Rene. When I think of my body, I think of something that has bulk, but which does not think. When I think of my mind, I think of something that thinks, but which cannot have bulk. From this we can plainly see that the soul is immortal!
Thalia. Well, when I think of the body, I think of it containing an organ that thinks, thereby making the mind. When the body dies, the mind stops and ceases to exist. So the soul ain't immortal.
Rene's argument is:
I think of my body as something that has bulk, but which does not think.
I think of my mind as something that thinks, but which cannot have bulk.
The soul is immortal.
(deductive - direct argument.)
This one should be pretty easy to figure out. Rene Descartes actually used this argument in the first edition of his Meditations, which he originally
subtitled wherein the immortality of the soul is demonstrated. He removed the subtitle from
later editions after someone pointed out that he had not even mentioned the immortality of the soul in his entire book. This suggests that Descartes thought that proving that the mind and body were totally separate would amount to proving that the soul is immortal. (Actually, he didn't even prove that the mind and body are separate,
but that's another class.)
The question to ask here is, could the premises be true even if the conclusion is false? Well, duh, of course they could! So Rene's argument is deductively invalid.
Here is an loosely
I think of football players as slow-witted, over-muscled dimwits.
I think of musicians as quick-witted, under-developed weaklings.
No football player can be a musician.
Fist of Death
Based on this little dialog, the soul is not immortal. As Thalia points out, if the body makes the mind, then the death of the body is the death of the mind. Since Rene seems to equate the mind to the soul, mind-death is soul-death too. Since nothing we know about in the universe (except maybe protons) is immortal, we're going to need a whopping good argument to support the idea that the soul is immortal. Rene just gives us the contents of his imagination, which doesn't cut it.
How somebody thinks about something says absolutely nothing about what that thing is actually like. Just because somebody thinks of the body as unthinking and the mind as occupying no space doesn't mean anything about the real properties of body or mind. Because the premises are totally irrelevant to the conclusion, I'm calling this a red herring fallacy.
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