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Who Am I? Consciousness, Identity, and the Soul, Outline Example

Pages: 1

Words: 349

Outline

Know Thyself?

  1. Although most people use the word “self” almost every day, what it really means isn’t completely clear.
  2. The self may be any combination of:
  • A unique personal identity that remains the same over time
  • The same as “soul”
  • Something different from “body”
  • Something that can be understood using reason
  • Something that will continue to exist after the body dies
  • Something that connects with other selves in a personal way

Socrates and Plato: The Soul Is Immortal

  1. Socrates believed the soul survived the death of the body.
  2. For Socrates, reality is made up of two realms. One is changing and imperfect while the other is unchangeable, perfect, and eternal.
  3. The perfect realm includes concepts such as truth, goodness, and beauty.
  4. Plato cites Diotima as questioning how someone remains the same even as his or her whole body and personality changes with age.
  5. For Plato, the soul is made up of reason, physical appetite, and spirit or passion.
  6. For Plato, happiness is possible only when reason rules over appetite and passion.
  7. Elizabeth Spellman points out that Plato associates reason with men and sees women as the “worst possible model for young men.”

Augustine: Plato and Christianity

  1. Plotinus (205 – 270 B.C.E.) revived Plato’s ideas as Neoplatonism.
  2. Neoplatonism is a belief that the world emanates from a divine, true being, and that the human soul searches for unity with that divine being.
  3. Augustine (BCE 354 – 430) believed Christianity and Platonism were natural partners.
  4. Plato’s realm of forms for Augustine was a transcendent God.
  5. Augustine has been characterized as Christianity’s first theologian (one who studies God).

René Descartes: A Modern Perspective on the Self

  1. Descartes is often considered the “founder of modern philosophy.”
  2. He considered reason to be the source of truth and the foundation of scientific method.
  3. Descartes set out to doubt all truths that had been accepted in order to achieve clear and well-reasoned conclusions.
  4. His first principle is “Cogito, ergo sum,” (“I think; therefore, I am).
  5. Humans are self-aware and independent “thinking things.”
  6. Descartes is dualistic. The self has two parts: a spiritual, nonmaterial, immortal intellect or soul and a physical, material, finite body.
  7. Materialism is the view that all aspects of the universe are composed of matter and energy and can be explained by physical laws.
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