Introduction -- John Locke and the problem of personal identity : the principium individuationis, personal immortality, and bodily resurrection -- On separation and immortality : Descartes and the nature of the soul -- On materialism and immortality or Hobbes' rejection of the natural argument for the immortality of the soul -- Henry More and John Locke on the dangers of materialism : immateriality, immortality, immorality, and identity -- Robert Boyle : on seeds, cannibalism, and the resurrection of the (...) body -- Locke's theory of personal identity in its context : a reassessment of classic objections. (shrink)
Wittgenstein probably did not believe in Christ's Resurrection (as an historical event), but he may well have believed that if he had achieved a higher level of devoutness he would believe it. His view seems to have been that devout Christians are right in holding onto this belief tenaciously even though, in fact, it's false. It's historical falsity, is compatible with its religious validity, so to speak. So far as I can see, he did not think that devout Christians (...) should believe that it doesn't really matter whether or not that alleged historical event occurred. (shrink)
Theories of the human person differ greatly in their ability to underwrite a metaphysics of resurrection. This paper compares and contrasts a number of such views in light of the Christian doctrine of resurrection. In a Christian framework, resurrection requires that the same person who exists on earth also exists in an afterlife, that a postmortem person be embodied, and that the existence of a postmortem person is brought about by a miracle. According to my view of (...) persons (the Constitution View), a human person is constituted by—but not identical to—a human organism. A person has a first-person perspective essentially, and an organism has interrelated biological functions essentially. I shall argue for the superiority the Constitution View as a metaphysical basis for resurrection. (shrink)
If one does not possess an immaterial and immortal soul, then the prospect of conscious experience after death would appear to depend upon the metaphysical possibility of the resurrection of one’s biological life.[i] By “resurrection,” I don’t mean just the possibility that a dead but still existing and well preserved individual could be brought back to life. My contention is that the human organism can even cease to exist, perhaps as a result of cremation or extensive decay, and (...) yet still can be brought back into existence at a later time. That is, the same organism can live again after a period of nonexistence. However, a number of philosophers, religious and secular, insist that once an individual ceases to exist he does so forever, regardless of whether God or a future technology reassembles his atoms. Their claim is that the resulting human being would be a duplicate, for intermittent existence is impossible - at least for living creatures. In the pages that follow, I aim to establish, not that the dead will be resurrected, but that some of the alleged barriers to such an event are dubious. My contention is that resurrection after a period of nonexistence is not a metaphysically impossible state of affairs. (shrink)
Peter van Inwagen's brand of materialism leads him to speculate that God actually removes the deceased at the moment of death and replaces the corpse with a simulacrum that decays or is cremated. Dean Zimmerman offers an account of resurrection that is loyal to Peter van Inwagen's commitment to a materialist metaphysics, with its stress on the earlier life processes of an organism immanently causing its later ones, while maintaining that resurrection is possible without involving God in any (...) ‘body snatching’. My contention is that Zimmerman's account is metaphysically impossible. His alleged ‘solution’ is at odds with the principles governing the ways in which an organism can assimilate new parts. Instead of providing a scenario where we can be resurrected, Zimmerman has merely sketched a scenario where we are duplicated. An alternative materialist account of resurrection is offered, one in which immanent causation is not necessary. (shrink)
In this paper we examine and critique the constitution view of the metaphysics of resurrection developed and defended by Lynne Rudder Baker. Baker identifies three conditions for an adequate metaphysics of resurrection. We argue that one of these, the identity condition, cannot be met on the constitution view given the account of personal identity it assumes. We discuss some problems with the constitution theory of personal identity Baker develops in her book, Persons and Bodies . We argue that (...) these problems render the constitution theory of personal identity as stated by Baker untenable. The upshot for the debate over the metaphysics of resurrection is that the constitution view of the metaphysics of resurrection must either be rejected or modified. (shrink)
