Saturday, 14 May 2016

A Peculiar Question

Organisms interact with their environments.
Animal interactions include sensations.
Human thought refines and transcends animal consciousness.
Thus, thought is one kind of organism-environment interaction.

Therefore, thought should end when an organism does.
We should not remain conscious on another plane after death -
- unless organically generated consciousness either becomes disembodied or is reproduced in another medium.
But why should it be?

An empirical question can be answered positively or negatively in specifiable conditions.
Example: whether there will be an eclipse at noon tomorrow.
An operationally meaningless question cannot be answered.
Example: whether the universe was created a moment ago with false records and memories.

The question of survival after death will be answered positively if there is survival.
However, it will not be answered if there is no survival.
Therefore, the survival question is intermediate between empirical and meaningless.
Thus, it has a peculiar logical status.

Spiritualists claim to communicate with the dead.
Some Buddhists claim experience of postmortem mental states.
Such claims partly reflect inherited beliefs.
However, as experiential claims, they should be investigated.

Is the survival question meaningful?
If so, is there enough evidence to answer it?
It is inadequate to say: "We will know when we die."
If there is no survival, then we will not know.

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