Summary Of Clarence Darrow's The Myth Of The Soul

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The question of immortality has plagued the minds of philosophers for millennia. Posited by many, Socrates among them, is the soul criterion, which asserts the soul constitutes personal identity, and lives on after death. In The Myth of the Soul, Clarence Darrow rejects that the soul exists in his case against the idea that humans can somehow survive physical death and live on in an afterlife. His primary argument against the soul is that there is no evidence for how a soul enters a body, or when and where its beginning might occur. (Darrow 43) After first explicating the details of Darrow's argument, I will present what I believe is its greatest shortcoming, vagueness surrounding the term soul, and explain why this weakness highly impacts…show more content…
He does not explain where the idea that the soul must be planted inside the body comes from. Would the soul not, were it similar to identity, memory or consciousness, grow with the body and develop over time? Indeed, it would be “idle” to think of fully formed souls inhabiting every single cell, and creating an almost infinite population. (43) However, the soul would not be fully formed, if anything like identity, memory or consciousness, and would mature alongside the body. Darrow does not debate the existence of these three concepts, or think they hover outside of the body. He does not argue that the initial cells, also lacking memory, consciousness or identity, cannot produce a human who does have these properties. Humans are not born with memories, they gather them over a lifetime. Consciousness increases immensely with age, as does a distinct identity that marks one individual apart from every other individual. These properties arrive after conception, and are dynamic and cumulative. It makes little sense to see the soul as tied to these notions, yet unable to develop and evolve as they

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