Arguments for the existence of God generally fall into certain categories (e.g. cosmological arguments, moral arguments, arguments from design, etc). But into which categories arguments for the existence of the soul fall into?

  • 3
    Define "soul" for the purpose of your question.
    – virmaior
    Sep 1, 2017 at 8:01
  • 1
    @virmaior Why must you do this to me, man? Defining things is such a pain. Still, I've assumed a Christian soul i.e. immaterial, immortal and capable of thought. Anything like it, like Plato's souls, would be fine too. Aristotle's vegetative souls and the Stoics' world soul would be out.
    – ejQhZ
    Sep 1, 2017 at 14:42
  • But I realize now that this question might be split up into classifications of the arguments for Dualism and into classifications of arguments of the immortality of the soul. Should it be split up?
    – ejQhZ
    Sep 1, 2017 at 14:44
  • We still have interesting problems in science to puzzle over. Here is one, action at a distance. google.com/amp/s/phys.org/news/… We also have problems associated with reductionism in science. For years I was an atheist because I thought I knew "science". I'm not so sure now we are able to attain the so-called Archimedean stance (point). Now I'm agnostic, it was an article by Bertrand Russell which changed my position.
    – Gordon
    Sep 1, 2017 at 14:49
  • Here is the collection of writings where I found this article by Russell. "The basic writings of Bertrand Russell, 1903-1959", Routledge, 1992. Sorry I do not recall the title to the article itself. NB: reductionism is a required procedure in science. It is proper to science, but this should be recognized as a possible flaw (limitation) to the entire field of science. An unavoidable limitation, but nevertheless one that must be taken into account by philosophers.
    – Gordon
    Sep 1, 2017 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


Allegedly the human soul has a mass of 21 grams. If so, then it must exist.

In 1901, Duncan MacDougall, a physician from Haverhill, Massachusetts, who wished to scientifically determine if a soul had weight, identified six patients in nursing homes whose death was imminent. Four were suffering from tuberculosis, one from diabetes, and one from unspecified causes. MacDougall specifically chose people who were suffering from conditions that caused physical exhaustion, as he needed the patients to remain still when they died to measure them accurately. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/21_grams_experiment

The argument is not very good because it was hardly possible for McDougall to determine the weight of human bodies with the required precision.

  • He was after an answer in grams and he got one. No surprise there. We can of course argue over the accuracy of his procedures.
    – Gordon
    Sep 1, 2017 at 14:56
  • "Allegedly the human soul has a mass of 21 grams. If so, then it must exist." Yes, "if a soul exists, then a soul exists." Why would you start your answer off by begging the question? The OP was asking for a classification of philosophical arguments for whether or not souls exist, not a disproven pseudoscientific argument.
    – Not_Here
    Oct 1, 2017 at 14:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .