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An angel and a devil fighting over the soul of a dying bishop. Catalan tempera painting, 15th century

The term soul has a variety of meanings depending on the different mythical, religious, philosophical or psychological traditions and teachings in which it appears. In today's linguistic usage, the totality of all emotions and mental processes in humans is meant. In this sense, “soul” is largely synonymous with “ psyche ”, the Greek word for soul. “Soul” can also designate a principle which is assumed to underlie these impulses and processes, to order them and also to bring about or influence physical processes.

In addition, there are religious and philosophical concepts in which “soul” refers to an immaterial principle that is understood as the carrier of the life of an individual and of his or her permanent identity through time . Often associated with this is the assumption that the soul is independent of the body and thus also of physical death with regard to its existence and is therefore immortal . Death is then interpreted as the process of separating soul and body. In some traditions it is taught that the soul already exists before conception, that it inhabits and guides the body only temporarily and that it is used as a tool or that it is imprisoned in it as in a prison. In many such teachings, the immortal soul alone constitutes the person; the ephemeral body is viewed as insignificant or as a burden and obstacle to the soul. Numerous myths and religious dogmas make statements about the fate that awaits the soul after the death of the body. In a large number of teachings it is assumed that a transmigration of souls ( reincarnation ) takes place, that is, that the soul has a home in different bodies one after the other.

In the early modern period , from the 17th century onwards, the traditional concept of the soul, derived from ancient philosophy, as the life principle of all living beings that controls physical functions, was increasingly rejected, since it was not needed to explain affects and body processes. The model of René Descartes was influential , who only ascribed a soul to humans and limited its function to thinking. Descartes' teaching was followed by the debate about the “ mind -body problem ”, which continues and is the subject of the philosophy of mind today. This involves the question of the relationship between mental and physical states.

A wide range of highly divergent approaches is discussed in modern philosophy. It ranges from positions that assume the existence of an independent, body-independent soul substance to eliminative materialism , according to which all statements about the mental are inappropriate because nothing corresponds to them in reality; rather, all seemingly “mental” states and processes can be completely reduced to the biological. Between these radical positions there are different models that do not deny the mental reality, but only conditionally allow the concept of the soul in a more or less weak sense.

Etymology and history of meaning in German

The German word "Seele" comes from Middle High German sële and Old High German së (u) la , Gothic saiwala from a primitive Germanic form * saiwalō or * saiwlō . According to one hypothesis, this is derived from the also ancient Germanic * saiwaz (lake) as "the lake that comes from the lake" ; the connection is said to be that, according to an old Germanic belief, the souls of people live in certain lakes before birth and after death. However, it is unclear how widespread this belief was; therefore the connection is not generally accepted in research, especially since a connection between the realm of the dead and * saiwaz (or forms derived from it) is not documented in Germanic sources. A connection with Sami saivo is assumed, an ancient Norse loan word that denotes a realm of the dead.

Already in Old High German and Middle High German, formulaic expressions such as “with (or on) body and soul” were frequent, which in the sense of “completely, completely” explicitly refer to the whole person. The expression “ beautiful soul ”, popular since the late Middle Ages, has ancient (nobilitas cordis) , old French (gentil cuer) and spiritual (edeliu sêle) roots and appears programmatically in the variant of the noble heart with Gottfried von Strasbourg († around 1215). In the 14th century, “beautiful soul” became common in spiritual literature. In a religious sense, the term is still used in Pietism , for example by Susanna Katharina von Klettenberg , a friend of Goethe's mother. Since 17./18. Century often means “soul” the whole person (“he is a good soul”; “no soul” for “nobody”).

The current of sensitivity in the Age of Enlightenment also used “beautiful soul” in a further, no longer just religious sense to mark a sensitive and virtuous mind or person. Friedrich Schiller uses the “beautiful soul” to describe the harmony of sensuality and morality. In this sense, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel interprets Jesus in his theological writings for young people. Friedrich Nietzsche , on the other hand, formulates sarcastically : “To demand that everything should be 'good people', herd animals, blue-eyed, benevolent, 'beautiful soul' - or, as Mr. Herbert Spencer wishes, be altruistic , would mean depriving existence of its great character castrate humanity and bring it down to a poor Chinese. - And this has been tried! ... This was called morality. ”In the opinion of Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer , bourgeois society granted women“ acceptance into the world of domination, but as broken ”, and then praised her as a beautiful soul; behind this facade, however, the woman's desperation over her subjugation was hidden.

In the 20th century, the foreign word “psyche” became common due to the use of language in psychology. It stands for a more sober, more scientifically oriented view of the human inner life without the emotional overtones of "soul". The difference between psyche and soul becomes clear in Goethe, for example, who has his figure of Iphigenia on Tauris exclaim: "And on the shore I stand for long days, searching the land of the Greeks with my soul". According to the linguistic feeling of today's readers, "looking for the land of the Greeks with their psyche " would be inappropriate here.

Traditional ideas and teachings

Ethnic religions

In many indigenous cultures , whose religious traditions are examined by general and comparative religious studies, there is an abundance of ideas and terms that roughly relate to what Europeans traditionally understand by soul (in the metaphysical- religious sense), or at least to something in a certain way Respect to it comparable. From a religious-scientific point of view, “soul” includes everything that “ reveals itself to religious people (in themselves and in others) as the power of physical and hyperphysical (paraphysical, parapsychic, psycho-spiritual and post-mortem ) life”. In indigenous traditions it is usually assumed that the variety of mental and physical functions corresponds to a variety of causers. This results in the assumption of a multitude of independent psychic powers and forces or even independent “souls” that are active in an individual and bring about the manifold expressions of life. There is a separate term for each of these instances, but the assignment of the individual functions to the psychic powers is often vague. In some cases it is unclear to what extent individual or rather supra-personal aspects are in the foreground in the ideas of these powers. Often there is no need to distinguish between subjective and objective reality. Likewise, no fundamental distinction is made between material and spiritual ; nothing is exclusively material and nothing is purely spiritual. The soul is usually thought to be more or less material or subtle and only comes into focus in connection with its physical carriers or its perceptible manifestations .

Despite the uncertainty, a classification can be made; Criteria for this are on the one hand the function of the soul and its spatial relationship to its wearer, and on the other hand its shape .

The consideration of the soul from the point of view of function and relationship to the wearer results in the following classification:

  • The vital soul (body soul ) regulates the body functions. As part of the organism, it can be inextricably linked to a specific organ or part of the body. The head, throat, heart, bones, hair and blood appear as the seat or physical carrier of such a soul in different cultures. The existence of this soul ends with that of the body.
  • The ego-soul regulates the spiritual life in the normal state (waking state) and enables self-confidence . It is also bound to the body or a certain organ and is mortal.
  • The free soul (excursion soul) can leave the body, which happens in sleep or in ecstasy. At death she gives up the body and becomes the soul of the dead; through its immortality it enables the individual to continue to exist. It can move to an afterlife (realm of the dead) or also remain in this world or return there or, according to some traditions, as a reincarnation soul inhabit different bodies one after the other.
  • The outer soul stays outside of the body and connects people with their natural environment or with a spiritual or otherworldly area. If it is considered destructible, its annihilation means death for humans.

The consideration from the point of view of the shape leads to the differentiation of the following manifestations of the soul:

  • The soul appears in human form. This does not have to correspond in every case to the physical form of the individual concerned; so the excursion soul of a man often appears as a woman.
  • The soul assumes an animal form, especially often that of a bird ("soul bird").
  • The soul shows itself in elemental or subtle form. Such an elemental soul is imagined as air, wind, breath, fire, light, water or smoke.
  • The soul becomes noticeable as an optical or acoustic phenomenon, for example as a shadow, mirror image or sound (especially as a name).

It should be noted that, depending on the religious tradition, one or more of the functions mentioned can be assigned to one of the soul terms.

On soul performances in the Neolithic let cemeteries with Early Neolithic cremations close that indicate an intention clearly to facilitate the as subtle-conceived soul the way to the afterlife. The deceased's possessions and meat food as food for the journey were also put on the stake.


The religious and philosophical concepts of Indian origin are based partly on the Vedic religion , from which the various currents of Hinduism have developed. However, some teachings are in sharp contrast to the authority of Vedic literature: Buddhism , Sikhism, and Jainism . A common feature of all Indian traditions is that they make no distinction between human souls and the souls of other life forms (animals, plants, even microbes).

The ancient Indian teachings, with the exception of the materialistic (nāstika) and Buddhism, assume that the human body is animated by a vital soul ( jīva , literally “life”, “living being”), which is also the carrier of individual self-awareness (I-soul ) is. Each jīva can also inhabit any other living being body. In the cycle of rebirth ( samsara , transmigration of souls) it connects one after the other with numerous human, animal and vegetable bodies. The soul or the self therefore always has priority over the body and survives its death. In Buddhism, this applies to the totality of the mental factors that shape an individual rather than the soul. At death the soul separates from the body. The ego-soul is therefore at the same time a free soul; as such it is also called ātman or purusha .

The traditional systems, which assume the existence of a soul, a self or the body of enduring spiritual components of the living being, consider the connection of the soul with material bodies or the formation of a mind-body complex as a fault and a misfortune, its final elimination and future avoidance is sought. The way to do this is to remove ignorance. This is called release ( moksha ) from the cycle and is the ultimate goal of philosophical or religious endeavors.

An essential difference to the soul conceptions of Platonic or Christian origin that dominate in the West is that in a large part of Indian religious-philosophical teachings the individual soul is not regarded as eternal. It is often assumed that one day it will dissolve into a superordinate, impersonal metaphysical reality ( Brahman ) with which it is of the same nature. According to this view, she once separated herself from the comprehensive existence of Brahman or under the illusion that such separation existed; if she reverses this process, her individual existence or the self-delusion that such an existence actually exists ends. In order to distinguish it from the common Western concept of soul, the translation and commentary of texts from such traditions is often deliberately not using the term "soul".

Hindu directions

In Hinduism there are two main directions, the teachings of which are basically incompatible despite attempts at harmonization: Vedanta and Samkhya . For its part, the philosophy of Vedanta is divided into Advaita (“non-duality”, monism ), Dvaita (“duality”, dualism ) and Vishishtadvaita , a moderately monistic teaching that assumes a real multiplicity within the unity.

Advaita adherents are radical monists who only accept a single, unified metaphysical reality. They consider all plurality or duality to be a pseudo-reality that dissolves when it is seen through. Accordingly, the individual souls, as well as the bodies animated by them, do not exist ontologically as independent entities , but are illusory components of an actually worthless and meaningless pseudo world of perishable individual things.

Opposite positions to the Indian radical monism are the dualism of the Samkhya philosophy and the classical yoga of Patañjali , according to which the primordial matter and the primordial soul are two eternal primordial principles, the moderate monism (Vishishtadvaita after Ramanuja ), which many practitioners of Bhakti Yoga represent, and the view of the 13th century Brahmin Madhva , who regarded God, the individual souls and matter as three eternal entities. In these systems, which reject radical monism, a real individual immortality of the soul (of the self) is affirmed; The goal is the final exit from the cycle of the transmigration of souls and entry into a world beyond, in which the soul remains permanently.


The Buddhism represents mainly the Anatta -Teaching. Anatta , a word in the Pali language , means “not-atman”, that is, “not-self” or “not-soul”. Buddhists deny the existence of a soul or self in terms of a unified and constant reality that survives death. From a Buddhist point of view, that which survives death and keeps the cycle of rebirth going is nothing but a transitory bundle of mental factors, behind which there is no person core as an independent substance. Sooner or later, this complex dissolves into its constituent parts, gradually transforming itself, with parts being eliminated and others being added. The metaphysical term ātman (soul) is therefore empty, since it has no constant content.


In Sikhism , the world and the living beings (souls) in it are viewed as real, but not as eternal. They emerged from God through emanation and would return to him.


In Jainism , the individual soul (jīva) is seen as immortal. It can purify itself through asceticism , free itself from its connection with the material forms of existence and transfer to a world beyond, in which it remains permanently and without any contact with the material world and its inhabitants. She has to accomplish her redemption by her own strength, since the Jainas as atheists do not consider divine assistance possible.


The Ajivikas have disappeared as a ideological community; They can be proven up to the 14th century. It was a strictly deterministic trend. They assumed an immortal but material soul consisting of a special kind of atoms without free will , whose fate is inevitably carried out according to given necessity.

Ancient Indian materialism

The ancient Indian atheistic materialism has perished as a philosophical school. His representatives, who were called nastikas (negators, negativists), included in particular the followers of the Lokayata doctrine, which came from Charvaka and which was introduced as early as the first millennium BC. Was common. They accepted only four sensible elements as real and viewed all mental phenomena as the result of certain temporary combinations of the elements that end with physical death. On the basis of this conviction, they denied the existence of gods, a moral world order and a soul different from the body.


Like many prehistoric and indigenous peoples, the Chinese in prehistoric times had different expressions for the souls in an individual. A body soul ( p'o or p'êh ) and a breath soul (hun) were accepted as two separate entities in man. The body soul is responsible for physical functions (especially the movement of the body), the breath soul for consciousness and intellect. The breath soul is a free soul and excursion soul, which can leave the body during its lifetime and finally separates from it when it dies. The body soul also persists after death, but it remains connected to the body and normally accompanies it to the grave, where the grave goods are intended to ensure its well-being. In addition, the 8th century BC existed. Chr. Attested idea that the P'o-soul of a deceased can get into the underworld, to the yellow springs (Huángquán) , where it goes badly. In the traditional Chinese system of universal classification , the P'o soul is assigned to the dark, feminine Yin principle and the earth. It arises at the same time as the embryo. The Hun soul is assigned to the male, bright Yang principle and heaven. It arises when a person comes into the light at birth. With the food the person takes in subtle matter (ching) , which is needed by both souls for strengthening. Thus, both souls are not thought of as immaterial. After a natural death of the body, the Hun soul can go to heaven or to another realm. In the event of a violent death, however, it is to be expected that both souls will remain in the social environment of the deceased and drive their mischief there as spirits of greed and revenge. A spiritual entity that is inherent in the human being and survives his body, but has arisen (not individually pre-existing), was also referred to as shen .

The wheel that represents the cycle of rebirths. Buddhist relief, rock sculptures byAdditional , China, 12./13. century

The very early, at the time of the Shang state in the 2nd millennium BC. BC, strongly developed ancestor cult - a constant in Chinese cultural history - and the rich prehistoric burial equipment are not only to be interpreted as an expression of piety towards the ancestors, but show the power of the idea that the souls of the dead have the same needs as the living and that they intervene in the life of the bereaved in a supportive or disruptive manner.

Mo Ti , who lived in the 5th century BC. BC founded the Mohism named after him, taught the continued existence after death. The followers of the since the 2nd century BC In contrast, Confucianism , which was established as a state doctrine in China , regarded speculations about it as useless and left the topic to traditional Chinese folk religion .

A philosophical controversy about the soul and the question of whether a spiritual or mental entity survives the body or even continues to exist forever, apparently only started late, when it was at the time of the Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD) . BC) Buddhism began to spread. Skeptics and materialists took part in the debate who opposed the idea of ​​an independently existing soul and traced all mental functions back to physical ones. In this sense, the philosophers Wang Chong (1st century AD) and Fan Zhen (5th / 6th century AD ) argued . Fan Zhen wrote a treatise on the annihilation of the soul (Shenmie lun) that caused a sensation at the court of Emperor Wu by Liang. The polemics of the skeptics were directed against Buddhism, since the Buddhists were regarded as adherents of the immortality idea. Buddhism actually strongly rejects the concept of an immortal soul, but in China it has often been modified by popular beliefs that resulted in a permanent soul progressing through the cycle of rebirth.


The souls of fallen soldiers are venerated in the Yasukuni Shrine .

In Japan, the traditional ideas of the soul are closely related to the ancestral cult that has been widespread since prehistoric times and was an important part of indigenous folk religion, an early form of Shintoism . They are also influenced by the Japanese forms of Mahayana Buddhism introduced in the 6th century . Different variants of the old Shinto folk belief said that the souls of the deceased either live in the underworld ( yomo-tsu-kuni or soko-tsu-kuni ) or in a heavenly realm ( takama-no-hara ) , or in a "permanent one." Land “ (toko-yo) referred to the realm of the dead on the other side of the ocean. But it was also assumed that they are not inaccessible there, but that they seek out this world and dwell with people. From the 9th century, after Japanese Buddhism gained considerable influence over religious mores , popularly popular celebrations were held to appease the anger of souls from the violent deaths. Soul shrines were built to commemorate prominent deceased people who had been wronged during their lifetime and whose souls were to be appeased.

According to another view, widespread up to the modern age, the dead souls live on certain high mountains. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims went to the famous place of worship on Mount Iya every year in the 20th century. A highlight of the cult of the soul is the Buddhist Obon festival, which has been celebrated annually in the summer since the 7th century , for which families gather; this is not intended to provide the living with the blessing of the dead souls, but rather the ritual acts are intended to serve the welfare of the dead souls, who return to their living relatives on this occasion.

The name for the soul is tama or mitama (basic meaning: precious, wonderful, mysterious). The tama was viewed as inconsistent; a mild and happy part of the soul cares about the well-being of the person, another part is wild and passionate, exposes people to risk and can also do wrongdoing. The conviction was and is widespread that the souls of the living leave the body as excursion souls.

Old Egypt

In ancient Egypt , three terms were used to denote three aspects of the soul: Ka , Ba and Ach . Characteristic of the ancient Egyptian way of thinking is a very close connection of the soul to the physical and therefore even beyond death to the corpse and its grave. The buried corpse was still considered to be capable of being animated and thus in principle capable of acting. Therefore, the preservation of the body through mummification was of central importance for the Egyptian belief in the dead. But there were also various ideas about an existence in the hereafter ; apparently hardly any attempt was made to combine the different concepts into a coherent whole.

The term Ka , which was dominant in the era of the Old Kingdom , denoted the source of life force. According to the Egyptian understanding of the soul, the presence of the Ka made the difference between a living person and a corpse. Furthermore, the Ka could function as a doppelganger or guardian spirit of the person concerned. It was "constant" and a guarantee of continuity, because it was passed on from father to son and thus stood for the uninterrupted continuation of the life force in the line of ancestors. Therefore, he was very prominent at birth. When he died, he left the body but stayed close to it. His abode was a statue erected especially for him in the grave, where he was indispensable for the survival of the person. In the Old Kingdom, food and drink were made available for the ka - that is, for the corpse it was supposed to animate - at a sacrificial site above the grave. The idea was so material that logically there was even a toilet in some graves. However, this care for the dead was only considered for members of the upper class. Several kas have been ascribed to kings and gods , and the term ka occurs in the plural for a person in prayers for the dead in private graves of the Old Kingdom .

A depiction of the Ba bird from the Egyptian Book of the Dead

In the Middle Kingdom , the concept of Ba gained increasing importance. When Ba is called a personal life force that is at that time, according to faith carrier of individual existence and survives death. In the Old Kingdom, Ba was seen as a manifestation of special power and apparently only ascribed to the king, but later the concept was expanded to include all people in a modified form. The term Ba was understood to mean a very flexible aspect of the soul, which according to popular belief is already present in living people, but hardly plays a role; it only emerges at death, because physical death means a kind of birth for him. Most of the time Ba was depicted as a bird, often with a human head. This shows that it belongs to the type of "soul bird" that is widespread among indigenous peoples. According to Egyptian beliefs, the Ba birds were actually celestial beings and lived in a northern region ( Qebehu ) , but Ba , like Ka , retained a permanent bond with the corpse, that is, with the mummy. In order to induce the ba to visit the tomb - which was apparently regarded as a kind of resuscitation of the corpse and was very much desired - drinking water was provided there to attract him.

Oh, in the form of an ibis as a hieroglyph

The Ach (spirit of light, derived from a word for "shine of light") was the transfiguration soul of a deceased, which only arose after his death. In contrast to the Ka , it was not tied to a specific location. Ach was a god-like form of existence that was achieved after death through appropriate efforts, in that the dead appropriated the Ach power and thereby became an Ach . Magical-ritual measures served this purpose. This included rites that were performed on the grave, inscriptions that were placed there or on the coffin, and texts that the deceased had to recite. Of gods such as Re and Osiris to help hoped when Oh -Werdung. If the transfiguration rites were carried out correctly at the grave, the deceased achieved the status of an “effective”, “equipped (fully equipped)” and “venerable” Oh ; as such he could influence the world of the living. In contrast to Ka and Ba , the “effective” oh could show himself as a ghost and intervene in people's lives in a beneficial or damaging manner. Like Ka and Ba , Ach showed a strong connection to the grave and an interest in its condition. There, the Egyptians deposited her at the Ah -looking of those buried messages.

Some aspects of oh- faith have changed; In the Old Kingdom, for example, a ceremonial feeding of the Ach was carried out, but later, in contrast to the Ka and Ba, he no longer required any material provision in performing the service of the dead. In the older form of this belief, moral behavior was immaterial; There were no ethical prerequisites for the Ach status ; an Ach , like a living person, could be good or malicious. In the New Kingdom is, however, a connection between moral merit and began Oh -Will make.

Ba representation from the 3rd century BC. Chr., Walters Art Museum , Baltimore

The ideas of the realm of the dead were strongly shaped by the numerous dangers that threatened the deceased there, partly due to the inhospitable nature of the area, partly due to the pursuit of demons . For example, demons tried to catch the bird-shaped ba with bird nets. Detainees were at risk of torture and maiming. On the other hand, divine assistance and, above all, knowledge of the fixed spells required to banish the dangers , which are handed down in coffin texts, helped . The existence on the other side was a continuation of the life on the other; so there was also farm work there. The dead resided "in the west" and were the "people of the west" (Imentiu) , the living lived in the east (on the Nile).

The dead were put before the judgment of the dead , where their hearts were weighed against the truth ( Maat ) with a scale , that is, their freedom from wrongdoing was tested ( psychostasis ). In the event of conviction, they were eaten by an ammit, i.e. destroyed. This moral concept competed and mingled with the ethically indifferent one, which made the post-death fate dependent on the correct practice of ritual magic .

