Peter Lupu comments:
Bill has argued that my murder-argument relies upon a faulty analogy. I have a very general response to this charge: while the murder-argument indeed relies upon an analogy, the analogy upon which it relies is one employed by the soul-theorists themselves. Thus, I contend that if the soul-theorists are entitled to a certain analogy, then I am entitled to use the very same analogy in order to marshal an argument against this or that aspect of the soul-hypothesis. And conversely, if I am not entitled to use a certain analogy, then the soul-theorists are not entitled to it either. But, as I shall show, if the soul-theorists are not entitled to the relevant analogy, then there is an even more direct argument than the murder-argument I have given to the conclusion that according to soul-theorists murder is not a grave moral wrongdoing. [What Peter means to say is not that soul-theorists officially maintain as part of their theory that murder is not a grave moral wrongdoing, but that, whether or not soul theorists realize it, soul-theory entails that murder is not a grave moral wrongdoing.]
Consider the following:
(i) Murder is an *injury* to the soul;
(ii) Murder *harms* the soul*:
(iii) Murder *damages* the soul;
(iv) Murder has an *adverse effect* on the soul.
Unless the soul-theorist holds some of the propositions (i)-(iv) or some of their equivalents, he has absolutely no grounds for maintaining that murder is a grave moral wrongdoing or that it is even morally relevant.
This can't be right. Peter means by (i) that murder is an injury to the soul of the body that is killed, and similarly in the other variants. But murder would constitute a grave moral evil to the soul of the person who commits murder even if there is no injury to the soul of the body of the person who is murdered. Therefore, contrary to what Peter says, holding (i)-(iv) is not necessary for maintaining that murder is a grave moral wrong.
But, now, on the basis of what considerations does the soul-theorist maintain any of these propositions? How does the soul-theorist know any of the above propositions? What entitles the soul-theorist to even attribute the terms ‘injury’, ‘harm’, ‘damage’, ‘adverse effect’ to the soul? [I propose that we set aside the epistemological question in order to focus on the last one, which is more fundamental.]
The terms listed above apply first and foremost to the physical body. We talk about a fall or an object causing injury to some part of the body; similarly, we talk about such and such physical harm done to some part of the body or the manner some limb is damaged due to this or that incident. The soul-theorist's use of any of these terms to apply to the soul is derived from an analogy to their use when applied to the body. If such analogies are excluded, then the soul-theorist cannot use these terms to apply to the soul.
This is interesting, but also not very clear. Peter is telling us that words like 'injury,' harm' and damage' have their primary use in application to the body and its parts, and that it is only by an analogical extension that we apply such terms to the soul. I suppose this commits him to a similar view when it comes to injury to a person's reputation, self-esteem, good name: it is only by analogy that we speak of injury to a person's reputation, etc. But is it quite obvious that 'injury' and the like apply primarily to the body and its parts and only analogically to the soul and its states? Could it not be the other way around? Note that so-called physical pain is mental in nature. Tooth ache pain, for example, is not in the tooth or anywhere in the body but 'in' the mind and therefore in the soul. (Remember: the existence of souls is being presupposed in this discussion; minds are souls.) And so-called mental pain (grief, anxiety, the shocked feeling one gets when one discovers that Bernie Madoff has made off with one' life's savings . . .) is of course mental too. So, phenomenologically, it would appear that 'injury' and like terms apply first and foremost to the soul and its states. This is what they literally apply to, and it is only by a carry-over (metaphor) or analogical extension that we apply them to physical things and states. Or so I shall argue.
Suppose I come across a wooden chair all by itself, in the middle of the desert, with a broken leg. One could not say literally that the chair was injured. (Neither Peter nor I are panpsychists.) But if it were my chair and I needed it for some purpose, then one could say analogically that the chair was injured. For then the chair could be viewed as an instrumental extension of my body: a tool for taking the weight off my legs while keeping me off the ground. Ascription of injury seems to presuppose some sentient being who suffers, however mildly, from something's whole or partial nonfunctionality. Now suppose I break my leg while hiking. We of course ascribe injury to the leg, and more particulary to a bone in the leg, but that is only because the leg is the leg of an ensouled being who feels in and through the leg and has an interest in that leg as a sort of instrumental extension of his soul into the world. I will be told that not every part of the body is a part that one can feel. True. I can feel what goes on in my legs, but not what goes on in my brain. Nevertheless, damage or injury or harm to the brain presupposes that that brain is part of the embodiment of a soul who has an interest in its as a part of the apparatus of his encounter with the world.
