What, if anything, can it possibly mean to deny the existence of the soul--the one and only thing that we have direct experience of? I can see why someone might deny the existence of a physical universe: we can only experience it as part of the content of consciousness: that is, of the soul. And I can understand why one might question some aspect of the soul: is it material or immaterial, mortal or immortal. But I don't see how one can question its existence without making use of the very thing they're questioning. To deny the existence of the soul seems to require some special definition of "soul"--but what? What is being asked when questions of the existence of the soul are raised? monk Herman Hanover, NM

From what I can gather, you're treating 'consciousness' as synonymous with 'soul'. You write, "as part of the content of consciousness: that is, of the soul." But 'soul' is a much more loaded term than 'consciousness': people tend to use 'a soul' or 'the soul' to denote a metaphysical substance, as Descartes did, whereas they tend to use 'consciousness' to denote an activity, a property, or a state of some substance, even if the substance is a material one. So I think it's better to use the less loaded term 'consciousness' when talking about what it is that we directly experience.

I agree that it's hard to deny the existence of one's own consciousness, but there are philosophers who (claim to) deny it. They're discussed in this entry from the SEP (see especially section 3.3). It's a challenging article but worth the effort, I believe. I hope it's helpful. But let me emphasize that one can accept the existence of one's own consciousness without accepting the existence of what's usually meant by 'one's soul'.

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