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Body, Soul and Identity
3B Philosophy of Religion…read more

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Death · The complete and permanent cessation of all vital
functions in a living creature, it is the end of life
The Soul · Is understood as the `essence' of the person, generally
considered spiritual rather than physical
Dualistic View · The body and soul are independent of each other
· The theory that our minds are inseparable from our
· Soft Materialism(Property Dualism coined by Richard
Swinburne): Accepts that not all characteristics are
Materialistic View physical e.g. consciousness is more than brain
processes. The body displays mind however nothing
we do is independent of the body
· Hard Materialism: We are nothing more than physical
matter and consciousness is nothing more than brain
activity when you die both soul and body die…read more

Slide 3

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Existence of
the Soul as · The soul is seen as God given,
an argument evolution cannot explain it and the
for existence idea that the soul lives on after death
of God
· Purgatory/Bardo
Ideas of the · It dies with the body
Soul after · It is trapped in the body
death · It lives on
· It enters heaven/hell…read more

Slide 4

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Materialist Ideas about the Soul and Body
Materialism is the theory that our minds are inseparable from our bodies
· The idea of a soul is a category mistake known as the `ghost in the machine'.
· To speak of a soul is a mistake in the use of language causing people to speak
of the mind and body as different phenomena however they are actually the
same thing.
· An example is a student being toured round a university seeing the library,
Gilbert Ryle the bar and the accommodation, they ask where the university is however
that is a mistake as the university is all the attributes put together there are
not distinct or separate.
· Any talk of the soul is talk about the way in which a person acts and
integrates with others such as to describe someone as clever which is simply
how someone behaves.
· Rejects the idea of a soul calling humans `robot vehicles' that are just the
product of evolution with no immortal soul that survives death.
· The purpose of life is DNA survival, the soul is only believed in order to give
evil and suffering a purpose.
· Individuality is actually produced by our genes working together as a unit,
Richard through evolution consciousness has developed in humans so we can choose
behaviour that will aid survival.
· Dawkins does believe in human dignity however, which is passed on through
the genetic code.
· By humans trying to discover the meaning of life it is far more marvellous
than any creation myth.
· If humans reject notions of an afterlife from religious doctrine they will
become better people.…read more

Slide 5

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Middle Group ideas about the Soul and Body
· Somewhat in the middle between materialism and
· Aristotle believed that the body and soul are
separate however they are inseparable.
· The mind (nous) is the part of the soul by which it
knows and understands.
· The soul is part of the body which gives it life which
Aristotle turns the physical form into a living organism such as
a dog as a dog soul whereas a human has a human
· The soul and body are like an eye and sight as
without sight an eye is pointless and without an eye
sight is useless, the soul and body are separate but
· Therefore there is no immortal soul…read more

Slide 6

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Dualist Ideas about the Soul and Body
· As Aristotle's teacher agreed with the dualist side of Aristotle's opinion in the
idea that the body and soul are separate, where the soul is immortal and comes
from the world of Forms, as the soul it pre-exists birth as well as surviving death.
· The Realm of Forms is where the soul belongs and is a higher level of reality to
the body it is a spiritual realm
· Any knowledge that you have is actually experience from a previous life which
has been forgotten when you were reborn.
· When we die the body will die however the soul lives on.
· Believed that the body and soul as separate however the soul makes contact
with the brain via the pineal gland in the brain giving feelings and sensations.
· Our own existence cannot be doubted as `I think therefore I am' so even when
we are dreaming we still exist to have our own thoughts.
Descartes · The physical body takes up space however the mental reality is not empirical so
doesn't take up any space.
· The mind is non corporeal and is distinct form material or bodily substance, the
mind is where ideas are whereas the body performs physical activities
observable too all.
· The mind is believed to give our personal identity which makes us who we are.
· A more Christian approach to dualism with a psychosomatic view as the psyche
and soma are in inseparable interaction.
· God created humans as a unity of mind (psyche), body (soma) and soul, the soul
is not separate nature but gives the spark to physical life.
· The soul is the anima that gives life and animates the body.
· The soul operates independently of the body and the soul will survive death.…read more

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