Soul, Body and Survival: Essays on the Metaphysics of Human Persons
Corcoran (Kevin), Ed.
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BOOK ABSTRACT:

Back Cover Blurb

  1. How are soul and body related to one another? Are human beings immaterial souls, or complex physical organisms? Will we survive the death of our bodies? Does only the dualist view allow the possibility of life after death1? This collection brings together cutting-edge research on the metaphysics of human nature and the possibility of post-mortem survival2.
  2. Review: “Soul, Body, and Survival is a good collection that comes along at a propitious time, just when there is renewed interest in the topics it addresses. There are new models of resurrection afloat, greater efforts to make use of the latest work in metaphysics on personal identity, and more serious attempts to understand the Thomistic model. The authors in this book are among the most important contributors to these debates. “
    … Dean W. Zimmerman, Syracuse University.

Amazon Customer Review
  1. This anthology focuses upon a particular niche in metaphysics – the nature of human persons. The three sections of this anthology broadly focus around three issues:
    • positive and negative arguments for dualism,
    • alternatives to dualism, and
    • whether or not life after death3 requires dualism.
    There are a total of fourteen essays, six for the first section, four a piece for the final two sections. Many of the authors are important ‘movers and shakers' in this area.
  2. One of the nice things about this anthology is that most of the essays are relatively short. None are above twenty pages, and some are as short as twelve pages. This means that each essay does not endlessly sprawl on, and it is not too particularly taxing to finish in a sitting. Furthermore, all of the essays are interesting. I found several to be truly insightful (see, in particular, "Olson (Eric) - A Compound of Two Substances"). There are many solid essays here, with only one (sadly) falling flat. Unlike some anthologies which contain dead in the water contributions, one could profit from a simple front to back reading of this text. The essays are not too terribly difficult. To be honest, this book would be a good (relatively) advanced introduction to the metaphysics of the person. Most interested readers and undergraduates should be able to tackle any of the essays here. Furthermore, given the array of topics, the essays do not too narrowly focus on one particular issue and beat it to death. Most essays also have extensive footnotes so that one can easily see where to continue a study on the issues in that essay.
  3. If there are vices to this anthology, they are few.
    • First, there is not a lot of interaction between the various authors. This is not to say that there are none, but most of the essays stand free from the rest.
    • Second, several contributors – Foster, Hasker, Baker, and Cooper – provided concise and distilled introductions to their particular views ... which they have expounded more extensively in books they have written. Thus, one not familiar with Foster's inductive argument for dualism will appreciate the introduction he provides here, but his essay does not seem to add anything he has not said already in his book4. (For this reason, this book might not be as useful to one already familiar with the work of those philosophers.)
    But despite these relatively small qualms, I cannot but wholeheartedly encourage the person interested in this area of philosophy to read through this anthology.



In-Page Footnotes ("Corcoran (Kevin), Ed. - Soul, Body and Survival: Essays on the Metaphysics of Human Persons")

Footnote 4: Ie. "Foster (John) - The Immaterial Self: Defence of the Cartesian Dualist Conception of the Mind", no doubt.


BOOK COMMENT:

Cornell University Press, 2001



"Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Introduction


Introduction (Full1 Text)
  1. Aristotle said that philosophy begins in wonder. Reflection on facts such as that you and I are persons — thinking, feeling, intending, relational, moral beings — is sufficient to inspire such wonder. We are, in fact, human persons — beings at the very least contingently bound up with biological bodies through which we sense and act on the world. But are we nothing more than extremely complex physical organisms, as many contemporary Anglo-analytic philosophers are inclined to think? Or are we instead essentially immaterial beings and so only contingently embodied, as Plato and Descartes seem to have thought? Are there alternatives to Cartesian dualism and reductionistic versions of physicalism? And what of the relationship between particular metaphysical views of persons and the belief in post-mortem survival2. Must some version or other of dualism be true if we human beings are to have any reasonable hope of surviving death? As the essays in this volume amply demonstrate, these questions are not the relics of some bygone era of scholastic speculation. Contemporary analytic philosophers are exploring these issues afresh with renewed rigor and offering provocative and sometimes even surprising answers.
  2. Twenty years or so ago Daniel Dennett assessed the then current state of research into the nature of human beings and the philosophy of mind, offering us a glimpse into the shape of future research3. Dennett said then two things that are especially noteworthy.
    • First, he summarily dismissed dualism as "not a serious view to contend with."
    • And second, he forecast that the lines of research into the nature of mind would converge on some physicalistic version of functionalism, a consensus that would be only short lived and soon enough replaced by other physicalist doctrines.
  3. Within two years, Saul Kripke published Naming and Necessity. In one of the lectures that make up that book, Kripke had this to say about research into philosophy of mind and the nature of human persons:
      "I regard the mind-body problem as wide open and extremely confusing4”.
    Kripke accurately describes how things presently stand with respect to research into the metaphysics of persons. Not only are there now a myriad of physicalist alternatives to functionalism, with no particular one being the terminus ad quem of a convergence, but dualism is making a comeback. In fact (perhaps to Dennett's surprise) there are today a variety of dualisms to choose from. And there are also many views on the person-body relation that attempt to steer a path between physicalism and dualism, views that attempt to incorporate the insights of each without giving into the excesses of either. In short, the so-called mind-body problem is presently "wide open" if not also "extremely confusing."

