proof from logic alone of the immortal nature of the human soul
#1
I'm having trouble understanding the proof from reason alone, that is, apart from divine revelation, that the human soul is immortal. I understand and accept that the 2 powers we have that animals do not, are intellect and free will, and that these are spiritual powers. But it seems that the conclusion that our souls cannot die is a step I can't make without the help of divine revelation. It seems that it can be made without divine revelation. Can anyone help me understand this? Thank you in advance.

(Edited to replace the word 'logic' with the word 'reason')
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#2
Never heard of proving the immortal soul on logic or reason alone.  Seems to me revelation is necessary.  Who were you reading?  Keeping an eye on this thread.
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Go thy ways, old Jack;
die when thou wilt, if manhood, good manhood, be
not forgot upon the face of the earth, then am I a
shotten herring. There live not three good men
unhanged in England; and one of them is fat and
grows old: God help the while! a bad world, I say.
I would I were a weaver; I could sing psalms or any
thing. A plague of all cowards, I say still.
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#3
(05-11-2012, 05:25 PM)Mithrandylan Wrote: Never heard of proving the immortal soul on logic or reason alone.  Seems to me revelation is necessary.  Who were you reading?  Keeping an eye on this thread.

Plato. 

"One of the main themes in the Phaedo is the idea that the soul is immortal. Socrates offers four arguments for the soul's immortality:

    "The Cyclical Argument, or Opposites Argument explains that Forms are eternal and unchanging, and as the soul always brings life, then it must not die, and is necessarily "imperishable". As the body is mortal and is subject to physical death, the soul must be its indestructible opposite. Plato then suggests the analogy of fire and cold. If the form of cold is imperishable, and fire, its opposite, was within close proximity, it would have to withdraw intact as does the soul during death. This could be likened to the idea of the opposite charges of magnets.

    "The Theory of Recollection explains that we possess some non-empirical knowledge (e.g. The Form of Equality) at birth, implying the soul existed before birth to carry that knowledge. Another account of the theory is found in Plato's Meno, although in that case Socrates implies anamnesis (previous knowledge of everything) whereas he is not so bold in Phaedo.

    "The Affinity Argument, explains that invisible, immortal, and incorporeal things are different from visible, mortal, and corporeal things. Our soul is of the former, while our body is of the latter, so when our bodies die and decay, our soul will continue to live.

    "The Argument from Form of Life, or The Final Argument explains that the Forms, incorporeal and static entities, are the cause of all things in the world, and all things participate in Forms. For example, beautiful things participate in the Form of Beauty; the number four participates in the Form of the Even, etc. The soul, by its very nature, participates in the Form of Life, which means the soul can never die."
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#4
(05-11-2012, 05:25 PM)Mithrandylan Wrote: Who were you reading? 

I'm reading 'College Apologetics' by Fr. Anthony F. Alexander. Apologetics is defined by him as
Quote:the study in which we prove by reason that the (Roman Catholic) Church is the agency set up by God to carry on His work of teaching the doctrines of supernatural religion.


I believe he relies on Aristotle, not Plato, when he explains that the human soul is a spiritual one because 2 of its powers, i.e. intellect and reason, are spiritual, not material. Then he says since nothing spiritual can die, then the human soul cannot die. I don't understand why something spiritual cannot die, though.

His explanation is that since the soul has no parts, it cannot die. A thing dies when its parts are so deranged by an injury or disease that they can no longer carry on their function. He says only material things have parts. This is what I can't understand. How is it that the human soul has no parts? Are intellect and free will not parts? And then what about animals? Do their souls have parts? It seems they must, since he says that an animal's soul dies when the animal does. I believe this, I just don't understand it using reason alone.

