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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. Keith Augustine (2015). Introduction. In Keith Augustine & Michael Martin (eds.), The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death. Rowman & Littlefield 1-47.
    The Introduction provides a general overview of the issues discussed in The Myth of an Afterlife in more detail in the individual selections, structured according to the four parts of the volume, plus preceding introductory and subsequent concluding comments. -/- [1. Preliminary Considerations] [2. Empirical Arguments for Annihilation] [3. Conceptual and Empirical Difficulties for Survival] [4. Problematic Models of the Afterlife] [5. Dubious Evidence for Survival] [6. The Importance of Empirical Consideration] [7. Alternative Paranormal Explanations of the Survival Evidence] [8. (...)
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  2. Keith Augustine (2015). Near-Death Experiences Are Hallucinations. In Keith Augustine & Michael Martin (eds.), The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death. Rowman & Littlefield 529-569.
    Reports of near-death experiences (NDEs) with suggestive or manifestly hallucinatory features strongly imply that NDEs are not glimpses of an afterlife, but rather internally generated fantasies. Such features include discrepancies between what is seen in the seemingly physical environment of “out-of-body” NDEs and what is actually happening in the physical world at the time, bodily sensations felt after near-death experiencers (NDErs) have ostensibly departed the physical world altogether and entered a transcendental realm, encounters with living persons and fictional characters while (...)
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  3. Keith Augustine & Michael Martin (eds.) (2015). The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case Against Life After Death. Rowman & Littlefield.
    Because every single one of us will die, most of us would like to know what—if anything—awaits us afterward, not to mention the fate of lost loved ones. Given the nearly universal vested interest we personally have in deciding this question in favor of an afterlife, it is no surprise that the vast majority of books on the topic affirm the reality of life after death without a backward glance. But the evidence of our senses and the ever-gaining strength of (...)
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  4. Susan J. Avens (1981). Mrs. Cecil Chesterton, O.B.E. The Chesterton Review 7 (4):313-322.
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  5. G. E. Azenabor (forthcoming). Reincarnation in an African Metaphysics. Metaphysics, Phenomenology and African Philosophy. Ibadan: Hope Pub.
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  6. A. B. (1963). Reincarnation. Review of Metaphysics 16 (4):810-810.
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  7. R. J. B. (1967). The Meaning of the Death of God. Review of Metaphysics 21 (2):385-385.
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  8. James F. Babcock (1973). The Resurrection—A Credibility Gap? In John Warwick Montgomery (ed.), Christianity for the Tough-Minded. Minneapolis,Bethany Fellowship 250.
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  9. Paul Badham (1976). Christian Beliefs About Life After Death. Macmillan.
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  10. Kenneth Baker (1994). An Early Sketch of Chesterton. The Chesterton Review 20 (1):141-141.
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  11. Wesley C. Baker (1968). Believer in Hell. Philadelphia, Westminster Press.
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  12. Vincent J. Balice (1976). Chesterton and Ibsen. The Chesterton Review 2 (2):215-225.
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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. John J. Barrett (1994). Chesterton in Chicago. The Chesterton Review 20 (4):567-567.
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  17. 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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  18. Leopoldo Barroso (1985). A Chesterton Novel Re-Enacted in the Spanish Civil War. The Chesterton Review 11 (3):409-410.
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  19. Leopoldo Barroso (1983). The Missing Word in Chesterton's. The Chesterton Review 9 (2):190-191.
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  20. John Batchelor (1974). Chesterton as an Edwardian Novelist. The Chesterton Review 1 (1):23-35.
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  21. R. Robert Bater (1969). Towards a More Biblical View of the Resurrection. Interpretation 23 (1):47-65.
    “Discussions of the Resurrection have never been biblical enough.”.
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  22. Christian Battista, Nicolas Gauvrit & Etienne LeBel (2015). Madness in the Method: Fatal Flaws in Recent Mediumship Experiments. In Keith Augustine & Michael Martin (eds.), The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death. Rowman & Littlefield 615-630.
    This paper reviews one of the most methodologically rigorous studies of mediumship conducted to date. On the surface, the statistical procedures used by Julie Beischel and Gary E. Schwartz in the study seem to support the existence of anomalous information reception (AIR), but in fact have been misapplied. Other methodological flaws are fatal, including unaccounted for researcher degrees of freedom, which completely calls into question Beischel and Schwartz’s conclusion regarding AIR. We conclude by proposing an experimental design more appropriate for (...)
