.

    And then there are the spiritual experiences that seem to be yet something else, as if they were experiences of a world beyond the material.

    I don't see any reason to believe that only humans have a 'soul' or even a spirit, and not other animals. We can't see directly what other animals feel any more than we can see what other humans feel, but for some reason the majority of humans want to believe that only them feel while other animals don't. Maybe because they want to feel special and "better than".
  • 0 thru 9
    828
    If your question includes the notion, "Are there things involved in REALITY that humans either do not know exist or are not capable of knowing"...then of course the "possibility" of those things existing does occur.Frank Apisa
    :up: I didn’t happen to word it so, but that is definitely a good question. (And this might be one of those topics where there are more questions than answers. Thus putting the importance on the questions themselves.)

    I do question the use of the word "supernatural" in this type of question, though.Frank Apisa
    Yes, the word “supernatural” is a loaded term. Which I tried to avoid in the OP, but was bound to come up eventually. As you suggest, how supernatural is defined makes an enormous difference in any discussion of it.

    Supernatural usually is defined as, "something attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature."

    If it is "beyond scientific understanding"...then by definition it is beyond human understanding.

    Surely there ARE things beyond human understanding.
    Frank Apisa
    Yes. I would tend to agree with these statements. I would add that perhaps human understanding is something akin to vision. That some kind of vision, no matter how fuzzy or blurry, is better than none.
    But, conversely... a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Like the well-known example of the person who thinks they see a snake, but it is only a rope.

    However, the second understanding of "supernatural"..."something beyond the laws of nature" is stickier.
    If a thing "exists"...it exists. It IS a part of nature whether humans are capable of understanding it or not.

    If "ghosts" or "spirit entities" exist...they ARE part of nature.

    Any of the things normally held to be "supernatural"...shouldn't be considered that at all.

    IF they exist...they are a part of nature...not other than natural at all.
    Frank Apisa
    I agree with that. Thanks for your reply. What do you think the spirit (or spiritual nature) within an individual is? Does such possibly exist?
  • 0 thru 9
    828
    With eternalism, the past is real in some sense. I wonder if the ghosts that are reported across many different cultures are somehow accessing the past sort of like a video recording. Eternalists hold that Socrates still exists, maybe in some sense what could be called his spirit does.Devans99
    :up: Interesting visual analogy. Thank you. (BTW, I used to be an Eternalist. But it didn’t last too long. :snicker: )
  • Frank Apisa
    896
    Thanks for your reply.0 thru 9

    Good topic. Thanks for starting it...and for considering my comments.

    What do you think the spirit (or spiritual nature) within an individual is? — O

    Have no idea...not even sure if there is "spirit" within an individual.

    I am just the "me" behind the eyes...or the "me" I see when I look in a mirror. If there is a spirituality for me presently...it has to do with the thinking process I experience.

    I do not suppose a soul...although there might be something of that sort. I certainly do not have conscious contact with anything like that.


    Does such possibly exist?

    To my way of thinking, anything that has not been established as impossible...

    ...IS possible.

    So, for me, it is possible.

    Whether there is or not would be a wild guess on my part...nothing better than a coin toss.
  • 0 thru 9
    828
    Any assertion of the existence of any of these preternatural things humans have irrationally feared for millennia is baseless. None has been evidenced reliably. All are based on the personal experiences, typically of unbalanced individuals seeking attention, experiences no one has ever been able to demonstrate or duplicate under any controlled conditions. Even in this, the information age, when everyone has a smart phone equipped with a video camera, no paranormal activity has ever been recorded, and no "soul" has ever been detected. It might be time to start thinking about where to bury all of this nonsense.whollyrolling
    Ok. These statements may in themselves be somewhat of an assertion, but no problem. So are you maybe arguing for a hard materialism? Would you say there a spirit component (for lack of a better term) of humans, analogous with (though perhaps not equivalent to) the mental or emotional aspects? If it helps to clarify the OP a little, personally I am more interested in what’s “here” within us humans rather than what may or may not be “out there” somewhere.
  • 0 thru 9
    828
    Feelings, emotions are less evidently correlated with the above, but some correlation can still be found, for instance the view of a sunset or of a person may give rise to specific emotions, which may change over time.leo
    I would agree with that. Two people looking at the same object (a flag, a painting, a person) could maybe agree on the physical aspects or name of what they were looking at. But anything beyond that is most likely personal, individual, idiosyncratic, and particular. Things like feelings, associations, meanings... So I wonder if the spirit of a person is extremely personal? Or is it something trans-personal, beyond the individual? (Like “the Force” in the Star Wars movies, perhaps?) Something in between?

