Personal identity postmortem

Abstract

In this thesis, I argue that in order to coherently hold a belief about what happens to people when they die, one's theory of personal identity must be carefully chosen. I examine belief in immortality of the soul, annihilation of the person, and resurrection of the body. I maintain that for each view, at least one theory of personal identity conflicts with that view and, therefore, cannot be consistently held with that view. I argue that a psychological-continuity theory of personal identity is consistent with each of these beliefs about death. Some, but not all, physical-continuity theories of personal identity are consistent with annihilation of the person. I further argue that even on a psychological-continuity theory of personal identity, the soul's immortality is questionable. In light of the conditions that are necessary for a soul to be a person, we should not expect such a soul to be immortal (even if it outlives the body for some time). I also argue that resurrection of the body on a materialist's model is more parsimonious than resurrection on a dualist's model

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