Thus, according to ancient Egyptian ideas, souls were neither immaterial nor in principle indestructible. They did not exist before the formation of the body, reincarnation was not considered. Those who escaped the dangers beyond or were acquitted by the judgment of the dead were promised a happy life in a pleasant world, but such promises have met with serious doubts in some circles since the time of the Middle Kingdom. Skeptics questioned the effectiveness of the elaborate precautions for a happy, or at least satisfactory, afterlife. They pointed to the uncertainty of fate after death or the bleak prospects for the deceased. With the degradation of the hereafter, the request was often connected to strive for enjoyment of life in this world.


Neither the written sources nor the archeology offer concrete information about the ideas of the soul of the Sumerians and later the Akkadians , although the Sumerian religion , to which the Akkadian religion is closely related, can be easily deduced from the sources. In the Sumerian and Akkadian languages , there are no expressions whose meanings coincide with that of “soul”. The Akkadian term napischtu (m) / napschartu (“throat”, “life”, “life force”, also “person”) can be seen as a name for a soul, analogous to the related Hebrew words nefesch and neschama , which are derived from the The concrete basic meaning of "breath" refers to the life that appears in the breath. With this (and with other terms of the same or similar meaning) only a vital soul (body soul) of humans and animals that arises and dies with the body is meant; there are no further conclusions. The corresponding word in Sumerian is zi , which is related to the verb zi-pa-ag 2 (“to breathe”, “to blow”); There is a phrase zi-pa-gá-né-esch , which refers to checking whether there is still life in a body or whether the breath of life has left it. In addition, in Sumerian there is the expression libic / lipic for “ inwardness ” (of the human being) and in Babylonian libbu for “heart”, comparable to our use of “heart” in psychological meaning. The Babylonians located the source of life force bestowed by a deity in blood as well as in breath. Apparently they placed no value on an anthropological analysis and a concrete description of the soul.

A realm of the dead kur-nu-gi-a ("land of no return") and a judgment of the dead are attested for the Sumerians. On the other hand, the idea was widespread among them that the dead were at their graves. Therefore, food and drink were offered to the deceased there. In Babylonia , too , the ancestor cult was very important for the welfare of the dead; the ancestors had to be provided with food every day. In an appendix to the Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu, who has descended into the realm of the dead, returns. H. his spirit of the dead (utukku) returns to the world of the living and describes the fate of the dead, which depends on the type of death, the number of their children and the care of the surviving relatives. The unburied and those whose graves were desecrated fared badly, because the spirit of the dead was evidently closely connected to the corpse.

The Mesopotamian peoples were convinced that malicious spirits of the dead (Sumerian gidim , Akkadian eṭimmu or eṭemmu ) as well as countless other demons cause harm to the living. The spirits of the dead were seen as visible and audible. In addition, there were also helpful guardian spirits, which may be comparable to the outer souls of humans known from various indigenous cultures . From the Atraḫasis epic (around 2000–1800 BC) it emerges that eṭemmu , the ghost-like aspect of man who survives death, was originally created together with the human body from the flesh of a slain god. The mortal vital soul, which existed until physical death, arose from the blood of God; it was considered to be the basis of the human mind (ṭēmu) .

Iranian highlands

The East Iranian Avestan language , which belongs to the old Iranian languages, has a number of expressions for the soul or for psychological functions that were already in use in the pre-Zoroastrian period and were largely used later in the documents of the Zoroastrian religion . In part, they relate to perceptual functions, for example uši (originally the ear, hence the hearing and, in a figurative sense, the comprehension, the understanding). Besides the vital soul ( ahu or uštāna than touch soul Vyana ) it gave the ruling Iran needs the active and independent of the body free soul ( urvan or as intellectual soul manah ) and dana , a spiritual entity with nourishing function. The fravašis played an important role ; these were protective ancestral spirits , but also outer souls of living pious people. In the latter sense, fravaši was apparently understood as a “higher self” that influenced people from outside during their lifetime. The immortal free soul living in the body united with its fravaši after its death . Expressions that originally referred to the body, such as tanu and the word kəhrp , which is etymologically related to “body” , were also used for the person as a whole, including the soul dimension, which indicates a non- dualistic thinking.

The Zoroastrians do not seem to have tried to elaborate a detailed anthropological theory of the soul and terminological clarity, at least no corresponding texts have been preserved. In Zoroastrianism, the idea is attested that the vital soul was created before the body and that this came about because the life force was "made physical" by the deity. This vital soul, the uštāna , was destroyed with the death of the body. A sharp distinction between “good” and “bad” people is characteristic of Zoroastrianism, not between a body that is bad in itself and a morally superior soul. Zoroastrianism does not seem to have known a total soul or world soul.

After death, the free soul urvan stayed near the corpse for three nights until it encountered its own daēnā . The daēnā appeared in female form, as a cow or as a garden, which indicates its nourishing function. As a woman, she was a beautiful girl or a hideous witch, depending on the deeds that man accomplished in his lifetime. After meeting her, the soul urvan set out on the path to the hereafter.

In addition to the notions of the afterlife of the soul, there was also a very old belief in a resurrection as the resurrection of dead bodies, which was considered possible if the bones of the deceased were kept intact and complete; evidently, from the point of view of life force, the bones were ascribed a spiritual quality. In its religious form within the framework of Zoroastrianism, this Iranian belief in the resurrection was directed towards an eschatological future in which a general world judgment was expected.

Pre-Christian antiquity

Oldest Greek ideas

The ancient Greek noun psychḗ (ψυχή) is related to the verb psychein (“to blow”, “to breathe”); it originally meant "breath", "breath" and therefore also "life". It is documented for the first time in the Homeric epics Iliad and Odyssey, which were initially passed down orally . It denotes something in humans and animals that normally does not seem to be active during the life of an individual, but whose presence is necessary for life.

The psychē in the sense of Homer's parlance leaves a person faint. In death it separates from the body and goes into the underworld as its shadowy image . In addition to the expression psychē , Homer also uses the term eidōlon (image, silhouette) for the disembodied soul . The soul of a deceased is so similar to the living person that Achilles tries in vain to embrace the soul of the dead Patroclus , which appears to him and addresses him. The poet lets the disembodied soul show feelings and reflect upon death. She whines, laments her fate and worries about the burial of the body.

The thymós - with this word Homer describes the source of the emotional impulses - is, like the psychē, necessary for life; he too leaves the body in death. The poet does not say that the thymós is going to the underworld, but at one point in the Iliad a living person wishes that this should happen. Homer describes the thymós as destructible. During human life it is increased or decreased by events. In contrast to the psychē , which appears like a cold breath, the thymós is hot.

Of the psyche is mentioned only in connection with life-threatening situations. So Achilles speaks of putting one's own psyche in danger in battle . Usually this term is limited to the meaning carrier of being alive , while the emotions - but also thoughts connected with them - take place in thymós . Another instance that is important for the mental functions is the nóos (in later Greek nous ). It is primarily responsible for activities of the intellect , but occasionally also appears as a carrier of feelings. There is no clear demarcation between the terms in the Homeric epics.

The thymós is located in the diaphragm, or more generally in the chest. The nóos is also located in the chest, but it is apparently intended to be immaterial. The psychē does not assign Homer a specific seat in the body. It is a prerequisite for life for animals as well as for humans. In the Odyssey, when a pig is slaughtered, its psycho escapes , but it is not known whether it will end up in the underworld. Hesiod and Pindar mention the serpent's psyche .

Change of meaning in the posthomeric period

The god Hermes (seated) as a soul companion ( psychopompos ) with a soul that he will accompany into the underworld. White-ground lekythos by the Phiale painter from the middle of the 5th century BC Chr.

In poetic and philosophical texts of the 6th and 5th centuries, a new, expanded term of psychē became commonplace , which included the meaning of thymós . For the poet Anakreon , the erotic sensations played out in the psychē , for Pindar it was the bearer of moral properties. In the tragedy, too, the soul appeared in a moral context; with Sophocles it could therefore be described as "bad". The old basic meaning - the invigorating principle in the body - was still common, to be animated (émpsychos) meant to be alive, but in addition the soul was now also responsible for the emotional life and thought about it.

The philosophical and religious movements of the Orphic and Pythagorean extended the archaic concept of the body leaving psyche . They expanded it into teachings in which the soul was considered immortal and more or less detailed statements were made about its fate after death. In these currents, as well as in Empedocles and in the poetry of Pindar - in marked contrast to Homer - optimistic assumptions about the post-death future of the soul were asserted. According to these concepts, under certain conditions, in particular by purifying itself from guilt, it can gain access to the world of gods and become divine or regain its own original divine nature.

Transmigration of souls

In some circles (Orphics, Pythagoreans, Empedocles) the doctrine of immortality was connected with the idea of ​​the transmigration of souls and thus the assumption of a natural bond between the soul and a certain body was abandoned. The soul was given an independent existence even before the body was formed and thus a previously unknown autonomy. The earliest personality known by name who confessed to the transmigration of souls was Pherecydes of Syros , born around 583 , whose writing about the gods has not survived. His somewhat younger contemporary and alleged student Pythagoras spread this doctrine in the Greek-populated southern Italy; his prominence made her famous in wide circles. The early Pythagoreans believed that human souls also go into animal bodies; they assumed that there was no essential difference between human and animal souls.

Understanding of natural philosophy of the early pre-Socratics

The early thinkers, known as pre-Socratics , dealt with the soul from the point of view of natural philosophy . With them, the psychē appears as the principle of movement of the self and other moving. In this sense, Thales thought, besides living beings, also magnets and, because of their electrical attraction, amber, were animated, but not - as it was mistakenly assumed - other objects. Anaxagoras saw in the universal nous ( spirit ) the cause of movement and the ruler of all things including the animated; According to Aristotle, he did not make a clear distinction between the nous and the psychē , which he also called mover. He described the nous as the “finest” and “purest” of all things, so he didn't really think of it as immaterial. Some pre-Socratics also understood the soul as a principle of perception or knowledge.

The theoretical description of the soul as a life principle consisted predominantly in a reductive physicalism , which traced the psychē back to something material or similar to material (subtle matter). Empedocles is said to have taught that the psyche , which he associated with physical life in the traditional sense, consists of the four elements. Not she, but a being he called daimōn , was for him the immortal soul, to which he ascribed the transmigration of souls. The daimōn , whose liberation from the cycle of birth and death he sought, he expressly referred to as a god.

The soul is referred to as air in a fragment traditionally attributed to the philosopher Anaximenes , but which, according to current research, comes from Diogenes of Apollonia . Anaximander and Anaxagoras are also said to have thought they were airy. There was also a notion that some Pythagoreans, probably originally from medical circles , believed that the soul was a harmony of bodily functions. This view was incompatible with the idea of ​​immortality.

In Heraclitus' doctrine of the soul, too , the details of which are not clear from the fragments obtained, the psyche has a material quality. It moves back and forth between two opposing states, one of which is wet or watery, the other dry. When it is dry and thus close to the fiery principle of reason , it is in its best possible condition and is wise . The extent of their understanding depends on that of their current drought. Drunkenness makes her wet and loses her ability to understand. If the watery principle asserts itself completely, the soul dies, but this does not appear to her as downfall, but rather it perceives it as pleasure. Thus, like the cosmos as a whole, it is subject to incessant processes of transformation. Heraclitus thought it was so profound that its limits could not be found.

Democrit's materialist model

Democritus , the last important pre-Socratics, explained in the context of his consistently materialistic interpretation of the world the soul as an agglomeration of spherical, smooth soul atoms, which differ from the other atoms by greater mobility, which they owe to their shape and smallness. The soul atoms of Democritus are not - as was often assumed in the older research literature - characterized by a fire-like quality. Rather, all atoms are of the same quality in terms of their material properties, they only differ in size, shape and speed. Phenomena such as warmth, cold and color arise only through the constant movement and interaction of the atoms. The soul atoms float in the air; through breathing they are removed from it and returned to it again. Death is the end of this metabolism, with it the soul atoms of the deceased disperse. Immortality of the soul is unthinkable in this system. Body and soul protect each other through their connection from the constantly threatening dissolution. The soul is an atomic structure whose components, the soul atoms, are constantly being exchanged; they continuously evaporate and are replaced by newly inhaled soul atoms. During life, the soul atoms are distributed throughout the body and set the body atoms in motion. All mental phenomena can also be explained mechanically by the movements of concentrated masses of soul atoms. Perception occurs when atoms detach themselves from the objects and flow out in the form of small pictures ( eidola ) in all directions; these images of the objects penetrate the eye and convey their shapes to the perceiver. The ethical behavior and well-being of the person are also caused by the atomic movements. Too violent atomic movements mean harmful emotional shocks; Calmness and a pragmatic attitude correspond to the relative stability of the atomic structures.

Socrates and Plato

Bust of Socrates (Roman marble copy from the 1st century of a Greek bronze original probably created by Lysippus , today in the Louvre )

In the version of the defense speech of his teacher Socrates (469-399) handed down by Plato , the idea comes to the fore that the care of the soul (epiméleia tēs psychēs) is a primary task. The well-being of the soul appears to be linked to man's ability to discern and access the truth:

"Best man, [...] you are not ashamed to care for money, as you get most of it, and for fame and honor, but for insight and truth and for your soul that it is in the best possible way not and you don't want to think about this? "

For Plato (428 / 7–348 / 7), who used to put his thoughts in Socrates' mouth in his works, the soul is immaterial and immortal, it exists independently of the body, i.e. even before its emergence. This results in a consistent anthropological dualism : soul and body are completely different according to their nature and according to their fate. Their temporary meeting and cooperation is therefore only temporarily significant, their separation worth striving for; the body is the “grave of the soul”. Socrates and Plato equate the soul with the person both ethically and cognitively. Since the soul alone has a future beyond death, all that matters is its advancement and well-being. Because of her likeness to God as an immortal being, she is entitled to rule over the perishable body. In several myths , Plato describes the life of the soul in the hereafter, the judgment of the soul and the transmigration of souls. In doing so, he links the fate of the soul with its ethical decisions.

With the following considerations, Plato wants to make his view plausible:

  • For all of nature it is true that opposing things arise apart and merge into one another; therein consists of becoming and the cycle of nature which guarantees its continuation. Such opposites are also “life” and “being dead”, “dying” and “resurrection”. The development that leads to the end of life therefore corresponds to an opposite one that leads from death to resurrection. That means rebirth (transmigration of souls).
  • The soul is able to grasp objects of knowledge ( ideas ) that cannot be perceived by the senses, such as “the just”, “the beautiful” or “ the good ”. She is driven by her own nature to focus her interest on it. This shows her kinship with what she strives for. The ideas exist beyond transience and independent of individual sensory objects. If the soul itself were perishable, it would have no access to the imperishable.
  • Learning is an activity of the soul. It does not consist in the fact that the soul absorbs something new and foreign from the outside, but in the fact that it remembers - for example through an impulse from a teacher - of a knowledge that it actually already possessed before, but about which it up to could not consciously dispose of this point in time. This knowledge, the knowledge of ideas and all things, she brought with her from her prenatal existence. She acquired it in a "heavenly place"; Added to this are their experiences from their previous earthly lives and from the underworld. Through remembrance ( anamnesis ) she makes the buried knowledge available.
  • The individual things move back and forth between the opposites, but the opposing poles themselves always remain the same. The soul is such a pole because it is the life within us. Hence she is deathless; Only something living can die, not life itself.
  • In contrast to all objects, the movements of which are caused from outside and cease with the disappearance of the external cause, the soul moves itself and also moves other things. The property of being able to bring about movement as the first cause of movement is part of their nature and is a defining feature. This quality is therefore not only given to it in a certain period of time, but has no beginning and no end. As the first source of all movement, self-movement has no origin in the world of growth and decay, which does not have such a faculty and cannot produce it from within itself. Therefore the soul as the bearer of this ability is eternal.
  • To every thing there are both beneficial and harmful factors; The latter includes, for example, an eye disease for the eye, and rust for iron. For the soul the evil that harms it is “injustice” - an act against one's own nature caused by ignorance. An unjust person shows that his wickedness does not destroy his soul as a disease destroys the body. The evil of the body can destroy the body, the evil of the soul cannot destroy the soul. So the soul is not destructible.
Bust of Plato (Roman copy of the Greek original by Silanion , today in the Munich Glyptothek )

Plato explains the inner conflicts of people with the fact that the soul consists of essentially different parts, a rational (logistikón) based in the brain, an instinctive, desiring (epithymētikón) based in the abdomen and a courageous (thymoeidēs) based in the chest. The courageous part of the soul easily subordinates itself to reason, the desiring part tends to oppose it. For this, Plato uses the image of a horse-drawn carriage: as a charioteer, reason has to steer a pair of two horses of different kinds (will and desire) and at the same time to tame the bad horse (desire) so that each part of the soul fulfills its proper function. The natural order is given when reason curbs the sensual desires, which distract it from its essential tasks, and when in its search for truth it starts from the immaterial - the absolutely reliable world of ideas - and mistrusts the error-prone sensory perceptions. The functions are not strictly divided, rather each part of the soul has its own form of desire and has a cognitive ability. Therefore, the non-rational parts can also form their own opinions or at least ideas.

Due to the very different nature of its parts, the soul is inconsistent. Nevertheless, according to Plato's original concept, it forms a unity insofar as all parts of the soul participate in immortality and the existence of the soul on the other side. In his later work, however, Plato conceives the two lower parts of the soul as fleeting additions to the immortal rational soul. Through this independence of the rational soul, a three-part ( trichotomous ) image of man emerges ; man is composed of the rational soul, the non-rational soul area and the body; the person is the rational soul.

Since Plato regards every independent movement as evidence of soulfulness, he considers not only humans, animals and plants, but also the stars to be animated. He also attributes this characteristic to the cosmos as a whole; he describes him as a living being inspired by the world soul . According to his presentation, the rational world soul was created by the demiurge . He also mentions the individual souls at various points as something that has arisen. If one understands this statement literally in the temporal sense, it contradicts the principle of the beginninglessness of the immortal. The question of what exactly is meant by “become” (gégonen) therefore arose even for the ancient interpreters . Mostly they interpreted - probably rightly - the "creation" of the cosmos or the world soul in the sense of a metaphorical phrase that should indicate an ontological hierarchy and should not be understood in the literal sense of an emergence at a certain point in time. Accordingly, the soul is timeless, but ontologically it is something derived.

In Phaedrus' dialogue , Plato describes the soul as winged. After losing her wings, she descends to earth and takes on an earthly body. If a person philosophizes, his soul could grow new wings, which it would have in the hour of death.


Bust of Aristotle (Roman marble copy after a Greek bronze original by Lysipp from the later 4th century BC, today in the Palazzo Altemps )

Aristotle's doctrine of the soul is set out in his work on the soul ( Peri psychēs , Latin De anima ); He also expresses himself about it in his small writings on the philosophy of nature ("Parva naturalia"). The treatise On the Soul also provides a wealth of valuable information about the pre-Socratics' ideas of the soul. In his youth, Aristotle wrote the dialogue Eudemos or On the Soul , which is lost except for fragments.

Aristotle discusses and criticizes the views of earlier philosophers, especially those of Plato, and presents his own. He defines the soul as “the first entelechy ” (actuality, realization, perfection) “of a natural body that potentially has life”; he describes such a body as "organic". The statement that the body potentially has life implies that it is inherently only suitable for being animate; that the animation is actually realized, results from the soul. The soul cannot exist independently of the body. It is its form and therefore cannot be separated from it. With the first reality of the soul, Aristotle addresses its basic activity, which does not stop even during sleep. The basic activity holds the organism together and ensures that it does not disintegrate. It differs from the activities of individual aspects of the soul, which correspond to the various faculties of the soul, according to which Aristotle classifies life.

The basic vegetative soul faculties of nutrition, growth and reproduction apply to all life, perception, locomotion and the ability to strive only to animals and humans. Thinking is peculiar to man only. The peculiarity of the human being, his authority responsible for the thinking activity, is the mind ( nous ) . The nous is indeed created as a possibility, as a “possible intellect” (Greek nous pathētikós or nous dynámei , Latin intellectus possibilis ) in the soul, but as an effecting intellect (later called intellectus agens in Latin) it is one of the body and also of the soul independent substance that comes in “from outside” and only thereby turns the possibility of human thought into a reality. This is how the human thought soul arises ( noētikḗ psychḗ or, especially under the aspect of its discursive activity, dianoētikḗ psychḗ ). It can absorb all forms. She does not gain her knowledge through recollection, as with Plato, but from the objects of sense perception by abstracting . The sensory perceptions and emotions, including affects that are also physically strong - anger is accompanied, for example, by a "boiling of the blood and the warmth around the heart" - are phenomena of the "sense soul" ( to aisthētikón or aisthētikḗ psychḗ , Latin anima sensitiva ).

For Aristotle, the soul is an immaterial form principle of living beings, the cause of movement, but itself unmoved. He localizes them in humans and the higher animal species with regard to all their functions in the heart. It controls all life processes via the warmth of life that is present in the entire body. The soul is passed on to the offspring through conception; it is already present in the seed.

The existence of body and soul, including the possible intellect, ends for Aristotle with death. The active intellect, on the other hand, is and remains separate from the physical organism and is therefore not affected by its death; he is incapable of suffering and imperishable. However, Aristotle does not derive any individual immortality from this.


The Stoa , a school of philosophy founded in the late 4th century BC, developed its concept of the soul from a materialistic approach. A main source of the old Stoic doctrine of the soul are excerpts from a lost work by Chrysippos of Soloi , which was entitled About the Soul . Chrysippus was the third head of the Stoa school. His teaching is a further development of that of the school founder Zenon von Kition .

