A priori arguments are also relevant in these debates
Thomas Aquinas’ argument that we are made for an ultimate end, happiness, which God will vouchsafe for us in a future life.
Kant’s moral argument, in which life after death is a necessary postulate of practical reason.
Plato’s argument that the soul is immortal because it is imperishable. Because the soul is simple, it is therefore indestructible.
How to write a good essay on this topic
Analyse the question in front of you.
Use your material to answer the question in a planned and clearly structured way.
Show you understand the range of issues relevant to the question.
Outline the various options and their proponents.
Give the best arguments for and against each option.
A clear outline of the topic #1
Do people live after death? This is surely one of the most important questions that is asked in the philosophy of religion. Naturally there are only two possible answers to it. Either human persons will live after death or they will not.
Let us call all theories that deny life after death, ‘Death Ends All’ views. There are three main sorts of theory that affirm life after death: reincarnation, immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body.
In his introduction to life after death, the philosopher Stephen T. Davis wrote this introduction:
A clear outline of the topic #2
Here, we will first consider the claim that life after death is not just false but incoherent. Next, we will consider two philosophical problems that bear on the issue, viz. the relationship between mind and body, and the problem of personal identity.
Then we will discuss one important ‘death ends all’ theory. Finally, we will discuss reincarnation, immortality and resurrection respectively.
CLEAR ENOUGH ?!
Some significant contributors to the debate on life after death
 Statement of surviving death is self-contradictory.
 LAD is empirically false.
 ‘People are what you meet’ – bodies plus behaviour.
Dualistic theory that a human being = material body (temporary machine) + non-physical mind or soul (permanent essence).
Interactionism – mind and body intimately conjoined, but metaphysically cannot be causally interrelated. Pineal gland is site of interaction via ‘animal spirits’.
Story of the soul of a prince entering the body of a cobbler. Test case for personal identity. (cf. Bart ‘the fly’ Simpson).
Three criteria for PI?
 Memory criterion.
 Bodily criterion.
 ‘Closest continuer’ or ‘Psychological continuity’ criterion.
Famous 20th cc ‘Death Ends All’ atheist and materialist thinker. Wrote, “When I die, I rot”. Others include A.J.Ayer & Kai Nielsen. Atheistic Existentialists and ancient Stoics hold this view too. The most notable Stoic was Epicurus (341 –270 BC), who founded Epicureanism.
The empiricist epistemology of Epicureanism, allied to a hedonistic ethics advocating pleasure as the one good, led Epicurus to say that being dead will be no worse than not having being born.
Central to his view is that because we do not experience being dead, we should not be afraid of it and death should therefore be of no concern to us.
“Death, the most dreaded of evils, is …of no concern to us, for while we exist death is not present, and when death is present, we no longer exist.”
Representative of those who believe in reincarnation. The other sophisticated version is that of Vedantic Hinduism.
Reincarnation is the view that the immaterial essense (or soul or jiva) of a person can successfully animate two or more bodies (sequentially not contemporaneously).
Best modern supportive evidence in the work of Dr. Ian Stevenson, eg. “Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation”.
Classical advocate of the immortality of the soul. Post death, the soul has one eternal and uninterrupted life in a spiritual world.
Not widely supported today, the heyday of this view was the Victorian era with its interest in spiritualistic phenomena – seances, trance mediumship, automatic writing etc.
Nowadays the area is dominated by discussions of OOBE’s and NDE’s. But are these post-death?
Kant’s ‘moral argument’ for the God had the immortality of the soul as one of its necessary postulates.
H.H. Price’s 1953 article, “Survival and the Idea of Another World” showed that the idea of souls inhabiting an immaterial world beyond death was at least philosophically intelligible and coherent. He was agnostic about its reality.
The most serious objection is the ‘mind-body unity’ argument. ie. mind requires a functioning brain.
Resurrection of Jesus
The paradigm case of an historical claim that there is embodied life beyond death.
Bodily resurrection is believed by Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Within the Christian tradition there are numerous readings of the view: temporary disembodiment; same reassembled and reconfigured matter resurrection; new material resurrection; replication theory.
Famous discussion in his “Death and Eternal Life”.
Posited the ‘Replica theory’. To solve the personal continuity problem, God recreates a person who has died (just one). This is the ‘same’ person, but in a different space-time. Others would recognise him or her, and he or she would say, I am the ‘same’ person.
Persons are indissoluble psycho-physical unities, and the analogy of software running in new hardware may be illuminating here.
Ask, what differences would we notice?
A short test
In each case you simple answer the question that is, or is not, associated with the figure on the slide in the context of the issue of life after death
The Buddha was an advocate of which of the following views?
[c] Rot & Recycle
Epicurus believed that we should fear death because it was the end of the existence of the self.