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Science of Life After Death

  • Book
  • © 2022

Overview

  • Offers a contextual overview of belief in personal survival after death
  • Refutes misguided historical and epistemological arguments against the notion of survival after death
  • Examines empirical studies on mediumship, near-death and out-of-body experiences, and reincarnation

Part of the book series: SpringerBriefs in Psychology (BRIEFSPSYCHOL)

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About this book

This book examines the best available empirical evidence regarding one of the most challenging and pervasive questions throughout ages, cultures, and religions: the survival of human consciousness after death. It begins with a contextual overview of belief in personal survival and refutes misguided historical and epistemological arguments against the notion of survival after death (e.g., irrational, purely religious, impossible to be addressed by science, that has been proved false by neuroscience). The book provides an overview of the scientific evidence regarding the survival of human consciousness after death, focusing on studies on mediumship, near-death and out-of-body experiences, and reincarnation.

Featured topics of coverage include:

  • The belief in life after death in the contemporary world as well as in the history of religions and philosophy.
  • The key misguided arguments and prejudices against the academic study of afterlife survival.
  • What constitutes empirical evidence for survival after death?
  • The main explanatory hypotheses alternative to survival after death.
  • The chief cultural barriers to a fair examination of the available evidence for survival of consciousness after death.

Science of Life After Death is an essential resource for researchers, professors, and graduate students as well as clinicians, therapists, and other professionals in developmental and clinical psychology; spirituality, religious. and consciousness studies; psychiatry; neuroscience / neurology; phenomenology / philosophy; complementary and alternative medicine; and all interrelated disciplines.

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Keywords

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Reviews

“It is encouraging that a title like Science of Life After Death, with content that draws on evidence from psychical research and parapsychology ... . the eight miniscule chapters that  make up this book do a fair job of compressing the relevant philosophy and the evidence of  survival research into digestible chunks suitable for an audience not familiar with the subject.” (Zofia Weaver, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 87 (3), 2023)

“This brief book on the topic is an excellent and well-referenced study that can be strongly recommended to all open-minded thinkers … .” (Paradigm Explorer, Issue 141, 2023)

“This book would be a great asset to anyone seeking clarity and insight on this important topic, and it deserves to be widely read.” (David Rousseau, Journal for the Study of Spirituality, March 27, 2023)

“The book is very focussed on scientific evidence and the empirical scientific method is not the only way of knowing things. However, it fills an important gap in the literature and is a commendable achievement, notwithstanding these limitations of scope. It is always a good sign to get to the end of a book wanting to know more – which this reviewer certainly did!” (Christopher CH Cook, Royal College of Psychiatrists, rcpsych.ac.uk, January, 2023)

“[This book] … should be in all university, college, and public libraries. … Highly recommend.”(johnballardphd.com, January 9, 2023)

“Authors have a solid background in psychiatry and philosophy. ... the book is the product of more than two decades of research in this challenging area, providing the state-of-the-art on the hypothesis of the existence of an afterlife. ... It is up to us to take a standpoint, but at least we clearly see where we are in the discussion, for the book puts all the cards on the table.” (Ana Maria Correa Moreira Silva, Revista Brasileira de Filosofia da Religião, Vol. 9 (1), July, 2022)

“This book addresses evidence for post-mortem survival focusing on anomalous experiences, mediumship, reincarnation and near-death experiences. … The book is written clearly and concisely and contains a wealth of research data.” (Simon Dein, Mental Health, Religion & Culture, Vol. 25 (7), 2022)

“This is a work to be read and taken into consideration, capable of propitiating reflections and favouring further research on the subject. Especially for those who dedicate themselves to this kind of issue, as it brings a wide range of research, studies and approaches, even if they are often synthetic.” (Horizonte, Vol. 20 (62), 2022)

“The book gives a very good comprehensive survey of the field. This is a great contribution to the field.” (Professor Keith Ward, Dean and Director of Studies in Philosophy and in Theology, University of Cambridge, 1976-83. Regius Professor of Divinity, University of Oxford, 1991- 2003)

“Engaging text, clearly written, compelling in several instances, with a very rich bibliography. ... The updated and argumentative study will be a mandatory reference in the discussion of the theme of life after death.” (Geraldo Jose de Paiva, Emeritus Professor of Psychology of Religion at USP – University of São Paulo (Brazil))

Authors and Affiliations

  • School of Medicine – NUPES (Research Center in Spirituality and Health), Federal University of Juiz de Fora - UFJF, Juiz de Fora – MG, Brazil

    Alexander Moreira-Almeida

  • School of Medicine – NUPES (Research Center in Spirituality and Health), Federal University of Juiz de Fora - UFJF, Juiz de Fora - MG, Brazil

    Marianna de Abreu Costa

  • Department of Philosophy, Federal University of Juiz de Fora - UFJF, Juiz de Fora – MG, Brazil

    Humberto Schubert Coelho

About the authors

Alexander Moreira-Almeida, M.D., Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Research Center in Spirituality and Health (NUPES), School of Medicine, Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF), Brazil. Chair of the Section on Spirituality of the Latin American Psychiatric Association (APAL). Former chair of the Sections on Religion, Spirituality and Psychiatry of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA 2014-20) and the Brazilian Psychiatric Association (ABP 2014-21). He has worked on the scientific investigation of spiritual experiences for more than 25 years, authoring more than 170 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. His primary emphasis in the last decade has been the investigation of evidence of consciousness’ activity beyond the brain, especially for evidence for survival of human consciousness after death. Editor of the books Exploring Frontiers of the Mind-Brain Relationship (Springer, 2012) and Spirituality and Mental Health Across Cultures (OUP, 2021).

Marianna de Abreu Costa, M.D., Ph.D., is a psychiatrist, member of the psychiatry and spirituality department of the Psychiatry Association of Rio Grande do Sul, DPE – APRS and of the Section on Spirituality of the Brazilian Psychiatric Association, ABP. She obtained her doctorate in Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, UFRGS, Brazil (2019), conducting a randomized clinical trial (RCT) evaluating the efficacy of a mindfulness-based intervention. In addition, her studies emphasize the integration of spirituality and religiosity in psychotherapy. Currently, her interest has been more focused on anomalous experiences and the study of the mind-brain relationship. She is currently conducting a large national genetic study with spiritist mediums, coordinated by Professors Alexander Moreira-Almeida, M.D., Ph.D. (UFJF) and Wagner Farid Gattaz, M.D., Ph.D. (Universidade de São Paulo, USP).

Humberto Schubert Coelho, Ph.D., is Associate Professor for Metaphysics and Modern Philosophy of the Department of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Research Center in Spirituality and Health (NUPES), at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora, and holder of the chair Nr. 23 of the Brazilian Academy of Philosophy. He is a visiting researcher at the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, Oxford University (2019-2020). Dr. Coelho's research is devoted to the metaphysical ground for meaning and purpose in life, which includes a series of proofs for the existence of God and the immortality of the soul, along with cultural analyses of the relationship between philosophy, religion, and science.

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