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Logic and the Immortality of the Human Soul - Admission/Application Essay Example

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Logic and the Immortality of the Human Soul

Plato’s ideas of Forms is essentially an attempt to deal with the existence of abstract constructs that humans can observe, but seem themselves not to exist in the physical plane. The classic definition is of someone who possesses beauty – they can certainly be said to possess it, and people will acknowledge beauty’s existence. But where is beauty? You cannot find beauty in the physical realm, it is an abstract principle that still, nonetheless, can defitively be said to exist. Plato deals with this by creating a world of forms, which are non-physical yet can cast shadows on the physical world, and with each form representing a fundamental thing. This girl thus reflects the fundamental form of beauty, while she is beautiful, but would stop to when she becomes less so. The question then becomes how we observe these non-temporal forms. Plato’s idea is that we have a faculty to observe these forms, which (if one follows his logic) is self-evidently true because we do observe the forms. Finally, this object must exist in a similar realm of existence to that of the forms to be able to interact with them and observe them. This idea of forms relates to the existence of an immortal soul. Essentially, the argument goes that we know some things to be true, for instance, geometric proofs which are self evidently true (or a priori). We also know, however, that the sense cannot be trusted to understand truth – senses can be deceived, and if we have doubt over the truth of something, it is thus not true. Truths thus operate outside of the realm associated with our senses, that is, the world of forms. We know truths, and therefore have a faculty to perceive them. This faculty is the soul, so the soul exists. The arguments for the immortality of the soul are slightly less coherent, and mostly rest on the idea that the soul is a simple thing, and simple things cannot die, because they cannot be deconstructed. Plato also argues that we can demonstrate the existence of souls from knowledge of things that are not granted through empirical evidence, which shows that souls did exist before the body was alive, and something with no beginning can also not have an end. There are several important problems with this interpretation, including important ones by famous philosophers. But there are few problems with this that I have not encountered before that still seem serious to me. Firstly, there is a problem with definition – the soul has been perpetually defined as an organ that can interpret the world of forms or truths. Even if this were true, it does not imply the ability to contain existence necessarily – why would a soul work like a brain, having ability to comprehend and retain information, rather than like a microscope or a pair of binoculars, which, when its owner dies, can go on to be used by another, but not retaining any trace of the past owner? The definition of soul as “immortal faculty to observe truth” does not necessarily mean anything to human identity. Another problem with Plato’s argument is the necessity of the soul being immortal and immaterial, like the things it observes. This is ...Show more


Your Name Prof’s Name Date Logic and the Immortality of the Human Soul The fate of a person after death is obviously of the utmost importance to each and every individual who has lived – because each would also die, eventually. This probably explains why, even though there are very few givens, or a priori truths that can be used to argue the existence of an immortal soul logically, many philosophers have been tempted to creating arguments, both for and against such an entity existing…
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Logic and the Immortality of the Human Soul essay example
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