Body, soul and spirit

July 2015

Ulrich Weger (University Witten/Hedecke) and Johannes Wagemann (Alanus Hochschule Alfter) have published an article in the renowned professional journal »New Ideas in Psychology«, to show a new approach to an old paradigm: the difference and reality of soul and spirit.

Photo: © idw-online.de

Psychological phenomena can be described on different levels of analysis: on an experiential level (e.g., what is it like to be attentive); and on a behavioral level (e.g., how does it become evident that someone is attentive).

The authors outline how the widely prevalent focus on exclusively behavioral characteristics is insufficient and how our understanding of psychological phenomena can be enriched by taking the qualitative dimension of experience into consideration. They scrutinize components of this experiential realm and report how it provides the stage for a third level: conceptual insight (e.g., what types or phases of attention can be distinguished).

Subsequently they look at the history of science and relate the behavioral aspect to the material realm (the realm of the body); the experiential aspect to what has been historically referred to as the soul realm; and the conceptual aspect to what has been historically referred to as the spirit realm.

Finally, they add a first-person trial to delineate these concepts further and scrutinize them in light of contemporary theory-building.

doi:10.1016/j.newideapsych.2015.07.002

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0732118X15000355?np=y

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