What Does It All Mean? Essay

794 Words Dec 11th, 2015 4 Pages
Death and the afterlife has long been a debate in history and philosophy. In his book “What does it all mean?”, Nagel focused a chapter on discussing whether the afterlife might or might not exist. Famous philosopher Socrates also explained his belief in the afterlife in Plato’s “Phaedo”. While sharing some of the ideas, the two thinkers have different arguments and stances on the issue. This paper aims to compare the two philosopher’s argument, and provide an argument towards the question of whether the afterlife exists.
In his book, Nagel did not specifically argue for whether the afterlife exists or not. Instead, he thought the answer depends on whether dualism of mind and body is true or not. If dualism is true, then the soul exists, and there must be a place for the soul to go. At the same time, he argued the soul could be dependent on the survival of its body, and even with duality, the soul may dissipate as the person dies. If dualism is not true, then the soul is a construct or phenomenon of the physical body, and without the body, the “soul” would not be able to exist. He did not choose a stance.
Socrates in Phaedo discussed in great length about his belief in the afterlife. He offered mainly three arguments supporting his view. He argued since life is cyclical, and the living comes from the dead, and since the soul is the bringer of life, it has to come from the realm of the dead in order to harbor life. When life ends, the soul should return to the realm of death.…

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