Saturday, February 25, 2012

the dead shall be raised incorrputible: Locke's theory of the soul (SEP entry and NDPR review)

The neo-Lockean theory sketched so far—somewhat simpler than Parfit’s official view—is admirably suited, as Locke hoped, to securing survival on the other side. To bring you back from death, God does not need to give you an immaterial soul or go to the bother of collecting the atoms that composed your body when you drew your last breath...

Granted neo-Lockeanism, all God has to do is ensure that your psychological life continues on in a non-branching way. That could be accomplished by a divine form of teleportation, perhaps in the process replacing your clapped-out body with a new and improved model. “The dead shall be raised incorruptible,” as the Apostle Paul says.  
The above is from the fascinating article written by Alex Byrne, "Cheating Death" (link HERE), which, although largely denying the afterlife, has prompted me to look up how John Locke saw the soul given his view that immateriality is not needed for "the great ends of religion," and so materialism may be true, yet true as well may be something like the soul, the resurrection of the dead, and the afterlife too - thus the view that materialism does not require (though it is not inconsistent with) the immateriality of the soul.   (As a note, I have also been looking at Democritus' notion of a material soul and how that is different from the Lockean theory.)

I also found an NDPR book review, John Locke and Personal Identity: Immortality and Bodily Resurrection in 17th-Century Philosophy and a terse but very good SEP entry on The Immateriality of the Soul that explains Locke's view.

This all prompted, of course, by my ongoing interest in matter and life; materialism and idealism, panpsychism, self-powering matter, the notion of what a soul might be.