The blog of Dr Glenn Andrew Peoples on Theology, Philosophy, and Social Issues

Episode 027: In Search of the Soul, Part 2


Here it is, part two of the series on philosophy of mind, In Search of the Soul. In this episode I introduce the viewpoint called emergentism, and I explore the argument for dualism from free will.

It’s not the most exciting of episodes, but it’s worth including and listening to if you’re wanting to get a decent overview of philosophy of mind because it lays out a major position (emergentism) and examines a pretty common argument for dualism. In episode 28 (I’ve decided that the whole series will be no more than five episodes long), I’ll look at William Hasker’s (among other people) objection to physicalism from the possibility of an afterlife, which I think will be a lot more interesting.

Glenn Peoples

UPDATE: Here the whole series, now that it is complete:

Part 1 

Part 2 

Part 3 

Part 4 

Part 5 



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  1. Tuckster

    I thought it was interesting enough, Glenn. I learned that the position I thought I held was called ’emergent dualism’.

  2. Kenny

    I didn’t agree with all of it, but I thought it was a well-done informative podcast. I’ll be interested to hear the next one, although I never found the theological argument from the doctrine of afterlife for dualism to be a very compelling one. (It was, for me, philosophical reflection on the doctrine of the incarnation that finally tipped the scales and converted me back to dualism.)

  3. Thanks Kenny. I personally do find the argument for dualism from the afterlife the most compelling argument for dualism, but I don’t think it’s conclusive (obviously).

    As for the argument from free will, all I really did in this episode is argue that emergentism has as much of a problem as physicalism. I’ll look at how physicalism might reply in the episode after the next one.

    Is there a place I can read a basic account of the argument from the incarnation to Cartesian dualism?

  4. Kenny

    Hey Glenn,

    Plantinga briefly discusses the issue in his artical “Heresy, Mind and Truth” (Faith and Philosophy, 16, 1999, pp. 182-193). I also started a thread about this on the theologyweb that can be found here:

    Trenton Merricks also has an article arguing for the opposite conclusion in his article “The Word Made Flesh: Dualism, Physicalism and the Incarnation” in the anthology Persons: Human and Divine edited by Peter van Inwagen and Dean Zimmerman.

  5. Thanks Kenny, I’ll look those up. I’m certainly familiar with the idea that physicalism makes best sense of the idea of “the word made flesh,” so it will be interesting to see an attempt made to argue for the opposite conclusion.

  6. Glenn,

    I saw a preview for the movie “Cold Souls” and thought you might be interested (at least in the trailer). Now your podcasts are the stuff movies are made of:

  7. Movies, eh? I can live with that!

    By the way everyone, there’s a delay in getting the next podcast episode out. I decided to change the order of the next two, plus some things have come up in real life that need my attention.

  8. John Quin

    Hi Glenn
    This podcast is long gone but new to me. (Ran out of Reasonable Faith Podcasts to listen too 🙂 )

    I like your presentation style and will continue to “power listen” to all of these and probably throw some money your way when I get my act together (don’t hold your breath).

    Now on to my issue. I’m open minded on physicalism/dualism but I am getting more and more suspicious of people adopting contemporary scientific theories over and above their own real world experience. Now I’m not suggesting we should all adopt some kind of naive realism but alarm bells started to ring when you seemed to suggest that we might trade in our libertarian free will for something more compatible with current neuroscience. I don’t think I want to do that!!! LOL. But then to be fair at the moment I don’t even see that compatibilism is a coherent concept. It just looks like determinism with longer marionette strings. I’ll keep reading, perhaps I’ll get it eventually.

    Thanks again

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