I. Cartesian Dualism
  1. The first part of this volume contains a discussion of what is standardly called Cartesian dualism5. According to Cartesian dualism, properties can be divided into those that are mental (for example, being in pain, desiring an ice-cream cone, or believing some proposition) and those that are physical (for example, having a certain weight, shape, and mass). That is dualism about properties. Cartesian dualism, however, is a dualism about substance also. Cartesian dualism follows from accepting property dualism together with the claim that a single thing can have properties of only one sort. Hence, the Cartesian dualist claims that there are two fundamental kinds of substance with fundamentally distinct natures — unextended thinking substance (soul) and unthinking, extended substance (body). The appropriate bearers of mental properties are thus unextended, thinking substances (souls or minds), and the appropriate bearers of physical properties are unthinking, extended substances (bodies). Descartes famously argued that he is essentially a thinking thing. And if that is so, then Descartes is a soul.
  2. On the Cartesian dualist view, the relation between a soul and its body is analogous to the relation between a room and a thermostat. A rise of temperature in the room causes changes in the thermostat, whereas changes in the thermostat affect the room, raising or lowering its temperature. Souls and bodies are thus causally related. But also on the Cartesian dualist view, although it is true that I am now in some sense inextricably bound up with this particular body, my existence does not depend on my possessing either this or any other body; that is, I can exist without having any body at all.
  3. See "Foster (John) - A Brief Defense of the Cartesian View".
  4. See "Kim (Jaegwon) - Lonely Souls: Causality and Substance Dualism".
  5. The other difficulty associated with Foster's argument concerns his move from
    • (i) Mental items are neither identical with nor reducible to physical items and
    • (ii) Mental items require a subject, to
    • (iii) This subject is unextended and simple.
    Isn't there room in conceptual space for a view according to which (iii) is false even if (i) and (ii) are true? Isn't this precisely what views that are monist with respect to substance but dualist with respect to properties claim?
  6. See "O'Connor (Timothy) - Causality, Mind, and Free Will".
  7. See "Taliaferro (Charles) - Emergentism and Consciousness: Going Beyond Property Dualism".
  8. See "Olson (Eric) - A Compound of Two Substances".
  9. See "Goetz (Stewart) - Modal Dualism: A Critique".
  10. Goetz, Kim, O'Connor, and Olson discuss some of the important challenges facing Cartesian-inspired arguments for dualism. As Foster and Taliaferro amply demonstrate, however, Cartesian dualism is not without the theoretical resources to mount a defense. Cartesian dualism is not, contrary to Dennett's judgment, a view that can be dismissed with a mere wave or the hand. Nevertheless, even those who approach the Cartesian view with the seriousness and respect it deserves often feel moved to propose alternatives. The essays that comprise the second part of this book discuss some of those alternatives. Although these views differ in important respects from Cartesian dualism, as we will see, they are still dualist6 in spirit.

