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In many religious and philosophical traditions, there is a belief that a soul is "the immaterial aspect or essence of a human being".


Etymology

The Modern English noun '' soul'' is derived from
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers in the mid-5th ce ...
''sāwol, sāwel''. The earliest attestations reported in the ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the first and foundational historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a c ...
'' are from the 8th century. In King Alfred's translation of ''
De Consolatione Philosophiae ''On the Consolation of Philosophy'' ('' la, De consolatione philosophiae'')'','' often titled as ''The Consolation of Philosophy'' or simply the ''Consolation,'' is a philosophical work by the Roman statesman Boethius. Written in 523 while he ...
'', it is used to refer to the immaterial, spiritual, or thinking aspect of a person, as contrasted with the person's physical body; in the Vespasian Psalter 77.50, it means "life" or "animate existence". The Old English word is cognate with other historical Germanic terms for the same idea, including Old Frisian ''sēle, sēl'' (which could also mean "salvation", or "solemn oath"), Gothic ''saiwala'', Old High German ''sēula, sēla'', Old Saxon ''sēola'', and
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian, is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and their overseas settlemen ...
''sāla''. Present-day cognates include Dutch ''ziel'' and German ''Seele''.


Religious views

In Judaism and in some
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words '' Christ'' and ''Christian'' derive from the Koine Greek title ''Christós'' (Χρ ...
denominations, only human beings have immortal souls (although immortality is disputed within Judaism and the concept of immortality was most likely influenced by Plato). For example, Thomas Aquinas, borrowing directly from Aristotle's '' On the Soul'', attributed "soul" (''
anima Anima may refer to: Animation * Ánima (company), a Mexican animation studio founded in 2002 * Córdoba International Animation Festival – ANIMA, in Argentina Religion and philosophy * Animism, the belief that objects, places, and creatur ...
'') to all organisms but argued that only human souls are immortal. Other religions (most notably
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion or '' dharma'', a religious and universal order or way of life by which followers abide. As a religion, it is the world's third-largest, with over 1.2–1.35 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global po ...
and Jainism) believe that all living things from the smallest bacterium to the largest of mammals are the souls themselves ( Atman,
jiva ''Jiva'' ( sa, जीव, IAST: ) is a living being or any entity imbued with a life force in Hinduism and Jainism. The word itself originates from the Sanskrit verb-root ''jīv'', which translates as 'to breathe' or 'to live'. The ''jiva'', as ...
) and have their physical representative (the body) in the world. The actual
self The self is an individual as the object of that individual’s own reflective consciousness. Since the ''self'' is a reference by a subject to the same subject, this reference is necessarily subjective. The sense of having a self—or ''selfhood ...
is the soul, while the body is only a mechanism to experience the karma of that life. Thus if one sees a tiger then there is a self-conscious identity residing in it (the soul), and a physical representative (the whole body of the tiger, which is observable) in the world. Some teach that even non-biological entities (such as rivers and mountains) possess souls. This belief is called animism.


Ancient Near East

In the ancient Egyptian religion, an individual was believed to be made up of various elements, some physical and some spiritual. Similar ideas are found in ancient Assyrian and Babylonian religion. The Kuttamuwa stele, a funeral stele for an 8th-century BCE royal official from Sam'al, describes Kuttamuwa requesting that his mourners commemorate his life and his afterlife with feasts "for my soul that is in this stele". It is one of the earliest references to a soul as a separate entity from the body. The basalt stele is tall and wide. It was uncovered in the third season of excavations by the Neubauer Expedition of the Oriental Institute in Chicago, Illinois.


Baháʼí Faith

The Baháʼí Faith affirms that "the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, and whose mystery no mind, however acute, can ever hope to unravel". Bahá'u'lláh stated that the soul not only continues to live after the physical death of the human body, but is, in fact, immortal. Heaven can be seen partly as the soul's state of nearness to God; and
hell In religion and folklore, hell is a location in the afterlife in which evil souls are subjected to punitive suffering, most often through torture, as eternal punishment after death. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hel ...
as a state of remoteness from God. Each state follows as a natural consequence of individual efforts, or the lack thereof, to develop spiritually. Bahá'u'lláh taught that individuals have no existence prior to their life here on earth and the soul's evolution is always towards God and away from the material world.


Christianity

According to some Christian eschatology, when people die, their souls will be judged by God and determined to go to
Heaven Heaven or the heavens, is a common religious cosmological or transcendent supernatural place where beings such as deities, angels, souls, saints, or venerated ancestors are said to originate, be enthroned, or reside. According to the belie ...
or to Hades awaiting a resurrection or the resurrection. The oldest existing branches of Christianity, the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
and the
Eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai * Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Lines, a defunct American airline that operated from 1926 to 1991 * Eastern Air ...
and Oriental Orthodox churches, adhere to this view, as well as many Protestant denominations. Some Protestant Christians understand the soul as "life,” and believe that the dead have no conscious existence until after the resurrection ( Christian conditionalism). Some Protestant Christians believe that the souls and bodies of the unrighteous will be destroyed in
Hell In religion and folklore, hell is a location in the afterlife in which evil souls are subjected to punitive suffering, most often through torture, as eternal punishment after death. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hel ...
rather than suffering eternally ( annihilationism). Believers will inherit eternal life either in Heaven, or in a Kingdom of God on earth, and enjoy eternal fellowship with God. Other Christians reject the punishment of the soul.


Origin of the soul

The "origin of the soul" has provided a vexing question in Christianity. The major theories put forward include soul creationism, traducianism, and pre-existence. According to soul creationism, God creates each individual soul directly, either at the moment of conception or some later time. According to traducianism, the soul comes from the parents by natural generation. According to the preexistence theory, the soul exists before the moment of conception. There have been differing thoughts regarding whether human
embryo An embryo is an initial stage of development of a multicellular organism. In organisms that reproduce sexually, embryonic development is the part of the life cycle that begins just after fertilization of the female egg cell by the male spe ...
s have souls from conception, or whether there is a point between conception and birth where the fetus acquires a soul, consciousness, and/or
personhood Personhood or personality is the status of being a person. Defining personhood is a controversial topic in philosophy and law and is closely tied with legal and political concepts of citizenship, equality, and liberty. According to law, only a le ...
. Stances in this question might play a role in judgements on the morality of abortion.


Trichotomy of the soul

Augustine (354-430), one of western Christianity's most influential early Christian thinkers, described the soul as "a special substance, endowed with reason, adapted to rule the body". Some Christians espouse a trichotomic view of humans, which characterizes humans as consisting of a body (''soma''), soul (''psyche''), and spirit (''pneuma''). However, the majority of modern Bible scholars point out how the concepts of "spirit" and of "soul" are used interchangeably in many biblical passages, and so hold to dichotomy: the view that each human comprises a body and a soul. Paul said that the "body wars against" the soul, "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit" (Heb 4:12 NASB), and that "I buffet my body", to keep it under control.


