Friends (and enemies) of mine have been telling me how much they enjoyed the debate ‘Is There a Ghost in the Machine?’, which I chaired at this year’s Battle of Ideas festival and which tackled the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness head on, as it were. But some of these friends (to say nothing of the enemies) have reservations. Was it really necessary, they ask, to dedicate a significant part of the debate to asking whether human beings have souls? Surely ’soul’ is a mystifying category, which obscures or distracts from the difficult task of elucidating the relationship between the body and the mind?
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