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Philosophia Christi

Volume 20, Issue 1, 2018

Symposium on Dualism and Physicalism

Joshua R. Farris
Pages 83-92
DOI: 10.5840/pc201820111

Souls, Emergent and Created
Why Mere Emergent Dualism Is Insufficient

With the challenges from science, there has been a shift away from traditional or classical versions of substance dualism (most notably Thomism and Cartesianism come to mind) toward emergentist accounts of the mind. Of particular importance for those still inclined to make some distinction between the mind and brain, emergent substance dualism provides an attractive option. However, it promises more than it can deliver. In the present article, I show that a version of emergent substance dualism, where the brain produces a soul (what I call mere emergent substance dualism), lacks the resources to account for the particularity of the soul. I show that, if, in fact, souls (in this case human souls) have primitive thisness, then physical laws could not produce these souls. That being the case, I show how creationism and emergent substance dualism, rather than being disjunctive options, are compatible. In the end, what I call emergent-creationism or creationist-emergentism provides an attractive theory of the origin of souls.