Views of various denominations

; Roman Catholicism The present
Catechism of the Catholic Church The ''Catechism of the Catholic Church'' ( la, Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae; commonly called the ''Catechism'' or the ''CCC'') is a catechism promulgated for the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II in 1992. It aims to summarize, in book for ...
states that the term soul : “refers to the innermost aspect of ersons that which is of greatest value in
hem A hem in sewing is a garment finishing method, where the edge of a piece of cloth is folded and sewn to prevent unravelling of the fabric and to adjust the length of the piece in garments, such as at the end of the sleeve or the bottom of the ga ...
that by which hey aremost especially in God's image: ‘soul’ signifies the spiritual principle in umanity. All souls living and dead will be judged by Jesus Christ when he comes back to earth. The Catholic Church teaches that the existence of each individual soul is dependent wholly upon God: : "The doctrine of the faith affirms that the spiritual and immortal soul is created immediately by God." ;Protestantism Protestants generally believe in the soul's existence and immortality, but fall into two major camps about what this means in terms of an afterlife. Some, following John Calvin, believe that the soul persists as consciousness after death. Others, following Martin Luther, believe that the soul dies with the body, and is unconscious ("sleeps") until the
resurrection of the dead General resurrection or universal resurrection is the belief in a resurrection of the dead, or resurrection from the dead ( Koine: , ''anastasis onnekron''; literally: "standing up again of the dead") by which most or all people who have died ...
. ;Adventism: Various
new religious movement A new religious movement (NRM), also known as alternative spirituality or a new religion, is a religious or spiritual group that has modern origins and is peripheral to its society's dominant religious culture. NRMs can be novel in origin or th ...
s deriving from
Adventism Adventism is a branch of Protestant Christianity that believes in the imminent Second Coming of Christ, Second Coming (or the "Second Advent") of Jesus Christ. It originated in the 1830s in the United States during the Second Great Awakening wh ...
— including
Christadelphians The Christadelphians () or Christadelphianism are a restorationist and millenarian Christian group who hold a view of biblical unitarianism. There are approximately 50,000 Christadelphians in around 120 countries. The movement developed in the ...
, Seventh-day Adventists, and
Jehovah's Witnesses Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The group reports a worldwide membership of approximately 8.7 million adherents involved in ...
— similarly believe that the dead do not possess a soul separate from the body and are unconscious until the resurrection. ;Latter-day Saints (‘Mormonism’):
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian Christian church that considers itself to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ. The ...
teaches that the spirit and body together constitute the Soul of Man (Mankind). "The spirit and the body are the soul of man." Latter-day Saints believe that the soul is the union of a pre-existing, God-made spirit and a temporal body, which is formed by physical conception on earth. After death, the spirit continues to live and progress in the Spirit world until the resurrection, when it is reunited with the body that once housed it. This reuniting of body and spirit results in a perfect soul that is immortal, and eternal, and capable of receiving a fulness of joy. Latter-day Saint cosmology also describes "intelligences" as the essence of consciousness or agency. These are co-eternal with God, and animate the spirits. The union of a newly-created spirit body with an eternally-existing intelligence constitutes a "spirit birth" and justifies God's title "Father of our spirits".


Confucianism

Some Confucian traditions contrast a spiritual soul with a corporeal soul.


Hinduism

''Ātman'' is a
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had diffused there from the northwest in the l ...
word that means inner
self The self is an individual as the object of that individual’s own reflective consciousness. Since the ''self'' is a reference by a subject to the same subject, this reference is necessarily subjective. The sense of having a self—or ''selfhood ...
or soul. David Lorenzen (2004), The Hindu World (Editors: Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby), Routledge, , pp. 208–09, Quote: "Advaita and nirguni movements, on the other hand, stress an interior mysticism in which the devotee seeks to discover the identity of individual soul (atman) with the universal ground of being (brahman) or to find god within himself". In
Hindu philosophy Hindu philosophy encompasses the philosophies, world views and teachings of Hinduism that emerged in Ancient India which include six systems ('' shad-darśana'') – Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta.Andrew Nicholson (2 ...
, especially in the Vedanta school of
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion or '' dharma'', a religious and universal order or way of life by which followers abide. As a religion, it is the world's third-largest, with over 1.2–1.35 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global po ...
, Ātman is the
first principle In philosophy and science, a first principle is a basic proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption. First principles in philosophy are from First Cause attitudes and taught by Aristotelians, and nu ...
, the ''true'' self of an individual beyond identification with phenomena, the essence of an individual. In order to attain liberation (moksha), a human being must acquire self-knowledge (atma jnana), which is to realize that one's true self (Ātman) is identical with the transcendent self Brahman according to
Advaita Vedanta ''Advaita Vedanta'' (; sa, अद्वैत वेदान्त, ) is a Hindu sādhanā, a path of spiritual discipline and experience, and the oldest extant tradition of the orthodox Hindu school Vedānta. The term ''Advaita'' ...
. The six orthodox schools of Hinduism believe that there is Ātman (self, essence) in every being. K. N. Jayatilleke (2010), Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, , pp. 246–49, from note 385 onwards; Steven Collins (1994), Religion and Practical Reason (Editors: Frank Reynolds, David Tracy), State Univ of New York Press, , p. 64; "Central to Buddhist soteriology is the doctrine of not-self (Pali: anattā, Sanskrit: anātman, the opposed doctrine of ātman is central to Brahmanical thought). Put very briefly, this is the uddhistdoctrine that human beings have no soul, no self, no unchanging essence."; Edward Roer (Translator), to ''Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad'', pp. 2–4; Katie Javanaud (2013)
Is The Buddhist ‘No-Self’ Doctrine Compatible With Pursuing Nirvana?
, Philosophy Now
In
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion or '' dharma'', a religious and universal order or way of life by which followers abide. As a religion, it is the world's third-largest, with over 1.2–1.35 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global po ...
and Jainism, a ''jiva'' ( sa, जीव, , alternative spelling ''jiwa''; hi, जीव, , alternative spelling ''jeev'') is a living being, or any entity imbued with a life force. The concept of ''jiva'' in Jainism is similar to '' atman'' in Hinduism. However, some Hindu traditions differentiate between the two concepts, with ''jiva'' considered as individual self, while atman as that which is universal unchanging self that is present in all living beings and everything else as the metaphysical Brahman. The latter is sometimes referred to as ''jiva-atman'' (a soul in a living body).


Islam

The Quran, the holy book of Islam, uses two words to refer to the soul: '' rūḥ'' (translated as spirit, consciousness, pneuma or "soul") and ''
nafs ''Nafs'' () is an Arabic word occurring in the Quran, literally meaning "self", and has been translated as " psyche", " ego" or "soul".Nurdeen Deuraseh and Mansor Abu Talib (2005), "Mental health in Islamic medical tradition", ''The Internatio ...
'' (translated as self, ego, psyche or "soul"), cognates of the Hebrew ''nefesh'' and ''ruach''. The two terms are frequently used interchangeably, though ''rūḥ'' is more often used to denote the divine spirit or "the breath of life", while ''nafs'' designates one's disposition or characteristics. In Islamic philosophy, the immortal rūḥ "drives" the mortal nafs, which comprises temporal desires and perceptions necessary for living. Two of the passages in the Quran that mention the rûh occur in chapters 17 ("The Night Journey") and 39 ("The Troops"):


Jainism

In Jainism, every living being, from plant or bacterium to human, has a soul and the concept forms the very basis of Jainism. According to Jainism, there is no beginning or end to the existence of soul. It is eternal in nature and changes its form until it attains liberation. In Jainism, ''jiva'' is the immortal essence or soul of a living organism (human, animal, fish or plant etc.) which survives physical death. The concept of ''Ajiva'' in Jainism means "not soul", and represents matter (including body), time, space, non-motion and motion. In Jainism, a ''Jiva'' is either ''samsari'' (mundane, caught in cycle of rebirths) or ''mukta'' (liberated). According to this belief until the time the soul is liberated from the ''
saṃsāra ''Saṃsāra'' (Devanagari: संसार) is a Pali/Sanskrit word that means "world". It is also the concept of rebirth and "cyclicality of all life, matter, existence", a fundamental belief of most Indian religions. Popularly, it is the c ...
'' (cycle of repeated birth and death), it gets attached to one of these bodies based on the
karma Karma (; sa, कर्म}, ; pi, kamma, italic=yes) in Sanskrit means an action, work, or deed, and its effect or consequences. In Indian religions, the term more specifically refers to a principle of cause and effect, often descriptively ...
(actions) of the individual soul. Irrespective of which state the soul is in, it has got the same attributes and qualities. The difference between the liberated and non-liberated souls is that the qualities and attributes are manifested completely in case of '' siddha'' (liberated soul) as they have overcome all the karmic bondages whereas in case of non-liberated souls they are partially exhibited. Souls who rise victorious over wicked emotions while still remaining within physical bodies are referred to as arihants. Concerning the Jain view of the soul, Virchand Gandhi said


Judaism

The Hebrew terms ''
nefesh A nefesh (plural: ''nefashot'') is a Semitic monument placed near a grave so as to be seen from afar. Nabataea In a Nabataean votive inscription from Salkhad, an Aramaic heap of stones set up in memorial is described as "for Allat and her ' ...
'' (literally "living being"), ''
ruach In Judaism, the Holy Spirit ( he, רוח הקודש, ''ruach ha-kodesh'') refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the universe or over God's creatures, in given contexts.Maimonides, Moses. Part II, Ch. 45: "The various cla ...
'' (literally "wind"), ''neshamah'' (literally "breath"), ''chayah'' (literally "life") and ''yechidah'' (literally "singularity") are used to describe the soul or spirit. In Judaism the soul is believed to be given by God to Adam as mentioned in
Genesis Genesis may refer to: Bible * Book of Genesis, the first book of the biblical scriptures of both Judaism and Christianity, describing the creation of the Earth and of mankind * Genesis creation narrative, the first several chapters of the Book of ...
, Judaism relates the quality of one's soul to one's performance of the commandments (''
mitzvot In its primary meaning, the Hebrew word (; he, מִצְוָה, ''mīṣvā'' , plural ''mīṣvōt'' ; "commandment") refers to a commandment commanded by God to be performed as a religious duty. Jewish law () in large part consists of discus ...
)'' and reaching higher levels of understanding, and thus closeness to God. A person with such closeness is called a ''
tzadik Tzadik ( he, צַדִּיק , "righteous ne, also ''zadik'', ''ṣaddîq'' or ''sadiq''; pl. ''tzadikim'' ''ṣadiqim'') is a title in Judaism given to people considered righteous, such as biblical figures and later spiritual masters. The ...
''. Therefore, Judaism embraces the commemoration of the day of one's death, '' nahala''/''Yahrtzeit'' and not the
birthday A birthday is the anniversary of the birth of a person, or figuratively of an institution. Birthdays of people are celebrated in numerous cultures, often with birthday gifts, birthday cards, a birthday party, or a rite of passage. Many rel ...
as a festivity of remembrance, for only toward the end of life's struggles, tests and challenges could human souls be judged and credited for righteousness. Judaism places great importance on the study of the souls. Kabbalah and other mystic traditions go into greater detail into the nature of the soul. Kabbalah separates the soul into five elements, corresponding to the five worlds: #
Nefesh A nefesh (plural: ''nefashot'') is a Semitic monument placed near a grave so as to be seen from afar. Nabataea In a Nabataean votive inscription from Salkhad, an Aramaic heap of stones set up in memorial is described as "for Allat and her ' ...
, related to natural instinct. #
Ruach In Judaism, the Holy Spirit ( he, רוח הקודש, ''ruach ha-kodesh'') refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the universe or over God's creatures, in given contexts.Maimonides, Moses. Part II, Ch. 45: "The various cla ...
, related to intellect and the awareness of God. # Neshamah, related to emotion and morality. # Chayah, considered a part of God, as it were. # Yechidah. This aspect is essentially one with God. Kabbalah also proposed a concept of reincarnation, the ''
gilgul Gilgul (also Gilgul neshamot or Gilgulei HaNeshamot; Heb. , Plural: ''Gilgulim'') is a concept of reincarnation or "transmigration of souls" in Kabbalistic esoteric mysticism. In Hebrew, the word ''gilgul'' means "cycle" or "wheel" and ''nesh ...
''. (See also '' nefesh habehamit'' the "animal soul".) Some Jewish traditions assert that the soul is housed in the '' luz'' bone, though traditions disagree as to whether it is the
atlas An atlas is a collection of maps; it is typically a bundle of maps of Earth or of a region of Earth. Atlases have traditionally been bound into book form, but today many atlases are in multimedia formats. In addition to presenting geographi ...
at the top of the spine, or the sacrum at bottom of the spine.


Scientology

The
Scientology Scientology is a set of beliefs and practices invented by American author L. Ron Hubbard, and an associated movement. It has been variously defined as a cult, a business, or a new religious movement. The most recent published census data ind ...
view is that a person does not have a soul, it is a soul. It is the belief of the religion that they do not have the power to force adherents' conclusions. Therefore, a person is immortal, and may be reincarnated if they wish. Scientologists view that one's future happiness and immortality, as guided by their spirituality, is influenced by how they live and act during their time on earth. The Scientology term for the soul is " thetan", derived from the Greek word "theta", symbolizing thought. Scientology counselling (called
auditing An audit is an "independent examination of financial information of any entity, whether profit oriented or not, irrespective of its size or legal form when such an examination is conducted with a view to express an opinion thereon.” Auditing ...
) addresses the soul to improve abilities, both worldly and spiritual. The ideologies surrounding this understanding align with those of the five major world religions.


