proof from logic alone of the immortal nature of the human soul
#61
(05-13-2012, 05:48 PM)Parmandur Wrote:
(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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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

Would it be ok if we stuck to Aristotle, since I believe, regarding the OP, he's sufficient to answer the question? In the 2 introductory books on philosophy that I have, they both say that Aristotle was the founder of the true philosophy, and his teachers were the ones whose ideas he perfected. I'm just trying to do what's most practical to get the question answered, and I think this would help.

It is very helpful to hear that we do need revelation to know that the soul was created and is not eternal. Does everyone else agree with that, or there some objections?

What's the difference between 'proof' and a 'way of seeing'? I think I know, but I can't really explain it. I think it would help if I could have it explained. Thanks in advance.
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#62
(05-18-2012, 02:30 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote: Would it be ok if we stuck to Aristotle, since I believe, regarding the OP, he's sufficient to answer the question? In the 2 introductory books on philosophy that I have, they both say that Aristotle was the founder of the true philosophy, and his teachers were the ones whose ideas he perfected. I'm just trying to do what's most practical to get the question answered, and I think this would help.

It is very helpful to hear that we do need revelation to know that the soul was created and is not eternal. Does everyone else agree with that, or there some objections?

What's the difference between 'proof' and a 'way of seeing'? I think I know, but I can't really explain it. I think it would help if I could have it explained. Thanks in advance.

Well, there is proof, and then there is proof.  The Pythagorean Theorem is proof with absolute certainty; to deny it is clearly insane.  That my fiancee loves me is something of which I am more than adequately convinced, but this is not proven to the level of mathematical rigor.  In terms of the soul and whether it lives on, our evidence is more ambiguous than that of mathematics.  Without revelation, we have innumerable testimonies to near death experiences and such, which lead the vast majority of people to believe in an afterlife, reasonably so.  As people in the West abandon Christianity, there is not a similar movement to abandon believing in the afterlife, because people based on their experiences and those of others conclude that there is life beyond, just as they conclude that their family loves them.  The proofs Plato uses are more like the evidence that your family loves you than it is like mathematics, proof that is adequate if you accept it based on experience.  St. Thomas is doing something similar with his 5 Ways to see that God exists.  None of them is adequate as a rigorous proof, but it can be a prism through which to look at the world and see that it is so.

To be honest, the book you were reading from might be extolling Aristotle, but the logical "proof" of life beyond death is more Plato, which makes sense as he is the one who after all taught Aristotle everything he knew.

To be technical, Thales started philosophy, but I don't see that as being terribly relevant.
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#63
(05-13-2012, 08:58 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote:
(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.

This sounds to me something like the reason why animals seem to recognize forms, for example, a cat knows a human is different from a plant, but in the human intellect, not only does this distinction get recognized, but it can be thought about. The easy proof that we humans are the only material creatures that can think, is in the fact that we have language. Maybe what you mean by that 'more active, outgoing sort of participation', is something like what I mean by 'thinking, or speaking'.
Quote: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.

This sounds like 'like attracts like'. I don't know why that has to be true, or why it's at all reasonable. My experience has been that if I see something I don't have, I want it.
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#64
Animals, even rational animals like us, have images of sensible objects in the imagination, which can be cogitated and used for decision making purposes.  To the ancients, what makes the human mind different is access to Syllogistic thinking, which requires abstract universals.  A dog is capable of conceiving and executing a plan of attack to take down a deer, but is not capable of making logical deductions about the nature of deer or even of dog.  This video, by way of absurdity, shows a bit of this:

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#65
(05-18-2012, 03:06 PM)Parmandur Wrote: St. Thomas is doing something similar with his 5 Ways to see that God exists.  None of them is adequate as a rigorous proof, but it can be a prism through which to look at the world and see that it is so.

That's strange because I see them as rigorous proofs.
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#66
(05-18-2012, 03:26 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote:
(05-18-2012, 03:06 PM)Parmandur Wrote: St. Thomas is doing something similar with his 5 Ways to see that God exists.  None of them is adequate as a rigorous proof, but it can be a prism through which to look at the world and see that it is so.

That's strange because I see them as rigorous proofs.

Yes, please expound. I have been arguing with someone who insists that they are absolutely rigorous and absolutely certain. If not, why not?
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#67
Well, to borrow from a popular source, "They are not necessarily meant to be self-sufficient 'proofs' of God’s existence; as worded, they propose only to explain what it is 'all men mean' when they speak of “God”. Many scholars point out that St. Thomas’s actual arguments regarding the existence and nature of God are to be found liberally scattered throughout his major treatises, and that the five ways are little more than an introductory sketch of how the word 'God' can be defined without reference to special revelation (i.e., religious experience)."
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#68
(05-18-2012, 03:38 PM)Parmandur Wrote: Well, to borrow from a popular source, "They are not necessarily meant to be self-sufficient 'proofs' of God’s existence; as worded, they propose only to explain what it is 'all men mean' when they speak of “God”. Many scholars point out that St. Thomas’s actual arguments regarding the existence and nature of God are to be found liberally scattered throughout his major treatises, and that the five ways are little more than an introductory sketch of how the word 'God' can be defined without reference to special revelation (i.e., religious experience)."

Could you demonstrate how any of his 5 points could reasonably be argued against?
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#69
(05-18-2012, 03:47 PM)per_passionem_eius Wrote:
(05-18-2012, 03:38 PM)Parmandur Wrote: Well, to borrow from a popular source, "They are not necessarily meant to be self-sufficient 'proofs' of God’s existence; as worded, they propose only to explain what it is 'all men mean' when they speak of “God”. Many scholars point out that St. Thomas’s actual arguments regarding the existence and nature of God are to be found liberally scattered throughout his major treatises, and that the five ways are little more than an introductory sketch of how the word 'God' can be defined without reference to special revelation (i.e., religious experience)."

Could you demonstrate how any of his 5 points could reasonably be argued against?

Without the framework of Aristotelian ideas of cause and effect, the arguments are hard to make sense of, given how the use of the words has changed after the Medieval era.  Indeed, using modern scientific definitions of some these words, sometimes they make no sense.  You might want to check this book out, it gets into these issues: "Edward Feser has argued in his book Aquinas: A Beginner’s Guide that Dawkins, Hume, Kant, and most modern philosophers do not have a correct understanding of Aquinas at all; that the arguments are often difficult to translate into modern terms; and that the Five Ways are just a brief summary directed towards beginners and must be understood in the context of Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Aquinas’ other writings. He argues that Aquinas’ five ways have never been adequately refuted when thus considered."

http://www.amazon.com/Aquinas-Beginners-...1851686908
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#70
(05-18-2012, 04:04 PM)Parmandur Wrote: Without the framework of Aristotelian ideas of cause and effect, the arguments are hard to make sense of, given how the use of the words has changed after the Medieval era.  Indeed, using modern scientific definitions of some these words, sometimes they make no sense.  You might want to check this book out, it gets into these issues: "Edward Feser has argued in his book Aquinas: A Beginner’s Guide that Dawkins, Hume, Kant, and most modern philosophers do not have a correct understanding of Aquinas at all; that the arguments are often difficult to translate into modern terms; and that the Five Ways are just a brief summary directed towards beginners and must be understood in the context of Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Aquinas’ other writings. He argues that Aquinas’ five ways have never been adequately refuted when thus considered."

http://www.amazon.com/Aquinas-Beginners-...1851686908

That makes sense. Thank you.
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