Friday, June 24, 2011

James Chastek, Notions of the Soul

The first real account we get of what the soul is – which is still firmly materialistic – is that the soul is some arrangement of parts which, of themselves, are not living. The Greeks called this the theory that the soul was a harmony, and it is still the simplest theory of the soul (though we would probably dump “harmony” in favor of something more scienecy- sounding). The theory is continually abandoned for various reasons, the simplest being that arrangement is a feature of position or place, but if all one does is change the position or place of something, it doesn’t cease to be what it is. If all there was to being alive was arrangement, then death wouldn’t change what a thing was – which would mean that a cow doesn’t cease to be a cow when it dies.

How does "arrangement" differ from the contemporary concept of "organization"?

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