In Benjamin Matheson & Yujin Nagasawa (eds.), Palgrave Handbook of the Afterlife. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 391-411 (2017)

Benjamin Matheson
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
In this paper, I present a dilemma for those who believe in the afterlife: either we won’t survive death (or an eternal life) in the sense that most matters to us or we will become bored if we do. First, I argue that even if we – in a strict sense – survive death, there is practical sense in which we don’t survive death. This applies, I contend, to all accounts of the afterlife that: eventually, we lose our practical identity. I show that our practical identity is more important to us than our numerical identity. But, as we’ll see, our practical identity is not just lost in an afterlife, but also with an eternal or immortal life. Theists have a strategy to resist this line of argument: they can argue that God will help us to retain our current practical identities. However, those that pursue this line of argument fall onto the second horn of my proposed dilemma: if we cannot change our practical identities then it seems that eventually we will become bored, and eternally so.
Keywords practical identity  afterlife  personal identity
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Locke on Personal Identity: A Response to the Problems of His Predecessors.Ruth Boeker - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (3):407-434.
Got to Have Soul.Joseph A. Baltimore - 2006 - Religious Studies 42 (4):417-430.
Personal Identity: Practical or Metaphysical?Caroline West - 2008 - In Catriona Mackenzie & Kim Atkins (eds.), Practical Identity and Narrative Agency. Routledge.
Strong Evaluations and Personal Identity.Arto Laitinen - 2002 - In Christian Kanzian & et al (eds.), Persons: An Interdisciplinary Approach. ALWS Society. pp. 127-9.
Afterlife.WIlliam Hasker - 2010 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Practical Importance of Personal Identity.F. Doepke - 1990 - Logos. Anales Del Seminario de Metafísica [Universidad Complutense de Madrid, España] 83:83-91.
Personal Identity Management.Jan Bransen - 2008 - In Catriona Mackenzie & Kim Atkins (eds.), Practical Identity and Narrative Agency. Routledge.


Added to PP index

Total views
194 ( #50,437 of 2,427,711 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
23 ( #34,253 of 2,427,711 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes