Have you seen a ghost before ? Have I seen a ghost before ? Have we all seen a ghost before ?
Those questions seem very hard to answer, even though some of us may claim otherwise. Personally, i'm having a hard time understanding what a ghost really is, probably because i'm very analytical or an overthinker if you would put it that way. But this is not to say ghosts may not exist, it depends on the kind of ghost you are talking about.
Ghost has different meanings depending on the context it's associated with but it's mostly associated with a part of matter beyond physical reality. In religion, it's also considered a "spirit" or soul and it's mostly a part of man beyond physical reality whose existence is relatively eternal unlike the body that eventually decays. In philosophy, it's also considered a soul and mostly associated with the mind - the supposed seat of intelligence, emotions and other mental states.
In philosophy, the soul/mind can also be extended beyond humans, animals and even non-living objects like a stone too can possess a soul/mind. This may seem absurd, how can a stone have a soul ?
This is possible thanks to the "mind-body problem" which happens to be under the "philosophy of mind". This problem has been vexing philosophers and scientists for ages, it has to do with the nature of the mind (is it of a substance beyond our physical reality ?), how it (the mind) "is connected to" and "interacts with" the physical body. Philosophical questions like this laid grounds for the existence of neuroscience and cognitive science. Philosophically speaking, those two scientific fields arose from physicalism/materialism, which happens to be one of the many philosophical schools of thought attempting to resolve the mind-body dilemma. So, in science, when discussing about ghost/spirit/soul, we are simply discussing about the mind, though to some extent is related to the religious kind. According to physicalism, there's nothing in reality that is beyond what we observe physically or in other words, what we believe to be the mind/soul can be or should be explainable with physical laws. This is why most of the time when people talk about seeing ghosts or any paranormal phenomenon, scientists would tell you it's your brain making up stuffs due to certain physical factors.
Physicalism and science dismisses the existence of entities/forces beyond our physical reality or does it ?
I must have in one of my previous articles told us that science relies on philosophy, this is from a foundational perspective, the philosophy accompanying modern science is physicalism and unfortunately, there seems to be possibilities of physicalism having limits. In other words, there seems to be stuffs about our reality physicalism cannot handle with great satisfaction, an example is "the hard problem of consciousness" this is another philosophical question in the philosophy of mind. The hard problem of consciousness presents us with the question of why and how we have subjective consciousness or why certain experience appears different for different individuals - this would be an article for another time. Another problem is that while science has been able to show through experimentation the correlation between mental states and physical states (in the brain) which partly supports physicalism, it is yet to be known from experiment what the first cause is, another way of putting it is, does the mind control the brain or does the brain control the mind ? 😂
As if those aren't enough, quantum mechanics which happens to be a theory of our fundamental physical reality seems to be suggesting a limit to physicalism. In our previous article where we discussed about the "Schrödinger's cat experiment", we also briefly highlighted some of the problems with quantum mechanic, those problems could be as a result of one of two reasons which are
The mathematical model of quantum mechanics being flawed due to incompleteness
The mathematical model is accurate but science (physicalism) has gotten to it's limit or not all of reality can be realized through experimentation.
The second reason offers room for the existence of entities beyond our physical reality - like the mysterious wave function used in calculations of quantum mechanics, ghosts too are included since they are also believed to be beyond our physical reality.
Don't totally buy into the idea of science disproving the existence of ghosts, the truth is that there are serious conflicts with science and it's methods. It's still at a point where it can't give a definitive answer but this is not to say we shouldn't trust it. For now, science is still our best approach to understanding our reality and i believe there's room for further development, including it's philosophy.
For Further Reading
Lastly, please don't forget to do the needful
If you enjoyed my jargons.