Imagination and immortality: Thinking of me

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent work in developmental psychology indicates that children naturally think that psychological states continue after death. One important candidate explanation for why this belief is natural appeals to the idea that we believe in immortality because we can't imagine our own nonexistence. This paper explores this old idea. To begin, I present a qualified statement of the thesis that we can't imagine our own nonexistence. I argue that the most prominent explanation for this obstacle, Freud's, is problematic. I go on to describe some central features of contemporary cognitive accounts of the imagination, and I argue that these accounts provide an independently motivated explanation for the imaginative obstacle. While the imaginative obstacle does not dictate a belief in immortality, it does, I maintain, facilitate such a belief.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-233
Number of pages19
JournalSynthese
Volume159
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007

Keywords

  • Afterlife beliefs
  • Death
  • Imagination
  • Immortality
  • Self

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Imagination and immortality: Thinking of me'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this