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Afterlife

Edited by K. Mitch Hodge (Amarillo College, Masaryk University, Academia.edu)
About this topic
Summary The afterlife, or more specifically the belief in an afterlife, is the belief that it is possible for individuals to survive death.  Scholarly discussions of afterlife beliefs cover a broad range of academic disciplines (e.g., philosophy, religious studies, anthropology and psychology) and philosophically relevant topics (e.g., personal identity, epistemology of religious belief, imagination, ethics, arguments from parapsychology, dualism and materialism).  Beliefs in the afterlife are generally one of two types: metaphysically thin, whereby the some non-identity conferring substance of the individual continues after the death of his/her physical body (e.g., their atoms, or their life force or energy is redistributed into the universe to make up other things); or metaphysically thick, whereby some essential personal identity conferring essence or substance (e.g., the person’s soul , mind or resurrected body) is said to survive either immediately after death, or at some later time.  Most scholarly discussions as well as most religio-cultural systems are concerned with the latter rather than the former.  Metaphysically thick afterlife beliefs usually take one of two forms: reincarnation (also known in the philosophical literature as transmigration of the soul), by which the individual is reborn into this world with a new life, or the individual continues his/her existence in a spiritual realm (e.g., heaven, hell, or the realm of ancestors).  How, and whether, personal identity can be maintained in an afterlife has a long history of debate in philosophy.  In addition, one cross-culturally common and philosophically important element of metaphysically thick afterlife beliefs is that the individual is rewarded or punished for his/her moral propriety or moral transgressions that he/she committed in this life. 
Key works Philosophical discussions of the afterlife date back to Pythagoras unknown and Plato 2008, 1999,  both of whom argued for the transmigration of the soul.  With a rise of Christianity in the West, discussions concerning the afterlife shifted to how personal identity was maintained in the afterlife, especially given the doctrine of the resurrection of the body (see, Sorabji 2006, and Barresi web).  After Descartes 2004, however, the emphasis in philosophy shifted away from survival after death in a resurrected body, to the idea that one survives death as a disembodied mind.  The modern era saw the first substantial skeptical challenge to belief in an afterlife with Coleman 2007, ms.  Contemporary philosophical discussions of the afterlife have focused on the possibility of disembodied existence and how this is to be understood (see Blose 1981, Gillett 1985, 1986, Tye 1983, Hick 1976, 1973, Swinburne 1986, Mavrodes 1977, Penelhum 1982, and Perry 1978).  In addition, with the rise of the cognitive science of religion, and experimental evidence (see Bering 2006) that humans intuitively believe in an afterlife, philosophical debate has begun on how and why the human mind is predisposed toward this belief, and the role the imagination, emotions and concepts play in representing the deceased and the afterlife (see Bek & Lock 2011, Harris & Astuti 2006, Nichols 2007 and Hodge 2011, 2011).
Introductions Encyclopedia articles include Hasker 2010Andrade 2011 (on immortality).  Good introductory books to the topics dealing with the afterlife include: Corcoran 2001, Benatar 2009, Sorabji 2006, and Barresi web.
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  1. Susan J. Avens (1981). Mrs. Cecil Chesterton, O.B.E. The Chesterton Review 7 (4):313-322.
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  2. R. J. B. (1967). The Meaning of the Death of God. Review of Metaphysics 21 (2):385-385.
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  3. Kenneth Baker (1994). An Early Sketch of Chesterton. The Chesterton Review 20 (1):141-141.
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  4. James E. Barcus (1986). Broad Swaths and Deep Cuts: The Autobiographical Impulse in G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis. The Chesterton Review 12 (3):331-344.
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  5. J. H. Barkhuizen (1986). Romanos Melodos: Essay on the Poetics of His Kontakion "Resurrection of Christ” / Part II. Byzantinische Zeitschrift 79 (2):268-281.
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  6. Allen Barra (2009). A Century of "Thursdays": G. K. Chesterton Dismissed His Own Book as "Moonshine," but It Endures. The Chesterton Review 35 (3/4):787-789.
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  7. John J. Barrett (1994). Chesterton in Chicago. The Chesterton Review 20 (4):567-567.
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  8. Leopoldo Barroso (1990). Do Any Readers Know of the Caricature of Chesterton by Massaguer, or of Chesterton's Letter to Cyril Clemens? The Chesterton Review 16 (2):109-109.
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  9. Leopoldo Barroso (1985). A Chesterton Novel Re-Enacted in the Spanish Civil War. The Chesterton Review 11 (3):409-410.
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  10. Leopoldo Barroso (1983). The Missing Word in Chesterton's. The Chesterton Review 9 (2):190-191.
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  11. John Batchelor (1974). Chesterton as an Edwardian Novelist. The Chesterton Review 1 (1):23-35.
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  12. Elisabeth Bayley (2013). The Conflict of Legends and the Corrective Lens of Love in Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop: A Girardian Analysis. Heythrop Journal 54 (5):835-845.
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  13. Martin Bell (2000). A Bell Rings for Chesterton. The Chesterton Review 26 (3):394-397.
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  14. P. Bendlova (1993). Death Survival and Immortality in the Works of Marcez, Gabriel (Vol 41, Pg 677, 1993). Filosoficky Casopis 41 (6):1100-1100.
