Edited by K. Mitch Hodge (Masaryk University, Queen's University, Belfast)
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 manuscript).  After Descartes 1993, 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, Paul & Rita 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 manuscript.
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  1. Nurslings of Immortality. [REVIEW]C. P. A. - 1958 - Review of Metaphysics 11 (3):515-515.
  2. The Soul in Metaphysical and Empirical Psychology. [REVIEW]C. P. A. - 1958 - Review of Metaphysics 11 (3):517-517.
  3. The Resurrection of Jesus and Rational Apologetics.Dale C. Allison - 2008 - Philosophia Christi 10 (2):315-338.
  4. Death and Personal Survival: The Evidence for Life After Death.Robert Almeder - 1995 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 37 (3):185-188.
  5. Mind, Mortality and Material Being.Paul C. Anders - 2011 - Sophia 50 (1):25-37.
    Many religiously minded materialist philosophers have attempted to understand the doctrine of the survival of death from within a physicalist approach. Their goal is not to show the doctrine false, but to explain how it can be true. One such approach has been developed by Peter van Inwagen. After explaining what I call the duplication objection, I present van Inwagen’s proposal and show how a proponent might attempt to solve the problem of duplication. I argue that the very features of (...)
  6. The Death of God and Hegel's System of Philosophy.Deland Anderson - 1996 - Sophia 35 (1):35-61.
  7. Phenomenological Contributions to the Issue of Personal Immortality: William James, Miguel de Unamuno, and Gabriel Marcel.Kent Howard Anderson - 1988 - Dissertation, Depaul University
    The issue of personal immortality is a perennial philosophical concern. Historically, one finds many a priori and a posteriori arguments for personal immortality. Recent analytic discussions question whether it is even meaningful to talk about the person existing after the death of the body. Yet, the phenomenological contributions of James, Unamuno, and Marcel to this issue largely have gone unoticed. ;James, Unamuno, and Marcel contend that objective arguments cannot answer whether the person continues to exist after death. They suggest that (...)
  8. Some Remarks on 'Physicalism and Immortality': Reply to David Mouton.Tyson Anderson - 1974 - Religious Studies 10 (1):81 - 84.
  9. Some Remarks on ‘Physicalism and Immortality’—Reply to David Mouton: Tyson Anderson.Tyson Anderson - 1974 - Religious Studies 10 (1):81-84.
    In a recent articles David Mouton has argued that immortality is compatible with one sort of physicalism. I believe that he fails to establish this thesis and that, moreover, this article contains several misconceptions having to do with the topic of immortality.
  10. Francis of Assisi: The Life and Afterlife of a Medieval Saint [Book Review].Daniel Anlezark - 2013 - The Australasian Catholic Record 90 (4):497.
    Anlezark, Daniel Review of: Francis of Assisi: The life and afterlife of a medieval saint, by Andre Vauchez, trans. Michael F. Cusato,, pp. xv + 398, $45.00.
  11. Eschatological Verification and Personal Identity.Robert Audi - 1976 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 7 (4):391 - 408.
  12. Mrs. Cecil Chesterton, O.B.E.Susan J. Avens - 1981 - The Chesterton Review 7 (4):313-322.
  13. An Early Sketch of Chesterton.Kenneth Baker - 1994 - The Chesterton Review 20 (1):141-141.
  14. Reply to Zimmerman's 'Should a Christian Be a Mind/Body Dualist?' - Yes.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2004 - In Michael L. Peterson & Raymond Vanarragon (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion. Malden MA: Blackwell.
  15. Broad Swaths and Deep Cuts: The Autobiographical Impulse in G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis.James E. Barcus - 1986 - The Chesterton Review 12 (3):331-344.
  16. Romanos Melodos: Essay on the Poetics of His Kontakion "Resurrection of Christ” / Part II.J. H. Barkhuizen - 1986 - Byzantinische Zeitschrift 79 (2):268-281.
  17. Romanos Melodos: Essay on the Poetics of His Kontakion “Resurrection of Christ”.J. H. Barkhuizen - 1986 - Byzantinische Zeitschrift 79 (1):17-28.
  18. Purgatory and the Dilemma of Sanctification.Justin D. Barnard - 2007 - Faith and Philosophy 24 (3):311-330.
    Christian Protestants typically affirm both the essential moral perfection of heaven and the sufficiency of saving faith. Yet these two commitments generatean apparently self-destructive dilemma—one I call the dilemma of sanctification. The prima facie puzzle can be resolved in at least three ways. In this paper, I articulate the dilemma of sanctification in some detail and offer an argument against a widely-held Protestant solution I call provisionism. This constitutes indirect support for the solution I find most promising, namely, a doctrine (...)
  19. A Resurrection of Relics.A. S. Barnes & Vincent McNabb - 1922 - New Blackfriars 2 (24):707-715.
  20. Resurrection: The Power of God for Christians and Jews. By Kevin J. Madigan and Jon D. Levenson. Pp. Xviii, 284, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2008, $20.00. [REVIEW]Craig A. Baron - 2014 - Heythrop Journal 55 (3):510-511.
  21. A Century of "Thursdays": G. K. Chesterton Dismissed His Own Book as "Moonshine," but It Endures.Allen Barra - 2009 - The Chesterton Review 35 (3/4):787-789.