In contrast to Platonists and Peripatetics, the Stoics viewed the soul as physical (subtle). According to the Stoic doctrine, the whole world of sensually perceptible matter is pervaded by a fire-like substance, the pneuma . Zeno of Kition already assumed a rational, fiery cosmic soul that he called pneuma . The soul of an earthly living being (psyche) is in its entirety a special form of pneuma . The individual soul of man and animal arises between conception and birth, as the relatively dense pneuma is transformed into the finer quality of the psyche ; this process is completed at birth. Plants have no psyche ; their life is based on a different type of pneuma . The soul permeates the whole body, but always retains its own identity. In death it separates from the body. According to the old Stoic doctrine, it survives this separation, at least in some people, but is not immortal, but dissolves at a later point in time. There is no underworld as the realm of the dead, because the soul can only ascend because of its relative ease.

The peculiarity of the human soul is a “ruling part” (hēgemonikón) that carries out the activities of the intellect. According to the majority opinion of the Stoics, his seat is in the heart. From the hēgemonikón all emotional impulses and in general all psychological activity emanate . There all impressions are recorded and interpreted. In addition to the hēgemonikón, there are seven subordinate parts or functions: the five senses, the ability to speak and the ability to reproduce. In the context of this material theory of the soul, the Stoics interpreted the interaction between the soul and the body physically . They attributed it to the fact that the soul tenses and relaxes and thus exerts pressure on the body, whereupon it registers its resistance as counter pressure. The self-perception of the individual is based on this effect.

The early Stoics rejected the Platonic assumption of different soul parts with different or opposing, sometimes irrational tendencies. They countered her with the conviction that the ruling intellectual part of the soul, the hēgemonikón , was the unified authority that made all decisions. They explained unwanted and harmful emotions as malfunctions of the hēgemonikón , which stem from its incorrect assessments and consist in particular of exceeding the limits of what is appropriate. In this way the entire emotional life was reduced to rational processes in the soul. What appears as an emotional conflict is therefore only an expression of a wavering of reason in the question of which idea it should agree to. The Stoics drew the consequence from this to largely deny the animals mental functions.

These old stoic doctrines spread in the radical version from Chrysippus, but were already considerably modified in the middle period of the Stoa. So Panaitios of Rhodes taught in the 2nd century BC. That the soul dies with the body. His pupil Poseidonios represented the existence of the soul before the formation of the body and its persistence after death, but held fast to its transience. He gave it an irrational component. In the more recent Stoa of the Roman Empire, Seneca († 65) and Marcus Aurelius († 180) avoided a clear definition of what becomes of the soul at death, but it was also clear to these Stoics that the disembodied soul might persist limited in time and immortality is to be excluded.


Epicurus (342 / 341–271 / 270) also understood the soul as a material component of the physical organism within the framework of his consistent atomism , he considered it to be a body within the body. Therefore, in his philosophy, the science of the soul belongs to physics. He compared the soul matter with wind and heat and said that it is distributed over the entire body. Matter of the soul differs from gross matter by its finer quality. The Roman Epicurean Lucretius described it as a mixture of heat-like, air-like and wind-like atoms as well as a fourth type of atom, which enables the transmission of sensory perceptions to the mind. These atoms are smooth, round and particularly small and therefore more mobile than those of other matter. This explains the speed of thought. Lucretius described the chest as the place of mental activity. When death occurs, according to the Epicurean doctrine, the soul dissolves, as its atomic components dissipate quickly. The cohesion of soul matter is only possible through its presence in the body. Perception occurs because atoms are constantly being detached from the objects of perception, which correspond to the structure of their objects of origin and are therefore their images. They flow in all directions and thus also reach the perceiving soul, in which they generate corresponding impressions. Thus every mental change presupposes an atomic one. However , Epicurus rejected the general determinism that can be derived from such a world view; he attributed the atoms to slight, indeterminate deviations from the orbits which, according to physical law, they should follow, thus creating space for the idea that there is a coincidence.

Middle and Neo-Platonists

The influential Middle Platonists Numenios and the Neoplatonists called for a return to the original doctrine of Plato, emphasizing cosmology and the theory of the soul. In Neo-Platonism, the Platonic principle of understanding philosophical life as preparation for death - that is, for a post-death existence of the soul - was particularly emphasized. In late antiquity , the religious dimension of Platonism was in the foreground. Neoplatonism presented itself as a soul-related path of salvation and as such competed with Christianity. The pre-existence and immortality of the soul and the transmigration of souls as well as the goal of liberation from matter were key points of the Neoplatonic philosophy, as well as the origin of the soul from the immaterial, divine world and the possibility of its return to this home.

In some details, however, the opinions of the Neoplatonists diverged. Plotinus stuck to the Pythagorean view, also held by Plato, that animal and human souls are inherently identical. From his point of view, the differences between humans, animals and plants are only externalities that are related to the difference in their body shells; they reflect the respective time-dependent state of the souls. Consequently, he even maintained that human souls are by nature equal to the gods. In contrast, Iamblichus of Chalkis , Syrianos and the other late Neo-Platonists taught that the human soul is by nature different from the souls of unreasonable living beings and therefore incarnates only in human bodies. Iamblichus also rejected the doctrine of Plotinus, according to which the soul is constantly connected to the intelligible world during its stay in the body , since its uppermost part is always there. He considered this assumption to be incompatible with the experience that the soul experiences unhappiness in the body. Also Proklos this view Plotinus refused.

The Middle and Neoplatonists also developed the Platonic concept of the world soul. So Plotinus viewed the world soul as the third highest hypostasis in the hierarchical structure of total reality. In Plotin's model it stands below the One and the nous , the world reason, which has emerged from the One . The world soul “emerged” from the nous , which is not to be understood in a temporal sense, but metaphorically in the sense of a timeless ontological order. It belongs to the intelligible world as its lowest part. Immediately below that begins the sensually perceptible world, the world of “becoming and passing away”, on which the world soul acts. According to Plotinus, the world soul includes all individual souls. The universe is a unified living being, animated by it, from which the interconnectedness of all its parts results.

Mythology and art

Sculpture of two people hugging and kissing
Cupid and Psyche (Roman copy of a Hellenistic sculpture, Capitoline Museums , Rome)

In mythology , Psyche is only documented in literature in the 2nd century, as the main character in the story Amor and Psyche by the Roman writer Apuleius . There Psyche appears as a mortal king's daughter, who is abandoned by her husband, the god Amor . It is only after she has completed dangerous tasks, including a descent into the underworld, that she can be reunited with him and is accepted among the immortals. Whether the author's main concern was imaginative, humorous entertainment or a religious purification motif linked to the flight of the soul in Plato's Phaedrus , where psyche should be understood as an allegory of the human soul, is controversial in literary studies.

The motif of the connection between Cupid and Psyche is, however, much older. In the Greek visual arts , girls with bird wings (later also butterfly wings), which are probably to be seen as depictions of the psyche, have been playing alongside other winged Cupid figures since the 5th century BC. BC before. Occasionally, on paintings in Pompeii, Psyche appears with bat wings in connection with a passage in the Odyssey where the souls of the dead are compared with bats. In ancient times, depictions of the soul as a soul bird or butterfly were popular, especially as a moth. Vase painters often depicted the soul as an eidōlon , as a small winged or wingless figure of a deceased, mostly fluttering in the air or rushing through the air. Sometimes the motif of the soul in the form of a snake is found in art and literature; So Porphyry reports in his biography Plotinus about the death of the philosopher: "There a snake crept under the bed on which he was lying and slipped into a hole in the wall, and he gave up his ghost." Obviously here is the soul serpent meant.

The question of the seat of the soul

Even in ancient times, attempts were made to determine the seat of the soul in the body and also to localize individual psychological functions. Heraclitus compared the soul to a spider that sits in the middle of its web and, as soon as a fly breaks one of the threads, rushes towards it as if the damage in the web was causing it pain. Just like the spider, when a part of the body is injured, the soul goes there quickly as if the injury to the body were unbearable. Aristotle considered the brain to be bloodless and therefore believed that it could not play a role in the processing of sensory perceptions. He assumed that all nerves from the sensory organs and skin lead to the heart and that this is the seat of the soul and sensory perceptions. In the age of Hellenism, opinions diverged about the location of the control center (hēgemonikón) of mental processes; localization in the heart was advocated by a large part of the scholars, while others advocated the brain. As early as the 3rd century BC The anatomist Herophilos of Chalcedon examined the four cerebral ventricles ; he suspected the most important control center in the fourth (rearmost) ventricle.

A main representatives of the brain hypothesis was the famous physician Galen (2nd century), who argued anatomically. Although he said that the soul is in the brain, he did not locate it in the ventricular system and did not assign the individual intellectual activities to specific brain areas. This assignment is only attested in the late fourth century (Poseidonios of Byzantium, Nemesius of Emesa ). Nemesios referred to the two anterior ventricles as the organs that are responsible for the evaluation of sensory perception and imagination (phantastikón) , the middle as the organ of the mind (dianoētikón) and the rearmost as the organ of memory (mnēmoneutikón) . He argued that this could be seen in damage to individual ventricles, which in each case lead to a disruption or loss of the associated mental functions, and thus also explained various mental illnesses.



In the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh , “soul” and body represent aspects of the human being understood as a unity. The force that invigorates the body - in religious-scientific terminology the body soul or vital soul - is called nefesch (נפש), neschama or ru ' in the biblical Hebrew . oh (רוח). All three terms originally designate the breath. Neither nefesch nor neschama nor ru'ach is something specifically human; the three terms are also used for animals.

Neschama is the breath of life which, according to the Book of Genesis, God breathed into the nose of his earthly creature Adam, with which he made him a living being (nefesch) . The specific basic meaning of nefesch is "breath" and "airway", "throat" and, due to the lack of a conceptual distinction between the trachea and esophagus, also "throat", "throat". Therefore, the word also denotes the source of the desire associated with the ingestion of food (hunger and thirst, appetite and greed) and, in a broader sense, also the seat of other desires, passions and feelings such as thirst for revenge, longings and affection.

As the invigorating breath, Nefesch is the life force that leaves a person at death, and life that is threatened, risked or extinguished. In the broadest sense, nefesch also stands for the whole person including the body and then means “person” (also when counting people). Man does not have a nefesch , he is one and lives as a nefesch . Therefore, nefesch is also used as a substitute for a pronoun , for example in the meaning of "someone". The god YHWH has a nefesch by which he swears. It occurs twenty-one times in the Tanakh, but not in all of its parts. The physical carrier of the life force is the blood. Whether the word nefesch could even mean “corpse” is debatable. In any case, the usual rendering of the Tanach in older German translations with “Seele” is inappropriate. The Tanakh writes nefesh neither existence before the formation of the body nor immortality, and nefesh is nowhere detached from the body.

Ru'ach combines the meanings "breath", "wind" and "spirit". The relevant Hebrew expressions also include the word leb ("heart"). In addition to the physical organ, it also describes the life force, the seat of intellectual abilities and feelings, will and decisions and, in the broadest sense, the whole person.

Parts of the late, especially Hellenistic Judaism knew of a continued existence of humans after their earthly death, which for some of the authors had to be connected with a physical resurrection, while others thought of a soul detached from the body. A world judgment was described in which the dead are judged according to their works.

Two contradicting ideas coexisted in the scriptures of the Second Temple period and in Diaspora Judaism (before and after the destruction of the Temple in AD 70). The rabbinical theologians held very different views. On the one hand, the "soul" continued to be equated with life or person, on the other hand, educated Jews influenced by Greek took over from Platonism and the philosophical currents of Hellenism the conception of the soul as an independent being that existed independently of the body. Among them the view was widespread that the soul was of heavenly origin, the body of earthly origin. According to the report of the Jewish historian Flavius ​​Josephus, the Essenes assumed an immortal, subtle soul that lives in the body like in a prison and is liberated at death. The Pharisees believed in a resurrection, but the Sadducees denied immortality and resurrection.

The philosopher Philo of Alexandria , who was active in the early 1st century and was strongly influenced by Platonism, believed that the rational soul was destined for eternal life, but some souls were not able to fulfill this determination. Immortality does not naturally come from all souls, but is the reward for correct behavior during earthly life. Only the virtuous are granted eternity, for bad people the death of the body is connected with the extinction of their souls.

In Amoraic scholars acceptance of the pre-existence of the soul was added. Around AD 300, Rabbi Levi taught that God had consulted with souls before performing His work of creation.

Middle Ages and Modern Times

In medieval Jewish philosophy , from the 9th and 10th centuries ( Saadja ben Josef Gaon , Isaak Israeli ) under the formative influence of Platonism (now including Neoplatonism), which was later also received indirectly via Avicenna , the conviction of the Immortality of the soul, which Saadja combined with an emphatic belief in the resurrection. In particular, Jewish Neoplatonists of the 11th and 12th centuries, such as Solomon ibn Gabirol (Avicebron), Bachja ben Josef ibn Paquda , Abraham bar Chijja and Abraham ben Meir ibn Ezra , pleaded for immortality . However, some Jewish philosophers of the Middle Ages did not understand immortality as an individual continued existence, but as the souls of the deceased merging into the spiritual world. They assumed that matter as the principle of individuation would disappear with death and that the individual soul could not continue its separate existence based on this principle without the body. The soul, which Saadja had still considered to be subtle, was generally understood as an incorporeal substance since the High Middle Ages ; their rational aspect was emphasized. The idea of ​​immortality caused difficulties for the 12th century Aristotelians, Abraham ibn Daud (Abraham ben David Halevi) and Maimonides (Moshe ben Maimon), who viewed the soul in the Aristotelian sense as the form of the body. While Abraham ibn Daud believed that the soul arises with the body, but followed the Platonic view on the question of immortality, Maimonides differentiated between an innate, mortal soul and an acquired, rational soul that survives the body. Apparently Maimonides believed that the rational soul in the hereafter did not remain a separate individual but was absorbed in the divine active intellect, but he avoided formulating this clearly.

The Neoplatonic way of thinking was even more noticeable in the Kabbalah than with the medieval Jewish philosophers . There the pre-existence of the soul and the transmigration of souls (Hebrew gilgul ) were taught. According to a tradition presented in the book of Bahir , there are a fixed number of pre-existing souls. In the beginning they were all gathered in a place called guf , the place of souls waiting for their entry into a body. Since people are constantly being born, the guf empties in the course of time, until finally the story will come to its end by completely emptying the guf . However, this process is delayed by sin, because unclean souls have to go through the transmigration of souls for their purification. The transmigration of souls has occurred in Kabbalistic literature since the 12th century. In particular , it plays an important role in the Lurian Kabbalah founded by Isaak Luria (1534–1572), an influential movement in the following years.


New Testament

In the New Testament , the Greek term ψυ kommt (psyche) occurs, which is rendered as "soul" in older Bible translations. Even in the Septuagint , the Greek-built by Jewish scholars Tanakh translation, the Hebrew term was נפש (nefesh) with psyche translated. In most of the passages in the Gospels where psyche is mentioned, “life” is meant in the sense of nefesch , specifically to denote the quality of a certain individual - human or animal - to be alive. Behind this is the traditional idea of ​​a “life organ” connected to the breath and located in the throat. In this sense it is said that the psyche as the life of a person is threatened ( Mt 2,20  LUT ), for example through lack of food ( Mt 6,25  LUT ; Lk 12,22f.  LUT ), or that it is withdrawn becomes ( Lk 12.20  LUT ) and is lost ( Mk 8.35-37  LUT ). The psyche is the seat and starting point of thinking, feeling and wanting. In the more recent translations of the Bible, psyche is not translated as “soul”, but as “life”, “man” or a personal pronoun. This holistic conception of man corresponds to the idea of ​​a physical resurrection and a body-soul unity in the risen in the hereafter , which was already present in early Christianity . The resurrection of Jesus is understood as “taking up” the psyche that was previously “given up” ( Jn 10 : 17f.  LUT ).

However, other passages show that the New Testament relationship between body and soul is complicated. The term psyche is fuzzy, in some places probably ambiguous, the transitions between its meanings are fluid. A change in meaning is recognizable: the development of language reflects the emergence of dualistic ideas of body and soul in the anthropology of Hellenistic Judaism. The psyche in the sense of the new, Hellenistic language usage exists - unlike the Old Testament nefesch - independent of the body and cannot be killed ( Mt 10.28  LUT ; see also Rev 6.9  LUT and Rev 20.4  LUT ). It is understood as a part of the human being that is opposite to the body. This shift in meaning can be explained by the influence of philosophical concepts of Greek origin. According to 1 Petr 3.19f. LUT , Jesus went - apparently between his death and his resurrection, i.e. without his body - to "spirits" imprisoned "in prison" who had disobeyed at the time of the flood , and preached to them. With “spirits” (Greek pneúmasin ) are probably meant here souls who have survived the death of their bodies and are in the underworld ( Sheol ); the statement is traditionally and also in more recent specialist literature related to the “ Hell's Descent of Christ ”, but the interpretation of the difficult passage is controversial. The fact that the gospel was preached to the dead - i.e. bodiless souls of deceased people - is communicated in 1 Pet 4,6  LUT . In Rev 6,9-11  LUT the visionary sees “the souls (psychás) of those who were slaughtered” and hears them calling out in a loud voice. Here the idea of ​​a perception and ability to act of the souls that continue to live after the destruction of their bodies is assumed.

The apostle Paul uses the term psyche only eleven times in his letters and avoids it in statements about life after death. His idea of ​​the soul is partly shaped by Jewish thought, partly by Greek philosophy and its terminology.

Epoch of the Church Fathers

As part of their defense of Christianity, the apologists of the 2nd century also dealt with the philosophical views of the soul that were widespread at the time. Like the Platonists and all later Church Fathers, they assumed that the soul or spirit would continue to exist after death, but because of the doctrine of the resurrection they insisted on a connection between body and soul in the hereafter, a concept that was excluded for Platonists. Justin Martyr rejected the Platonic doctrine that the soul is inherently immortal; he thought it was perishable by its own nature and immortal only by God's will. Tatian called the soul composite. He distinguished between a naturally mortal soul (psyche) , which animals also have (to which he even attributed reason), and an immortal spirit (pneuma) of humans. In the second-century pamphlet On the Resurrection of the Dead , perhaps from Athenagoras of Athens , it is claimed that the resurrection of the body and its reunion with the soul is necessary. The author argues that human nature as such would be abolished if the soul continued alone. The connection of the soul with the body would be pointless if it were restricted to the duration of earthly life. This possibility should be ruled out, because nothing can be useless among God's works and gifts. Therefore, the connection between the two components of the human being must also be meaningful and therefore designed to last.

Bishop Irenaeus of Lyons , who was active as a theological writer in the second half of the 2nd century, also commented on the post-death fate of the soul. He taught that after the death of the body the soul retains its characteristics and shape and must go to the underworld (Hades), which it will only leave at the time of the future resurrection. At the resurrection she will receive her body again. Irenaeus fought against the Christian Gnostics , including the Carpocratians , who believed the soul to be pre-existent and assumed a transmigration of souls. He said that the “natural” man is composed of body and soul, the “perfect man”, on the other hand, is made up of three parts, since the “Spirit of God” enters his soul and connects with it.

Tertullian († after 220), who sharply opposed Greek philosophy, wrote a work on the soul . He viewed the soul as material (subtle, light and air-like) and ascribed to it a shape that corresponds to that of the body. He argued that the soul could not experience the effects of physical conditions if it were not itself physical. In his view, it is inherently immortal and simple (unitary) in substance, so he rejected the idea of ​​soul parts. Tertullian believed that at conception the soul of the child emerges from the seed of the father like a sprout from a plant and therefore every human soul is a branch from Adam's soul. Through this transfer of parental soul substance to the child, he explained the inheritance of spiritual qualities and the (at that time not yet so designated) original sin . This doctrine, Traducianism (from Latin tradux , "scion"), a form of generatianism , found some supporters as an explanation for original sin, but was later rejected by the Catholic Church.

Clement of Alexandria († 215 or 221) was strongly influenced by the Platonic and the Stoic way of thinking. He considered the soul to be subtle, but in contrast to Tertullian, he called it (relatively) incorporeal. He distinguished two parts of the soul, the pneuma hegemonikón (“ruling spirit”, rational soul ) and a lower, unreasonable part (perception, emotional and vegetative functions); In addition, he occasionally used a scheme based on stoic ideas with ten soul parts. For the unreasonable part of the soul he assumed reproduction in the sense of generatianism, the rational soul then join it. Like other church fathers, Clemens said that the soul waits in Hades for the resurrection of the body.

Origen († around 253/254) was a student of Clement . According to his argumentation, the soul (that is, its spiritual part or aspect) must be incorporeal, because otherwise it would not be able to recognize the invisible and the incorporeal and also not have a memory; also, if it were physical, you would have to be assigned to a certain sensually perceptible substance as an object, just like the physical senses. Origen assumed a pre-existence of the soul. Later, the opposing side assumed that he had also taught transmigration of souls. He represented a trichotome (three-part) anthropology, according to which the human being consists of a trinity: body, soul and "spirit of life"; He also considered the possibility that there are two souls in man, a preexisting celestial one and, next to it, a lower earthly one, which arises at conception; he left this question open.

Laktanz († probably 325) was the first to clearly and emphatically represented Kreatianism , the doctrine that opposed Traducianism and which later became fully established in the Catholic Church. Creatianism says that the soul neither already exists in a spiritual world before conception nor is it received by the parents through procreation, but is created directly by God at the time of conception and is inserted into the body being formed. Even Jerome argued for the creationism. Augustine († 430), on the other hand, wavered because on the one hand he showed understanding for creatianism, but on the other hand was not able to reconcile such a creation of souls with original sin. He represented the unity of the soul against the Platonic doctrine of the parts of the soul, but took a gradation within the soul based on the Aristotelian tradition: rational soul (soul function) with spirit (mens) and will, irrational soul function with drive, sensory perception and memory and “only living” (vegetative) soul function. Augustine tried very hard to prove the incorporeality and immateriality of the soul.

