The aim of this essay is to provide a philosophical discussion of Frederick Douglass's thought in relation to Christianity. I expand upon the work of Bill E. Lawson and Frank M. Kirkland—who both argue that there are Kantian features present in Douglass as it relates to his conception of the individual—by arguing that there are similarities between Douglass and Kant not only concerning the relationship between morality and Christianity, but also concerning the nature of the soul. Specifically, (...) I try to show that the moral weakness of slaveholding Christianity that Douglass attacked is found in the ecclesial formation of the slaveholding Christian church; it is a formation that begins with epistemology, but ignores ethics. I conclude, in part, that both Douglass and Kant reject a Cartesian psychological dualism in favor of a conception of the soul that is more attentive to one's moral development. (shrink)
A relação entre o corpo e a alma do ser humano na teologia cristã: uma aproximação histórica e contemporânea. (The relation between body and soul of human being in Christian Theology: A historical and contemporary approach) - DOI: 10.5752/P.2175-5841.2013v11n31p1081 O objetivo deste artigo é apresentar como se deu, no plano histórico, e se dá, atualmente, na contemporaneidade, as relações entre o corpo e a alma, no âmbito da antropologia cristã. Historicamente, primeiro se constatou a existência do corpo e da (...) alma para depois se ocupar do tipo de relação que há entre ambos os princípios. Do ponto de vista histórico, houve um primado e uma supremacia da alma sobre o corpo. Entre ambos os princípios metafísicos, ora vigorava uma unidade acidental (provisória e dualista), ora uma unidade substancial (permanente e recíproca). Atualmente, a reflexão teológica defende uma unidade mútua e recíproca entre o corpo e a alma, de modo que cada princípio está ordenado para o outro. O ser humano é uma unitotalidade psicofísica e anímico-corpórea. Atualmente, há autores filósofos (X. Zubiri, M. Bunge) e teológos (J. Moltmann, Flick-Alszechy), que defendem como alternativa ao hilemorfismo aristótelico-tomista, novas formas de compreender a relação entre o corpo/matéria e alma/espírito. Também, nos dias de hoje, a relação corpo-alma está presente nas novas antropologias, mas com um novo verniz: a relação mente-cérebro. Palavras-chave : Antropologia. Corpo. Alma. Mente. Cérebro.The scope of this paper is to present how occurred in historical level, and occurs in the contemporary world, the relation between body and soul in the context of Christian anthropology. Historically, in a first moment, it was identified the existence of the body and the soul, and afterwards, the type of relation between these two ontological principles. From a historical point of view, there was a primacy and supremacy of the soul over the body. Between these principles, sometimes prevailed an accidental unity (provisional and dualistic), sometimes a substantial unity (permanent and reciprocal). Nowadays, the theological reflection defends a mutual and reciprocal unity between body and soul, so that each principle is ordained one to the other. Human being is a psychophysical “unit-totality” constituted of body and soul. Currently, there are philosophers (X. Zubiri, M. Bunge) and theologians (J. Moltmann, Flick-Alszeghy), who defend, as alternative to the Aristotelian-Thomistic hylemorphism, new forms of understanding the relation between body/matter and soul/spirit. Also, nowadays, the relation body-soul is present in new anthropologies, but with a new varnish through relation between mind-brain. Key-words : Anthropology. Body. Soul. Mind. Brain. (shrink)
The soul in Greek thought -- The soul in medieval Christian thought -- The soul in continental thought -- Locke, Butler, reid, and Hume -- Soul-body causal interaction -- The soul and contemporary science -- Contemporary challenges to the soul -- Thoughts on the future of the soul.
