Have We Still Got Soul?

The first of four ‘Tetley Talks’ on the theme of ‘What does it mean to be human?’

‘There’s no such thing as a soul. It’s just something they made up to scare kids, like the boogeyman or Michael Jackson.’ Bart, The Simpsons

The concept of the soul is a problematic one today: pushed into obscurity by philosophic rejection of dualism and scientific understanding of our materiality. It is certainly difficult to accept any idea of an inner ‘something’ that constitutes our self-consciousness and sense of identity yet shows up on no X-ray. But it seems equally difficult to concede that our unique first-person perspective can be so easily reduced to bodily identity. What explains our desire to see the person in the self-portrait or picture, the subject as being somehow present in the object? Is the language of friendship and love just a fond metaphor for genetic selfishness? If we are only blood and brain, then what do we mean when we speak of heart and soul?




Saturday 6 September 2014


2pm to 3:30pm


£5 waged / £3 unwaged


useful reading:

salon partners:

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The Tetley is a centre for contemporary art and learning, located in the former headquarters of the world-famous Tetley Brewery on Hunslet Road. Visit their website at: www.thetetley.org/