proof from logic alone of the immortal nature of the human soul
#51
(05-13-2012, 10:06 AM)drummerboy Wrote: Or take triangles.  You can draw all sorts of different triangles on a piece of paper.  Now, even though the particular triangles on the paper are different, the human mind/soul can still realize that they have something in common: each triangle still fits a definition of a triangle.  This means that there is an immaterial form of a triangle that does not change with time or substance; because the human soul can comprehend the unchanging and immaterial, it would follow that it too must be immaterial, unchanging, and immortal, because it must have some common "nature" (if you will) with the immaterial unchaning form of the triangle.

And then look at the mortal human body too, in contrast.  Only the human body can comprehend vegetative nature; a soul cannot taste a blueberry, for example.  Yet, blueberries rot away; they are not immaterial and unchanging.  The human body shares this vegetative nature with natural things.  I just came up with this part; hopefully it helps you understand better the immortal nature of teh soul by contrasting it with the mortal nature of the body.

The part that's bolded - here's my stupid question for the day: Why must a comprehending soul have something in common with the thing it comprehends? I think I'm really close to understanding this. If someone could answer this one question, I think I'll be fine for now.
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#52
(05-13-2012, 03:36 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote:
(05-11-2012, 05:28 PM)Parmandur Wrote: "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".

But the human soul is not eternal, it's created and immortal. In the sense that all forms come from the mind of God, I suppose the human soul is immortal, but strictly speaking, it's not any more eternal than the soul of a rabbit.

Actually, a broader point I am making is that you need Revelation to tell you that the soul is created with a beginning and not eternal.


Quote:
Quote: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.

This sounds like an interesting theory, but not a reasonable proof.

Well, much like St. Thomas' "Ways" of seeing that God exists, this is not so much a proof as a way of seeing that the soul doesn't die.  Plus, following Socrates chain of thought would be better than the Wiki summary.

Quote:
Quote:"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.

To me this sounds like re-incarnation doctrine. Might he be talking about instinct?

No, he is talking about reincarnation (or more accurately, the transmigration of souls).  Christian Revelations tells us that we are not reincarnated, which is why St. Augustine developed his theology of Original Sin to deal with the same epistemological phenomenon that Plato used reincarnation to explain.  It is no coincidence that as people leave Christianity, belief in reincarnation or at least the possibility rises considerably.  By reason alone, reincarnation seems fairly plausible.  It is revelation that tells us we have a beginning, and that it is given to man once to die.

Quote:
Quote:"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.

It's just a theory, it doesn't prove anything to me.

To be fair, this is following many centuries of Greek philosophers trying to figure out what it meant that things changed, or came to be and ceased to be, and other such questions.

Quote:
Quote:"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."

There's no reason why the form of beauty cannot be destroyed, if God wishes it. Again, this sounds like just a theory. I thought beauty was an accident anyway, like Nicole pointed out the number 4 is an accident.

Nicole is wrong about math, and I am not certain she is clear on substance and accident.  She would have to come up with some hefty authority for her ideas to hold any weight, to be honest.

Beauty is one of the transcendentals, along with Being, Good, True and One (though One and Beauty might be the same, and there might be one or two others, depending on who you ask).  As such, it is one of the Names of God Himself, one that even the pagan philosophers could understand as properly Divine.  Beauty in created things is part of their reflection of their Creator.  God can no more destroy Beauty than he can deceive or do evil.  It would be a contradiction of Himself.

And honestly, this is all theory.  The point is, a human without revelation can prove to their own satisfaction that they have a soul, and that it lives beyond death.  It is a point of the Faith that a person without Revelation can know, really know, that there is a God by reason alone, even if the details are off.

edited for quote block errors
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#53
OK, I'm going to go back to the point I made earlier, that maybe belief in God is necessary for belief in the immortal human soul, since I can't accept that the book 'College Apologetics' is all that bad, and that's the order the book uses. By belief in God I don't mean knowledge of divine revelation, I just mean, what a reasonable person with good will would be able to conclude about God, with the help of His graces, which were always available to everyone.