II. Alternatives to Cartesian Dualism
  1. Cartesian dualism holds, inter alia, that souls (or minds) are capable of disembodied existence7. Why? According to Descartes, the fundamentally dissimilar natures of souls and bodies accounts for this. Descartes notes that nothing in the nature of soul requires for its existence the existence of a body. Nor is there anything in the nature of body that requires for its existence the existence of a soul or mind. To be a soul is to be simple, unextended, and thinking. To be a body is to be complex, unthinking, and extended. Thus Descartes reckoned it possible for each kind of substance to exist without the other.
  2. Emergentism like that advanced by O'Connor is an alternative to Cartesian dualism that is not obviously compatible with Descartes's disembodiment thesis. But O'Connor's emergentism is only one species of a more general view. The more general view makes two claims.
    • First, all emergentists claim that consciousness and mentality do not appear until physical systems reach a sufficiently high level of configurational complexity. Just as liquidity and solidity are features that require matter to be suitably arranged before they are manifested, so too does the mental. According to emergentism in the philosophy of mind, mentality causally depends for its existence on a physical system of appropriate complexity.
    • Emergentists want to claim more, however. The second claim made by all emergentists is that mentality is in some important sense irreducible. It is with respect to this irreducibility that mentality is unlike liquidity and solidity. For the latter are nothing over and above organizational / causal features of matter. But the mental is said by emergentists to be a novel feature of the world, something that in a very important sense cannot be reduced to the neurobiological processes that cause it.
  3. In what sense is consciousness and the mental irreducible? Well, one important sense which the mental is said to be irreducible is simply the sense in which it is true to say that a complete neurobiological account of consciousness would fail to capture its first-person, subjective, qualitative features. Take a toothache, for example. Knowing all of the neurobiological facts about toothache is not to know the ache of toothache. The ache hurts and that pain would not get captured in a complete neurobiological account at toothache.
  4. See "Hasker (William) - Persons as Emergent Substances".
  5. See "Leftow (Brian) - Souls Dipped in Dust".
  6. Each of the alternatives to Cartesian dualism so far discussed are still dualist in spirit. What about alternatives to dualism that are, on the contrary, materialist in spirit?
  7. See "Lowe (E.J.) - Identity, Composition, and the Simplicity of the Self".
  8. See "Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Materialism with a Human Face".

III. Does Life after Death8 Require Dualism?
  1. The question concerning the prospect of personal survival into an afterlife9 is a vexing one. Much about our lives leaves the unmistakable impression that we are physical beings, not in Baker's sense of being merely contingently constituted by a human body, but in the much more seemingly problematic sense that we are, if not strictly and literally human animals10, then at least essentially constituted by the human bodies that do constitute us. From this perspective it might seem that the possibility of survival sinks or swims with dualism. For it might seem that if dualism (in all of its permutations) should turn out to be false, then human beings have no reasonable hope for survival. After all, experience seems to teach us that human bodies at some time or another cease to exist. So if I am a human body, and not simply contingently constituted by one, then one day I shall cease to exist. And if I will one day cease to exist, how is it possible that I shall live again?
  2. See "Merricks (Trenton) - How to Live Forever Without Saving Your Soul: Physicalism and Immortality".
  3. See "Corcoran (Kevin) - Physical Persons and Postmortem Survival Without Temporal Gaps".
  4. See "Cooper (John) - Biblical Anthropology and the Body-Soul Problem".
  5. See "Davis (Stephen T.) - Physicalism and Resurrection".
  6. What are we11? We are human beings, of course, embodied entities with aims, dreams, and aspirations, persons. But what are we12 essentially? Are human persons immaterial or material? And if they are material, then are they identical with their bodies? And what is the connection between our answer to the question. What are we13? and the possibility that we survive the death of our bodies? The essays in this volume probe these questions. Is there a convergence of answers on the horizon? It would appear not. For there are at present many answers and not all fall neatly into the two mutually exclusive views commonly discussed: Cartesian dualism and reductionistic physicalism. Nor is it obvious, despite what we may have been inclined to think, that physicalism with respect to human persons is incompatible with the doctrine of post-mortem survival14. If anything is clear after reading the essays in this volume, it is this: the mind-body problem remains wide open.




In-Page Footnotes ("Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?")

Footnote 1: Note that comments on specific Chapters have been removed to the Chapters themselves: follow the links.

Footnote 3: See his "Dennett (Daniel) - Current Issues in the Philosophy of Mind", APQ 15 (1978); 249-61.

Footnote 4: See "Kripke (Saul) - Naming and Necessity", (Oxford; Blackwell, 1980), 155 n. 77.

