PHILOSOPHY: Soul, Mind and Body - Monism

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    • Key Terms
      • Anima: (Aristotle's De Anima) the Anima is the soul of a person
      • Hylomorphic Soul/ Body Unity: Aristotle's interpretation of monism that the soul and body are one unit and are inseparable.
      • Identity Theory: The theory that all mental activities including emotion and intelligence are centred in the brain.
      • Monism: The belief that the body and soul are one and the soul cannot exist without the body
      • Self - Identity: The person you are besides your physical body
    • Aristotelian Monism
      • Aristotle in his De Anima believes the soul and body are one and the soul cannot exist without the body. He also believes that the soul is the FORM of the body and purpose of the body. This can be explained through his potentiality and actuality and then of cause and effect
      • The human being is matter in some FORM fulfilling some TELOS. The soul is the ACTUALITY of the body.
        • Example to show unity between the soul and the body: The wax cannot be removed from the stamp as they are in unity and there is no stamp without one, so they  both have to exist together.
      • First Potentiality: Our material self
        • Second Potentiality/ First Actuality: Our formal self
          • Second Actuality: Our purpose being engaged
      • Second Potentiality/ First Actuality: Our formal self
        • Second Actuality: Our purpose being engaged
      • The soul is animation: The person engaging with their purpose which is determined by their form and doing what they are supposed to be doing.
        • EXPLANATION: Aristotle said if a Axe had a soul it would be chopping wood; if an eye had a soul it would be seeing. We have a soul, and that is to engage with REASON and live a good life
        • This supports his theory that the soul and body cannot exist separately as the soul is the Animation of the body and they are HYLOMORPHIC
    • Identity Theory: A belief that a persons identity is linked directly to their physical body. Its a materialist approach.
      • BODY OR MIND? John Locke's theory of whether we define a person through their appearance or through their mind, or whether it is theoretically possible for people to switch bodies.
        • Story: There was  a cobbler and a Prince, one day the two switch bodies and wake up. The prince confronts the palace and is thrown away from the gates as he has the appearance of the cobbler.
      • BODY OR PERSONALITY ? Phineas Gage -  Was a railroad construction who suffered an injury of a metal pole through his brain. He survived but his personality changed to angry and short tempered, this suggest that the character of a person or soul is directly linked to the brain itself not some spiritual absence
      • BODY OR GENES ? Richard Dawkins argues that our bodies are simply machines for our genes, as the soul purpose it to keep our genes in existence for as long as possible. He also says that the idea of life after death is simple a coping mechanism made by the brain to help us deal with our fate.
      • Unprovable: Aristotle's Monism itself is difficult to demonstrate beyond doubt. But it is left unclear on whether he thinks there is life after death as he never suggests there is or isn't. He seemed to allow the possibility for a prime mover to maintain a persons intelligence.
      • Doesn't Explain Motivation: Of identity theory, Stephen Davis argues that identity theory only explains the workings of the brain but doesn't explain the motivation of the brain. He discusses that the brain may be neutral and the soul may drive it
      • The Brain and Mind Remain Mysteries: The reality is that we know very little on how the brain actually works. So everything we claim about how the brain works and interacts with the body and forms the character is pure speculation
      • True to Science: Of Aristotle's Monism, his interpretation of the soul being an animation of the body fits well with modern scientific attitudes, as the soul can be seen in light of the brains activity. It also doesn't make us accept an y abstract ideas or spiritual dimensions.
      • True to the Bible: John Hick supports Aristotle's idea that all we can know is our empirical self. He says that God has made us as Psycho-somatic (soul/body) unity and that the Resurrection of Christ was a bodily Resurrection
      • True to Psychology: Of identity theory - it states when we are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their change in character, this supports the idea that the soul is in fact the character formed around the physical brain.


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