Theories on the Structure of Human Nature== ..
Photo provided by Flickr
soul is the aspects of human nature that we have ..
Epicurus is an atomist, and in accordance with his atomism he takesthe soul, like everything else that there is except for the void, tobe ultimately composed of atoms. Our sources are somewhat unclear asto exactly which kinds of materials he took to be involved in thecomposition of soul. It is very probable, though, that in addition tosome relatively familiar materials — such as fire-like andwind-like stuffs, or rather the atoms making up such stuffs —the soul, on Epicurus' view, also includes, in fact as a keyingredient, atoms of a nameless kind of substance, which isresponsible for sense-perception. Thus it seems that while he thoughthe could explain phenomena such as the heat or warmth of a livingorganism, as well as its movement and rest, by appealing to relativelyfamiliar materials and their relatively familiar properties, he didfeel the need to introduce a mysterious additional kind of substanceso as to be able to explain sense-perception, apparently on thegrounds that “sense-perception is found in none of the namedelements” (L&S 14C). It is worth noting that it isspecifically with regard to sense-perception that Epicurus thinks theintroduction of a further, nameless kind of substance is called for,rather than, for instance, with regard to intellectual cognition. Whatthis suggests, and what in fact we have independent reason to think,is that on Epicurus' view, once one is in a position adequately toexplain sense-perception, one will then also be in a position to workout an explanation of intellectual cognition, by appropriatelyextending the explanation of sense-perception. Let us consider brieflyhow such extension might work.
THE NATURE OF SOUL: ISLAMIC AND SCIENTIFIC VIEWS
Moreover, sense-impressions, interpreted and articulated in terms ofconcepts or preconceptions, yield experience concerning evidentmatters, which in turn forms the basis for conclusions aboutnon-evident matters. For example, extensive experience can make clearto one not only that the human beings one has interacted with have acertain feature (say, rationality), but also (later Epicureans willsay, probably somewhat developing Epicurus' position) that it isinconceivable that any human being could fail to have that feature(cf. L&S 18F4-5). And so, experience will not only make oneexpect, with a very great deal of confidence, that any human being onewill ever encounter anywhere will be rational. Experience also,according to the Epicureans, supports the inference to, and hencejustifies one in accepting, the (non-evident) conclusion that allhuman beings, everywhere and at all times, are rational (for detaileddiscussion, cf. Allen 2001, 194-241). This obviously is an extremelygenerous view of what experience, and ultimately sense-perception, cando! Once we recognize the enormously powerful and fundamental roleEpicurus and his followers assign to sense-perception, we will not besurprised to see that they feel the need to include in the compositionof the soul a very special kind of material that accounts specificallyfor sense-perception, but apparently do not think that, in addition tothat, some further special material is needed to enable intellectualor rational activity.
Photo provided by Flickr
Plato: The Republic 1-4 - Philosophy Pages
Perhaps our best alternative, Socrates held, is to suppose that virtue is a (divinely bestowed?) true opinion that merely happens to lack the sort of rational justification which would earn it the status of certain knowledge.