Life After Death Revision Notes

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Life After Death
Are we just a physical body? Do we have a soul? Have we both?
o Materialism ­ we are just a physical body
o Idealism ­ matter is an illusion mind is what is important
o Dualism ­ the body and soul are separate but work together
We are just physical entities ­ there is no separate soul
Hard materialism: there is only a physical body
o Linked to behaviourism ­ the idea that behaviour can be predicted,
as the brain is just another organ that reacts to external stimuli
o And reductionism ­ psychology can be reduced to biology, to
chemistry, to physics, to maths, so I can understand you purely through
o Person is just a nervous system, brain, body ­ emotional responses
are just psychochemical reactions
o Gilbert Ryle ­ wrote a book in 1949 (The Concept of the Mind) the
soul is a category mistake
o The soul is `the ghost in the machine'
Soft materialism: not just a physical entity
o Consciousness is more than just a brain process
o However, if there is a soul then it is dependent on the physical body
o Therefore, when the physical body dies ­ so does your soul
o But death is not the end if you can have survival of the whole body
(resurrection of the body)
o John Hick's replica theory ­ at the moment of death, maybe a
complete replica of you appears somewhere else (the afterlife?)
o George Hegel and Kant
o We never experience the world directly through our senses ­ human
mind imposes order on our experiences and this may not be the
o We cannot be certain of any material or physical objects
o Matter does not exist, only souls do
o Plato ­ immortality of the soul, meaning that the soul is immortal ­ it
gives the body life
o Descartes ­ body and soul are separate, but they interact with each
o Aim of the soul is to break free from the chains of matter to the realm
of ideas (Allegory of the Cave)
o Therefore the soul and body are separate entities
Immortality of the Soul
o Psychic evidence

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Spiritualism (mediums)
Neardeath experiences (NDEs)
Dr. Raymond Moody ­ Life after Life 1975
o Descriptions ­ more than just coincidences
o Common features
o Problems with IotS
Where does the soul go when the body dies?
(But Christianity: if forgiven by God, you go to heaven)
Can souls without a physical body survive?
How would it relate to its surroundings and other souls?
H.H.…read more

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As one could never achieve summum bonum in a single
lifetime God is morally obliged to grant people eternal life ­
without eternity, morality is rendered pointless "the summum
bonum is only possible on the presupposition of the immortality
of the soul"
o Miguel de Unamuno
Humans live forever not in physical form, but rather in the mind
of God: "after I have died, God will go on remembering me,
and to be remembered by God, to have my consciousness
sustained by the…read more

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This belief arose from when they were in exile in Babylon
Sadducees did not believe in life after death ­ they were the
rich Jews and didn't need an afterlife. Marx would have had a
field day with this lot...…read more

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Dharma ­ duties
Moksha ­ freedom liberation
Nirvana ­ nice state of being (heavenish)
o Buddhist idea ­ Dalai Lama
o Origins of Buddhism
Siddhartha Gautama (the enlightened one/Buddha) ­ lived
2500 years ago
The existing belief was Hinduism (at least, that's what we label
Beliefs: connected to reincarnation, eternal soul and
importance of meditation
Buddha realised new beliefs and rejected many of the old ones
o The Dalai Lama is a bodhisattva, a person who suspended his
ascent into enlightenment in order…read more


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