Proving the Soul Exists

Sometimes atheists come up with remarkably stupid demands, such as this one:

First, I would note that this epistemological “rule” is itself stupid. If one cannot speak of things before “proving” they exist, one cannot propose the existence of things in a hypothetical manner, which (1) is the end of science, and (2) renders it impossible to prove anything exists in any case, since one is not allowed to speak about it.

But this one is particularly stupid.

The soul is the ψυχή or psychē. It is the object of the science of psychology. Another name for it is “the mind.”

It can be “proven” to exist in two words: COGITO SUM.

For those of you who don’t know that bit of Latin, it is Descartes’ famous “I think; I am.”

The existence of the mind or soul is self-evident to anyone able to pose the question of the existence of the soul (or anything else), since being a being that is capable of thinking and questioning first requires one have a mind or soul.

It is LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE to doubt the existence of one’s own soul, since one IS one’s own soul, in the primary sense.  If may be the case (and is) that the soul is intimately linked with the body, my soul with my body, but however close the two, they are not logically identical or inseparable.  One can both conceive of and imagine (the two are not the same), one’s conscious awareness being moved to and inhabiting another body.

One cannot, however, conceive of oneself as not identical or separable from one’s self, which is yet another synonym for one’s soul or mind.

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10 comments on “Proving the Soul Exists

  1. essiep says:

    Interesting, but I can’t see any way that the soul is separable from the body. It’s not like a traveller in a vehicle.

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    • Eve Keneinan says:

      The soul is logically separable from the body. Descartes takes that as sufficient proof that the two are independent (although intimately conjoined) entities.

      The more traditional view is hylomorphism (matter-form-ism), which holds that the soul is the form of the living body. It is the animating principle (‘anima’ is Latin for ‘soul’). Like other cases of form-matter, it appears that form can exist without matter, but matter cannot exist without some form.

      Take a simple example: there is such a thing as the form of tyrannosaur. The form is not currently instantiated in any actual living tyrannosaur (or pick any extinct species). But the form or essence or what-it-is-to-be-a-tyrannosaur is still not nothing. When paleozoologists debate about the biology of the tyrannosaurus, you cannot say they are doing something erroneous, since they are talking about something nonexistent. And there is no reason in principle that the form of tyrannosaur could not once again become instantiated, via some sort of technological “Jurassic Park” scenario.

      If one is a Platonist, as I am, it is evident that forms exist in some fashion apart from matter. In any case, this is not an insane view of forms or essences.

      Now if the living soul or at least the rational soul (which seems related to forms by “taking them on” in some way, which is how we know) is the form of the body, as Aristotle teaches, nothing prevents it from continuing to exist apart from the body.

      And if there are disembodied intelligences, such as spiritual beings, we would actually know that there can be consciousnesses without bodies.

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      • essiep says:

        The last part seems to be where this breaks down. I have never seen any reason to think there are disembodied intelligences, so the last conclusion can’t be assumed.

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  2. andrew Brew says:

    I suppose that would be why there is no sign of anybody assuming it.

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  3. Of course you can assert the soul exists or hypothesize its existence, but once you do you’re liable to be asked to show evidence it exists and explain exactly what you mean by ‘soul’. Just like a scientist would be asked for evidence of a claim made.

    We know a brain exists so what makes a soul necessary? How do you define a soul? What function would it serve that the brain can’t?

    As far as I know, there is no good evidence to believe in a supernatural, incorporeal entity that is able to live independently from our bodies.

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    • Eve Keneinan says:

      How do “we know” a brain exists, if not via some kind of mental experience?

      The mind is always more evident to us that the brain. Remember, our experience is direct, what we experience indirect. It is logically possible there are no brains at all, but it is not logically possible to claim that experience itself is “an illusion.” The very concept of “illusion” requires there to be experience.

      It is LITERALLY incoherent to deny minds exist while claiming on the basis of one’s mental experience that brains do exist.

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      • You can do an MRI on a brain. After you die we can cut open your skull and take your brain out. We can operate on your brain now.

        Your description of a mind doesn’t explain why it is needed. What are its properties and what evidence do you have that a conciousness can survive the ohtsical death of tge brain?

        The mind is definitely not more evident than the brain.

        Experience isn’t an illusion. It’s experinced by our besin.

        You have yet to explain what is incoherent about that or anything else.

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        • andrew Brew says:

          You can do all those things, and if you accept a series of assumptions (starting with the reality of the external world reported by you apparent senses, and going on to the reliability of the senses in what they report, and the reliability of your reason in interpreting it) you can convince yourself that you have learned something about these objects you call “brains”. Now, those assumptions might be good – I share them myself – and your conclusions about brains might be true. Or, in principle, they might not. What must be true, and cannot be false with any shadow of a doubt, is the existence of the mind that forms those conclusions.

          To insist on the truth of your mental conclusions about the nature of bodily organs, while denying the existence of the mind that forms such conclusions, is what is incoherent.

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          • You sound like your talking in babble. Please explain what this mind is. Then explain its function and then provide evidence that your conciousness can survive in an incorporeal form.

            You also don’t have to assume anything with the brain. Its existence is well documented.

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  4. Andrew Brew says:

    Your mind is the faculty you are using to form the thoughts you are communicating to me. Its existence cannot be proved for the same reason that you cannot prove the reasonableness of reason.

    The relationship between the mind and the brain, and the question of whether, and to what extent, the former can exist without the latter, are separate questions that can be addressed later. As long as you insist that you do not have a mind at all, though… well, you can’t get there from here.

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