Physicalism argues that the soul doesn’t exist in such that a counter argument against the dualist’s explanation of the soul through reasoning. While the dualist may explain that the soul can be proven by the human ability to hold desire and reason, the physicalist argues that this is simply a function of the physical body (the brain). One example used for this is the chess playing computer. It is argued that computer has the ability to reason and so it will respond to moves made on its own king with defense. The physicalist will argue that the ability to reason is implied and that the computer therefore has the desire to win, or it wouldn’t react in a defensive manner to my moves. Therefore, we are nothing more than a computer ourselves and nothing exists within us outside our very physical ability to hold desire and reason.
That is a very good argument. I, however, am not a physicalist. I am a dualist. I believe that humans have souls and are motivated internally. The computer, for instance, does not have full range of free will. It is programed to react in X manner when Y situation occurs. In other words, the computer is not acting out of TRUE desire but instead simply choosing from the list of options included in the software when the program was developed. Both the desire and reasoning were built in from the programmer and not an actual attribute of the software program.
Then again, one must consider whether or not humans today possess the type of true desire and reasoning that my dualistic view leads me to believe in. Aren’t we programmed, just like the software? We are programmed as a child to think, feel and behave in a certain manner throughout our interactions with the great institutions of our society (family, school, religion, ect.). These interactions provide us with our “options” when faced with certain stimuli.
Take one of the most basic human desires: the desire to live. In order to live, a human must appeal to the basic needs of the human condition. The human must perform X task in order to obtain food, water, and shelter. In today’s society, this means that the human must submit to a monetary system, attend work, and submit themselves to the will of their masters in order to survive. Although it is intuitive for the human to respond to this need in this manner, it is not required (as is the case with the computer program). The computer program does not know how to resist its programing and the human does. The outcome may be homelessness, starvation and ultimately death but it is an option that the computer does not have.
This realization is the greatest supporting evidence that we have into the existence of something “more” being possessed by humans…still it is being exercised less and less today. If the ability to resist programming is intrinsic to the exercising of the soul and humans become less likely to do this, does it mean that the human race is “selling” its soul to the institutions that program us? Is our submission to the monetary, governmental and religious institutions the first move in a de-evolution of soul? Are we, now, nothing more than robots in the system?