Life after death and the soul

Mindmap of key thinkers for Life and death, the soul, OCR A2 Philosophy (Religious Studies)

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  • Created by: Kate
  • Created on: 03-04-13 10:58
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  • Life and death; the soul
    • Plato
      • argument from opposites:     1. Everything comes into the world from it's opposite being.             2. Big things would not be bigger nor small things smaller without their opposites.     3. Therefore: death must come life and life from death. (Leads to an endless chain of death and rebirth i.e. theory of reincarnation
      • The soul is the directing force of the body and mind. Plato argued that the soul was made up of three distinct elements: emotion, reason and appetite (think EAR). These are the 3 basic instincts that animate us, reason is the most superior, followed by emotion and appetite is the most inferior. Soul  will proceed after death to the Realm of the forms.
        • Plato uses the analogy of the Charioteer to show divide between the desires of the soul and the desires of the body. Reason is compared to a chariot driver trying to direct the two horses on the chariot; one horse is emotion, the other is appetite. Both horses pull in different directions but the soul tries to direct them to work in harmony.
      • Substance dualist - body and soul are DISTINCT and separate substances
        • Soul is an unchanging, immortal and pre-existing substance. The body is the physical component of each person and is trapped in a constant state of CHANGE. Plato 'proves' immorality of the soul through the argument from knowledge...
          • argument from knowledge:   In the dialogue MENO, a slave-boy with no education is given a geometry puzzle to solve. Through questioning the boy works out the answer, Plato felt this illustrated that the boy  used knowledge he already had, from before birth. Plato claimed our intuitions were evidence of knowledge attained before birth - evidence that our souls had once lived in the ROTF.
      • Soul is an unchanging, immortal and pre-existing substance. The body is the physical component of each person and is trapped in a constant state of CHANGE. Plato 'proves' immorality of the soul through the argument from knowledge...
        • argument from knowledge:   In the dialogue MENO, a slave-boy with no education is given a geometry puzzle to solve. Through questioning the boy works out the answer, Plato felt this illustrated that the boy  used knowledge he already had, from before birth. Plato claimed our intuitions were evidence of knowledge attained before birth - evidence that our souls had once lived in the ROTF.
      • Plato uses the analogy of the Charioteer to show divide between the desires of the soul and the desires of the body. Reason is compared to a chariot driver trying to direct the two horses on the chariot; one horse is emotion, the other is appetite. Both horses pull in different directions but the soul tries to direct them to work in harmony.
      • AFTER DEATH? The soul lives on and the body dies, soul is disembodied. Soul lives on in a state where it has thought and intelligence, after death, it is undisturbed  by distractions of constant bodily demand and so can reach it's highest state.
    • Aristotle
      • Dualist, but NOT substance dualist. There is distinction between body and soul but Aristotle felt that they are inseparable. The soul is not a separate entity, distinct from the body, but dependent on it.
        • EXAMPLE, if an axe had a soul, then that soul would involve chopping because that is the function of an axe and the reason for it's structure. The 'soul' of a human person is the potential for rational thought and activity.
      • Body and soul CANNOT be separated. Example of a wax tablet with a stamp impressed on it, the shape made by the stamp is inseparable from the wax, just as the soul is inseparable from the person.
      • The soul is a 'substance', a term Aristotle uses to mean the 'essence' or 'real thing'.  How can we say that the baby toddler,child teenager,adult and elderly person are the 'same person'? Physical body constantly changes but the 'substance', or essence of who you are, stays the same in terms of identity. Aristotle understood this to be the soul.
      • Unlike Plato, Aristotle felt that the soul could be explained in natural terms, In De Anima (On the Soul) he said "the soul is in some sense the principle of animal life." He thought there were different kinds of soul, plants = nutritive soul Animals = perceptive souls and humans have a higher degree of soul because we can reason.
      • AFTER DEATH? Body and soul are inseparable so this does not allow for the idea of the soul surviving death of the body.
    • Dawkins
      • Modern materialist so  argues that there is no part of a person that is non-physical. (Following Aristotle) The consciousness cannot be separated from the brain because nothing exists except matter.
      • AFTER DEATH? Once the brain has died, the consciousness must end. There is no possibility of life after death since consciousness is caused by a purely physical phenomena.
      • Book: The Selfish Gene (1976). Humans are nothing more than "survival machines" and we do not have immortal souls, we are a mixture of chemicals.
        • "Survival machines - robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes."
      • Book: River out of Eden. "There is no spirit-driven life force, no throbbing,  heaving, pullulating, protoplasmic, mystic jelly. Life is just bytes and bytes of digital information." Life is awe-inspiring, yes, but you don't need a supernatural soul to explain this.
      • Self-awareness is NOT due to a soul but it is because the ability to have self-awareness has an evolutionary advantage to the human race. The consciousness has evolved with the advantage of allowing deliberate choices to be made.
      • Religious belief in ideas like immortality of the soul have no solid basis. They are beliefs based on wish fulfilment for those who lack courage, who fear death and who cannot cope with the idea of their own mortality.
    • John Hick
      • The whole of your earthly life is a 'vale of soul-making.' It is a testing ground for people in which they develop their moral characters and have a FREE choice about whether or not they should have a relationship with God.
      • Platonic view of the soul - body and soul are distinct, BUT, Hick gives it a traditional Christian perspective by claiming that the soul needs a body in order to continue with it's journey in the afterlife. The soul is capable of everlasting life with God but it is not unchanging in the platonic sense.
        • The soul has to grow and develop, just like the body does in earthly life. There is an evolutionary process in which people continue too learn and make conscious decisions using their free will, until they reach a point when they are able to live in a full relationship with God. For some, this takes longer than for others.
      • AFTER DEATH? Body and soul are inseparable so for there to be life after death for the soul, the body has to be resurrected. (More detail comes in resurrection and reincarnation.) 
        • In his book, Death and Eternal Life (1976) he accepts that the immortality of the soul is not something that can be proved in this life, but argues that it is not unreasonable and is something a rational person could accept. 

Comments

Jasmine


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Jasmine


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Jasmine


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Charlotte

amazing katie, and jas, you are a loser.

Kate

N'aww you guys :') I bet I totally fail this exam :')

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