  22. Chesterton in Chicago.John J. Barrett - 1994 - The Chesterton Review 20 (4):567-567.
  23. Do Any Readers Know of the Caricature of Chesterton by Massaguer, or of Chesterton's Letter to Cyril Clemens?Leopoldo Barroso - 1990 - The Chesterton Review 16 (2):109-109.
  24. A Chesterton Novel Re-Enacted in the Spanish Civil War.Leopoldo Barroso - 1985 - The Chesterton Review 11 (3):409-410.
  25. The Missing Word in Chesterton's.Leopoldo Barroso - 1983 - The Chesterton Review 9 (2):190-191.
  26. Revisiting the Rationality of Reincarnation Talk.Ankur Barua - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 76 (3):218-231.
  27. Chesterton as an Edwardian Novelist.John Batchelor - 1974 - The Chesterton Review 1 (1):23-35.
  28. Do Hell and Exclusivism Make Procreation Morally Impermissible?Shawn Bawulski - 2013 - Faith and Philosophy 30 (3):330-344.
    In a recent work, Kenneth Himma argues that the doctrines of exclusivism and hell in Christian theology lead to a reductio when combined with certain ethical principles about reproduction; he concludes that if both doctrines are true, then it is morally impermissible to procreate. Since the Christian tradition holds that procreation is at least morally permissible, if the argument is valid, then one or more of its premises should be abandoned. In response to this argument, I will present several theological (...)
  29. A Historical Study of the Doctrine of 'Apokatastasis'.S. Edward Baxter - 1988 - Dissertation, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary
    The doctrine of apokatastasis, or universalism, is the belief that ultimately all people will be saved. Apokatastasis denies the orthodox understanding of hell as retributive eternal punishment and adopts the position of remedial punishment. It is the purpose of this dissertation to examine this doctrine from a historical perspective. Universalism is studied through the periods of Christian history from the postapostolic period to the present time. As the advocates of apokatastasis are investigated, the research attempts to find some of the (...)
  30. The Conflict of Legends and the Corrective Lens of Love in Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop: A Girardian Analysis.Elisabeth Bayley - 2013 - Heythrop Journal 54 (5):835-845.
  31. Like It Was Written in My Soul From Me to You: Assessing Jerry Walls' Critique of the Catholic Account of Purgatory.Francis J. Beckwith - 2013 - Heythrop Journal.
  32. A Bell Rings for Chesterton.Martin Bell - 2000 - The Chesterton Review 26 (3):394-397.
  33. Death and the Afterlife.C. Belshaw - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (255):326-328.
  34. Death Survival and Immortality in the Works of Marcez, Gabriel (Vol 41, Pg 677, 1993).P. Bendlova - 1993 - Filosoficky Casopis 41 (6):1100-1100.
  35. Chesterton Conference at the University of Malta.Marie Benoit - 2014 - The Chesterton Review 40 (1/2):266-270.
  36. The More Quotable Chesterton.Iain Benson - 1989 - The Chesterton Review 15 (4/1):626-628.
  37. "The Wisdom of G. K. Chesterton," by Aidan Mackey.Iain T. Benson - 1988 - The Chesterton Review 14 (2):285-287.
  38. A New Chesterton Group.David Beresford - 1997 - The Chesterton Review 23 (3):395-396.
  39. Reasoning About Dead Agents Reveals Possible Adaptive Trends.Jesse M. Bering, Katrina McLeod & Todd K. Shackelford - 2005 - Human Nature 16 (4):360-381.
  40. Kitamura Tokoku's Search for Salvation.George B. Bikle Jr - 1973 - Thought: Fordham University Quarterly 48 (2):286-304.
  41. Death and Resurrection From the Point of View of the Cell-Theory.Gustaf Bjorklund - 1911 - Philosophical Review 20:569.
  42. Chesterton and Madness.Frederick Black - 1989 - The Chesterton Review 15 (3):327-339.
  43. Editing Chesterton's Writings.Frederick Black - 1988 - The Chesterton Review 14 (2):351-352.
  44. Resurrection and Hylomorphism.Paul Blaschko - 2010 - 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 (...)
  45. Chesterton: A Half Century of Views," Edited by D. J. Conlon".William Blissett - 1988 - The Chesterton Review 14 (4):601-605.
  46. Chesterton and the Edwardian Cultural Crisis," by John D. Coates".William Blissett - 1985 - The Chesterton Review 11 (4):492-496.
  47. What Sort of Collective Afterlife Matters and How.J. S. Blumenthal-Barby - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-14.
    In Death and the Afterlife, Samuel Scheffler argues that the assumption of a “collective afterlife” plays an essential role in us valuing much of what we do. If a collective afterlife did not exist, our value structures would be radically different according to Scheffler. We would cease to value much of what we do. In Part I of the paper, I argue that there is something to Scheffler’s afterlife conjecture, but that Scheffler has misplaced the mattering of a collective afterlife. (...)
  48. John Blofeld. Taoism: The Quest for Immortality. Pp. Ix + 195. £2.75. [REVIEW]Brian Bocking - 1980 - Religious Studies 16 (4):498.
  49. Visions of Heaven and Hell Before Dante.Eileen Gardiner. [REVIEW]Steven Botterill - 1990 - Speculum 65 (5):986-988.
  50. The Cinema in Chesterton's Day.Stephen Bottomore - 1994 - The Chesterton Review 20 (4):568-568.
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