The question of ‘soul’ is insoluble for darwinism, to put it mildly, but it is almost equally difficult for any other perspective. We were prompted by J.G. Bennett, here, among others, and his proposal was to bring in his ‘demiurgic powers’ in his The Dramatic Universe, vol 4. It is a remarkable but completely speculative account of homo sapiens entering the soul domain in concert with a transformation of consciousness, language, mind and much else. But if we consider carefully the type of model for a ‘soul question’ we can see dimly how a ‘naturalistic argument’ is possible. Naturalistic in the sense of Bennett’s (or my own) discussions of ‘three dimensions of time’ (time, eternity, hyparxis) in a new kind of universal materialism: The term ‘soul’ is too close to a spiritual mythological semantics: we almost need a new term and in any case religious interpretations won’t help us. But if we reflect on the suggestion that ‘evolution’, far from its darwinian framework, has a ‘timeless’ dimension of some kind (more spooky physics, form factors in a timeless ‘eternal’ plane) then it is not hard to conceive of a complex aspect of the human organism that straddles dimensional boundaries thus generating a ‘soul’, something a part of man yet not visible. From there the problem has at least a handle on a possible explanation, darwinism falling away as a lost cause. A timeless entity can’t interact by natural selection!
We have often cited Bennett’s strange but remarkable take on ‘evolution’ and we have our own view which has a few resemblances: his triad of hyponomic, autonomic, and hypernomic is a remarkable innovation but still too speculative. But the domain of evolution is the autonomic (life domain) ‘reconciling factor’ in the triad of those three domains, where the material or hyponomic is the passive aspect and the hypernomic the active aspect. For once I almost credit ‘dialectics’ (full triadic dialectics, not the dyadic marxist brand as such): that is a remarkable solution to the ‘evolution’ mystery, but I fear it ‘ain’t’ science, as yet.
In our eonic model we posit a form factor for evolution, including the evolution of man AND the evolution of civilization, one that emerges, perhaps even with the big bang, (like fine-tuning arguments) and induces the temporal evolution we see in time via the interaction of abstract forms and their realizations. An analogy might help: the genre of the ‘novel’ is a form factor, it is bound in a timeless aspect as an abstraction: an active agent then produces a realization from that abstraction in time as that realization or temporal actualization: an actual novel. The genre resembles Bennett’s ‘timeless eternal dimension’ while an actual novel is a temporal artifact. We are a long way from safe scientism, and are at risk from woolly semantic bandits of crypto-metaphysical rumination. But the above makes sense.
We have ommitted Bennett’s hyparxis, but that idea is crucial: we adjourn and leave that to another discussion. We have omitted Bennett’s hyparxis, but that idea is crucial: we adjourn and leave that to another discussion. The idea is like a series of drafts of that novel and they exist in their own time in parallel temporal streams…?? Evolution is a series of hyparxic interactions of a timeless and time set of factors and expresses the interaction of emerging forms with the environment. Clearly we have a teleological system here, but that factor can’t just make things appear completed instantaneously: the eternal (form factor) and the temporal factor interact hyparxically to produce a series of possible potentials which test against the impossible. Natural selection enters as the abstract and the concrete interact as potential drafts resulting in a temporal outcome. Evolution produces some pretty strange critters…!
Bennett’s triple time is spooky physics turning into metaphysical speculation, but it is a set of ingenious ideas, and we can see the outlines of future theories of evolution, MAYBE.
It is unclear what is going to happen re: the abortion debate and the possible end of Roe versus Wade. We could end up in a madhouse of intractable confusion. It might help to critique the soul question…