Life After Death Revision Booklet

Pretty much everything you need for OCR A2 Philosophy of Religion - Life after death unit.

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Julia Cushion ­ Life After Death Revision
The Spectrum of Views of Life After
Disembodied afterlife
Associated with dualism ­ the belief that humans consist of a physical self (the body) and a
spiritual self (the soul)
Put forward by Plato, worked on by Descartes.
When the body dies, the soul lives on without it.
Dualism evaluation
We are more than just our bodies; our feelings are more than just physical.
There is a gap between what we know we feel and how our brain works.
Descartes ­ we can doubt the existence of our bodies but not our minds.
Dualism treats the soul as a little person in our head controlling us ­ would this little
person need a controller and so on?
The mind as a physical brain seems to make more sense than a non-physical entity
Hard to see how a physical body and a non-physical soul can interact
Disembodied LAD evaluation
o Is it a logically coherent concept?
o In order to accept the concept of disembodied LAD as coherent we must believe that the
core of our identity is non-physical and detachable from our physical being.
However this seems to contradict science ­ we are simply our DNA.
We recognise each other by our physical bodies
John Locke's story of the Prince and the Pauper, when they woke up in each other's
bodies they still recognised themselves as their previous existences.
Embodied afterlife (Traditional Christian understanding)
Associated with monism ­ the belief that soul and body are not separate entities but are one.
This is the traditional teaching of Christianity, as Christians believe they will be re-incarnated in a
similar way to Jesus ­ not a spirit but a man who could eat & drink.
Thus the resurrection was a physical event.
St Paul: "The body that is sown perishable is raised imperishable"
According to the Christian teaching, our afterlife will take place at the end of time in a new body,
made perfect by God.
Two views of embodied post-mortem existence:
1. Life after death as part of a heavenly community (more of a Protestant understanding)
2. Physical resurrection in a new earth (Traditional Christian)
The Christian understanding of the afterlife is corporate in the sense that many believe they will
be re-united with their dead loved ones, but not collectivist, because the individual remains
Careful - RCs are monists that believe in a disembodied afterlife. Most souls go to purgatory to
prepare for the Beatific vision (the final end of humans ­ the unchanging vision of God, the
highest joy of where "we see Him face to face"), before being united with the resurrected

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Julia Cushion ­ Life After Death Revision
o Aquinas was a monist, but believed that when the body died the soul could exist as an
independent spiritual substance. He believed that when we die our souls either go to
Hell, purgatory or the Beatific vision)
If I am in purgatory, and it's my soul that's in purgatory, then I must be my soul. But
Aquinas says our soul is not fully us.…read more

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Julia Cushion ­ Life After Death Revision
How can we as individuals reach Nibbana if there is no self?
Plato and the Soul
The Basics
Dualist ­ we have a physical body and a separate non-physical soul
The soul starts and ends up in the world of the forms, and in between is trapped in the body.
Body and soul are opposite ­ one makes the other necessary
Soul is eternal and spiritual, body is temporal and changing.
The importance of the Forms
1.…read more

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Julia Cushion ­ Life After Death Revision
Aristotle and the Soul
The Basics
Monist ­ the body and soul are one.
The soul cannot be divided from the body; e.g. if our body is an axe, the soul is the ability to chop.
The soul is the formal cause of the body.
The soul is a description of the essence/properties of the body, not a separate entity. E.g. the
marble of a sculpture.…read more

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Julia Cushion ­ Life After Death Revision
Descartes and Ryle
Substance dualist ­ the body is spatial but non-conscious while the soul is conscious but
Because the body is simply matter (res extensa) it need something to move it, and this is the soul
(res cogitans).
His argument in Meditations:
1. The mind is infallible ­ "I think therefore I am".
2. If I can think then there must be something doing the thinking
3.…read more

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Julia Cushion ­ Life After Death Revision
Dawkins and Russell
Richard Dawkins
Biological materialist
Rejects the soul as a mythological concept.
The notion was invented by ancient people to explain the mysteries of our consciousness ­ can
now be explained by science.
Genetics (and psychology?) provide answers to how our personality and attributes are formed.
The only acceptable way to talk of a soul is metaphorically.…read more

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Julia Cushion ­ Life After Death Revision
John Hick
Hick's background
Christian philosopher
Contributed most significantly to:
1. Eschatological verification ­ religious language can be verified as true post-mortem.
2. The world is a "vale of soul-making" ­ Hick argues for the Irenaean theodicy that the
world contains evil in order for our souls to grow closer to God.
Believed that body and soul are combined ­ we have psycho-physical unity.…read more

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Julia Cushion ­ Life After Death Revision
A replica would be a completely new biological organism.
There is a break in continuity between the original and the replica.
Identity isn't just about memories ­ a person with Alzheimers is still the same person.
Price, NDEs and ESPs
H.H. Price
The dead live on in a kind of dream world made up of memories and experiences.
Only souls inhabit this dream world, but they may imagine they have bodies.…read more

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Julia Cushion ­ Life After Death Revision
Hume argues that the mind is to fragile to survive death
It's hard to explain how a person who is dead can become themselves again in a new life
We will never know if we survive our own death until we are dead
A belief in LAD can be explained psychologically
Some of the LAD options aren't worth living ­ Price's ghost world?
The Afterlife & Problem of Evil
Most religious definitions of the afterlife are underpinned…read more


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