Shamanism

Soul dualism (also called "multiple souls" or "dualistic pluralism") is a common belief in Shamanism, and is essential in the universal and central concept of "soul flight" (also called "soul journey", " out-of-body experience", " ecstasy", or " astral projection"). It is the belief that humans have two or more souls, generally termed the "body soul" (or "life soul") and the "free soul". The former is linked to bodily functions and awareness when awake, while the latter can freely wander during sleep or trance states. In some cases, there are a plethora of soul types with different functions. Soul dualism and multiple souls are prominent in the traditional animistic beliefs of the
Austronesian peoples The Austronesian peoples, sometimes referred to as Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of peoples in Taiwan, Maritime Southeast Asia, Micronesia, coastal New Guinea, Island Melanesia, Polynesia, and Madagascar that speak Austron ...
, the
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China * Chinese people, people of Chinese nationality, citizenship, and/or ethnicity **''Zhonghua minzu'', the supra-ethnic concept of the Chinese nation ** List of ethnic groups in China, people of va ...
people ( ''hún'' and ''pò''), the Tibetan people, most African peoples, most
Native North Americans The Indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European settlers in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peoples. Many Indigenous peoples of the Am ...
, ancient
South Asia South Asia is the southern subregion of Asia, which is defined in both geographical and ethno-cultural terms. The region consists of the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.;;;;; ...
n peoples, Northern Eurasian peoples, and in Ancient Egyptians (the ''ka'' and ''ba''). The belief in soul dualism is found throughout most
Austronesian Austronesian may refer to: *The Austronesian languages *The historical Austronesian peoples The Austronesian peoples, sometimes referred to as Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of peoples in Taiwan, Maritime Southeast Asia, M ...
shamanistic traditions. The reconstructed
Proto-Austronesian Proto-Austronesian (commonly abbreviated as PAN or PAn) is a proto-language. It is the reconstructed ancestor of the Austronesian languages, one of the world's major language families. Proto-Austronesian is assumed to have begun to diversify 3 ...
word for the "body soul" is ''*nawa'' ("breath", "life", or "vital spirit"). It is located somewhere in the abdominal cavity, often in the
liver The liver is a major organ only found in vertebrates which performs many essential biological functions such as detoxification of the organism, and the synthesis of proteins and biochemicals necessary for digestion and growth. In humans, it ...
or the
heart The heart is a muscular organ in most animals. This organ pumps blood through the blood vessels of the circulatory system. The pumped blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the body, while carrying metabolic waste such as carbon dioxide to ...
(Proto-Austronesian ''*qaCay''). The "free soul" is located in the head. Its names are usually derived from Proto-Austronesian ''*qaNiCu'' ("ghost", "spirit f the dead), which also apply to other non-human nature spirits. The "free soul" is also referred to in names that literally mean "twin" or "double", from Proto-Austronesian ''*duSa'' ("two"). A virtuous person is said to be one whose souls are in harmony with each other, while an evil person is one whose souls are in conflict. The "free soul" is said to leave the body and journey to the spirit world during sleep, trance-like states,
delirium Delirium (also known as acute confusional state) is an organically caused decline from a previous baseline of mental function that develops over a short period of time, typically hours to days. Delirium is a syndrome encompassing disturbances ...
,
insanity Insanity, madness, lunacy, and craziness are behaviors performed by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. Insanity can be manifest as violations of societal norms, including a person or persons becoming a danger to themselves or to ...
, and death. The duality is also seen in the healing traditions of Austronesian shamans, where illnesses are regarded as a " soul loss" and thus to heal the sick, one must "return" the "free soul" (which may have been stolen by an evil spirit or got lost in the spirit world) into the body. If the "free soul" can not be returned, the afflicted person dies or goes permanently insane. In some ethnic groups, there can also be more than two souls. Like among the Tagbanwa people, where a person is said to have six souls – the "free soul" (which is regarded as the "true" soul) and five secondary souls with various functions. Several Inuit groups believe that a person has more than one type of soul. One is associated with respiration, the other can accompany the body as a shadow. In some cases, it is connected to shamanistic beliefs among the various Inuit groups. Also
Caribou Inuit Caribou Inuit ( iu, Kivallirmiut/ᑭᕙᓪᓕᕐᒥᐅᑦ), barren-ground caribou hunters, are Inuit who live west of Hudson Bay in Kivalliq Region, Nunavut, between 61° and 65° N and 90° and 102° W in Northern Canada. They were originally n ...
groups believed in several types of souls. The shaman heals within the spiritual dimension by returning 'lost' parts of the human soul from wherever they have gone. The shaman also cleanses excess negative energies, which confuse or pollute the soul.


Shinto

Shinto Shinto () is a religion from Japan. Classified as an East Asian religion by scholars of religion, its practitioners often regard it as Japan's indigenous religion and as a nature religion. Scholars sometimes call its practitioners ''Shintoist ...
distinguishes between the souls of living persons (''tamashii'') and those of dead persons ('' mitama''), each of which may have different aspects or sub-souls.


Sikhism

Sikhism considers soul (''atma'') to be part of God (
Waheguru ''Waheguru'' ( pa, ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ, translit=vāhigurū, translit-std=IAST) is a word used in Sikhi to refer to God as described in ''Guru Granth Sahib''. The meaning of the word (usually spelled in English as ''Waheguru'') is trad ...
). Various hymns are cited from the holy book
Guru Granth Sahib The Guru Granth Sahib ( pa, ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ, ) is the central holy religious scripture of Sikhism, regarded by Sikhs as the final, sovereign and eternal Guru following the lineage of the ten human gurus of the rel ...
(SGGS) that suggests this belief. "God is in the Soul and the Soul is in the God." The same concept is repeated at various pages of the SGGS. For example: "The soul is divine; divine is the soul. Worship Him with love." and "The soul is the Lord, and the Lord is the soul; contemplating the Shabad, the Lord is found." The ''atma'' or soul according to Sikhism is an entity or "spiritual spark" or "light" in the human body - because of which the body can sustain life. On the departure of this entity from the body, the body becomes lifeless – no amount of manipulations to the body can make the person make any physical actions. The soul is the "driver" in the body. It is the ''roohu'' or spirit or ''atma'', the presence of which makes the physical body alive. Many religious and philosophical traditions support the view that the soul is the ethereal substance – a spirit; a non-material spark – particular to a unique living being. Such traditions often consider the soul both immortal and innately aware of its immortal nature, as well as the true basis for sentience in each living being. The concept of the soul has strong links with notions of an afterlife, but opinions may vary wildly even within a given religion as to what happens to the soul after death. Many within these religions and philosophies see the soul as immaterial, while others consider it possibly material.


Taoism

According to Chinese traditions, every person has two types of soul called
hun and po ''Hun'' () and ''po'' () are types of souls in Chinese philosophy and traditional religion. Within this ancient soul dualism tradition, every living human has both a spiritual, ethereal, yang soul which leaves the body after death, and also a ...
(魂 and 魄), which are respectively yang and yin. Taoism believes in ten souls, ''sanhunqipo'' ( 三魂七魄) "three ''hun'' and seven ''po''". A living being that loses any of them is said to have mental illness or
unconsciousness Unconsciousness is a state in which a living individual exhibits a complete, or near-complete, inability to maintain an awareness of self and environment or to respond to any human or environmental stimulus. Unconsciousness may occur as the re ...
, while a dead soul may reincarnate to a disability, lower
desire realm The desire realm (Sanskrit: कामधातु, ''kāmadhātu'') is one of the trailokya or three realms (Sanskrit: धातु, ''dhātu'', Tibetan: ''khams'') in Buddhist cosmology into which a being wandering in '' '' may be reborn. Th ...
s, or may even be unable to reincarnate.


Zoroastrianism


Other religious beliefs and views

In theological reference to the soul, the terms "life" and "death" are viewed as emphatically more definitive than the common concepts of " biological life" and "biological death". Because the soul is said to be transcendent of the ''
material Material is a substance or mixture of substances that constitutes an object. Materials can be pure or impure, living or non-living matter. Materials can be classified on the basis of their physical and chemical properties, or on their geolog ...
existence,'' and is said to have (potentially) eternal life, the death of the soul is likewise said to be an ''eternal death''. Thus, in the concept of divine judgment, God is commonly said to have options with regard to the dispensation of souls, ranging from
Heaven Heaven or the heavens, is a common religious cosmological or transcendent supernatural place where beings such as deities, angels, souls, saints, or venerated ancestors are said to originate, be enthroned, or reside. According to the belie ...
(i.e.,
angel In various theistic religious traditions an angel is a supernatural spiritual being who serves God. Abrahamic religions often depict angels as benevolent celestial intermediaries between God (or Heaven) and humanity. Other roles incl ...
s) to
hell In religion and folklore, hell is a location in the afterlife in which evil souls are subjected to punitive suffering, most often through torture, as eternal punishment after death. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hel ...
(i.e., demons), with various concepts in between. Typically both Heaven and hell are said to be eternal, or at least far beyond a typical human concept of lifespan and time. According to
Louis Ginzberg Louis Ginzberg ( he, לוי גינצבורג, ''Levy Gintzburg''; russian: Леви Гинцберг, ''Levy Ginzberg''; November 28, 1873 – November 11, 1953) was a Russian-born American rabbi and Talmudic scholar of Lithuanian-Jewish desc ...
, the soul of Adam is the image of
God In monotheistic thought, God is usually viewed as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith. Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', Oxford University Press, 1995. God is typically ...
. Every soul of human also escapes from the body every night, rises up to heaven, and fetches new life thence for the body of man.