A three-part anthropology with soma , psyche and nous (body, soul and spirit) was represented by Bishop Apollinaris of Laodicea in the late 4th century, invoking a passage from Paul. His application of this doctrine to Christology , according to which Christ has a human psyche , but where the human nous is replaced by the divine logos , was later condemned by the Church.

middle Ages

The soul of a dying man is threatened by a demon when it leaves the body, an angel offers it protection. Drawing in an ars moriendi from England, 14th century

For centuries, the Catholic doctrine of the soul in the Middle Ages was based on the Church Fathers, above all on Augustine , whose views can be found in the popular treatise De statu animae ("On the nature of the soul") by the church writer Claudianus Mamertus (5th century) and in the 6th Cassiodors De anima ("About the Soul") from the 19th century . The influence of the Platonic way of thinking asserted itself both through Augustine and through the also highly valued theological works of the late ancient Neo-Platonist Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita . In addition, there was the late antique treatise on the nature of man by Bishop Nemesius of Emesa , which has been in Latin translation since the 11th century and played an important role in the consideration of the soul from an anthropological point of view. Nemesios advocated the pre-existence of the soul. As a supporter of the Platonic view, which ascribes an independent existence to the soul, he fought against the Aristotelian doctrine of the soul as the entelechy of the body.

The Irish philosopher Johannes Scottus Eriugena (9th century) was particularly strongly influenced by Platonism , who believed that man does not have an intellect, but that his “true and highest being” is nothing other than intellect. Eriugena regarded the human soul as an aspect of the world soul. In the 12th century, too, some theologians, especially Abelard , Wilhelm von Conches and Thierry von Chartres , took up the Platonic idea of ​​a world soul. They identified the world soul with the Holy Spirit . This view aroused offense, however, and was condemned by the Church at the instigation of Bernhard von Clairvaux ; then Abelard and Wilhelm von Conches gave it up. Other theologians of the 12th century such as Robert von Melun and the influential Augustinian canon Hugo von St. Viktor believed that the personhood of a person belongs to the soul alone and that the soul is therefore the real person. Gilbert von Poitiers (Gilbertus Porretanus) and his students took the opposite position, according to which not the soul but only the human being can be called a person ; this point of view finally prevailed. Most theologians at that time were of the opinion that the immortality of the soul could not be proven philosophically and could only be derived from biblical revelation.

The supremacy of the Platonic conception of the soul ended after the 12th century Latin translation of Aristotle's De anima (“On the Soul”) by Jacob of Venice became well known among scholars in the early 13th century. This work, together with the extensive commentary by Averroes, has been eagerly studied and often commented on; like other writings of Aristotle, it became a basic textbook in universities. The Aristotelian principle that the soul is the entelechy of the body and the relationship between the two is that of form and matter, and the doctrine of the three parts of the soul ( intellectual , sensitive and vegetative soul in man) were the basis of the reflections and discussions of the late medieval period Master's degree ; The terminology and definitions of Aristotle in general formed the framework of their anthropological efforts.

A difficult, often discussed problem was the task of reconciling the Aristotelian understanding of the soul with the concept of immortality, which the Aristotelians did not want to do without for theological reasons. It was about the question of whether the soul is an essentially independent substance, a hoc aliquid ("this something"), which carries the complete nature of a species in itself, as the platonically thinking scholars believed, or whether it is in the sense of Aristotle's definition as a form of the body is only part of such a hoc aliquid - namely of the human being. The former view was represented by numerous theologians and philosophers in partly more radical, partly moderate variants, partly only with regard to the intellectual soul ( Roger Bacon ), partly also with regard to the sensitive soul of animals and the vegetative soul of plants ( Galfrid von Aspall ). From this it was sometimes expressly drawn the consequence, in the sense of the Neoplatonic tradition, to understand the soul as composed of form and spiritual matter (materia spiritualis) and thus to underpin its independence from the body (Roger Bacon, Bonaventura ). The Dominican Thomas Aquinas represented the Aristotelian counter-position as consistently as was possible with consideration of the doctrine of immortality. He made the assertion that the soul is the only form of the body (anima unica forma corporis) , thereby underlining the togetherness of soul and body. This sentence became a core part of the Thomism he founded . The opposite position, according to which there are a plurality of forms in man and the body has its own form (forma corporeitatis) independent of the soul , was espoused by Franciscans , including Bonaventure and John Duns Scotus .

Based on a doctrine of Augustine, some philosophers believed that the soul was for itself an object of knowledge that was directly accessible; therefore the most reliable knowledge she could have is intuitive self-knowledge. She has this at her disposal without the help of an image of knowledge received from elsewhere. According to the opposite, strictly Aristotelian point of view, which Thomas Aquinas took, the soul only comes to self-knowledge indirectly, namely through an act which is directed towards an external object of knowledge; this gives it an image of knowledge, and the acquisition of knowledge occurs discursively and reflexively by turning the soul back on itself.

With regard to the relationship of the soul to the outside world, it was controversial to what extent the soul, according to a famous statement by Aristotle, is "in a certain way everything" (beings). This statement was justified in the sense of Aristotle with the fact that the soul is capable of absorbing the cognitive images of everything knowable and carrying them within itself. It was further asserted that the soul possesses innate cognitive images of the external world objects. It has also been suggested that there is a similarity or analogy relationship between the soul and the external world objects; insofar as “microcosm” the soul embraces the “macrocosm” (the whole of reality), since it depicts it. Such a real correspondence or analogy between the soul and the entire cosmos was the strong variant of the microcosm theory; the weak variant only allowed the theory to apply “in a certain way”.

The disputes over averroism were turbulent . The Muslim philosopher Averroes , who received a lot of attention as a commentator on Aristotle in the Catholic world, had followed Aristotle and taught that there is only one universal intellect and therefore one and the same intellect is active in all human beings and leads to knowledge. The individual survival of the rational soul after death was thus called into doubt, which led to violent reactions from some theologians and the church authorities. In addition, in circles influenced by Averroism, the conviction was widespread that the activity of the intellect is the characteristic that makes man human, and therefore that philosophical life is the perfection of being human; whoever neglects the intellect can only be called human in an improper sense (aequivoce) . Even Albert the Great said that man is in essence identical to the things that are most excellent in him, namely the intellect (homo solus intellect) . Against this, however, it was objected that, according to Aristotle, body matter is part of the definition of the essence and definition of man. Thomas Aquinas in particular fought against the equation of man - as a species or as an individual - with the soul; the formulation that man is intellect was only accepted in a much weakened interpretation.

While a deceased is buried, an angel and a demon fight for her soul. Illumination in a book of hours from the late 15th century

In the late Middle Ages, questions related to the role of the possible and the active intellect and the relationship of the intellect to the soul or the function of the intellect in the soul were discussed intensively . Following on from Neoplatonic ideas, Dietrich von Freiberg understood the active intellect as the “ soul ground ”, not as the potency of the soul, but as the founding origin of its being. This concept was modified by Meister Eckhart . He emphasized that the soul reason or the “soul sparkle” is not the active intellect and not “something in the soul” (aliquid animae) , but “something in the soul” (aliquid in anima) . This sparkle is created in a certain way, in another - more essential - respect uncreated and uncreatable and thus capable of knowledge of God, which in principle remains closed to all created things because God is uncreated and thus absolutely different from all created things.

Another subject area, to which the late medieval philosophers paid a lot of attention after Aristotle, was the nature of the animal soul, i.e. the question of the mental abilities of animals (learning, imagination, memory, appropriate action, communication about inner states through vocalizations, their meaning is recorded). Instead of the human mind, animals were ascribed a "power of judgment" (virtus aestimativa) of the sensitive soul, with which, for example, a sheep recognizes the wolf as an enemy even if it has never seen a wolf before, and with which the animals know what food is digestible for them. It was discussed to what extent this ability of the animal soul is to be classified as intellect-like. Another question was whether animals have free choice. In this context, the interest turned to the mental properties of assumed middle beings or intermediate stages between humans and animals, to which some scholars such as Albert the Great included the pygmies .

The factual equation of the person with the soul was expressed in terms such as “salvation of the soul” (salus animae) and “pastoral care” (cura animarum) . The prayer for the salvation of the “ poor souls ” of those who died in purgatory was rooted in popular piety. It was eagerly pursued and, in particular, constituted an important task for the monks who performed this prayer service as part of the liturgy . As a general intercession for the souls in purgatory, All Souls Day was introduced, which is celebrated every year in the Catholic Church on November 2nd.

Modern times

An angel fetches the escaping soul of a dying man. Woodcut from the early 16th century
The souls of deceased people on the oil painting The Ascent into Heavenly Paradise by Hieronymus Bosch († 1516), Palazzo Ducale , Venice

In modern times, the spiritual teaching of the Church Fathers has remained predominant in its basic features on both the Catholic and the Protestant side up to the modern age, although individual aspects of Protestant theology were reinterpreted as early as the Reformation.

After Aristotelian and Averroistic philosophers had put forward arguments against the conventional doctrine of immortality, the Catholic Church responded to the Fifth Lateran Council with a dogmatic definition that was adopted by the Council Fathers on December 19, 1513. In the bull Apostolici regiminis the council wrote down the individual immortality of the human soul as a binding truth of faith. The Council text expressed the conviction that it was a matter of a fact that was not only revealed, but also naturally accessible through reason; Opinions to the contrary are not only theologically but also philosophically untenable. A well-known representative of the contrary opinion was the philosopher Pietro Pomponazzi (1462–1525), who taught that the immortality of the soul is a mere truth of faith and has not been philosophically proven. The doctrinal definition of the Fifth Lateran Council is still an integral part of Catholic dogmatics today. The Catholic Church also follows the ancient and medieval tradition with regard to the origin of the soul and its connection with the body. So Pope Pius XII. 1950 in the encyclical Humani generis stated: The Catholic faith tells us to hold fast that souls are created directly by God. With this the Church turns against Traducianism , which assumes that the soul of the child is communicated to him at the time of conception from the souls of the parents, in that part of the parental soul substance is transferred to the child through the physical seed. The traditional teaching was affirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 2005 : The spiritual soul does not come from parents, but is created directly by God; she is immortal. It does not perish if it separates itself from the body in death [...].

On the Protestant side, Martin Luther turned against the Aristotelian denial of the immortality of the soul. But he also emphatically rejected the dogma of the Fifth Lateran Council. He disliked the idea of ​​Thomism and the Council Fathers that the soul was created independently of the body and then poured into it. In Luther's opinion, such an anthropology can not explain the sinful corruption of the whole person. Therefore he assumed that the soul would not be pushed into the body from without, but that God worked it from within through his invigorating breath and his almighty word. The reformer Johannes Calvin , who advocated a strongly platonic theory of the soul and described the body as the prison of the soul, was of a different opinion . He viewed the soul as an immaterial and immortal substance and interpreted death as the liberation of the soul from the body and thus also as redemption from sins.

In the modern age, some evangelical theologians made a radical break with conventional theory of the soul by denying the existence of the soul as an independent substance and thus also its separability from the body and its immortality. According to her, the soul dies together with the body because it forms an indissoluble unit with it. The future resurrection is therefore not a reconnection of the uninterrupted soul with the resurrected body, but the resurrection of the whole person. This teaching is known as the " all-death theory ". Its representatives include Paul Althaus , Karl Barth , Emil Brunner , Eberhard Jüngel , Jürgen Moltmann and Oscar Cullmann . The way of thinking on which the concept of total death is based has also met with approval on the Catholic side, insofar as it denies a real separation of body and soul. For example, Johann Baptist Metz wrote in 1964 in the Catholic Lexicon for Theology and Church about man: “The reality of his body is nothing other than his real soul, [...] like, for example, [...] a pin prick with which you can cut a hole in a piece Paper sticks, in its reality it is only given as pierced paper [...] 'soul' is therefore always a statement about the whole person. ”Catholic theologians, who emphasize the idea of ​​the holistic nature of man, believe that man as body-soul Unity die as a whole. However, they differ from the evangelical total death advocates in their view that death should not be understood as total extinction. Critics of the total death theory argue that total death does not allow continuity between the historical and the risen man. In the case of a resurrection from nothing, the resurrected One would be a new subject. Therefore, an immortal soul is needed as the bearer of the continuity of the human ego.


A large number of partly Christian and partly non-Christian salvation teachings were proclaimed among the ancient Gnostics . There was no uniform conception of the soul for all Gnostic schools and, in particular, no uniform terminology. The Greek-writing Gnostics took over common expressions of the Platonists for their anthropology, but gave the term psyche a modified meaning and assessed the soul differently. While the Platonists professed the ideal of a soul guided by reason, who recognized the good, divine world order and followed it, a much less favorable assessment of the psyche was widespread among the Gnostics . The devaluation of the psyche was connected with the Gnostic rejection of the sensually perceptible cosmos. The Gnostics differentiated between the divine world of light, which they called pleroma , and the realm of darkness, this world shaped by matter, from which they sought to escape. They only assigned the human spirit ( pneúma ) to the world of light. Under psyche understood many Gnostics a different from the spirit, though intangible, but belonging to this world and of matter associated part of man. They believed that the psyche was worthless in itself and could only acquire a certain meaning through its connection with the pneuma . In contrast to the Platonists, who interpreted the emergence of the soul from the spirit as a natural self-development of the spirit and therefore assessed it positively, the Gnostics saw in the emergence of the soul realm a regrettable alienation of the spirit from itself, which should be reversed. They strived for the redemption of the spirit particles that had lost their way in this world and were bound in the souls. Only the spirit, not the soul, can be redeemed. However, some Gnostic authors used the term psyche synonymously with pneuma or understood the relationship between soul and spirit differently. The influential Gnostic Basilides compared the psyche with a bird and the pneuma with its wings: the bird cannot fly without wings, the wings are useless without a bird.


Early Arabic poetry denotes the self or person with nafs . The Koran also uses the word in this sense (also for the person of God), but also in the sense of "human soul"; It is also about the psychological functions, especially undesirable desires that originate in the soul and are to be restrained. In addition, the word rūḥ can be found in the early poets and in the Koran , which originally means “breath” or “wind” and then religiously the breath or breath that God blows into Adam to give life to his body (vital soul). In addition, rūḥ in the Koran also denotes a special cognitive quality that God gives selected creatures and, figuratively, the divine messengers equipped with it. Since the Umayyad epoch , rūḥ has often been used synonymously with nafs as a name for the human soul, but some authors attach importance to a distinction between these terms. In the Koran it is written that God lets the souls emerge from the body during sleep and then sends them back.

About rūḥ is stated in the Koran: Ar-rūḥ belongs to the decree of my Lord. But you received little knowledge. From this it follows from the theological point of view that the essence of the soul is mysterious and largely withdrawn from normal human knowledge.

Well-known Muslim philosophers such as al-Kindī († 873), al-Fārābī († 950) and Avicenna († 1037) started out from the Aristotelian theory of the soul, but were also influenced by Neoplatonic metaphysics. Like earlier Muslim thinkers, Avicenna took the concept of the active intellect from the Aristotelian tradition and combined it with a Neo-Platonic doctrine of emanation , which traces the soul back to the spirit (nous). In the active intellect he saw the universal principle that ensures that the human intellect passes from potentiality to the act . The active intellect gives the intellect of man the intelligible forms through which knowledge is constituted. The sensory perception cannot bring about the reception of the forms, it only dispenses to it. In Avicenna's model, the soul emerges from the active intellect; it is immaterial, indestructible, immortal and not necessarily bound to the body. He is convinced that a person in a healthy state, if he could temporarily not perceive anything from his body, could not deny his own identity as self or soul, even if he was otherwise unknown.

The Persian philosopher Rhazes († 925 or 935) attributed the soul's entry into the material world to its ignorance. She wanted to experience existence in the body and God did not forbid her, but allowed the fatal step so that she could learn from her own experience and finally leave the unsuitable environment.

The influential theologian al-Ghazālī († 1111) said that although Islam confirms the existence of the soul as an independent substance, it is a truth of faith and the philosophers are not in a position to provide philosophical proof of it. He considered the soul to be an incorporeal, purely spiritual substance that has knowledge and perception. Although this view was shared by some philosophers, it has not been able to establish itself in Islamic theology. The traditionally dominant view is the opposite, which the prominent theologian ibn al-Qaiyim († 1350) has put forward in the most detail. In his book on the soul (kitāb ar-rūḥ) he argued that if the soul were incorporeal it could not have any relation to the spatial and the physical. It is material, albeit of a different nature than the physical body, and represents an independent body.

According to the teaching of the theologian Fachr ad-Dīn ar-Rāzī († 1209), who was influenced by al-Ghazali, nafs is the immortal individual soul, rūḥ is a subtle matter in the body that mediates between nafs and the gross body organs.

As to the pre-existence of souls, opinions differed. According to a popular opinion that u. a. the Spanish scholar Ibn Hazm († 1064) represented, the souls of all people were created before Adam's sin ; they wait in a heavenly place until they are breathed into an embryo. Other theologians assumed a later creation date.

Among the philosophers there were followers of the view based on ancient tradition that there is a world soul (an-nafsu'l-kulliyya) and that human souls are its outflow and participate in it. Al-Kindī and later the famous Sufi Ibn ʿArabī († 1240) shared this opinion .

The Aristotelian Averroes († 1198) held a special position , who - following Aristotle - rejected individual immortality.

Psyche (Wolf von Hoyer, 1842), Neue Pinakothek in Munich

Since the Middle Ages, theologians - especially the Sufis and authors influenced by Sufism - have dealt with the soul primarily from the point of view of its instinctuality. The term nafs is always used for the soul as an instinctual authority . The instinctual soul is considered to be the worst enemy of man because it brings him to ruin with its ignorance, volatility and insatiable greed. It is therefore demanded not to give in to it, but to despise it and strictly discipline it. They should even be "killed", which is only meant metaphorically, because the aim is not to destroy them, but to radically transform them in several stages of development. In the course of this process, she should be purified, increasingly turn away from physical pleasure and place herself in the service of the spirit.

Modern links to traditional concepts

A connection to ideas of the soul of ancient origin has occurred in modern times, both in a religious and ideological context and in art. Particularly in the modern age and up to the present, individuals as well as new religious or ideological movements and communities have emerged with their own doctrines of the soul, which they often empirically, but subjectively, i.e. H. justify on the basis of personal experience. The representatives of these doctrines often refer to statements made by individual persons who claim to have gained access to knowledge about the soul through their experiences. In some cases it is claimed that the original preachers of the teachings had new revelations from God, from Christ, or from messengers of God or spirit beings . Other followers of new soul concepts attribute the claimed knowledge to an ability to perceive extrasensory. Often traditional ideas of the soul are followed. As in Platonism and the Platonically influenced Christian tradition, the soul or at least its core is described as an immaterial substance that can be separated from the body and immortal. Numerous concepts based on this basic assumption are common in modern esotericism . Terms such as “self” are also used synonymously with “soul”. In part, these are further developments of ideas of Indian origin with the corresponding terminology.


A soul is carried to heaven. Oil painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau (1878), Musée du Périgord

Visual artists have taken up the motif of the soul - iconographically as the psyche in the tradition of ancient representations - and redesigned it. The sculptors Wolf von Hoyer (1806–1873) and Georgios Bonanos (1863–1940) created sculptures of the winged psyche. The ascension of the soul after death is shown in paintings by Antonio Balestra (1666–1740) and William Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905) , among others . Above all, the psyche figure from the ancient story of Amor and Psyche has enjoyed great and lasting popularity in the visual arts up to modern times.

New revelations

The Swedish scholar Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) stated that through divine grace he was given the ability to perceive the spiritual world and to have conversations with angels and spirits. He identified man with the immortal soul, which only uses the body temporarily as an organ. At death, the soul separates from the body and passes into another world. Jakob Lorber (1800–1864) described himself as “God's scribbler”, who recorded the new revelations of an inner voice, the voice of Christ. He distinguished between the body, the soul described as human, and the pure spirit, which resides in the soul and is called to lead it. The task of the soul is to open up to the spiritual and to orientate itself to the spirit. Death frees the soul from the body. Similar soul concepts, in which death is understood as the separation of the immortal soul from the body and the fate of the souls in the hereafter are described, can be found in a number of new revelations, for example by Bertha Dudde (1891–1965).

Theosophy and Anthroposophy

The soul of the murdered Abel rises to heaven. Painting by Antonio Balestra, Verona , Museo di Castelvecchio

The science of the soul is an important part of the theosophy founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891) and the anthroposophy founded by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) and the ideas of the Christian community based on Steiner's worldview .

Blavatsky started from a duality of the spiritual man, which consists of a mortal and an immortal soul; the immortal is of a divine nature and to be equated with the nous . Blavatsky viewed the stay of the soul in the body as imprisonment and pollution and therefore as an evil. In doing so, she referred to both the Platonic tradition and the Buddhist interpretation of human existence.

Rudolf Steiner fought against the view that humans consist of two parts, body and soul. He opposed it with the anthroposophical view, according to which a “tripartite division of the human being” is to be assumed. The three members are body, soul and spirit. The soul also shows a threefold structure; it is composed of the sentient soul, the mind or soul soul and the consciousness soul. The sentient soul is responsible for the sensory perceptions, it is also the seat of the drives, desires and will impulses. The mind or soul soul transforms the affects of the sentient soul into higher impulses such as benevolence. The consciousness soul is that psychic authority which, through thinking, strives for the knowledge of a truth present within itself. Steiner presented this teaching of the soul in detail in numerous publications.

Spiritism and Parapsychology

"The Soul", sculpture by Georgios Bonanos

In spiritualism which is necromancy practiced. Spiritists claim to be able to communicate with the spirits of the dead. The assumption of survival after death is therefore the basic requirement of a spiritistic world view. Spiritist literature often does not speak of souls, but of spirits, but with "spirit" is meant a part of the human being that is considered immortal and independent of the body, i.e. what is referred to as soul or spirit soul in many traditional soul teachings becomes. Allan Kardec , a leading theorist of spiritism, used the terms "soul" and "spirit" interchangeably.