The author uses Aristotle's (and later Aquinas's) 5 points to prove God's existence:

Proof from motion
Proof from causality
Proof from contingency
Degrees of perfection
Proof from design

It sounds like everyone here knows what these mean, and I think I understand them well enough. From these proofs, he says we can know something of the Nature of God.

It seems to me 2 truths sort of jump out to make an important point. First, God is infinitely perfect, and second, man is the only creature who can know anything at all about Him. That's easy to see. So it seems reasonable to me, now that I remember all of this, that God would want to be known. Because, would a God like this, Who is infinitely perfect, be satisfied with a creature who could know something of Him, only to have that creature's soul be destroyed with their body? In other words, while it's true (as I've said above in another post) that God can destroy our souls anytime He wants, the fact of His infinite perfection suggests that it would be beneath Him to do that to all of His creatures. It seems reasonable to me that this God would want a memory of Himself in at least one of His creatures. What do you think?

Parmandur, I will reply to your reply soon. Thank you very much.
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#54
(05-13-2012, 05:51 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: It seems to me 2 truths sort of jump out to make an important point. First, God is infinitely perfect, and second, man is the only creature who can know anything at all about Him. That's easy to see. So it seems reasonable to me, now that I remember all of this, that God would want to be known. Because, would a God like this, Who is infinitely perfect, be satisfied with a creature who could know something of Him, only to have that creature's soul be destroyed with their body? In other words, while it's true (as I've said above in another post) that God can destroy our souls anytime He wants, the fact of His infinite perfection suggests that it would be beneath Him to do that to all of His creatures. It seems reasonable to me that this God would want a memory of Himself in at least one of His creatures. What do you think?

That seems a plausible theory, and I also think you are right that a natural knowledge that there is a God seems to preface believing in an afterlife.  Though, as I said earlier, I know atheists who believe in ghosts, and demographically a certain number of atheists do report believing in heaven and hell, so go figure.

St. Anselm argues at one point that God can do no evil, because evil is a privation and God is perfect and without lack.  To do evil is not a power (potency) but a privation of power (impotence), so God in His Omnipotence cannot have any privation of power (impotence) in Him, which is all evil is.

Quote:Parmandur, I will reply to your reply soon. Thank you very much.

Your welcome, it is my pleasure.  :)
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#55
(05-13-2012, 03:48 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote:
(05-13-2012, 10:06 AM)drummerboy Wrote: Or take triangles.  You can draw all sorts of different triangles on a piece of paper.  Now, even though the particular triangles on the paper are different, the human mind/soul can still realize that they have something in common: each triangle still fits a definition of a triangle.  This means that there is an immaterial form of a triangle that does not change with time or substance; because the human soul can comprehend the unchanging and immaterial, it would follow that it too must be immaterial, unchanging, and immortal, because it must have some common "nature" (if you will) with the immaterial unchaning form of the triangle.

And then look at the mortal human body too, in contrast.  Only the human body can comprehend vegetative nature; a soul cannot taste a blueberry, for example.  Yet, blueberries rot away; they are not immaterial and unchanging.  The human body shares this vegetative nature with natural things.  I just came up with this part; hopefully it helps you understand better the immortal nature of teh soul by contrasting it with the mortal nature of the body.

The part that's bolded - here's my stupid question for the day: Why must a comprehending soul have something in common with the thing it comprehends? I think I'm really close to understanding this. If someone could answer this one question, I think I'll be fine for now.

These are just a couple of arguments I'm thinking up on the fly, so others can say whether or not they work, but try thinking of it like this. When we come to know something, we are not just "looking" at it, but are instead participating in it "horizontally," as it were. Speaking of material things, when I come to know a tree, for example, it is because its form has in some way "travelled" over into my intellect, and my intellect is now participating in that form in a limited, imperfect way.

