Body, Soul and Personal Identity

Body, Soul and Personal Idenitity for A2 RS - AQA

HideShow resource information


  • There is the physical world and the non physical world, or realm of the forms.
  • The realm of the forms is the "ultimate good" and is where all knowledge stems from and is the true reality.
  • The physical world is simply a reflection of the Realm of the Forms. This idea is further explores in Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Men are tied up and living in a cave, they only see shadows with the help of the fire. A philosopher i.e. (someone who broke out of the cave) tell the men the truth i.e. (that true reality lies outside of the cave). Only very few people come to this realisation in this life.
  • The soul makes up the true essence of a person because it prexisted the body it lives in.
  • The soul wants to escape the "chains" of this physical world so that it can ponder on the "ultimate good" in the realm of the forms, such as justice, goodness etc...
  • The Tripartite theory - the sould consists of reason, appetite and emotion. The soul is like a charioteer that uses reason to keep appetite and emotion in check.
  • All knowledge is remembered because it is eternal and comes from the realm of the forms.
  • Meno the slave boy who solved difficult geometry puzzle simply by remembering the knowledge.
  • This could indeed be true, think of deja vu etc...
  • He is a substance dualist, meaning he believes the soul is eternal and will survive the death of the body.
1 of 3


  • He is a property dualist - "a soul is something which belongs to a body" (De Anima). Therefore the soul will dies with the body.
  • He believes that the soul is what gives the the body or matter animation.
  • The combination of matter and form is what makes each person unique.
  • Body and soul are dependent on each other. He gives the example of anger. One cannot truly be angry without the soul and body. The soul creates the anger, but then the body produces symtoms of anger, such as sweat and reacing heart rate.
  • There are 3 types of soul - nutritive (plants), sensitive (animals) and rational (humans).
  • Humans are different from all other species because we are able to ponder upon concepts. For example, animals will only think about being hungry or about what it good for them i.e. (water, sleep, food). Whereas humans have the ability to ponder upon the concept of goodness and the concept of hunger, or "universal truths" as it were. This is due to our "nous" or the part of the soul that think and understands.
2 of 3


  • Writes about his beliefs on the soul in "Summa Theologica."
  • He agrees with Aristotle that the soul is what gives us animation.
  • He believes that the sould can seperate fromt he body "substance dualist."
  • The soul contains the personal identity of each person it belonged to.
  • When the sould leaves the body, it will retain the identity of the body that hosted it.
  • "The soul is what makes the body live"
3 of 3


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Philosophy resources »