7. Life after Death: John Hick on how Resurrection could be possible

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  • Created by: Alasdair
  • Created on: 18-06-17 15:00
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  • 7. Life after Death: John Hick on how Resurrection could be possible
    • John Hick’s ‘Death and Eternal Life’ (1976)
      •  Defence of Christian belief in resurrection
      • Replica theory
        • explains how resurrection is logically possible not that it necessarily happens (Why is this good/bad?)
      • A person is a ‘psycho-physical unity’ (mind and matter
      • Rejects Dualism 
      • materialist/monist
        • only one substance, the mind is one with the body and are inseparable
      • Unlike Materialism of Dawkins, Hick believes that body can survive death
        • as in resurrection
        • so life is physical 
    • Why did Hick create the Replica Theory
      • Soul
        • expresses value of humans
      • We are not expecting a ghostly substance to be saved, but our whole character
      • Gilbert Ryle criticised dualism for portraying this misconception
        • “There is no ‘ghost in the machine’. All that needs to be said about us can be explained by reference to our physical selves” 
    • Replica Theory
      • Hick claims when a person dies a ‘replica’ is created somewhere else
      • ‘Different space’
      • Replica is 'exactly' similar to original
      • Replica is not the same as a copy
      • Replica can only exist in one place at a time
      • Part of being individual so cannot have multiple copies
    • Hick's 'thought experiment'
      • 1.
        • 1. John Smith suddenly disappears from his home in London
        • 2. A person exactly similar immediately reappears in New York
        • 3. Person in New York is exactly similar in bodily and mental characteristics, memory, fingerprints, stomach contents, beliefs and habits
        • 4. They believe themselves to be John Smith
        • 5. Would it be reasonable to call this person the same person as the one who disappeared?
      • 2.
        • 1. In this example, it is exactly the same as 1, except John Smith dies in London and is recreated in New York
        • 2.  Would it be reasonable to call this person the same person as the one who died?
        • 3. Hick argues that the person in NY and a dead person exists in London, it is easier to identify with the replica in NY as the person rather than a dead body
        • 4. Hick acknowledges this incident would be very odd but that is is reasonable to regard the Replica as the same person who died 
        • 5. This is because you know the person with their quirks, characteristics, memories, beliefs and stomach contents rather than a ‘dead body’
      • 3.
        • 1.      The final case is exactly the same, except John Smith dies and reappears in a different world
        • 2. The person would regard themselves as the same person as the one who had died
        • 3. Like waking up from sleep in another place
        • 4. Would it be reasonable to call this person the same person as the one who died?
    • Personal identity
      • First stage of his argument is an example to explain ‘personal identity’ in support of his final conclusion for resurrection 
      • ‘Personal Identity’
        • what makes you the person you are. Your personhood. Your distinguishing features of a specific time in your life. If it is certain things that make you who you are can these be replicated and that person is still the original you?
          • That is why he suggests: fingerprints, stomach contents, memories and believing you are the same person 
            • does that mean your personal identity had been continued in another place?
    • Weaknesses
      • A typical question: what stage in life is the replica of?
        • Hick suggests this is the main problem.
        • One possibility might be that the healing of illness takes place in the new existence as a replica. 
          • But then is that the same person? Is your personal identity not scarred by disease or accident or death?
            • Hick replies to say there are replicas then a ‘replica’ which is unique and therefore the only one
      • Peter Vardy argues about multiple replicas?
      • Paul Davies argues that ‘exactly similar’ is no consolation. He argues that a replica would not be me. 

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