Life after death


Key terms

  • Dualism: The belief that body + mind are seperate
  • Monism: Body + mind = one thing
  • Materialism: All things = made of physical things. There = no soul
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PLATO - Dualism

  • humans - 3 parts = mind, body + soul = distinct
  • Soul = simple, eternal + unchanging
  • Soul = more important than body
  • Body = part of empirical world + subject to change + decay + our phsyical form
  • Body - desire food + sex
  • Mind - desire knowledge
  • Body has A posteriori knowledge of the world around us in terms of our senses helping us to reach true potential
  • Soul has A priori knowledge + helps us gain insight into world of forms
  • Soul = pre-incarnate, existing before it resided in human body
  • Soul existed in world of forms + = attracted back to earth by appeties ----> Conflict between body +soul, only death frees the soul ---> sould reincarnated into another body + will return to world of forms 
  • Analogy - anaology of charioteer in charge of two horses the mind + body. 
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  • A tortion argument
  • Life after death = incoherent because they = 2 mutually exclusive categories 
  • E.g. after plane crash you = dead OR alive
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  • Everything = non-physcial - becomes part of mind - 'I think therefore I am' + thus mind = distrinct from body but 2 interact 
  • Persons true identity = their mind - ideas are in mind
  • Mind = soul
  • PINEAL gland in brain = link between body + soul - only part that = singular + = home to single thought
  • Body = divisible into parts + will thus decay
  • Logically possible to doubt all things include existence of body

Concluded - identity comes from our ability to think + reason. Could durvive without bodies + remain same person. Didn't accept that we need bodies to live intellectual + active life. He believed mind could survive death of body 

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ARISTOTLE - Dualism + Monism

  • Soul = property of body - canot be seperated
  • Not substance like matter but gives matter to forms
  • Ability to reason survives death
  • When body dies, soul dies too
  • Four cases (MEFF)
  • Material Efficient Formal Final 
  • NIPLD: Nutrition, Intellect, Perception, Locomotion + Desire 
  • ANALOGY 1: IMPRINT IN WAX - soul + body cannot be separated like an imprint of wax cannot be removed from was
  • ANALOGY 2: THE AXE - the physical product of an axe is like the body, + soul = like form of axe-what makes the axe able t chop 
  • ANALOGY 3: THE EYE - the physical eye = like body. Soul = eyes ability to see 
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HICK - Materialism/monism

  • Body + soul = pyscho- somatic unity, they = connected + cannot be seperated
  • Afterlife must include bodily resurrection because person has to have body to be person
  • G-d = all-powerful + thus would find it easy to crate an exact copy. Replica has memories + characteristics of original so thus - same one. 
  • Replica theory = thought experiment tries to address issue of personal identity (example = john smith in NYC) 
  • Extract replica = made of body + soul that = alive in heaven
  • Complete bodily resurrection after death
  • When you die, your body +soul die too
  • Resurrection = divine action in which an exact replica of ourselves = created in different place


  • Identity = not just about memories, a personw with Dementia = still same person
  • Is it logically possible that many replicas could be created, which could be me?
  • Will replica still have probelsm that orginal had? i.e. CF? 
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DAWKINS - Materialism

  • Rejects concept of immortal soul
  • There = no pre-ecistent soul that = by nature divine
  • Humans carry DNA - passed on through reproduction which = only way of there being a continuing existence - human DNA survival = purpose of life
  • Each individual = product of evolution - not G-d
  • Soul 1: Plato#s daulaist ideology (mythological concept)
  • Soul 2: Idea that there = not really a soul as such, there = no afterlife, death = the end of consciousness

Concludes: evolution of consciousness has removed the need for gene replication 

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  • Idea of soul as a ghost in the machine = category mistake
  • Mistake in use of language making the soul a separate word, e.g. foreigner 'where is the team spirit?'
  • Has resulted in people speaking about soul + body as if they are separate phenomena 
  • Foreigner watching cricket match: wheres the team spirit? the foreigner expect team spirit to be something identifiablly extra to player, equipment, etc 
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  • Agreed with Aristole - it was soul that animated body + gave it life
  • He called soul 'anima' - animates body - soul = primary source of all activities that differentiates levels of life i.e. growth
  • Soul operates independently of body
  • Only things that = divisble into parts decay
  • Soul = not divisble + thus on basis of Asquinas' arg, it = able to survive death
  • Each soul = individual 
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RESURRECTION - Christianity

  • Resurrection = belief in an afterlife that involves embodied existence of individuals
  • Christians believe in this - resurrection = physical events Jesus had more than a spirtual ghost-like body
  • Example of Jesus  
  • Many christians believe body dies, then soul = untied with G-d
  • Catholics - most sould go to purgatory where experience punishment or purification
  • St Paul wrote about ressurection involeing transformation of person
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  • A reborn soul carries no memories but its state (rich or poor) = due to previous life
  • When we die, our souls (atman) live on + = reborn to be connected with Braham
  • However, we lead out lives make a differentce in next life - karma
  • Physical world = dream like state + brahman = reality 
  • Samsara = cycle of rebirth 
  • Individual must keep dharma (duty), family, ethical + religious to accumilate good karma 
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  • Belief held by Calvanist
  • General Christian teachings = against predesternation - 'no one = predestined to hell'
  • Some believe G-d decides who will be G-ds elect
  • Divine election = not the same as predestination - but does remove significance of free will
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Irenaen Theodicy 

  • Born immature so pain in life allows growth to full potential
  • Hick suggests G-d as all-loving will save everyone
  • ButSwinbrune argued ultimate freedom required freedom to etnerally damn oneself

Augustinian Theodicy

  • G-d can allow evil because of human sin
  • Resurrection of Jesus allows potential for human redemption
  • Suggest seternal hell - but is etneral damnation immoral for a finite sin
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Disembodied existence= idea that we don't need physical bodies to exist


  • completely possible and coherent idea
  • we can imagine a situation where we exist without our body, because we can imagine it, it is a coherent idea
  • the fact that we 'have' bodies does not mean that we 'are' bodies and it suggests that we have a sense of the two being seperable

Davies =

  • rejects Swinburne's claim and rejects disembodied existence
  • just because we can conceieve it does not produce any evidence of it being actually possible as we can conceive the ability to fly, be invisible and travel time but this does not sufficiently make it logically possible
  • What makes us a human is due to our body and without the link we would not be able to survive and survival seems impossible
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Locke = 

Dismebodied existence is coherent and gives an example:- the prince and pauper wake up in each others bodies and the reason why each of them know who they really are is based upon memories of their previous existence which is not limited by a body

H.H. Price =

Argued the possibility that our mind may survive the death of our body to exist in a mental world, he believed that the mind after death had similar perceptions to those that we have in dreams which are visible in the mental world and such perceptions are also shared by other minds

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