[quote]Originally Posted by Owl
The belief that we even have bodies based on the data we receive from the senses is itself a philosophical construct.
I would say the evidence for a mind, (i.e., a soul), is much harder than the evidence for the existence of any material bodies; for material existence is itself an abstraction to which we appeal to in order to explain the more immediate phenomena of our mental states: our knowledge of mental existence is more immediate, and therefore more certain, than our knowledge of material existence. Without knowlege of the mental, we could have no knowledge of the material.
What could possibly be more practical and useful and valuable than knowing who we truly are and where we fit in the grand scheme of things?
As long as we go around assuming we're biological entities with such-and-such a life span and all the limitations that go with that assumption, we may very well be living an illusion--approaching life all wrong.
If the truth is that each of us is Soul (not "has a soul," but is a Soul), then I'd say it's vitally important to become aware of that if at all possible. And I happen to believe it is both true and possible.
One great benefit of discovering one's True Self in this way is that Soul (according to those who claim to have made the discovery and know) is immortal and dwells in eternity. Hence, our existence does not end with the death of the physical body, as so many people suppose. The being we truly are (Soul) survives death--we survive death. And the fact that we can't take our bodies with us is irrelevant.
Anyway, FWIW, my viewpoint is kinda like that of the Hindus, who believe that each of us is Soul and we incarnate in many forms or bodies throughout the ages and can conceivably exist without any form or body.
So, to answer the cloning question, it's clear to me that the clone would be nothing but another body--another physical form--for some other Soul to incarnate into. To me, it's purely an illusion to identify with one's physical body or DNA (even though most people are probably under the spell of that illusion).
Oh, and btw, I also believe there's a world of difference between Soul and the mind. The words are often used interchangeably, but to me the mind is just a sort of computer used by us as Soul. Soul is made of a finer, more lasting substance than the mind; we can lose both body and mind and still continue to exist and function as individual spiritual beings (Souls).
So to me, Soul is anything but a metaphor; it's a part of the ultimate reality of life.