Footnote 5: Whether or not Descartes himself actually held the view I am about to describe, or how consistently he did, is not my concern here. The view I mean to pick out with the name 'Cartesian Dualism' is a view very frequently associated with Descartes, whether or not he actually held it. In point of fact, in the course of the sixth meditation, Descartes speaks both of the real distinction between soul (or mind) and body and also of his being intermingled with his body, soul and body forming a single unit. For more on this point, see Eric Olson's essay in this anthology ("Olson (Eric) - A Compound of Two Substances").

Footnote 6: Corcoran later seems to contradicts himself, as he states that the essays by Lowe and Baker are materialist in spirit, in contrast to those that are dualist in spirit, as they indeed are; but he claims that Baker is effectively a crypto-dualist.



"Foster (John) - A Brief Defense of the Cartesian View"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 1


Summary1
  1. John Foster opens the first part of this volume2 with "A Brief Defense of the Cartesian View." On the basis of certain introspective or subjective aspects of experience, Foster argues against psychophysical identity by arguing that mentality is both sui generis and fundamental. The truth of this claim alone, however, is not sufficient to secure substance dualism. So Foster goes further. Against the claim made by David Hume that mental items are ontologically autonomous, being had by no underlying substance, Foster provides reasons for believing that mental items are to be represented as elements in the biographies of mental subjects, entities that are nonphysical substances in that they lack both extension and material composition.
  2. This final claim of Foster's, of course, qualifies his view as Cartesian. And it is precisely this claim, and Foster's move to it from the first two claims, that creates difficulties. The first difficulty is a familiar one and it concerns whether or not it is at all intelligible to hold that entities lacking both extension and material composition can causally interact with entities that are both extended and characterized by material components.


COMMENT: Section I: Cartesian Dualism




In-Page Footnotes ("Foster (John) - A Brief Defense of the Cartesian View")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 3.

Footnote 2: That is, "Corcoran (Kevin), Ed. - Soul, Body and Survival: Essays on the Metaphysics of Human Persons".



"Kim (Jaegwon) - Lonely Souls: Causality and Substance Dualism"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 2


Summary1
  1. In "Lonely Souls," Jaegwon Kim takes up just this2 worry. He examines several arguments against Cartesian dualism which are based on the criticism that Cartesian dualism cannot plausibly explain just how two things so utterly different as unextended souls and extended bodies can causally interact.
  2. Kim suggests that one way to flesh out the insight of such criticisms is in terms of a pairing relation that is excluded by the essential non-spatiality of souls and the essential spatiality of bodies.
  3. Kim argues that given the essential natures of souls and bodies, and given the nature of causality3, Cartesian dualism is unintelligible.

Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. Commentators have long claimed that Cartesian dualism is unable to account of mental causation4.
  2. The claim is that because of their essential diversity it is difficult to conceive how souls can causally influence bodies. But just what is the relevant diversity, and how does it preclude mind-body causation5?
  3. This paper provides an answer: it is the essential nonspatiality of the Cartesian souls that makes them unfit for causal relations with material bodies. Moreover, immaterial souls cannot enter into causal relations with other souls either.
  4. What this shows is that causal relations are possible only within a framework with space-like structure.


COMMENT: Section I: Cartesian Dualism




In-Page Footnotes ("Kim (Jaegwon) - Lonely Souls: Causality and Substance Dualism")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 3.

Footnote 2: The problematic causal interaction of thinking and extended substances.



"O'Connor (Timothy) - Causality, Mind, and Free Will"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 3


Summary1
    In "Causality2, Mind, and Free Will," Timothy O'Connor offers an interesting version of just such a view3. O'Connor first provides a non-spatial framework for understanding causal interaction among objects, one which he believes, contra Kim, renders mind-body (and even mind-mind) causal interaction intelligible. He then elaborates a Cartesian-inspired view according to which mind and body constitute a unified natural system, and not independent objects that somehow continually find one another in the crowd of similar such objects. On O'Connor's "weak" dualistic view, token mental events are ontologically emergent and sui generis, distinct from any complex token physical state yet without there being any substance distinct from the body which is the direct bearer of those events. O'Connor shows further how this sort of "property or capacity-emergent dualism" is consistent with the kind of freedom of the will embraced by many more traditional Cartesian dualists.