Spirituality, New Age, and new religions


Brahma Kumaris

In Brahma Kumaris, human souls are believed to be incorporeal and eternal. God is considered to be the Supreme Soul, with maximum degrees of spiritual qualities, such as peace, love and purity.


Theosophy

In
Helena Blavatsky Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, uk, Олена Петрівна Блаватська, Olena Petrivna Blavatska (; – 8 May 1891), often known as Madame Blavatsky, was a Russian mystic and author who co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875 ...
's Theosophy, the soul is the field of our psychological activity (thinking, emotions, memory, desires, will, and so on) as well as of the so-called paranormal or psychic phenomena (extrasensory perception, out-of-body experiences, etc.). However, the soul is not the highest, but a middle dimension of human beings. Higher than the soul is the spirit, which is considered to be the real self; the source of everything we call "good"—happiness, wisdom, love, compassion, harmony, peace, etc. While the spirit is eternal and incorruptible, the soul is not. The soul acts as a link between the material body and the spiritual self, and therefore shares some characteristics of both. The soul can be attracted either towards the spiritual or towards the material realm, being thus the "battlefield" of good and evil. It is only when the soul is attracted towards the spiritual and merges with the Self that it becomes eternal and divine.


Anthroposophy

Rudolf Steiner Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner (27 or 25 February 1861 – 30 March 1925) was an Austrian occultist, social reformer, architect, esotericist, and claimed clairvoyant. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as ...
claimed classical trichotomic stages of soul development, which interpenetrated one another in consciousness: * The "sentient soul", centering on sensations, drives, and passions, with strong conative (will) and emotional components; * The "intellectual" or "mind soul", internalizing and reflecting on outer experience, with strong affective (feeling) and cognitive (thinking) components; and * The "consciousness soul", in search of universal, objective truths.


Miscellaneous

In Surat Shabda Yoga, the soul is considered to be an exact replica and spark of the Divine. The purpose of Surat Shabd Yoga is to realize one's True Self as soul (Self-Realisation), True Essence (Spirit-Realisation) and True Divinity (God-Realisation) while living in the physical body. Similarly, the spiritual teacher
Meher Baba Meher Baba (born Merwan Sheriar Irani; 25 February 1894  – 31 January 1969) was an Indian spiritual master who said he was the Avatar, or God in human form, of the age. A major spiritual figure of the 20th century, he had a following of ...
held that "Atma, or the soul, is in reality identical with Paramatma the Oversoul – which is one, infinite, and eternal... nd e sole purpose of creation is for the soul to enjoy the infinite state of the Oversoul consciously."
Eckankar Eckankar is a new religious movement founded by Paul Twitchell in 1965. Its membership today is primarily in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The spiritual home is the Temple of ECK in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Eckankar is not affiliated ...
, founded by
Paul Twitchell Paul Twitchell (born Jacob Paul Twitchell) (died September 17, 1971) was an American author and spiritual teacher who created and directed the development of the new religious movement known as Eckankar. Twitchell described himself as "The Mah ...
in 1965, defines Soul as the true self; the inner, most sacred part of each person. G.I. Gurdjieff taught that humans are not born with immortal souls but could develop them through certain efforts.


Philosophical views

Greek philosophers, such as Socrates,
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was a Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. He founded the Platonist school of thought and the Academy, the first institutio ...
, and
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatetic school of p ...
, understood that the soul (ψυχή '' psykhḗ'') must have a logical faculty, the exercise of which was the most divine of human actions. At his defense trial, Socrates even summarized his teachings as nothing other than an exhortation for his fellow Athenians to excel in matters of the psyche since all bodily goods are dependent on such excellence (''
Apology Apology, The Apology, apologize/apologise, apologist, apologetics, or apologetic may refer to: Common uses * Apology (act), an expression of remorse or regret * Apologia, a formal defense of an opinion, position, or action Arts, entertainment ...
'' 30a–b). Aristotle reasoned that a man's body and soul were his matter and form respectively: the body is a collection of elements and the soul is the essence. Soul or psyche (
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Dark Ages (), the Archaic ...
: ψυχή ''psykhḗ'', of ψύχειν ''psýkhein'', "to breathe", cf.
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through the power of ...
'anima') comprises the mental abilities of a living being: reason, character, free will, feeling, consciousness,
qualia In philosophy of mind, qualia ( or ; singular form: quale) are defined as individual instances of subjective, conscious experience. The term ''qualia'' derives from the Latin neuter plural form (''qualia'') of the Latin adjective '' quālis'' () ...
, memory, perception, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be mortal or
immortal Immortality is the ability to live forever, or eternal life. Immortal or Immortality may also refer to: Film * ''The Immortals'' (1995 film), an American crime film * ''Immortality'', an alternate title for the 1998 British film '' The Wisdom of ...
. The ancient Greeks used the word " ensouled" to represent the concept of being "alive", indicating that the earliest surviving western philosophical view believed that the soul was that which gave the body life. The soul was considered the incorporeal or spiritual "breath" that animates (from the Latin, ''
anima Anima may refer to: Animation * Ánima (company), a Mexican animation studio founded in 2002 * Córdoba International Animation Festival – ANIMA, in Argentina Religion and philosophy * Animism, the belief that objects, places, and creatur ...
'', cf. "animal") the living organism. Francis M. Cornford quotes
Pindar Pindar (; grc-gre, Πίνδαρος , ; la, Pindarus; ) was an Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian wrote, "Of the nine lyric poets, Pindar i ...
by saying that the soul sleeps while the limbs are active, but when one is sleeping, the soul is active and reveals "an award of joy or sorrow drawing near" in dreams.
Erwin Rohde Erwin Rohde (; 9 October 1845 – 11 January 1898) was one of the great German classical scholars of the 19th century. Rohde was born in Hamburg and was the son of a doctor. Outside of antiquarian circles, Rohde is known today chiefly for ...
writes that an early pre- Pythagorean belief presented the soul as lifeless when it departed the body, and that it retired into Hades with no hope of returning to a body. Plato was the first thinker in antiquity to combine the various functions of the soul into one coherent conception: the soul is that which moves things (i.e., that which gives life, on the view that life is self-motion) by means of its thoughts, requiring that it be both a mover and a thinker.Campbell, Douglas (2021). "Self‐Motion and Cognition: Plato's Theory of the Soul". ''The Southern Journal of Philosophy''. 59: 523–544.


