Q.2 exam paper June 2011 Philosophy
2. Evaluate the claim that the soul is distinct from the body.
There are many different views that the soul is distinct from the body of which appose this claim but at the same time there are those who agree with it.
A famous Greek Philosopher named Plato was a duellist who believed that the soul is indeed distinct from the body. Plato believed that the soul is more important than the body as the body is apart of the empirical world and like all objects is subject to change (in a constant motion of change). Plato said that the body and its senses cannot be a reliable guide to the truth as it did not pre – exist in his idea of “the world of forms” and so the body can only seek truth from experience which in reality would not be the “real truth”. Plato also believed that the soul enables us to have knowledge as it pre-existed before birth in the world of forms. This is said to be the reason why we can understand things such as beauty in the world as the soul had already experienced them prior to our existence.
Another reason Plato believed the soul is distinct is the idea that the body distracts us from purpose. The soul gives us the ability to reason where as the body has to be guided by the soul in order to make rational decisions. As well as this he believed that the soul cannot be split into parts not can it change as it is external, unlike the body.
However philosophers such as Aristotle (a pupil of Plato’s) argue that the body and soul are dependant of each other and that one cannot survive without the other. Aristotle believed the soul is the form, like the characteristics of a sculpture. He talks about how the soul is merely description of the essence or properties of the body. It is our human personality and abilities. Aristotle believed that the soul was inseparable to the body and that it cannot be divided. The soul is said to be essential to us, we are body and soul. Aristotle used the example...
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