The brain is literally a proper physical part of the physical body. My claim is that ascriptions of damage and injury to a brain cannot be made in abstraction from a soul whose brain it is. And the same goes for other body parts and the body as a whole.
Since Peter is sure to resist me on this, and since the subject is intrinsically difficult, and vexatiously murky, I need to say more. Over there is a Saguaro rib on the ground. A rock slides down a slope and breaks the rib in two. Has the rib been harmed, injured or damaged? No. A merely physical event has occurred. Where before there was one stick, now there are two. If the rib had been part of a live Saguaro, then perhaps one might argue that the rib had been damaged. But it is just a dead piece of wood. My hiking staff is also just a dead piece of wood. Suppose I had placed it on the ground while I was rummaging in my pack, and that just then a rock had hit it breaking it in two. Now the situation is different. My trusty staff is an old friend: my third leg. It has saved me from several nasty falls, has helped me over many a steep trail, has held ornery critters at bay, including one of the two-legged kind. My staff is an instrumental extension of my body, my space-time vehicle if you will, and so my staff is an instrumental extension of my soul. (Let's not forget that on the view we are presupposing, I am (identically) my soul: My soul is not a proper part of me. I am not a composite of soul and body. That's a possible view too, a version of which is the A-T hylomorphic position, but it is not the view being presupposed in this thread.)
We can, then, speak analogically of harm, damage, injury to my staff -- but only because it is my staff, only because it is an instrumental extension of my space-time vehicle. The self or soul is that which thinks, feels, and has interests; and so one cannot speak properly, primarily, or literally of damage or injury to a merely physical thing. It is only analogically that one can speak of damage to my hiking staff, As for the Saguaro rib, if no one wants it , needs it, cares about it, etc., then nothing that happens to it can be called damage. But if I need that rib for a tent pole, and the rib breaks, then one can speak of damage to the rib -- but only because of the back-reference to me, who am a soul.
In sum, I question Peter's assertion that "The soul-theorist's use of any of these terms to apply to the soul is derived from an analogy to their use when applied to the body." I suggest it is the other way around.
Suppose I am kicked in the balls. Admittedly it sounds absurd to say that my soul has suffered an injury. But don't forget that souls as we encounter them are embodied: they are not off in some other dimension, some topos ouranos, or hidden away somewhere. (And don't forget that the soul is the subject of consciousness and that consciousness in virtue of its intentionality 'flees itself' (in a Sartrean image) towards objects distinct from itself. The soul is not closed in on itself. It is as Aristotle says in De Anima, "in a certain sense all things.") Furthermore, on the view under consideration, I am my soul. So I can't suffer an injury unless my soul suffers an injury. Bruising, of course, is a physical process; and my soul can't be bruised. But the injuriousness of bruising cannot reside properly and primarily and non-analogically in the body, but only in the soul that animates the body.
The pain is not pain in my balls but 'in' my soul. What's more, there is damage to my balls only if someone has an interest in their integrity and well-functioning. That is either me or some other soul. What makes my balls MY balls? Surely there is no physical property of mineness exemplification of which by my balls makes them MINE. My testicular apparatus is mine in virtue of a back-reference to my soul, to my self or I.
If Robinson Crusoe were a philosophical zombie, he could not be damaged, harmed, or injured. But he could be smashed to pieces.
A deed cannot be said to be a moral wrongdoing unless it causes some harm, injury, damage, or in some way it adversely affects someone in a manner that they would not have been adversely affected otherwise. Therefore, if the soul-theorist wishes to maintain that murder is a moral wrongdoing, he must demonstrate how it adversely affects the soul not just the body. Therefore, in order for the soul-theorist to maintain that murder is a moral wrongdoing he must use terms such as ‘injury’, ‘harm’, ‘damage’, etc., and when he so does, he uses them by analogy from the physical realm.
I have just argued in effect that the second 'therefore' is a non sequitur.
If the soul-theorist is not entitled to use such terms in order to establish the grounds for the moral wrongness of murder, then he has no grounds to maintain that murder is a moral wrongdoing because it adversely affects the soul. And if he cannot maintain that murder is a moral wrongdoing because it adversely affects the soul, then he has no grounds to maintain that murder is a moral wrongdoing.
I have just argued in effect that the antecedent of the opening conditional is false.