Socrates and Plato

Drawing on the words of his teacher Socrates, Plato considered the psyche to be the essence of a person, being that which decides how we behave. He considered this essence to be an incorporeal, eternal occupant of our being. Plato said that even after death, the soul exists and is able to think. He believed that as bodies die, the soul is continually reborn (
metempsychosis Metempsychosis ( grc-gre, μετεμψύχωσις), in philosophy, is the transmigration of the soul, especially its reincarnation after death. The term is derived from ancient Greek philosophy, and has been recontextualised by modern philoso ...
) in subsequent bodies. However, Aristotle believed that only one part of the soul was immortal, namely the intellect (''
logos ''Logos'' (, ; grc, λόγος, lógos, lit=word, discourse, or reason) is a term used in Western philosophy, psychology and rhetoric and refers to the appeal to reason that relies on logic or reason, inductive and deductive reasoning. Arist ...
''). The Platonic soul consists of three parts: # the ''logos'', or ''logistikon'' (mind,
nous ''Nous'', or Greek νοῦς (, ), sometimes equated to intellect or intelligence, is a concept from classical philosophy for the faculty of the human mind necessary for understanding what is true or real. Alternative English terms used in ...
, or reason) # the '' thymos'', or ''thumetikon'' ( emotion, spiritedness, or masculine) # the ''
eros In Greek mythology, Eros (, ; grc, Ἔρως, Érōs, Love, Desire) is the Greek god of love and sex. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire").''Larousse Desk Reference Encyclopedia'', The Book People, Haydock, 1995, p. 215. In the earl ...
'', or ''epithumetikon'' (appetitive,
desire Desires are states of mind that are expressed by terms like "wanting", " wishing", "longing" or "craving". A great variety of features is commonly associated with desires. They are seen as propositional attitudes towards conceivable states of af ...
, or feminine) The parts are located in different regions of the body: # ''logos'' is located in the head, is related to reason and regulates the other part. # ''thymos'' is located near the chest region and is related to anger. # ''eros'' is located in the stomach and is related to one's desires. Plato also compares the three parts of the soul or psyche to a societal caste system. According to Plato's theory, the three-part soul is essentially the same thing as a state's class system because, to function well, each part must contribute so that the whole functions well. Logos keeps the other functions of the soul regulated. The soul is at the heart of Plato's philosophy. Francis Cornford described the twin pillars of Platonism as being the theory of the Forms, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Indeed, Plato was the first person in the history of philosophy to believe that the soul was both the source of life and the mind. In Plato's dialogues, we find the soul playing many disparate roles. Among other things, Plato believes that the soul is what gives life to the body (which was articulated most of all in the ''Laws'' and ''Phaedrus'') in terms of self-motion: to be alive is to be capable of moving yourself; the soul is a self-mover. He also thinks that the soul is the bearer of moral properties (i.e., when I am virtuous, it is my soul that is virtuous as opposed to, say, my body). The soul is also the mind: it is that which thinks in us. We see this casual oscillation between different roles of the soul in many dialogues. First of all, in the ''Republic'':
Is there any function of the soul that you could not accomplish with anything else, such as taking care of something (''epimeleisthai''), ruling, and deliberating, and other such things? Could we correctly assign these things to anything besides the soul, and say that they are characteristic (''idia'') of it? No, to nothing else. What about living? Will we deny that this is a function of the soul? That absolutely is.
The ''Phaedo'' most famously caused problems to scholars who were trying to make sense of this aspect of Plato's theory of the soul, such as Sarah Broadie and Dorothea Frede. More-recent scholarship has overturned this accusation by arguing that part of the novelty of Plato's theory of the soul is that it was the first to unite the different features and powers of the soul that became commonplace in later ancient and medieval philosophy. For Plato, the soul moves things by means of its thoughts, as one scholar puts it, and accordingly, the soul is both a mover (i.e., the principle of life, where life is conceived of as ''self-motion'') and a thinker.


Aristotle

Aristotle (384–322 BCE) defined the soul, or ''Psūchê'' (ψυχή), as the " first actuality" of a naturally organized body, and argued against its separate existence from the physical body. In Aristotle's view, the primary activity, or full actualization, of a living thing constitutes its soul. For example, the full actualization of an eye, as an independent organism, is to see (its purpose or final cause). Another example is that the full actualization of a human being would be living a fully functional human life in accordance with reason (which he considered to be a faculty unique to humanity). For Aristotle, the soul is the organization of the form and matter of a natural being which allows it to strive for its full actualization. This organization between form and matter is necessary for any activity, or functionality, to be possible in a natural being. Using an artifact (non-natural being) as an example, a house is a building for human habituation, but for a house to be actualized requires the material (wood, nails, bricks, etc.) necessary for its actuality (i.e. being a fully functional house). However, this does not imply that a house has a soul. In regards to artifacts, the source of motion that is required for their full actualization is outside of themselves (for example, a builder builds a house). In natural beings, this source of motion is contained within the being itself. Aristotle elaborates on this point when he addresses the faculties of the soul. The various faculties of the soul, such as nutrition, movement (peculiar to animals), reason (peculiar to humans), sensation (special, common, and incidental) and so forth, when exercised, constitute the "second" actuality, or fulfillment, of the capacity to be alive. For example, someone who falls asleep, as opposed to someone who falls dead, can wake up and live their life, while the latter can no longer do so. Aristotle identified three hierarchical levels of natural beings: plants, animals, and people, having three different degrees of soul: ''Bios'' (life), ''Zoë'' (animate life), and ''Psuchë'' (self-conscious life). For these groups, he identified three corresponding levels of soul, or biological activity: the nutritive activity of growth, sustenance and reproduction which all life shares (''Bios''); the self-willed motive activity and sensory faculties, which only animals and people have in common (''Zoë''); and finally "reason", of which people alone are capable (''Pseuchë''). Aristotle's discussion of the soul is in his work, ''De Anima'' ('' On the Soul''). Although mostly seen as opposing Plato in regard to the immortality of the soul, a controversy can be found in relation to the fifth chapter of the third book: in this text both interpretations can be argued for, soul as a whole can be deemed mortal, and a part called "active intellect" or "active mind" is immortal and eternal. Advocates exist for both sides of the controversy, but it has been understood that there will be permanent disagreement about its final conclusions, as no other Aristotelian text contains this specific point, and this part of ''De Anima'' is obscure. Further, Aristotle states that the soul helps humans find the truth, and understanding the true purpose or role of the soul is extremely difficult.


