Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Am I Essentially Material, an Animal, a Human?

Here is an inconsistent set of propositions:

1. I am essentially human.
2. Humans are animals essentially.
3. Animals are essentially material.
4. I can exist immaterially with no material parts.

One could deny 1.  Perhaps to be a human just is to be a (rational) animal.  I can survive death and exist immaterially, but since animals are essentially material I would not be an animal and thus not a human.

One could deny 2.  Perhaps I am essentially a human, but one can exist with no material parts and still be a human, since animality is merely a stage in a human life.  Or perhaps I'm never an animal.

One could deny 3.  Perhaps I am essentially a human and humans are essentially animals.  However since I can survive the death of my body, an animal (me) can exist with no material parts.

One could deny 4: Perhaps I am essentially material and cannot exist with no material parts.

My inclination is to deny 2 or 3, leaning towards a denial of 3.  It could be that all humans must begin to exist having a material part but can exist immaterially.  But it could be true that humans are essentially immaterial, in which case one should reject 2.

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