Do We Have Souls?


On the question of \'Do we have souls\' and \'Can they survive after death\',
this writer will attempt a reasoned explanation and defense of my views to this
philosophical question. After careful explanation of my own views , thoughts,
and careful examination of the selected materials for this paper; I have come to
this conclusion: unlike the problem of free will, the question of human beings
having souls and their survival after the physical body is deceased, is not an
easily argued topic. The problem of free will [as an example] can be more
rationally discussed and analyzed through tangible means such as patterned and
learned behavior and its like, but in dealing with the question of souls and in
accepting their existence, it is an intangible thing which cannot be proved or
disproved [at least as long as the physical body is existing]. This writer
believe that a discussion , no matter how seemingly rational or even irrational
is purely speculation and can have no real physical proof of that existence. Of
the read philosophers on this topic, all are speculatory in their attempt to
prove, disprove, or even clarify their position of the topic in question. This
writer will first contribute his own speculation and proceed to explore the
selected philosophers material on this subject. Though it first must be said
that most of the read material is or seems to be question-begging and therefore
leads only to more questions from myself.
The question of having souls and their existence after the physical body is
deceased has always been on men\'s minds. From the first beginnings of written
history from the Ancient Near Eastern civilizations [Egyptians, Mesopotamian] ,
men [people] have always regarded the afterlife and the question of souls. It
was not given much philosophical thought until the ancient Greek sophists, in
the decline of their city-states that this topic was explored, but not only
explored but started to gather acceptance among the people. Again, only when
\'physical\' life was becoming less cherished due to the decline and unhappiness
with their earthly surroundings. Though the Hebrew people spoke and thought of
an afterlife for their spirit, it was really not until widespread Christianity
came about, and again this was at the time of decline of the Roman Empire. My
initial point being that the idea of souls and their existence seemed to grow
stronger at times of great depression or strife [much like when people pray to
God when they only need something]. It was then that faith and hope for a better
life after this one was at its greatest. Thus the emergence of the powerful
religions such as Christianity and Islam, who base their teachings of faith on
the fact [or non-fact] that there is a better life after this one, but to get
there "you must join us and participate within our rules and propagate our faith
that we give you". This is called conditional immortality [A.E. Taylor, p.601].
The ability to believe one has a soul and its existence after the physical
body dies is not only for the participants in organized religion. I believe that
the human body and mind work together over a lifetime to develop what I will
myself call a soul or spirit, and with the advent of this soul - a place for it
to exist without the physical body. I feel that the real close-minded thinking
comes from the thought that life [in any sense] is over at the time of physical
death, just as it may be close-minded to think that we are existing alone in the
vast cosmos. I will concede that with our earthly rational thought that it is
difficult to rationalize an existence after this one, so I am able to understand
why some people believe that when the physical life is over, it truly is over.
To give an analogy on how I believe the soul is developed: the development
of the soul is like the programming of a computer it is fed all the various
information and it is that information when it is in the computer that it
defines itself by using the definitive information it has been given for the
greater purpose of its ultimate use. The soul [I believe] is the culmination of
learned information that is developed through the course of the physical
existence, using its resources together [mind and body] to define itself for a
greater purpose, which may very well be the afterlife of a soul. It is those
defining