Incorporeal or uncarnate means without the nature of a body or substance. The idea of incorporeality refers to the notion that there is an incorporeal realm of existence, or "place", that is distinct from the corporeal or material universe. Incorporeal beings or objects are not made out of matter in the way a physical, material being or object exists. The idea of the immaterial is often used in reference to The Christian God or the Divine. This being has at times been defined as the Prime Mover or First Cause that exists in an incorporeal or intelligible realm that transcends both space and time, especially in the physical realm. The notion that incorporeality is even possible requires the belief that something can exist or effect the physical, matter or energy, without physically existing at the point of effect. A ball can directly effect another ball by coming in direct contact with it, and is visible because it reflects the light that directly reaches it. An incorporeal object or being could not perform these functions as it has no material construction with which to perform these functions and would thus not be visible or able to affect anything that is of a physical construction.
Many philosophers have referred to the incorporeal idea and methods. Most notable are:
- Plato, with his claims about the realm of immaterial, perfect Forms. Additionally, Plato's divided line involves ideas about the dialectic and the intelligible method.
- Plotinus, a Neo-Platonist with similar ideas of an unchanging and perfect realm (in contrast to a physical, material world of change and flux).
- Descartes uses the method of thought thinking itself without possible illusions from the senses.
- Berkeley's notion of immaterialism is also similar to the concept of the incorporeal.
Thought thinking itself can also be considered to be an incorporeal method. Concepts in mathematics have also been considered by some to have an incorporeal nature.
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