Russian and foreign philosophers argue in Malta about the personality, the soul and God

© RIA Novosti / Olga Electrofisher Oxford Richard Swinburne — lecturer of the international summer philosophical school of the Moscow center for consciousness studiesRussian and foreign philosophers argue in Malta about the personality, the soul and God© RIA Novosti / Olga Lipic

Philosophers and theologians from Russia, UK, USA and other countries will open Monday a philosophical school in Malta to jointly answer questions, as a person remains himself throughout life, possible reincarnation, the survival of personality after death, the existence of its mechanical body and what role is played by the soul and God.

Personality and President

«One of the most important philosophical questions – what, in essence, is the identity. In the centre of the debate of the summer school will be this question. The school will hold one of the most famous Oxford philosophers Richard Swinburne. This is one of the rare analysts who defends the idea of the existence of the soul», — told RIA Novosti Director of the organizing school of the Moscow center for consciousness studies at the faculty of philosophy of Moscow state University, doctor of philosophy Dmitry Volkov.

The participants of the international scientific-educational project — about 25 people from Russia, UK, USA, China, Liechtenstein, professors and young scientists who passed a serious selection. Will accept them at his Palace the President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro of Preko. It is, according to Volkova, is very interested in the problem of personal identity, and will gladly discuss it with scientists. Mostly in one-week of lectures, seminars, discussions.

«The discussions we hope to reach a better understanding of the essence of the self. But at the same time to solve other interesting puzzles. Is it possible to survive the reincarnation to yourself? Where is the person, if the brain is divided into two parts and each of these parts successfully transplanted into a new body? Is it possible the continued existence of a self without a body or mechanical body? Many individuals, people with split hemispheres of the brain, and these people were in connection with the treatment of epilepsy? After the discussions there will be new scientific articles. And the host is planning to publish a new book on the identity of the person,» Volkov said.

Soul and teleportation

The position of an influential British Professor Swinburne, defending the substantial approach to the problem identities of the individual when the identity is a special substance – the soul, the scientific community considers to be quite radical. No less radical for him and another statement Swinburne – the existence of God. Oxford Professor and author of one of the most recent theistic arguments, the so-called inductive proof of the existence of God. In relation to the philosophical problems of consciousness-body, he defends the dualist alternative. In addition, he is an Orthodox Christian and speaks Russian.

«The question of the identity of the individual emerged in the middle ages in relation to disputes about how it is possible life after death. Christians believe that after death, man rises again. But when we see the human bones in the grave, where the man himself, his personality? It – where the soul continues to exist,» said Swinburne at the introductory meeting with the participants of the school.

Answering the question of RIA Novosti about the purpose of his participation in the project, the Oxford Professor said that today, when the world is spreading the ideology of transhumanism, it is especially important to give people the answer to the question, what is «me» and continues to exist. «When we hear about the possibility of teleportation to another planet or brain transplant, the acute question: would this «I» after this event? What does the future person is me?» — said Swinburne.

Mind, brain and narrative

In addition to substantial approach to the true identity of modern philosophy examines several concepts, but do not presuppose the existence of a substance in the form of the soul. According to the psychological approach, the core of human identity is contained in the stable psychological characteristics. While the biological approach focuses on preservation of life of the whole body, particularly the brain.

Another, new approach – narrative actively upholds the organizer of the project Dmitry Volkov. Included in the use of modern science the term «narrative» comes from the Latin «narrare» — «narrate». In a General sense it means the presentation of correlated events in a certain sequence. In relation to the problem of personal identity narrative – a «story», the memory of the person about events with her events. And this «story» defines the priorities and objectives, today and in the future. It is particularly important that the events of the past lined up in a unique bond that corresponds to one’s unique personality.

The body is not a boundaries of personal integrity. Volkov suggests that «after some time the phone or computer will be built into the brain, we will have extended memory, not only one body but also avatar and, in General, our self will be expanded beyond the physical body.»

Practical application

It is with the challenges of scientific and technological progress and discoveries neurogenic related to the urgency of the problem of personal identity. In the near future possible cyborgization of the human body or the implementation of consciousness on non-biological carrier. Whether to keep then person? And whether the robots claim to be individuals? What about the brain lesions that cause dysfunction, «I», vegetative state or loss of memory? When a person ceases to exist or is different enough that it starred the responsibility for the actions (possibly crimes) in the past? The answers to these questions seem especially important to the creators of the Moscow center for consciousness studies and the organizers of the school.

The project has both scientific and practical tasks. One of them is to create a platform for communication and exchange of experience between the most motivated young professionals from around the world who may in the future become influential experts in the research questions of consciousness, free will, moral responsibility and the practical application of this knowledge. In addition, the project aims to improve the image of philosophy in society, including Russian. To show that philosophy is a living, dynamic discipline that is directly related to each of us and is able to organize daily life.

© RIA Novosti / Olga Electrofisher Oxford Richard Swinburne and one of the founders of the Moscow center for consciousness studies doctor of philosophy Dmitry Volkov in the summer school, Malta Russian and foreign philosophers argue in Malta about the personality, the soul and God© RIA Novosti / Olga Electrofisher Oxford Richard Swinburne and one of the founders of the Moscow center for consciousness studies doctor of philosophy Dmitry Volkov in the summer philosophical school in Malta