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Thread: Does the soul determine personality

  1. #1 Does the soul determine personality 
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
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    I realize many people don't believe in the existence of a soul, I'm not trying to debate that issue at this time.

    For those that do believe in a soul, who thinks the soul plays a part in who we are, or do you prefer to think that only the brain and perhaps genetics have any bearing at all on this?

    The other concept sometimes touched on by religious beliefs is that the soul can be kicked out of the body and another take it's place, going back to the first question would the person at that point change in personality?


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    Forum Freshman John L's Avatar
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    The other concept sometimes touched on by religious beliefs is that the soul can be kicked out of the body and another take it's place, going back to the first question would the person at that point change in personality?
    Interesting question. I have no knowledge as to whether or not the soul could be replaced with another one within he corporal body. That sounds like a perfect story line for some Classic SF.

    As one who looks at a soul/spirit as inhabiting sentient beings, I would be in the camp that thinks the death or destruction of the physical being would regulate the exit of the soul.

    I'd be interested in reading what others have to say here.


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    I don't think there will ever be a way to test any hypothesis concerning souls, however if you were to ask parents who have three or more children how different each one is, given similar DNA, it could be thought that it is indeed something other than genetics which predetermines one's personality. Each child is so different from his/her siblings in every family. I think it would take a detailed analysis of each siblings DNA. But also we can always look at identical twins, who often have completley separate and different personalities and say that genetics is not what gives them their personality.
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    Forum Freshman LadyJava's Avatar
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    I believe that an infant's soul chooses it's sex, race, and parents. As far as the personality, I believe that that is developed based on a multitude of things: DNA and environment being 2 primary aspects. Because human beings change on an almost daily basis, it is safe to say that the personality is ever changing and/or evolving.
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    Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
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    You brought up a good point there. But I'm not really sure what the soul is.
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    soul is the . . .THE. . ..determinant of Ultimate personality of a person. . .

    thought the disturbances of brain alter personality, the person reverts to HIS/HER OWN personality in time, which could be short, or long.. ..

    the brain, is just doing the job of a receiver

    like, a radio receives radio waves and converts it in to audible sound, . . .when radio is corrupted, we hear corrupt sound. . .that does not mean radio waves arent right

    similary, when brain is damaged, the personality changes due to the loss of ;receiver-mediator' action of brain between body and soul, which possibly resides in an undefined dimension
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swaroop
    soul is the . . .THE. . ..determinant of Ultimate personality of a person. . .

    thought the disturbances of brain alter personality, the person reverts to HIS/HER OWN personality in time, which could be short, or long.. ..

    the brain, is just doing the job of a receiver

    like, a radio receives radio waves and converts it in to audible sound, . . .when radio is corrupted, we hear corrupt sound. . .that does not mean radio waves arent right

    similary, when brain is damaged, the personality changes due to the loss of ;receiver-mediator' action of brain between body and soul, which possibly resides in an undefined dimension
    Welcome to the forum.

    That's a little different spin on things, I've heard something like this before just nobody has tried to explain the brain damage scenario.
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  9. #8 Re: Does the soul determine personality 
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    Quote Originally Posted by (In)Sanity
    For those that do believe in a soul, who thinks the soul plays a part in who we are, or do you prefer to think that only the brain and perhaps genetics have any bearing at all on this?
    Evidence would suggest that the personality is largely, if not wholly, determined by the brain. People who survive brain trauma often have dramatic changes in their basic personality. If the personality was an attribute of an immaterial soul no such changes should occur.

    "Often social difficulties are the most enduring difficulties after a head injury. The social deficits most frequently reported by relatives 6-12 months post-injury include egocentric styles of social interaction characterized by family members as a change in the head-injured patient's personality style. The described characteristics of head-injured patients in terms of social perspective-taking abilities are similar to those of children reported in the cognitive developmental literature."

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...tool=iconabstr

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swaroop
    like, a radio receives radio waves and converts it in to audible sound, . . .when radio is corrupted, we hear corrupt sound. . .that does not mean radio waves arent right

    similary, when brain is damaged, the personality changes due to the loss of ;receiver-mediator' action of brain between body and soul, which possibly resides in an undefined dimension
    I don't see how this explanation suffices. A damaged radio will emit broken sound or just noise; it doesn't start playing 50 Cent when Mozart is being broadcast.

