Research Project No.13: Dr Jon Thompson

Project title: “Re-enabling The Soul” The Possibility and Desirability of a Personal Afterlife

“Re-embodying the Soul” is a research project on personal identity and the metaphysics of the afterlife. It is generously funded by the Templeton Religion Trust.

The possibility and desirability of personal identity across death represent perennial questions in philosophy of religion. The claim that a personal immortality could not be desirable is most closely associated with the late Bernard Williams, but it has had several recent defenders. The problem of the possibility of an afterlife is made acute by the ascendancy of physicalism in philosophical anthropology. That is, while many have suggested that physicalism accords well with the Christian doctrine of resurrection, others argue that the resurrection of the same body is impossible. This project will develop an account of the afterlife which takes seriously our embodied human nature and yet seeks to address the problems for the afterlife associated with physicalism. The project will thus provide a novel and systematic response to the physicalism and desirability challenges.

The project will help the Faraday Institute provide an increasingly vital contribution to the dialogue between philosophy, theology, and science in Cambridge, and it will strengthen Faraday’s research outputs in the field of academic philosophy.

“Resurrection: “The Peculiar Treasure of the Church”, Sapientia, May 6 2020

Dr Jon Thompson