In Search of the Soul
by John Cottingham

In search of soul

Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020
xii + 174 pp . £18.99/$22.95
ISBN 978–0–691–17442–6; eBook 978–0–691–19758–6.

"I loved [t]his erudite, bold, provocative, beautiful book." Jane O'Grady, Literary Review.

"The great strength of In Search of the Soul is that it roots thinking about the soul in our shared human experience, especially as it has been expressed by poets. While this book provides a valuable guide to traditional discussions about the soul, together with a careful assessment of modern scientific understandings, it especially resonates with our wish to make sense of life and our desire to reach out beyond ourselves to some ideal of goodness."
Richard Harries, King’s College London

"This is a hugely enjoyable and impressive book. As fresh and thoughtful as it is erudite, it is beautifully written and elegantly argued. Full of depth and detail,
In Search of the Soul makes a serious contribution to debates among experts, and is an illuminating guide for general readers."
Clare Carlisle, author of
On Habit

"In Search of the Soul is a superb book, true to Cottingham’s intent to articulate a more humane manner of philosophizing than is found in much contemporary philosophy. In this aim he succeeds admirably—in his style, the nature and scope of the questions he asks, and the wide learning that he brings to the project."
Simon May, author of
The Power of Cute

"[A] lucid and illuminating book. Cottingham's short study explores fundamental questions more fully than many much longer volumes."
John Gray,
New Statesman


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 Humanity in Quest of the Soul
The Risk of Loss
Dimensions of Soul
The Soul and Human Nature
The Soul and Moral Integration
But Why the Soul?

2 The Evolution of the Soul
What Is the Soul?
Out of This World?
From Souls to Ghosts
Descartes and the Shrinking Soul
Cartesian Automata and the Creativity of Thought
The Soul-Body Unit and Descartes’s Trialism
The Ethical Implications of Human Embodiment

3 Soul, Science, and Subjectivity
Objective Science and Subjective Experience
Consciousness: Illusion or Irreducible Reality?
The Panpsychist Turn
Finding a Place for Consciousness
The Domain of the Soul

4 The Partly Hidden Soul
From Soul-Searching to Self-Fashioning
The Opacity of the Soul and Psychic Integration
The Depths of the Psyche
The Soul’s Hidden Yearning for God

5 The Soul and the Transcendent
Reaching Forward to the Transcendent
Natural versus Supernatural: The Unhelpful Contrast
Immortal Longings and the Care of the Soul: From Metaphysics to Praxis
Transcendence and Our Human Destiny

Bibliography
Index

[See also the online posts at Aeon, and iai, and on Daily Life Lessons]