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  15. Marie Benoit (2014). Chesterton Conference at the University of Malta. The Chesterton Review 40 (1/2):266-270.
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  16. Iain Benson (2012). The More Quotable Chesterton. The Chesterton Review 15 (4/1):626-628.
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  17. Iain T. Benson (1988). The Wisdom of G. K. Chesterton," by Aidan Mackey". The Chesterton Review 14 (2):285-287.
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  18. David Beresford (1997). A New Chesterton Group. The Chesterton Review 23 (3):395-396.
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  19. Frederick Black (1989). Chesterton and Madness. The Chesterton Review 15 (3):327-339.
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  20. Frederick Black (1988). Editing Chesterton's Writings. The Chesterton Review 14 (2):351-352.
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  21. Paul Blaschko (2010). Resurrection and Hylomorphism. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 84:65-74.
    My paper raises the question whether there are any tenable hylomorphic theories of post-mortem survival and resurrection compatible with Catholic Churchdoctrine. After considering what it would mean for such a theory to be compatible with Church doctrine, I raise three objections to which a hylomorphic theory would need to successfully respond in order to be considered tenable. In the final section of the paper, I argue affirmatively, that there are tenable hylomorphic theories. I then consider two contemporary theories and offer (...)
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  22. William Blissett (1988). Chesterton: A Half Century of Views," Edited by D. J. Conlon". The Chesterton Review 14 (4):601-605.
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  23. William Blissett (1985). Chesterton and the Edwardian Cultural Crisis," by John D. Coates". The Chesterton Review 11 (4):492-496.
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  24. Steven Botterill (1990). Visions of Heaven and Hell Before Dante. [REVIEW] Speculum 65 (5):986-988.
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  25. Stephen Bottomore (1994). The Cinema in Chesterton's Day. The Chesterton Review 20 (4):568-568.
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  26. Margot Boulle (1996). A Memory of Chesterton. The Chesterton Review 22 (3):421-421.
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  27. Fr Ian Boyd, , Dr Dermot Quinn, Fr Antonio Spadaro Sj, Prof Andrea Monda, Klaus Vella Bardon & John Micalef (2011). Chesterton as a Journalist. The Chesterton Review 37 (3/4):726-728.
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  28. Father Ian Boyd (2012). Chesterton-Shaw Debate Speaks to the Present Crisis. The Chesterton Review 37 (3/4):564-579.
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  29. Fr Boyd, Dr Quinn, S. J. Spadaro, Fr Antonio, Prof Monda, Klaus Vella Bardon & John Micalef (2012). Chesterton as a Journalist. The Chesterton Review 37 (3/4):726-728.
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  30. Fr Boyd, Dr Strait & Dr Quinn (2012). Chesterton and the Bible. The Chesterton Review 37 (3/4):722-723.
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  31. Ian Boyd (2019). Chesterton and Poland: The Myth and the Reality. The Chesterton Review 5 (1):22-41.
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  32. Ian Boyd (2012). Chesterton Come Giornalista. The Chesterton Review in Italiano 2 (1):89-99.
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  33. Ian Boyd (2011). Chesterton and the Bible. The Chesterton Review 37 (3/4):722-723.
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  34. Ian Boyd (2011). G. K. Chesterton. The Chesterton Review in Italiano 1 (1):103-110.
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  35. Ian Boyd (2010). Chesterton in America. The Chesterton Review 36 (3/4):81-99.
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  36. Ian Boyd (2008). Poland and the Chesterton Institute. The Chesterton Review 34 (1/2):398-400.
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  37. Ian Boyd (2008). The Poetry of G. K. Chesterton. The Chesterton Review 34 (1/2):77-96.
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  38. Ian Boyd (2007). Chesterton and Education. The Chesterton Review 33 (1/2):389-390.
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  39. Ian Boyd (2007). Chesterton and Evil. The Chesterton Review 33 (1/2):362-367.
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  40. Ian Boyd (2007). G. K. Chesterton: The Teacher of Hope. The Chesterton Review 33 (3/4):579-582.
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  41. Ian Boyd (2005). Continuing Chesterton's Legacy. The Chesterton Review 31 (1/2):243-247.
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  42. Ian Boyd (1995). Chesterton-Shaw Debate Speaks to the Present Crisis. The Chesterton Review 21 (1/2):181-187.
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  43. Ian Boyd (1995). The Circumstances That Led to the Founding of The Chesterton Review. The Chesterton Review 21 (1/2):164-167.
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  44. Ian Boyd (1991). Chesterton and C. S. Lewis. The Chesterton Review 17 (3/4):303-311.
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  45. Ian Boyd (1988). Chesterton and Japan. The Chesterton Review 14 (3):365-370.
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  46. Ian Boyd (1986). Chesterton on Censorship. The Chesterton Review 12 (1):1-21.
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  47. Ian Boyd (1978). Chesterton and Poland. The Chesterton Review 5 (1):22-41.
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  48. B. R. Bradbrook (2019). Chesterton and Karel Čapek: A Study in Personal and Literary Relationship. The Chesterton Review 4 (1):89-103.
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  49. B. R. Bradbrook (1977). Chesterton and Karel Čapek. The Chesterton Review 4 (1):89-103.
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  50. Chesterton Brasil & Father Boyd (2014). Chesterton Brasil Interviews Father Ian Boyd. The Chesterton Review 40 (1/2):188-191.
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