Now, the function of the intellect is to know the forms. Since these forms are immaterial, my intellect must also be immaterial in order to hold the forms within itself and interact with them in order to engage in the sort of participation required to know them. My intellect needs to be immaterial if it is to pursue this more active, outgoing sort of participation. The relationship between a material thing and the forms is more one-sided, as a material thing could not engage in this more active sort of participation with the immaterial forms because it is on another ontological level.

Another point might be to consider the role of desire in Plato. For him, we have a sort of desire for the forms. When we see a beautiful person, for instance, we are struck because it reminds us of the form of beauty, which we desire. This sort of desire might suggest a sort of affinity between the one who desires and the object of desire. As St. Maximus puts it, the image returns to the archetype. In this case, if the intellect desires the One, the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, it must be because it has something fundamental in common with them. As these transcendentals are universal, this might mean that the intellect is as well.

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#56
At the risk of making a nuisance of myself, I repeat:
(05-13-2012, 03:12 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: What little formation I have in logic is from reading 2 books on Introduction to Philosophy, and this book 'College Apologetics', which is said to have been written for people who don't have philosophy formation. I appreciate your patience with me. I understand that learning logic is a long process even with a teacher, and perhaps not really practical for a middle-aged person without a teacher. What do you think, Nicole?
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#57
(05-12-2012, 09:30 PM)Parmandur Wrote: And for what it is worth, I have met many atheists who believe in ghosts, so even atheists do believe in life after death often enough.  Weirdly enough, the Pew Forum Religious Survey found that 12% of declared atheists believe in Heaven.

Oh goody, another reason not to trust surveys...  :grin:
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#58
(05-15-2012, 11:15 AM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: At the risk of making a nuisance of myself, I repeat:
(05-13-2012, 03:12 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: What little formation I have in logic is from reading 2 books on Introduction to Philosophy, and this book 'College Apologetics', which is said to have been written for people who don't have philosophy formation. I appreciate your patience with me. I understand that learning logic is a long process even with a teacher, and perhaps not really practical for a middle-aged person without a teacher. What do you think, Nicole?

You could give this book by Peter Kreeft a try, "Socratic Logic": http://www.amazon.com/Socratic-Logic-3-1...pd_sim_b_1

It is hardly perfect, but he explains things in a clear and sometimes humorous manner.  It has good, simple excercises.  One of the major points about traditional logic is that it is just explicating how people think by default, so I would not say it is "beyond" anybody who applies themselves.  :)
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#59
(05-15-2012, 02:21 PM)Pilgrim Wrote:
(05-12-2012, 09:30 PM)Parmandur Wrote: And for what it is worth, I have met many atheists who believe in ghosts, so even atheists do believe in life after death often enough.  Weirdly enough, the Pew Forum Religious Survey found that 12% of declared atheists believe in Heaven.

Oh goody, another reason not to trust surveys...  :grin:

:LOL:

Well, you know, ya gotta wonder sometimes.
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#60
(05-15-2012, 02:41 PM)Parmandur Wrote:
(05-15-2012, 11:15 AM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: At the risk of making a nuisance of myself, I repeat:
(05-13-2012, 03:12 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: What little formation I have in logic is from reading 2 books on Introduction to Philosophy, and this book 'College Apologetics', which is said to have been written for people who don't have philosophy formation. I appreciate your patience with me. I understand that learning logic is a long process even with a teacher, and perhaps not really practical for a middle-aged person without a teacher. What do you think, Nicole?

You could give this book by Peter Kreeft a try, "Socratic Logic": http://www.amazon.com/Socratic-Logic-3-1...pd_sim_b_1

It is hardly perfect, but he explains things in a clear and sometimes humorous manner.  It has good, simple excercises.  One of the major points about traditional logic is that it is just explicating how people think by default, so I would not say it is "beyond" anybody who applies themselves.  :)

I was actually going to recommend that very book, and as for her concerns about attempting this without a teacher in middle age, I certainly hope those concerns are unfounded, because I'm doing exactly that (I'm 57).
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