I can conceive of myself as an immaterial thinking thing. It is not incoherent to see myself as not just a pure extension of my body, but as a soul, encased in a body with logical, properly functioning ability to interact with my environment. The one claiming physicalism would have to maintain that consciousness is just a brain state, and therefore purely physical. One of the problems, as well as may, is that brain states by themselves do not have ‘qualia’ the ability to truly experience the emotional sensation of pain, or the appreciation of beauty in art, or the receiving of and giving back emotive responses to another human being.
- It is meaningless to ask what is the spatial position of mental states. While one can certainly have visual perception of spatialness -that the blue spruce is adjacent to my right- it nonetheless still follows that just sensations, of the spontaneous thinking about someone or something, and the sensation experience of pain, do not have spatial location. That is because conscious Mental states are immaterial, the person, who is a soul, possesses an, “I” consciousness, which, using the brain’s faculties, is their filter of conscious awareness of all they experience.
- It certainly is conceivable that as a mind, an immaterial conscious being, that I have full range of libertarian freedoms and therefore my behavior is not constrained by determinism. For instance, regarding intentionality, when I want to will to move my arm, I am certainly capable of doing so as long as my body is functioning properly. One may have suffered a debilitating illness that renders the free use of my arm impossible due to irreversible nerve damage. But that is the exception. The rule is, that since I am an agent capable of casual acts, to decide to move my arm is a causal mental act that takes places immediately in connection with the moving of my arm, a physical causal act.
- It is certainly conceivable that I can even relate myself as being immaterial, and not just the same substance or essence as my material body. Recall that, whenever we recall, we’re participating in a freely chosen act of the intention to bring about pass information (a recall) to the present mind to be purposefully used by us. Whether its self-reflection, a moment of sentimental longings, or for the immediate knowledge of it, we are indeed in control of such mental states due to our ability of intuition, self-reflection and intentionality.
Arguing for physicalism/materialism or naturalism as an explanation of conscious phenomenon is inadequate as we really are aware of consciousness, self-reflection, and free-will experiences as being separate from the material substance of our bodies. The atheist arguing for the impossibility of a spiritual realm, such as the existence of God as an unembodied mind or Spirit with infinite causal powers to create all matter time and space. As well as for creating humans with a duality of mind-and-body, in which human persons are souls is simply mistaken given the truth correspondence of what we know of reality, that qualitative experiences really do exist and cannot be explained by a physical origin of the mental.
Given the reasons for the existence of the soul as the best explanation of the data, it is inconceivable to postulate that conscious experiences are reducible to physicalist explanations. Rendering strict materialism, and with that atheism, implausible.