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Title: Personal and bodily identity : the metaphysics of resurrection in 17th century philosophy
Author: Thompson, Jon William
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 5897
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis is the most systematic exploration to date of the deep and varied debates about the metaphysics of resurrection in the 17th Century. It treats both well-known figures in the history of philosophy (Descartes, Locke, Boyle, and Leibniz), as well as figures whose significance has been somewhat forgotten (John of St Thomas, Franco Burgersdijk, and the Cambridge Platonists). In addition to recovering treatments of resurrection in these original sources, this study pays close attention to the argumentation of the philosophers in question. Taking seriously the philosophical framework of hylomorphism, this thesis begins with an account of the motivating considerations for resurrection. According to the hylomorphism prevalent at the beginning of the period, the person is the composite of body and soul. Bodily resurrection is therefore well-motivated for anyone reflecting on the possibility of a personal afterlife. After establishing the theological and historical setting (Chapter 1), the thesis explores three major frameworks for resurrection in the 17th Century: hylomorphism or Late Scholasticism (Chapter 2), Platonism (Chapter 3), and Locke's consciousness-based account of personal identity (Chapter 4). Each of these frameworks provides distinctive answers to the questions of the individuation of substances, the possibility of resurrection, and the relationship between personhood and embodiment. Over the course of this narrative, I argue for three main claims. First, we can understand important changes in philosophical anthropology (as well as the philosophy of mind) through the lens of the metaphysics of resurrection. Second, advocates of platonic dualism (and Neoplatonic theories of embodiment) led the way in changing conceptions of the relation between personhood and embodiment in the 17th Century. Most notably, these thinkers were some of the first in Western philosophy to so strongly contrast (human) personal with bodily identity. Third, the hylomorphic conception of the human person was abandoned (in part) due to the presumption that continuity of matter was not a plausible principle of diachronic individuation for the human being. However, I suggest that the conception of matter as a principle of diachronic individuation (both in earthly life and at resurrection) is more plausible than was appreciated during these crucial debates in the 17th Century. This last point provides the basis for future research on just such a hylomorphic account of the possibility of resurrection.
Supervisor: Antognazza, Maria Rosa ; Reid, Jasper William Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available