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  23. 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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  24. W. Baylis (1904). The Resurrection of Our Lord. Hibbert Journal 3:815.
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  25. Carl B. Becker (1993). Breaking the Circle: Death and the Afterlife in Buddhism. Southern Illinois University Press.
    In this much-needed examination of Buddhist views of death and the afterlife, Carl B. Becker bridges the gap between books on death in the West and books on Buddhism in the East.
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  26. Martin Bell (2000). A Bell Rings for Chesterton. The Chesterton Review 26 (3):394-397.
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  27. Seth Benardete (2012). The Archaeology of the Soul: Platonic Readings in Ancient Poetry and Philosophy. St. Augustines Press.
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  28. 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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  29. Marie Benoit (2014). Chesterton Conference at the University of Malta. The Chesterton Review 40 (1/2):266-270.
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  30. Iain Benson (2012). The More Quotable Chesterton. The Chesterton Review 15 (4/1):626-628.
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  31. Iain T. Benson (1988). "The Wisdom of G. K. Chesterton," by Aidan Mackey. The Chesterton Review 14 (2):285-287.
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  32. Sean Benson (2008). The Resurrection of the Dead in The Winter's Tale and The Tempest. Renascence 61 (1):3-24.
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  33. David Beresford (1997). A New Chesterton Group. The Chesterton Review 23 (3):395-396.
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  34. Ronna Berger (2005). The Thumotic and the Erotic Soul: Seth Benardete on Platonic Psychology. Interpretation 32 (1):57-76.
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  35. Alan Bernstein (1993). The Formation of Hell. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
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  36. Frederick Black (1989). Chesterton and Madness. The Chesterton Review 15 (3):327-339.
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  37. Frederick Black (1988). Editing Chesterton's Writings. The Chesterton Review 14 (2):351-352.
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  38. Susan Blackmore (2015). Out-of-Body Experiences Are Not Evidence for Survival. In Keith Augustine & Michael Martin (eds.), The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death. Rowman & Littlefield 519-527.
    This paper reviews the evidence that something leaves the body during out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and thus could potentially survive death. First, during OBEs people can purportedly see things at a distance without using the recognized senses. Second, some claim that the double or astral body can be detected. Finally, there is evidence from OBEs occurring near death. This paper evaluates each in turn.
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  39. Susan Blackmore (2015). The Implausibility of Astral Bodies and Astral Worlds. In Keith Augustine & Michael Martin (eds.), The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death. Rowman & Littlefield 393-403.
    Astral body views posit that an exotic double with a definite location in space—an astral or ethereal body—leaves the normal biological body during out-of-body experiences or after death. In this paper the severe difficulties confronting such a view are reviewed, difficulties concerning not only the nature of the double which travels, but the nature of the world in which it travels. Three exhaustive possibilities are considered: that a physical double travels in the physical world; that a nonphysical double travels in (...)
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  40. William Blake & Geoffrey Keynes (1994). The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  41. 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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  42. 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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  43. William Blissett (1988). Editing Chesterton's Writings. The Chesterton Review 14 (2):346-350.
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  44. William Blissett (1985). "Chesterton and the Edwardian Cultural Crisis," by John D. Coates. The Chesterton Review 11 (4):492-496.
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  45. Mathew Block (2013). Chesterton on the Small Screen. The Chesterton Review 39 (1-2):235-237.
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  46. Zita Bodony (1995). A Hungarian Chesterton Society. The Chesterton Review 21 (3):423-424.
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  47. T. P. Boland (1991). Review of "Chesterton and the Modernist Crisis". [REVIEW] The Chesterton Review 17 (2):245-246.
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  48. Jorge Luis Borges & Daniel Vergara (2004). The Genres of G. K. Chesterton. The Chesterton Review 30 (1/2):153-158.
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  49. Steven Botterill (1990). Visions of Heaven and Hell Before Dante. [REVIEW] Speculum 65 (5):986-988.
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  50. Stephen Bottomore (1994). The Cinema in Chesterton's Day. The Chesterton Review 20 (4):568-568.
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