This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Near Death Experiences' during my Thesis research, as from 2011. Click here for Note.
Write-up1 (as at 15/10/2017 23:38:24): Near Death Experiences
- NDEs – if they are experiences of anything veridical – offer a serious challenge to those who deny the possibility or actuality of life after death3, appear to offer support for non-physicalist accounts of the mind and cause problems for animalists4 by lending support to alternative accounts of what we are – maybe souls5.
- Most of the phenomena6 can be probably be explained by the usual “dying brain” / anoxia / endorphins suggestions, though this can be rather facile – partly because not all NDEs are had by those near death, but also because the dying brain might not be up to the job of having (and remembering) scenes of such alleged clarity. I have my doubts about when such experiences actually occur – but the suggestion that they occur when the experiencer is “coming round” doesn’t seem to be popular.
- A difficult situation to “explain away” is where the NDE-experiencer claims to see something (while having an “out of body” experience7) they could not have seen under normal circumstances. The difficulty with evaluating such reports is that they are either vague and unsurprising, or anecdotal and hard to verify – so the presumption is that they aren’t veridical. There’s a famous “shoe” case (see Link for more information) – where no follow-up seems to have been possible. There’s a (naturally sceptical) page on Infidels.org8 which references the “shoe” case amongst others.
- Further “awkward” cases to dispose of are where experiences analogous to the NDE are had by / shared with friends / relatives of the dying. I presume these accounts should be rejected out of hand, along with all other incredible reports of exotic parapsychological phenomena. The Fenwicks9 give a sympathetic hearing to (the then) recent results of parapsychological research – but in an undocumented way, and showing unawareness that the claims are of slight (though allegedly statistically significant) deviations from chance, not of the exotic phenomena exhibited in the accounts of NDEs.
- The Journal of Near-Death Studies is at Link.
- A reading list (where not covered elsewhere) might include:-
- "Augustine (Keith) - Hallucinatory Near-Death Experiences", Augustine,
- "Augustine (Keith) - Near-Death Experiences are Hallucinations", Augustine,
- "Ayer (A.J.) - What I Saw When I Was Dead", Ayer, also …
→ "Ayer (A.J.) - Postscript to a Postmortem",
→ "Ayer (A.J.) - That Undiscovered Country",
→ "Rosenthal (Abigail) - What Ayer Saw When He Was Dead",
- "Badham (Paul) & Badham (Linda) - Near-Death Experiences", Badham
- "Badham (Paul) & Badham (Linda) - The Evidence from Near-Death Experiences", Badham
- "Blackmore (Susan) - Dying to Live: Near-Death Experiences", Blackmore
- "Buzzi (Giorgio) - Correspondence: Near-Death Experiences", Buzzi (Lancet)
- "Edwards (Paul) - Dr. Kubler-Ross, Dr. Moody, and the New Immortality Movement", Edwards
- "Fenwick (Peter) & Fenwick (Elizabeth) - The Truth in the Light: An Investigation of Over 300 Near-Death Experiences", Fenwick
- "Moody (Raymond A.), Perry (Paul) & Greeley (Andrew) - The Light Beyond", Moody
- "Rawlings (Maurice S.) - To Hell and Back: Life after Death - Startling New Evidence", Rawlings
- "Swinburne (Richard) - The Future of the Soul", Swinburne,
- "Zaleski (Carole) - Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near Death Experience in Mediaeval and Modern Times", Zaleski
- Additionally, some further light may be shed by:-
- "Beloff (John) - Is There Anything Beyond Death? A Parapsychologist's Summation", Beloff
- "Brandon (Ed) - Review of David Lund's 'Persons, Souls and Death'", Brandon,
- "Chopra (Deepak) & Hameroff (Stuart) - Can science explain the soul?", Chopra+Hameroff
- "Cooper (John) - Holistic Dualism, Science, and Philosophy", Cooper (Section 2D)
- "Green (James W.) - Beyond the Good Death: Soulscapes", Green
- "Hick (John) - Death and Eternal Life", Hick (Preface, etc.?)
- "Kagan (Shelly) - Arguments for the existence of the soul, Part III: Free will and near-death experiences", Kagan (Section 2)
- "Schick (Theodore) & Vaughn (Lewis) - Case Studies in the Extraordinary", Schick
- This is mostly a place-holder10.
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (15/10/2017 23:38:24).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
- A number of my philosophical Notes are “promissory notes” currently only listing the books and papers (if any) I possess on the topic concerned.
- I’ve decided to add some text – whether by way of motivation, or something more substantive – for all these identified topics related to my Thesis.
- As I want to do this fairly quickly, the text may be confused or show surprising ignorance.
- The reader (if such exists) will have to bear with me, and display the principle of charity while this footnote exists.
Footnote 8: See Link, "Augustine (Keith) - Hallucinatory Near-Death Experiences".
- I need to document these, and comment on them.
- For now, see Wikipedia: Link
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018