Are We Bodies or Souls?: Revised edition

Are We Bodies or Souls?

Revised edition
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Date of Publication:
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Product details:

No. of pages:208 pages
Size:216x135x15 mm
Weight:214 g
Short description:

What makes us human? Richard Swinburne presents new philosophical arguments, supported by modern neuroscience, for the view that we are immaterial souls sustained in existence by our brains.

Long description:
What are humans? What makes us who we are?

Many think that we are just complicated machines, or animals that are different from machines only by being conscious. In Are We Bodies or Souls? Richard Swinburne comes to the defence of the soul and presents new philosophical arguments that are supported by modern neuroscience. When scientific advances enable neuroscientists to transplant a part of brain into a new body, he reasons, no matter how much we can find out about their brain activity or conscious experiences we will never know whether the resulting person is the same as before or somebody entirely new. Swinburne thus argues that we are immaterial souls sustained in existence by our brains. Sensations, thoughts, and intentions are conscious events in our souls that cause events in our brains. While scientists might discover some of the laws of nature that determine conscious events and brain events, each person's soul is an individual thing and this is what ultimately makes us who we are.

Review from previous edition Richard Swinburne is a dualist of long standing, in the tradition of Descartes, and in this book he offers a comprehensive exposition and defense of the position, which makes its philosophical motivation clear. Even those who are not persuaded can be grateful to Swinburne for explaining the distinctive appeal of this significant view . . . If Swinburne is right, we know who we are. If he is wrong, his arguments show that our natural sense of ourselves includes a large dose of stubborn illusion.
Table of Contents:
Physicalism and Property Dualism
Theories of Personal Identity
Descartes's Argument for the Soul
We know who we are
Souls and bodies interact
Could science explain souls?
Guide to Further Reading