In parapsychology , the phenomena that the spiritualists refer to as the empirical basis of their theory are interpreted differently. The explanations discussed fall into several main groups, with two types of interpretation in the foreground in the discussion: the "animistic hypothesis" and the "spiritualistic hypothesis" or "survival hypothesis". The spiritualistic hypothesis says that at least some of the phenomena are probably actually real contacts with the deceased who survive, that is - depending on the terminology - with their souls, spirits or astral bodies . The term “animistic hypothesis” summarizes interpretations that attribute everything that does not seem to be explainable with normal information transfer to various forms of extrasensory perception. These models manage without the assumption of real spirit beings.

Various near-death experiences are interpreted as an indication of the soul's continued life after death.

Modern philosophy, psychology and anthropology

From a modern systematic perspective, the philosophical questions related to the subject of the soul can be grouped into different subject areas. Most of these belong to the areas of epistemology (including perceptual theory), philosophy of mind and ontology . The so-called body-soul problem or body-mind problem is central , i.e. the question of how physical and mental phenomena are related. The question is, for example, whether physical and mental phenomena are based on the same or ontologically different substance and whether there is a real interaction of considerations and body states or whether consciousness is a mere consequence of somatic and especially neuronal determinants.

The Cartesian model and its aftermath

René Descartes, painting after an original by Frans Hals from the second half of the 17th century, now in the Louvre.

The debate received new impulses in modern times, in particular from the natural philosophy and metaphysics of René Descartes (1596–1650). His way of thinking is referred to as Cartesian based on the Latinized form of the name of the philosopher . Descartes rejected the traditional Aristotelian understanding of the soul as a principle of life, which enables and controls the activities of living beings such as nutrition, exercise and sensory perception and which is responsible for affects. He considered all processes that take place not only in humans but also in animals to be soulless and purely mechanical. Accordingly, the animals have no soul, but are like machines. He identified the soul exclusively with the spirit (Latin mens ), whose function is only thinking. According to Descartes' view, a strict distinction has to be made between matter characterized by its spatial extension (res extensa) and the non- extension thinking soul (res cogitans) . The thinking subject can only obtain direct certainty of its own thinking activity. In this way it can gain a starting point for knowledge of nature and the world. The body, to which Descartes counts the irrational acts of life, is part of matter and can be fully explained in terms of mechanics , while the thinking soul, as an immaterial entity, eludes such an explanation. For Descartes the soul is a pure, unchangeable substance and therefore inherently immortal.

Descartes' central argument for his dualistic position is discussed with modifications in philosophy to this day. It says, first of all, one can clearly imagine that thinking as a mental process takes place independently of the body. Everything that can be clearly imagined is at least theoretically possible; it could have been arranged accordingly by God. If it is at least theoretically possible that soul and body exist independently of one another, then they must be different entities . A second, natural-philosophical argument says that the ability to speak and to act intelligently cannot be explained by the interaction of physical components according to the laws of nature, but rather presupposes something non-physical that can rightly be called soul.

In the context of the debates of the 17th century about the Aristotelian vitalism , which understands the soul as form, individuation principle and control organ of the body, and the Cartesian mechanistic interpretation, which wants to explain all bodily functions by natural laws, Anne Conway (1631–1679) took a special position . She criticized the Cartesian dualism a. a. with the argument that, contrary to his presuppositions, he applied local and other terms to the soul which, according to the dualistic understanding, are only appropriate for matter. In addition, the connection of soul and body is not understandable in dualism; an interaction of soul and body - such as B. Mental control or sensitivity to pain - assume that they have common characteristics. Hence, Conway assumed only one substance in the universe. In their system matter and spirit are not absolutely different, but two manifestations of the one substance; therefore they can merge into one another.

The Cambridge Platonists , a group of Neoplatonic orientated English philosophers and theologians of the 17th century, made the defense of the individual immortality of the soul one of their main concerns. In doing so, they turned against the idea of ​​the individual soul dissolving into a comprehensive unity as well as against the materialistic concept of an end of personality with death. Against materialism, they argued, in particular, that a sufficient mechanical explanation of life and spiritual processes was not possible. Their anti-mechanistic attitude also led them to criticize the Cartesians' mechanistic view of nature.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) developed his concept of the soul by examining the Cartesian model. Like Descartes, he accepted immaterial souls. In contrast to the French philosopher, however, he did not regard the contrast between thinking and expansion (matter) as the essential criterion, but rather the difference between the ability to have ideas and the non-existence of this ability. Leibniz therefore rejected the Cartesian thesis that animals were machines, and took the view that at least some animals had a soul because they had a memory. He ascribed not only human, but also animal souls an individual continued existence after death.

Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) considered it impossible to theoretically prove or refute the existence of an immortal soul. With his position he turned against the traditional soul metaphysics based on Platonism as well as against Cartesianism. His argumentation in the Critique of Pure Reason was not directed against the assumption of an immortal soul. He only denied its verifiability and the scientific nature of a " rational psychology " which tries to gain knowledge about the soul by mere conclusions from something immediately insightful, self-consciousness, independently of all experience. The rational psychology is built solely on the sentence “I think”, and this basis is too poor for statements about the substantiality and the properties of the soul. Kant explained that the alleged proofs of immortality are paralogisms (false conclusions). From the fact of self-consciousness, as Descartes said, one cannot gain a content-related self-knowledge of the soul. Within pure rationality, self-knowledge does not go beyond the establishment of a content-wise self-relation; but as soon as one goes over to statements about the states and properties of the soul, one cannot do without experience. The subject cannot grasp itself in its self-perception as a thing-in-itself , but only as an appearance, and when it thinks about itself, the object of this thinking is a pure thought-thing, which the various variants of traditional soul metaphysics confuses with a thing-in-itself will. But Kant did not infer from this that the term soul is superfluous in science. Rather, he considered an empirical psychology that provides a description of the nature of the soul to be meaningful; however, this cannot lead to an ontological description of the essence. Kant also attributed an empirically researchable soul to animals, referring to analogies between humans and animals.

Regardless of his criticism of rational psychology, Kant affirmed the assumption that the human soul is immortal on the basis of moral-philosophical considerations. According to his argument, this is a postulate of practical reason. The soul is immortal not already when it will live and continue after death, but only when it must by its nature. The latter is to be assumed if one understands the moral subject as a being whose will can be determined by moral law. Such a subject necessarily strives for the “highest good”, that is, for a perfect morality which, however, is unattainable in the sense world. This requires a progression into infinity and thus an existence that continues into infinity. The attainability of what a moral being necessarily strives for was a plausible assumption within the framework of practical reason. Therefore, he pleaded for a “hold to be true” of immortality.

The search for the soul organ

Leonardo da Vinci's sketch of the cerebral ventricles, Codex Windsor , 1489

The question of the seat of the soul was still topical in the early modern period, and it was also asked about its organ. The soul organ was understood to be the material substrate for the interaction of mind and body, the instrument with which the soul receives impressions from the outside world and forwards commands to the body.

Averroistic-minded scholars of the 15th and 16th centuries were of the opinion that the intellect is not localized in a certain point and has no organ of its own, but acts in the entire body. As an impersonal and imperishable entity, it is not tied to physical functions. Both Thomists and non-Averroist Aristotelians and humanists influenced by the way of thinking of the Church Father Augustine turned against this view. For those in favor of a soul organ, the examination of the cerebral ventricles came into consideration as a starting point for clarifying the question. Leonardo da Vinci followed this approach , who argued inductively . He said that nature does not produce anything inexpedient and therefore it can be deduced from the study of the structures it produces which organic system is assigned to the mental functions. Following this principle, Leonardo assigned the first ventricle to record the sensory data, the second ventricle to the imagination and judgment, and the third to the function of memory.

According to Descartes' dualistic concept, the expansionless soul cannot be located in the body or at any place in the material world, but there is communication between soul and body that must take place in a locatable place. Descartes suspected that the pineal gland , an organ located centrally in the brain, was this place. His conjecture was soon refuted by brain research, but the confrontation with Descartes' theory led to numerous new hypotheses about the location of the soul organ. Albrecht von Haller (1708–1777) assumed that the soul organ was distributed over the entire white matter of the brain.

The last large-scale attempt to localize the soul organ was made by the anatomist Samuel Thomas von Soemmerring in his work on the organ of the soul , published in 1796 . By assigning the cerebral ventricles a central role in the communication between soul and body, he made traditional ventricular theory the starting point for his considerations. However, his reasoning was new. He argued that it was only in the ventricular fluid that the individual sensory stimuli could combine to form a uniform phenomenon, and pointed out that the ends of the cranial nerves extend to the ventricular walls. He determined the cerebrospinal fluid to be the soul organ , which washes around and connects the cranial nerves. Soemmerring did not limit himself to empirical statements, but claimed that the search for the soul organ was the subject of the "most trancendental physiology leading into the realms of metaphysics". He hoped for support from Immanuel Kant, who wrote the epilogue to Über das Organ der Seele . However, Kant was critical of Soemmerring's remarks there. For fundamental considerations, he declared that the plan to find a soul seat had failed. He justified this with the thought that the soul can only perceive itself through the internal sense and the body only through external senses; It follows from this that if it wanted to determine a place for itself it would have to perceive itself with the same sense with which it perceives matter; This, however, means that she “must make herself the object of her own external intuition and put herself outside of herself; which contradicts ".

In the 19th century the search for a seat and an organ of the soul came to a standstill. The term soul organ was initially retained. Under the influence of new bioscientific discoveries, for example in the fields of evolutionary theory , electrophysiology and organic chemistry , materialistic and monistic models emerged that do without the term soul. For proponents of non-materialistic models, however, the question of where the mind and body interact remains topical.


For Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel the soul is not a “finished subject”, but a stage of development of the spirit. At the same time it represents the "absolute basis of all particularization and isolation of the spirit". Hegel identifies it with the passive, receptive intellect of Aristotle, "which is possibly everything".

Hegel turns firmly against the modern dualism of body and soul, the Cartesian opposition between immaterial soul and material nature. The question of the immateriality of the soul, which already presupposes this opposition, does not arise for Hegel, since he refuses to see something true in matter and a thing separate from it in spirit. Rather, from his point of view, the soul is “the general immateriality of nature, its simple ideal life”. Therefore it is always related to nature. It is only there where there is corporeality . It represents the principle of movement with which the corporeality is transcended in the direction of consciousness.

In its development the soul goes through the three stages of a “natural”, a “feeling” and a “real” soul. At first she is a natural soul. As such, it is still completely interwoven with nature and initially only feels its qualities directly. The feeling is the "healthy coexistence of the individual spirit in its corporeality". It is characterized by its passivity. The transition to feeling, in which subjectivity is brought to bear, is fluid. “As a feeling, the soul is no longer just a natural, but an inner individuality.” First of all, the feeling soul is in a state of darkness of the spirit, as the spirit has not yet reached sufficient awareness and understanding. There is a danger here that the subject will persist in a peculiarity of his or her sense of self instead of processing and overcoming it into ideality. Since the mind is not yet free here, mental illness can occur. Only a mind viewed as a soul in a material sense can go mad. The feeling soul makes a developmental progress when it "reduces the particularity of the feelings (also of the consciousness) to an only existent determination in it". The habit that is generated as practice helps you to do this. Habit is rightly called a "second nature", because it is an immediacy set by the soul alongside the original immediacy of feeling. In contrast to the common disparaging use of language, Hegel evaluates habit positively. The characteristic of the third stage of development, the real soul, is “the higher awakening of the soul to the ego, the abstract universality”, whereby the ego in its judgment “excludes from itself the natural totality of its determinations as an object, a world external to it relates to it ”and is“ directly reflected in itself ”in this totality. Hegel defines the real soul as "the ideality of its determinations that is for itself".

The controversy over the research program of psychologism

Empirical psychology as an independent discipline alongside philosophy has forerunners since antiquity, but in the modern sense it only begins with studies developed in the 18th century.

The works of empiricists such as John Locke (1632–1704) and David Hume (1711–1776) were methodologically fundamental for the development of the paradigm of an empirical psychology . Hume led causation relations not on ontological relations back, about to rigid laws of nature , but tried to explain as mere habits. For these empiricists, knowledge itself has its origin in psychic functions. This variant of empiricism has in common with the views of early idealists and the transcendental-philosophical approach of Kant that it focuses less on metaphysical - objective , extrinsic and more on inner-psychological, subjective or reason itself peculiar structures. With this in mind, Hume argued against the immortality of the soul in his treatise Of the Immortality of the Soul ; at most he thought it was possible if one also assumes its preexistence. Since the soul is not a concept of experience, the question of its continued existence must remain unanswered, and an answer is anyway irrelevant for human life.

In 1749 the physician David Hartley published his findings on the neurophysiological foundations of sensory perception, imagination and the connection of thoughts. In addition, Charles Darwin (1809–1882) and others developed evolutionary theoretical models.

The moral philosopher Thomas Brown (1778–1820) wrote his Lectures on the philosophy of the human mind at the beginning of the 19th century , in which he formulated the basic laws of so-called associationism . Such methodologies were combined with models of "logic" that were based on factual operations of thought instead of ideal laws of reason. At the beginning of the 19th century, Jakob Friedrich Fries and Friedrich Eduard Beneke defended such a research program, which they called psychologism , against the dominance of a philosophy of mind in the sense of Hegel. Vincenzo Gioberti (1801-1852) referred to all modern philosophy since Descartes as psychologism, provided that it starts from humans instead of God and does not, as he put it, follow the program of " ontologism ".

According to psychologism, the only principle of knowledge in philosophical inquiry is introspection . Kant was right in establishing the proper law of experience, but is going astray if he is looking for a priori conditions for the possibility of knowledge. The psychological approach encountered greater difficulties with purely logical and mathematical statements than with empirical knowledge. But it was precisely in this field that a psychological logic was defended in the mid-19th century. The utilitarian John Stuart Mill published his system of deductive and inductive logic in 1843. According to her, the axioms of mathematics, like logical principles, are based solely on psychological introspection. In addition to Mill, German theorists such as Wilhelm Wundt , Christoph von Sigwart , Theodor Lipps and Benno Erdmann also worked out similarly accented logics. At the end of the 19th century, psychologism was the view of many psychologists and philosophers. Among them were also numerous representatives of the so-called philosophy of life . All intellectual or even philosophical problems should be explained with the new means of psychology, i.e. all thought operations and their regularities should be understood as psychological functions.

On the other hand, early theorists who advocated Kant's thesis that psychological explanations did not settle the question of truth. The Kantian approach defended Rudolf Hermann Lotze for logic, Gottlob Frege for mathematics , Wilhelm Windelband and Heinrich Rickert for ethics of values , Hermann Cohen and Paul Natorp for philosophy of science . The research programs of phenomenology were also directed against psychologism. Edmund Husserl developed a fundamental critique of psychologism in his work Logical Investigations . Martin Heidegger did not turn his attention to psychological occurrences, but to the structures of existence. The same applies to most existential philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre . For partly different reasons, many logical empiricists also contradicted psychologism. One of the first among them was Rudolf Carnap . His argument was that there is not just one language, the one that is determined by psychological laws.

In addition to the work of David Hartley and Thomas Brown and the philosophers and natural scientists active in the context of psychologism from the middle to the end of the 19th century, the work of Johann Friedrich Herbart was also decisive for the beginnings of modern psychology . Herbart was Kant's successor in his Königsberg chair from 1809.

The question of the existence of the soul

In the discussion of the 20th and 21st centuries, different definitions of the term “soul” have been proposed and different points of view have been taken on the suitability of the term and the various concepts of the soul. Roughly schematized, one can distinguish the following positions:

  1. a realism, which understands by "soul" a substance of its own, from which thinking and feeling and other spiritual acts proceed and which is only temporarily bound to the body and controls it during this period. The continued existence after physical death is also defended by some metaphysicians and religious philosophers. This is mostly equivalent to a Platonic or Cartesian concept of the soul.
  2. a materialism which rejects the existence of a soul and asserts that all speech about the soul can be reduced to speech about physical and neural states.
  3. Positions that are more difficult to classify in detail, which reject materialism and regard the mental as not only real, but also irreducible and often causally effective (e.g. in the sense of controlling body states), but do not refer to the concept of a soul in a traditional sense set, especially not on their immortality.
  4. a decidedly anti-platonic view of some Christian theologians and philosophers who regard soul and body as a unit in the sense of a holistic anthropology. This unity is understood according to the substance-form principle ( hylemorphism ), as Aristotle formulated and Thomas Aquinas developed it further. Accordingly, as the form of the body, the soul enters into the substantial unity of the individual with it. “Form” does not mean the external shape, but a life principle that shapes the body from the inside.

Rejecting positions

The clearest rejection of a concept of the soul can be found in the context of eliminative materialism among philosophers such as Patricia and Paul Churchland . The folk psychology is a false and stagnant since ancient theory that folk psychological concepts correspond to anything in reality. Everything that actually exists is biological processes. As early as the 1970s, the philosopher Richard Rorty tried to illustrate such a position with a thought experiment: One could imagine an extraterrestrial civilization that does not use any psychological vocabulary and instead only speaks of biological states. Such a civilization would be in no way inferior to humanity in terms of its communicative abilities.

Traditional materialisms, however, do not deny the existence of mental states. Rather, they explain that there are mental states, but that these are nothing other than material states. Such positions are at least compatible with a very weak concept of soul: If one understands by "soul" simply the sum of the ontologically unspecified mental states, one can also use the term "soul" in the context of such theories. For example, identity theory explains that mental states exist in real life, but are identical to brain states. This position is sometimes criticized as "carbon chauvinism" because it ties awareness to the existence of an organic nervous system. Conscious forms of life on an inorganic basis (such as silicon ) would be conceptually excluded as well as conscious artificial intelligences. In the context of the development of artificial intelligence, a materialistic alternative position arose, which is called " functionalism ". Classic functionalism is based on a computer analogy: A software can be implemented by very different computers ( e.g. Turing machines and PCs), so a software state cannot be identified with a specific physical structure. Rather, software is specified by functional states that can be implemented by different physical systems. Mental states are to be understood functionally in the same way; the brain thus offers only one of many possible realizations. After a few changes of opinion, Daniel Dennett also advocates functionalism: A conscious human mind is more or less a serial virtual machine that is - inefficiently - mounted on the parallel hardware that evolution has provided us.

Objections to identity theory and functionalism arise essentially from the epistemological debate about the structure of reductive explanations . If one wants to trace a phenomenon X (such as mental states) back to a phenomenon Y (such as brain states or functional states), then one must be able to make all properties of X understandable through the properties of Y. Now, however, mental states have the property of being experienced in a certain way - it feels in a certain way, for example to be in pain (cf. Qualia ). However, this aspect of the experience can neither be explained in a neuroscientific nor in a functional analysis. Reductive explanations of the mental would inevitably fail. Such problems have led to the development of numerous non-reductive materialisms and monisms in the philosophy of mind , the representatives of which assume a “unity of the world” without committing to reductive explanations. Examples of this can be found in the context of emergence theories ; occasionally David Chalmers ' dualism of properties is counted among these approaches. However, it is controversial to what extent such positions can still be considered materialisms, since the boundaries between dualistic, pluralistic or generally anti-iontological approaches are often blurred.

Non-materialist positions

Dualistic positions are also represented in the modern philosophy of mind . One type of argument relates to thought experiments in which one imagines oneself disembodied. A corresponding reflection by Richard Swinburne can be expressed in everyday language as follows: “We can imagine a situation in which our body is destroyed, but our consciousness persists. This stream of consciousness needs a vehicle or substance. And for this substance to be identical with the person before physical death, there must be something that connects one phase with the other. Since the body is destroyed, this something cannot be physical matter: there must be something immaterial, and we call that soul. ”William D. Hart, for example, also defended a Cartesian dualism with the argument that we can imagine without To be a body, but still maintain our actor causality; Since the imaginable is possible, we can also exist without a body, so we ourselves are not necessarily and therefore not actually bound to material things.

John A. Foster defends a similar dualistic position . In addition, he rejects an eliminative materialism . Those who deny mental states are themselves in a mental state and make a meaningful statement about what already implies mental phenomena. Behavioral reductions failed because the behavioral states also had to be specified by mental states. In addition, Foster puts forward a variant of the knowledge argument : If these materialisms were true, a person blind from birth could grasp the content of color perceptions , but this is impossible. Similar problems are associated with reductions to functional roles , as represented by Sydney Shoemaker , in the more complicated variant of functional profiles also by David M. Armstrong and David K. Lewis , as well as with theories of type identity . In particular, mental states with the same functional roles could not be sufficiently differentiated. Even a distinction in such a way that the phenomenal content is captured by introspection and the neurophysiological type by scientific terms (an idea developed by Michael Lockwood) could not explain why materially identical units are related to different experiences. Instead of such token and type identity theories, a Cartesian interactionism of soul and body must be assumed. In addition, the argument (by Donald Davidson ) is rejected that no strict laws are conceivable here . Since material objects could not have mental states, because only mental properties constitute that a mental state belongs to an object, a non-physical soul must be assumed. This can only be characterized directly (ostensibly), not by attributes such as “thinking” (because, for example, it can only have unconscious, occuring mental states at one point in time ). A person is also - against John Locke - identical with the subject of phenomenal states .

The radical position that reality only consists of the psychic, a so-called immaterialism , is also represented in modern debates, for example by Timothy Sprigge .

Gilbert Ryle

Gilbert Ryle thinks that it is tantamount to a category mistake to talk about the mental as well as the material. It is just as nonsensical to look for a spirit next to the body as to look for something “the team” next to the individual players of a soccer team moving into a stadium. The team consists not in addition to the individual players, but from them. Depending on whether one understands "the team" as a purely conceptual (unreal) construct or ascribes its own reality (problem of universals ), one arrives at different answers with regard to the "reality" of the existence of a soul. In essence, Ryle ties in with the Aristotelian definition, according to which the soul is to be understood as a form principle of the material, especially of the living, which cannot exist apart from the body.

Possible properties of the soul


The traditional concept of an immortal soul assumes that it does not consist of parts into which it can be broken down, otherwise it would be perishable. On the other hand, it is ascribed complex interaction with the environment, which is inconsistent with the idea that it is absolutely simple and immutable. Swinburne therefore assumes, as part of his dualistic concept, that the human soul has a continuous, complex structure. He deduces this from the possible stability of a system of interrelated views and desires of an individual.

