Soul, Mind and Body Flashcards Preview

A Level - Philosophy > Soul, Mind and Body > Flashcards

Flashcards in Soul, Mind and Body Deck (33)
Loading flashcards...

am i my body?

o I feel pain when my hand is hurt.
o Hand is part of what I have? Or what I am?
o If my leg is amputated, am I less me? Does this suggest my body and soul are separate?


am i my consciousness?

o When you see a photo of yourself as a baby, you know it is you, yet you have no recollection of that moment. No memorable consciousness, solely that described by others.
o Body is unrecognisable.
o If you develop dementia, are you any less you?


the mind-body q

o What is the connection between our physical body and the vividness of our conscious thought?
o Is our soul an object or a spiritual substance?
o Refer to soul as noun, but is this purely a linguistic consequence?


substance dualism
property dualism

Dualism - belief in the body and the soul as two separate elements that work together.
Substance dualism - body and soul are wholly separate elements; soul can live without the body e.g. Plato
Property dualism - Soul and mind are not different substances, but have different properties.



Psyche - Greek word for mind/soul.
Materialism - body and soul are one material substance e.g. Dawkins
Monism - one substance.



Reductionism - everything can be reduced to statements about physical bodies.
Behaviourism - all mental states are simply learned behaviours.


plato - what is the soul?

• Was a substance dualist.
• Plato sought something permanent and certain.
• Felt that if permanence does not exist in the material world, then it must exist in another world.
• Therefore, the soul must be immortal in order to experience this and be separate to body.
• The soul is the essential and immaterial part of a human, does not change like the material body.
o Described as divine, uniform, eternal, immaterial.
• Indeed, in Phaedo, Plato dramatises death of Socrates, stating that as his soul is eternal, he has nothing to fear from death.

Cycle of opposites, death comes after life, so life must come after death; our soul gets ‘recycled.’ It is our soul that is our identity, not our body.


how does plato argument support disembodied and embodied arguments

• Supports both disembodied (not in body) and an embodied (in body) argument.
o When the soul goes to Noeton it is disembodied.
o When soul is revived, it embodies life after death.


plato world of the forms

o Wrote a dialogue, 'Meno', slave boy with no education given a geometry puzzle to solve. Boy is able to answer puzzle with prompting, Plato took this to mean the boy had been accessing his knowledge from the Forms since he could not have known this without education.


plato tripartite view

• The Soul, has a tripartite view, uses analogy of a horse chariot
o Appetite (one horse - pull us along and motivate us)
o Emotion (another horse - pull us along and motivate us)
o Reason (charioteer, holds the reigns and makes sure the appetite and emotion work together in a rational direction).
o People who let their reason guide the other aspects of their mental lives are wise.
o All three parts of the soul are in conflict
• Wrote about this in Phaedrus
• Charioteer = rational takes charge
• Black horse = appetitive, bodily needs, dies with body
• White horse = spirited element, virtues e.g. courage, leads the rational to Noeton


plato - horaton

• The body: Horaton
o 'The body is the source of endless trouble'
o 'Takes away from us all power of thinking at all'.
o Body is a prison to our soul, just as the cave was the prison in the analogy.
o Soul wants to be free of empiricism, illusion and ignorance (eikasia) and be free to experience the Forms and true knowledge.


plato relationship between body and soul

o Sought to solve the problem that if my soul existed before my current life and continues after death, where has it been and where will it go?
o For Plato, the soul is without beginning (unlike Xians, who believe the soul is created at conception)

doesn't really address it...


