Lucretius' Soul Theory Essay

Lucretius' Soul Theory Essay

Length: 1210 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In his only extant work, the poem De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things), Epicurean author Titus Lucretius Carus writes of the soul as being inseparable from the corporeal body. This view, although controversial in its opposition to the traditional concept of a discrete, immortal soul, is nevertheless more than a mere novelty. The argument that Lucretius makes for the soul being an emergent property of interactions between physical particles is in fact more compelling and well-supported now than Lucretius himself would have ever imagined.
Lucretius begins his argument by noting that the mind, far from being separate from the affairs of the body, has been observed to be directly affected by physical forces. He states that “the nature of mind and spirit is bodily; for when it is seen to drive forward the limbs, to arouse the body from sleep, to guide and steer the whole man, and we see that none of these things can be done without touch, and further that there is no touch without body, must we not confess that the mind and spirit have a bodily nature?” (161). This observation is indeed borne out in everyday life – barring the dubious claims of psychics and mystics, the soul and mind have demonstrated no way of interacting with their surroundings or inflicting their will upon the world without some form of corporeal interaction. Even in the “intangible” arts, mouths are required for oration, hands are required for writing poetry, and limbs are required for dance. Even the most basic passive perception requires eyes for seeing, ears for hearing, or skin for feeling. A soul without these faculties would be completely powerless, and the existence of such a soul would therefore be entirely without purpose. Such a soul Lucretius late...

... middle of paper ...

... This statement has been tested experimentally by surgeons and executioners a million times over, with the same result – a man deprived of his foot may yet live, but a man deprived of his head will inevitably die. “Since even in our body, there is seen to be a fixed rule and ordinance in what place mind and spirit may exist and grow apart, so much the more must we deny that they can endure and be produced wholly outside the body” (784). Indeed we must, as no evidence to the contrary can be found – a mind external to a body has yet to be observed, and the spontaneous infusion of life into that which lies lifeless is a theory of generation that has long been discredited at the hands of Louis Pasteur.

Works Cited
M. Macmillan (2008) "Phineas Gage – Unravelling the myth," The Psychologist (British
Psychological Society), 21(9): 828-831.
Lucretius. "De Rerum Natura".

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Lucretius' Writing on the Fear of Death

- At the most basic level of subconscious thought, every living animal possesses a desire to stay alive. Usually, this instinct lays dormant, although in dire situations, we can be led to do unexpected things. In addition to this subconscious drive, there is a socially constructed motivation for fearing death. Thanks to the pervasive nature of religion throughout history, much of humanity has, at some point or another, feared the prospect of eternal damnation and torture during one’s life after death....   [tags: Philosophy]

Strong Essays
1129 words (3.2 pages)

The Tragedy Of Titus Lucretius Was A Roman Poet And A Philosopher Essay

- Titus Lucretius Carus was a roman poet and a philosopher. He was born in 99B.C. and died 55B.C. As a philosopher he was very well known for his work on Epicureanism, or as we refer to it today, The Nature of Things. After reading his work, I believe that the source of religious belief is born within the fundamental nature of man and religious teaching embodies a deep concern shared by philosophy, for us as humans to possess knowledge of our world as a whole. No politics or laws will keep man from believing what they want, and we will always have a longing for political rule or higher power....   [tags: Religion, Human, Universe, Lucretius]

Strong Essays
1247 words (3.6 pages)

Essay about Comparing Lucretius And Marcus Aurelius

- Lucretius and Marcus Aurelius, have both similar and different views on the role that death plays in life and philosophy. They both believe our fear is due in some part to the uncertainty that surrounds the process of death. However, both philosophers have dissimilar approaches on why we shouldn’t fear the unknown concept of death. Drawing from these reasons and explanations, they arrive at the way this fear affects our lives and what we should do to change it. Both Lucretius and Marcus Aurelius think we fear death because of some different, yet also similar factors....   [tags: Soul, Life, Fear, Universe]

Strong Essays
1625 words (4.6 pages)

Aristotle 's Theory Of The Soul Essay

- Aristotle’s Theory of The Soul as the Concept of The Self One of the biggest questions throughout all of philosophy is what is the self. There have been different definitions and meanings across history, one being that it is the distinguishing mark of living things, as something that is the subject of emotional states and that is responsible for planning and practical thinking, and also as the bearer of such virtues as courage and justice (Lorenz, lines 9-10). We as humans may never contrive a valid answer to this question until we ourselves reach the point where our own individual souls are faced with the end of its life....   [tags: Soul, Mind, Life, Logic]

Strong Essays
1214 words (3.5 pages)

Plato 's Theory Of The Soul Essay

- In book 4 of the Republic, Plato establishes, through the voice of Socrates, his theory of the soul and how it encourages a person to act in a just manner as a just person will always be better off. Plato contests that there are at least three clearly defined and separate parts of the soul. The three parts consist of desire, reason, and spirit. Each of these aspects of the souls has a function and a virtue, and it is when theses three parts act in harmony that a person behaves in a just manner. This assertion is in response to Glaucon, who claims that acting justly is only to one’s benefit if one is recognized for one’s just actions, and therefore there is no inherent value to the individual...   [tags: Soul, Plato, Ethics, Morality]

Strong Essays
1845 words (5.3 pages)

Essay about Personal Identity, The Soul Theory, And The Memory Theory

- Personal identity, in the context of philosophy, does not attempt to address clichéd, qualitative questions of what makes us us. Instead, personal identity refers to numerical identity or sameness over time. For example, identical twins appear to be exactly alike, but their qualitative likeness in appearance does not make them the same person; each twin, instead, has one and only one identity – a numerical identity. As such, philosophers studying personal identity focus on questions of what has to persist for an individual to keep his or her numerical identity over time and of what the pronoun “I” refers to when an individual uses it....   [tags: Psychology, Soul, Mind, Identity]

Strong Essays
1153 words (3.3 pages)

Plato 's Theory Of Self As A Manifestation Of The Soul And Body Essay examples

- One of the most profound scholars of all time, Plato, envisaged to have commenced his thoughts on Self from Socrates’ ideological doctrines on the concept of immortality. In the earlier writings of Socrates, Plato presents his well knitted conviction towards immortality of soul and gods with judicious words, judgmental and extremely thoughtful ideas. Aristotle’s concept of soul and self contradicts theory of Plato vindicating that soul does not have separate existence of its own. The essay is a theoretical understanding on what makes Aristotle’s theory of self as a manifestation of the soul and body as against Plato’s theory of the soul as a distinct identity which needs more consideration,...   [tags: Soul, Mind, Avicenna, Thought]

Strong Essays
1175 words (3.4 pages)

Bhagavad Gita: The Theory of Soul vs. the Body Essay

- Imagine yourself walking past a homeless man. His hopeless eyes catch yours while he asks, “can you spare (should be spare) some loose change, please look to your soul.” If you were to look deep into a mirror past the exterior fixtures of the face and see into the inner sanctum: what would you find. Why do people reference the soul before the actions of the body, and why do we associate the soul to a higher state of harmony. In the short novel Bhagavad Gita, Krishna, the Vrishni prince believes that the only way to ultimate harmony is to reject the body, including the brain and embrace the soul....   [tags: harmony, body, soul, mind]

Strong Essays
1282 words (3.7 pages)

Aristotle 's Theory Of The Soul Essay

- Aristotle claims that plants are unable to share the higher Sensation Soul with animals. This is the claim Aristotle makes when stating, “Of the soul’s power mentioned above, namely, those of nutrition, desire, sensation, locomotion, and thinking, some living things possess all, as we said, others some, and others only one.” In this concept we see Aristotle building his idea on the way living things are separated and how the functions of the soul are arranged. The nested order appears to be a functional formula at first, however, we begin to see problems with the order when an organism does not follow a norm and must be in one level of the nest that it may not necessarily fit....   [tags: Soul, Life, Mind, Avicenna]

Strong Essays
772 words (2.2 pages)

Enslaving Nature of Love Exposed in Lucretius Essay

- Enslaving Nature of Love Exposed in Lucretius In Dryden's Lucretius, the speaker argues that (1) Love is a sickness, (2) Love's sickness enslaves, and (3) all attempts to remedy Love's sickness are vain and will only frustrate the lover. Just as Milton's Adam and Eve become enslaved to sin by disobeying God, so mankind becomes enslaved to Love when pierced with Cupid's "winged arrow". In Milton, there is redemption and freedom through Christ, but in Dryden, no salvation from love is possible....   [tags: Lucretius Essays]

Strong Essays
822 words (2.3 pages)