Ludwig Wittgenstein took the view “that the soul - the subject etc. - as it is conceived in today's superficial psychology, is absurd. A composite soul would no longer be a soul. "

Roderick M. Chisholm has taken up the idea of ​​“simplicity” (in the sense of not being composed) of the “soul”. He understands “soul” as synonymous with “person” and claims that this is also the meaning of the word used by Augustine, Descartes, Bernard Bolzano and many others. In this sense, he defends, as in other comments on the theory of subjectivity, that our being is fundamentally different from the nature of composite entities.

Persistence after death

While materialists deny the existence of a soul and many dualists no longer understand the term soul in a traditional sense, the question of post-mortem survival has been debated again in recent decades and has been partially answered positively. Lynne Rudder Baker distinguishes seven metaphysical positions which affirm the continued existence of a personal identity after death:

  1. Immaterialism: the continuation of the person is based on the self-sameness of the soul before and after death
  2. Animalism: the persistence of the person is based on the sameness of the living organism before and after death
  3. Thomism: the persistence of the person is based on the sameness of the composite of body and soul before and after death
  4. Memory theories: a person is the same before and after death if and only if there is psychological continuity
  5. Soul as “software”: the sameness of the person is analogous to that of software that is independent of hardware (in this case the brain)
  6. Soul as an information-bearing pattern: the sameness of the person is based on the sameness of an information pattern that is carried by body matter and can be restored after the person's death
  7. Constitutional theories

Baker discusses to what extent these positions are suitable as a metaphysical basis for the Christian belief in the resurrection. She discards the first six positions and then defends a variant of the seventh.

The soul as a whole and its relationship to the spirit

Apart from the discussion between dualists and materialists, a concept of the soul has developed in the German-speaking area, which primarily derives its definition from the fact that it delimits the soul as a whole from the spirit and its multiplicity of objective contents.

For Georg Simmel , the spirit is “the objective content of what becomes conscious in a living function within the soul; The soul is, as it were, the form that the spirit, i.e. H. the logical-conceptual content of thinking, for our subjectivity, as our subjectivity, assumes. ”Spirit is thus objectified soul. Its contents are present in parts, while the soul always makes up the unity of the whole person.

Helmut Plessner sees it similarly , for whom the soul constitutes the wholeness of the human being with all desires and desires and all unconscious urges. The spirit often has the task of serving the soul in the satisfaction of its desires: "Spirit is grasped by an individual, indefensible, at least so knowing soul center and thus acts solely on the physical sphere of existence." Plessner does not mean that Nietzsche's connection between body and intellect, in which the intellect has the task of ensuring that the natural needs of the body are satisfied. For Plessner, spirit means the full cultural content of all human relationships with oneself and the world. While man can make individual contents of his mind tangible in an objectified form due to his eccentric positionality , this is denied to his soul, because he can never bring himself as a whole to himself and reflect on himself.

Oswald Spengler also emphasizes the unity of the soul: "It is better to dissect a Beethoven theme with a dissecting knife or acid than to dissect the soul by means of abstract thinking." All attempts to depict the soul are only images that never do justice to their subject. Following Nietzsche's strong subjectivism , Spengler also transfers the concept of the soul to cultures: Every great culture begins with a basic conception of the world, it has a soul with which it confronts the world in a creative way. Cultures form their own "reality as the epitome of all symbols relating to a soul", spiritually and materially.

Ernst Cassirer discusses the soul in the context of his philosophy of symbolic forms . He thinks that every symbolic form does not have the boundary between the self and reality as a fixed one in advance, but first sets it itself. For this reason it can also be assumed for the myth “that it starts with a finished concept of the ego or the soul as little as with a finished picture of objective being and happening, but that it must first gain both, first out of itself has to form. ”An idea of ​​the soul only slowly develops in the cultural process. In order for this to happen, man must first separate the I and the world, understand himself as I and soul and detach himself from the overall context of nature. The notions of a soul as a unit were only late concepts in both religion and philosophy.

With Ludwig Klages , the relationship between spirit and soul becomes an antagonism, which inevitably results from the nature of the two poles. In his three-volume main work The Spirit as Adversary of the Soul , Klages, who is heavily influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche , explains in detail his thesis that the spirit and the principle of life, the soul, are "mutually hostile". The mind that produces philosophical and scientific systems is rigid, static and unrealistic. He's building on the dungeon of life. The soul, on the other hand, is constantly changing and is able to surrender to reality in a deep experience. It is impermanent and should affirm its impermanence as the “commandment to die” and a prerequisite for all life. The idea of ​​an immortal soul is a product of the hostile spirit.


Regarding the task of psychoanalysis , Sigmund Freud stated in 1914 that it had never claimed "to give a complete theory of human mental life at all". He used the term “soul life” as a synonym for “psyche”. He wrote that two things were known about it: the brain and nervous system as a physical organ and arena of soul life and the acts of consciousness. The acts of consciousness are given directly and cannot be brought closer to the human being through any description. A direct relationship between these “two endpoints of our knowledge” is not given, and even if it did exist, it could only contribute to the localization of the processes of consciousness, not to their understanding. The soul life is the function of the “psychic apparatus”, which is spatially extended and composed of several pieces, similar to a telescope or microscope. The instances or areas of soul life are the id , the ego and the super-ego . Freud assumed that spatiality was a projection of the expansion of the psychic apparatus, the conditions of which Kant had to replace a priori . Freud noted in 1938: "The psyche is expanded, knows nothing about it." He said that philosophy must take into account the results of psychoanalysis "in the most extensive way" insofar as it is based on psychology. She must modify her hypotheses about the relationship between the soul and the body accordingly. So far - Freud wrote this in 1913 - the philosophers had not dealt adequately with the “unconscious soul activities” because they had not known their phenomena.

In his study Psychological Types published in 1921, Carl Gustav Jung gave a definition of the term “soul” within the scope of the terminology he used. He made a distinction between soul and psyche. He referred to the totality of all - conscious and unconscious - psychological processes as psyche. He described the soul as “a specific, delimited functional complex that could best be characterized as a personality ”. A distinction must be made between the external and internal personality of man; Jung equated the inner one with the soul. The outer personality is a "mask" shaped by the intentions of the individual and the demands and opinions of those around him. Jung called this mask persona , taking up the ancient Latin term for masks of actors . The inner personality, the soul, is "the way in which one relates to the inner psychic processes", his inner attitude, "the character that he turns towards the unconscious". Jung formulated the principle that the soul is complementary to the persona. It contains those general human characteristics that the persona lacks. Thus a sentimental soul belongs to an intellectual persona, to a hard, tyrannical, inaccessible persona a dependent, influenceable soul, to a very male persona a female soul. Therefore, one can derive the character of the outwardly hidden soul, often also unknown to the consciousness of the person concerned, from the character of the persona.

Freud believed that his general scheme of the psychic apparatus also applies to the “higher animals that are psychologically similar to humans”. In animals that have been in a child-like relationship with humans for a long time, a superego should be assumed. The animal psychology should investigate this. Indeed, research into animal behavior from a psychological point of view experienced an upswing in the first half of the 20th century. Animal psychology, later called ethology , developed into an independent subject.



  • Jan N. Bremmer : The career of the soul. From ancient Greece to modern Europe . In: Bernd Janowski (Ed.): The whole person. On the anthropology of antiquity and its European post-history . Akademie Verlag, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-05-005113-0 , pp. 173-198.
  • Gerd Jüttemann , Michael Sonntag, Christoph Wulf (Ed.): The soul. Your story in the West. Psychologie Verlags Union, Weinheim 1991, ISBN 3-621-27114-7 .
  • Béla Révész: History of the concept of the soul and the localization of the soul . Enke, Stuttgart 1917.

Religious studies

Philosophical overview and overall representations

  • Katja Crone, Robert Schnepf, Jürgen Stolzenberg (eds.): About the soul . Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-518-29516-8 (essays on the history of philosophy and contributions to the discussion in the 21st century).
  • Sandro Nannini: soul, mind and body. Historical roots and philosophical foundations of the cognitive sciences . Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 3-631-54883-4 (overall presentation from a materialistic point of view).
  • Hartmut Sommer: Immortal Soul - Answers from Philosophy . Topos, Kevelaer 2016, ISBN 978-3-8367-1048-0 (overall presentation from the perspective of a Christian philosophy).

History of philosophy

  • Jan N. Bremmer: The Early Greek Concept of the Soul . Princeton University Press, Princeton 1983, ISBN 0-691-06528-4 .
  • David B. Claus: Toward the Soul. An Inquiry into the Meaning of ψυχή before Plato . Yale University Press, New Haven 1981, ISBN 0-300-02096-1 .
  • Barbara Feichtinger (Ed.): Body and soul. Aspects of late antique anthropology . Saur, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-598-77827-8 .
  • Jens Holzhausen (Ed.): Ψυχή - soul - anima. Festschrift for Karin Alt on May 7, 1998 . Teubner, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-519-07658-6 (contains numerous articles on antiquity, the Middle Ages and modern times).
  • Hans-Dieter Klein (Hrsg.): The concept of the soul in the history of philosophy . Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2005, ISBN 3-8260-2796-5 .
  • Klaus Kremer (Ed.): Soul. Their reality, their relationship to the body and to the human person . Brill, Leiden 1984, ISBN 90-04-06965-8 .
  • John P. Wright, Paul Potter (Eds.): Psyche and Soma. Physicians and metaphysicians on the mind-body problem from Antiquity to Enlightenment . Clarendon Press, Oxford 2000, ISBN 0-19-823840-1 .

Modern philosophical discourse

  • Ansgar Beckermann : The mind-body problem. An introduction to the philosophy of mind . Wilhelm Fink, Paderborn 2008, ISBN 978-3-7705-4571-1 (representation from a naturalistic point of view).
  • Mark C. Baker, Stewart Goetz (Eds.): The Soul Hypothesis. Investigations into the Existence of the Soul . Continuum, New York 2011, ISBN 978-1-4411-5224-4 (collection of articles; arguments from a dualistic perspective).
  • Georg Gasser, Josef Quitterer (Ed.): The actuality of the concept of the soul. Interdisciplinary approaches . Schöningh, Paderborn 2010, ISBN 978-3-506-76905-3 (collection of articles; non-naturalistic approaches).
  • Marcus Knaup: body and soul or mind and brain? A paradigm shift in the modern image of man . Karl Alber, Freiburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-495-48547-7 (illustration of a neo-Aristotelian approach).
  • Simon L. Frank : The human soul. An attempt at an introduction to philosophical psychology (= Simon L. Frank: works in eight volumes , vol. 2). Alber, Freiburg im Breisgau 2008, ISBN 978-3-495-47936-0 .


  • Wilhelm Breuning (Hrsg.): Soul: Problem term Christian eschatology . Herder, Freiburg et al. 1986, ISBN 3-451-02106-4 .
  • Godehard Brüntrup , Matthias Rugel, Maria Schwartz (eds.): Resurrection of the body - immortality of the soul . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3-17-020979-4 .
  • Heinrich Karpp: Problems of early Christian anthropology . Bertelsmann, Gütersloh 1950.
  • Karl-Ludwig Koenen, Josef Schuster (Ed.): Soul or brain? On the life and survival of people after death . Aschendorff, Münster 2012, ISBN 978-3-402-16056-5 .
  • Caspar Söling: The brain-soul problem. Neurobiology and Theological Anthropology . Schöningh, Paderborn 1995, ISBN 3-506-78586-9 .
  • Beatrice La Farge: Life and Soul in the Old Germanic Languages. Studies on the influence of Christian-Latin ideas on the vernacular languages (= Scandinavian works , 11). Winter, Heidelberg 1991, ISBN 978-3-8253-4416-0 .


Web links

Commons : Soul  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikiquote: Soul  Quotes
Wiktionary: soul  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations




