This post was inspired by my Human Person class, wherein we discussed the soul and body in a more religious context. However, I’d like to address this in a more philosophical and psychological context, as I am not affiliated with any religion.
Humans are made of two different “things”: the physical and the immaterial.
The soul and mind are immaterial.
The body is physical and biological.
Many people agree that the soul & mind are separate from the body. This is also a theory I agree with.
But in psychology, when Phineas Gage had a metal rod go through his head and impale his brain, his personality shifted. In psychology there is a theory called “reductive physicalism”, wherein everything can be explained by the material body.
Press the hippocampus and your memory disappears. Stab one of the lobes on your brain and you become bi-polar. One half of your brain is creative and one is quantitative. Science has again proved that the brain does affect the personality.
If what happens to us physically affects something immaterial (our personality), then does that mean the material is connected to the immaterial?
Another question then is: does personality = mind? If yes, then if the brain can alter one’s personality, then that means the mind is tied to the physical body rather than completely separated. If no, then where does the mind reside?
What of the soul?
The soul is comprised of several components: intellectual awareness (of others and of oneself), mind (in a way), one’s ethics and morals, and a myriad of immaterial substances that gives us life in a non-biological way.
The soul can theoretically exist without the body. Thus, when our body dies, where does our soul go? There is a different answer depending on your faith. In Christianity, there is an afterlife (heaven), and resurrection. Buddhism adopts the concept of Samsara and reincarnation. Atheists have no answer or have multiple varying answers that do not involve heaven or hell.
But if the soul can live without the body, can the mind?
Can we transplant the soul into different bodies, or can we do so with the mind? Is the soul somehow attached to a brain, or body, or mind?
I don’t have an answer. I just think this is all very interesting.
What are your thoughts on the soul vs. mind. vs body?