Humanity In Clarence Darrow's 'The Myth Of The Soul'
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In response to the long-standing philosophical question of immorality, many philosophers have posited the soul criterion, which asserts the soul constitutes personal identity and survives physical death. In The Myth of the Soul, Clarence Darrow rejects the existence of the soul in his case against the notion of immortality and an afterlife. His primary argument against the soul criterion is that no good explanation exists for how a soul enters a body, or when its beginning might occur. (Darrow 43) After first explicating Darrow 's view, I will present what I believe is its greatest shortcoming, an inconsistent use of the term soul, and argue that this weakness impacts the overall strength of his argument. Darrow insists that, if existing, the soul, which he explains is often thought of as synonymous with identity, consciousness or memory, would have to appear sometime during a person 's conception. Conception begins with one cell which, when fertilized by another cell, will divide and multiply and eventually lead to a person 's birth. (42) We cannot reasonably say, claims Darrow, that the original cell has a soul. This would entail that all cells of this type from both mother and father, the majority of which never mature into persons, have souls too. The implication of this is is problematic, as there would be an almost infinite population of bodiless souls, and the immortality of reproductive cells provides insufficient reason to believe in life after death. Darrow