Philosophy notes

Philosophy notes

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Life after death
Dualism- Plato:
The soul is distinct from the body as the soul is immortal and the body, mortal. At the end of human life the soul is set
free from the body which is seen as a prison. The Soul's ultimate goal is to reach the world of the Forms. The Soul has
knowledge of the Forms that the human body begins to recall (learns). Plato has a very negative view of the body
and suggests that it distracts the Soul from knowledge. He therefore argues that a true philosopher avoids any
bodily distractions. He uses an analogy of the Charioteer- one horse is the mind and one is the body.
Soul: `Simple' and `without parts'. Therefore, it cannot be split up into sections. However, when the soul is entrapped
within the body, it has different aspects.
1. Reason- in control
2. Spirit- can be trained e.g. emotions
3. Pleasure seeking- food, sexual...
The different sections of the soul can be seen through the example Kenny gives of a young child throwing a tantrum.
The child has not reached the age of reason and therefore her desires are not being controlled.
Plato argues that reaching harmony in the soul is a virtue in order to understand the Forms. (Think of aspects for being
healthy, the body and mind must all be well.) Crimes are committed when the soul is not in harmony.
Soul exists prior to incarnation:
Argument from knowledge- Learning is remembering what the soul already knows. Uses the example of equals; We
can see things of equal size but have never seen the Form of equals.
Argument from opposites- The opposite of living is death. Therefore, if there is something called living, there must
be something called death. The soul must exist for this to work. (This also supports reincarnation) Plato would argue
that tyrants would be reincarnated as drunkards whereas philosophers will be reincarnated amongst God's.
Criticisms:
Peter Geach- how can the soul `see' the Forms as the Soul has no organs with which to see.
Is learning a matter of remembering?
Are there always pairs of opposites?
Plato's theory of the Forms is not a solid foundation for a theory.
Weak dualism- Aristotle:
Aristotle does not see the soul as the common word for human identity. He argues that the Soul is the principle
activity in the body- the body and the soul cannot be separated like an Axe and its handle, such as an imprint in wax,
the eye is a body and the soul is its ability to see.
The soul has different faculties and some are higher than others. Nutrition, perception, desire, locomotion and
intellect. E.g. Plants have the faculty of nutrition but humans clearly have greater faculties. Humans are distinguished
through having the faculty of intellect. However, this does not mean humans use reason as we do not use all the
knowledge we have.
He links the soul to his ideas on the 4 Causes. The soul is the Efficient, Formal and Final cause.
Life after death:
Aristotle did not discuss the immortality of the soul and it is unclear how he feels about this. However, whilst he did
not say that our personalities survive after death, he did say that intellectual thought is eternal.
Materialism- Dawkins:
There is no human survival post mortem except the memories held by others and out passed on genes.
`Soul' is a mythological concept that has been developed to explain the mysteries of consciousness. This is similar to
the idea of `God of the Gaps' and is not an explanation but an evasion. He argues that Scientists are now discovering
how genetic codes have made up our personality and that they will eventually have full understanding of this so that
the Soul will no longer be a concept.
The Soul could be described in a symbolic way. Two views 1. The soul is spiritual and contains personality or 2.
Intellectual powers- in other words our minds.

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Materialism- John Hick:
Hick rejects Dualism but argues for the concept of bodily resurrection. Humans are a unity of physical body and soul
and these two cannot be separated.
Replica theory:
Resurrection is the divine action of creating replicas of us and putting them in different locations. The replica is the
same as us in all respects but does not exist on earth but in a place only observable by God.…read more

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Religious language
Univocal language-words have the same meaning when applied to God as they do when applied to anything else.
(brings God down to human level)
Equivocal language- words have different meanings when applied to God. (Raises issues of understanding what it
means when applied to God.)
Cognitive/Non-cognitive debate: Cognitive can be proved true or false and we would not question non-cognitive
such as saying `ouch'.…read more

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Mitchell: Argued that religious believers do allow things to be contrary to their beliefs. For example they accept that
there is a problem with evil in the world however, they refuse to allow this to ruin their beliefs as they are
committed. He uses a parable of a stranger in the war- all his actions are not understandable just as many of God's
are not.…read more

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Bultman attempted to demythologise the New testament by removing supernatural occurrences such as miracles but
the meanings behind the stories became clear to be the importance.
Criticisms:
What qualifies as a myth? There could be issues if two myths contradict each other
The values shown in myths can change over time and the values are not viewed the same by all people e.g. the human
idea of dominion and stewardship.
Analogy- Aquinas:
Analogy can be used to describe God because God is revealed through creation.…read more

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Revelation
God is revealed to the world in a variety of ways including scripture, the natural world and miracles. Revelation is
used to describe any act in which God is revealed. It is often referred to as `divine disclosure'. Examples of revelation
are the Quran being revealed to Muhammad and The Ten Commandments being given to Moses. In the Judaeo-
Christian traditions, revelation is characterised by the fact that something about God's nature has been shown.…read more

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Propositional Revelation through Scripture:
The bible is the word of God. The role of the authors is limited and the inspiration for all the books within the bible is
divine. `Verbal inspiration' has been said to indicate the divine origins which inspired the authors. God therefore
effectively dictated the words. Therefore, fundamentalists would argue that there are no errors. Some would argue
that simply reveals that god gives propositions about himself and what he wishes for mankind. For example the Ten
Commandments.…read more

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Religious experience
There are two types of religious experience, direct and indirect. An example of direct would be Paul seeing the risen
Jesus on the road to Damascus. James describes religious experiences as the experience of the divine. Writers
distinguish between these divine experiences and everyday experiences. Direct religious experiences are not
experiences of an object and are therefore ineffable such as a feeling or heightened sensory awareness. These
experiences are very personal and intimate between God and the person who has had the experience.…read more

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Religious experiences only seem to happen to people who are already members of religious institutions.
Mackie argues that if they are explained psychologically, then they hold no significance to the person that
experienced it.
Are religious experiences veridical?
It is difficult to demonstrate that the religious experiences are what they have been described as. Swinburne gave
two principles that could be used to assess the claims:
The principle of credulity- We have good reason to trust.…read more

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The nature of God
The traditional definition of God is that he is eternal, has omniscience, omnipotence and omnibenevolence. God is
simple which means he does not have individual parts. To talk of God is to talk of a being which simply exists. God is
unchanging as he lacks nothing and therefore does not require change. God is also immaterial.
Eternal:
God's experience of life is different from a human experience of life in the physical world.…read more

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