Hinduism & Rebirth



Belief that the soul of a body is eternal & is reborn in a new body generation after generation.

Reincarnation is a dualisitic religious theory a/b life after death.

If person was morally good in previous life, then the soul will be reincarnated in a better body (e.g. more welathy person or even a God) & vice versa.

World = dream-like state; only Brahman (supreme spirit) is divine & transcendent. 

Physical world = temporary, not true reality --> this is only Brahman.

'Atman', or soul animates every body which is the essence of the person. 

All things have an atman - ultimate aim of soul is to be reunited with Brahman & escape cycle of death & reincarnation

(supported by deja vu)

1 of 6


Link between previous life & person who inherited the soul = problematic 

Reincarnation suggests that memory or physical body not the link between the two = so what is?

If soul (which does not include memory), then what does it mean to say that the soul survives? 

Swinburne rejects reincarnation:

If no continuity btwn brain of new baby & old person who died, then no way of saying that soul is distinctively of a particular person. 

If no link btwn reincarnated soul & old body which it was in, then what is meant by karma being carried forward & atman reincarnated?

Doctrine of Karma explains suffering - happens because of sins in past lives. 

Stephen Davis = person with reincarnated atman, has no memory of sins committed because link is only immaterial soul, so why being punished for something a different person has done? 

Peter Geach no link established between person who died - no evidence of new reincarnated person being the old dead person - lacks body, memories, experiences, feelings etc?

2 of 6

Support for reincarnation - Hypnosis

Hyponsis sometimes helps enable understand the previous body the soul was in, if verified.

Ruth Simmons - hypnostised and began speaking in an Irish accent claiming her name was Bridey Murphy who lived in 19th century Belfast Ireland. Attemps at finding Murphy uncessful, but indirect evidence available.

Mentioned 2 grocers - Belfast librarian found a city directory and both men were listed as grocers. 

3 of 6

Support for reincarnation - Physical Ailments

Pain or illness that is life-long, but unexplainable can be explained through past-life therapy sessions which probably will reveal facing injury in that specific body part. 

4 of 6

Support for reincarnation - Phobias and Nightmares

Phobias & nightmares can also be explained through past life experiences 

Claustrophobia explained through dream where the person was tied up and left to die - could be a result of not liking being confined. 

So nightmares indicate a past life, which explains the phobia.

5 of 6

Support for reincarnation - Physical Appearance

Person in this life, can resemble the person he/she was in previous life. 

E.g. Jeffrey J. Keene & John B. Gordon & Peter Teekamp and Paul Gauguin

6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Philosophy resources:

See all Philosophy resources »See all Life After Death resources »