COMMENT: Section I: Cartesian Dualism




In-Page Footnotes ("O'Connor (Timothy) - Causality, Mind, and Free Will")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 4.

Footnote 3: Essentially, that property dualism is true, while substance dualism is false.



"Taliaferro (Charles) - Emergentism and Consciousness: Going Beyond Property Dualism"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 4


Summary1
  1. According to property dualists like O'Connor there are some mental properties (states, events, activities, etc.) that are not identical with physical properties (states, events, activities, etc.). On such a view, although the ache of a headache is inextricably bound up with and caused by certain brain processes, it is not the very same thing as a brain process. This kind of view has been defended by many others. According to Charles Taliaferro, however, property dualism faces several formidable problems.
    • First, it faces the problem of accounting for the emergence of conscious states from physical states and processes. As Colin McGinn has so aptly put it, just "how can technicolour phenomenology arise from soggy grey matter?"
    • Second, insofar as property dualists hold that the mental and physical are not identical, there is a gap between the two that is very difficult to bridge.
    • A further difficulty facing property dualism, according to Taliaferro, is the apparent contingency of the mind-body relation. It is very difficult to understand how it is that the mind and body are necessarily (i.e., causally) so related in the face of their apparent contingency.
  2. In his essay "Emergentism and Consciousness," Taliaferro seeks to account for the appeal of property dualism and to offer a reply to some forceful objections to substance dualism advanced by Colin McGinn. Taliaferro argues that substance dualism can be supported by a comprehensive metaphysic, theism, which has greater credibility than naturalists like McGinn usually recognize.


COMMENT: Section I: Cartesian Dualism




In-Page Footnotes ("Taliaferro (Charles) - Emergentism and Consciousness: Going Beyond Property Dualism")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 4.



"Olson (Eric) - A Compound of Two Substances"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 5


Summary1
    Some readers of Descartes are inclined to believe that he takes human beings to be neither immaterial souls nor material bodies, but rather objects having two parts: a soul-part and a body-part2. On such an interpretation, a human being thinks because her soul thinks, and a human being weighs thus and such because her body weighs thus and such. Eric Olson calls this view "compound dualism," and he argues in "A Compound of Two Substances" that compound dualism faces serious ontological problems that have nothing to do with the usual (causal) criticisms of dualism and that do not apply to construals of dualism according to which human persons are immaterial souls. After carefully surveying several of the ontological problems that accompany compound dualism, Olson argues that if you are going to be a dualist about persons you should adopt a "pure dualism," the view that persons like you and I are identical with immaterial souls3.

Philosophers Index Abstract
    Substance dualism is typically stated as the view that each of us is made up of both an immaterial substance and a material body – 'compound dualism'. But some state it as the view that we are ourselves immaterial substances – 'pure dualism'. The difference is important. This paper argues that compound dualism faces grave problems that have nothing to do with the difficulties facing substance dualism generally, and which do not arise for pure dualism.


COMMENT:
  • I originally obtained this paper from Olson’s Sheffield website (Link (Defunct), presently defunct).
  • This featured the banner “A slightly different version of this paper appeared in K. Corcoran, ed., Soul, Body, and Survival (Cornell University Press 2001): 73-88.”




In-Page Footnotes ("Olson (Eric) - A Compound of Two Substances")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 5.

Footnote 2: See "Swinburne (Richard) - The Evolution of the Soul" (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), esp. 145-61.

Footnote 3: Since Olson is an animalist, this is presumably intended as a reductio ad absurdum.



"Goetz (Stewart) - Modal Dualism: A Critique"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 6


Summary1
    In the final essay of this first part of "Corcoran (Kevin), Ed. - Soul, Body and Survival: Essays on the Metaphysics of Human Persons", Stewart Goetz considers modal2 arguments for substance dualism. Modal3 arguments for dualism take as their point of departure a claim of the form 'possibly, I exist but no bodies exist'. Underlying such arguments is the conviction that conceivability is a reliable guide to possibility. In "Modal4 Dualism: A Critique" Goetz claims that arguments for Cartesian dualism from the ability to conceive or imagine one's disembodiment are epistemically circular. They are circular, Goetz argues, because one must already be aware of one's distinctness from one's physical body (which is the conclusion of the argument) in order to be able to conceive of one's possible disembodiment. Goetz suggests that in order for one to be genuinely aware of being distinct from one's body, one must be aware of the properties of being simple and being complex, which are exemplified by oneself and one's physical body respectively.


