Life and death (not mine from

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Life after Death


Ø  Distinctions between body and soul in the thinking of Plato, John Hick and Richard Dawkins; other concepts of body/ soul distinction.  


Death: “The complete and permanent cessation of all vital functions”


Dualism – ‘Two’ separate body and soul

  • Mind determines our personality, the body an outer shell
  • Body contingent, mind associated with higher realities
  • If soul spends life in contemplation of higher realities at death can enter eternity- the immortality of the soul.


Plato- Believed the body and soul interact.

            Real identity lies in the soul.


Descartes- “I think therefore I am”

                        Mind distinct although the 2 interact

                        Mind is not the same as the brain- it is not in the body


Materialism – Does not accept separate part of the body called the soul

  • Individual is a physical body and nothing more
  • Death is when the whole person dies- nothing ceases to exist
  • Actions as a result of a chain of events.
  • Science will eventually be able to explain everything
  • What we assume to be an emotional response is just chemical reactions in the brain.


Gilbert Ryle- Mistake in Language making the soul a separate word

  • E.g Foreigner ‘Where is the team spirit?”


Richard Dawkins- Rejects any concept of an immortal soul

      • Human animal is nothing more than DNA
      • Each individual is a product of evolution- not God
      • Our sense of individuality is as a result of our genes
      • Through evolution our consciousness has developed so that we are able to choose to behaviour most likely to aid survival (survival of the fittest)


Hard Materialism- Nothing more than physical characteristics


Soft Materialism- Consciousness is more than JUST a brain process. Body displays inner emotions.


John Hick- Given certain circumstances it is possible the dead could exist after death. If an EXACT REPLICA was to appear. God is all powerful and thus would find it easy to create an exact copy. Replica has memories and characteristics of original so thus is the same one.


CRITICISM- God? Replica is not the original?


Idealism- Bishop Berkeley


  • No concept of matter, only


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