Las nociones de alma y cuerpo propuestas por Epicuro deben ser entendidas en relación con su "teoría atómica", en las que se destaca la tesis del "Clinamen", y algunos postulados de su doctrina moral. El Jardín epicúreo abrió sus puertas para el ingreso de la mujer, siguiendo tal vez a los cínicos. Leontion, epicúrea, llegó a ser regente de estudios. Los rasgos comunes que son posibles de señalar entre cinismo y epicureísmo se explican por lo demás por el papel que (...) jugaron ambos en la etapa de la filosofía antigua a la que se denominó "Helenismo", en que jugó importante papel Roma como capital del Imperio. El cristianismo primitivo fue uno de los movimientos religioso-metafísicos que impulsó la disolución del epicureísmo, lo cual no le ha restado valores que traspasan los tiempos. The concepts of body and soul proposed by Epicuro should be understood as related to his "atomic theory", in which the "Clinamen" thesis and some assertions of his moral doctrine stand out. The Epicurean Garden opened its doors to the woman, following the cynics. Leontion, Epicurean herself, reached the position of studies regent. The common features that can be pointed in cynicism and Epicureanism are explained by the role they played in "Hellenism", when Rome became important as the capital of the empire. Primitive Christianity was one of the religious-metaphysical movements that caused the Epicureanism dissolution, though some of its values persist through time. (shrink)
Libertarians such as J.R. Lucas have abandoned traditional Christian doctrines because they cannot reconcile them with the freedom of the will. Traditional Christian thinkers such as Augustine have repudiated libertarianism because they cannot reconcile it with the dogmas of the Faith. In Free Will and the Christian Faith, W.S. Anglin demonstrates that free will and traditional Christianity are ineed compatible. He examines, and solves, puzzles about the relationships between free will and omnipotence, omniscience, and God's goodness, using the idea (...) of free will to answer the question of why God allows evil, and presenting arguments that link free will to eternal life and to the nature of revelation. Topics covered include the meaning of life, the soul and Lesbegue measure, and strategies for discerning the voice of God. (shrink)
Onians' remarkable work of scholarship sought to deal with the very roots of European civilization and thought: the fundamental beliefs about life, mind, body, soul, and human destiny that are embodied in the myths and legends of the ancients. The volume is remains a fascinating collection of ideas and explanations of cultures as diverse as the Greeks and the Norse, the Celts and the Jews, and the Chinese and the Romans.
In Part I of this paper, I argue that the arguments Plato offers for the tripartition of the soul are founded upon an equivocation, and that each of the valid options by which Plato might remove the equivocation will not produce a tripartite soul. In Part II, I argue that Plato is not wholly committed to an analogy of soul and state that would require either a tripartite state or a tripartite soul for the analogy to (...) hold. It follows that the heart of the analogy is not to be found in the comparison of the Kallipolis and its three parts to the soul conceived as tripartite, but rather must be supposed to reside in some other connection between the ways in which justice characterizes states and souls, and I will suggest what this other connection consists in. (shrink)
This is a revised and updated version of Swinburne's controversial treatment of the eternal philosophical problem of the relation between mind and body. He argues that we can only make sense of the interaction between the mental and the physical in terms of the soul, and that there is no scientific explanation of the evolution of the soul.
Although the Phaedo never mentions a Form of Soul explicitly, the dialogue implies this Form’s existence. First, a number of passages in which Socrates describes his views about Forms imply that there are very many Forms; thus, Socrates’ general description of his theory gives no ground for denying that there is a Form of Soul. Second, the final argument for immortality positively requires a Form of Soul.
There has been little scholarly attention given to explaining exactly how and why Socrates thinks that wrongdoing damages the soul. But there is more than a simple gap in the literature here, we shall argue. The most widely accepted view of Socratic moral psychology, we claim, actually leaves this well-known feature of Socrates’ philosophy absolutely inexplicable. In the first section of this paper, we rehearse this view of Socratic moral psychology, and explain its inadequacy on the issue of the (...) damaging consequences of wrongdoing. We then go on to provide our own account of the way in which injustice damages the soul, and then draw conclusions about how Socratic moral psychology should be understood. (shrink)
Paper given at the 20th Biennial Meeting of the Hegel Society of America, University of South Carolina, October 24-26, 2008 -/- The local problem of the soul-body relation can be grasped only against the global background of the relation between Nature and Spirit. This relates to Hegel's naturalism: the idea that there is one single reality - living reality - and different levels of description of it. This implies, moreover, that it is possible to ascribe some form of naturality (...) also to the social body of institutionalized ethical life. Hegel’s position can thus be characterised as a kind of aristotelian social naturalism: this, at bottom, is the combined meaning of the Hegelian theses that soul is the substance of Spirit, and habit its universal form. (shrink)
Traditional ideas about the basic nature of humanity are under attack as never before. The very attributes that make us human--free will, the permanence of personal identity, the existence of the soul--are being undermined and threatened by the current revolution in the science of the mind. If the mind is the brain, and therefore a physical object subject to deterministic laws, how can we have free will? If most of our thoughts and impulses are unconscious, how can we be (...) morally responsible for what we do? The Problem of the Soul shows the way out of these seemingly intractable paradoxes. Framing the conflict in terms of two dominant visions of the mind--the "manifest image" of humanistic philosophy and theology, and the scientific image--renowned philosopher Owen Flanagan demonstrates that there is, in fact, common ground, and that we need not give up our ideas of moral responsibility and personal freedom in order to have an empirically sound view of the human mind. (shrink)