Avicenna and Ibn al-Nafis

Following Aristotle, Avicenna (Ibn Sina) and Ibn al-Nafis, an Arab physician, further elaborated upon the Aristotelian understanding of the soul and developed their own theories on the soul. They both made a distinction between the soul and the spirit, and the Avicennian doctrine on the nature of the soul was influential among the Scholastics. Some of Avicenna's views on the soul include the idea that the immortality of the soul is a consequence of its nature, and not a purpose for it to fulfill. In his theory of "The Ten Intellects", he viewed the human soul as the tenth and final
intellect In the study of the human mind, intellect refers to, describes, and identifies the ability of the human mind to reach correct conclusions about what is true and what is false in reality; and how to solve problems. Derived from the Ancient Gree ...
. While he was imprisoned, Avicenna wrote his famous " Floating man"
thought experiment A thought experiment is a hypothetical situation in which a hypothesis, theory, or principle is laid out for the purpose of thinking through its consequences. History The ancient Greek ''deiknymi'' (), or thought experiment, "was the most anci ...
to demonstrate human
self-awareness In philosophy of self, self-awareness is the experience of one's own personality or individuality. It is not to be confused with consciousness in the sense of qualia. While consciousness is being aware of one's environment and body and lifesty ...
and the substantial nature of the soul. He told his readers to imagine themselves suspended in the air, isolated from all sensations, which includes no sensory contact with even their own bodies. He argues that in this scenario one would still have self-consciousness. He thus concludes that the idea of the
self The self is an individual as the object of that individual’s own reflective consciousness. Since the ''self'' is a reference by a subject to the same subject, this reference is necessarily subjective. The sense of having a self—or ''selfhood ...
is not logically dependent on any physical thing, and that the soul should not be seen in relative terms, but as a primary given, a substance. This argument was later refined and simplified by René Descartes in
epistemic Epistemology (; ), or the theory of knowledge, is the branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemology is considered a major subfield of philosophy, along with other major subfields such as ethics, logic, and metaphysics. Episte ...
terms, when he stated: "I can abstract from the supposition of all external things, but not from the supposition of my own consciousness." Avicenna generally supported Aristotle's idea of the soul originating from the
heart The heart is a muscular organ in most animals. This organ pumps blood through the blood vessels of the circulatory system. The pumped blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the body, while carrying metabolic waste such as carbon dioxide to ...
, whereas Ibn al-Nafis rejected this idea and instead argued that the soul "is related to the entirety and not to one or a few
organs In biology, an organ is a collection of tissues joined in a structural unit to serve a common function. In the hierarchy of life, an organ lies between tissue and an organ system. Tissues are formed from same type cells to act together in a ...
". He further criticized Aristotle's idea whereby every unique soul requires the existence of a unique source, in this case the heart. Al-Nafis concluded that "the soul is related primarily neither to the spirit nor to any organ, but rather to the entire matter whose temperament is prepared to receive that soul," and he defined the soul as nothing other than "what a human indicates by saying " I".


Thomas Aquinas

Following Aristotle (whom he referred to as "the Philosopher") and Avicenna,
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas, OP (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican friar and priest who was an influential philosopher, theologian and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism; he is known wit ...
(1225–74) understood the soul to be the first actuality of the living body. Consequent to this, he distinguished three orders of life: plants, which feed and grow; animals, which add sensation to the operations of plants; and humans, which add intellect to the operations of animals. Concerning the human soul, his epistemological theory required that, since the knower becomes what he knows, the soul is definitely not corporeal—if it is corporeal when it knows what some corporeal thing is, that thing would come to be within it. Therefore, the soul has an operation which does not rely on a body organ, and therefore the soul can exist without a body. Furthermore, since the rational soul of human beings is a subsistent form and not something made of matter and form, it cannot be destroyed in any natural process. The full argument for the immortality of the soul and Aquinas' elaboration of Aristotelian theory is found in Question 75 of the First Part of the
Summa Theologica The ''Summa Theologiae'' or ''Summa Theologica'' (), often referred to simply as the ''Summa'', is the best-known work of Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), a scholastic theologian and Doctor of the Church. It is a compendium of all of the main ...
. Aquinas affirmed in the doctrine of the divine effusion of the soul, the particular judgement of the soul after the separation from a dead body, and the final Resurrection of the flesh. He recalled two canons of the 4th-century '' De Ecclesiasticis Dogmatibus'' for which "the rational soul is not engendered by coition" (canon XIV) and "is one and the same soul in man, that both gives life to the body by being united to it, and orders itself by its own reasoning." Moreover, he believed in a unique and tripartite soul, within which are distinctively present a nutritive, a sensitive and intellectual soul. The latter is created by God and is taken solely by human beings, includes the other two types of soul and makes the sensitive soul incorruptible.


Immanuel Kant

In his discussions of rational psychology, Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) identified the soul as the "I" in the strictest sense, and argued that the existence of inner experience can neither be proved nor disproved. It is from the "I", or soul, that Kant proposes transcendental rationalization, but cautions that such rationalization can only determine the limits of knowledge if it is to remain practical.


Philosophy of mind

Gilbert Ryle's ghost in the machine argument, which is a rejection of Descartes's mind–body dualism, can provide a contemporary understanding of the soul/mind, and the problem concerning its connection to the brain/body.


Psychology

Soul belief prominently figues in Otto Rank's work recovering the importance of immortality in the psychology of primitive, classical and modern interest in life and death. Rank's work directly opposed the "scientific" psychology that concedes the possibility of the soul's existence and postulates it as an object of research without really admitting that it exists. "Just as religion represents a psychological commentary on the social evolution of man, various psychologies represent our current attitudes toward spiritual belief. In the animistic era, psychologizing was a ''creating'' of the soul; in the religious era, it was a ''representing'' of the soul to one's self; in our era of natural science it is a ''knowing'' of the individual soul." Rank's "Seelenglaube" translates to "Soul Belief". Rank's work had a significant influence on Ernest Becker's understanding of a universal interest in immortality. In Denial of Death, Becker describes "soul" in terms of Kierkegaard's use of "self" when he says, "what we call schizophrenia is an attempt by the symbolic self to deny the limitations of the finite body."


Science

According to Julien Musolino, the vast majority of scientists hold that the mind is a complex machine that operates on the same physical laws as all other objects in the universe. According to Musolino, there is currently no scientific evidence whatsoever to support the existence of the soul. The search for the soul, however, is seen to have been instrumental in driving the understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the human body, particularly in the fields of cardiovascular and neurology. In the two dominant conflicting concepts of the soul – one seeing it to be spiritual and immortal, and the other seeing it to be material and mortal, both have described the soul as being located in a particular organ or as pervading the whole body.


Neuroscience

Neuroscience as an
interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of multiple academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a research project). It draws knowledge from several other fields like sociology, anthropology, psychology, ec ...
field, and its branch of cognitive neuroscience particularly, operates under the
ontological In metaphysics, ontology is the philosophical study of being, as well as related concepts such as existence, becoming, and reality. Ontology addresses questions like how entities are grouped into categories and which of these entities exis ...
assumption of physicalism. In other words, it assumes that only the fundamental phenomena studied by physics exist. Thus, neuroscience seeks to understand mental phenomena within the framework according to which human thought and
behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English) is the range of actions and mannerisms made by individuals, organisms, systems or artificial entities in some environment. These systems can include other systems or organisms as wel ...
are caused solely by physical processes taking place inside the brain, and it operates by the way of reductionism by seeking an explanation for the mind in terms of brain activity. To study the mind in terms of the brain several methods of
functional neuroimaging Functional neuroimaging is the use of neuroimaging technology to measure an aspect of brain function, often with a view to understanding the relationship between activity in certain brain areas and specific mental functions. It is primarily used a ...
are used to study the neuroanatomical correlates of various
cognitive processes Cognition refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses all aspects of intellectual functions and processes such as: perception, attention, thought, ...
that constitute the mind. The evidence from brain imaging indicates that all processes of the mind have physical correlates in brain function. However, such correlational studies cannot determine whether neural activity plays a causal role in the occurrence of these cognitive processes (
correlation does not imply causation The phrase "correlation does not imply causation" refers to the inability to legitimately deduce a cause-and-effect relationship between two events or variables solely on the basis of an observed association or correlation between them. The id ...
) and they cannot determine if the neural activity is either necessary or sufficient for such processes to occur. Identification of causation, and of necessary and sufficient conditions requires explicit experimental manipulation of that activity. If manipulation of brain activity changes consciousness, then a causal role for that brain activity can be inferred. Two of the most common types of manipulation experiments are loss-of-function and gain-of-function experiments. In a loss-of-function (also called "necessity") experiment, a part of the nervous system is diminished or removed in an attempt to determine if it is necessary for a certain process to occur, and in a gain-of-function (also called "sufficiency") experiment, an aspect of the nervous system is increased relative to normal. Manipulations of brain activity can be performed with direct electrical brain stimulation, magnetic brain stimulation using
transcranial magnetic stimulation Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive form of brain stimulation in which a changing magnetic field is used to induce an electric current at a specific area of the brain through electromagnetic induction. An electric pulse gener ...
, psychopharmacological manipulation, optogenetic manipulation, and by studying the symptoms of
brain damage Neurotrauma, brain damage or brain injury (BI) is the destruction or degeneration of brain cells. Brain injuries occur due to a wide range of internal and external factors. In general, brain damage refers to significant, undiscriminating ...
(case studies) and
lesion A lesion is any damage or abnormal change in the tissue of an organism, usually caused by disease or trauma. ''Lesion'' is derived from the Latin "injury". Lesions may occur in plants as well as animals. Types There is no designated classif ...
s. In addition, neuroscientists are also investigating how the mind develops with the development of the brain.


