Philosophers Index Abstract
- I defend soft dualism. This holds that humans on Earth consist of two separate substances -- body and soul -- in interaction; but the soul has no necessary immortality, and it depends for its present functioning on the body. It would not be logically possible for a person to continue to exist after the destruction of his body (as it clearly1 is) unless he currently has a soul.
- Personal identity cannot be analysed either in terms of a continuity of mental life, or in terms of continuity of bodily matter. Continuing personal identity in the short term is a datum of experience, not merely known by inference from other experiences. To express this fact within an integrated system of thought, we must think of human persons as substances that consist of two parts – soul (the essential part) and body (non-essential). Part 2 of this book (Chs. 8–10) develops this view more fully.
- The argument of this chapter is put in precise logical form in New Appendix C.
- New Appendix D claims that souls have thisness; that is, the indiscernibility of identicals does not apply to souls.
- This is presumably only “clearly” visible to the eye of faith, though what is claimed is the logical possibility of post-mortem survival, not its actuality.
- However, there seems something dubious about making a metaphysical claim – the present existence of souls – being based on a logical one.
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