What Would Constitute Evidence for Personal Survival After Death?

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This chapter discusses what would be evidence for survival. First it shows we can have certainty and direct access only to our own minds. We know there are other minds in the world by indirect evidence: we perceive other bodies behaving in ways indicating they have minds like ourselves. They behave and express themselves as if they also think, feel, have desires and sense of being, etc. And we identify a given personality, even in a disfigured body, by a specific pattern of these qualities, a continuity of character and memory. Evidence for the survival after death of a given personality would also be the continuity of character and memory through the means he/she has at his/her disposal (e.g., a medium’s body, or a new body in cases of reincarnation), for example, memory (e.g., being able to remember facts, ideally in large number, accurate, and covering several topics; identifying people the claimed personality was acquainted with when alive), skills of the alleged personality (e.g., speaking or writing in a foreign language, handwriting, and artistic such as poetry, prose, and painting styles), and personality traits (e.g., temperament, character, personal style). If this sort of evidence is consistently found, especially by different investigators using different methods and investigating different phenomena, they would falsify physicalist views of mind and point to its survival to bodily death.KeywordsSurvival after deathSurvivalEvidenceEpistemologyProofPersonalitySoulMindConsciousnessLife after death

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Resumo: Não apenas pela natureza sistemática do projeto hegeliano como pela importância que a teoria da subjetividade inconfundivelmente assume para ele, a filosofia da história, como outros elementos, não pode ser satisfatoriamente compreendida sem uma análise conjunta do caráter histórico da subjetividade. Uma vez que subjetividade e intersubjetividade se sustentam e justificam mutuamente, toda teoria da história é sempre e necessariamente também uma teoria sobre as biografias, individuais, e as formas da cultura, das coletividades. Ao passo que estes finitos não produzem o todo, o todo tem de poder ser neles encontrado, de maneira que os princípios gerais, como o da história, estão sempre implícitos nos sujeitos e suas comunidades específicas. Somente assim entende-se que a filosofia da história é capaz de resistir às muitas críticas de anulação da individualidade e da incerteza quanto ao destino, oriunda do livre-arbítrio humano. Apresentaremos, portanto, alguns dos intérpretes contemporâneos do hegelianismo buscando enfatizar suas teorias da subjetividade como imprescindíveis para esboços de filosofia da história que preencham os critérios mais atuais.Abstract: Not only for the systematic nature of the Hegelian Project but also for the importance that the theory of subjectivity unmistakably assumes for Hegel, the philosophy of history, as well as other elements, cannot be understood satisfactorily without a parallel analysis of the historical character of subjectivity. Since subjectivity and intersubjectivity are mutually supportive, any theory about history is consequently and necessarily also a theory of biographies (individuality) and of the forms of culture (collectivity). Although these finitudes do not make the whole, the whole has to be found in them, so that the general principles, like history, are always implicit in individuals and specific communities. This seems to be the only way the philosophy of history can resist the many charges of annihilation of individual freedom and the uncertainty of destiny deriving from human free-will. Thus, we will present some contemporary Hegelian interpreters, in order to highlight their theories of subjectivity as instrumental to outline a philosophy of history that meet the more recent criteria.
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Traditional textbooks on the history of psychiatry and psychology fail to recognize William James's investigations on psychic phenomena as a legitimate effort to understand the human mind. The purpose of this paper is to offer evidence of his views regarding the exploration of those phenomena as well as the radical, yet alternative, solutions that James advanced to overcome theoretical and methodological hindrances. Through an analysis of his writings, it is argued that his psychological and philosophical works converge in psychical research revealing the outline of a science of mind capable of encompassing psychic phenomena as part of human experience and, therefore, subject to scientific scrutiny.
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This essay considers the origins of theoretical understanding in lived experience and the implications this principle might have on our understanding of Mircea Eliade's approach to religion. It inspects possible sources of Eliade's theoretical understanding of religion in his descriptions of his lived experience and considers whether specifically ‘religious’ experience would be most likely to be determinative. This necessitates some analysis of the relation of experience to expressions of that experience and of the iterations of the scholar using one to elucidate the other. It suggests that the scholar's own understanding must be open to transformation rather than automatically redescribing the expressions of subjects of research. The main claim of the article is that Eliade can be appropriately termed a ‘secular mystic’ because of the effective openness that he maintains to the transformative potential of the experience of the world of the other. The Eliadean identification of the sacred and the real, far from being a normative assumption, is a principle of hermeneutical openness, comparable in secular terms to openness to mystical experience.
O termo transcendência tem conotações fortemente dualistas na concepção do senso comum, na qual ele é oposto de maneira dualística à imanência. Consequentemente, tanto concepções populares quanto especializadas do transcendente atribuem-no ao celestial, supramundano ou espiritual, e, portanto, matéria do discurso poético ou religioso. Ao passo em que este entendimento usual do termo justificou (historicamente) e é de fato incompatível com as tentativas de domesticação ou eliminação da metafísica da meditação filosófica contemporânea, outras significações são possíveis. Uma famosa e bem-sucedida visão sobre a transcendência é a hegeliana, segundo a qual a transcendência não apenas é constituída intersubjetivamente como a universalidade das coisas como também dialeticamente codependente do concreto e do imanente. Palavras-chave: Transcendente; Objetividade; Concretude; G. W. F. Hegel.
This dissertation examines the co-emergence of psychical research and modern professionalized psychology in the late nineteenth century. Questioning conservative historical accounts assuming an inherent incompatibility of these disciplines, this thesis argues that from the early 1880s to ca. 1910, it was often difficult if not impossible to draw a clear distinction between psychology and psychical research. Chapter 1 forms the integrative framework of the thesis through a historiographical review of changing attitudes to ‘occult’ properties of the mind in natural philosophy from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. Chapter 2 provides a study and comparison of concerns and epistemological presuppositions of the instigators and leading representatives of psychical research in England, France, Germany and the USA. Chapter 3 outlines competing methodological maxims in early experimental psychology, explores the work of the Society for Psychical Research in England and psychological societies conducting psychical research in Germany, and discusses the active involvement of the ‘father’ of modern American psychology, William James, in psychical research. Formulations of transcendental-individualistic models of unconscious or subliminal cognition by Carl du Prel in Germany and Frederic W. H. Myers in England, which informed the mature psychological thought of James in America and Théodore Flournoy in Switzerland, are discussed as landmarks in the history of concepts of the unconscious. Chapter 4 presents case studies of early professional psychologists repudiating psychical research from the territories of fledgling psychology, identifies recurring rhetorical patterns in these controversies, and connects them to wider cultural and historiographical developments studied in Chapter 1.
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Spiritism is widely accepted in Brazil and influences psychiatric practice, especially through religious-oriented hospitals. However, during the first half of the twentieth century it was considered an important cause of mental illness. This paper first reviews opinions on 'Spiritist madness', written by the most eminent psychiatrists of the time, and then discusses the epistemological factors that have contributed to the conflict between medicine and Spiritism. We critically examine the appropriateness of the methods used in the debates, and how this has led to inferences about associations and causal relationships.
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