Cup of Nirvana Philosophical and Contemplative Explorations

Book Completion

Dear Friends,

I’m happy to announce that I have now completed my book on empirical arguments for postmortem survival. I submitted the manuscript to my editor at Palgrave Macmillan last night.  We should move along very quickly at this stage towards publication this year. Currently there is a link to the Contents on my Work in Progress page.  I hope in the coming weeks to post a sample chapter or chapter abstracts, pending permission from the publisher.  The book’s official title is A Philosophical Critique of Empirical Arguments for Postmortem Survival.

The book moved in some unanticipated but welcomed directions, especially since January of this year.  One of these was a far more extensive discussion of Bayesian survival arguments, including very detailed critical analyses of the arguments of C.D. Broad, E.R. Dodds, C.D. Ducasse, and R.W.K. Paterson. It would be fair to say that half of the book is concerned with Bayesian-style arguments.  In early 2014 I had promised that I would utilize confirmation theory to formalize the classical explanatory arguments, something that had not previously been done.  One of my long-standing criticisms of the existing literature is that on the whole it lacks logical rigor. In this respect it’s about five or six decades behind the quality of arguments we find in Anglo-American philosophy of religion. Well, I have made good on this promise. Not only do I offer my own Bayesian arguments, I formalize the Bayesian approach taken by Broad, Dodds, Ducasse, and Paterson.  
Another feature that developed last fall was a more extensive treatment of the evidence (from near-death experiences, mediumship, and cases of the reincarnation type), in which the data from various prominent case investigations were discussed in detail.  There is a chapter devoted to each of these, with a summary of the salient strands of evidence at the end of each of these chapters. Although these chapters mainly focus on getting clear about the relevant data, I offer some critical remarks about how survivalists have sometimes mishandled the statement of the evidence. As a result of the more elaborate discussion of the evidence, the the book ended up being longer than anticipated, eleven chapters instead of nine, and also took me longer to complete than anticipated.  
Due to the work on the book, which included 90 hours in the past week, it’s been awhile since I last blogged. I’m hoping to return now to regular blogging on various topics, including  Zen, chocolate, heavy metal music, relationships, and postmortem survival. I also have plans to blog on some unexpected and fascinating experiences I had in Windsor, Connecticut last January, some of which are related at least indirectly to the topic of my book and which have provided further inspiration for the novel I started writing several years ago.  Stay tuned.

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