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    People who survive brain trauma often have dramatic changes in their basic personality. If the personality was an attribute of an immaterial soul no such changes should occur.
    I would think that the personality is highly contrived and manipulated by social and environmental paraphernalia; idiosyncratic genetic feedback stimulated by those environments; and something more universal and ancient, a breathing we feel upon our necks coming from the shadows -- perhaps it's called the soul because the idea for the soul is the extent to our understanding of that feeling. Anyway, I don't see the personality as being a defined mirror reflection of the 'soul'. It would just be that under particular conditions and circumstances, the 'soul' can more easily reach, touch... breath (penetrate).
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    I would think that the personality is highly contrived and manipulated by social and environmental paraphernalia; idiosyncratic genetic feedback stimulated by those environments; and something more universal and ancient, a breathing we feel upon our necks coming from the shadows -- perhaps it's called the soul because the idea for the soul is the extent to our understanding of that feeling.
    Nah.
    It's the brain.
    Take away the brain (or certain parts of the brain) and all the highly contrived social and environmental stimulus in the world is going to mean doodley squat (a real scientific term, by the way.) And genes, for the most part, are what tells the brain how to form. So the work of genetics is mostly in the past rather than the present. However, I can easily see genetic defects causing behavioral problems as certain proteins (neurotransmitters) might be manufactured incorrectly. Thus causing difficulties in brain (and body) functions.
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    Nah.
    It's the brain.
    Take away the brain (or certain parts of the brain) and all the highly contrived social and environmental stimulus in the world is going to mean doodley squat...
    Which translates to a doodley experience of being. "To be" has no prerequisites -- until the last breath has escaped.
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    If the soul dictates personality why would brain damage cause change in personality?

    If the brain is some sort of reciever for the soul then why doesn't the soul come into play in neurochemistry?

    Just because we don't yet fully understand something doesn't mean that there has to be something mystical behind it.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kestasjk
    If the soul dictates personality why would brain damage cause change in personality?
    Maybe it is not a person's personality that is changing but simply their physical ability to express that personality?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Locke
    Quote Originally Posted by kestasjk
    If the soul dictates personality why would brain damage cause change in personality?
    Maybe it is not a person's personality that is changing but simply their physical ability to express that personality?
    The classic case is the American guy (Don't ask me for a reference I read this a long time ago.) who got hit over the head with a girder while working on a railway (or something).
    Before he was Mr. Nice Guy, after he became an angry asshole who swore and got into violent rages, yet didn't show any signs of brain damage to those who didn't know him before. Doesn't sound like an inablility to express yourself to me.

    I wonder if you could bang an angry guy on the head to make him a nice guy..
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    Kestasjk,

    You're thinking of Phineas Gage. And he wasn't hit over the head, but rather a railroad spike was accidentally driven through his head into his frontal lobe.

    The idea for the prefrontal lobotomy was inspired by this accident, by the way, or so the legend goes.

    Now. What is interesting about this case is that the area of the brain that was damaged was the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe is the seat of much of our higher reasoning faculties. It is also the inhibitor of the brain. The strait jacket, if you will. It represses automatic actions.

    Think of Tourette's syndrome. Jerks and tics. Without the actions of the frontal lobe (as well as several other areas of the brain, don't start thinking it's simple or anything...) we'd all suffer from Tourrette's. Also Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is associated with an abnormal frontal lobe.

    So. Phineas Gage had the old spike through the brain and afterwards he was unable to repress his violent and rude side.

    Brain injuries are fascinating. I've always been partial to right parietal lesions (and/or other right parietal damage). In these cases, the patient loses half of his body. The left side of his body is not his own. They will vehemently deny that that arm and that leg is theirs. They'll explain how they don't know where it came from and they don't think that this joke is funny. They'll even try to push it out of their bed and complain about having to share their bed with a stranger. Some even convince themselves that the half of the body is actually a woman and spend a lot of time fondling it and caressing it.

    Hee hee.
    I love the brain.

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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kestasjk
    The classic case is the American guy (Don't ask me for a reference I read this a long time ago.) who got hit over the head with a girder while working on a railway (or something).
    Before he was Mr. Nice Guy, after he became an angry asshole who swore and got into violent rages, yet didn't show any signs of brain damage to those who didn't know him before. Doesn't sound like an inablility to express yourself to me.
    Let's assume, for this discussion, that someone's soul does dictate their personality. That doesn't mean that you are stuck with that personality and you can't change. I think that it's a deeper personality. The guy with which you referenced, maybe he turned cranky because he was in constant pain from his head injury. You can't really say, well look at him, he changed his personality, so soul must have nothing to do with it.
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    The soul could be the seed that plants an initial imprint on the brain after which the brain functions in a normal manor and is subject to such things as injury. Genetics of course can be linked to this same theory.
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    Locke,

    The guy with which you referenced, maybe he turned cranky because he was in constant pain from his head injury.
    No. He didn't turn 'cranky' because of the pain of his injury. He had a fucking spike going through his fucking frontal lobe. Did you even read my post or the links? His personality changed completely. And this is not an uncommon affair. Brain damage changes personality. This is a proven fact. I realizt that you aren't disputing that, but I really don't understand your point.



