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Abstract: Monotheistic conceptions of an afterlife raise a philosophical question: In virtue of what is a postmortem person the same person who lived and died? Four standard answers are surveyed and criticized: sameness of soul, sameness of body or brain, sameness of soul-body composite, sameness of memories. The discussion of these answers to the question of personal identity is followed by a development of my own view, the Constitution View. According to the Constitution View, you are a person in virtue of having a first-person perspective, and a postmortem person is you if and only if that person has the same first-person perspective. The Christian doctrine of resurrection has three features: (i) a postmortem person is embodied; (ii) a postmortem person is identical to some premortem person; and (iii) the postmortem person owes existence to a miracle. I show how the Constitution View accommodates these three features.
Comment: Useful for an introductory philosophy of religion course, or a more specialised course on the afterlife. Because of the personal identity aspects here, Rudder Baker's account could also be applied to reincarnation: does the constitution view work here? Is it harder to maintain personal identity in reincarnation cases than in other cases of surviving our death?Export citation in BibTeX formatExport text citationView this text on PhilPapersExport citation in Reference Manager formatExport citation in EndNote formatExport citation in Zotero format
Rudder Baker, Lynne. Death and the Afterlife
2005, in William J. Wainwright (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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