Near death experience


  1. ^ Wolfgang Pfeifer: Etymological Dictionary of German , Volume M – Z, 2nd edition, Berlin 1993, p. 1268; Friedrich Kluge : Etymological dictionary of the German language , 21st edition, Berlin 1975, p. 697. The lake hypothesis represented Josef Weisweiler: soul and lake . In: Indogermanische Forschungen 57, 1940, pp. 25-55; Fritz Mezger contradicted him: Gothic saiwala "soul" . In: Journal for Comparative Linguistic Research 82, 1968, pp. 285–287.
  2. Lennart Ejerfeldt: Germanic religion . In: Jes Peter Asmussen u. a. (Ed.): Handbuch der Religionsgeschichte , Volume 1, Göttingen 1971, pp. 277–342, here: 316f.
  3. ^ Prologue of Tristan ; on the term and its background Klaus Speckenbach: Studies on the term 'edelez herze' in Tristan Gottfrieds von Straßburg , Munich 1965; Hermann Kunisch : edelez heart - edeliu sele. On the relationship between courtly poetry and mysticism . In: Ursula Hennig and Herbert Kolb (eds.): Mediaevalia litteraria. Festschrift for Helmut de Boor , Munich 1971, pp. 413–450; Gertrud Grünkorn: The fictionality of the courtly novel around 1200 , Berlin 1994, p. 135f.
  4. Friedrich Nietzsche: Ecce homo , Why I am a fate , 4.
  5. ^ Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno: Dialektik der Aufklerung , Amsterdam 1947, p. 299.
  6. Further evidence in Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm : Seele . In: German Dictionary , Vol. 9, Leipzig 1899, Sp. 2851-2926.
  7. Hans-Peter Hasenfratz: soul I . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 733-737, here: 734.
  8. ^ Claude Rivière: Soul: Concepts in Indigenous Religions . In: Lindsay Jones (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Religion , 2nd Edition, Detroit 2005, Vol. 12, pp. 8531-8534, here: 8531f .; Hans-Peter Hasenfratz: soul I . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 733-737, here: 734f.
  9. Hans-Peter Hasenfratz: Die Seele , Zurich 1986, pp. 105–111 (with examples).
  10. Presentation and evaluation of an abundance of material on multiple souls are offered by Ernst Arbman's work: Investigations on the primitive conception of the soul with special regard to India . In: Le Monde Oriental 20, 1926, pp. 85–226 and 21, 1927, pp. 1–185 and the large regional studies by Arbman's students Ake Hultkrantz: Conceptions of the Soul among North American Indians , Stockholm 1953 and Ivar Paulson : The primitive ideas of the soul of the North Eurasian peoples , Stockholm 1958. See also Ernest A. Worms: The Australian concept of soul . In: Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft und Religionswissenschaft 43, 1959, pp. 296–308; Hans Fischer: Studies on conceptions of the soul in Oceania , Munich 1965 (with methodological discussions p. 45ff.).
  11. ^ Ina Wunn: The religions in prehistoric times , Stuttgart 2005, pp. 293f., 340–346. On the contradicting ideas of the early Celts about the fate of the dead souls see Jan de Vries : Keltische Religion , Stuttgart 1961, pp. 205f., 248-260.
  12. ^ Heinrich Zimmer : Philosophy and Religion of India , Zurich 1961, pp. 35–38, 50–55.
  13. Jan Gonda : The religions of India: I. Veda and older Hinduism , Stuttgart 1960, pp. 201-213.
  14. ^ Heinrich Zimmer: Philosophy and Religion of India , Zurich 1961, pp. 255–299; Jan Gonda: The religions of India: II. The younger Hinduism , Stuttgart 1963, pp. 131–150.
  15. Hans Wolfgang Schumann: The historical Buddha , Kreuzlingen 2004, pp. 162-170.
  16. ^ Adi Granth , p. 276 ( online , with English translation).
  17. Paul Dundas : The Jains , 2nd edition, London 2002, pp. 93-111; Walther Schubring : The Doctrine of the Jainas , 2nd edition, Delhi 2000, pp. 152-203; Helmuth von Glasenapp : Der Jainismus , Hildesheim 1964 (reprint of the 1925 edition), p. 152ff.
  18. ^ Heinrich Zimmer: Philosophy and Religion of India , Zurich 1961, pp. 240–245.
  19. Jan Gonda: The Religions of India: I. Veda and older Hinduism , Stuttgart 1960, p. 313f .; Heinrich Zimmer: Philosophy and Religion of India , Zurich 1961, p. 544 u. Note 1.
  20. Michael Loewe : Chinese Ideas of Life and Death , London 1982, pp. 26f., 114f., 120-122; Ulrich Unger : Basic Concepts of Ancient Chinese Philosophy , Darmstadt 2000, p. 34; Florian C. Reiter : Religions in China , Munich 2002, p. 98; Tu Wei-Ming: Soul: Chinese Concepts . In: Lindsay Jones (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Religion , 2nd Edition, Vol. 12, Detroit 2005, pp. 8554-8556, here: 8554.
  21. Michael Loewe: Ways to Paradise. The Chinese Quest for Immortality , London 1979, pp. 10f.
  22. Werner Eichhorn : Die Religionen Chinas , Stuttgart 1973, pp. 65, 79-83; Ulrich Unger: Basic Concepts of Ancient Chinese Philosophy , Darmstadt 2000, p. 127.
  23. On the concept of the afterlife see Michael Loewe: Chinese Ideas of Life and Death , London 1982, pp. 26ff., 114ff .; Michael Loewe: Ways to Paradise. The Chinese Quest for Immortality , London 1979, pp. 11ff., 33f.
  24. Ulrich Unger: Basic Concepts of Ancient Chinese Philosophy , Darmstadt 2000, pp. 34, 119; Werner Eichhorn: The Religions of China , Stuttgart 1973, p. 66.
  25. Ulrich Unger: Basic Concepts of Ancient Chinese Philosophy , Darmstadt 2000, p. 102f.
  26. Werner Eichhorn: Die Religionen Chinas , Stuttgart 1973, pp. 19-21, 25-27, 36-41.
  27. Werner Eichhorn: Die Religionen Chinas , Stuttgart 1973, p. 53f.
  28. Etienne Balazs : Chinese Civilization and Bureaucracy , New Haven 1964, pp. 260-265.
  29. Fung Yu-Lan : A History of Chinese Philosophy , Vol. 2, Princeton 1983 (reprint of 1953 edition), pp. 284-292. Walter Liebenthal offers a compilation of relevant Chinese texts in English translation : The Immortality of the Soul in Chinese Thought . In: Monumenta Nipponica 8, 1952, pp. 327-397.
  30. Masaharu Anesaki: History of Japanese Religion , London 1963, p. 39f .; Matthias Eder: History of the Japanese Religion , Vol. 1, Nagoya 1978, p. 81.
  31. ^ Matthias Eder: History of the Japanese Religion , Vol. 2, Nagoya 1978, p. 32f.
  32. Matthias Eder: History of the Japanese Religion , Vol. 1, Nagoya 1978, pp. 77-79 u. 99
  33. Masaharu Anesaki: History of Japanese Religion , London 1963, p. 70; Matthias Eder: History of the Japanese Religion , Vol. 1, Nagoya 1978, pp. 79-81, 96; Robert J. Smith: Ancestor Worship in Contemporary Japan , Stanford 1974, pp. 15-19, 99-104.
  34. For the word and its meaning, see Matthias Eder: Geschichte der Japan Religion , Vol. 1, Nagoya 1978, p. 11f.
  35. Masaharu Anesaki: History of Japanese Religion , London 1963, p. 40; Richard Bowring: The Religious Traditions of Japan, 500–1600 , Cambridge 2005, pp. 40f .; Robert J. Smith: Ancestor Worship in Contemporary Japan , Stanford 1974, p. 39f.
  36. Hellmut Brunner : Basic features of the ancient Egyptian religion , Darmstadt 1983, pp. 138–141, 143f .; Hermann Kees : Faith in the dead and conceptions of the afterlife of the ancient Egyptians , 2nd edition, Berlin 1956, p. 33f .; Helmer Ringgren: The Religions of the Ancient Orient , Göttingen 1979, p. 61.
  37. Hellmut Brunner: Basic features of the ancient Egyptian religion , Darmstadt 1983, pp. 138–140; Hermann Kees: Faith in the dead and conceptions of the afterlife of the ancient Egyptians , 2nd edition, Berlin 1956, pp. 21, 33f .; Klaus Koch : History of the Egyptian Religion , Stuttgart 1993, pp. 85–87; Jan Assmann : Death and Beyond in Ancient Egypt , Munich 2001, pp. 13–139.
  38. ^ Hermann Kees: Faith in the dead and conceptions of the afterlife of the ancient Egyptians , 2nd edition, Berlin 1956, pp. 46–50.
  39. ^ Siegfried Morenz : Ägyptische Religion , Stuttgart 1960, p. 216.
  40. There is the famous poetic dialogue of a life-weary man with his Ba from the time of the 12th Dynasty , but there too the Ba only comes into focus from the point of view of death. On the content Klaus Koch: History of the Egyptian Religion , Stuttgart 1993, pp. 254–256; Winfried Barta: The conversation of a man with his Ba , Berlin 1969 (text edition with German translation; on the “birth” of Ba p. 87).
  41. Hellmut Brunner: Basic features of the ancient Egyptian religion , Darmstadt 1983, pp. 140–141; see also Winfried Barta: The conversation of a man with his Ba , Berlin 1969, pp. 92-96 on the mutual dependence of Ba and corpse.
  42. Eberhard Otto : Oh . In: Wolfgang Helck , Eberhard Otto (eds.): Lexikon der Ägyptologie , Vol. 1, Wiesbaden 1975, Col. 49; see. Rainer Hannig : Large Concise Dictionary Egyptian - German (2800–950 BC) , 4th edition, Mainz 2006, p. 11f.
  43. Eberhard Otto: Oh . In: Wolfgang Helck, Eberhard Otto (Ed.): Lexikon der Ägyptologie , Vol. 1, Wiesbaden 1975, Sp. 50f.
  44. Hellmut Brunner: Basic features of the ancient Egyptian religion , Darmstadt 1983, pp. 141-143; Klaus Koch: History of the Egyptian Religion , Stuttgart 1993, p. 175.
  45. Hellmut Brunner: Basic features of the ancient Egyptian religion , Darmstadt 1983, pp. 33–135; Hermann Kees: Faith in the dead and conceptions of the afterlife of the ancient Egyptians , 2nd edition, Berlin 1956, p. 24f .; Herman Ludin Jansen : Egyptian Religion . In: Jes Peter Asmussen (ed.): Handbuch der Religionsgeschichte , Vol. 1, Göttingen 1971, p. 400.
  46. Fritz Wagner: "Counted, weighed and found to be too easy" (Dan 5,25-28). Comments on the motive of weighing souls . In: Jens Holzhausen (Ed.): Ψυχή - soul - anima. Festschrift for Karin Alt , Stuttgart 1998, p. 369f .; Leopold Kretzenbacher : Die Seelenwaage , Klagenfurt 1958, pp. 24–28.
  47. Hellmut Brunner: Basic features of the ancient Egyptian religion , Darmstadt 1983, pp. 132f., 135-137; Klaus Koch: History of the Egyptian Religion , Stuttgart 1993, pp. 321-325.
  48. The Ka only arises at birth, see Hans Bonnet: Reallexikon der ägyptischen Religionsgeschichte , Berlin 1952, p. 358. Herodotus erroneously claimed that the Egyptians assumed a transmigration of souls; see Siegfried Morenz: Religion and History of Ancient Egypt , Cologne 1975, pp. 214–224.
  49. Hellmut Brunner: Basic features of the ancient Egyptian religion , Darmstadt 1983, p. 146f.
  50. ^ Pietro Mander: Soul: Ancient Near Eastern Concepts . In: Lindsay Jones (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Religion , 2nd Edition, Vol. 12, Detroit 2005, pp. 8535-8540, here: 8537.
  51. Willem H.Ph. Romans: Sumerian emesal songs . In: Bibliotheca Orientalis 54, 1997, pp. 604–619, here: 609, 617.
  52. ^ Jean Bottéro : La religion babylonienne , Paris 1952, pp. 85, 99f.
  53. For details see Helmer Ringgren: Die Religionen des Alten Orients , Göttingen 1979, p. 110f.
  54. Karel van der Toorn: Family Religion in Babylonia, Syria and Israel , Leiden 1996, p. 60.
  55. Karel van der Toorn: Family Religion in Babylonia, Syria and Israel , Leiden 1996, pp. 48–51.
  56. Table 12, verses 84ff.
  57. Alfred Jeremias : The Babylonian-Assyrian conceptions of life after death , Leipzig 1887, pp. 54–57 (sources); Jean Bottéro: La religion babylonienne , Paris 1952, pp. 103-107.
  58. Erich Ebeling : Demons . In: Reallexikon der Assyriologie , Vol. 2, Berlin 1938, p. 108; Helmer Ringgren: The Religions of the Ancient Orient , Göttingen 1979, p. 151; Pietro Mander: Soul: Ancient Near Eastern Concepts . In: Lindsay Jones (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Religion , 2nd Edition, Vol. 12, Detroit 2005, pp. 8535-8540, here: 8535f.
  59. ^ Leo Oppenheim : Ancient Mesopotamia , Chicago 1977, pp. 198-206.
  60. Tzvi Abusch: Ghost and God: Some Observations on a Babylonian Understanding of Human Nature . In: Albert I. Baumgarten u. a. (Ed.): Self, Soul and Body in Religious Experience , Leiden 1998, pp. 363-383.
  61. Geo Widengren : Die Religionen Irans , Stuttgart 1965, pp. 20-23, 84f .; Otto Günther von Wesendonk : Primitive man and soul in the Iranian tradition , Hanover 1924, p. 191ff.
  62. ^ Geo Widengren: Die Religionen Irans , Stuttgart 1965, pp. 84–87; see also Otto Günther von Wesendonk: Urmensch und Seele in der Iranischen Tradition , Hannover 1924, p. 193, who assumes a clear delimitation of the terms for Zarathustra.
  63. Otto Günther von Wesendonk: Urmensch und Seele in der Iranischen Tradition , Hanover 1924, p. 193f.
  64. Geo Widengren: Die Religionen Irans , Stuttgart 1965, pp. 85, 102-104; Otto Günther von Wesendonk: Primitive man and soul in the Iranian tradition , Hanover 1924, pp. 197-200. For daēnā see also Mansour Shaki: Dēn . In: Encyclopaedia Iranica , Vol. 7, Costa Mesa 1996, pp. 279-281; Michael Stausberg: The religion of Zarathustra , Vol. 1, Stuttgart 2002, pp. 144–150.
  65. ^ Geo Widengren: Die Religionen Irans , Stuttgart 1965, p. 105; Hans-Peter Hasenfratz: Die Seele , Zurich 1986, pp. 45–59.
  66. Numerous references to the use of ancient language by Wilhelm Pape : Greek-German Concise Dictionary , 3rd Edition, Volume 2, Graz 1954 (reprint), pp. 1403f .; more detail is Henry George Liddell , Robert Scott : A Greek-English Lexicon , 9th edition, Oxford 1996, p 2026f. For etymology, see Pierre Chantraine : Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque. Histoire des mots , Paris 2009, p. 1248.
  67. ^ Jan Bremmer: The Early Greek Concept of the Soul , Princeton 1983, pp. 15-22; Hans Schwabl : Early Greek ideas of the soul . In: Hans-Dieter Klein (ed.): The concept of the soul in the history of philosophy , Würzburg 2005, pp. 29–64, here: 30–32; David B. Claus: Toward the Soul. An Inquiry into the Meaning of ψυχή before Plato , New Haven 1981, pp. 61ff., 92ff .; Thomas Jahn: On the word field 'soul-spirit' in the language of Homer , Munich 1987, pp. 27–38, 119ff.
  68. Fainting: Iliad 5, 696; 22, 467; at death it leaves the body through the mouth ( Iliad 9, 408f.), the limbs ( Iliad 16, 856; 22, 362) or a wound in the chest ( Iliad 16, 504f.) and flies off into Hades: Iliad 1 , 3f .; 16, 856; 22, 362; Odyssey 10,560; 11, 65.
  69. ^ Jan Bremmer: The Early Greek Concept of the Soul , Princeton 1983, p. 78f .; Martin F. Meyer: The change of the psyche concept in early Greek thinking from Homer to Heraklit . In: Archive for Conceptual History 50, 2008, pp. 9–28, here: 12f.
  70. ^ Iliad 23: 97-104.
  71. Iliad 16: 855-857; 22, 363; 23, 71-79.
  72. ^ Iliad 7, 130f.
  73. On thymós in Homer see David B. Claus: Toward the Soul. An Inquiry into the Meaning of ψυχή before Plato , New Haven 1981, pp. 21f., 37-42.
  74. Martin F. Meyer: The change of the psyche concept in early Greek thought from Homer to Heraklit . In: Archive for Conceptual History 50, 2008, pp. 9–28, here: 12f.
  75. ^ Iliad 9, 322.
  76. Jan Bremmer: The Early Greek Concept of the Soul , Princeton 1983, pp. 54–57.
  77. Odyssey 14, 425f.
  78. ^ Jan Bremmer: The Early Greek Concept of the Soul , Princeton 1983, p. 126f.
  79. Sophocles, Philoctetes 1014; similar to Antigone 176.
  80. Hans Schwabl: Early Greek conceptions of the soul . In: Hans-Dieter Klein (ed.): The concept of the soul in the history of philosophy , Würzburg 2005, pp. 29–64, here: 46–48.
  81. Hans Schwabl: Early Greek conceptions of the soul . In: Hans-Dieter Klein (ed.): The concept of the soul in the history of philosophy , Würzburg 2005, pp. 29–64, here: 47; Bartel Leendert van der Waerden : Die Pythagoreer , Zurich and Munich 1979, p. 117ff.
  82. ^ Hermann S. Schibli: Pherecydes of Syros , Oxford 1990, pp. 104ff., 121ff.
  83. On the Pythagorean concept of the soul, see Carl Huffman: The Pythagorean conception of the soul from Pythagoras to Philolaus . In: Dorothea Frede , Burkhard Reis (ed.): Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy , Berlin 2009, pp. 21–43.
  84. ^ Thales, fragments DK 11 A 1 (Diogenes Laertios I 24) and DK 11 A 22 (Aristoteles, De anima I 2, 405a).
  85. Anaxagoras, fragment DK 59 B 12; Aristotle, De anima 404a-405a.
  86. Aristotle, De anima I 2, 403b25-28, 404b7ff., 405b15ff.
  87. Aristotle, De anima 404b; Aetios IV, 3rd
  88. ^ David B. Claus: Toward the Soul. An Inquiry into the Meaning of ψυχή before Plato , New Haven 1981, pp. 114f .; Hans Schwabl: Early Greek ideas of the soul . In: Hans-Dieter Klein (ed.): The concept of the soul in the history of philosophy , Würzburg 2005, pp. 29–64, here: 52f.
  89. (Pseudo-) Anaximenes, fragment DK 13 B 2; on the attribution to Karin Alt : On the sentence of the Anaximenes about the soul . In: Hermes 101, 1973, pp. 129-164; David B. Claus: Toward the Soul. An Inquiry into the Meaning of ψυχή before Plato , New Haven 1981, pp. 122-125.
  90. Anaximander, fragment DK 12 A 29.
  91. ^ Walter Burkert : Wisdom and Science. Studies on Pythagoras, Philolaos and Plato , Nuremberg 1962, pp. 251f.
  92. Heraklit, fragments DK 22, B 36, B 77, B 117, B 118.
  93. Heraklit, fragment DK 22 B 45. See also David B. Claus: Toward the Soul. An Inquiry into the Meaning of ψυχή before Plato , New Haven 1981, pp. 125-138 on Heraclitus' understanding of the soul.
  94. Democritus's doctrine of the soul comes from Aristotle, De anima 403b31–404a16, 405a7–13, 406b15–22 and De respiratione 471b30–472a17. See David B. Claus: Toward the Soul. An Inquiry into the Meaning of ψυχή before Plato , New Haven 1981, pp. 142-148; Georg Rechenauer : Democrit's soul model and the principles of atomistic physics . In: Dorothea Frede, Burkhard Reis (ed.): Body and Soul in Ancient Philosophy , Berlin 2009, pp. 111–142, here: 118–124, 132–138.
  95. This speech, however, is not an authentic historical document, but a literary work with a historical core by Plato; see Michael Erler : Platon (= Hellmut Flashar (Hrsg.): Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie . Die Philosophie der Antike , Vol. 2/2), Basel 2007, pp. 99-103.
  96. Plato, Phaedo 64a-65a, 67b-68b. The famous characterization of the body as the grave of the soul can be found in Gorgias 493a and Kratylos 400c; see Pierre Courcelle: grave of the soul . In: Reallexikon für Antike und Christianentum , Vol. 12, Stuttgart 1983, Sp. 455-467; see. Phaidros 250c; for the related metaphor “prison of the soul” see Pierre Courcelle: prison (of the soul) . In: Reallexikon für Antike und Christianentum Vol. 9, Stuttgart 1976, Sp. 294-318.
  97. Plato, Phaedo 79e-80b.
  98. Plato, Phaedon 107d-114c; Gorgias 523a-527b; Politeia 614b-621b. See also Phaedrus 248a-249c, 256a-e; Phaidon 69c, 81a-82e; Timaeus 42a-e, 90e-92c.
  99. Plato, Phaedon 70d-72d; see Peter M. Steiner: Psyche bei Platon , Göttingen 1992, pp. 58–60.
  100. ^ Plato, Phaedo 78b-81a.
  101. Plato, Phaedon 72e-77a and Menon 80d-86b; see Peter M. Steiner: Psyche bei Platon , Göttingen 1992, pp. 60–62.
  102. ^ Plato, Phaedo 102a-106d.
  103. Plato, Phaedrus 245c-246a. See Thomas A. Szlezák : “Soul” in Plato . In: Hans-Dieter Klein (ed.): The concept of the soul in the history of philosophy , Würzburg 2005, pp. 65–86, here: 69–71.
  104. Plato, Politeia 608d-611a.
  105. Plato, Politeia 434d-441c.
  106. Plato, Phaedrus 246a-247c, 253c-254e.
  107. Plato, Phaedon 65a-67b, 82b-84b; Politeia 521c-535a.
  108. Michael Frede : Soul doctrine . In: Der Neue Pauly , Vol. 11, Stuttgart 2001, Col. 325–328, here: 326.
  109. ^ Plato, Timaeus 69c-70a.
  110. On Plato's conception of the nature, the components and the post-death fate of the soul see Michael Erler: Platon (= Hellmut Flashar (ed.): Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie. Die Philosophie der Antike , Volume 2/2), Basel 2007, Pp. 375–390, especially p. 383. Cf. the relevant articles in Maurizio Migliori (ed.): Inner Life and Soul. Psychē in Plato , Sankt Augustin 2011.
  111. ^ Plato, Timaeus 30a – b, 34b – 37c.
  112. Thomas A. Szlezák: "Soul" in Plato . In: Hans-Dieter Klein (Ed.): The concept of the soul in the history of philosophy , Würzburg 2005, pp. 65–86, here: 74f. (with discussion of older literature).
  113. For the motif of the winged and flying or fluttering soul, see Richard Seaford: The Fluttering Soul . In: Ueli Dill , Christine Walde (Ed.): Ancient Myths. Media, Transformations and Constructions , Berlin 2009, pp. 406–414.
  114. Thomas K. Johansen: The Powers of Aristotle's Soul , Oxford 2012, provides an examination and overall presentation of Aristotle's theory of the soul .
  115. Aristotle, De anima 412a27-412b6. William Charlton: Aristotle's Definition of Soul . In: Michael Durrant (Ed.): Aristotle's De Anima in focus , London 1993, pp. 197-216, here: 197f., 202 advocates a different translation: not "first entelechy", but "entelechy in the first-mentioned sense" ( in the sense of "knowledge" and not in the sense of the actual exercise of knowledge while thinking). “Organic” (organikón) is usually understood as “equipped with organs”; Abraham P. Bos: The Aristotelian doctrine of the soul: contradiction against the modern development hypothesis . In: Hans-Dieter Klein (ed.): The concept of the soul in the history of philosophy , Würzburg 2005, pp. 87–99, here: 92f. however - following Aristotle's usual usage - advocates the translation “serving as an instrument”.
  116. Aristotle, De anima 413a4.
  117. Aristotle, De anima I 5, 411b6-9.
  118. See Hubertus Busche: The soul as a system. Aristotle's Science of the Psyche , Hamburg 2001, pp. 13-17, 35.
  119. Aristotle, De generatione animalium 736b27f.
  120. Aristotle, De anima I 1, 403a30-403b1.
  121. Aristotle, De anima I 1, 403a3ff .; II 3, 414a29ff. On the functions of the sense soul in humans and animals, see Richard Sorabji : Intentionality and Physiological Processes: Aristotle's Theory of Sense-Perception . In: Martha C. Nussbaum , Amélie Oksenberg Rorty (eds.): Essays on Aristotle's De Anima , Oxford 1992, pp. 195–225, on the individual emotions Christof Rapp : pathos . In: Otfried Höffe (Ed.): Aristoteles-Lexikon (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 459), Stuttgart 2005, pp. 427-436, here: 430f.
  122. Hubertus Busche: The soul as a system. Aristotle's Science of the Psyche , Hamburg 2001, pp. 18–26.
  123. Aristotle, De anima 430a22-25, 408b18f.
  124. Peter Steinmetz : The Stoa . In: Hellmut Flashar (ed.): Outline of the history of philosophy. The philosophy of antiquity , Vol. 4/2, Basel 1994, pp. 491–716, here: 538f.
  125. ^ Anthony A. Long: Stoic psychology . In: Keimpe Algra u. a. (Ed.): The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy , Cambridge 1999, pp. 560-584, here: 563f.
  126. Richard Sorabji: Animal Minds and Human Morals , Ithaca 1993, pp. 98f.
  127. Erwin Rohde : Psyche , Vol. 2, 2nd edition, Freiburg i. Br. 1898 (reprint Darmstadt 1961), pp. 316–321.
  128. ^ Anthony A. Long: Stoic psychology . In: Keimpe Algra u. a. (Ed.): The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy , Cambridge 1999, pp. 560-584, here: 565f.
  129. Richard Sorabji discusses details of the stoic confrontation with the question of the "animal mind": Animal Minds and Human Morals , Ithaca 1993, pp. 20–28, 40–44, 51–55, 58–61.
  130. On the ideas of the soul in the middle and younger Stoa see Erwin Rohde: Psyche , Vol. 2, 2nd edition, Freiburg i. Br. 1898 (reprint Darmstadt 1961), pp. 322–326 (middle Stoa), 326–331 (younger Stoa).
  131. For the Epicurean doctrine of the soul, see Stephen Everson: Epicurean psychology . In: Keimpe Algra u. a. (Ed.): The Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy , Cambridge 1999, pp. 542-559; Christopher Gill: The Structured Self in Hellenistic and Roman Thought , Oxford 2006, pp. 46-66; David Konstan : Some Aspects of Epicurean Psychology , Leiden 1973; Michael Erler: Epicurus . In: Hellmut Flashar (ed.): Outline of the history of philosophy. The philosophy of antiquity , Vol. 4/1, Basel 1994, pp. 29–202, here: 146f.
  132. ^ Heinrich Dörrie , Matthias Baltes : The Platonism in the Ancient World , Volume 6/1, Stuttgart 2002, pp. 288–291; Volume 6/2, Stuttgart 2002, pp. 100-103, 358-365.
  133. Heinrich Dörrie, Matthias Baltes: The Platonism in antiquity , Vol. 6/2, Stuttgart 2002, pp. 371–382.
  134. ^ Heinrich Dörrie, Matthias Baltes: The Platonism in the Antike , Vol. 6/1, Stuttgart 2002, pp. 249-251.
