Monday, November 21, 2022

Corruptionism and care about the soul

According to Catholic corruptionists, when I die, my soul will continue to exist, but I won’t; then at the Resurrection, I will come back into existence, receiving my soul back. In the interim, however, it is my soul, not I, who will enjoy heaven, struggle in purgatory or suffer in hell.

Of course, for any thing that enjoys heaven, strugges in purgatory or suffers in hell, I should care that it does so. But should I have that kind of special care that we have about things that happen to ourselves for what happens to the soul? I say not, or at most slightly. For suppose that it turned out on the correct metaphysics that my matter continues to exist after death. Should I care whether it burns, decays, or is dissected, with that special care with which we care about what happens to ourselves? Surely not, or at most slightly. Why not? Because the matter won’t be a part of me when this happens. (The “at most slightly” flags the fact that we can care about “dignitary harms”, such as nobody showing up at our funeral, or us being defamed, etc.)

But clearly heaven, purgatory and hell in the interim state is something we should care about.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Isn't the reason that you wouldn't care what happens to your body after you die is not just that it's not a part of you when it happens but also that the part of you that would normally feel the pain (if you were burned/decayed/dissected) doesn't.

With the soul you (run with me for a little on this) would suffer/struggle/enjoy the afterlife. Now obviously you on curroptionism wouldn't suffer/struggle/enjoy but the part of you that normally would feel the pain does. And so the special care may still be applied under curroptionism.

Alexander R Pruss said...

First, the soul isn't the part of me that normally feels pain. The soul is the part of me by virtue of which *I* feel pain. When I feel pain, there is only one thing that feels pain--me, not me and my soul.

Second, imagine that materialism is true, and the pain center of your brain is removed from your head and put in a vat. Then that pain center is stimulated. Should you specially care? Not at all! It's formerly your pain center--it was that by which you feel pain--but it's not connected in the right way to the whole, so what happens to it is irrelevant. Or suppose that we have a version of materialism on which during a cerebrum transplant you stay with the cerebrumless body (e.g., some versions of animalism). Your cerebrum is removed and pain-stimulated in a vat. In terms of special care, this is surely irrelevant.