What is monism?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Monism is a philosophical worldview in which all of reality can be reduced to one "thing" or "substance." This view is opposed to dualism (in which all of reality is reducible to two substances, e....

July 01 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini James R
Monism, in the sense of a model to explain the nature of man, sets itself apart from classic Platonic dualism. Dualism would see man as having a material and immaterial component, and that the immaterial (soul) was pure and untainted whereas the material (body) was to be regarded as base or ignoble. The reason Socrates drank the hemlock without fear was his belief that his impending death would release his immaterial soul to heights of ecstasy in heavenly realms that it could never enjoy 'trapped' in a material body.

Monism (strictly speaking, non-reductionist monism) states that man is a single entity, indivisible with the mind and immaterial functions being the product of natural neurological activity. The monist sees no separate part of man that can exist independently of the body. This is supported by a large swathe of research into the mind-body problem. Attributing substance to the mind becomes very difficult to argue logically, and scientific analysis would back this.

The bible is broadly consistent in viewing man as a multi-faceted, complex unity, but words and the vocabulary used to describe man can steer our thinking into compartmentalising this unity. These compartments of body, mind, flesh, spirit, heart, soul etc are simply ways of explaining a dimension of man. They are no more separable than a face from a cut jewel is separable from the entire thing.

It would appear that Jesus did not think in dualistic terms either. If he viewed death as Socrates did, he would have welcomed it rather than been in such anguish in anticipation of what was to come Luke 22:44, Heb 5:7. 

Monism is more closely associated with the Hebraic worldview, with their understanding that God is one, and man has no element that survives death.

October 17 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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