  135. See on these teachings Plotinus Clemens Zintzen : Comments on the Neo-Platonic doctrine of the soul . In: Gerd Jüttemann (Ed.): The soul. Your story in the Occident , Weinheim 1991, pp. 43–58, here: 45–48 and Heinrich Dörrie, Matthias Baltes: The Platonism in the Ancient World , Vol. 6/1, Stuttgart 2002, pp. 285–290.
  136. Apuleius, Metamorphoses 4, 28–6, 24.
  137. ^ Collections of articles: Gerhard Binder (Ed.): Amor and Psyche , Darmstadt 1968; Maaike Zimmerman et al. a. (Ed.): Aspects of Apuleius' Golden Ass , Vol. 2: Cupid and Psyche , Groningen 1998.
  138. Odyssey 24: 6-9.
  139. Otto Waser : Psyche . In: Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (Ed.): Detailed Lexicon of Greek and Roman Mythology , Vol. 3/2, Hildesheim 1965 (reprint), Col. 3201–3256, here: 3213–3256; Noëlle Icard-Gianolio: Psyche . In: Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae , Vol. 7/1, Zurich 1994, pp. 569-585.
  140. Luc Brisson : Notes sur la Vita Plotini: 2.27 . In: Luc Brisson u. a. (Ed.): Porphyre: La Vie de Plotin , Vol. 2, Paris 1992, pp. 203 f .; Otto Waser: Psyche . In: Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (Ed.): Detailed Lexicon of Greek and Roman Mythology , Vol. 3/2, Hildesheim 1965 (reprint), Col. 3201–3256, here: 3221f.
  141. Porphyrios, Vita Plotini 2.9.
  142. Heraklit, fragment DK 22 B 67a; on authenticity see Serge N. Mouraviev: Heraclitea , Vol. III.3.B / iii, Sankt Augustin 2006, p. 78.
  143. Aristotle, Historia animalium 514a18f.
  144. Julius Rocca: Galen on the brain , Leiden 2003, p. 30f.
  145. Manfred Wenzel: seat of the soul. In: Werner E. Gerabek et al: Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte , Berlin / New York 2005, pp. 1316 f., Here: 1316.
  146. Julius Rocca: Galen on the brain , Leiden 2003, pp. 34-38.
  147. Julius Rocca: Galen on the brain , Leiden 2003, p. 246.
  148. Nemesios of Emesa, De natura hominis 6; 12; 13.
  149. Karin Schöpflin : Soul. II. Old Testament . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 737-740, here: 738-740.
  150. Genesis 2.7.
  151. Karin Schöpflin: Soul. II. Old Testament . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 737-740, here: 738f .; Hans Walter Wolff : Anthropologie des Alten Testament , 7th edition, Gütersloh 2002, pp. 26–37.
  152. Genesis 35:18.
  153. Documents from Karin Schöpflin: Soul. II. Old Testament . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 737-740, here: 738 and Hans Walter Wolff: Anthropologie des Alten Testaments , 7th edition, Gütersloh 2002, pp. 37-40.
  154. Karin Schöpflin: Soul. II. Old Testament . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 737-740, here: 738f .; see. Heinz-Horst Schrey : body / physicality. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 20, Berlin 1990, pp. 638–643, here: 638f. and the detailed presentation by Horst Seebass : נפש. In: Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament , Vol. 5, Stuttgart 1986, Sp. 531–555, here: 538–552.
  155. Karin Schöpflin: Soul. II. Old Testament . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 737-740, here: 739; Hans Walter Wolff: Anthropology of the Old Testament , 7th edition, Gütersloh 2002, pp. 41–46.
  156. On 6.8  EU .
  157. ^ Documents from Hans Walter Wolff: Anthropologie des Alten Testaments , 7th edition, Gütersloh 2002, p. 47; see also p. 29 note 6.
  158. Deuteronomy 12:23; Leviticus 17.11 and 17.14; Genesis 9.4f.
  159. The relevant passage is Numbers 6,6. See Diethelm Michel: næpæš as a corpse? In: Zeitschrift für Althebraistik 7, 1994, pp. 81–84.
  160. Hans Walter Wolff: Anthropologie des Alten Testament , 7th edition, Gütersloh 2002, pp. 25f.
  161. Karin Schöpflin: Soul. II. Old Testament . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 737-740, here: 740.
  162. Compilation and discussion of the evidence in Hans Walter Wolff: Anthropologie des Alten Testaments , 7th edition, Gütersloh 2002, pp. 57–67.
  163. Karin Schöpflin: Soul. II. Old Testament . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 737-740, here: 739; Hans Walter Wolff: Anthropologie des Alten Testament , 7th edition, Gütersloh 2002, pp. 68–95.
  164. George WE Nickelsburg: Resurrection, Immortality, and Eternal Life in Intertestamental Judaism , Cambridge 1972, pp. 23, 123f., 165-180.
  165. Dan 7.10  EU and 12.1–3 EU .
  166. Flavius ​​Josephus, De bello Iudaico 2,154-165 and Antiquitates Iudaicae 18,14-18.
  167. See on Philon's theory of the soul John Dillon : Philo of Alexandria and Platonist Psychology . In: Maha Elkaisy-Friemuth, John Dillon (Ed.): The Afterlife of the Platonic Soul , Leiden 2009, pp. 17-24.
  168. ^ Günter Stemberger: Soul. III. Judaism . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 740–744, here: 740–742; Eduard Lohse: ψυχή in Palestinian Judaism . In: Gerhard Friedrich (Hrsg.): Theological dictionary to the New Testament , Vol. 9, Stuttgart 1973, pp. 633–635.
  169. ^ Günter Stemberger: Soul. III. Judaism . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 740-744, here: 742.
  170. ^ Günter Stemberger: Soul. III. Judaism . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 740-744, here: 742f.
  171. For a discussion in the 12th century, see Sarah Stroumsa: Twelfth Century Concepts of Soul and Body: The Maimonidean Controversy in Baghdad . In: Albert I. Baumgarten u. a. (Ed.): Self, Soul and Body in Religious Experience , Leiden 1998, pp. 313-334.
  172. ^ Johann Maier: History of the Jewish Religion , Berlin 1972, pp. 331f., 394.
  173. ^ Günter Stemberger: Soul. III. Judaism . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 740–744, here: 743f .; Boaz Huss: transmigration of souls. II. Judaism . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 31, Berlin 2000, pp. 4-6.
  174. See Theo AW van der Louw: Transformations in the Septuagint , Leuven 2007, p. 111f.
  175. Gerhard Dautzenberg : Soul. IV. New Testament . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 744-748, here: 744-746.
  176. Gerhard Dautzenberg: Soul. IV. New Testament . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 744–748, here: 747. Cf. on this understanding of the psyche Eduard Schweizer: ψυχή. D. New Testament . In: Gerhard Friedrich (Hrsg.): Theological dictionary to the New Testament , Vol. 9, Stuttgart 1973, pp. 635–657.
  177. Jean Zumstein: Soul. III. Christianity. 1. New Testament. In: Religion in Past and Present , 4th edition, Vol. 7, Tübingen 2004, Sp. 1100f.
  178. Gerhard Dautzenberg: Soul. IV. New Testament . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Vol. 30, Berlin 1999, pp. 744-748, here: 745.
  179. Gerhard Dautzenberg: Soul (naefaeš - psyche) in biblical thinking and the relationship between immortality and resurrection . In: Klaus Kremer (Ed.): Seele. Their reality, their relationship to the body and the human person , Leiden 1984, pp. 186–203, here: 198. Cf. Eduard Schweizer: ψυχή. D. New Testament . In: Gerhard Friedrich (Hrsg.): Theological dictionary for the New Testament , Vol. 9, Stuttgart 1973, pp. 635–657, here: 653.
  180. See Heinz-Jürgen Vogels : Christ's Descent into the Kingdom of the Dead and the Purification Judgment on the Dead , Freiburg 1976, pp. 15–44, 86–97, 101–120; Reinhard Feldmeier : The first letter of Petrus , Leipzig 2005, pp. 135-137; Leonhard Goppel : Theology of the New Testament , Part 1, Göttingen 1975, p. 507f.
  181. See Norbert Brox : Der first Petrusbrief , 3rd edition, Zurich 1989, pp. 196–199; Heinz-Jürgen Vogels: Christ's Descent into the Realm of the Dead and the Purification Judgment on the Dead , Freiburg 1976, pp. 142–169.
  182. George H. van Kooten: St Paul on Soul, Spirit and the Inner Man . In: Maha Elkaisy-Friemuth, John Dillon (Ed.): The Afterlife of the Platonic Soul , Leiden 2009, pp. 25-44.
  183. The relevant passage from Justin's dialogue with the Jew Tryphon is available in German translation from Albert Warkotsch: Ancient Philosophy in the Judgment of the Church Fathers , Munich 1973, pp. 10-12.
  184. Martin Elze: Tatian und seine Theologie , Göttingen 1960, pp. 88–99; Bernhard Geyer: The patristic and scholastic philosophy , 13th edition, Basel 1958, p. 22f.
  185. On the controversial question of authenticity see Miroslav Markovich (ed.): Athenagorae qui fertur De resurrectione mortuorum , Leiden 2000, pp. 1-3.
  186. (Pseudo-) Athenagoras of Athens, On the Resurrection of the Dead 15, ed. by Bernard Pouderon: Athénagore: Supplique au sujet des chrétiens et Sur la résurrection des morts , Paris 1992, pp. 211–317, here: 272–277.
  187. ^ Irenäus von Lyon, Adversus haereses 2, 19 and 2, 34. Cf. Dietmar Wyrwa: Understanding of the soul with Irenäus von Lyon . In: Jens Holzhausen (Ed.): Ψυχή - soul - anima. Festschrift for Karin Alt , Stuttgart 1998, pp. 301–334, here: 311f.
  188. ^ Bernhard Geyer: The patristic and scholastic philosophy , 13th edition, Basel 1958, p. 43.
  189. Dietmar Wyrwa: Irenaeus of Lyon understand the soul . In: Jens Holzhausen (Ed.): Ψυχή - soul - anima. Festschrift for Karin Alt , Stuttgart 1998, pp. 301–334, here: 313f .; Irenaeus' argumentation is in German translation by Albert Warkotsch: Ancient Philosophy in the Judgment of the Church Fathers , Munich 1973, pp. 49-51.
  190. Dietmar Wyrwa: Irenaeus of Lyon understand the soul . In: Jens Holzhausen (Ed.): Ψυχή - soul - anima. Festschrift for Karin Alt , Stuttgart 1998, pp. 301–334, here: 332f .; Anders-Christian Lund Jacobsen: The Constitution of Man according to Irenaeus and Origen . In: Barbara Feichtinger (Ed.): Body and soul. Aspects of late antique anthropology , Munich 2006, pp. 67–94, here: 67–78.
  191. Some of Tertullian's arguments for his conception of the soul have been compiled in German translation by Albert Warkotsch: Ancient Philosophy in the Judgment of the Church Fathers , Munich 1973, pp. 102–126. See Heinrich Karpp: Problems of early Christian anthropology , Gütersloh 1950, pp. 41–43, 46–49, 102f.
  192. Tertullian, De anima 19f .; 27; 36; 40f .; see. Heinrich Karpp: Problems of Early Christian Anthropology , Gütersloh 1950, pp. 43f., 47f., 52, 59–67.
  193. Clemens von Alexandria, Stromateis 6.52 (translation of the passage by Albert Warkotsch: Ancient Philosophy in the Judgment of the Church Fathers , Munich 1973, p. 190); see Heinrich Karpp: Problems of Early Christian Anthropology , Gütersloh 1950, pp. 93f. and Ulrich Schneider: Theology as Christian Philosophy. On the meaning of the biblical message in the thinking of Clemens von Alexandria , Berlin 1999, p. 194f.
  194. ^ The relevant texts by Clemens are available in German translation from Albert Warkotsch: Ancient Philosophy in the Judgment of the Church Fathers , Munich 1973, pp. 188, 193; see Heinrich Karpp: Problems of Early Christian Anthropology , Gütersloh 1950, pp. 94–99, 111.
  195. Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 6,45,4 and 6,47,3.
  196. Origen, De principiis 1,1,7.
  197. Origen, De principiis 3, 4.
  198. Laktanz, De opificio dei 19; see Heinrich Karpp: Problems of Early Christian Anthropology , Gütersloh 1950, pp. 143–147.
  199. ^ Heinrich Karpp: Problems of early Christian anthropology , Gütersloh 1950, p. 242.
  200. John M. Rist: Augustine. Ancient thought baptized , Cambridge 1994, pp. 317-320; Heinrich Karpp: Problems of early Christian anthropology , Gütersloh 1950, pp. 243–246.
  201. Wolfgang Kersting : "Noli foras ire, in te ipsum redi". Augustine on the soul . In: Gerd Jüttemann (Ed.): The soul. Your story in the occident , Weinheim 1991, pp. 59–74, here: 64–67.
  202. The place is 1 Thess 5:23. See Bernhard Geyer: Die Patristische und Scholastische Philosophie , 13th edition, Basel 1958, p. 90.
  203. Relevant passages from the work of Nemesius are compiled by Albert Warkotsch: Ancient Philosophy in the Judgment of the Church Fathers , Munich 1973, pp. 487–498.
  204. Edouard Jeauneau (Ed.): Iohannis Scotti seu Eriugenae periphyseon , Vol. 4, Turnhout 2000, p. 57.
  205. See on Eriugena's doctrine of the soul Catherine Kavanagh: The Nature of the Soul According to Eriugena . In: Maha Elkaisy-Friemuth, John Dillon (ed.): The Afterlife of the Platonic Soul , Leiden 2009, pp. 77-92.
  206. Ludwig Ott : The Platonic world soul in the theology of early scholasticism . In: Kurt Flasch (Ed.): Parusia , Frankfurt am Main 1965, pp. 307–331.
  207. Richard Heinzmann : The immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body , Münster 1965, pp. 78–82, 114–117.
  208. Richard Heinzmann: The immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body , Münster 1965, p. 22ff.
  209. Richard Heinzmann: The immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body , Münster 1965, p. 246.
  210. ^ Theodor W. Koehler : Homo animal nobilissimum. Contours of the specifically human in Aristotle's commentary on natural philosophy of the 13th century , Leiden 2008, pp. 39–51.
  211. ^ Theodor W. Köhler: Foundations of the philosophical-anthropological discourse in the thirteenth century , Leiden 2000, pp. 474-484.
  212. ^ Evidence from Theodor W. Köhler: Fundamentals of the philosophical-anthropological discourse in the thirteenth century , Leiden 2000, pp. 476–482.
  213. ^ Bernhard Geyer: The patristic and scholastic philosophy , 13th edition, Basel 1958, pp. 389f., 514.
  214. ^ Theodor W. Köhler: Foundations of the philosophical-anthropological discourse in the thirteenth century , Leiden 2000, pp. 534–558.
  215. Aristotle, De anima III 8, 431b20ff.
  216. ^ Theodor W. Köhler: Foundations of the philosophical-anthropological discourse in the thirteenth century , Leiden 2000, pp. 518-520, 558-569.
  217. ^ Theodor W. Köhler: Foundations of the philosophical-anthropological discourse in the thirteenth century , Leiden 2000, pp. 598–622.
  218. ^ Burkhard Mojsisch : Meister Eckhart. Analogie, Univozität und Einheit , Hamburg 1983, pp. 130–143.
  219. ^ Theodor W. Koehler: Homo animal nobilissimum. Contours of the specifically human in Aristotle's commentary on natural philosophy of the 13th century , Leiden 2008, pp. 170–181, 238–271, 354–384, 419–443.
  220. ^ Heinrich Denzinger , Peter Hünermann : Enchiridion symbolorum , 43rd edition, Freiburg 2010, pp. 449f. (No. 1440 and 1441). See Olivier de La Brosse et al. a .: Lateran V and Trient (1st part) , Mainz 1978, pp. 95-100.
  221. ^ Heinrich Denzinger, Peter Hünermann: Enchiridion symbolorum , 43rd edition, Freiburg 2010, p. 1022 (No. 3896).
  222. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church. Compendium , Munich 2005, p. 49.
  223. Friedrich Beißer: Hope and Perfection (= Handbuch Systematischer Theologie , Vol. 15), Gütersloh 1993, pp. 64–66.
  224. On Luther's view, see Albrecht Peters: Der Mensch (= Handbuch Systematischer Theologie , Vol. 8), Gütersloh 1979, p. 24f.
  225. See on Calvin's doctrine of the soul Herman J. Selderhuis: Calvin Handbuch , Tübingen 2008, pp. 283f .; Jung-Uck Hwang: The young Calvin and his Psychopannychia , Frankfurt am Main 1991, pp. 193–284.
  226. Johann Baptist Metz: Soul. III. Systematically . In: Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche , 2nd edition, Vol. 9, Freiburg 1964, Sp. 570-573, here: 571.
  227. Heino Sonnemans: Immortality III. Systematic-theological . In: Lexicon for Theology and Church , 3rd edition, Vol. 10, Sp. 434f.
  228. ^ Albert Dihle, Karl-Wolfgang Tröger : ψυχή. E. Gnosis . In: Gerhard Friedrich (Hrsg.): Theological dictionary to the New Testament , Vol. 9, Stuttgart 1973, pp. 657-661.
  229. ^ Edwin E. Calverley: Nafs . In: Encyclopaedia of Islam , Vol. 7, Leiden 1993, pp. 880-884, here: 880. See also Michael E. Marmura: Soul: Islamic Concepts . In: Lindsay Jones (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Religion , 2nd Edition, Vol. 12, Detroit 2005, pp. 8566-8571, here: 8566f.
  230. Sura 39 , verse 42.
  231. Sura 17 , verse 85.
  232. Timothy J. Gianotti: Al-Ghazālī's Unspeakable Doctrine of the Soul , Leiden 2001, pp. 1-6.
  233. ^ Tilman Nagel : History of Islamic Theology , Munich 1994, p. 194; Shams C. Inati: The Soul in Islamic Philosophy . In: Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy , Volume 9, London 1998, pp. 40-44.
  234. ^ Lenn E. Goodman: al-Rāzī . In: Encyclopaedia of Islam , Vol. 8, Leiden 1995, pp. 474-477, here: 476f.
  235. ^ Tilman Nagel: History of Islamic Theology , Munich 1994, p. 193.
  236. On this doctrine of the soul see the study by Timothy J. Gianotti: Al-Ghazālī's Unspeakable Doctrine of the Soul , Leiden 2001 (summary of the results pp. 168–176).
  237. ^ Edwin E. Calverley: Nafs . In: Encyclopaedia of Islam , Vol. 7, Leiden 1993, pp. 880-884, here: 881f .; Michael E. Marmura: Soul: Islamic Concepts . In: Lindsay Jones (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Religion , 2nd Edition, Vol. 12, Detroit 2005, pp. 8566-8571, here: 8567.
  238. See ar-Razi's doctrine of the soul, Maha Elkaisy-Friemuth: Tradition and Innovation in the Psychology of Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī . In: Maha Elkaisy-Friemuth, John Dillon (ed.): The Afterlife of the Platonic Soul , Leiden 2009, pp. 121-139.
  239. ^ Edwin E. Calverley: Nafs . In: Encyclopaedia of Islam , Vol. 7, Leiden 1993, pp. 880-884, here: 881f.
  240. ^ Tilman Nagel: History of Islamic Theology , Munich 1994, p. 178f .; Edwin E. Calverley: Nafs . In: Encyclopaedia of Islam , Vol. 7, Leiden 1993, pp. 880-884, here: 882.
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  243. Kurt Hutten provides an overview : Seher, Grübler, Enthusiasten , 15th edition, Stuttgart 1997, pp. 560–687; especially on the teachings of the soul, pp. 568, 592f., 598–601, 635f.
  244. Helena Petrowna Blavatsky: Isis unveiled , Vol. 2, Hannover 2000, p. 325.
  245. Helena Petrowna Blavatsky: Isis unveiled , Vol. 2, Hannover 2000, p. 115f.
  246. Rudolf Steiner: Spiritual Psychology , 3rd edition, Stuttgart 2004, p. 34.
  247. Eleven relevant lectures by Steiner are summarized in the anthology Rudolf Steiner: Spiritual Psychology , 3rd Edition, Stuttgart 2004. See also Rudolf Steiner: Theosophie , 32nd Edition, Dornach 2005, pp. 23–52, 76–100.
  248. For the spiritualistic understanding of the soul see Gerhard Adler: Zur Reinkarnationsidee . In Andreas Resch (ed.): Life after death , Innsbruck 1987, pp 357-393, here: 378-382.
  249. Gerda Lier: The Immortality Problem, Part 2, Göttingen 2010, pp. 983–1157; Werner Schiebeler: The afterlife after death with regard to natural science and parapsychology . In Andreas Resch (ed.): Life after death , Innsbruck 1987, pp 533-592, here: 586-592.
  250. Hubert Knoblauch , Hans-Georg Soeffner (Ed.): Near death. Scientific approaches to an extraordinary phenomenon , Konstanz 1999, pp. 38, 47, 97, 239.
  251. Richard Stanley Peters and Cecil Alec Mace : Psychology provide a historical overview . In: Encyclopedia of Philosophy , 2nd Edition, Vol. 8, Detroit 2006, pp. 117–150 and Paul Thagard: Psychology (Addendum) in the same volume, pp. 150–157.
  252. On Descartes' concept of the soul, see Michel Henry : The Soul According to Descartes . In: Stephen Voss (ed.): Essays on the Philosophy and Science of René Descartes , Oxford 1993, pp. 40–51.
  253. ^ Saul A. Kripke : Naming and Necessity , Oxford 1981.
  254. René Descartes: Meditationes de prima philosophia (1641); introductory to this Ansgar Beckermann: Analytical introduction to the philosophy of mind , 2nd edition, Berlin 2001, pp. 29–32.
  255. René Descartes: Discours de la méthode 5 : 10–12, ed. by Charles Adam and Paul Tannery : Œuvres de Descartes , Vol. 6, Paris 1956, pp. 56-60; introductory to this Ansgar Beckermann: Analytical introduction to the philosophy of mind , 2nd edition, Berlin 2001, pp. 32–37.
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  258. Immanuel Kant: Critique of Pure Reason A 341–405, B 399–432. Cf. Otfried Höffe: Kant's Critique of Pure Reason , 4th Edition, Munich 2004, pp. 221-238 and the summary of Kant's position in Ulrich Barth: Self-consciousness and soul . In: Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 101, 2004, pp. 198–217, here: 200–203.
  259. Stefan Heßbrüggen-Walter: Soul. In: Marcus Willaschek et al. (Ed.): Kant-Lexikon , Vol. 3, Berlin / Boston 2015, pp. 2047–2051, here: 2050.
  260. Tobias Rosefeldt: Immortality. In: Marcus Willaschek et al. (Ed.): Kant-Lexikon , Vol. 3, Berlin / Boston 2015, pp. 2408–2410.
  261. Manfred Wenzel: soul organ. In: Werner E. Gerabek et al.: Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte , Berlin / New York 2005, pp. 1315 f., Here: 1315.
  262. ^ Martin Kemp : "Il concetto dell'anima" in Leonardo's Early Skull Studies . In: Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 34, 1971, pp. 115-134, here: 127-134.
  263. See Stephen Voss: Simplicity and the Seat of the Soul . In: Stephen Voss: Essays on the Philosophy and Science of René Descartes , Oxford 1993, pp. 128–141; Steven J. Wagner: Descartes on the Parts of the Soul . In: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 45, 1984, pp. 51-70; Peter Remnant: Descartes: Body and Soul . In: Canadian Journal of Philosophy 9, 1979, pp. 377-386.
  264. Albrecht von Haller: Beginnings of the Physiology of the Human Body , Vol. 4: The Brain , Berlin 1768.
  265. The introduction by the editor Manfred Wenzel in: Samuel Thomas Soemmerring: Werke , ed. by Jost Benedum , Werner Friedrich Kümmel, Vol. 9, Basel 1999, pp. 55-57.
  266. Samuel Thomas von Soemmerring: About the organ of the soul , Königsberg 1796, p. 38.
  267. Immanuel Kant: Works in six volumes , ed. by Wilhelm Weischedel , Vol. 6, Darmstadt 1964, p. 259.
  268. Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg : Observation of a previously unknown, striking structure of the soul organ in humans and animals. In: Treatises of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Berlin from 1834 (lecture at the Academy on October 24, 1833, printed 1836), pp. 665–721; Jan Evangelista Purkyně : About the structure of the soul organ (1836/1837). In: Opera omnia (Sebrané spisy) . Edited by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Volume 2, Prague 1937, pp. 87 f.
  269. Irmgard Müller provides a summary of the last phase of the efforts to determine the seat and organ of the soul: Seelensitz . In: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy , Vol. 9, Basel 1995, Sp. 105–110, here: 107f.
  270. ^ Hegel: Encyclopedia § 387 and 389.
  271. Hegel: Encyclopedia § 389.
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  275. Hegel: Encyclopedia § 410.
  276. ^ Hegel: Encyclopedia § 412.
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  279. Hartmut Sommer: Immortal Soul - Answers of Philosophy . Kevelaer 2016.
  280. Patricia Churchland: Neurophilosophy: Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain , Cambridge (Massachusetts) 1986.
  281. ^ Richard Rorty: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature , Princeton 1981.
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  290. A bibliography on this debate is given by David Chalmers : Arguments from Disembodiment .
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  294. ^ John A. Foster: The immaterial self. A defense of the Cartesian dualist conception of the mind , London 1991.
  295. ^ So Gary Rosenkrantz in a review of Foster's work in: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54/2, 1994, pp. 489-491. Rosenkrantz himself suggests characterizing a soul as a placeless substance that is capable of self-awareness.
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  297. Richard Swinburne: The Evolution of the Soul , 2nd Edition, Oxford 1997, pp. 262-297.
  298. Ludwig Wittgenstein: Tractatus 5.5421.
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  313. Carl Gustav Jung: Psychological Types (= Collected Works , Vol. 6), 10th, revised edition, Zurich 1967, pp. 503-510, here: 507.
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