Surviving Death, Again

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The paper begins by briefly engaging critically—on theological grounds—with Dean Zimmerman’s defense of Peter van Inwagen’s Christian Materialist idea that we are identical with our bodies, and so survive bodily death by not actually undergoing bodily death. Next, I consider the view of the mind-body relation that Dean himself is tempted by, namely Emergent Substance Dualism, arguing that it is best seen as a fig leaf that at most works to avoid offending contemporary anti-theistic “traducian” sensibilities. In displacing Emergent Substance Dualism, I set out a Neo-Aristotelian account of essence and embodiment that allows for—indeed entails—the possibility of our surviving the death of our bodies. Along the way a characterization of ontological reductionism is given, which avoids the incoherent thought that reduction goes by way of identity. The characterization makes evident why mental events and states are not reducible to physical events. Finally, two non-reductive relations between mental and physical events, namely subserving and implementing, are defined, and then used to characterize the relation of embodiment, and explain how certain mental acts can be “difference-makers” in the physical realm. I only aim to show that given the manifest failure of psycho-physical ontological reduction, this new account of survival adds no further mystery to the mind-body problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-53
Number of pages53
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy


  • Afterlife
  • Fellow traveler worries
  • Personal identity
  • Personites
  • Ur-essence


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