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The Evolution of the Soul 1982–1984

Richard G. Swinburne

Summary

Table of Contents

Abstract

Swinburne’s series of Gifford Lectures provide a philosophical account of the nature of the human person as an underpinning to a Christian understanding of the nature of the soul. The first part focuses on central themes in the philosophy of mind. In examining the data of sensations and their relation to brain events, thoughts, purposes, desires and beliefs, he builds up an argument for what he terms ‘soft dualism’, which he takes to be a satisfactory alternative to the untenable positions of either hard dualism and materialism. The next part of his lecture series continues to defend in more detail his substance dualism, its relation to his account of man as union of soul and body and the nature of personal identity. The third part describes the essential features of the human person, examining the significance of language and rationality, moral awareness and freedom of the will. Swinburne then examines the structure of the soul and its capacity for change as well as conditions of identity. He concludes by suggesting the light that Christian theism sheds on his account of the human person.
KEY WORDS: Aquinas, Aristotle, Belief, Body, Choice, Desires, Dualism, Free will, Immortality, Materialism, Morality, Natural selection, Personal identity, Purposes, Soul

Publication Data

OnlineOxford University Press1997
OriginalOxford University Press1986
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Templeton Press