Survivalism, Corruptionism, and Mereology

European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 4 (4):1-26 (2012)
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Corruptionism is the view that following physical death, the human being ceases to exist but their soul persists in the afterlife. Survivalism holds that both the human being and their soul persist in the afterlife, as distinct entities, with the soul constituting the human. Each position has its defenders, most of whom appeal both to metaphysical considerations and to the authority of St Thomas Aquinas. Corruptionists claim that survivalism violates a basic principle of any plausible mereology, while survivalists tend to reject the principle, though without as much detail as one would like. In this paper I examine both the key exegetical issues and the mereological question, arguing that Aquinas cannot be shown to have supported the principle in question, and that the principle should be rejected on independent grounds. If correct, some key planks in support of survivalism are established, with others to await further examination.



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David S. Oderberg
University of Reading

Citations of this work

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