Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.722055
Title: Human organisms and the survival of death : a systematic evaluation of the possibility of life after death given animalism
Author: Atkinson, Thomas Charles
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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Abstract:
Many animalists assert the following propositions: (1) We are human organisms. (2) For any organism O1 at a time, t1, and for any organism O2 at a time, t2, O1 and O2 are identical if and only if the simples that compose O1 and the simples that compose O2 are constituents of the same life. (3) We will die. Christians assert the following proposition: (4) We will exist (after our deaths) on the Last Day. Propositions (1)-(4) are rendered logically inconsistent if the following two propositions are true: (A) Necessarily, the life of an organism, O1, at one time, t1, is identical with the life of an organism, O2, at another time, t2, if and only if, the simples that compose O1 and the simples that compose O2 are immanent-causally connected, and, (B) Necessarily, when we die the simples that last composed us will cease to bear any immanent-causal connection to any organism. If (A) is true, then for us (human organisms) to exist on the Last Day (proposition (4)) the simples that compose us at the moment of our deaths need to bear some immanent-causal connection to an organism that exists on the Last Day. If (B) is true, however, then when we die (proposition (3)) the simples that compose us cease to bear any immanent-causal connection to any organism. Both (A) and (B) are, it is argued, true on animalism. In consequence, it is argued that necessarily, for any human organism, O, if O has died then O can never exist again. It is also argued, therefore, that it is unreasonable to believe (1)-(4) and, therefore, it is unreasonable to be both an animalist and a Christian. Christian animalists (and their sympathisers) have recently responded to arguments of this kind by arguing that (A) and (B) are false; in particular, they have described possible scenarios at which (A) or (B) are false but at which human organisms survive their death. That is, they not only demonstrate that (A) and (B) are false but also that (1)-(4) are not logically inconsistent. In this thesis, my overall argument is that, while animalists may have demonstrated that it is possible for an organism that has died to exist again on the Last Day by demonstrating that (A) and (B) are false, they have not demonstrated that it is reasonable to believe that an organism that has died can exist again on the Last Day. This is because the worlds at which (A) or (B) are false may be possibilities, but they are not possibilities that it is reasonable to believe may be actual. I carry out this project as follows. In Part I, I state what I take animalism to be, what animalists take our persistence conditions to be, what animalists take death to be and what Christians take (minimally) life after death to be. In Part II, I state what I call the 'problem of life after death' and the, more specific, 'logical problem of life after death'. Put simply, the 'logical problem of life after death' states that, given that (A) and (B) are true, propositions (1)-(4) are logically inconsistent and it is, in consequence, unreasonable to believe in life after death, given animalism. I then respond to the logical problem of life after death on behalf of the animalist; I argue that it is unsound because (A) and (B) are false. In Part III, among other things, I argue that while animalists may have responded to the logical problem of life after death, and assuming that modal scepticism (the view that we should be sceptical about our justifiably asserting certain exotic modal claims) is false, the more general problem of life after death remains. Put simply, the more general problem of life after death states that, while (1)-(4) are not logically inconsistent, it is still not reasonable to believe (1)-(4) simultaneously.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.722055  DOI: Not available
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