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Hick's views on body and soul

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1. 'Hick's views on the body/soul distinction are more coherent than those of Dawkins.' Discuss As materialists both Hicks and Dawkins are united in the belief that human beings are whole, they oppose the dualist belief that the body and soul are two separate entities, with the soul being able to exist beyond the death of the physical body. Despite their apparent similarities Hick and Dawkins present opposing view points. Hick a 'soft' materialist presents the possibility of an afterlife. Dawkin's view certainly appear more simplistic: as a 'hard' materialist he presents the view that the only possible way for human beings to exist beyond death is through the continuation of our genes through our offspring. According to Dawkin life is nothing more than bytes of information continued in DNA. For Dawkins, the only conceivable theory is that of evolution. We are as we are because of our genetic make up, not the efforts of our souls. ...read more.


According to Mel Thompson if the answer to this question is yes, then life after death is theoretically possible. However this then raises the question whether death has actually taken place. For death as we know it involves the cessation of the person. If Hick's view were possible surely this would be more of a relocation of an individual rather than the death and resurrection of that person. When asked whether the replica and the deceased were in fact the same person, Hick argues that he would be if he thought of himself and others thought of himself as the same person. We can see from Hick's answer that the boundaries are unclear. It could be argued however that Hick's view of the 'replica' is not meant to be taken literally. Perhaps Hick is merely trying to demonstrate the possibility of life after death, in the form of a new physical body as a means of expressing personal identity. ...read more.


A theists argument in response to this would be that their had to be a prime mover providing the small number of variables in the first place, Aquinas would argue that the prime mover is God. Dawkins compares the replication of human genes to a computer replicating data: 'The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer like.' ( Dawkins, R. River out of Eden p 17). A dualist could turn this around to suggest that this replaces the spiritual concept of the soul with a more modern metaphor/ myth, the data representing the soul with the hard drive representing the body. In terms of the 'body/ soul distinction', Hick's views are confusing as he does not successfully underpin the continuity problem. However Dawkin's views appear less complex as they deal with only one earthly realm and they reduce all human activity to chemical responses in the brain. This is not to say that Hick's view are less convincing over those of Dawkin's, the simplistic ( and in my own opinion, limited) views of Dawkin appear to present a more coherent distinction but perhaps a less convincing argument. ...read more.

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