One of the early questions on this site asked whether humans have souls:

Do humans have souls?

I lean towards Dan Dennett's views on souls in which humans don't have a soul that lasts forever. It dies when you die, however, you have a "soul" which is just a descriptive word for what makes you, you. Is there any science that can show any sort of existence of such a thing?

How should questions like this, where the questioner appears to be asking about a non-objective truth value, be handled? Are they even on topic?


2 Answers 2


First, I would argue that it is not within the scope of this site to answer non-objective questions unless under the banner of some hypothetical example (i.e. teapots, etc). Second, I would argue that it is likely most questions that have objective answers are better suited to other sites.

However, the subject matter of this Stack Exchange site is in between. The majority of answers should be examples of analysis and how to analyze. If a question asks how to experiment on how to find a soul or something like that it's the wrong place. If they want a final answer—a truth value—this is the wrong place.

If they want the history of souls, insofar as they relate to metaphysics and dualisms etc., this is the place. If they want to know how coherent it is for X to pre-suppose Y involving a metaphysical claim [souls], then it certainly calls for an analysis, and it might be decent fit.


In short, I do not believe it falls within the scope of Philosophy.SE. If one wants to discuss souls, there are many interesting ways to do it. Does the belief that one has a soul consistent with a belief in existentialism? Can one believe in souls and still be Jewish/Christian/Muslim?

Or does believing that one does or does not have a soul affect the view of murder, assisted suicide, or the very interesting question about killing a person in the act of committing suicide, but before the act was completed?

Perhaps we might wonder whether a particular philosopher considers souls important? Do the philosophies of Kant, Locke, Montesquieu, or Smith, etc. allow for there to be a soul?

The topic can be brought up, but not in the truth-oriented fashion in which it was originally posed.

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