Heythrop College Publications

Loose, Jonathan J (2012) The Fallen Elevator: Personal Identity, Constitution & Afterlife. Second Glasgow Philosophy of Religion Seminar, University of Glasgow [Conference or Workshop Item]

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    Abstract

    Accounts of the person grounded in the notion of material constitution have been proposed in order to provide an absolutist account of identity. However, Baker’s constitution view shows that the benefits of absolutism are obtained at the cost of informativeness, such that her account of personal identity is ultimately circular. Corcoran provides an alternative constitution view, claiming a necessary connection between person and body, and thus grounding diachronic identity in ongoing immanent causation. Given reliance on immanent causation, the possibility of life after death is defended by making use of Zimmerman's `Falling Elevator Model'. The model is named after the cartoon depiction of a last-minute escape from a falling elevator and entails that, just prior to death, the earthly body becomes immanent-causally related to two bodies that have distinct destinies as a corpse and a resurrected person respectively. Zimmerman offers his account to the materialist as the best hope of defending the metaphysical possibility of afterlife belief. A review is presented of responses to the model over the last decade along with an evaluation of Zimmerman's most recent revision and defence of the idea. The revised model makes use of a constitution relation between persons and bodies in order to avoid charges of incoherence and absurdity. It is argued that this attempt is unsuccessful in fending off these problems. Considering the difficulties in these accounts, it is argued that material constitution fails to provide an adequate absolutist account of personal identity and that such difficulty is ultimately grounded in problems with material coincidence. The general failure to find an adequate account of personal identity and survival consistent with materialism constitutes a significant problem for Christian materialism.

    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
    Keywords: Constitution, Resurrection, Falling Elevator
    Department: Philosophy
    Depositing User: Dr Jonathan Loose
    Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2012 09:36
    Last Modified: 24 Oct 2016 14:29
    URI: http://publications.heythrop.ac.uk/id/eprint/1699

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