gepost bericht: A great article about the insights of mortality from Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilych http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=1204
gepost bericht: Judaism, Christianity and Islam contend that we are not existentially free but that existence is bound by another layer of reality—the divine. Thus, time becomes a mechanism (an instrument) by which we pass through various phases in life to arrive at a relationship with God. Extension, that is to say the physical dimensions as we know them, are certainly restricting for humans but for the divine represent an opportunity to “speak more directly” to humans; namely, through miracles, which are suspensions of the physical laws of nature. Causality, cause and effect, is a mechanism whereby the divine judges us, it is the opportunity for divine justice and the ultimate judgment in which the good are rewarded and the unjust are punished.
gepost bericht: In the Christian paradigm, humans descend (or are expelled from the Garden and forced) into the physical world. This physical world is not “free” of constrictions; rather it is full of them. To begin with, human life is bound by time, extension, causality and mortality. Existentialism, at this point, would have to agree. But where Existentialism seems content (or authentic from its viewpoint) is at this level of constriction. Outside of recognizing the requirements of temporality, physical extension, causality and mortality, Existentialism suggests that life (within this matrix) is what you make of it. This is at once, terrifying, dreadful and lonely, and honest and liberating. We sure can see this in Tolstoy’s work.
gepost bericht: Greetings friends: It seems that most of us (myself included) are having a bit of a slow start. A few have just joined us as well. So, I thought it best to keep the comments going on Unit 1. Why don't we aim for having everyone post and/or reply to comments relating to Unit 1 by the end of this weekend (10/15)? Please post your comments on the following issues on the Activity Wall: 1) Describe the philosophical questions that surround the inevitable biological event of death; 2)Compare the philosophical notion of mind/body dualism with the idea of physicalism and how these doctrines imply different attitudes about death; 3) Discuss the fundamental arguments that Plato makes in his work Phaedo in regards to the immortality of the soul.
gepost bericht: Socrates uses the affinity argument (78b-80b) for the immortality of the soul. The soul has an affinity for the intellect and the body has an affinity for that which is perishable. Socrates suggests that the soul is “naturally” durable but Cebes still is not convinced it is immortal—what if a soul reincarnates many times but is on its last reincarnation? Socrates says “life” is akin to “soul” and thus, immortal. In the end of Phaedo, the soul is immortal because it is, in essence, that which animates the body—it is life force. Basically, life itself (an indestructible force) has an affinity for soul and continues to remain within soul, even after bodily death. Life is ensouled and must always remain so, or there would be no life.
gepost bericht: In the Phaedo Socrates offers a somewhat “uncertain” theory of the existence of the immortal soul, it does not really prove anything, but does begin a long history of defining the arguments about immortality. Many of the conversants (including Cebes and Simmias) are physicalists, and seem to find it quite difficult to believe that the soul does anything other than disappear upon death into “breath or smoke” (70a). Socrates responds to these physicalist arguments by suggesting that the disembodied soul exists after the death of the physical body and that it is conscious and intelligent.
gepost bericht: There are two ways we can begin to think about the nature of death. One way is to suppose that human beings are composed of a body and a soul--a dualist view. If we possess a soul, then we can imagine that while the body dies, the soul may continue to exist in some fashion. Of course, having a soul is no guarantee that this is true, but it does appear to be a necessary condition for surviving the death of the body. The other way we can think about death is to assume that there is no such thing as the soul. This view, known as physicalism, asserts that human beings are entirely physical, once the body dies, there is nothing to sustain our consciousnesses. Do you find Plato's argument for the immortality of the soul convincing?
gepost bericht: Welcome to the study group. My name is Chad Redwing and I am a professor of Humanities in California. I look forward to reading through and watching this material, available through the Saylor Foundation, with you over the next 5 weeks and then sharing ideas. I look at this as a professional development opportunity to vet some ideas and materials before they are used in my classes and also as a very personal journey to engage one of the most important quandries of human existence, that of the issues related to our mortality. I look forward to everyone (myself included) posting some initial comments on Unit 1 by 10/10. Have a wonderful first week of exploration and though, and welcome again to this very unique community of learners.
gepost bericht: Welcome to the study group. My name is Chad Redwing and I am a professor of Humanities in California. I look forward to reading through and watching this material, available through the Saylor Foundation, with you over the next 5 weeks and then sharing ideas. I look at this as a professional development opportunity to vet some ideas and materials before they are used in my classes and also as a very personal journey to engage one of the most important quandries of human existence, that of the issues related to our mortality. I look forward to everyone (myself included) posting some initial comments on Unit 1 by 10/10. Have a wonderful first week of exploration and though, and welcome again to this very unique community of learners.