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Afterlife

Edited by K. Mitch Hodge (Amarillo College, Masaryk University)
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. Nathan A. Jacobs (2008). On “Not Three Gods”—Again: Can a Primary‐Secondary Substance Reading of Ousia and Hypostasis Avoid Tritheism? Modern Theology 24 (3):331-358.
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  2. G. A. (1961). Great Western Mystics. Review of Metaphysics 15 (1):189-189.
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  3. M. D. Aeschliman (2008). Chesterton's Marvelous Year. The Chesterton Review 34 (3/4):665-667.
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  4. M. D. Aeschliman (2008). Chesterton's Marvelous Year. The Chesterton Review 34 (3/4):665-667.
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  5. Dale Ahlquist (2012). Two New Packages Stuffed Full of Chesterton. The Chesterton Review 38 (3-4):589-591.
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  6. Dale Ahlquist (2000). G.K. Chesterton is Coming to TV. The Chesterton Review 26 (4):547-547.
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  7. Dale Ahlquist (1995). Should Chesterton Be Made a Saint? The Chesterton Review 21 (4):542-543.
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  8. Russell F. Aldwinckle (1979). Hywel D. Lewis. Persons and Life After Death. (Library of Philosophy and Religion: General Editor John Hick. Macmillan, 1978.) £6.95. [REVIEW] Religious Studies 15 (1):122.
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  9. Eduardo B. M. Allegri (2007). G. K. Chesterton. The Chesterton Review En Español 1 (1):104-112.
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  10. Dale C. Allison (forthcoming). Book Review: Death and the Afterlife In the New Testament. [REVIEW] Interpretation 62 (1):103-103.
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  11. David Alton (2013). Chesterton and Ann Widdecombe The Mystery of Father Brown on the BBC. The Chesterton Review 39 (1-2):221-231.
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  12. Lord David Alton (2013). Chesterton and Ann Widdecombe The Mystery of Father Brown on the BBC. The Chesterton Review 39 (1/2):221-231.
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  13. Mario Amadeo (1976). Chesterton in South America. The Chesterton Review 2 (2):260-266.
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  14. William A. Andersen (2000). Chesterton and a Theology of the Environment. The Chesterton Review 26 (1/2):283-284.
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  15. Ignacio Braulio Anzoátegui (2008). A Chesterton. The Chesterton Review En Español 2 (1):13-14.
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  16. Hadley Arkes (1987). The Resurrection of Nature. Review of Metaphysics 40 (4):762-765.
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  17. J. Mark Armitage (2007). Chesterton, Gilson and St. Thomas: Chesterton as “Christian Philosopher”. The Chesterton Review 33 (1/2):159-177.
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  18. Jeffrey R. Asher (1999). Polarity and Change in 1 Corinthians 15: A Study of Metaphysics, Rhetoric, and Resurrection. Dissertation, The University of Chicago
    Most studies of 1 Corinthians 15 have concentrated on the identity of the so-called opponents and the beliefs regarding the after-life that led them to challenge the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. In contrast, by concentrating on the themes of polarity and change in 1 Corinthians 15:35--57, this study argues that Paul uses a didactic argument of accommodation and correction in an attempt to convince the Corinthians that there is a resurrection of the dead. Rather than confronting them (...)
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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. Susan J. Avens (1981). Mrs. Cecil Chesterton, O.B.E. The Chesterton Review 7 (4):313-322.
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  23. G. E. Azenabor (forthcoming). Reincarnation in an African Metaphysics. Metaphysics, Phenomenology and African Philosophy. Ibadan: Hope Pub.
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  24. A. B. (1963). Reincarnation. Review of Metaphysics 16 (4):810-810.
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  25. R. J. B. (1967). The Meaning of the Death of God. Review of Metaphysics 21 (2):385-385.
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  26. 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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  27. Paul Badham (1976). Christian Beliefs About Life After Death. Macmillan.
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  28. Kenneth Baker (1994). An Early Sketch of Chesterton. The Chesterton Review 20 (1):141-141.
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  29. Wesley C. Baker (1968). Believer in Hell. Philadelphia, Westminster Press.
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  30. Vincent J. Balice (1976). Chesterton and Ibsen. The Chesterton Review 2 (2):215-225.
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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. 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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  34. John J. Barrett (1994). Chesterton in Chicago. The Chesterton Review 20 (4):567-567.
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  35. 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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  36. Leopoldo Barroso (1985). A Chesterton Novel Re-Enacted in the Spanish Civil War. The Chesterton Review 11 (3):409-410.
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  37. Leopoldo Barroso (1983). The Missing Word in Chesterton's. The Chesterton Review 9 (2):190-191.
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  38. John Batchelor (1974). Chesterton as an Edwardian Novelist. The Chesterton Review 1 (1):23-35.
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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. W. Baylis (1904). The Resurrection of Our Lord. Hibbert Journal 3:815.
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  43. 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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  44. Martin Bell (2000). A Bell Rings for Chesterton. The Chesterton Review 26 (3):394-397.
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  45. Seth Benardete (2012). The Archaeology of the Soul: Platonic Readings in Ancient Poetry and Philosophy. St. Augustines Press.
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  46. 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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  47. Marie Benoit (2014). Chesterton Conference at the University of Malta. The Chesterton Review 40 (1/2):266-270.
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  48. Iain Benson (2012). The More Quotable Chesterton. The Chesterton Review 15 (4/1):626-628.
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  49. Iain T. Benson (1988). "The Wisdom of G. K. Chesterton," by Aidan Mackey. The Chesterton Review 14 (2):285-287.
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  50. 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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