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Soul Searching: Human Nature and Supernatural Belief Hardcover – 16 Nov 1995

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; First Edition edition (16 Nov. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701159634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701159634
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,271,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


An intelligent and highly readable book... Excellent -- The Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many people hold some remarkable beliefs about the soul: it is said to be the spark of the divine, the immaterial part of man, not subject to evolution, and yet the essential human part of us that survives the body after death. Others believe that Uri Geller can bend spoons and repair watches with the power of his mind. For the rest of us who don't share these beliefs and wonder at the confidence of those who do, Nicholas Humphrey has written a compelling antidote to their wishful thinking. "Soul Searching" is rare in the long tradition of writing about the soul in that its conclusions are grounded in empirical science and logical argument, and not ready made by either religious or medical dogma.

Humphrey acknowledges that "scientific materialism is regarded by many, even by some of its own prophets, as deeply unsatisfying". We all know people who insist that there "must be something else" apart from our material existence, that "mere" matter cannot be ultimately responsible for the feelings of love and the "miracle of human consciousness". Such misgivings are deeply ingrained in our culture. So why, Humphrey asks, do "most people most of the time actually behave as if they were thoroughgoing materialists" while wishing "that they themselves do possess a soul"? What on earth is going on?

One of the things going on, of course, despite the advance of science and reason, is religion, one purpose of which is "to nurse people's hopes of transcending physical reality". Humphrey then makes the link between "soulfulness and paranormal power" and challenges any modern believer who bravely maintains that their conception of religion does not involve anything so vulgar as paranormal miracles "to have another think about just what it is they really believe in".
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