The soul in a nutshell

  • Mind and matter separate – dualism
  • Not separate – monism
  • Plato – soul (psyche) trapped in body (soma) at birth released upon death
  • What is soul?
    • immortal
    • function is to do well – to attain higher plane of existence
    • partly divine and can recognise the divine
    • Soul three parts – (i) honourable (ii) selfish (iii) the arbiter!
    • essential I
    • ultimate cause of voluntary actions or decisions
    • it is what animates; the difference between the living and the dead person
  • Descartes – Res cogitans and Res extensa
  • Identity theory – memory, pain personality all just physical processes in the brain – excitation of neurons!
  • But doesn’t explain creativity, morality
  • Soul is an example of one of Plato’s ideal forms
  • Proof of the existence of a higher plane. But in his view there was no deity to placate or be good for – just the good of one’s own soul.


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