Colloquially, we often have a notion that souls are like some sort of ghosts or "cloud inside a bottle" that leave body after death.

I feel the notion of soul in a bit different way. I feel like the soul is responsible for what we call "qualia", and it does not reside in our physical dimension. Although it is somehow connected to a body, it does not have a physical address.

For simple example, we see the sky as "blue"; although there is no such thing as "blue" in the sky. It is all wavelength. There is no "blue" outside my mind. Yet there is "blue" seemingly outside of my body.

Similarly for "Phantom limb" experience in amputees, they feel like they are feeling sensation in the locations no more present in their body. This proves that our bodily perceptions are just "virtual" locations. The pains does not actually happen in the physical organ, but happens in another dimension we cannot access.

Thus, in my interpretation, for an individual person, his or her entire "universe" is the soul. Including his or her entire space time. His or her body is just a small part of it.

Is this worldview correct? or it is a vehemently wrong one? What are the views of different Eastern and Western philosophers on it?

May be I am failing to explain what I am feeling inside. It is like a physical limitation of the language.

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    The pains does not actually happen in the physical organ, but happens in another dimension we cannot access. The nerves leading to the severed limb are still there: it is not "another dimension". And the sky is blue. We can all look at it and say "we call that 'blue'". Just because it can be reduced to elecromagnetic waves does not make it any less real. Same with sound; if I hear you speak, then saying "no, that is just air vibrations" makes it no less real. But you hit an important point: information arrives via our senses, and we build a world view from that. Commented Mar 4 at 18:29
  • @WeatherVane thank you. it indicates the physical space as we perceive it, is a construction of our mind.
    – user72899
    Commented Mar 4 at 18:36
  • There is whole lot more to reality than just physical space. There are all the whys and the wherefores, our understanding of what makes everything tick, and while we may all agree on what, say a table is, we may disagree on what it is for. We build a web of understanding based on what we already 'know' and what we experience. Since people's experiences do not happen in the same sequence, we build different world views, and they may be quite different. Although there is the 'common sense' which we share. Commented Mar 4 at 18:44
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    Not worth a standalone answer, but please do be aware that not all statements that are in your accepted answer are universally accepted. The questions you are asking are still considered hard, unsolved problems.
    – AnoE
    Commented Mar 5 at 14:25
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    No problem, you do have interesting questions, @CitizenandSociety, and as you see, it's hard to find anything where everybody can agree. :)
    – AnoE
    Commented Mar 5 at 16:23

5 Answers 5


Colloquially, we often has a notion that souls are like some sort of ghosts or "cloud inside a bottle" that leave body after death.

"Inside a bottle", "in mind", "inhabits" are all examples of conceptual metaphors. We frequently understand concepts by treating them as things that are contained by other things. Yet, this is not literally true. Our mind is not literally in our brain, for instance.

I feel like the soul is responsible for what we call "qualia", and it does not locate in our physical dimension.

That is an empirically valid observation. Causal continuity offers no proof that "soul" is anyway connected to our physical universe (SEP).

There is no "blue" outside my mind. Yet there is "blue" seemingly outside of my body.

This is because the mind is widely understood to construct experience. People with red-green colorblindness, for instance, don't see the same colors as normal people because they have deficiencies in constructing colors. Tetrachromats have a gift to construct colors the normal person cannot perceive at all. Colors are not inherent to objects, but are inherent to the process of perception according to modern psychology.

The pains does not actually happen in the physical organ, but happens in another dimension we cannot access.

Well, we do have access to our pain, but it would be wrong of thinking of the process and experience of pain as we do apples in an orchard. One normally collocates the physical experience of pain with the location of the nervous system, but again, strictly speaking, the experience of pain isn't part of the spacetime; the physical processes that seem to cause pain are. "Other dimensions" isn't a very meaningful term, because it implies there are places other than our spacetime, and there simply is no physical evidence for such places.

Is this worldview correct? or it is vehemently wrong one? What are the views of different Eastern and Western philosophers on it?

Save yourself some trouble, and don't see worldviews as right and wrong, correct and incorrect. See them as models that are useful and adequate. There's an adage: all models are wrong, but some models are useful. It's quite easy to mistake the map for the territory. You might be interested in conceptualism.

I've answered to affirm your views are common and not objectionable, but this forum is meant for specific Q&A questions, such as locating quotations, asking for clarification on philosophical publication, looking for explanations of technical philosophical definitions, etc. You might be interested in The Philosophy Forum for more conversation.

  • Thank you for explaining me the difficult concepts especially "right-wrong" vs "model".
    – user72899
    Commented Mar 4 at 18:52
  • I am unable to upvote your answer due to technical reason. Please consider an upvote on behalf of me.
    – user72899
    Commented Mar 4 at 18:53
  • I did not get the last paragraph. Is my question off topic from philosophy and/or not a specific one?
    – user72899
    Commented Mar 4 at 18:56
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    Welcome, and keep contributing! :D
    – J D
    Commented Mar 4 at 19:13
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    On the one hand many points in this answer are correct; but other points are more opinionated, and it would be great if the answer would put a little disclaimer that this is not a solved problem but there are quite significantly competing viewpoints. The words "dualism", "materialism" etc. should at least be mentioned to be useful.
    – AnoE
    Commented Mar 5 at 14:28

What you are articulating is a dualist model of mind. Dualism is currently an unpopular POV among philosophers, but there are a number of major philosophers and scientists of the last half century who have defended dualism. These include Karl Popper, John Eccles, Roger Penrose, and Richard Swinburne.

