An Argument for Pre-Existence By Steven

In the previous post we touched on the death of immortals and took a look at one reason to think we survive the death of our bodies, a reason that can serve as a philosophical foundation not only for the belief that there is an after-life of some sort or other, but also for speculation about what an after-life might be like.

The idea was that individuals qua individuals are not made up of any parts, and so the death of something which is made up of parts — such as a body — is not the death of an individual.

The argument was inspired by Proclus, who in proposition 15 of The Elements of Theology argued that anything capable of self-reversion is immaterial and without parts. Because my concern was only with whether or not we survive the death of our bodies and I wanted the argument to be pithy, I did not include many of Proclus’ other thoughts and arguments on the matter. For example, Proclus doesn’t just argue that we are without parts, but also that we do not inhere within any substrate. This allows him to argue not only that we cannot die by the separation of parts, but that we cannot die by being severed from any substrate.