Parmandur, it sounds like Plato thought that forms were the cause of all things. We know that's not true, unless it can be said that God is the form of all forms, or something. Maybe it can, I don't know. But I think Aristotle perfected this part of Plato's teaching, I'm just not sure exactly how.
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#5
(05-11-2012, 07:43 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: Parmandur, it sounds like Plato thought that forms were the cause of all things. We know that's not true, unless it can be said that God is the form of all forms, or something. Maybe it can, I don't know. But I think Aristotle perfected this part of Plato's teaching, I'm just not sure exactly how.

If I recall correctly (and if I don't, I hope someone corrects me), Augustine and the other neo-Platonists said that the Forms existed in the mind of God.
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#6
I believe the affinity argument is used by Aquinas.  I was reading Phaedo, compared it to Aquinas in my Catechism of the Summa (Pegues O.P.) and it was virtually identical.  It was something along the lines of the sould is immortal because it can comprehend immaterial things, and thus is not only vegetative (a human), because a purely vegetative mind could only comprehend material things, like animals.
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#7
OK, I do understand that the human soul is spiritual, I just don't understand why something spiritual can't die, as I've said. How is it that the spiritual soul does not have parts, which could separate and cause death?
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#8
(05-11-2012, 04:57 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: I'm having trouble understanding the proof from reason alone, that is, apart from divine revelation, that the human soul is immortal. I understand and accept that the 2 powers we have that animals do not, are intellect and free will, and that these are spiritual powers. But it seems that the conclusion that our souls cannot die is a step I can't make without the help of divine revelation. It seems that it can be made without divine revelation. Can anyone help me understand this? Thank you in advance.

(Edited to replace the word 'logic' with the word 'reason')

There is no convincing proof based upon reason apart from divine revelation that the human soul is immortal.  That's in fact a fallacy which comes from dividing revealed truth from philosophy.  Only a person who knows by certain evidence observed in the natural world that God will keep his soul in existence after his bodily death could then posit the proof that one can come to the immortality of the human soul from reason alone.  There is no such certain evidence in nature that shows that human souls do not simply return from the potential from whence they came at bodily death, like the soul of an animal.  It is necessary to have the revelation of the One who knows on this subject (i.e., God) in order to hold the immortality of the soul with certainty.  Therefore, divine revelation is necessary in this pursuit...

-- Nicole
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#9
(05-12-2012, 11:09 AM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: OK, I do understand that the human soul is spiritual, I just don't understand why something spiritual can't die, as I've said. How is it that the spiritual soul does not have parts, which could separate and cause death?

The number 4 cannot die.  This particular set of 4 things might be added to, or subtracted from, divided or multiplied, and cease to be 4.  But 4 itself, it goes on.
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#10
(05-12-2012, 12:37 PM)yablabo Wrote:
(05-11-2012, 04:57 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: I'm having trouble understanding the proof from reason alone, that is, apart from divine revelation, that the human soul is immortal. I understand and accept that the 2 powers we have that animals do not, are intellect and free will, and that these are spiritual powers. But it seems that the conclusion that our souls cannot die is a step I can't make without the help of divine revelation. It seems that it can be made without divine revelation. Can anyone help me understand this? Thank you in advance.

(Edited to replace the word 'logic' with the word 'reason')

There is no convincing proof based upon reason apart from divine revelation that the human soul is immortal.  That's in fact a fallacy which comes from dividing revealed truth from philosophy.  Only a person who knows by certain evidence observed in the natural world that God will keep his soul in existence after his bodily death could then posit the proof that one can come to the immortality of the human soul from reason alone.  There is no such certain evidence in nature that shows that human souls do not simply return from the potential from whence they came at bodily death, like the soul of an animal.  It is necessary to have the revelation of the One who knows on this subject (i.e., God) in order to hold the immortality of the soul with certainty.  Therefore, divine revelation is necessary in this pursuit...

-- Nicole

Most people who don't believe in Revelation still believe their souls go on after death.  If people can conceive of life after death outside of revealed truth, then obviously it is possible to do so.  To say otherwise is base sophistry.
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