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Old September 27 2013, 02:43 AM   #273
CorporalCaptain
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Re: What Happens After Death

tsq, if your definition sketch #1 had originally looked like your revised version, then I would have had far fewer objections. However, I really don't believe that one can relate modern science to the works of classical philosophers unless one actually is well versed in both science and classical philosophy.

I also brought up a third sense of the word soul, that of essence. Even if there were something to this notion, casting it in contemporary scientific terms seems much harder than dealing with either psyche/mind or animation/metabolism.

To me, the notion of a person's essence seems concerned with characteristic behaviors and reactions singularly indicative of that individual. It seems to transcend particular biometric data, such as fingerprints and DNA, and to encompass much more broadly the totality of psychological and physical reactions and motivations. When you recognize that voice on the other end of the phone as that of the cousin you haven't spoken to in 20 years, you may have perceived the essence of the person, in that manner of speaking.

The assumption that each person has one or more singularly indicative and essential qualities may be a misguided notion. On the other hand, perhaps some paradigm with DNA [of living cells] at the foundation would be capable of validating that assumption quite neatly. However, on the gripping hand, it seems clearly established that both nature and nurture play their parts in establishing personality. Of course, any essential qualities that derive from physical aspects or behaviors would be just as temporal as the physical components involved, and just as corporeal.

In any case, it is the third sense, of essence, that really rounds out the term. Indeed, to most, I think, a person's soul being unique to the person is an essential aspect of the definition of the term. It doesn't really nail it, if the difference between, say, my soul and your soul is only that mine's mine and yours is yours. Each person's soul is supposed to be quite distinctive.
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