Survival: Death and Afterlife in Christianity, Buddhism, and Modern Science

Dissertation, University of Hawai'i (1981)
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Abstract

Survival is the theory that some significant part of man continues after the death of his physical body. This dissertation studies philosophical argumentation of Christians and Buddhists, and analyzes the latest available empirical data, to determine which if any forms of survival are most probable. ;Part I finds insuperable difficulties in the purely materialistic resurrection theory, and in survival of disembodied minds as pure process. To make sense, resurrection must postulate either invisible bodies as conscious carriers of personal identity, or a next world of Berkeleyan or Leibnizian idealism entered at death. ;Part II studies Buddhist views of survival. Early Buddhism proposes the alternatives of perpetual rebirth and transcendent nirvana. Pure Land Buddhism propounds objective idealist heavens accessible both in meditation and at death. Tibetan Buddhism further defends the mind-dependent nature of the intermediate state between rebirths. Thus Buddhism also requires either invisible bodies or an idealist next world. ;Part III examines empirical evidence indicative of survival: claimed memories of former lives; apparitions and out-of-body experiences ; and visions of dead people or other worlds at death . Questionable materials are discarded and evidence is presented with sample cases and experimental results. Alternative hypotheses are adduced to interpret the data. The evidence that NDE's are independent of culture and personality, and that some subjects have experiences while "brain dead," shows the falsity of the mind-brain identity theory, and is strongly indicative of survival. ;Part IV considers survival research as a case history of resistance to counter-paradigmatic scientific theories. Change and conservatism in science prove more dependent on sociological and psychological variables than on objective or logical grounds. The study concludes that at least some consciousnesses survive in ethereal or idealistic states, but broader generalization is dangerous without further empirical studies

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The Tacit Dimension. --.Michael Polanyi & Amartya Sen - 1966 - Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1950 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 1 (4):328-332.
Survival and Identity.David K. Lewis - 1976 - In Amelie Oksenberg Rorty (ed.), The Identities of Persons. University of California Press. pp. 17-40.

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