The Locations of the Soul

Religious Studies 32 (2):205 - 221 (1996)
Belief in life after death is implicated, for the typical 'Wittgensteinian', with Cartesian dualism, and the latter seen to entail a private inner subject that cannot survive the anti-private language argument. But Descartes does not really suffer from this defect and belief in life after death is not merely a product of 'confused' Cartesian metaphysics. Descartes is presented as an intellectual analogue of the formation of the concept of 'soul' in spiritual contexts. Just as metaphysical reflection forces us to conclude, for Descartes, that we are only contingently flesh and blood beings, so it is only under the condition of recalcitrant experience that exemplary practitioners seem forced to forge a distinction between body and soul, thus revising influentially their view of themselves as single beings both conscious and extended.
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