Physics

Physicist
Sean M. Carroll Sean Michael Carroll (born October 5, 1966) is an American theoretical physicist and philosopher who specializes in quantum mechanics, gravity, and cosmology. He is (formerly) a research professor in the Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical ...
has written that the idea of a soul is incompatible with quantum field theory (QFT). He writes that for a soul to exist: "Not only is new physics required, but dramatically new physics. Within QFT, there can't be a new collection of 'spirit particles' and 'spirit forces' that interact with our regular atoms, because we would have detected them in existing experiments." Quantum indeterminism has been invoked as an explanatory mechanism for possible soul/brain interaction, but neuroscientist Peter Clarke found errors with this viewpoint, noting there is no evidence that such processes play a role in brain function; Clarke concluded that a Cartesian soul has no basis from quantum physics.


Parapsychology

Some parapsychologists have attempted to establish, by
scientific Science is a systematic endeavor that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. Science may be as old as the human species, and some of the earliest archeological evidence for ...
experiment, whether a soul separate from the brain exists, as is more commonly defined in religion rather than as a synonym of psyche or mind.
Milbourne Christopher Milbourne Christopher (23 March 1914 – 17 June 1984) was a prominent American illusionist, magic historian, and author. President of the Society of American Magicians, an honorary vice-president to The Magic Circle, and one of the founding m ...
(1979) and Mary Roach (2010) have argued that none of the attempts by parapsychologists have yet succeeded.


Weight of the soul

In 1901 Duncan MacDougall conducted an experiment in which he made weight measurements of patients as they died. He claimed that there was weight loss of varying amounts at the time of death; he concluded the soul weighed 21 grams, based on measurements of a single patient and discarding conflicting results. The physicist
Robert L. Park Robert Lee Park (January 16, 1931 – April 29, 2020) was an American emeritus professor of physics at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a former director of public information at the Washington office of the American Physical Society ...
wrote that MacDougall's experiments "are not regarded today as having any scientific merit" and the psychologist Bruce Hood wrote that "because the weight loss was not reliable or replicable, his findings were unscientific." Hood, Bruce. (2009). ''Supersense: From Superstition to Religion – The Brain Science of Belief''. Constable. p. 165.


See also

* Ancient Egyptian concept of the soul * Being * Chinese room *
Ekam Ekam is the Sanskrit for " one, single, solitary" (neuter gender), as a noun meaning " unity". ⠀⠀Ayyavazhi⠀⠀ and ⠀⠀Hinduism⠀⠀refers to a monism conceptAyyavazhi and Hinduism, it refers to a concept of monism akin to that of Brahm ...
* History of the location of the soul * Kami * Knowledge argument * Metaphysical naturalism * Mind–body problem *
Nafs ''Nafs'' () is an Arabic word occurring in the Quran, literally meaning "self", and has been translated as " psyche", " ego" or "soul".Nurdeen Deuraseh and Mansor Abu Talib (2005), "Mental health in Islamic medical tradition", ''The Internatio ...
in Islam * Nishimta in Mandaeism * The Over-Soul (essay) *
Paramatman ''Paramatman'' (Sanskrit: परमात्मन्, IAST: Paramātman) or ''Paramātmā'' is the Absolute '' Atman'', or supreme Self, in various philosophies such as the Vedanta and Yoga schools in Hindu theology, as well as other Indian r ...
(or oversoul) * Philosophical zombie *
Qualia In philosophy of mind, qualia ( or ; singular form: quale) are defined as individual instances of subjective, conscious experience. The term ''qualia'' derives from the Latin neuter plural form (''qualia'') of the Latin adjective '' quālis'' () ...
*
Self The self is an individual as the object of that individual’s own reflective consciousness. Since the ''self'' is a reference by a subject to the same subject, this reference is necessarily subjective. The sense of having a self—or ''selfhood ...
*
Self-awareness In philosophy of self, self-awareness is the experience of one's own personality or individuality. It is not to be confused with consciousness in the sense of qualia. While consciousness is being aware of one's environment and body and lifesty ...
* Shade (mythology) * Soul dualism * Soul flight * Substance dualism * Vitalism


References


Further reading

* Batchelor, Stephen. (1998). ''Buddhism Without Beliefs''. Bloomsbury Publishing. * * * Chalmers, David. J. (1996). ''The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory'', New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. * Christopher, Milbourne. (1979). ''Search for the Soul: An Insider's Report on the Continuing Quest By Psychics & Scientists For Evidence of Life After Death''. Thomas Y. Crowell, Publishers. * * Hood, Bruce. (2009). ''Supersense: From Superstition to Religion – The Brain Science of Belief''. Constable. * McGraw, John J. (2004). ''Brain & Belief: An Exploration of the Human Soul''. Aegis Press. * Martin, Michael; Augustine, Keith. (2015)
''The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death''
Rowman & Littlefield. * Park, Robert L. (2009). ''Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science''. Princeton University Press. * Rohde, Erwin. (1925)
''Psyche: The Cult of Souls and Belief in Immortality Among the Greeks''
London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd. * Ryle, Gilbert. (1949) ''The Concept of Mind'', London: Hutchinson. * Spenard, Michael (2011
"Dueling with Dualism: the forlorn quest for the immaterial soul"
essay. An historical account of mind-body duality and a comprehensive conceptual and empirical critique on the position. * Swinburne, Richard. (1997). ''The Evolution of the Soul''. Oxford: Oxford University Press. * Leibowitz, Aryeh. (2018). The Neshama: A Study of the Human Soul. Feldheim Publishers. * * Translation of the original:


External links


Quantum Theory Won’t Save The Soul

What Science Really Says About the Soul
by Stephen Cave
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Ancient Theories of the Soul

The soul in Judaism
at Chabad.org
The Old Testament Concept of the Soul
by Heinrich J. Vogel]
Body, Soul and Spirit
Article in th
Journal of Biblical Accuracy

Is Another Human Living Inside You?
*
"The Soul"
BBC Radio 4 discussion with Richard Sorabji, Ruth Padel and Martin Palmer (''In Our Time'', 6 June 2002) {{Authority control Conceptions of self Concepts in metaphysics Dualism (philosophy of mind) Ghosts Metaphysics of religion Mind Religious philosophical concepts Religious belief and doctrine Vitalism