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  • Writer's picture Peter Kupisz

How Can the Human Soul Interact With the Physical Body?

Does the human soul exist? If it does, how does it interact with a physical body?

For hundreds of years, many philosophers have been struggling to explain consciousness in the language of science. So far, a good number of them would confess that they have failed. Despite this failure, many philosophers are unwilling to accept a long-standing solution – the existence of souls. Why is this?

One of the most common objections to the existence of souls is the problem of explaining how something that is non-physical (i.e. a soul) could possibly cause physical things (i.e. a body) to move. The two are so different, so the objection goes, that the two could not possibly interact with each other. Although this objection is often regarded as insurmountable, it is not really that impressive. The Christian philosopher, J.P. Moreland (Ph.D. in philosophy, University of Southern California), explains why the objection is unimpressive.

We often know that one thing causes another without having any idea of how causation takes place, even when the two items are different… A magnetic field can move a tack, gravity can act on a planet millions of miles away, protons exert a repulsive force on each other and so forth. In these examples, we know that one thing can causally interact with another thing, even though we may have no idea how such interaction takes place. Further, in each case the cause would seem to have a different nature from the effect – forces and fields versus solid, spatially located, particle-like entities.

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James Porter Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 243.



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