If somebody thinks thoroughly about life, he will naturally come across the thought of death. We see death as a natural consequence of life. Everyone is not agreeing on the meaning of death though. Some see it as the end of everything, a total annihilation; others see it as the start of a new phase. Each individual has his own way of dealing with death that corresponds to its religious (or absence of) beliefs. In this essay, I will try to answer: Is it conceivable that you might survive the death of your body?' That question asks us if you could still be you without your body or at least without your initial body. To answer that question, we must determine what that you is made of. Do you need to have the same body to be able to claim that you are the same person or would a certain set of memories be enough? I will use some examples to show the difficulty in identifying what is the constituent part of a person and then I will see how that can be translated in after death experiences. In everyday life we tend to identify people according to their outward look. If a person looks very much alike another person that we saw some time before, we are just going to assume that it is the same person. However, that is only true when we know that there are no factors that could mislead us that as the person having an identical twin. But then, if the two images that the person reflects are not totally the same, we might not say for that reason that it is not the same person.
[...] Body continuity is required, hence life after death could only occur through resurrection but even then body continuity is broken and the person would have to go through a disembodied stage which rules out that the person survives its death. Therefore, although there might be something after death, to me the person will not survive the change. Bibliography Davies, Brian. An introduction to the philosophy of religion. 3rd ed. Oxford University press, New York chapter 13, p. 289-318. Derek Parfit, Reasons and Persons, Oxford [Oxfordshire] : Clarendon Press chapter 10-11, p. [...]
[...] In the case of life after death however, the body no longer exists or at least it is not functioning anymore, hence you cannot recognise the person on that ground. Therefore, can you say that a person survive her death? Possibly yes. To think that way implies that the person's essence does not pertain to the person's body. That is to say that the person's essence, let us call it her soul, is different from her body and thus, by definition, incorporeal. [...]
[...] To me it is because there is both a lack of continuity as well as a problem due to the fact that there are two ‘me'. Let us first address the continuity question. In this essay, I have already talked about how we tend to use the body to identify someone. Now, in this case, it would be no use because the two entities are exactly the same, they will also behave in the same ways. However, do continuity is lacking. [...]
[...] But then, if the fifth possibility gives us an idea of how life after death could be, is it really conceivable? Geach and Penelhum both tired to account for what it would be to have sensuous experiences without a body. They came to very different conclusions: for Penelhum it is possible: the person simply just sees in the regular way. And it is with the will that the person focuses or changes its visual field. For Geach, it is not possible for a disembodied person to see because seeing is associated with a lot of other concepts that have to do with our environment, but when we extend the concept of seeing to a disembodied person, there is no way to know what kind of experience that is, what it implies. [...]
[...] A criterion to determine whether to person are the same one is the memory criterion To know whether a person at time P2 is the same one as ‘another' person at time P1 you either check whether the person has a great number of direct memories of that person at a time P1 or you must have a chain of memories that take you back to time P1. By chain of memory is meant that the person will have memories of times between P1 and P2 and that at these intermediary times, the person has memories from P1. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee