sâmbătă, 11 august 2012

Knowing that We Have a Body and a Soul


According to some philosophers (Descartes, Spinoza, Condillac), we do not know that we have a body until we feel the affections exercised over it. It can be specified, until we have the experience of bad affections such as pain and illness. Because the favorable affections are equated in the conscience of the patient and in the common knowledge with well states as such. [Who could easily classify his love affairs in terms of bodily processes?]

The same explanation is available for the supposed knowledge of the fact we have a soul. Even the first occurrences of the term “soul” in Greek language (psyche) are in the context of two states of distress: pain and death.

In both cases, the precise knowledge is the result of some speech acts by which we signalize particular states of distress and not exactly the notions of body and soul.

Obviously, the speech acts are meant to be fitted to the understanding of the linguistic community and, therefore, they presupposed a former knowledge of the distinction between bodily and soul affection, as well as a sort of acquaintance with the use of the notions of soul and body.

When we speak loud about our pains, we expect from others some relief. But it is doubtful that the primary and imperfect knowledge of the distinction between soul and body has the same positive meaning.

In fact, such primary knowledge takes place rather in situations when the individual meets a repulsive attitude from others, even it is well intended. For instance, we are learned about body for taking care for it, as if the body would be accused for its natural condition. Likely, we are learned about soul in moral contexts, as if the soul would be something that has to obey outer principles.

As a result, the speech acts by which we express our bodily and spiritual pains involve a sense of guilty for the fact that we have a body or a soul.  Also, we are prone to expect from others not only relieves, but also to learn us further about the fact that we have such dual nature. One who could relieve the pain that makes us to know that we have a soul is supposed to know better what soul means. Though we are not explicitly learned about the notion of soul, our confessor will straighten the former knowledge of soul as something that has to follow moral and behavioral constrains. As well as the physicians amplified the knowledge of body as something for which we have to be worry.

Therefore, it is hard to believe that there is a personal knowledge of soul and body and one that can express our natural satisfaction with our physical and psychological existence.