    And then there are the spiritual experiences that seem to be yet something else, as if they were experiences of a world beyond the material.leo
    Do you think the spiritual could (theoretically of course) interact with the material world? Or perhaps influence or affect it? Or are they somewhat polar opposites?

    I don't see any reason to believe that only humans have a 'soul' or even a spirit, and not other animals. We can't see directly what other animals feel any more than we can see what other humans feel, but for some reason the majority of humans want to believe that only them feel while other animals don't. Maybe because they want to feel special and "better than".leo
    :up: Yes. Likewise, I am not a big fan of human exceptionalism. Sure, we’re different and unique. Let’s pat ourselves on the back, and proceed to other matters.
  • 0 thru 9
    828
    Have no idea...not even sure if there is "spirit" within an individual.

    I am just the "me" behind the eyes...or the "me" I see when I look in a mirror. If there is a spirituality for me presently...it has to do with the thinking process I experience.

    I do not suppose a soul...although there might be something of that sort. I certainly do not have conscious contact with anything like that.
    Frank Apisa
    Seems like an honest and thoughtful answer. What more can one ask of such a difficult and slippery subject? Thanks. :smile:
  • Wayfarer
    7.7k
    Thoughts? Please feel free to add your own questions (like the ones above) about the topic, for they may spur some insights.0 thru 9

    Bear in mind the following is an heuristic, not a developed theory. It is based on the idea that what is real is not necessarily the same as what exists.

    The argument goes like this. The verb 'to exist' has a specific meaning, 'ex- ' meaning 'outside of or apart from' (cf. exile, external), and 'ist', 'to stand' or 'to be'. So to ex-ist is to have a separate identity, to be 'this thing' as distinct from 'that thing' ('no entity without identity' someone once said.)

    'What exists', as a collective noun, is the realm of phenomena, the vast ensemble of existing things, from the atomic to the galactic scale. So loosely speaking, the domain of the natural sciences, or everything in the encyclopedia, is the domain of what exists (the 'ten thousand things' in Taoist philosophy.)

    "What is real", by contrast, includes a lot of things - they're not actually things - that are not strictly speaking part of the phenomenal domain. First and foremost among these are the elements of rational thought - numbers, concepts, syntax, logical laws, and so on. If you take the natural numbers as an example, it's not at all clear that these exist; or rather, that they don't exist in the same way that stones and flowers exist.

    You might point out a number, '7', and say, 'well that exists'. But what you're pointing to is a symbol. And certainly the symbol exists, it is part of the phenomenal domain. But note that what is represented by a symbol can be represented by other symbols - 'VII', 'seven' - but in all cases, the referent is something that can only be counted. In other words, it is only real for an intelligence capable of counting. And for any such intelligence, it has an invariant meaning, which is the basis of the 'law of identity' (A=A). So, 7 is 7 for you, me, and anyone else. (Hence the unresolved controversy over the ontological status of number.)

    The point of such 'laws of thought' is that our thinking is dependent on them, as without them, we couldn't use abstract logic or language. And I say that such intelligible objects of a different order to the domain of phenomenal existents (things that exist). So when we assert the identity of particulars, or say that 'this is that' or 'this means that', this depends on the capacity to abstract and compare using just this inherent faculty of reasoned inference.

    This general approach is broadly speaking Platonist. Plato realised that abstract principles (numbers and geometrical forms) possess a kind of reality that is of a different order to the sensory or empirical. One point about such ideas is that they are immediately perceptible to the mind (nous) in a way that is not possible for material objects; when we know a rational truth, then that kind of knowing is of a different order to the knowledge of sensible particulars as we know it immediately, not mediated by sense.

    Now, in the grand tradition of Western philosophy, what philosophers mean by 'spirit' is real in the sense that such intelligible and rational truths are real. Whereas in current culture, we tend to think in terms of 'what exists', in terms of the phenomenal domain. So if you assert the reality of 'spirit', the question will arise, 'where could such a being exist ? What kind of phenomena is it?' To which traditionalist philosophy might answer, well it doesn't exist, but it's nevertheless real; that it transcends the empirical domain, in a way analogous to how mathematical order transcends the domain of symbolic forms.

