Monday, March 09, 2009

Robert Almeder makes a case for reincarnation on this youtube video

Robert Almeder is a philosophy professor at Georgia State University.


Gordon Knight said...

I always tell my students, first day of class "I believe in reincarnation" and then point out that this is irrelevant philosophically, unless one has an argument. Plato had interesting arugments. Origen argued for something like reincarnation as a plausible eschatology.. This is good stuff. The more the dominant paradigm is challenged, the better.

But its hard to say, without reading Stevenson's work, whether this empirical argument is any good.

Apoptosian said...

I tend to agree with Gordon in that reincarnation is irrelevant philosophically. I would be interested if scientific evidence was found at some point but otherwise I don't subscribe to such a notion. Plato's argument was short sighted in my view. I don't think it was logical. To say that we forget everthing of our previous life right at the point of rebirth is not able to be proven thus cannot be made valid. DNA does keep a very detailed record of everywhere we have been genetically. This to me disproves reincanation. Dr. Almeder makes many some assertions but offers little in the way of proof in my view.

Vijay Kumar said...

The notion of Reincarnation... rebirth as understood by most is flawed. Most encyclopedias termed reincarnation as rebirth of the soul. When the soul atman never dies... the reincarnation rebirth of the soul simply cannot exist.

Our soul atman manifests the human body to work out its karma... remove the dross impurities within! As per Bhagavad Gita God Almighty ordained a journey of 1.1 million manifestations (earthly life cycle of 12.4 million years) to reach the stage of enlightenment... the stage when the soul atman liberates forever from the cycle of birth and death... regains its original pure pristine form forever!

The human form is manifested by the soul atman after crossing through a maze of 7.3 million manifestations as insect, plant and animal life. Out of a total of 8.4 million manifestations every soul atman manifests a total of 1.1 million manifestations in the human form before it reaches the last leg of cosmic life... the 8.4 millionth manifestation!

The moment human beings reach the 8.4 millionth manifestation... one gains Enlightenment (kaivalya jnana) and finally salvation (moksha). Here we need to realize... the form of a human being is simply limited by one manifestation... one life! In the world of souls' atmans... the complete journey of 96.4 million years is one single uninterrupted span of life.

Anonymous said...

I have always been partial to reincarnation as an explanation of the most difficult, in my view, aspect of the problem of evil: namely, the apparent injustice of some children's dying at a young age, thereby not receiving a chance to undergo the trials of life and become mature and holy and wise and so on. I mean, what does God want with 4-year old kids? Where is He going to stick them in heaven or wherever? But that problem is neatly solved if we countenance reincarnation.

(Of course, the Christian doctrine of the resurrection may also address this problem: the children will be resurrected at some point and grow up.)

Moreover, the problem of evil in general can be entirely eliminated if we postulate pre-existence of the soul. Then we can imagine God showing at least some souls parts of their lives on Earth just before the incarnation, and the soul "contractually agrees" to undergo even terrible suffering for the sake of some good that it sees will accrue to it.

And evildoers can be explained as those who are living here for the first time.

So, the theory has some promise even in the context of orthodox Christianity.

Jime said...

Hear this interview with philosopher Robert Almeder for Alex Tsakiris' Skeptiko podcast, where Dr.Almeder explains in more detail his position and reincarnation and the mind-body problem:

Another good interview is with philosopher Neal Grossman, associate professor of philosophy at University of Illinois at Chicago:

Grossman defends an empirical case for survival of consciousness after death. A paper by him critizing the materialist objections against an afterlife is available here:

Another contemporary philosopher who defends the afterlife on empirical (and philosophical) grounds is David Lund (see especially his lastest book "Persons, Souls and Death: A Philosophical Investigation of an Afterlife". An excellent book, indeed)

Another dualist philosopher is Chris Carter. See these articles on consciousness, materialism and the brain:

The first article there will appear in Carter's forthcoming book on consciousness and afterlife and the materialist objections to it. (Carter's previous book, Parapsychology and the Skeptics, is an up-to-date philosophical and scientific analysis of the best evidence for some paranormal phenomena)

Note that all of these philosophers are not Christians nor belong to a religion as such; they defend dualism, survival of consciousness and afterlife on purely empirical grounds plus philosophical considerations against materialism.

Anonymous said...

Yes I believe
read the most revered of the ancient original spiritual texts the Baghavagita . IT IS ALL THERE Even the energies are explained all the avatars and the worldly changes and the ultimate supreme personality. The key is NOT to be reborn over and over but to escape this cycle of birth and death. Haven,t you noticed more and more gender confusion and homosexuality based on overidentificdation of past genders? I have also personally witnessed this occurring in families. The west needs to wake up!!!! This is the ultimate explanation. Science will catch up but probably too late.

Stephen Sakellarios said...

I am the producer of the video linked to in this article. You may see more of my work on my website:

Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.