positives of plato

• Major influence on Xian thought about the immortality of soul
• Noeton alludes to Xian concept of heaven
• Later ideas of reincarnation are similar to eastern religious notions of rebirth
• Helps explain the individuality of people (like Freud's id, ego and superego)


weaknesses of plato

• All 3 elements are seen as necessary
o Appetitive and spirited elements seem to be connected to bodily life
o If the soul is free when the body dies what happens to the appetitive part, which is connected with the body?
o Is the soul no longer complete?
• Issues of personal identity if only parts of the soul survive


supporter of plato - descartes
3 waves of doubt and cogito

• Started by asking if there is any certain knowledge, rationalist (background in mathematics made him want philosophy to have the same certainty).
• Had 3 waves of doubt
1. Senses can deceive
2. What if life is an illusion/dream?
3. What if we are being deceived by an evil demon?
• The cogito
o Came to the conclusion that the only thing he could be certain of was his own existence as a thinker.
o He would need to exist in order to doubt as you cannot doubt without contradiction.
o 'I think therefore I am'
• This means the material body and spiritual mind are completely separate
• 'There is a very great difference between a mind and a body, because a body is by nature divisible, but the mind is not... if another limb was amputated from my body nothing would be taken from my mind' - Meditation VI


how do mind and body interact - descartes

o Descartes wrote about the body in almost mechanical terms:
• 'There is a little gland in the brain where the soul exercises its functions more particularly than in the other parts of the body' - The Passion of The Soul
• In the 'Treatise on Man', D claims that the pineal gland is the seat of imagination and serves as the link between the mind and body.
• However.... how was the link made?


ryle criticism of dualism

• Gilbert Ryle - the Category Mistake (mistakenly treating something as being of one type when it is a different type)
o Mocks Descartes, calling his concept of the mind a 'ghost in the machine'
o Feels D's view of the mind as the pilot of the body and the body as a sort of mechanism is a category error
o Ryle believes in a more holistic argument, the mind and body aren't separate, something does not need to be either mental or physical, and they can be both.
o Gives example of Cambridge University
• A foreigner visitor goes to all the colleges, libraries, museums etc. but then asks 'where is the university'.
• This is a category error; the university is a collection of the individual parts, not separate.
• D similarly assumes that things we experience are either physical or mental, but R argues they are both physical and mental e.g. PTSD


g.e.m anscombe criticism of dualism

e argues that 'bodily act is an act of man qua spirit' = the act of a human as a whole
o A description of bodily actions might describe how my body is working, but not why.
o E.g. I am typing this PowerPoint, my fingers are moving over the keys but that does not explain the action. For that I need to have a description of the thought, 'I am typing because...'
o Need both action and thought in this, just as you need both mind and body to get full picture.


peter geach criticism of dualism

o 'It is savage superstition to suppose that a man consists of two pieces, body and soul, which come apart at death; the superstition is not mended but aggravated by conceptual confusion, if the soul-piece is supposed to immaterial. The genius of Plato and Descartes has given this superstition an undeservedly long lease of life'


anthony flew criticism of dualism and counter argument

o Compares the view of a separate soul living on separate to the body to the smile of the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. It is impossible to grin without a face to put it on; the grin cannot be a thing in itself. The soul cannot live beyond the body because the physical body no longer has any behaviour.
o However...
• Plato, Descartes, Ward and Swinburne would argue that the soul is more than just a word for physical behaviour, can be capable of independent continued existence after the death of the body.


peter smith, o.r. jones and hume criticism of dualism

• Peter Smith and O.R. Jones
o Just because dualism is attractive, does not make it true.
o We might talk about somebody's 'sake' or 'build', but this does not mean that one could be separated from their 'sake' or 'build'.
• Hume
o The soul is immaterial, cannot know if you've found a separate soul to the body.


further criticism of dualism

o How can the spiritual soul/mind influence the body? (Problem of interactionism)
o If I hurt my body, my mind feels it e.g. amputees still feel pain even though limb is no longer them (phantom limbs)
o How does the mind feel sensation of thirst when body needs water?
o Siddhartha Gautama realised food is necessary to reach enlightenment; it is a mental state with a physical need.
o Does not explain how mental thoughts can cause physical responses e.g. blushing when embarrassed.
o Although you can be sure that you have a mind, how can you know others have minds?


aristotle summary of view

• Everything is made of a material substance and formal cause.
• The formal cause gives something its shape.
• Body is animated by the soul, which gives it life, the soul is the formal cause of a human and body is material cause.
• The soul does not survive after death, not wholly separate.
• E.g. if the eye were a body, its soul would be the capacity to see.
• Most scholars argue that Aristotle is a dualist because he believed body and soul are needed to animate, but the two are dependent on each other. He is more than a materialist but not a substance dualist; best category for him is property dualist.


