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Personal Identity and the Afterlife, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 952

Essay

Afterlife refers to the continuation of existence after death regardless of whether or not the continuation is indefinite. Many people believe that there is life after death. For them, they believe that life is not all vanity and that Human being will have another chance to live an emotionally satisfying life (Edwards, and Arthur, 112). However, even among those who believe in life after death, there is some slight distinction in their belief.  Some of the difference between the believers is seen in what can be called as the belief in survival and the beliefs in mortality. The distinction in these two briefs is that on one hand the believers in mortality claim that human being will go on to live forever on the other hand the believers in survival claims that human will survive the death of their bodies. It means that it is possible for someone in the afterlife to be the same as a person in this life. This paper focuses on the belief of afterlife in the context of belief in survival. The paper highlights some ways in which a person can survive their death.

First, to understand the belief in the afterlife, and how the believers of survival and immortality views death, it is important for us first to understand two fundamental questions of human existence. These questions include, what philosopher means by “self” and “personal identity”. According to Shoemaker (345) Human have no direct knowledge of the experience of self; we can only have knowledge of a particular sensation. Therefore, Self is that something that bundle this sensation together.  In this regard, philosophers propose that some of the characteristics of being a person includes; being intelligent and self-conscious, having briefs, desires or wants; being morally responsible for action among many others.  On the other hand when philosopher talks about a personal identity they normally ask the basic question of how it is that two distinct persons can be the same. For instance, Philosophers try to view what make a person to be the same, even after a period. In other words, what makes you, now the same person as you were five years ago, bearing in mind that many things such as your memories, your beliefs, have certainly changed.

According to Philosopher you are the same person as you were five years ago because your soul has not changed, and because you have access to the same memories.  Furthermore, you are the same person over time if there is continuity of your organism. Additionally, one is the same person over time if their brain remains identical over time.  What is clear from this explanation is that there are two criteria for determining what consist of a personal identity that is bodily and mental criterion.  With the dualist view, one can hold on to personal immortality, however with animalism and brain view you cannot. These different views of personal identity form the basis of the explanation of how one can survive the death (Forstrom, 239).

So how can we be able to survive death? There are three theories proposed on how we can be able to overcome death. They include the platonic- Cartesian way, the way of astral body and the reconstructions way. The platonic Cartesian way consist of two assumptions one, is that a person consists of two disparate elements. That is, the body that is earthly, corporeal, perishable, and soul that is incorporeal, invisible, intangible and imperishable.  The second assumption is that the soul is the real person, the agent, and the rational being.  Therefore, since the soul is imperishable, incorporeal, one can survive death.  Some of the objection to this theory includes, the two assumptions cannot be proofed. For instance, an incorporeal person is no more than just imagination, fictitious or nonexistence person and thus it is wrong to say something that never existed survived death (Perry, 147).

The second theory, astral body refers to the belief that human beings are made of two bodies, the physical body, and astral body. The physical body can be touched smelled, heard and seen. On the other hand astral body has no solidity, for instance, it can go through walls and could not be touched. After death, the astral body detaches itself from the physical body and mourns around in space. Thus, although the physical body decomposes, the astral body survives death.  Some of the objections to the idea that human has astral body includes the observation that if such body exist it should be seen exiting the body during death yet there are no evidence of that.

Another way we can survive our death is through the reconstruction way. It refers to the miraculous resemblance of the dead body to someone in future time such as during the judgment day. Christian, Muslim and Jews traditionally hold the view that when a person dies, his soul detaches from the person and continues to exist until the Day of Judgment when they resurrect (Bacchiocchi, 213).

It is conclusive that according to theories such as platonic- Cartesian way, the way of astral body and the reconstructions way, a person can survive their death. It means that it is possible that someone in the afterlife be same as the person in this life.

Work cited

Edwards, Paul, and Arthur Pap. A Modern Introduction to Philosophy: Readings from Classical and Contemporary Sources. New York: Free Press, 2007. Print.

Bacchiocchi, Samuele. Immortality or Resurrection?: A Biblical Study on Human Nature and Destiny. Berrien Springs, Mich: Biblical Perspectives, 2007. Print.

Perry, John. A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co, 2008. Print.

Forstrom, Joanna K. John Locke and Personal Identity: Immortality and Bodily Resurrection in 17th-Century Philosophy. London: Continuum, 2010. Internet resource.

Shoemaker, David. Personal Identity and Ethics: A Brief Introduction. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press, 2008. Print.

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