Life after Death


'When Death is present we no longer exsist'

  • Belief in LAD is widespread throughout cultures around the world.

Three main Q's come out of all these questions towards LAD:

  • What must survive of me if I am to talk meaningfully of LAD?- Important because of talking about 'personal survival' after death. Links to the philosophical debate about MIND/BODY.
  • Is belief in LAD coherent?
  • Is belief in LAD possibel?

Dualism- Soul and body are seperate. Human beings consist of a body where the 'soul' is the most important part of us. The body is less important.

Monist- Human beings mind can not be separated from the body.

Some philosophers think that personal identity is linked to ones body.

Others think the mind secures personal identity.

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Introducing Plato- a Dualist

  • The soul is distant from the body, the soul is immortal whereas the body is not
  • At the end, the soul is set free from the body- in 'Phadeo' the human person is a soul 'imprisoned' in a body. > Goal of soul is WOF.
  • The goal of the physical world is the WOF which can be seen indirectly in the physical world.
  • Body is irrevelevant- driven by lust and desire. >>CHARIOT ANALOGY. SOUL-MIND-BODY.  Soul tries to direct them to harmony.

Plato's description of the soul 'simple', 'without parts'.

  • Soul can not be divided up, but it is complex & there are different aspects of the soul.  E.g. a diamond has different faces, but it is still a diamond.
  • Evidence for different aspects of the soul come from conflicts between the aspects of the soul. CRITICSM- The soul is imperfect, hence- form of imperfection?
  • Harmony of the soul is a virtue, if you lack aspects of health it means some part of your mind/body is not working as it should do.
  • Injustice comes from disharmony of the soul e.g if the part of the soul does not work together in harmony, then desire could overpower
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Plato's arguments for in Phadeo

  • Argument from Knowledge
  • Learning is a matter of remembering what the soul has previously known in the WOF.
  • When people come to understand something they recognise it to be true
  • Argument from 'equals'- one can see many things that are equal sizes but no one has ever seen the form of equals


  • Physical world consists of opposites, like big and small, light and dark etc etc
  • Opposite of living is death- if such a thing as living exists, and has an opposite (death) MEANS there must be an opposite. So the opposite of the soul is the body- hence the soul must exist
  • Supports idea of reincarnation
  • Criticsm- Analytic- fact and synthethic-proven statements.

Problmes with Plato's view on the soul

  • Geach- seeing is a process that is linked to the body and experience through ones senses- how can that justified disembodies existence
  • Learning is not a way of remembering. >>Soul relies on theory of Forms> CRTICISMS OF FORMS.
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Aristotle- Materialistic

Aristotle is much more scientific in his outlook towards the soul.

  • Soul= pysche
  • Soul is form and shape of body
  • A says the soul is not a substance like matter because matter can be given a form & be many different things- but what  gives matter it's its shape and function is its form.
  • Shape and Form can not be separated from what the statue is made from

Suggesting the soul is the Form of the body

  • The soul gives shape to the matter which is the body
  • The soul is the principle of life or activity in the body

Because the soul is the principle of life, A argued there are different faculties of the soul. Every living thing has nutrition, perception and desire but what seperates humans is intellect. However, just because we have intellect does not mean we are reasonable in what we do.

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Other theories

Identity theory- all mental activities are centred in the brain. Criticsms- nueron activity has no intention

Richard Dawkins- Memes- selfish gene- survival

Hick's replica theory

  • Humans have 'pyschomatic unity' which means we can not be seperated
  • Ressurection is a divine action in which an exact replica of ourselves is created in a different place- not on earth
  • It is determiend by God

Critcsm- if body ends, then that is it. 2. Could there be multiple replicas?

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Religious views on afterlife

Christianity and Ressurection

  • Jesus' body is different- he is not a ghost
  • Actually rises

Christianity, at times may sound dualistic as it has been INTERPRETED by some that the soul is taken away, awaiting final ressurection Christian traditional belief of 'PARTICULAR JUDGEMENT' being judged at the moment of death

Heaven & Hell

  • Heaven is the ultimate end- SYN:Plato- harmony and Aristotle- Eudomonia
  • Hell is a state of seperation from people and God. It is an aspect of God's justice


  • Search to be one with Brahma.
  • Souls place in life reflects  law of karma
  • OVERALL CRITICSM OF LAS: Russel- Death is it.
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Links to ethical issues

Good and Evil- If there is LAD for people who have been evil, then what lesson will it teach? Will people who 'lack the quality of goodness' stil wreak havoc?

Justifies evil in some senses, as hell is the punishment for wrongdoers.

Conscience- the existence of the soul and conscience would go hand in hand. Freud and Aristotle's pysche-

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