Can we conceive of a mind without body? Does, for example, the idea of the soul's immortality make sense? Certain versions of materialism deny such questions; I shall try to prove that these versions of materialism cannot be right. They fail because they cannot account for the mental vocabulary from the language of brains in the vat. Envatted expressions such as "I think", "I believe", etc., do not have to be reinterpreted when we translate them to our language; they (...) are semantically stable. By contrast, physical expressions from the vat language are semantically instable; due to Putnam's externalism they cannot be transported to our language without change. This contrast opens the way to a new understanding of what the immortality of the soul might be like: A brain in a vat (and its mental life) might survive what the brain calls "my physical body's death". (shrink)
The article begins at the intellectual fissure between many statements coming from neuroscience and the language of faith and theology. First I show that some conclusions drawn from neuroscientific research are not as firm as they seem: neuroscientific data leave room for the interpretation that mind matters. I then take a philosophical-theological look at the notions of soul, self, and freedom, also in the light of modern scientific research (self-organization, neuronal networks), and present a view in which these theologically (...) important notions are seen in relation both to matter (brain) and to God. I show that religious insights expressed with soul and free will bear a remarkable resemblance to certain insights from neuroscience and the science of complex, self-organizing systems, including emphasis on corporeality and emphasis on organization as a form of that corporeality, and that they also show an interesting parallel --- albeit described in different terms --- concerning the crucial role of a valuation principle that generates attraction. With that, the common-sense idea that freedom simply is the same as indeterminism is refuted: freedom primarily means self-determination. I bring to the fore that the self is not a static thing but a “longing.‘ Such longing springs from something, and it is the relationship to this source that constitutes the self. The main concern is to point out the crucial role of attraction with respect to being and to life, and to draw attention not only to the astonishing parallel on this point between Thomas Aquinas and Alfred North Whitehead but also to a surprising --- albeit more implicit --- analogy between these philosophical-theological views and scientific theories of self-organization (such as those concerning neuronal networks). In short, being attracted toward what appears as “good‘ is what constitutes us as selves and what thereby signifies the primary meaning of our freedom. (shrink)
I am not a pantheist and I don’t believe that pantheism is consistent with Christianity. My preferred speculation is what I call the Swiss Cheese theory: we and our artefacts are the holes in God, the only Godless parts of reality. In this paper, I begin by considering a world rather like ours but without any beings capable of sin. Ignoring extraterrestrials and angels we could consider the world, say, 5 million years ago. Pantheism was, I say, true at (...) that time. That is my qualified endorsement of pantheism. I then use the Sin premise, namely that we are capable of sinning, to argue that beings like us are not parts of God and I examine some consequences. (shrink)
Reshaping the neo-Aristotelian doctrines about the human soul was Descartes’s most spectacular enterprise, which gave birth to some of the sharpest debates in the Republic of Letters. Neverthe- less, it was certainly Descartes’s intention, as already expressed in the Discours de la méthode, to show that his new metaphysics could be supplemented with experimental research in the field of medicine and the conservation of life. It is no surprise then that several natural philosophers and doctors, such as Henricus Regius (...) from Utrecht, who had studied in Padua with William Harvey, rallied in support, in order to gain a more substantial theoretical basis for their research. Taking as his ground some general metaphysical assumptions, such as the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, and perhaps the separability of the pure understanding, Regius intended to secure a new philosophy of man, which was able to reflect his medical interests and complement his account of human nature. This is the story that is now gaining currency, and it is surely accurate, at least in part. Desmond Clarke has recently defended the same view1, based on the remarkable studies of the Utrecht scholars Theo Verbeek and Erik-Jan Bos. Here I would like to challenge some aspects of this view and ask how Regius, who was perceived as the philosopher most closely associated with Descartes, became a betrayer of his mentor. (shrink)
This article discusses the theories of perception of Robert Kilwardby and Peter of John Olivi. Our aim is to show how in challenging certain assumptions of medieval Aristotelian theories of perception they drew on Augustine and argued for the active nature of the soul in sense perception. For both Kilwardby and Olivi, the soul is not passive with respect to perceived objects; rather, it causes its own cognitive acts with respect to external objects and thus allows the subject (...) to perceive them. We also show that Kilwardby and Olivi differ substantially regarding where the activity of the soul is directed to and the role of the sensible species in the process, and we demonstrate that there are similarities between their ideas of intentionality and the attention of the soul towards the corporeal world. (shrink)
Although modern societies have come to recognize diversity in human sexuality as simply part of nature, many Christian communities and thinkers still have considerable difficulties with related developments in politics, legislation, and science. In fact, homosexuality is a recurrent topic in the transdisciplinary encounter between Christianity and the sciences, an encounter that is otherwise rather “asexual.” I propose that the recent emergence of “Christianity and Science” as an academic field in its own right is an important part of (...) the larger context of the difficulties related to attempts to reconcile Christianity and a recognition of diversity in human sexuality as a norm. Through a critical discussion of arguments which are upheld most disturbingly on a global scale by the Roman Catholic Church and supported with much sophistry by important stakeholders of an influential stream in analytic philosophy of religion, this paper aims to contextualize and defend the legitimacy of the question why God would create homosexuals as such if it is true that every homosexual act is prohibited by God. While recently advanced nonheterosexist scientific models of sexuality in nature inform the discussion, I reject the simplistic view that religions suppress and the sciences liberate in matters sexual. (shrink)
From Soul to Self takes us on a fascinating journey through philosophy, theology, religious studies and physiological sciences. The contributors explore the relationship between a variety of ideas that have arisen in philosophy, religion and science, each idea seeking to explain why we think we are somehow unique and distinct.