A powerful argument against the resurrection of the body is based on the premise that all resurrection theories violate natural laws. We counter this argument by developing a fully naturalistic resurrection theory. We refer to it as the revision theory of resurrection (the RTR). Since Hick’s replica theory is already highly naturalistic, we use Hick’s theory as the basis for the RTR. According to Hick, resurrection is the recreation of an earthly body in another universe. (...) The recreation is a resurrection counterpart. We show that the New Testament supports the idea of resurrection counterparts. The RTR asserts that you are a node in a branching tree of increasingly perfect resurrection counterparts. These ever better counterparts live in increasingly perfect resurrection universes. We give both theological arguments and an empirical argument for the RTR. (shrink)
: Establishing and defending the Christian faith serves as both a guide and a limit to Berkeley's intriguing metaphysics. I take Berkeley seriously when he says that his aim is to promote the consideration of God and the truth of Christianity. In this paper I discuss and engage Berkeley's superficially weak argument (which I call the natural analogy argument) in defense of the plausibility of the doctrine of bodily resurrection. When his immaterialist resources are properly applied, the argument has (...) more merit than one might initially believe. I conclude by speculating that Berkeley had reason to believe that immaterialism was a better fit with Christianity than materialism. (shrink)
We present an original emergent individuals view of human persons, on which persons are substantial biological unities that exemplify metaphysically emergent mental states. We argue that this view allows for a coherent model of identity-preserving resurrection from the dead consistent with orthodox Christian doctrine, one that improves upon alternatives accounts recently proposed by a number of authors. Our model is a variant of the “falling elevator” model advanced by Dean Zimmerman that, unlike Zimmerman’s, does not require a closest continuer (...) account of personal identity. We end by raising some remaining theological concerns. (shrink)
This essay explores how the doctrine of the Resurrection informs theological reflection on reconciliation in post-Apartheid South Africa. It begins by establishing the fragile and liminal state of reconciliation, despite the efforts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It then argues that the Resurrection offers an ecstatic and relational understanding of the human, which in turn provides a basis for advancing claims regarding human dignity and well-being. In conversation with the work of Oliver O'Donovan and James Alison on (...) the Resurrection, this view is further contextualized by incorporating insights from ubuntu and from the work of Judith Butler on grieving. The essay closes with proposals for how the church in post-Apartheid South Africa can give witness to the Resurrection in its immediate life and work through advocacy and carrying on the politics of grieving. (shrink)
Aquinas’s understanding of bodily resurrection can take two different directions. Either continuity of the soul alone is sufficient to reconstitute the same body as the pre-mortem body at the resurrection, or continuity of the matter of the pre-mortem body is also required. After arguing that Aquinas’s account of personal identity over time requires sameness of soul and sameness of body, I suggest that Aquinas’s two possible views on bodily resurrection are consistent with this account of personal identity (...) and are both plausible views for Aquinas to take. I then defend the possibility of the view that requires material continuity against certain objections which come from within Aquinas’s own philosophies of form, matter, and the elements. But the result is that Aquinas cannot consistently hold that material continuity hinges on the preservation of numerically the same material elements as the pre-mortem body. (shrink)
The present paper is a rejoinder to Michael Martin’s “Reply to Davis” (Philo vol. 2, no. 1), which was a response to my “Is Belief in theResurrection Rational? A Response to Michael Martin” (ibid.), which was itself a response to Martin’s “Why the Resurrection is Initially Improbable” (Philo vol. 1, no. 1), which in turn was a critique of various of my own writings on resurrection, especially Risen Indeed: Making Sense of the Resurrection.
