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Sample Argument Summaries (1).doc

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Department
Religion
Course Code
RLGC13H3
Professor
David Perley

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Sample Argument Summaries
Here are two sample argument summaries to help you get the hang of things. The first is very
easy; the second is quite tough.
Sample 1
Philosopher C. U. Later writes:
I’m a neutral monist because I believe whatever Stephen Harper believes and he believes
neutral monism.
Easy enough to spell out this reasoning:
(1) If Stephen Harper believes a theory, then I believe that theory.
(2) Stephen Harper believes neutral monism about mind and body.
(3) Therefore, I believe neutral monism about mind and body.
Sample 2
Philosopher I. M. Notadualist writes:
Here’s why minds can’t be spiritual. Spiritual minds would either have a causal effect on
material bodies or not. Suppose that they do have such an effect. That would mean that at
least some neural events in your brain are caused twice over. The neural event that occurs
when you decide to scratch an itch and which initiates the cascade of neural activity
leading ultimately to your scratching, well, it would be caused by both your decision and,
at the same time, whatever neural event preceded it. But that’s absurd. Suppose, then, that
spiritual minds don’t have any effect on material bodies. That would mean that what goes
on in your mind makes no difference to what your bodies does and that your body could
go on functioning just as it does even if, say, God annihilated your mind. But that’s
absurd too. So either way we go, we reach absurdity. Minds, I conclude, are not spiritual
things.
Here’s one way of representing this reasoning:
(1) Assume that minds are spiritual things.
(2) Either spiritual minds have a causal effect on material bodies or they do not.
(3) If spiritual minds do have a causal effect on material bodies, then some neural events in
the brain are caused twice over.
(4) No neural events in the brain are caused twice over.
(5) Therefore, spiritual minds do not have a causal effect on material bodies.
(6) If spiritual minds do not have a causal effect on material bodies, then your body could
continue to function exactly as it does now even if your mind were annihilated.
(7) Your body could not continue to function exactly as it does now even if your mind were
annihilated.
(8) Therefore, spiritual minds do have a causal effect on material bodies.
(9) Therefore, minds are not spiritual things.

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Description
Sample Argument SummariesHere are two sample argument summaries to help you get the hang of things The first is very easy the second is quite toughSample 1Philosopher C U Later writesIm a neutral monist because I believe whatever Stephen Harper believes and he believes neutral monismEasy enough to spell out this reasoning1If Stephen Harper believes a theory then I believe that theory2Stephen Harper believes neutral monism about mind and body3Therefore I believe neutral monism about mind and bodySample 2Philosopher I M Notadualist writesHeres why minds cant be spiritual Spiritual minds would either have a causal effect on material bodies or not Suppose that they do have such an effect That would mean that at least some neural events in your brain are caused twice over The neural event that occurs when you decide to scratch an itch and which initiates the cascade of neural activity leading ultimately to your scratching well it would be caused by both your decision and at the same time whatever neural event preceded it But thats absurd Suppose then that spiritual minds dont have any ef
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