Soul, Mind and Body

  • Created by: livvvx
  • Created on: 27-04-19 15:49

Soul, mind and body

Plato and the soul

P was deeply influenced by Pythagorean thought. This emphasised the distinction between the spiritual soul and the material body. We can all see in the world around us how things decay, nothing material is permenent, plants and animals grow and die, things we make fall apart or decay in other ways. There is no permenence in the visible world of things.

P sought something permanent and certain. If permanence cannot be found in this visible, material world, then it must exist in the realm of the spiritual. From this, he adopted the idea of the soul as immoral. The soul's eeternity lies in itself, it is the simplest substance and thus cannot be destroyed. It was not created; its immortality lies in having neither beginning nor end.

This raises an issue: if my soul existed before my current life, and continues after my death, where has it been, and where will it go?- For this Plato devised his Theory of Forms.

''...the soul is in the very likeness of the divine, and immortal, and intelligible, and uniform, and indissoluble, and unchangeable; and the body is in the very likeness of the human, and mortal, and unintelligle, and multiform and dissoluble and changeable.''- Plato

P's soul ultimately desires to get out of the inferior body in which it is trapped. P appears uninterested in establishing the link: he seems just to assume it, rather as he assumes that if our minds know the right things to do, then somehow the whole person will do it. 

However, he falls into a common philosophical problem- assuming that reasons are causes. A reason is the result of a thought, a mental happening. The cause of my action seems to be based on a conscious decision to act on my reasons: to get my body to do something about it. The action seems a seperate process from any reasoning about it. P seems to not make this separation between the reasoning and the action- which may be why he believed that if we knew the right action to take we would be bound to do it.

For P, death is nothing to fear, as it is shaking off of the temporary shell of the body, and a chance to return to the pure essence of things. 

For P, the soul is without beginning, for the Christian view, God creates each soul anew, probably at conception. For P, the soul is eternal by nature, nothing can destroy it, because of the kind of think it is- a simple substance. Christians would argue that to think in this way would be to deny the omnipotence of God. A Christian believes that any immortality the soul might have would be a gift from God, not something which the soul has by right.

P presents a dualism of immaterial substance: soul and physical body. P thought the psyche is composed of three parts:

  • the logical/thinking/reasoning part which seeks to learn the…


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