© 2017

The Palgrave Handbook of the Afterlife

  • Yujin Nagasawa
  • Benjamin Matheson

Part of the Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion book series (PFPR)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Benjamin Matheson
    Pages 1-18
  3. The History of the Afterlife

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 19-19
    2. Gregory Shushan
      Pages 21-40
  4. The Afterlife in World Religions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 59-59
    2. Ankur Barua
      Pages 61-83
    3. Peter Harvey
      Pages 85-105
    4. Tyron Goldschmidt, Aaron Segal
      Pages 107-127
    5. Joshua Farris
      Pages 129-152
    6. Amir Dastmalchian
      Pages 153-173
  5. Models of the Afterlife

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 175-175
    2. Luke Henderson
      Pages 177-196
    3. Andrei A. Buckareff, Allen Plug
      Pages 197-214
    4. David Hershenov, Rose Hershenov
      Pages 215-233
    5. Mikel Burley
      Pages 235-254
    6. Eric Steinhart
      Pages 255-273
  6. The Metaphysics of the Afterlife

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 275-275
    2. Uwe Meixner
      Pages 277-296
    3. William Hasker
      Pages 297-314
    4. Lynne Rudder Baker
      Pages 315-330
  7. The Meaning of the Afterlife

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 331-331
    2. John Bishop
      Pages 333-351
    3. Thaddeus Metz
      Pages 353-370
    4. Stephen T. Davis
      Pages 371-389
    5. Benjamin Matheson
      Pages 391-411
  8. The Science of the Afterlife

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 413-413
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 455-458

About this book


This unique Handbook provides a sophisticated, scholarly overview of the most advanced thought regarding the idea of life after death. Its comprehensive coverage encompasses historical, religious, philosophical and scientific thinking.

Starting with an overview of ancient thought on the topic, The Palgrave Handbook of the Afterlife examines in detail the philosophical coherence of the main traditional notions of the nature of the afterlife including heaven, hell, purgatory and rebirth. In addition (and breaking with traditional conceptions) it also explores the most recent exciting advance – digital models. Later sections include analysis of various possible metaphysical accounts that might make sense of the afterlife (including substance dualism, emergent dualism and materialism) and the science of near death experiences as well as the links between human psychology and our attitude to the afterlife.

Key features:

•          Grounded in the most advanced philosophical, theological and scientific thinking

•          Contributions by eminent scholars from the world’s top universities

•          Balanced treatment of fundamental issues that are relevant to everyone

•          Diverse approaches ranging from the religious to the scientific, from the optimistic to the pessimistic

•          A major section on the meaning of the afterlife which includes chapters on fear, purpose, evil, and issues regarding identity

The Palgrave Handbook of the Afterlife is essential reading for scholars, researchers and advanced students researching attitudes to and effects of beliefs about death and life after death from philosophical, historical, religious, psychological and scientific perspectives.


world religion religious traditions conceptual models religious morality religious epistemology cognitive philosophy cognitive psychology cultural beliefs dualism monism purgatory rebirth

Editors and affiliations

  • Yujin Nagasawa
    • 1
  • Benjamin Matheson
    • 2
  1. 1.School of PhilosophyUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.University of Gothenburg GöteborgSweden

About the editors

Yujin Nagasawa is Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the John Hick Centre for the Philosophy of Religion at the University of Birmingham, UK. His previous books include The Existence of God: A Philosophical Introduction (2011) and God and Phenomenal Consciousness: A Novel Approach to Knowledge Arguments (2008).

Benjamin Matheson is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics, and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He has published papers in American Philosophical QuarterlyPhilosophical Studies and the International Journal of the Philosophy of Religion.

Bibliographic information