A strong case can be made that the initial probability of the Resurrection is very low even if one accepts the existence of a theistic God. Even sophisticated theists who maintain that God performs miracles believe that these are rare initially improbable events. Consequently, strong evidence is needed to overcome this initial improbability. In the case of the Resurrection there is no plausible theory why this event should have occurred; moreover, even if there is, it is unlikely that (...) it would have happened at the particular time and place it did. (shrink)
Many Christians assume that there are only two possibilities for what a human person is: either Animalism (the view that we are fundamentally animals) or Immaterialism (the view that we are fundamentally immaterial souls). I set out a third possibility: the Constitution View (the view that we are material beings, constituted by bodies but not identical to the bodies that now constitute us.) After setting out and briefly defending the Constitution View, I apply it to the doctrine of resurrection. (...) I conclude by giving reasons for Christians to prefer the Constitution View of human persons to both Animalism and Immaterialism. (shrink)
Based on themes in Aquinas, this paper adds to the defense of the doctrine of an eternal hell, focusing on the state of those in hell after the resurrection. I first summarize the Thomistic doctrine of the human person as a body-soul unity, showing why existence as a separated soul is truncated and unnatural. Next, I discuss the soul-body reunion at the resurrection, which restores an essential aspect of human nature, even for the damned. This reveals the love (...) of God since He gives the damned the best human existence they can possibly have given their disordered wills. Finally, I defend this position against three important objections. (shrink)
A number of Christian philosophers, most recently Gary R. Habermas and William Lane Craig, have claimed that there is sufficient historical evidence to establish the resurrection of Jesus conceived as the transformation of Jesus’ corpse into a living supernatural body that possesses such extraordinary dispositional properties as the inability to ever die again. I argue that, given this conception of resurrection, our only source of potential evidence, the New Testament Easter traditions, cannot provide adequate information to enable us (...) to establish the historicity of the resurrection---even on the assumption that these traditions are completely historically reliable. (shrink)
This essay is a response to Michael Martin’s “Why the Resurrection Is Initially Improbable,” Philo, Vol. 1, No.1. I argue that Martin has not succeeded in achieving his aim of showing that the Resurrection is initially improbable and thus, by Bayes’s Theorem, implausible. I respond to five of Martin’s arguments: (1) the “particular time and place argument”; (2) the claim that there is no plausible Christian theory of why Jesus should have been incarnated and resurrected; (3) the claim (...) that the Resurrection accounts in the New Testament are unreliable; (4) Martin’s assumptions about how one establishes the initial probability of Resurrection; and (5) the use Martin makes of Bayes’s Theorem to discredit belief in the Resurrection. (shrink)
staggering fact; life renewed after death would be continuing miracle, but, just that: continuing miracle. My friends puzzle over my claim. "Well, I hadn't thought of it like that. You could be right. I agree that creation, or (they may prefer to say) nature is surprising. Still, science leads us to think that nature is all there is. Resurrection is supernatural, and..
The historicist approach is rarely challenged by art historians, who draw a clear distinction between art history and the present-centred pursuit of art criticism. The notion of the 'period eye' offers a relevant methodology. Bearing this in mind, I examine the nineteenth-century phase in the development of history painting, when artists started to take trouble over the accuracy of historical detail, instead of repeating conventions for portraying classical and biblical subjects. This created an unprecedented situation at the Paris Salon, where (...) such representations of history could be experienced as a collective 'dream-work', in Freud's sense. In France, this new pictorial language dates back to the aftermath of the Revolution, and the activities of the 'Lyon School'. Two artists, Richard and Révoil, were its leading proponents. However their initial closeness has obscured the differences in their approach to the past. Substituting for Freud's 'condensation' and 'displacement' the concepts of 'Resurrection' and 'Restoration', I analyse the pictorial language of the two painters, taking two works as examples. The conclusion is that Révoil, also a collector, was a precursor of the historical museum, which convinces through accumulating objects. Richard, however, employs technical and rhetorical devices to evoke empathetic reactions, and anticipates the illusionism of cinema. (shrink)
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 reasons to prefer an alternative, non-reassemblist theory to others that are currently equally or more popular. (shrink)