The soul of Achilles -- Aristotle -- The doubleness of soul -- Out of itself for the sake of itself -- Nutritive soul -- Sensing soul: vision -- Thinking soul. Sensation and imagination ; Passive and active mind ; Imagination and thought -- The soul as self and self-aware -- "The father of the Logos" -- "For the friend is another self" -- Herodotus: the rest and motion of soul -- Rest in motion: (...) Herodotus's Egypt -- Motion at rest: Herodotus's Scythians -- Euripides: soul as same and other -- The fake that launched a thousand ships: the duplicity of identity in the Helen -- Euripides among the Athenians: the double vision of soul in Iphigeneia among the Taurians -- Plato -- The soul of the law: Gyges in Herodotus and in Plato -- The subject of justice: on Plato's Cleitophon -- The object of tyranny: Plato's Hipparchus -- Plato's Phaedrus: Er's and the structure of soul -- The grammar of soul: the middle voice in Plato's Euthyphro -- The soul of Socrates. (shrink)
In Intimations of Christianity Among the Ancient Greeks , Simone Weil discusses precursors to Christian religious ideas which can be found in ancient Greek mythology, literature and philosophy. She looks at evidence of "Christian" feelings in Greek literature, notably in Electra, Orestes, and Antigone , and in the Iliad , going on to examine God in Plato, and divine love in creation, as seen by the ancient Greeks.
The debate in relation to the soul suffers nowadays from a great lack of clarity. At least part of this cloudiness stems from a confusion among three different viewpoints that are not always reconcilable or mutually intelligible: the scientific point of view (natural sciences and empirical psychology), the therapeutic point of view (especially psychoanalysis) and the philosophical point of view. The goal of this paper is to blow away a little this cloudiness, and to introduce into the discussion a (...) view that has not yet received its proper place in it: existentialism. The scientific approach investigates the soul as if it were an object in the world, a fact. This approach gives priority to objective observations over subjective ones, and steps in the direction of materialization of the soul (the soul becomes the mind and the mind becomes the brain). Transcendental philosophy and psychological therapies explain the relation between the subject and its objects, and by this reveal the subjective dimension of our reality as the ground not only for our objective knowledge but for our ethical life as well. Existentialism, I suggest, makes a further and important step in this direction by focusing on individualistic aspects of human existence, which science could not know and general theories of the subject do not see. (shrink)
The most well-known arguments for the simplicity of the soul - i.e., for the thesis that the subject of psychological states must be an unextended substance -are based upon the logical possibility of disembodiment. Descartes introduced this sort of argument into modern philosophy, and a version of it has been defended recently by Richard Swinburne. Some of the underlying assumptions of both arguments are examined and defended, but a closer look reveals that each depends upon unjustified inferences from the (...) conceivability of a certain state of affairs to the logical possibility of that state of affairs. (shrink)
This is a contribution to a symposium on Clark and Dudrick’s The Soul of Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. I focus on three aspects of their book. First, I critique Clark and Dudrick’s claim that Nietzsche recognizes a discrete “will to value.” Second, I argue that Clark and Dudrick’s reading of Nietzschean drives (Triebe) as homunculi is indefensible. Third, I raise questions about their claim that Nietzsche understands the self as a “normative ordering” of drives, which they distinguish from (...) a “causal ordering”; I suggest that Nietzsche would reject this causal/normative distinction. (shrink)
This book offers a provocative interpretation of the theory of the soul in the writings of the French Cartesian, Nicolas Malebranche (1638-1715). Though recent work on Malebranche's philosophy of mind has tended to emphasize his account of ideas, Schmaltz focuses rather on his rejection of Descartes' doctrine that the mind is better known than the body. In particular, he considers and defends Malebranche's argument that this rejection has a Cartesian basis. Schmaltz reveals that this argument not only provides a (...) fresh perspective on Cartesianism but also is relevant to current debates in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Simmias' famous epiphenomenalist analogy of the soul-body relation to the harmony and strings of a lyre (together with Cebes' subsequent objection) leads to Socrates' initial refutation and subsequent prolonged defense of soul's immortality in the Phaedo . It also yields in late antiquity significant treatments of the harmony relation by Plotinus ( Ennead III 6  4, 30-52) and