Soul, Mind and Body

  • Dualism - The  idea that the soul and the body are two seperate substances that interact. The real identity of a person lies in the soul. Plato was a real dualist
  • Materialism - the idea that mind and conciousness can be fully explained the physical or material interactions. Both the body, mind and soul exist in one place.
  • Substance dualism - The idea that the mind and body are distinctly different substances 
  • Category error - Mistakenly treating something as being of on etype when it is a different sort. 

What are the differences between Plato and Aristotle on the nature of the soul?

Plato beleives a soul is the essence of being a person. He believes that the soul is temporarily connected to a body but it can leave it and move on when the person dies. He believes that the soul is immortal but the body is mortal. The soul has three seperate parts: appetite, emotion and reason. Appetite and emotion are controlled by reason to make sure that they work in a rational direction. He argues that "all eductaion is recollection" as the soul already has knowledge of the Forms. He use sthe example that everyone knows what 'equal' is, but no one has seen what the true Form of equal is. Ideas can be true long before we learn them to be true. "The soul most closely resembles the divine and the immortal", " the body most resembles the human and mortal".

For Aristotle the soul  is the body's capacity to do whatever it wants. The soul is not physical because what gives its shape and function is the four forms. A statue cannot be seperated from what it is made from. Like the soul cannot be seperated from the body. He gave three examples to help explain his idea: an imprint in wax cannot be seperated rom the wax, the soul and body cannot be seperated. He also used an axe. He said that if it were alive the head would be the metal and the body would be the wooden handle. It is made suited to it's purpose of chopping wood which is it's final cause. Thirdly he said that if an eye was a body, then it's soul would be the capacity to see. Betrand Russell said Aristotle's soul was like the colour red, things that are red


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Philosophy resources »