In my “Reply to Davis” (Philo vol. 2, no. 1) I defended two theses: First, even for Christians the initial probability of the Resurrection is very low. Second, the historical evidence for the Resurrection is not strong enough to overcome this initial improbability. Consequently, I maintained that belief in the Resurrection is not rational even for Christians. In his latest reply, “The Rationality of Resurrection for Christians: A Rejoinder” (present issue), Stephen T. Davis emphasizes that he (...) is only defending the rationality of belief in the Resurrection for Christians, not for non-Christian supernaturalists. Presumably this point is emphasized by Davis because he supposes that I have at best shown that belief in the Resurrection is not rational for non-Christian supernaturalists. However, this is not so. In this reply I will defend the two theses stated above. (shrink)
At the end of his life, Rahner pointed to the need for a fully systematic theology that brings out the inner relationship between Jesus Christ and the universe put before us by the natural sciences. In this article, it is argued that Rahner had long been pursuing this theological agenda. His various contributions on this topic arebrought together and discussed within a framework of six systematic elements that are found in his work: self-bestowal as the meaning and purpose of creation; (...) self-transcendence as the way of divine action; resurrection as the beginning of the transformation of the universe; God as Absolute Future; human action as finally significant; hope as trust in God in the midst of perplexity. This synopsis leads to some critical reflections on Rahner’s achievement. The paper was presented at the 2005 meeting of the Karl Rahner Society. (shrink)
Whether or not Jesus rose bodily from the dead remains perhaps the most critical and contentious issue in Christianity. Until now, argument has centered upon the veracity of explicit New Testament accounts of the events following Jesus’ crucifixion, often ending in deadlock. In Richard Swinburne’s new approach, though, ascertaining the probable truth of the resurrection requires a much broader approach to the nature of God and to the life and teaching of Jesus. (publisher, edited).
L’oeuvre de Bardesane († 222), un philosophe chrétien gnosticisant de langue syriaque, nous est parvenue sous forme d’un traité, «Livre sur les lois des pays», et de nombreux fragments, souvent transmis par les adversaires de Bardesane et de ses disciples. Tel est le cas des quelques fragments sur la résurrection, conservés par Éphrem le Syrien († 373) dans un Discours contre Bardesane. L’analyse du texte, visant à séparer les positions de Bardesane et celles d’Éphrem, permet de proposer une nouvelle interprétation (...) de l’anthropologie bardesanite dans le contexte de sa théologie de la résurrection. Ainsi on peut noter chez lui une certaine influence de la doctrine stoïcienne de l’âme corporelle, connue également par des auteurs chrétiens du IIe siècle : surtout Tatien († 182) et Tertullien († 220). Le rapprochement avec Justin Martyr († 165) et Athénagore († 190) permet une relecture des idées de Bardesane sur la résurrection et souligne notamment son manque de références aux épîtres de Paul et la conviction que l’âme humaine est la seule concernée par le péché d’Adam et par la résurrection du Christ. (shrink)
In a recent issue of Faith and Philosophy, Stephen Davis argues that it is rational for supernaturalists, though not for naturalists, to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ in (roughly) the sense of an event which happened to Jesus in which Jesus, though he had truly died, was restored to life and consciousness and after which his living body left the tomb. After making some clarifications regarding supernaturalism and the concept of a miracle, I argue that Davis has (...) not shown this. My case against Davis rests essentially on two claims: (1) we cannot today reconstruct what the resurrection involved because there is no clear, historically reliable account of what the resurrection was thought to be by those who directly experienced the Easter event; and (2) we do not have sufficient evidence to make it rational to believe that the resurrection is part of a pattern of nonnatural events in which God has acted for similar ends, yet belief that there is such a pattern is needed if belief in the resurrection in Davis’ sense is to be rational. (shrink)
The rhetorical and demonstrative function of images and comparisons in Gregory of Nyssa’s De anima et resurrectione is well known. They aim at warranting the faith in resurrection and making it desirable. The prospect of this study is to show that they belong to the progress of the debate such as Gregory has composed it. Their quality changes while the author moves from the philosophical likelihood to the truth of the Scriptures. He opposes one secular image to a biblical (...) one : at the beginning of the dialogue he refuses the comparison which reduces man to a bubble ; in the last part he chooses the solid composition (pukasmos) of the skènopègia (Ps. 117, 27). Other pictures are partly accepted, specially those which are borrowed from the sphere of tekhnè, whereas Macrina dismisses the Platonic myth of the soul’s chariot. Nevertheless, the end of the dialogue becomes pregnant with images derived from the Bible, when Macrina and his brother are discussing resurrection itself. Then by the means of the comparisons which they select, the biblical revelation and the facts of the phusis finally unite. Nature in some way supplants tekhnè, which has been honoured in the first half of the dialogue. (shrink)