aristotle, 3 parts of soul

• Soul = 3 elements
o Vegetative - all living things have it, growth, reproduction etc.
o Appetitive - animals and humans have it, desires, urges and emotions etc.
o Intellectual - unique to humans, remembering, thinking, deciding etc.


supporters of aristotle

o Peter Geach
• 'The only tenable conception of the soul is the Aristotelian conception of the soul as the form, or actual organisation, of the living body'
o Aquinas
• 'The soul is defined as the first principle of life in living things: for we call living things 'animate' and those things which have no life 'inanimate' - Summa Theologica
• The soul is not me but the principle of life
• My life needs the body to be animated
• The soul is not material
• The body is necessary for me to be me
• 'It is clear that man is not soul only, but something composed of soul and body. Plato, because he thought that sensation was simply function of the soul, was able to maintain that man was a soul making use of the body'


dawkins view - materialist

• There is no part of the person that goes beyond the physical, everything can be explained by science e.g. neurones etc.
• However, does acknowledge the mystery of consciousness, eventually science will find the answer in our DNA.
• Like Aristotle, he believes that consciousness cannot be separated from the body, no afterlife. Nothing exists except matter.
• 'The Selfish Gene' - humans are nothing more than 'survival machines', we have no soul to distinguish us from other species. (Unlike Plato and Aristotle)
• We are vehicles of genes, which are only interested in replicating ourselves in order to survive the next generation.
• 'Survival machines - robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes'


dawkins soul 1 and 2

and supporter

• Soul 1 and 2 (2 different ways of understanding the soul)
o Soul 1 - the idea that the soul exists separately to the body ad lives beyond death (Dawkins rejects this)
o Soul 2 - a view that a person's soul refers to their individuality and personality, does not exist after death (Accepts this)
• 'There is no spirit-driven force, no throbbing, heaving, pullulating, protoplasmic, mystic jelly. Life is just bytes and bytes of digital information' - River of Eden
• Life is awe-inspiring only in the form of evolutionary process. Bertrand Russell also argued that RE beliefs based on immortality of the soul are based on wish-fulfilment for those who lack courage and cannot cope with their mortality.


criticism of dawkins

o We talk of a person and a person's body differently. E.g. Emily is in the garden vs. Emily's body is in the garden. A living human is more than just a body.
o Cannot explain how a logical chain of reasoning can be no more than a physical chain reaction.
o Ward and Swinburne argue that human beings have soul distinct from physical bodies. Argue that without belief in the soul, morality becomes simply a matter of personal choice, whereas we need the moral claims that the soul recognises as coming from God in order to progress. Ward quotes the Bible, 'The Lord God took some soil from the ground and formed a man out of it; he breathed life-giving breath into his nostrils, and the man began to live'.


behaviourism - b.f. skinner

• Type of materialism
• Human thoughts are learned behaviours
• All behaviour is due to conditioning and reinforcing
• Everything we do is as a result of previous learning
• If your action leads to good results, likely to repeat it.
• Pavlov's dogs
o 1890s, Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov looking at salivation in dogs as response to being fed.
o Before conditioning
• Unconditioned stimulus food would have unconditioned response of salivation
• Neutral stimulus of tuning fork would have no conditioned response
o During conditioning
• Tuning fork and food = unconditioned response of salivation
o After conditioning
• Conditioned stimulus of tuning fork = conditioned response of salivation


problems with behaviourism

o Attacked for being reductionist. Dennett argues that Singer over simplifies human consciousness. (However... why is that bad? Ockham's razor)
o Human thinking moves beyond Skinner's 'basic theory' e.g. how do we fit creativity into human conditioning?
o There is something more to human consciousness than simply explainable cause and effect?
o Daniel C. Dennett: cannot apply animal consciousness to human consciousness. If I am asked why am reading a book, I am able to give a detailed explanation i.e. 'I am reading this because I like the author and the period they are writing about'. Cannot reduce this to learned behaviour. Skinner would be right if explanation stopped at desire and didn't provide explanation