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Grand Theories and Everyday BeliefsScience, Philosophy, and their Histories$
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Wallace Matson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199812691

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812691.001.0001

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Beliefs About Believers

Beliefs About Believers

Chapter:
(p.124) Chapter 16 Beliefs About Believers
Source:
Grand Theories and Everyday Beliefs
Author(s):

Wallace Matson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812691.003.0016

In antiquity conceptions of the soul-what plus a body makes a person- varied greatly. Most included some kind of immortality. Pythagoras initiated the theory of a soul migrating between bodies of different animals and even vegetables. Anaxagoras made Mind (Nous), the faculty of discerning and imposing order on things, into the cosmic force. However, Aristotle rightly transferred soul from the category of Substance (Thing) to those of Action and Passion (Functions). The soul is the Form of the Body The Atomists postulated special soul atoms, lighter and more mobile than others. At death the combinations disperse. Alone among ancient soul theories, Aristotle's, being based on observations (low beliefs), and getting the ontology right (action-passion), may claim scientific status. It was Plato's, however, which survived into Christian thought, being the principal Greek contribution to Christian theology.

Keywords:   metempsychosis, immortality, Nous, mind, ontology, theology, matter/form

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