Challenging earlier cognitivist approaches, recent theories of embodied cognition argue that the human mind and its functions are best understood as intimately bound up with the human body and its physiological dimensions. Some scholars have suggested that such theories, in departing from some core assumptions of the Western philosophical tradition, display significant similarities to certain non-Western traditions of thought, such as Buddhism. This essay extends such parallels to the Jewish tradition and argues that, in particular, classical rabbinic thought presents a (...) profoundly nondualistic account of the body–soul relation in its connection to cognition, action, and embodiment. Classical rabbinic texts therefore model the possibility of engaging with ‘Western’ conceptions such as God and the soul, while doing so in a manner that resonates strongly with many aspects of contemporary scientific theories. Thus, beyond their value as historical documents, insight into the texts and concepts of classical rabbinic Judaism can contribute to the further development of new theories of intellect and cognition. (shrink)
Abstract. The object of this essay is to explain what there is about discussions of Judaism and the sciences that is distinctive from discussions about religion in general and the sciences. The description draws primarily but not exclusively from recent meetings of the Judaism, Medicine, and Science Group in Tempe, Arizona. The author's Jewish Faith and Modern Science, together with a selective bibliography of writings in this subfield, are used to generate a list of science issues—focused around the (...) religious doctrines of creation, revelation, and redemption in Judaism—that raise specific challenges to Jewish faith. Special attention is given to Leon Kass's The Hungry Soul as an example of a distinctive way to integration knowledge of both science and rabbinic Judaism on a philosophical issue. (shrink)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
Faith in reason, reason in faith -- The nature of God, the God of nature -- Torah from heaven -- Divine providence -- The oral Torah and rabbinic tradition -- Religion and superstition -- Israel and humanity -- Conversion to Judaism -- Eternal Torah, changing times -- Faith and reason.
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)
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)
Leibniz took pride in the Pre-established Harmony as an account of mind-body union. On the other hand, he sometimes claimed that he did not have a good account of such a union. I explain the tension by distinguishing between two importantly different issues that concern the union: body-soul interaction and the per se unity of the composite. Furthermore, I argue that, contrary to R.M. Adams, Leibniz did have the philosophical resources to account for a per se unity of the (...) body-soul composite by invoking Aristolian scholastic solutions to that problem. (shrink)
This book is intended not only for scholars and students in humanities, history (esp. the history of ideas), Jewish studies, philosophy (esp. the history of philosophy), and Christian theology, but also for those concerned with the roots of anti-Semitism and with the need for toleration and intercultural pluralism. Modernity and the Final Aim of History: * Combines the development of German philosophy from the Enlightenment to Idealism, and from Idealism to the revolutionary turning-point of the mid-nineteenth century with the Jewish (...) question; * Shows the close entwining of anti-Jewish prejudices with awareness of the importance of Judaism in the formation of modern thought; * Points out the hopes, obstacles, compromises, and disappointments of Jewish emancipation right up to the appearance of racial anti-Semitism; * Traces the changes in the debate over Judaism from the theological perspective to the philosophical and from the philosophical to that of the economic and naturalistic; * Underlines the dangers to toleration that arise from seeing human history as directed towards a single aim; *Can be used in university courses and seminars, as well as in research groups. (shrink)
Introduction: in search of a Jewish renaissance -- Jewish philosophy: humanist roots of a contradiction in terms -- The prophetic-poetic dimension of philosophy: the ars poetica and Immanuel of Rome -- Leone Ebreo's concept of Jewish philosophy -- Conceptions of history: Azariah de Rossi -- Scientific thought and the exegetical mind, with an essay on the life and works of Rabbi Judah Loew -- Mathematical and biblical exegesis: Jewish sources of Athanasius Kircher's musical theory -- Creating geographical and political utopias: (...) the ten lost tribes and the east -- Ceremonial law: history of a philosophical-political concept -- The city and the ghetto: Simone Luzzatto and the development of Jewish political thought -- Body of conversion and immortality of the soul: Sara Copio Sullam, the 'Beautiful Jewess'. (shrink)
This article addresses Jacques Derrida's consideration of Judaism relating it to a need to understand international institutions and the notion of the universal in a new way. It also discusses Lyotard's and Hegel's accounts of Judaism.
The purpose of Judaism -- The Exodus-Sinai continuum of Jewish life -- Genesis : Abraham and "the call" -- Exodus : embracing the covenant -- Leviticus : roadmap to a more perfect world -- Numbers : from wilderness to prophecy -- Deuteronomy : how central is God? -- Sinai applied : seven core values of the rabbinic tradition -- The American Jewish community and the public square -- Jews and the struggle for civil rights -- Soviet Jewry : a (...) cause of our own -- Protecting and defending the state of Israel -- What is a Jewish issue? -- Beyond self-interest -- Social justice takes root -- Reconciling Exodus and Sinai -- Conclusion : responding to "the call". (shrink)
In this essay I argue first that De anima 3.4–5 shows Aristotle answering affirmatively a question that he raises near the beginning of the work, namely, whether any of the soul’s affections are proper to it alone. Second, I argue that this initial conclusion reveals something important about the very first question that Aristotle broaches in the work, viz., the method and starting-points employed in the science of the soul. Aristotle’s position, I claim, shows that investigating the human (...)soul is not merely an empirical concern discharged by natural science but also a rational concern discharged by logic, epistemology, and possibly even metaphysics. I defend these views against two rival interpretations of the passage, the “transcendental interpretation,” on which it does not describe a faculty immanent to human beings at all, and the “bad science interpretation,” on which it does but only as the result of Aristotle’s faulty physiology of cognition. (shrink)
What concept of Judaism is present in Schönberg’s philosophy of music? It is impossible to separate the musical texture from his experience of reconciliation with Judaism, and his new idea of musical drama is a confirmation that the dodecaphonic structure of musical thinking connects with Schönberg’s idea of the Jewish ethical and religious point of view. A comparative analysis of some essays with some operas shows the internal tie between music and Judaism in dodecaphony.
Over 700,000 copies of the original hardcover and paperback editions of this stunningly popular book have been sold. Karen Armstrong's superbly readable exploration of how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force. One of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, Armstrong traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical (...) philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one compelling volume. (shrink)
In one of the essays in his recent book on Christianity, La déclosion (2005), Nancy discusses the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. Nancy opens this discussion with a reference to Lyotard’s book on this relationship: Un trait d’union (1993). Both Lyotard and Nancy examine a very early figure in the emergence of Christianity from Judaism—whereas Lyotard focuses on the epistles of Paul, Nancy reads the epistle of James. Lyotard concludes that the hyphen in the expression ‘Judeo-Christian’ actually conceals (...) ‘the most impenetrable abyss within Western thought’. With this abyss, Lyotard refers to the point of departure of Judaism: the event in which a Voice has left behind letters, inaugurating an interminable work of interpretation. For Nancy, however, it is rather Christianity, and therefore, Western culture, which is deconstructive in nature. Its composition is co-original with a decomposition, and therefore, with an openness. In James, Nancy finds an emphasis on praxis, in such a way that existence is to be understood as transcendent within itself. With this reading of James, Nancy seems to deny that there is a fundamental difference between Judaism and Christianity. In order to clarify the differences between Lyotard and Nancy, it is shown that, in Lyotard’s view, an unsublatable alterity comes with aisthèsis, whereas in Nancy’s view, alterity comes with existence as such. (shrink)
This work will examine the concept of soul developed in mysticism of abbot Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). For this, I will analyze extracts of five writings namely the Third Series of Sentences, three of his Liturgical Sermons, and the parabola The Three Children of the King.