The Afterlife and the Transcendental I
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The Husserlian position here proposed is contrasted with themes in Schopenhauer and Wordsworth on the knowledge of our pre-natal existence. It is developed further with an examination of the ancient view that “sleep is the brother of death” and Vedantan theories of death and sleep. The “conservationist optic” that the death of a person is the equivalent of the extinction of a member of a species is criticized. We then embark on the task of conceiving what “personal immortality” means in terms of a “free imaginative variation” of the sense of one’s unique personhood. We do this variation in regards to one’s bodiliness, intelligence, gender, and moral-personal identity, and one’s social world. We then examine some of the phenomenological-conceptual aspects of the “resurrection of the body.” Some of the issues surrounding reincarnation, transmigration, etc., are examined in the light of our basic distinction between the non-criterial/non-identifiable identity of one’s unique essence and one’s personal identity. We side with the view that all senses of identity of the self are not to be tied to memory. We discuss the difficulties for phenomenology raised by Shoemaker’s theory of “quasi-memory.”
KeywordsPersonal Identity Transcendental Phenomenology Bodily Presence Dreamless Sleep Imaginative Variation
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