proof from logic alone of the immortal nature of the human soul
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(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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Re: proof from logic alone of the immortal nature of the human soul - by per_passionem_eius - 05-18-2012, 03:18 PM



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