    Tricky argument, I know, but I think it says something important.
  • creativesoul
    5.6k
    "Spirit" is a term. Terms exist. "Spirit" can also be an integral basic foundational element of a larger worldview. The notion, idea, and/or conception referred to by using the term "spirit" can be an operative and quite influential interconnected set of different thought/belief. That which is real has an affect/effect. The notion of(one's thought/belief involving and/or about) "spirit" exists as numerous different conceptions thereof. Those conceptions can be operative influences regarding deliberately chosen behaviour. Thus it is very real.
  • Isaac
    714


    Why the careful exposition of the meaning of "exists" but none for the equally vague "real". You seem to restrict "exists" by its etymology and yet allow "real" to mean 'that which is born of rational thought' without any supporting philology.
  • leo
    435
    Do you think the spiritual could (theoretically of course) interact with the material world? Or perhaps influence or affect it? Or are they somewhat polar opposites?0 thru 9

    Well I don't know and I don't think we can know for sure, I see it as a matter of belief. Like the belief in an afterlife, some people believe we are irremediably connected to the material world and that the death of the body implies the death of everything else (feelings, the soul, the spirit), while others believe that the soul/spirit can keep going without the material body. How could we know for sure? A given experience can be interpreted in various ways, some will interpret it as evidence of something beyond while others will interpret it as a delusion, how to know for sure?

    I think some people were absolutely convinced that the world would end on 21 December 2012, that aliens would come, they saw clearly that it would happen, and yet nothing happened. How can we ever know whether what we see clearly is a premonition or a delusion, until after the fact? And if it does happen we can choose to interpret it as if we could really see beyond the material, or as a coincidence, while if it doesn't happen we can try to save our belief by coming up with some explanation why it didn't happen, or we can interpret it as a delusion.

    Likewise, I think a given experience could be interpreted as an interaction between the spiritual and the material, as evidence of a world beyond the material, or as a coincidence, or as a delusion, or as a phenomenon that might eventually be explained within the material world. Then people interpret it in whatever way makes them most comfortable.

    Clearly we are not just inert matter, we have feelings we have desires we have sometimes spiritual experiences, if all we are is matter then that matter has the amazing property to give rise to such experiences, and it's quite possible that the matter we see with our eyes, the body, is a tiny part of what we are. It's possible that all our experiences cannot be reduced to electrons moving through the brain. That a lot goes on in the spiritual world and the eyes can see nothing of it. But it's also possible that this spiritual world is a delusion, something we want to believe to feel better, and that once comes the time to leave our material body we will just die with it. Some say that after we die our spirit keeps on living in the people we loved, but some will interpret it as these people having a memory of us and reacting in a way similar to how we reacted through behavioral imitation. How could we know for sure?

    It could also be that the spiritual world is something we come up with to cope with the horrors of existence. We encounter horrible things in the material world, which are truly horrible if the material world is all there is, but they seem as much more inconsequential if the material is seen as a lesser aspect of existence, if we believe that what really matters goes on in the spiritual. The spiritual world might be a fantasy world we construct in our minds. After all we are able to construct fantasy worlds with fantastic things and creatures and phenomena that we then tell about in books or in films. But the material world itself is partly constructed too, we imagine that the Sun keeps moving on the other side of the Earth during the night, when we hear some specific sound we imagine there is a car traveling on the street nearby or some bird in a tree even if we don't see it. Then if we get up and look through the window we might see the car or the bird, and so we say that the sound we heard was real and not fantasy, but in what way is that different from imagining a sound and then imagining seeing something consistent with the sound? What makes the material world more real than a world vividly imagined, how could we rule out that the material world is nothing more than a shared imagination?

    Existence is mysterious, and anything is possible is what I would say.
  • whollyrolling
    412


    I understand that you want to avoid straying from the specific notion of "spirit", but it's important to consider that it falls into a category with numerous other fantasies and delusions in that all of it is unknown, based on emotions such as fear and anxiety, assigned characteristics cherry-picked from natural occurrences, based on concepts and principles subscribed to by primitive humans who thought that the brain was in the chest where we now know the heart is.

    There's never been any reason, outside of heightened emotion, to assert that anything invisible or intangible can be described with elaborate detail.

    There's nothing wrong with assertion, and I don't see a problem with the assertion that something has never been demonstrated. If you want to argue the existence of something, it might be best to begin with some evidence of a replicable qualitative occurrence of it in reality. Otherwise we're talking about nothing as though it's something.

    It's important to consider all fairy tales, not just one specifically, because they're all derived from similar heightened emotions and states of mind, such as fear of predators, fear of death itself, or fear of not having lived fully, etc.
  • Galuchat
    601
    To start simply, with something that is (or might be) part of our nature... SPIRIT. Does such a thing exist? Is so, what could it possibly be? Is it by nature mostly undefinable, or only partially “knowable”? Is matter, energy, both, neither? Does the mind, body, actions, and spirit of a person intersect in some way?

    And for those feeling adventurous, compare and contrast the idea of “spirit” with that of “soul”. Could a thing or animal be thought to have a spirit, if perhaps not a soul?
    0 thru 9

    Body (organic mass-energy) has spatiotemporal extension. Mind has temporal, but not spatial, extension. Mind consists of organism events (conditions, actions, and processes) which produce automatic and controlled acts.

