[Vision2020] The Eternal Soul
metzler at moscow.com
Fri Oct 14 15:16:25 PDT 2005
Swinburne .... also writes in defense of a surviving personal identity, i.e,
a 'soul" which continues as a discrete, unchanging entity after physical
It is his latter contention which intrigues me. I want to believe that some
part of me survives death, and not in the humanist sense, in that my
constituent atoms survive. I want this surviving part to be the same "me"
that exists now. I don't believe this, finding no personally persuasive
evidence which would make this belief possible, but that is what I am
seeking. If you have read Swinburne, does he attempt to provide this, and,
if so, does he manage it, in at least a partially satisfying manner?
I'd suppose Campbell might want to take this up, but I like this topic. So
why not? Swinburne is ironically Plantinga's opponent on the epistemology
issue we've been discussing, and is more explicitly a Christian Apologist as
I understand it-but with the same kind of prestigious background as
Plantinga. I've wanted to get a hold of his stuff, but haven't had a
chance. I guess he just published something on the 'existence of God' in
2004. I wouldn't be surprised if he continues the Cartesian project of
proving the existence of a human soul that is distinct from the body, but
I'm not sure.
But onto the more interesting quest: I just don't think you have any
options that are going to be satisfying for you from everything I've found
out there, which includes some deeper reading in the philosophy of Mind. The
first question is 'What position is there to even find evidence for?'
You've got nirvana, the good 'ol standard materialism of Lucretius, the
Indian absorption into the one, the 'your name lives after you when you die'
of the greeks, or the more common platonic assumptions about the ethereal
soul. But you want to still be You and still live on forever. A common
human desire; although more common is a Better You, still You but an
Incorruptible You. I'd be interested to hear from someone else on the
matter-if there really are some better alternatives open for us. I feel the
same way you do, which is one reason I'm fascinated with the philosophy of
Mind. But I believe my body resurrects into the same body after death, yet
a glorified body, in the pattern of the historical accounts of Jesus'
resurrection. So I've got the easy religious way out; but I'm not sure what
you think about a religious option.
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