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Regular version of the site

Soul Beliefs: Causes and Consequences

2020/2021
Academic Year
ENG
Instruction in English
3
ECTS credits
Course type:
Elective course
When:
2 year, 1-3 module

Course Syllabus

Abstract

Throughout history, the vast majority of people around the globe have believed they have, however defined, a “soul.” While the question of whether the soul exists cannot be answered by science, what we can study are the causes and consequences of various beliefs about the soul and its prospects of surviving the death of the body. Why are soul and afterlife beliefs so common in human history? Are there adaptive advantages to assuming souls exist? Are there brain structures that have been shaped by environmental pressures that provide the foundation of body/mind dualism that is such a prominent feature of many religions? How do these beliefs shape the worldviews of different cultures and our collective lives? What is the role of competing afterlife beliefs in religion, science, politics, and war? This course explores several facets of this relatively unexplored but profoundly important aspect of human thought and behavior.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Our task is to consider the history of beliefs in the soul as well as amodern scientific view of the problem.
  • Find out why these views are so common and whether they offer any advantages. Is there a fundamental difference between beliefs in the immortality of the soul between different religions and is there a scientific basis for this belief?
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • learns the main objectives of the course
  • analyzes different definitions of the word "soul"
  • analyzes functions of ancient and modern religion
  • analyzes different effects of scientific evidence
  • analyzes different attempts of denunciation of religion
  • compares controverses about religion
  • analyzes the effect of the Darwinism
  • analyzes philosophical aspect of the Mind-Body problem
  • analyzes historical foundations of soul beliefs
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction to the Course
  • Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #1
  • What I was Told to Believe
  • Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #2
  • Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #3
  • Functions of Religion in Ancient & Modern Times
  • Reactions to Scientific Evidence
  • Religions Under Attack
  • Big Ideas & Big Controversies
  • Darwin's Dangerous Idea
  • The Mind-Body Problem
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Test (Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #2)
  • non-blocking 2 tests (Functions of Religion in Ancient & Modern Times)
  • non-blocking 2 tests (Big Ideas & Big Controversies)
  • non-blocking 2 tests (The Mind-Body Problem)
  • non-blocking Test (Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #2)
  • non-blocking 2 tests (Functions of Religion in Ancient & Modern Times)
  • non-blocking 2 tests (Big Ideas & Big Controversies)
  • non-blocking 2 tests (The Mind-Body Problem)
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (3 module)
    0.3 * 2 tests (Big Ideas & Big Controversies) + 0.3 * 2 tests (Functions of Religion in Ancient & Modern Times) + 0.3 * 2 tests (The Mind-Body Problem) + 0.1 * Test (Historical Foundations of Soul Beliefs #2)
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Bhaskar, R. (2015). From East To West : Odyssey of a Soul (Vol. Second edition). London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1067672
  • Richardson, T., Hendrix, H., & Stelling, L. (2012). The Turn of the Soul : Representations of Religious Conversion in Early Modern Art and Literature. Leiden: Brill. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=429973

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Anglin, S. M. (2015). On the nature of implicit soul beliefs: When the past weighs more than the present. British Journal of Social Psychology, 54(2), 394–404. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12094
  • John Gabriel Mendie, & Udofia, S. N. (2019). The Problem of Mind-Body Dichotomy: A Critique of the Cartesian Approach. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3463785
  • Victoria K. Alogna, Jesse Bering, Evan Balkcom, & Jamin Halberstadt. (2019). Religious Intuitions and the Nature of “Belief.” Studia Humana, 58. https://doi.org/10.2478/sh-2019-0025
  • Мозг и душа : критика материализма и очерк современных учений о душе, Челпанов, Г. И., Умрихина, В. В., 2015