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- The fight for survival: language and identity
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It originates at times when the average life expectancy was very low compared to what is the case presently.
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Perhaps the idea of a survival in some form beyond the obvious end of the life in the physical body was attractive due to the brief and often very difficult life encountered by humans. Such a belief in survival of personal identity and consciousness provided a number of very positive results. There would be hope for a future life better than the present life and devoid of problems. There would be concern to live a proper life while embodied so as to secure the promise of the better life in the next realm.
There would be the hope that justice would prevail if not in this world then in some other where the good would be rewarded and those who transgressed some moral code would be dealt with appropriately, even punished. While most religions and cultures hold for the existence of a soul or spirit, philosophers have had a variety of views on the matter and some of those views deny the existence of the non physical entity altogether. Plato thought that the soul could and would exist apart from the body and would exist after the death of the body.
He offered a "proof" for this position and was the first to do so in writing that we have any evidence of doing so. He offered several different proofs or arguments none of which are convincing today. They are held to be specious arguments or terribly flawed and unconvincing. He held that humans were composed of bodies and souls but the soul was more important and immortal. His arguments used premises which we question today. For example, Plato thought that he could conclude that the soul could exist independent of the body because it acted independently from the body when it engaged in pure thought.
This is no longer accepted as true since it is equally evident today that without a physical brain thought appears unlikely to occur. Plato thought that the only way to explain how people come to know things is that they are remembering the knowledge implanted in their souls when the souls were in the realm of pure thought and eternal forms before entering into the body after which they forgot as they became confused by physical emotions an feelings and limited experiences through the senses.
This is no longer accepted as the best explanation of how people come to have knowledge. In his view all of reality consisted of two very different substances: matter or the physical and spirit or the non-physical. The physical was what would be extended in time and space and the non-physical would not be so characterized.
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For Descartes the soul of a human exists prior to and separate from the body. His proof consisted of argumentation that has been seriously criticized and rejected. He thought that if he could in some form demonstrate that humans can prove that they exist without first proving that they have physical bodies then that would prove that they did not need a physical body in order to exist.
He thought that his famous claim that " I think therefore I am" established not just that he existed but that he existed without a body as a "thinking thing". For him a "thinking thing" needed no physical parts to do what it does. Modern science has established that there is no evidence of humans that are without a physical body and its brain. There is no evidence that thought is possible without a brain. There is much evidence that what has been associated with Descartes' "thinking thing" is now explained solely in terms of the brain and how the brain is physically structured and the functioning of the brain.
David Hume held a variety of objections to the belief in a soul. It was only based upon divine revelation through scripture that he maintained his belief. Physical Argument : No evidence of survival and there is instead much evidence of decay-alterations, dissolution.
The fight for survival: language and identity
Bertrand Russell argued against the existence of the soul. For Russell Emotions cause a belief in immortality. John Hick regards the human as a psychophysical person. This person shall be resurrected through a divine act of recreation. Humans will have a spiritual body. To demonstrate the possibility of this event Hick conducts a thought experiment. Heaven and hell exist as the other worlds in which the spiritual bodies exist. There may be evidence of the existence of a non-physical component of the person:. Parapsychology reports: ESP, telepathy- evidence of the existence of a soul??
Hick concludes that it is not irrational illogical to believe in the survival of the spirit or the self. He holds that personal survival is a necessary condition for immortality. Hick, John. Hick first discusses the difference between the Platonic idea of immortality and that of the Judeo-Christian tradition. For Plato, the soul could not be destroyed, as unlike the body, the soul is not a composite material.
However, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the idea of man and the soul has taken on a new meaning. Hick points out that man is no longer seen as an immortal soul attached to a finite body. Instead, man is seen as a finite mortal with a psychophysical life who must rely on God to recreate his psychopersona. This idea of God having to recreate a person through a divine act implies a total reliance upon God in the hour of death. Hick takes the analogy one step further and states that if John Smith were to die and a new John Smith appeared once again as exactly the same physical and mental person , people would have to accept this new John Smith as the same person he originally was.
Hick focuses on the phenomenon of telepathy as a parapsychological reason to argue for the existence of spiritual life after death. Hick cites numerous studies on telepathy in which the results were very obviously in favor of the existence of the phenomenon rather than random chance or coincidence. Instead, he postulates that all humans are connected on an unconscious level, and we all constantly influence each other. It is this connection which allows telepathy to take place. He admits that it is possible that mediums may just be reading the thoughts and memories of the deceased telepathically through the living friends and loved ones.
Hick readily admits that parapsychology may not be able to prove his theory. Yet he maintains hope that with further research and information, parapsychology may eventually lend proof to the idea of a divine recreation of the psychopersona and life after death. There are other phenomena that would have a more direct bearing on the question of the survival of a spirit or soul after the death of the physical body:. Unfortunately an incontrovertible demonstration has yet to be made to support the claim that reports of such phenomena are accurate and veridical and adequate to verify the existence of non-physical beings.
Studies and experiments continue to be conducted in the hopes of finding support for the post mortem survival hypothesis. The results remain ambiguous. Communicating with the dead is something being claimed by a growing number of people who come to be known as mediums. Their record or accuracy of reports is not that good when submitted to careful examination and their techniques have been duplicated with similar success by people who claim no psychic powers and no communication with spirits but only a clever mind and skill at observing people with deceased acquaintances who in various ways both consciously and unconsciously indicate whether or not the would be or purported "medium " is close in reporting accurately what they know about the deceased persons.
Indigenous Identity Transition in Russia: An international legal perspective | Cultural Survival
Flew holds that this view is incoherent because the idea of an incorporeal being is incoherent. Personality is related to corporeal existence. Reconstituted Body- Recreated by God for the afterlife. After the moment of death God recreates or duplicates the body of the dead person.
It would be this body that the person would occupy in the next realm for all eternity.
Flew's objection is that this is not really the same body. This being would not be the same person. There would be a discontinuity.
This is a replica of the person and not the person who was once alive on earth. According to British philosopher, Antony Flew, there are three ways to consider human survival of death. The first is the Platonic-Cartesian way of the disembodied soul, second the astral body way and the third, the biblical reconstitution way. Flew rejects all but one of these survival ways. He considers the astral body way the most logical. The idea that we have a duplicate astral body, Flew finds most plausible. Flews conclusion is that if survival is the case the astral body is the way. Flew does however state that a large obstacle to the idea of survival exists.
That stated, Flew suggests that survival is necessary , not sufficient condition of immortality. Next Flew begins to describe the Platonic-Cartesian way. Flew describes this as consisting of two moves. He says, the first is to maintain the person and the second is to maintain the soul. Flew goes on to suggest, again two moves again. The first move is to claim shadowing, what is ordinarily thought of as the person in another being of the same form. The next move is to maintain that the shadow being is the real person. This is the astral body way of survival.
Third , Flew labels the reconstitutionist way a traditional religious view, rather than in physical research. Flew goes on to say that Aquinas is the primary reconstitutionist. According to Aquinas, the soul survives death and waits for judgement day. In the next section, Flew concentrates on the difficulties of each. Flew rejects this idea. At this point, Flew discusses the possibility of ESP and of course finally rejects this.
Finally, Flew get to the problems with the Astral Body. First, he goes on to say that it is his belief that many philosophers who considered themselves, believers in the Platonic-Cartesians, where actually, believers in astral bodies. Unfortunately, the evidence for all soul survival is lacking. Flew chooses the belief that is most logically possible. Jeffrey Olen.