Compare And Contrast Two Beliefs About Life After Death. Assess Which Of These Two Views May Provide A Stronger Philosophical Basis For Belief In Life After Death?

1402 words - 6 pages

One definition of death is the “the complete and permanent cessation of all vital functions in a living creature, the end if life”. All philosophers agree that our earthly life in our physical form will end; however philosophers disagree on the meaning of “end of life” as many people agree on death as the end of our existence however while others argue that we continue in some form after death. Many ideas relating to our existence after death include; the continuation of our genes thought our descendants, immortality of the soul, resurrection of the body, reincarnation and the idea that we live on in memories of others. Many religious beliefs are based on the idea that humans possess a "soul" or "spirit" which exists independently of the body. The notion of life after death is therefore of central concern to religious believers and it is important to establish what “surviving” death exactly means. There are two main theories developed for the meaningful survival after death: materialism and dualism.Materialism is the theory that our minds are inseparable from our bodies. Materialism is the view that only that which we can come to knowledge of empirically and do not accept the existence of a separate soul as it cannot be verified. It is based on and understanding of the universe that has one substance only, that being material, and generally a belief that the universe is governed by cause and effect. Materialists do not accept separate part to our body called the “soul”; they argue that an individual is living, physical body and nothing more therefore at death, the body dies and with it the whole individual ceases to exist. There are two forms of materialism; soft materialism and hard materialism.Hard materialists, claim that the only substances are material objects, an individual characteristics are nothing more then physical ones. Any idea is consciousness is nothing more then brain activity. Mind is not separate of body so when the body dies so does the brain. Richard Dawkins rejects any concepts of an immortal soul. There is no soul or consciousness as we are the sum total of our genes. He concentrates of the idea that humans are merely carriers of information and DNA. For Dawkins, the only conceivable theory is that of evolution. We are as we are because of our genetic make up, not the efforts of our soul to guide us towards the realm of ideas each change is due to evolution. There is no soul which continues, there is only the survival of DNA, the function of lifeWhile Dawkins does not deal with the concept of the soul he looks instead at the idea of consciousness. Dawkins addresses this feeling of individuality within each human by arguing that this is because our genes are working together. We cannot perceive ourselves as a colony but as a whole. This working together of our genes is based on the desire for survival of those genes. Dawkins claims that now that the consciousness has evolved, the...

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