COMMENT: Section I: Cartesian Dualism




In-Page Footnotes ("Goetz (Stewart) - Modal Dualism: A Critique")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 5.

Footnote 2: I considered such arguments in the first half of a BA Finals essay “What is Descartes’s argument for the ‘real distinction’ between mind and body? Is it a good one?”, follow this link.



"Hasker (William) - Persons as Emergent Substances"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 7


Summary1
    In "Persons as Emergent Substances" William Hasker argues for what might be called "ambitious emergent dualism." For according to Hasker not only is it the case that novel properties or capacities emerge at certain complex levels of physical organization (a la O'Connor2), but sometimes whole new substances emerge. Hasker contends that human souls or minds are just such emergent substances and that they stand to human brains as [say] an electromagnetic field stands to its generating source. A magnetic field, for example, is an emergent individual; it normally occupies an area larger than that of its generating magnet and enters into causal commerce with it. So too with human persons. Human persons emerge when biological systems reach the complex level of organization we normally associate with mature human brains in mature human bodies. One of the things that makes Hasker's emergent dualism especially ambitious is the suggestion that it is at least logically possible for human souls to outlive their source of generation and thus at least logically possible for a human person to survive into an afterlife3.


COMMENT: Section II: Alternatives to Cartesian Dualism




In-Page Footnotes ("Hasker (William) - Persons as Emergent Substances")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 6.

Footnote 2: In "O'Connor (Timothy) - Causality, Mind, and Free Will".



"Leftow (Brian) - Souls Dipped in Dust"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 8


Summary1
    There are still other alternatives to Cartesian dualism. For example, one could argue not for the emergent, soul-body dualism of Hasker2, but for the soul-matter dualism of Aquinas. According to Aquinas, the body is not a substance with which the soul interacts, but rather it is the soul that makes some body a human body. Aquinas's view of human nature is notorious, however, for seemingly equivocating on the term "soul," using it sometimes to mean the "form" or kind of "state" a body is in and sometimes to mean a particular thing or individual. There is also the problem of understanding just how human beings can be material things on Aquinas's view when neither human souls nor human bodies (as apart from their souls) are. In "Souls Dipped in Dust" Brian Leftow offers a fascinating reading of Aquinas which attempts to resolve these puzzles. He also seeks to advance Aquinas's claim that souls are directly created by God against views like Hasker's which view souls as emerging directly from their bodies.


COMMENT: Section II: Alternatives to Cartesian Dualism




In-Page Footnotes ("Leftow (Brian) - Souls Dipped in Dust")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 7.

Footnote 2: In "Hasker (William) - Persons as Emergent Substances".



"Lowe (E.J.) - Identity, Composition, and the Simplicity of the Self"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 9


Summary1
    Let us suppose, for example, if only for the sake of discussion, that all persons are embodied as a matter of natural or metaphysical necessity. Would it follow that human persons are identical with physical organisms? In "Identity, Composition, and the Simplicity of the Self" E. J. Lowe answers no. He claims that human persons cannot be identified with their bodies because human persons and human bodies have different persistence conditions2. There are also reasons of a more Cartesian flavor for denying that persons are bodies. For example, Lowe believes that there are compelling reasons for believing that persons are simple rather than composite substances. What is so surprising about Lowe's alternative to Cartesian dualism is just that he refuses to draw the conclusion that persons are unextended Cartesian egos, somehow mysteriously attached to their physical bodies. Instead, he argues for the provocative claim that the non-composite or simple nature of persons is consistent with their possessing such physical characteristics as shape and weight. And, what is more surprising, Lowe argues that it is at least conceptually possible for persons to survive disembodiment.


COMMENT: Section II: Alternatives to Cartesian Dualism




In-Page Footnotes ("Lowe (E.J.) - Identity, Composition, and the Simplicity of the Self")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 7.



"Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Materialism with a Human Face"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 10


Summary1
    A relatively new view to appear in the philosophical literature is one according to which human persons are wholly physical, non-simple entities that are neither identical with nor reducible to physical organisms. The view's most eloquent defender, Lynne Baker, argues in "Materialism with a Human Face" that what makes an entity a human person is its possessing a "first-person perspective." What makes an entity a human person is its being "constituted by" a human organism. Baker argues that a thing x "constitutes" a thing y just in case x and y are co-located and stand in a genuine relation of unity. Persons and bodies, Baker argues, stand in the constitution relation. What is perhaps most interesting is that according to Baker's constitution view2 a person could start out as a human person and survive through changes which would render him or her nonhuman. Although this last claim appears to make way for the possibility of a human person surviving the death of his or her body it also entails that human persons are not essentially human. Many will regard that as a high price to pay for the view. Moreover, the view seems to leave such a cleavage between human persons and the human bodies that "constitute" them that it warrants the charge of being a version of dualism after all. And this brings us to the final part of the volume3.

Philosophers Index Abstract
    This is a succinct statement and defense of the constitution view4 of persons. Persons are constituted by bodies with which they are not identical. The metaphysical difference between persons and their bodies is that persons have first-person perspectives essentially. I reply to some objections and give reasons to accept the constitution view5.


COMMENT:
  • See Link
  • Section II: Alternatives to Cartesian Dualism




In-Page Footnotes ("Baker (Lynne Rudder) - Materialism with a Human Face")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 8.

Footnote 3: Ie. Of "Corcoran (Kevin), Ed. - Soul, Body and Survival: Essays on the Metaphysics of Human Persons".



"Merricks (Trenton) - How to Live Forever Without Saving Your Soul: Physicalism and Immortality"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 11


Summary1
  1. In "How to Live Forever without Saving Your Soul" Trenton Merricks responds to worries about how a wholly and purely physical person, a human animal2, who utterly ceased to exist could possibly come back into existence at a later date. After criticizing the two most familiar responses, Merricks develops his own bold response. Merricks believes that objections to the possibility of survival by way of resurrection rely either:-
    • on the assumption that there are criteria of personal identity over time which rule out the possibility of temporal gaps in a person's existence, or
    • on the notion that temporal gaps of the sort required for resurrection are just impossible.
  2. As to the latter, it has seemed self-evident to some philosophers that identity supposes continuous, uninterrupted existence. Gaps in the existence of a thing would entail that a thing can exist before it begins to exist, which is absurd. But Merricks makes a plea for metaphysical modesty when it comes to the fruits of modal4 intuition. He thus dismisses claims of the form "temporal gaps of the sort implied by resurrection are simply impossible" as the product of an overweening confidence in one's modal5 intuition. Modesty is more becoming.
  3. As for the former assumption, building on his previous work on criteria of identity over time, Merricks claims that there are no criteria of personal identity over time. So all criterion-based worries and arguments against the possibility of resurrection dissipate. In the end Merricks offers reasons of his own for believing in the possibility of resurrection for wholly physical persons, frankly admitting that if resurrection occurs, it's going to take a miracle.


COMMENT: Section III: Does Life After Death6 Require Dualism




In-Page Footnotes ("Merricks (Trenton) - How to Live Forever Without Saving Your Soul: Physicalism and Immortality")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 9.



"Corcoran (Kevin) - Physical Persons and Postmortem Survival Without Temporal Gaps"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 12


Summary1
    In my essay, "Physical Persons and Postmortem Survival without Temporal Gaps," I assume that human persons are wholly physical and that human bodies cannot enjoy temporally gappy existence. I then offer a view of postmortem survival that is consistent with both of these theses2, a view that does not require one to deny the plausible assumption that if x is a physical object is essentially a physical object. The view I offer does not come without a price tag, however. One who embraces it must be prepared to deny some common-sense intuitions about human beings (that they die and cease to exist, for example) and embrace some pretty radical claims (that the physical simples that compose human bodies have a capacity for fissioning, for example). Still, I contend that it is a logically coherent view and that it, or something very much like it, might even turn out to be true.


COMMENT: Section III: Does Life After Death3 Require Dualism




In-Page Footnotes ("Corcoran (Kevin) - Physical Persons and Postmortem Survival Without Temporal Gaps")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 9.

