Re: [asa] scientific fact vs. ideology?

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Wed Mar 18 2009 - 21:20:53 EDT

I indeed said "More is involved than science" - more even than the social sciences. & if you were interested in serious discussion & not just looking for opportunities to proclaim the importance of your discipline you would have thought that perhaps I really meant that & interpreted my brief recent post accordingly.

"Rationality begins with neural activity" was too brief a statement - a hazard of quick internet exchanges that you seem unaware of. I expressed myself more fully in a post yesterday in which I said, inter alia, " In setting the very beginning of brain development as the decisive event I am erring, if at all, on the conservative side." I.e., rationality does not begin before neural development starts. It may be (& I would say probably is) a good deal later. In choosing this earliest possibility I am observing the precautionary principle.

Then I have said that rationality, not personhood, begins then. While I think rationality is a necessary component of personhood, I have not said, nor do I think, that the 2 are equivalent. Thus in no way have I presented a reductionist view of personhood - unless you think that a claim that brains are a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for human rationality is reductionist. If that's your view then say so clearly.

& then Don made a good point in his brief response. Of course there are child psychologists but I've never heard of an embryo psychologist.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Gregory Arago
  To: ; David Campbell ;
  Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 5:42 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] scientific fact vs. ideology?

        Is that what the poets tell you?!

        Don't forget, George, that by your own words, "more is involved than science."

        "Rationality begins with neural activity" seems abundantly reductionistic, imo, and seems to confirm and validate David O.'s views precisely in contrast to yours.

        I'd suggest for the topic of 'personhood' one ought to seek counsel with people who study personality professionally; this is not a common theme in natural sciences (e.g. physics or biology), or even in the vast majority of modern theology!

        But that's just my 'personal' opinion...


        --- On Wed, 3/18/09, <> wrote:

          From: <>
          Subject: Re: [asa] scientific fact vs. ideology?
          To:, "David Campbell" <>
          Received: Wednesday, March 18, 2009, 11:23 PM

I am not suggesting that "life begins with neural activity" but that
"rationality begins with neural activity," and that therefore
personhood does not begin any earlier than that.



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Received on Wed Mar 18 21:21:12 2009

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