Porphyry ( Sentences 18, 8-18) that present a larger context for viewing the nature of harmony in the soul (...) and the psycho-somatic compound. But perhaps the most detailed treatment of the musical analogy, and certainly the most radical, is to be found in Gregory of Nyssa's De Hominis Opificio . Gregory's remarkable development of the musical instrument analogy provides a multi-layered analysis of interrelated causality on the mechanistic, physiological, psycho-somatic and intellectual/spiritual planes. Gregory not only sees mind/soul and body as radically equal and yet multilayered in their mutual development; he also refuses to restrict mind to the brain alone, for all physiological systems, in his view, are holistically and individually expressive of mind's activity. Gregory's theory is more innovative than Augustine's view of the mind/soul-body relation and, in my view, the most important account between Plotinus and Aquinas. (shrink)
Christians and Marxists have co-operated in various forms of political work in recent decades, and, after earlier years of antagonism, thinkers on both sides have come to take the other seriously. The aim of this book is to get Christianity and Marxism to meet on terrain on which they might seem most opposed: their philosophical positions; and to do so without watering either down, but taking then full strength.
Leading figures in ancient philosophy present nineteen original papers on three key themes in the work of Richard Sorabji. The papers dealing with Metaphysics range from Democritus to Numenius on basic questions about the structure and nature of reality: necessitation, properties, and time. The section on Soul includes one paper on the individuation of souls in Plato and five papers on Aristotle's and Aristotelian theories of cognition, with a special emphasis on perception. The section devoted to Ethics concentrates upon (...) Stoicism and the complex views the Stoics held on such topics as motivation, akrasia, oikeitsis, and the emotions. It also includes one paper on the influence of Greek ethics in Modern Philosophy. The volume also contains a fascinating "intellectual autobiography" by Sorabji himself, and a full Bibliography of his works. (shrink)
A part of the “return to religion” now evident in European philosophy, this book represents the culmination of the career of a leading phenomenological thinker whose earlier works trace a trajectory from Marx through a genealogy of psychoanalysis that interprets Descartes’s “I think, I am” as “I feel myself thinking, I am.” In this book, Henry does not ask whether Christianity is “true” or “false.” Rather, what is in question here is what Christianity considers as truth, what kind (...) of truth it offers to people, what it endeavors to communicate to them, not as a theoretical and indifferent truth, but as the essential truth that by some mysterious affinity is suitable for them, to the point that it alone is capable of ensuring them salvation. In the process, Henry inevitably argues against the concept of truth that dominates modern thought and determines, in its multiple implications, the world in which we live. Henry argues that Christ undoes “the truth of the world,” that He is an access to the infinity of self-love, to a radical subjectivity that admits no outside, to the immanence of affective life found beyond the despair fatally attached to all objectifying thought. The Kingdom of God accomplishes itself in the here and now through the love of Christ in what Henry calls “the auto-affection of Life.” In this condition, he argues, all problems of lack, ambivalence, and false projection are resolved. (shrink)
Common experiences of mothering offer profound critiques of maternal ethical norms found in both Christianity and Islam. The familiar responsibilities of caring for children, assumed by the majority of Christian and Muslim women, provide the basis for reassessing sacrificial and selfless love, protesting unjust religious and political systems, and dismantling romanticized notions of childcare. As a distinctive category of women's experience, motherhood may offer valuable perspectives necessary for remedying injustices that afflict mothers and children in particular, as well as (...) for developing cross-cultural understandings of justice in general. (shrink)
Through the analysis of Conrad-Martius Metaphysical Dialogues, our aim is show the relevance of the concept of spirit (Geist) and soul (Seele) to clarify the constitution of the human being. In order to understand Conrad-Martius’ phenomenological description, it is necessary to explain Husserl’s and Stein’s approaches to the same argument. Briefly their position is described at the beginning of the essay and then the main points of Conrad-Martius’ book are pinpointed. Human being is understandable in the complex of the (...) degrees of nature, that is, with reference to the organic life—plants and animals. Mental-spirit life is the distinguishing element regarding the human being. (shrink)