Afterlife in Modern Philosophy

Some philosophers have speculated on the nature of the afterlife. The philosopher H. H. Price had developed his own hypothesis about what the afterlife may be like. According to Price after death the self will find itself in a dream world of memories and mental images from their life. Price wrote that the hypothetical “next world would be realms of real mental images.”

Price however believed that the self may me able to draw upon its memories of previous physical existence to create an environment of totally new images. According to Price, the dream world will not follow the laws of physics just as ordinary dreams do not. In addition, he wrote that each person much experience “a world of his own”, though he also wrote that the dream world doesn’t necessarily have to be solipsistic as different selves may be able to communicate with each other by telepathy.

reflectionThe most common criticism of HH Price’s afterlife hypothesis has come from the religious community as his suggestions are not consistent with traditional Christian teaching, nor the teachings of any other monotheistic religion.

There is still the position, based on the philosophical question of personal identity, termed open individualism, and in some ways similar to the old belief of monopsychism, that concludes that individual existence is illusory, and our consciousness continues existing after death in other conscious beings. Positions regarding existence after death were supported by some notable physicists such as Erwin Schrödinger and Freeman Dyson.

Certain problems arise with the idea of a particular person continuing after death. Peter van Inwagen, in his argument regarding resurrection, notes that the materialist must have some sort of physical continuity John Hick also raises some questions regarding personal identity in his book, Death and Eternal Life using an interesting example of a person ceasing to exist in one place while an exact replica appears in another. If the replica had all the same experiences, traits, and physical appearances of the first person, we would all attribute the same identity to the second, according to Hick.

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