Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Body and Spirituality

  • Roberto RefinettiEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_80

In secular philosophy, the distinction between body and spirituality is more commonly known as the distinction between body and mind. In either case, it is assumed that humans have at least two dimensions: a material one (body) and a spiritual one (mind). How these two dimensions relate to each other is a contentious matter.

Body and Mind

For over a century, it has been a common understanding that the part of the body related to mental activity is not the foot, the heart, or the liver, but the brain. Thus, the so-called mind-body problem is actually the mind-brain problem – that is, how psychological phenomena relate to the activity of the nervous system. Many potential types of relationship between mind and brain have been proposed. Classifications of systems of ideas are always arbitrary to a certain extent, but a convenient classification recognizes four major groups: idealism, mentalism, psychophysical parallelism, and materialism (or materialist monism).

Idealism refers to a...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Chalmers, D. J. (Ed.). (2002). Philosophy of mind: Classical and contemporary readings. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Crick, F. (1995). The astonishing hypothesis: The scientific search for the soul. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  3. Young, J. Z. (1987). Philosophy and the brain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PsychologyUniversity of South CarolinaWalterboroUSA