For well over 2,000 years, humans have questioned the how and why of anything and everything around them. We try to understand how and why everything in our universe behaves as it does. Over time, we have been able to discover answers to our questions and gain further understanding about our universe. We know why the sun will rise and set each day, for example, after many years of calculations and study. However, there are many questions that we cannot simply discover the answer to by using formulas, calculations, and basic experiments. What will happen to me when I die? Is there some sort of non-physical part of me, or essence, that will like on? Or does it all just end? Who am I? Am I, as I am thinking this now, my consciousness? Is the consciousness just an overrated name attributed to the electrical signals being sent between neurons in my brain?
Fortunately for me, these questions have been asked, discussed, and debated over many times before just now. Many great minds have asked these same questions and put great thought into the subject. There is no need to try to reinvent the wheel, so to speak; after all, “I think therefore I am” is a hard act to follow. Instead, let us pick off where some of the greatest philosophers have left off and attempt to gain a greater insight, and perhaps answer the age-old question: Who am I?
As mentioned before, philosophy is unique when compared to most other fields of science, such as chemistry or geometry. More often than not, it is very difficult to prove that a theory or idea is right or wrong. In geometry, one can test whether or not a formula or theorem is correct. On the other hand, in philosophy, how would have Socrates been able to prove that the human soul is, in fact, unextended and immaterial? Would he be able to disprove, instead, the common belief that the soul is composed of “fine matter” and expelled from the body upon death? It is likely that they will be unable to do this even in another thousand years from now, let alone over two thousands years ago.
It is very unlikely that anything philosophical will be able to be proven using similar methods that are effective in other fields of science. So then how does one accomplish anything in philosophy if nobody can be wrong and when you don’t even know if your theories are right?
The process for testing a hypothesis, such as physical research and controlled experiments, used in other science fields would prove useless in philosophy. There are (generally) no physical aspects in philosophy that you could test. However the concept of this testing still proves useful, as the basis that all sciences use when testing is simply logic.
Surely, we cannot set up an experiment in a laboratory to prove that “fine matter” is nonexistent, that there is in fact an immortal, unextended soul, and that it continues on our existence after our death. This does not mean that the two opposing theories cannot still be explored and compared with one...