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Protagonism

How I know consciousness is immaterial

Almost everyone believes consciousness is a physical phenomenon, that it comes from the brain somehow. I will point out several logical impossibilities in this understanding of consciousness and show that consciousness must exist independently from matter, not vice versa.

Argument One: Free Will

In a physical system, every event is caused by the previous event, every chemical reaction by the previous reaction. (Some scientists say that physical reality is actually probabilistic rather than deterministic, but that doesn't help - randomness isn't any closer to free will than determinism.)

But the whole idea of free will is that *nothing* causes it. A decision could have been different without any of its precendents being different, yet the person has control of it. There's clearly an irreducible concept of "choice" here that cannot be a product of determined causation and randomness.

Some people try to tamper with the concept of personal identity to get around this. You might argue that "I" *am* my brain, and so whatever "decision" my brain makes is the "choice" "I" made with my "free" will. But that's simply redefining free will so that the definition is still met if external factors - the genes I was born with and my experiences - determine my actions. That's no different from a situation where a neurologist controls my brain; the causes are more distant but still deterministic. That's not free will.

Therefore the only way to have free will is if your decisions actually come from some protected space outside of physical reality.

This is what I call a "soul", or more accurately, a person (since it is a person's behavior that defines "who" they are). A person can control their body through their brain, and can perceive the world through it, but the person themselves exists outside of their brain and is not controlled by it.

And incase you're going to reach for the "maybe we don't have free will after all" card, I'll just point out that free will is required by any concept of morality. If no one has free will, then no one is responsible for their actions.

Argument Two: Epistemics

This one is a bit more abstract. It starts with the realization that *we have never seen anything but consciousness*. Everything we believe in we only found out about through conscious experiences. We have not, and cannot, experience any facet of any physical object other than the perception of it. Thus we have no basis for believing that they exist independently of such perception. And by "no basis", I don't just mean there's an unfulfilled burden of proof; I mean we *can't* believe in such a thing because we don't know what it *means* to exist without consciousness. The only definition of physical existence we have is its potential to be perceived. Believing that physical reality exists independently of consciousness is saying, "there is some kind of existence which can never be demonstrated and can never be understood." That's actually the least scientific thing I've ever heard.

The universe can be understood as an algorithm that allows souls to influence each others' experiences, but it cannot be understood as something that exists independently of them.

Argument Three: Intentionality

If consciousness is a product of specific patterns of matter, then you *must* believe those patterns of matter couldn't exist without being conscious (because if they could then there would be two physically identical but mentally different systems and therefore consciousness couldn't be a product of physical reality). But is it possible to hold that position?

All of science is about studying how matter interacts. There's nothing else to study in science because that's all we can observe (even indirectly). And therefore it's impossible to say that there's something to matter besides how it interacts. A pattern of matter *is* its causal relationships.

So materialism requires it to be *impossible* to have a system that behaves in a certain way without it being conscious; that patterns of causal interactions between matter are not just the cause but the *definition* of consciousness, which is simply incoherent.

Argument Four: The soundness of morality

If everything about our consciousness is a product of our brains, and our brains are a product of evolution, then our sense of morality is also just a product of evolution. And that means that by our own ideas of morality we can't hold our ideas of morality to be morally legitimate, because our source for them is just an arbitrary product of how our species evolved.

Therefore, conscience cannot be a product of evolution or any other arbitrary process.

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