Immortality of the Soul Term Paper

  • Length: 8 pages
  • Subject: Black Studies - Philosophy
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #67051986

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Immortality of the soul- many philosophers, laureates and scientists have delved upon the subject in both the earlier times and the present time. However, the logic of the immortality of the soul, whether it is true or not that is the soul being mortal, has not been justified till yet. Plato and Socrates have justified what they believe, Kant also rationalizes the existence of God and the immortality of soul, however, and the debate is still on as to whether the soul is mortal or immortal. In this paper, I would develop the thesis on the premise that the soul is mortal and relatively would give explanations as has been given by Plato, Socrates, David Hume and Immanuel Kant as well as Christian and Islamic religious views. Before I embark on explaining what different scholars have said about the existence of God and the Immortality of soul, let us first discuss the religious views on the immortality of soul.

In both Christianity and Islam there is a consensus in the resurrection after death on the doom's day. Starting from this belief, Islam accepts that the soul is immortal and that the body is mortal and after death the soul leaves the body and resides in a place called "Alam-e-Arwah" or the world of souls. This belief is rooted in the fact that the soul is created by the God and that after death and on the day of Judgment the souls of everyone would be filled in back in to the respective bodies and after the judgment, people would either be pushed to the Hell or pulled within the Heaven. This belief is sufficient enough to ascertain that yes there is the existence of soul and yes the soul does not die with the body, rather they are saved for the judgment day when all the people would be resurrected from the dead to face their fate. This is the concept of the immortality of soul in Islam, where as the Christian belief is a little different as it is based on the surmise that man is created for God to live till eternity, and till eternity the soul lives and then the people are resurrected on the day of judgment. However, a link is missing in the explanation given by the Christian faith as to how the soul lives and what is the purpose of the soul to live till eternity and what is the purpose of its being immortal? This is a question that makes the belief of the Christians about the immortality of the soul a bit doubtful.

Now I come to the concept given by Emanuel Kant about the existence of God and the immortality of soul. According to Kant the practicality of the nature resides in the goodness and this goodness is only possible if it is assumed that soul is immortal. This reason is very confusing. However, if we go by the law of the nature and the moral law, we can get some idea as to what Kant is asserting over here. Immortality of the soul or the mortality of the soul is directly related to, according to Kant, the moral law and that law is directly related to the will of the nature and also, in effect, related to the underlying aim and nature of the religion. Kant in the Critique of Practical Reason states this case as follows:

The principle of the moral destination of our nature -- that only by endless progress can we come into full harmony with the moral law -- is of the greatest use, not only for fortifying the speculative reason, but also with respect to religion. In default of this, either the moral law is degraded from its holiness, being represented as indulging our convenience, or else men strain after an unattainable aim, hoping to gain absolute holiness of will, thus losing themselves in fanatical theosophic dreams utterly contradicting self-knowledge. For a rational, but finite, being the only possibility is an endless progression from the lower to the higher degrees of perfection. The Infinite Being, to whom the time condition is nothing, sees in this endless succession the perfect harmony with the moral law" (http://www.publicbookshelf.com/public_html/Outline_of_Great_Books_Volume_I/immortalit_bii.html).

In relation to the existence of God, Kant gives that for the "pure practical reason must also postulate the existence of God as the necessary condition of the attainment of the summum bonum. As the perfect good can only be promoted by accordance of the will with the moral law, so also this summum bonum is possible only through the supremacy of an Infinite Being possessed of causality harmonizing with morality. But the postulate of the highest derived good coincides with the postulate of a highest original good, or of the existence of God" (http://www.publicbookshelf.com/public_html/Outline_of_Great_Books_Volume_I/immortalit_bii.html).

Hence, Kant concludes by saying that there are basically two things that capsulate the mind of an individual, the one is the presence of heaven and the other is the present of the rationality and logic of the moral law within one's self. Kant further observes that there is no need to search for these two things as they are already there but they are covert in the space that is unreachable. These two things are there and there presence can also be felt, however, touching them is not possible. Nevertheless, the presence is still felt in the human consciousness and the meaning of the very existence of the human self. This belief makes the moral life within a person detached from the material things in the world and in the universe and let the moral law inside the body travel in space, untouchable by the materials of the nature and the cosmos. And when this happen the moral law enters in to the world of infinity where there is no end. This moral law then becomes the basis of immortal life of the soul of a human body. Funny, I stated that soul has a life. Why not? Why can't a soul has a life of its own? The soul has a life of its own and it is very much logical once it is believed that the life of the soul is infinite and will continue forever. This life has no life span, and so it can very well be regarded as immortal.

Now as I have discussed the concept of immortality of soul put forth by Emanuel Kant, now let us discuss the ideal of soul's immortality as described by Plato and Socrates.

The ideals given by Socrates are mostly found in the work of Plato, being his disciple. However, there are certain indications about the Socrates not being aware about the individuality of soul or the soul leaving the body at the time of death. As such it seems more appropriate to say that Socrates respected the belief of those about the soul who does not know that should exists. In fact, when we read Apology by Plato, there are two different concepts given relating to the discussion of the immortality of soul. One concept gives that when a person dies the soul does not leaves his body and dies with it, and with the person's death the conscious matter in the brain of the dead person also dies and with it the body that remains, is nothing but a corpse which neither things nor has any meaning or existence. The other concept is entirely different, rather contrary to the previous concept. In this concept the soul remains alive, where as the body dies and becomes a corpse. It is true that the conscious self of the body becomes zero and that the corpse at the time of death is nothing but a meaningless bulk of flesh. But this concept is very different from the first one in the sense that under this concept the soul leaves the body and travels in to another world where the soul meets the souls of the other people who have died earlier, the friends and the foes, elders, parents and the beloved. However, according to Plato, whether the soul is mortal or immortal, nothing matters, because each situation entails a relief from the present world and thus makes dying quite a good experience. At the time of death of body or soul, there is no repentance, while at the time of death of the body only; the soul gets a chance to meet those who have gone earlier. Both the situations are worth experiencing according to Plato. Thus, in this instance, Plato places the rationality of the alternative with God and asserts that it's the decision of God to make it certain which alternative to choose, the first one or the second one, and whatever he chooses would be under the best interest and better for everyone, living or dead.

Accordingly, Socrates asserts "every soul is immortal, for the ever-moving is immortal; but what moves another or is moved by another, ceasing to move ceases to have life. Only the self-moving which never leaves…

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