Human Beings have long debated the existence of a soul. What are we? What makes us who we are? These questions hinge on the definition of our essence as a quality of identification. Differing theories have been offered to explain our essence with varying degrees of validity. One must consider the general theory of essence and re-identification before examining the other theories.
Understanding our essence is extremely important because it helps us identify different people and people to identify us. Without an essence, you would not be able to tell one person apart from another. Essence is extremely important as it relates to situations of survival, life support and abortion, and re-identification. Why do we make the decisions that we do about a certain family member that we would not make about a stranger? Our sense of an essence enables us to differentiate groups of people by allowing us to identify them based on characteristics unique to them, their essence. We make life or death decisions based on individual beliefs of what an essence is. Essence is so important that you must accept it as essential to everyone that exists. If you did not, how could you tell one person from another, etc. .
Assuming that essence is essential to all human beings, different interpretations of what essence is provide different answers to the questions posed above. The three main theories are the Soul Theory, Psychological Theory, and the Animalism Theory. These theories all complete the following statements in different ways:.
(a) The essence of YOU, a being S, is .
(b) An entity Y is the same as YOU, the entity S, if and only if.
These theories all support this format, but arrive at very different conclusions. A discussion of each will help us understand the implications for our beliefs about what an essence is and how it relates, if at all, to theistic views of the soul. .
The first theory to consider is the Soul Theory.