Restoring the Substance to the Soul of Psychology

Volume 26
Spring 1998
Restoring the Substance to the Soul of Psychology

Currently, the self has replaced the soul as the major focus of much psychological theorizing. I argue that this shift is due to a number of confusions regarding the nature and justification of substance dualism. I also claim that this focus on the self, without a framework that treats it as a substantial soul, leads to a number of conceptual problems and terminological equivocations. Moreover, I show that certain features of widely accepted views of the self actually seem to require a substantial soul to make sense. To substantiate these claims, Section I contains a discussion of a set of current misunderstandings about the nature of a substance (e.g., that a substance is a static thing unrelated to other things), and a treatment of key problems with current models of the self (e.g., that the self is a construct of language). Section II compares two very different views of wholes with parts-substances vs. property-things. Section III clarifies the essence of substance dualism by describing five states of the soul and the nature of a faculty of the soul. The section closes with a sketch of the main types of considerations that justify belief in substance dualism. In the final section,I argue that the self is the soul by showing how key features of certain psychological models of the self seem to require substance dualism to make sense and by clarifying a set of psychological terms/concepts in light of what has been argued earlier.

Dr. H.T. Christensen and Dr. J.P. Moreland
29 - 43
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