The Self, the Soul and the Psychology of Good and Evil by Ilham Dilman

By Ilham Dilman

The way in which an individual's psychology is intertwined with their morality is the topic of this attention-grabbing publication from the pen of the overdue Ilham Dilman. Dilman convincingly argues that evil, notwithstanding it can't be decreased to mental phrases (it is an ethical thought) is explicable by way of a person person's psychology. Goodness, in contrast, comes from the individual and never their psychology. Philosophers internationally probably want to learn this booklet and spot how Dilman skilfully defends his arguments.

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Example text

That is why we cannot detach the mind, or the soul, from the body, or from the kind of life we live in earthly surroundings. That is why we cannot conceive a disembodied soul and when we think of an afterlife or the destiny of the soul after death – namely the stories of an afterlife at the end of the Gorgias and the Phaedo – we cannot think of them except as embodied and in earthly surroundings: rivers, fires, etc. We cannot tell such stories in any other way. The fact that they are meant to take place in an afterlife, that is after death, does not make them senseless, if we know how to read them.

Basic to most of it is learning to speak, the mastery of language. Without it very little of the world in which a linguistic community like ours lives would be open to a person growing up in it. As a result his personality would remain stunted; what he can be would be limited to that of a child who has not yet learned to speak. He may surpass that to some extent on account of special sensitivities and capacities for native understanding that he has, but even then he would still be very severely limited.

The answer to this last question is No. In the culture in which we grow up we find ourselves; we cannot find ourselves in a vacuum, as Roquentin in Sartre’s novel La Nausée thought he could (see Dilman 1993, Ch. 4). The environment in which we live, the situations to which we respond, are shot through with significances which belong to our culture. Our emotions are formed in our growing awareness of those significances which enter into the very identity of their object. The relationships and activities in which we engage and in which engagements we learn or fail to learn to be ourselves are what they are in the culture to which we belong.

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