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Bratus B.S.(2014) The problem of restoring the category of “soul” in academic psychology. National Psychological Journal, 3(15), 5-15

The soul concept has been forbidden to use in the academic psychological literature for over a hundred years. It was replaced (suppressed) by the concept of “psyche”, “consciousness”, “self-esteem”, etc. The paper raises the issue of the need to reconsider the concept of human soul as the fundamental basis of human mental activity. We emphasize the multidimensional concept of soul, a number of traditional fields of theoretical and applied psychology the directly being attributed to it, for example, the study of thinking, memory, perception, sensations, emotions, etc. We discovered that among the accepted meanings of the soul (more than ten listed in the paper) only one is known to fall out of the academic and psychological requirements, namely understanding the soul in terms of “spiritual part of human beings”. The fundamental conclusion consists in the fact that the soul properly never escaped the issues of academic psychology. On the contrary, it has been in the focus of scholars. In order to differentiate between the competence of psychology and theology we propose a distinction between “inner” and “outer” psychic manifestations. Within such a divide, the “outer” side will face the entire material world almost directly and entirely meet the requirements of the subject matter of science, whereas the “inner” side is connected with psychology through the reality, habitually referred to as spirituality, which in addition to theological interpretations can be deemed in terms of moral and philosophical value sphere and intelligible reason of human existence.

This approach allowed us to consider the issue of “spiritual” and “personal” relations, to establish relationships between personality psychology and the religious and secular approaches. It is shown that without taking into account the methodological correlation with these approaches the psychological category is reduced to simply identifying personal individual features, and motivational and volitional performance.

Received: 11/14/2014

Accepted: 11/20/2014

Pages: 5-15

DOI: 10.11621/npj.2014.0300

Keywords: personality; psyche; soul; spirit; methodology of science; philosophy psychology; theology;

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