    As far as I know, the writings of the World's major book religions and systems of moral philosophy are the only source of information about "spirit", or similar concepts.

    From such criteria, evidence in terms of observed behaviour may be sufficient to posit "spirit", or similar concepts. It is a philosophical, not empirical, question. So, questions of fact and nature (including the supernatural) are irrelevant.

    I could (but would not, due to its controversial nature) incorporate a notion of spirit within a model of cognitive psychology as follows:

    1) Like mind, spirit has temporal, but not spatial, extension.
    2) It is a moral condition-action feedback loop.
    3) Body, mind, and spirit have correlative, but not causal, relations.
    4) Soul is mind.
    5) Animals possess a soul, but not a spirit.
  • Wayfarer
    7.7k
    Why the careful exposition of the meaning of "exists" but none for the equally vague "real". You seem to restrict "exists" by its etymology and yet allow "real" to mean 'that which is born of rational thought' without any supporting philology.Isaac

    Fair point.

    The etymology of 'real' is given as follows:

    real (adj.)
    early 14c., "actually existing, true;" mid-15c., "relating to things" (especially property), from Old French reel "real, actual," from Late Latin realis "actual," in Medieval Latin "belonging to the thing itself," from Latin res "matter, thing," of uncertain origin. Meaning "genuine" is recorded from 1550s; sense of "unaffected, no-nonsense" is from 1847. 1

    The Latin root 'res' (matter, thing) denotes 'something which truly exists', an 'actually existing thing'. However, I think that this sense of 'res' is still rather too close in meaning to 'existing'.

    So perhaps the distinction I am seeking to draw is not so much between 'existence' and 'reality', as between 'existence' and 'being'. Perhaps one cognate of the meaning of 'being' I'm trying to convey is not the root 'res' but the Sanskrit root 'sat':

    Sat (Sanskrit: सत्) is a Sanskrit word meaning "the true essence" and that "which is unchangeable" of an entity, species or existence. 'Sat' is a common prefix in ancient Indian literature and variously implies that which is good, true, virtuous, being, happening, real, existing, enduring, lasting, essential — Wikipedia

    I suppose the Latin cognate would be 'esse' or perhaps 'ouisia' which has been translated as 'substance' although that is an unfortunate choice as it is nearer in meaning to 'being' than to 'stuff'. ('Ontology' is derived from 'ousia'.)

    What of the relationship between 'being' and rationality? In the Western tradition, this relationship is grounded in the intuition that 'nous' (intellect) is capable of seeing 'what truly is' - or the essence or idea of things. 'What truly is', in turn, is nearer to the source of being (from Neoplatonism), hence of a higher order than what is found in the sensory or empirical domain. But that way of understanding has generally fallen out of favour in the transition to modernity, so it is nowadays instinctive to try and understand 'what is real' in terms of what is natural.

    In science, our goal is to describe everything we observe or measure in the Universe through natural, physical explanations alone. 2 — Ethan Siegel

    Another aphorism from popular science is Carl Sagan's 'cosmos is all there is'.

    That is why I say that nowadays we naturally equate 'what exists' with 'what is real'.

    So, the naturalist attitude is based on the conviction that 'nature contains its own causal principle'. So what I'm saying is that if you try and conceive of 'spirit' in those terms, then you're bound to fail, even though you would be quite correct in saying that, from the naturalist perspective, 'spirit' is not something which exists. But you would also be missing the point, even though in another sense you would be correct.
  • Isaac
    714


    I'm still not seeing the difference. Much of your exploration of the philology of 'real' touches on 'existence' and even where it diverges, it seems to settle on 'having some identity' which is exactly where you started with your definition of 'exists'.

    It seems to, if I simply infer the meaning from the claim, that 'real' means 'something which can be rationally conceived of'. Your view seems to be that that which can be rationally conceived of has some claim to be 'what truly is', the essence of the thing. But I don't see how that connects to your definition of real.

    If by 'real' we mean 'that which can be coherently concieved' (or something like that), then two people could equally claim X was 'real' on these grounds even though one might go on to conclude that this 'reality' was of great objective significance, whilst the other might see it as nothing more than a subjective artefact of the mind in question.

    So with regards to the significance of declaring "spirits" to be real, it seems that the distinction between 'real' and 'exist' is not as relevant as the faith that certain people's intuitive feelings have more merit than others.
  • Isaac
    714
    As far as I know, the writings of the World's major book religions and systems of moral philosophy are the only source of information about "spirit", or similar concepts.Galuchat

    This seems a weirdly arbitrary circumscription, am I missing something? Why would 'information' about "spirit" be limited to those two sources, why not your own feelings, for example, or those of your neighbours?
  • Galuchat
    601

    Please define spirit.
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