Coming to MindThe Soul and Its Body

Coming to MindThe Soul and Its Body

Lenn E. Goodman and D. Gregory Caramenico

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9780226061061

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Contrary to popular rumor, brain science has not shown that souls are an illusion – not if by soul we mean what it is about a person that acts and thinks, often creatively, what makes choices and takes responsibility. The human self, as theories of emergence and complexity are teaching us, is among those complex realities not reducible to the sum of their humbler parts and predecessors. Neuropsychology and cognitive science make a powerful case for the soul, not as a wisp of smoke but as a dynamic reality emergent from our bodily capabilities. Examining perception, consciousness, memory, agency, and creativity Goodman and Caramenico argue for a new humanism rooted in the philosophical and intellectual traditions of the West – and the East – but anchored in the latest scientific findings. Coming to Mind does not pit soul against body or body against soul, as though the work of understanding were a zero-sum game. They argue not for a separable soul, spiritual in name yet mysteriously able to pass through walls. Rather, they lay out a groundwork for understanding the intimate relation between the body (above all, the brain) and an integrated self capable of language and thought, discovery, caring, and love.