Richard Swinburne’s ’The Resurrection of God Incarnate’ offers a careful and complex argument designed to show that Jesus of Nazareth was God incarnate and that God raised him from death after his crucifixion. In this essay, I explain Swinburne’s unique argument for this proposition and develop five objections to contentions he makes in this course of elaborating this argument. The most significant is the suggestion that Swinburne fails to take seriously the possibility that Jesus did rise from the dead (...) but that this event can be explained in naturalistically in something like the manner of process philosophy. (shrink)
In his critical commentary on my earlier essay, "The Evidential Value of Miracles," Evan Fales explores a series of general methodological issues in sympathy with David Hume and sets forth three arguments against the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which it was not the purpose of my essay to defend but which I nevertheless affirmed. In response, I first address each of Fales’s critical asides and interpretive comments, and then respond to his claim that there are three (...) independently decisive arguments against the historicity of the resurrection. Our exchange is part of a larger book symposium on miracles. (shrink)
In 1999 Dean Zimmerman proposed a "falling elevator model" for a bodily resurrection consistent with materialism. Recently, he has defended the model against objections, and a slightly different version has been defended by Timothy O’Connor and Jonathan Jacobs. This article considers both sets of responses, and finds them at best partially successful; a new objection, not previously discussed, is also introduced. It is concluded that the prospects for the falling-elevator model, in either version, are not bright.
We present an original ’emergent individuals’ view of human persons, on which persons are substantial biological unities that exemplify metaphysically emergent mental states. We argue that this view allows for a coherent model of identity-preserving resurrection from the dead consistent with orthodox Christian doctrine, one that improves upon alternatives accounts recently proposed by a number of authors. Our model is a variant of the "falling elevator" model advanced by Dean Zimmerman that, unlike Zimmerman’s, does not require a closest continuer (...) account of personal identity. We end by raising some remaining theological concerns. (shrink)
The hypothesis that Jesus rose bodily from the dead is rendered probable in so far as: (1) evidence makes it probable that there is a God, (2) God has reason to become incarnate - to provide atonement for our sins, to identify with our suffering, and to reveal teaching (and so to lead a particular kind of human life, including teaching that he was divine and making atonement, a life culminated by a super-miracle such as his resurrection from the (...) dead), (3) there is evidence of a modest degree of probability to be expected if Jesus was the only prophet in human history who led a life of the above kind, which was culminated in the right sort of way. So, given other evidence that there is a God (and a priori reason to suppose that he would become incarnate),and other evidence about the life of Jesus and other prophets, only a modest amount of historical witness testimony to the Resurrection is necessary in order to show that it occurred. (shrink)
Peter van Inwagen is a philosopher who became a Christian at the age of forty. His conversion was not a return to the religion of his childhood, but, on the contrary, consisted of the adoption of beliefs that had been held in explicit contempt by the Unitarian Sunday school teachers of his youth, the philosophers responsible for his professional training, and his colleagues in the philosophy department where he had been teaching for ten years at the time of his conversion.This (...) collection of classic writings represents van Inwagen’s attempts to answer the philosophical objections to Christianity that he encountered in these intellectually hostile environments. They include reflections on the charge that religious belief is belief that is unsupported by evidence, on arguments that purport to show that the doctrine of resurrection is metaphysically impossible, on the problem of evil, and on Hume’s famous argument against belief in miracles. (shrink)
The world of our experience consists at all times of two parts, an objective and a subjective part . . . The objective part is the sum total of whatsoever at any given time we may be thinking of, the subjective part is the inner 'state' in which the thinking comes to pass.