Footnote 2: The assumptions recorded in "Merricks (Trenton) - How to Live Forever Without Saving Your Soul: Physicalism and Immortality", that Merricks denies, namely:-
  1. The thesis that there are criteria of personal identity over time which rule out the possibility of temporal gaps in a person's existence, and
  2. The thesis that temporal gaps of the sort required for resurrection are just impossible.



"Cooper (John) - Biblical Anthropology and the Body-Soul Problem"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 13


Summary1
    The problem of survival has been discussed so far only as regards its logical compatibility with certain controversial philosophical claims about the metaphysical nature of persons. But the notion of survival, especially when discussed in explicitly "resurrectionist" terms, has its home2 in the domain of religious and theological tradition. An important question is this: Despite the logical compatibility or incompatibility of survival and a metaphysics of materialism with respect to human persons, to what extent do the theological sources suggest a metaphysics of persons? Do the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, for example, present a view of human persons that is more or less compatible with materialism or dualism? In "Biblical Anthropology and the Body-Soul Relation," John Cooper argues3 that the best reading of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures yields the teaching that human persons continue to exist, probably consciously, between death and a final, general resurrection. Cooper believes that this doctrine entails that human persons are so constituted that they can exist temporarily without a body. And this, of course, would seem to entail that some variety of dualism is true.

Philosophers Index Abstract
    This article surveys important texts in the Hebrew Bible, intertestamental Jewish religious literature, and the New Testament that relate views of the human constitution to views of what happens at death. It concludes that the biblical view of human nature is both holistic and dualistic: humans are unities of body, soul, and spirit; but conscious human persons exist without physical bodies until a final general resurrection. Thus, philosophical views that claim consistency with the Christian Bible must affirm both holism and dualism. But a number of philosophical views can do so. Scripture does not entail a specific philosophical anthropology.


COMMENT: Section III: Does Life After Death4 Require Dualism




In-Page Footnotes ("Cooper (John) - Biblical Anthropology and the Body-Soul Problem")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 9-10.

Footnote 2:
  • Indeed. And most of the contributors to this volume – with the exception of Olson – appear to be Christians, whose philosophical hands are tied somewhat by their pre-philosophical commitments
  • In this regard, I noted in the Acknowledgements to the book (p. vii of "Corcoran (Kevin), Ed. - Soul, Body and Survival: Essays on the Metaphysics of Human Persons") that The Council of Christian Colleges and Universities provided “the help of several fine students in the production of this volume”.
Footnote 3: See "Cooper (John) - Body, Soul and Life Everlasting: Biblical Anthropology and the Monism-dualism Debate" for a longer argument – though one that is admittedly non-philosophical.



"Davis (Stephen T.) - Physicalism and Resurrection"

Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 14


Summary1
  1. In the final essay2, "Physicalism and Resurrection," Stephen Davis provides an assessment of both the philosophical and theological discussion of the nature of human persons and the prospect of survival. He disagrees with the claim made by Merricks3 that a rejection of "criterialism" declaws a major class of objections to resurrection. Davis argues that criterion- based objections can be reformulated in non-criterion-based ways. If so, then according to Davis, Merricks's rejection of criterialism does not advance the debate about the possibility of resurrection at all.
  2. Davis also argues against a claim I make in my4 essay. I argue that there are plausible reasons a theist might have for believing that it is impossible for there ever to be multiple candidates for identity with oneself in the afterlife5. Davis disagrees. At the same time, however, he wants to maintain what seems to contradict this, namely, the plausible assertion that identity is a relation that each thing necessarily stands in to itself. Davis makes a valiant attempt to reconcile two seemingly contradictory claims, and it is left to the reader to judge whether or not Davis succeeds. In the end Davis contends that although he himself has given up physicalism about persons in favor of dualism, physicalism about persons and the doctrine of resurrection are compatible.


COMMENT: Section III: Does Life After Death6 Require Dualism




In-Page Footnotes ("Davis (Stephen T.) - Physicalism and Resurrection")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 10.

Footnote 2: Of "Corcoran (Kevin), Ed. - Soul, Body and Survival: Essays on the Metaphysics of Human Persons".

Footnote 3: In "Merricks (Trenton) - How to Live Forever Without Saving Your Soul: Physicalism and Immortality".

Footnote 4: Ie. "Corcoran (Kevin) - Physical Persons and Postmortem Survival Without Temporal Gaps".



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