The Soul of the Person

The Soul of the Person: a contemporary philosophical psychology

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 320
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    The Soul of the Person
    Book Description:

    The Soul of the Person is a contemporary account of the metaphysical basis for the transcendence of the human person. In being directed toward truth, beauty, and goodness, the human person transcends the physical order and reveals himself as a spiritual, as well as a material, being.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1669-0
    Subjects: Religion
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface (pp. xi-xvi)
    • CHAPTER 1 The Status of the Question (pp. 3-38)

      To ask about human nature is to ask about the soul. Or one might say it is to ask about the status of this term soul. We speak of the soul. But what does soul mean? Generally, this term has to do with what makes us distinctive as humans. We speak of the most intimate, most human aspect of ourselves as being expressed by this term, soul. The science of psychology, which investigates how humans act, comes from the Greek psyche—or soul. Psychology is, hence, the science of the soul. At issue then is the status, the meaning of...

    • CHAPTER 2 The Existence and Essence of Material Things (pp. 41-62)

      Ordinarily we do not regard matter as a particularly problematic concept. Matter is the “stuff” of what lies all about us. Material things are, in a way, paradigmatic of reality. When we want to affirm that something is real, we most commonly appeal to material things and experiences: “as sure as you’re standing there,” “as real as this chair I’m sitting on.” Matter is a “no nonsense” kind of reality. Material things are what they are and do not slip away as thoughts and feelings seem to so often. Nevertheless, the nature of matter, or rather the material, important as...

    • CHAPTER 3 Spirit and the Spiritual (pp. 63-88)

      Just as we find the conception of the material to be rooted in human experience—in the resistance of things in the environment to our efforts—so do we also find the spiritual in experience. Even more than as material, we commonly regard ourselves as spiritual beings. Indeed, most people consider the spiritual to be the most characteristically human, to be that which makes us most authentically what we are. What, then, is a spirit or a spiritual being?

      We may start by considering our use of these terms spirit and spiritual, not in philosophical, but in everyday contexts. Any...

    • CHAPTER 4 The Power to Know (pp. 91-152)

      Human beings want to know, to understand things. Scientific materialism, beginning with Darwin,¹ argues that the human capacity to know is simply a more developed and more sophisticated variant of animal cognition. Analysis of its structure, however, shows that human reason is more than a survival adaptation. The difference between human knowledge and animal cognition is founded on the human ability to understand, which is the power to grasp what things are (their essences) and form cognitions and behavior according to this understanding. This power to understand, we shall argue, cannot be only a material state or capacity. Although everything...

    • CHAPTER 5 Love, Consciousness, and the Power to Choose (pp. 153-222)

      Because the behaviors of things are rooted in their natures, we expect that characteristic human behaviors will be rooted in human nature. To the extent that there is such an essence, these distinctively human behaviors point to the essence of the human being. The thesis of this chapter is that the distinctive characteristic of human behavior is that the human being transcends habit through rational self-governance, that the human being differs from animals and other living things in that he rationally forms his actions and habits. To some extent, therefore, the human person authors his own inner governing principles. It...

    • CHAPTER 6 Reality and Nature of the Soul (pp. 225-276)

      Having characterized the material and the spiritual and how they interrelate, we turn now to the question of the root of human rationality, of this material being’s spiritual characteristics. If the human being cannot be reduced to a material structure alone but responds in love for the good experienced as beautiful, then he is also a spiritual being and this spiritual character requires an account. Other beings, such as machines and animals, do not evidence this spiritual character we find in human beings. Therefore we turn our attention to determining that factor in virtue of which the material being that...

  9. Epilogue: God, the Person, and the Afterlife (pp. 277-286)

    What happens to the soul when a person dies? At the end of this very theoretical book, we address the very real and concrete question of our own destiny and hope. The philosophical discussion, abstruse though it may be, addresses a matter of intense personal concern to every human being. Early human beings, dwelling in the caves of France, ceremonially buried their dead. Religions and myths, folkways, and even legal practices in various ways reflect the belief that one who has died continues in some way to live on, whether in the realm of the ancestors, in Hades among the...

  10. Bibliography (pp. 287-294)
  11. Index (pp. 295-302)
  12. Back Matter (pp. 303-304)


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