The notion of innateness is widely used, particularly in philosophy of mind, cognitive science and linguistics. Despite this popularity, it remains a controversial idea. This is partly because of the variety of ways in which it can be explicated and partly because it appears to embody the suggestion that we can determine the relative causal contributions of genes and environment in the development of biological individuals. As these causes are not independent, the claim is metaphysically suspect. This paper argues that (...) there is a plausible reconstruction of the notion of innateness. This involves defining it sufficiently broadly to cover most of the current usages as well as making it an informational rather than a causal property. This has two consequences. Firstly, innateness becomes a matter of degree. Secondly, we have to abandon the idea, originally proposed by ethologists, that innate traits are necessarily the products of genetic information. (shrink)
The Latin conscius does not translate anything like mind or consciousness. Only in the mid-nineteenth century do we find the first attempts to study consciousness as its own discipline. Wundt, James, and Freud disagreed about how to approach the science of consciousness, although agreeing that psychology was a 'science of consciousness' that takes lived biological experience as its object. The behaviorists vetoed this idea. By the 1950s, for cognitive science, mind (conscious and unconscious) was considered analogous to computer software. Recently, (...) the science of consciousness has returned as Consciousness Studies, a new interdisciplinary synthesis of neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and cultural anthropology. But what is new in this renaissance of the science of consciousness? New first, second and third person approaches all propose to take consciousness itself as a variable. This approach is as controversial as the nineteenth-century science of consciousness--controversy perhaps inherent to any science of consciousness. (shrink)
According to the Christian religion, Jesus was “crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again”. I take it that this rising again—the Resurrection of Jesus, as it’s sometimes called—is, according to the Christian religion, an historical event, just like his crucifixion, death, and burial. And I would have thought that to investigate whether the Resurrection occurred, we would need to do some historical research: we would need to assess the (...) reliability of the New Testament documents and related manuscripts; we would need to look into the credibility of the witnesses to his post-mortem appearances, the empty tomb, and the like. The task looks rather daunting. But, according to David Hume, we don’t have to do anything of the kind. For no matter how strong the testimony in favor of a miracle is—indeed, even if we “suppose…that the testimony considered apart and in itself, amounts to an entire proof”—we have at our disposal a “full proof…against the existence of any miracle”. So we can avoid all that tedious historical work. We can simply use Hume’s shortcut, a proof against the existence of any miracle, and hence a proof against the Resurrection. So Hume says he has a “a decisive argument,” “an everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion,” superstitious delusions like the Resurrection. There is good news and bad news in Hume’s proclamation. The good news is that he really has two arguments, not just one—or, at any rate, many scholars discern in his writings two arguments. The bad news is that neither succeeds; at any rate, try as I might, I can’t see how they do. (shrink)
Although equal in power to other facets of the rich cultural ferment of modern Russia that have profoundly influenced Western civilization—such as painting, literature, drama, and politics—the authentic legacy of twentieth-century Russian philosophy has until recently been eclipsed by Soviet ideological dominance. Of the important philosophers drawing upon the characteristically Russian synthesis of Ancient Neoplatonism, German Idealism, and Byzantine spirituality, Sergei Bulgakov is outstanding, and his work has important implications for our contemporary thinking about the relationship between humanity and nature (...) in an age of environmental crisis. Overcoming the objectivist stance toward nature consolidated by Descartes and ensconced by Kant, Bulgakov anticipates not only many existential and phenomenological thinkers in the West—especially Heidegger—but also current ecological sensibilities, by showing the ontological status of humanity and nature as profoundly interconnected, especially through his understanding of nature as “household.” Beyond this, he elucidates a normative, “thoesophianic” character of nature corresponding to Plato’s “world soul,” the Renaissance natura naturans, and Heidegger’s “divinely beautiful nature” which is best revealed not by science and technology, but by the aesthetic and contemplative energies of a humanity whose essential interconnection with nature is shown most profoundly by means of this mode of revealing itself. (shrink)
The material in this note was developed for a first course in logie to illustrate a standard use of logie in analysis. The object was to present a not entirely trivial or artificial confusion that was amenable to resolution using only the tools of quite elementary logic-no modalities, no restrietions to extensional contexts. Copies o f The Problem were distributed. Then, on another day, A Solution.