PHL 100: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY: FINAL PAPER

PHL 100: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY: FINAL PAPER TOPICS1. On the Soul: Many intelligent, rational people believe in the existence of what they might call their “immortal soul”–an incorporeal essence that is the source of life in the body and identity of the person. And when they make this claim, they are referring to something different than their mind. The believer in the soul in question here accepts that minds and bodies and exist, and that the mind is actually just a part or process of the body (most likely in the brain), entirely dependent on the same sorts of physical causes as the body. And when the body dies, the mind also vanishes, just as the sweet flavor and fluffy texture of a piece of cake no longer exist once the cake has been eaten. Unlike the mind, the believer would say, the soul does not die when the body dies; it goes on existing.But we may reasonably ask, what is the soul, and where is it? If the soul is nonphysical, eternal, indestructible, and empirically unobservable, on what evidence does the believer base her conviction in its real existence? Is the belief in the soul merely a religious or mythical fantasy? A hopeful image used to avoid confronting the inevitability of death? Is there any philosophically respectable argument to support belief in the soul, or must we remove the term, rational, from our description of intelligent believers in the immortal soul? Note that citing religious faith or scriptural doctrine will not count as relevant premises in a philosophically respectable argument.

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