This essay Life after Death - notes has a total of 3219 words and 18 pages.
Life after Death - notes
Pascal\'s Wager is the idea that, if you don\'t know whether there is an afterlife.
• There are two aspects to human beings, a physical body and a non-physical soul
• They tend to believe in life after death
The monist view states that we are physical bodies only. Once we die, that\'s it. Emotions are simply psycho-chemical reactions and nothing more.
Whether the mind and body are one of the same nature (monistic view) or whether they have two natures (dualistic view).
What therefore happens when we die?
This is the notion that humans have composite natures (the material part is the physical body and the non-material part is the mind/soul). The mind and body both exist though and are linked in some way.
Although Plato’s beliefs have changed over time, his general belief about the soul is that it is immaterial, and the real me. It is pre-existent and immortal. We come back in our next life as something better or worse depending on how we were during our previous life, until we fulfil our potential and enter a type of heaven.
Our body is spatial but not conscious, while the mind is not spatial but is conscious. Even though this mind and body were separate, they interact within the brain. The state of the body will affect the mind and vice versa. When people die their body is left behind although their soul is able to continue with God.
We are simply survival machines, Dawkins says, and we exist only to pass on our genes:
"There is no spirit-driven life force"
He states that belief in the soul/life after death is just wish fulfilment for those who fear death.
There are problems with dualism though:
• How do souls and bodies interact if they are completely separate things?
• Gilbert Ryle dismissed dualism as a theory about ‘a ghost [mind] in a machine [body]’. He felt that this separation of the mind and body was a ‘category mistake’. Use the example of *Cambridge University and asking where is the university.
This is the view that the mind cannot be separated from the body
We are made up of two things a body (matter) and a soul or ‘psyche’ (the form), and (unlike Plato) the soul is an integral part of the body. You can’t have one without the other (e.g. a cake cannot be a cake without its ingredients or form). The soul animates the body, by organising a potential living body into an actual living body. Aquinas took on these ideas.
Rejects the idea of the soul. All mental events are physical events interpreted in a mental way. But what if for example we were wishing? This is not a physical event. He believes that an individual is a physical living body and no more, and so when the body dies that’s it, the whole person is dead.
Biological materialist. Doesn’t believe in a soul. He believed that life is simply physical matter made up of DNA. We are the survival machines for this DNA as we are simply ‘gene machines’ driven by our genes to protect and duplicate themselves. He takes a reductionist approach believing that the mind is nothing but “a computer made of meat”.
Evolution filters in the ‘good’ genes and filters out the ‘bad’. Does believe in consciousness though (as more important that DNA). Once the DNA has developed the brain, it can begin to think for itself as an individual and consider the consequences of its own actions. Is this simply what others call a soul though? And although Dawkins believes that everything points away from a creator, as Peter Williams pointed out, where did this information/DNA originally come from. Was there no mind behind this?
He is also a materialist although, unlike Dawkins, he believes in a life after death as well as God. Hicks Replica Theory believes that the soul cannot be separated from the body, and at the point of death on earth, God creates an exact replica of that person in another space. They would look the same and have the same memories. This theory is very vague though.
A Mixture between Monism and Dualism
He modified Aristotle’s thinking. Believed that the soul is the form of the body and therefore the body needs the soul to give it life and the soul needs the body. The soul is
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