In in spiritual dualism, our consciousness is souls, souls are agents, souls have no location, but they interact with a localized brain. In spiritual dualism, souls survive death. In emergent dualism, conscious minds are agents, but are emergent from matter, they do not have a specific location, but are forever bound to a specific brain which itself has a location, and do not survive death.

The basic dualist model is that the brain collects sensor data, compiles it into a digest of significant information, and then provides that significant information to the conscious mind/soul. Our experiences of qualia would then be created info used to communicate between brain and consciousness/soul.

The concept of soul as a witnesser and steerer of the body is often ridiculed as being a "Homunculus inside our heads". However, the System-1/System-2 decision making model from Kahneman, and the Grand Illusion to inform and mislead a "corporate executive" who redirects the corporation at times of David Eagleman, both are "homunculus" models. These two are among the best of current models of mind, and both authors are physicalists -- so "homunculus" models are the cutting edge of current science research.

So -- your thinking is not popular, but is not "vehemently wrong".

Addendum. Two of the listed philosophers and scientists above are spiritual dualists who would use the term soul. The other two are emergent dualists who hold that consciousness is an effective agent, but is logically dependent on a brain, and would reject soul language.

  • What is the more popular models??
    – user72899
    Commented Mar 4 at 21:47
  • What are the more popular models??
    – user72899
    Commented Mar 4 at 21:47
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    @CitizenandSociety -- About half of philosophers today are physicalists -- who hold that everything in the world is essentially physical. There are a variety f physicalist approaches to philosophy of mind -- the most extreme are reductive physicalism -- that one can discard mind language and replace it with neural language, and delusionism -- that we are not conscious. More common are emergent physicalism, where mind emerges from some unique function our brains perform, and functional identity theory, that our minds are identical with an algorithmic system. There are others too.
    – Dcleve
    Commented Mar 4 at 22:52

You are on to a point here. While we all think we are "inside" our body, it apparently is not so. Many spiritual teachings point to this. There would not be a little ghost inside of us. Instead it's more like a presence watching over us, with love but completely detached. Our mind has a wrong identification with the body (ego) which brings much suffering.

I had glimpses of this in meditation retreats. This is also confirmed with out of body experiences and where people see their body from outside (with what eyes?).

But no philosophical pondering will ever satisfy this question. Only an experiential realization will confirm this for you. And this you can get with meditation.

  • Thank you friend, this is an unique perspective.
    – user72899
    Commented Mar 5 at 18:51
  • I am one step ahead... I think that the "reality", including the "space" is just a Qualia, and we are inside a mathematical space which is hard to describe in human terms
    – user72899
    Commented Mar 5 at 18:53
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    Let me take this about mathematical space and reframe it as pure abstraction or Mind. God creates only Spirit, or pure Mind. This is similar to Plato's world of perfect ideas. Then what is the material world? Many spiritual teachings qualify it as some sort of illusion or dream that we need to wake up from. So the soul was never "in" a body, but dreaming about bodies. Commented Mar 8 at 15:18

While phantom limb experiences are fascinating, explaining them solely as "virtual" sensations or due to another dimension is plain wrong. Neuroscience suggests that phantom sensations arise due to the brain's rewiring following amputation. The experience of pain is subjective — it happens within the person feeling it. However, attributing pain to an inaccessible dimension conflates our internal experiences with the nature of external reality.

There's no scientific evidence of "other dimensions" where pain occurs independently of our physical bodies and brains. Such a claim would require extraordinary evidence.

Basically your analogies are all wrong. Pain that you feel happens in your brain, not in "some dimension". It's not physical limitation of the language, it's just incorrect information. Having said you can believe that soul exists, it's your personal choice. Bu8t don't try to prove it with pseudoscientific reasoning. :)


Souls are demonstrably real. Volition, for instance, gives us each an infinite number of experimental data points proving that we are not mere products of determinism, but are intelligent beings capacitated to act in a non-random and non-deterministic fashion, unbound by any natural law. Life and death prove that the soul is more than a lump of cells or even a perfectly organized soup of organic molecules; there is manifestly more that animates our bodies, something that cannot be seen.

There are things to act (the soul or spirit controlling the body), and things to be acted upon (mundane matter, including the matter of which the physical body is composed). Thus the laws of determinism are perfectly compatible with free will, the interface is the soul. Souls are evidently very localized since the perception of any soul is limited to individual experience; the experience of any earthly soul is not holistic, but it is locally perceptual. Reality is not limited to perception, but perception is a part of reality.

The soul is not the universe. The simple reality expressed by the Christian Bible, which is the foundation of Western civilization and wholesome philosophy, is that the body and the spirit that inhabits it are the soul of man, and the spirit, though invisible to our natural eyes, is the literal offspring of God, created in His image, and capable of becoming like Him in the flesh. Bodies are lifeless without their spirits, and so on. Therefore souls are localized, as the Resurrection of Jesus Christ proves, and in all living souls, the spirit is located within the matter of the body.

  • Thank you for your perspective. It means a lot to me.
    – user72899
    Commented Mar 5 at 16:18
  • What is a volition?
    – user72899
    Commented Mar 5 at 18:57
  • @CitizenandSociety It is the will of a being. His ability to choose for himself. google.com/search?q=volition+word+origin
    – pygosceles
    Commented Mar 5 at 21:28
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    It is the same.
    – pygosceles
    Commented Mar 6 at 7:25
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    Wrong SE site, @pygosceles. ;)
    – AnoE
    Commented Mar 6 at 13:18

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