The Haunting of the Human Spirit

Zygon 34 (2):307-322 (1999)
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Understanding the human spirit, the thinking, motivating, feeling aspect of a person, need not entail supernatural reference in any more than a boundary sense. Methodological naturalism accounts for many putatively supernatural experiences in terms of naturalistic and scientific research. Fairy tales have natural functions, naturalistic accounts of miracles can have moral and spiritual power, and neuropsychological research can have value in understanding experiences of ghosts, apparitions, and presences. Even beliefs in personal immortality, at odds with current neurobiology, may serve a range of psychological functions and may raise more moral questions than they answer. Naturalistic accounts can make spiritual explorations possible where supernatural answers provide epistemic barriers.



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