Soul and Mental-Neurological Disorders (An Emergentist and Sadraian Explanation)

Document Type : Scientific-research


1 Associate professor in Islamic philosophy and theology, University of Isfahan

2 Postdoctoral researcher of philosophy and islamic theology, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


All kinds of brain damages and neurological disorders (including dissociative identity, schizophrenia, mood swings, etc.) affect the loss and transformation of biotic qualities, mental states, and even the idea of the soul and "self". Observing these effects leads to the development of various theories about the existence of the soul and its detachability (from the negation of self/mind/soul, or denial of its immateriality up to rejection of its surviving. The theoretical framework of emergentism and Mulla Sadra's wisdom help to analyze this challenge and to provide a superior theory to dualistic instrumentalism as a general approach to the problem of neurological disorders' effect on the soul. By attention to two types of emergentism (substance emergentism and property emergentism),  and Mulla Sadra’s theory of the “Bodily Origination” we may tell that the body and the nervous system give rise to the hierarchical emergence of the soul (from the vegetative to the self-subsistent mind/soul) and all the proper biotic and mental properties. Under this emergentist correlation of body and soul, and due to intrinsic belonging of soul to the body at the vegetative level and accidental belonging at the substantial and autonomous level of the soul's existence, brain damages and neurological disorders give rise to the emergence of mental disorders as the disruptive properties for the soul as well as submerging of some of the mental emergent properties, without the devastation of the self-subsistent and autonomous existence of the soul.


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