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    (In)Sanity,

    The soul could be the seed that plants an initial imprint on the brain after which the brain functions in a normal manor and is subject to such things as injury. Genetics of course can be linked to this same theory.
    There is a huge problem with this idea of the soul being expressed through the brain. (I've seem multiple explanations for how this could be). There is no way of testing it. The soul is something that cannot be tested. Has never been seen. Felt. Smelt. Sensed in any way. It is not a matter of science and hence can be part of no theory. Not even a hypothesis. It is purely philosophical and/or religious. It is because of the intangible of the 'soul' that people cling to it so fiercely. People have a tendency to fight most fiercely for those concepts which have no solid foundation. That are matters of Faith in their entirety.

    I find it ironic that it is the human brain that causes this irrational tendency of 'true believers.' And yet, they'd so fiercely deny the importance of the brain in their personality.

    The ancient Egyptians, of course, thought the brain was just a waste of space. It was stirred up with a spike a through the nose and poured out. Not to be saved but to be thrown away. Believers in the soul are, to me, as ignorant as the ancient Egyptians.
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    Quote Originally Posted by invert_nexus
    No. He didn't turn 'cranky' because of the pain of his injury. He had a fucking spike going through his fucking frontal lobe. Did you even read my post or the links? His personality changed completely. And this is not an uncommon affair. Brain damage changes personality. This is a proven fact. I realizt that you aren't disputing that, but I really don't understand your point.
    In case you didn't notice Invert, the quote in my post was from kestasjk's post, not from yours. I had not seen your post or links and therefore had no idea that kestasjk was trying to reference Phineas Gage. Had I had the chance to see your post I would have agreed with what you said.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ad . hoc
    and something more universal and ancient, a breathing we feel upon our necks coming from the shadows -- perhaps it's called the soul because the idea for the soul is the extent to our understanding of that feeling. Anyway, I don't see the personality as being a defined mirror reflection of the 'soul'. It would just be that under particular conditions and circumstances, the 'soul' can more easily reach, touch... breath (penetrate).
    It seems to me that the term 'soul' in this statement becomes so nebulous and indistinct that it has no real meaning at all. Just what is it supposed to be? Something that occasionally makes contact with a mind that otherwise operates independently?

    ~Raithere

    P.S. "personality is highly contrived and manipulated by social and environmental paraphernalia; idiosyncratic genetic feedback stimulated by those environments"?

    Did you mean to say, "Personality is influenced by the individual's heredity and environment"?

    Put down the thesaurus and step back slowly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Locke
    Let's assume, for this discussion, that someone's soul does dictate their personality. That doesn't mean that you are stuck with that personality and you can't change. I think that it's a deeper personality. The guy with which you referenced, maybe he turned cranky because he was in constant pain from his head injury. You can't really say, well look at him, he changed his personality, so soul must have nothing to do with it.
    This is not a single instance case though. There are numerous examples, gross and subtle.

    The question isn't whether or not one's personality can change. The question is how do physical changes to the brain alter the personality when its source is supposed to be an immaterial soul?

    ~Raithere
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    Personality is the result of chemical reactions going on in the brain; brain chemistry is extremely complex and not fully understood but the most well known agents are serotonin and dopamine and specifically the content ratios of these chemicals and the rate at which they're produced in the individual.

    Each animal, in this case humans, are born with their own unique brain chemistry, endowing the individual with their perceived basic personality, which is then 'tuned' by various environmental stimuli that creates the depth and breadth and even the extremities of the personality.
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    InSanity asks; For those that do believe in a soul, who thinks the soul plays a part in who we are,
    or do you prefer to think that only the brain and perhaps genetics have any bearing
    at all on this?

    The other concept sometimes touched on by religious beliefs is that the soul can be
    kicked out of the body and another take it's place, going back to the first question
    would the person at that point change in personality?
    Today there are certain things we know about the nature of mankind. We come in
    all shapes and sizes of personalities. For the most part I would say that our
    experiences, and our reactions to them, are what have mostly shaped our
    personalities. Along with what we have been taught and have learned on our own.
    Mankind is a very complex organism. When our feelings are hurt we experience
    discomfort in the chest. When Dr. Barney Clark received the mechanical heart his
    wife stated that he didn't display emotions anymore. It is known that heart
    transplants seem to display the emotional response patterns as the donor did.

    Passages in the bible state that our hearts are the seat of our emotions, that our
    kidneys are the seat of our morals, and many more attributes are attributed to
    different organs of our bodies. There fore a soul as indicated is "self". We require
    all of our 'selves' to be a living soul. Such as it is, the word soul is biblically based,
    thus I respond with what the bibles mentions.

    God, or those called gods it would seem, have the technology to clone a body and
    to restore all aspects of a persons personality, soul if you will, by reprogramming
    the new bodies heart with the emotions, the brain with all of it's capacities and
    memories, the kidneys with the moral codes that were there, and so on.

    Yes, personality displacement can be accomplished in many fashions, we have
    some what crude methods, but others may have methods that are far more
    advanced than ours.

    The bible is pretty interesting when looked at with out religion.
    It's not what you know or don't know, but what you know that isn't so that will hurt you. Will Rodgers 1938
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