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Body soul destinction

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Introduction

'Religious philosophy can offer no firm evidence for a distinction between body and soul.' Discuss. Humans appear to have both a body and a mind, the body which is related to physical movements and appearances. And the mind which relates to feelings and emotions, qualia. Many philosophers therefore make a distinction between the mind and body, the dualist view that a person is made of two separate substances. On the other hand, some philosophers take a monist/ materialist view that the mind and the body are the same substance. This is a contentious area of philosophy, and has created a debate known as "the mind, body problem". Such philosophers as Plato take a dualist view and try to offer evidence to suggest a distinction between the body and soul. Plato saw the body and soul as two separate entities. The soul that most closely resembles the divine and immortal. While the body resembles the human and mortal, which is endlessly changing and can be broken down. Plato was not trying to suggest the soul was perfect as it joined the body which it is inhibited by, however, he explains that by taking care of the soul the person can develop knowledge. Plato used evidence such as the "world of the forms". ...read more.

Middle

For Descartes the mind is I, that we can live without the body as the mind makes us who we are. Descartes took the religious view that after our death the soul is able to continue and be with God. " A man's soul is that to which the pure mental properties of a man belong." Richard Swinburne developed a dualist view based on the soul being indestructible and indivisible. Swinburne suggested that is a logical possibility for a person to exist after the body dies, as the soul lives on. The soul according to Swinburne is linked with mental processes and activity and it's independent from the body. Evidence for Swinburne's theory comes from near death experiences. In many instances people have claimed to have had near death experiences whereby their hearts have stopped during surgery and yet they have reported detailed accounts of what happened during the time they were clinically dead. For some this is evidence for consciousness, however if the body and soul is one entity this would be impossible. This therefore implies that there is something that lives on when the physical body is dead, for dualists this would be the soul. On the other hand although the details of the experiences seem to be accurate there is no proof that the experiences may not be caused by another physical phenomena. ...read more.

Conclusion

We already know only 10% of the brains capacity is used consciously and therefore it is a logical assumption that our mind is located within the brain. An analogy for this is that a woman can be a mother, a daughter and a sister etc. The same person can have many functions, it is therefore the same for the brain which as well as having the functions we already recognise such as controlling physical activity, speaking and controlling bodily functions it can also control the mind. Overall, although religious philosophy offers an explanation for the body soul distinction it is based on little empirical evidence. For those who already follow the religion it may fit in with their beliefs however, for those who are atheist of follow another religion the evidence that it uses makes little logical sense. Such dualists views as Plato where the assumptions are based on everyday life may be more appropriate, however there is still little empirical evidence to prove the theory. On the other hand materialists put fore ward convincing arguments based on scientifically testable theories i.e. Dawkins. But neither arguments yet put enough evidence fore ward to either prove their views or disprove that of others. Therefore the statement Religious philosophy can offer no firm evidence for a distinction between body and soul may be considered as correct, however there is not yet enough evidence to suggest that religious views of dualism cannot be true. ...read more.

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