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Philosophy and the Belief in a Life After Death
This book critically examines the case for and against the belief in personal survival of bodily death. It discusses several key philosophical questions: How could any discarnate individual be plausibly identified as someone who was formerly alive on earth? What precisely is the relationship between our minds and our bodies, particularly our brains? Can we conceive of an afterlife in a ‘next world’?
The book also examines classic arguments for the immortality of the soul, and focuses on types of recorded fact which furnish prima facie evidence of survival: near-death experiences, apparitions of the dead and dying, mediumistic communications, and ostensible reincarnation cases. The author argues that issues of coercive ‘proof’ or ‘disproof’ should in this area be secondary to questions of relative probability or improbability. He acknowledges that the prevailing materialist world-view, even when subjected to searching criticism, renders the belief in a life after death antecedently improbable. However, he concludes that the cumulative weight of positive evidence, even after this has been appropriately scaled down, tends to make some form of life after death on the whole a distinct probability.