Are Human Beings Strictly Essay, Research Paper
1 Are human beings strictly physical beings? Or are we made up of two parts a physical part and a non-physical part? In my opinion human beings consist of both physical and non-physical parts. In other words there is more to us than just flesh and bones. One who believes that there is two parts that make up a human being is known as a dualist. Dualism says that there are certain physical objects such as a rock, table, door, etc. These things have no non-physical part. Any thing that is alive contains both a physical and non-physical part. There is something extra that gives life to all living things. For instance, when a person is alive there is a source of life. When a person dies they lose that life force and the heart stops pumping. That is when the human body becomes a purely physical object. This is what is known as the alive soul theory, first developed by the ancient Greeks(73-75). This soul is what is responsible for human beings having life. According to Plato a soul can not be seen, felt, heard, smelled or tasted but it can enter an inert physical object and animate it, bring it to life (75). Plato is right because it would seem impossible for the human body to function 2without an outside source to help it. The soul works together with the body parts to make the human body function. Human bodies are all pretty much made up the same way. However, everyone has a different soul, it is what makes everyone unique. The soul is what makes us able to have life and function. All kinds of living things have some sort of soul. Obviously a tree and a person don t have the same kind of soul. Plants have a soul, which is known as a nutritive soul. Such a soul would enable the tree to have three basic abilities. The first is the ability to grow. Second is the need for some kind of nutrition. Finally is the ability to reproduce. The nutritive soul is the most basic kind of soul you can imagine. Aristotle s theory was that the nutritive soul is responsible for those capacities associated with all forms of life: life, growth, nutrition, reproduction and so on (75). I feel that his theory is correct, that these are the three things that a plant needs to live. Other living things have a slightly more advanced soul. For example a dog has the same 3abilities as plant and more. These other abilities are perception, sensation and also the ability to move around. This soul is what is known as a sensitive soul. Dogs are aware of their surroundings they can tell what is going on around them. Dogs and other animals also have another ability that is to feel pain and plants feel nothing. Dogs and other animals must have this kind of soul otherwise they would be unable to move, feel pain or perceive the world around them. The most advanced of the three types of souls is known as the rational soul. This is the type of soul that only humans have. Aristotle backed this up by saying that dogs, cats, deer, mice, and human beings can reason. Human beings can understand the Pythagorean theorem, construct scientific theories, argue about God s existence and wonder if they have a soul. (76) This makes humans the most advanced of all life forms, so it follows that we would have the most advanced souls. Which only makes sense because we are able to train animals and keep plants alive. You would never see a dog training a person or a plant feeding a person. So humans have something in them that give them this rational soul, which makes us superior life forms.
4 The critics of dualism believe in Physicalism. This is the view that human being is a purely physical object. Physicalists deny that people have nonphysical minds or souls. (73) For instance, if a dog bites you the pain you feel is simply a physical state of mind. It is simply one physical state in your brain causing another physical state (98) that is why it hurts where the dog bit you. Physicalists believe that all human emotions and feelings are caused by chemical reactions in the body. I just don t buy it, because if people are put in the same situation twice they don t always react the same way. I believe there are some things that are not completely physical by nature. For instance when you are in a room and your wife or someone you really love walks in that room and your heart starts racing. I believe that feeling something that is not really physical, it is something in your soul that causes a physical reaction. I feel that physicalists are wrong because human beings are simply too complicated to only consist of physical part with no kind of soul. For instance, if two people have the same experience they almost never react the same. That is because we are all individuals who have different personalities, which come from our souls. 5 To me it is fairly obvious that dualism is the most feasible theory. There is both a physical body and a nonphysical soul. Our souls are what make us human and different from eachother. The soul is what we feel inside and is different for everyone. The mind usually will listen to the soul. The soul is that little voice in the back of our heads that effects every decision we make.