Immortality by Paul Edwards (Editor)

Paul Edwards - Immortality

Is there life after death or do we simply cease to exist? Few questions wreak havoc with our deepest held beliefs and strongest emotions more than this one. The answers given over the centuries reach to the very core of who we are and what it means to be human. Cutting through the emotionalism to reach the central issue, renowned scholar Paul Edwards has compiled Immortality, a superb group of philosophical selections featuring the work of both classical and contemporary authors who address not only the topic of immortality, but also two of the most fascinating and difficult philosophical problems -- the mind/body problem, and the nature of personal identity. Highlighted are discussion of soul and body, transmigration, materialism, epiphenomenalism, physical research and parapsychology, reincarnation, disembodied existence, and much more.

This unique anthology presents selections from all the major philosophers who have written on belief in life after death. Traditional Western belief is represented by Tertullian, Thomas Aquinas, Bishop Butler, Joseph Priestly, Peter Geach, and Peter van Inwagen. Reincarnation is defended by Plato, C. J. Ducasse, and Raynor Johnson. The critics of reincarnation include Lucretius, Hume, Voltaire, Kant, C. D. Broad, and John Hospers. Also included is A. J. Ayer's delightful and entertaining yet enigmatic account of his well-known near-death experience, "What I Saw When I Was Dead". The nature of mind and its relation to the body is discussed by Descartes, J. S. Mill, Hugh Elliot, William James, and Antony Flew. The philosophical issue of personal identity and its connection with questions of survival is examined by Locke, Hume, Thomas Reid, and Derek Parfit.

Edwards has included a preface, and a 70-page introduction on his own views of immortality and reincarnation, as well as a comprehensive, annotated bibliography.

Paul Edwards is the author of Reincarnation: A Critical Examination, The Logic Of Moral Discourse, Heidegger And Death, and numerous articles in philosophical journals. He is also the editor of The Encyclopedia Of Philosophy, and Voltaire. He has contributed to numerous reference works including The Encyclopedia Of Unbelief, The Encyclopedia Of Ethics, and The Oxford Companion To Philosophy. In 1979, Columbia University awarded him the Nichols Murray Butler Silver Medal for distinguished contributions to philosophy. He teaches at the New School for Social Research in New York City.