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Critically Asses Dawkin's View of the Soul Essay

  • Submitted by: raggedychin
  • on February 26, 2014
  • Category: Miscellaneous
  • Length: 1,592 words

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Below is an essay on "Critically Asses Dawkin's View of the Soul" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

The biological materialist Richard Dawkins has two views of the ‘soul'. Some of the problems which are raised by his definition surround his scientific prejudices and his hard materialism which is best described as a form of reductionism. His views will be demonstrated to be unfounded and difficult to defend.

Dawkins, as an evolutionary biologist, is looking for a physical explanation for the universe and life in general. He uses the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) definitions as his starting point for his view of the ‘soul'. He describes ‘soul one' (his first view of the soul) as the "non-physical vital principle", "animated by some anima. Vitalized by a vital force. Energized by some mysterious energy. Spiritualized by some mysterious spirit" or as Julian Huxley described it: a form of vitalism, the "force-locomotif" of the body. His view is the science has either killed the soul or is in the process of killing it. He suggests that this view of ‘soul one' is circular and non-productive. Using Pinker he backs up his view suggesting that the body is not animated by a godly vapour or single wonder principle.

The difficulty with holding this view is that this idea of the soul is not an entirely fair one. He appears to want to miscategorise this ‘essence' as some mysterious substance. Firstly he uses the OED and not the philosophical encyclopaedia for his definition which lack technical accuracy. This undermines the credibility of his starting assumption. Secondly Dawkins' view of the world is limited a priori. He cannot fathom that anything non-physical or inexplicable by the scientific narrative could ever exist. This scientific prejudice leads him (and Pinker with him) to dismiss ‘soul one' out of hand as it does not fit with his hard materialism. Whilst there may be some credence to his belief that ‘soul one' is incorrect he has not provided adequate grounds to dismiss it philosophically. His claim that ‘soul one' is circular and non productive arises in...

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Critically Asses Dawkin's View of the Soul. Anti Essays. Retrieved December 16, 2018, from the World Wide Web: http://parimatchstavki7.com/free-essays/Critically-Asses-Dawkin-s-View-Of-The-586916.html