published in Lights of Irfan, 16, pages 123-174 Wilmette: Haj Mehdi Armand Colloquium, 2015
Abstract: In comparing animals and humans, or as put more modernly, comparing humans with other animals, the questions of the existence, nature, and necessity of a human soul often come up. The question of existence of the human soul may be explored from different perspectives. For example, this question may be posed as “is there a human soul?” If so, what is it? why do we need a soul? why not just the brain? Is it needed to explain something, such as “continuation of life after physical death?” If so, is it just a contrivance to answer such peripheral questions?
To attempt a rational treatment of these questions, a two-phase approach is adopted: first, a rational foundation is laid out, and second, the principles established as part of this rational foundation are applied to specific questions, such as those posed above. The overall argument is the result of a modern treatment and integration of several diverse concepts proclaimed by Bahá’u’lláh and explained by Abdu’l-Bahá. These diverse concepts are presented aided by various quotes from the Bahá’í sacred Writings.