A Philosophical Critique of Empirical Arguments for Postmortem Survival

by Dr Michael Sudduth

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Series: Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion

Publication Date: October 30, 2015

ISBN: 9781137440952

Binding: Kobo eBook

Availability: eBook

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Sudduth provides a critical exploration of classical empirical arguments for postmortem survival-arguments that purport to show that data collected from ostensibly paranormal phenomena constitute good evidence for the survival of the self or individual consciousness after death. Focusing on arguments based on the data of near-death experiences, mediumship, and cases of the reincarnation type, he aims to revive the tradition of empirical inquiry into life after death associated with philosophers William James, C.D. Broad, H.H. Price, and C.J. Ducasse. Sudduth proposes to advance the debate with a novel approach. For the first time, the traditional arguments are formalized using the tools of formal epistemology. Sudduth shows that this procedure exposes the Achilles Heel of the classical arguments, a self-defeating dependence on auxiliary assumptions. He further argues that when reformulated in the light of the 'problem of auxiliaries,' long-standing skeptical objections to the classical arguments are immune to traditional survivalist counter-arguments.