In Search of the Soul
John Cottingham with Lauren Slater
In his latest book In Search of the Soul, John Cottingham argues that, so far from being made obsolete by the rise of science, the concept of the soul still exerts a powerful pull on us today. We don’t have to think of the soul as a “spooky” immaterial substance, but as a way of referring to certain precious human attributes that enable us to engage in a rich repertoire of conscious activities including, most importantly, the search for meaning and value in our lives. This conversation will consider these and other central ideas in his book, and why Cottingham thinks that the concept of the soul has a claim to be central to our thinking about what it is to be human.
John Cottingham is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Reading, Professor of Philosophy of Religion at Roehampton University, and an Honorary Fellow of St. John’s College, Oxford. His latest book In Search of the Soul: A Philosophical Essay was published this year.
Lauren Slater is a PhD researcher at Birkbeck College, University of London. She works on Descartes’ philosophy of perception and Early Modern theories of Language.