Do non-human animals have a "life after death"?

#1
Philosophical materialists tend to implicitly suppose I believe only human beings survive their deaths and no other animals. But I do not view this as being remotely plausible. I presume a dog's brain is very similar to a human being's, albeit less complex. If only human beings have an afterlife this means that a dog's brain produces consciousness, but that a human being's brain does not -- the human being's brain merely "filters" the self or consciousness. But surely the similarity between our brains and dogs brains suggests they perform a similar function irrespective of whether this function is producing or merely "filtering" consciousness? Moreover, if one brain produces and the other brain merely "filters" consciousness, then it seems to me that it ought to be the more complex brain which produces consciousness!

There is another consideration. If we exist both before conception and after death, this at least opens up the possibility that there is some ultimate purpose to our existence. By ultimate purpose I mean something over and above the meaning we ourselves bestow on our lives. The word "purpose" connotes the idea that we have some ultimate teleological destiny.

But if only human beings survive their deaths, this means only our lives could have this ultimate purpose, and that other animals whose intelligence is not too far behind our own, for example dolphins, apes, and elephants, do not have any such ultimate purpose. But why would human beings be special in this way? Taking both considerations into account I'm afraid I can't make much sense of this notion that only human beings survive their deaths and no other animals.
 
#3
Philosophical materialists tend to implicitly suppose I believe only human beings survive their deaths and no other animals. But I do not view this as being remotely plausible. I presume a dog's brain is very similar to a human being's, albeit less complex. If only human beings have an afterlife this means that a dog's brain produces consciousness, but that a human being's brain does not -- the human being's brain merely "filters" the self or consciousness. But surely the similarity between our brains and dogs brains suggests they perform a similar function irrespective of whether this function is producing or merely "filtering" consciousness? Moreover, if one brain produces and the other brain merely "filters" consciousness, then it seems to me that it ought to be the more complex brain which produces consciousness!
There are flaws in your arguments.

- "merely": How can you validate that assumption? It is more than possible than the process of filtering primary consciousness is far more complex than that of generating animal awareness.
- " this means that a dog's brain produces consciousness, but that a human being's brain does not" : It doesn't mean that . That is one possibility. It is more likely that the primary consciousness that manifests as physical simply manifest different species with different traits.
- " human beings survive their deaths" : I'd put that as - the consciousness that is manifesting as a physical form exists beyond the physical framework.

Apart from that I think you are doing what I now think of as a classic misconstruction - equating primary consciousness with human awareness. This leads to the (as I see it false) idea of there being one-to-one relationship between human form and primary consciousness.
 
#4
Where is the line drawn? Do birds have an afterlife? Insects? Fish? Reptiles? Does what an animal experience in an afterlife depend on how deep their awareness is? I think the non-human animals have a different set of "rules" than humans. With animals, it's about survival of the fittest. Human "rules" seem to be more complex that may involve how we express unconditional love towards one another. I am completely speculating but these "rules" may have something to do what an animal may experience after death or does non-human animals just become "one" with universal consciousness. Again ... speculating with nothing really to back it up. ;)
 
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#5
Sorry Saiko, I'm unable to discern any flaws in my argument.

It is extremely implausible that physical processes, which are purely quantitative and devoid of intentionality, should give rise to consciousness and all that entails. To act as a filter means that physical processes are not producing consciousness, but merely blocking and focussing aspects of consciousness.

I'm entirely unclear what is meant by:

the primary consciousness that manifests as physical simply manifest different species with different traits.

However it is entirely clear that if we survive and we enter an afterlife realm, this entails that our brains create consciousness. If animals do not survive this entails that their brains create their consciousness. How do you imagine you can escape this conclusion?

Again I have no idea what this means:

Apart from that I think you are doing what I now think of as a classic misconstruction - equating primary consciousness with human awareness. This leads to the (as I see it false) idea of there being one-to-one relationship between human form and primary consciousness.
What does the word "primary" mean in this context? What does "form" mean in this context?


Basically I've read your response, but I have no idea how you imagine you've cast any doubt on my arguments. So unless you can rephrase your points so that they're intelligible to me (I don't have to agree with them, they merely need to make sense), then I won't be responding to you again.
 
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#7
"With animals, it's about survival of the fittest" - Is this really how animals behave? Or perhaps it's just a familiar mantra which is repeated so often that we accept it without pausing to consider.

As for the 'afterlife' of animals versus humans. Perhaps there's a human-centric viewpoint in more ways than one. For one thing, there's a tendency to consider that animals are completely separate from humans rather than our own kin. We also tend to consider that this three-score and ten years on Earth is the 'real' life and then there is possibly an 'afterlife'.

Wouldn't we come to different conclusions if the other existence was the 'real' one while this here is merely a temporary visit?
 
#8
We are animals, yes? So the question is why should we survive but no other animals? I mean why not only hippopotamuses that survive, and we don't nor any other animals? What is it about human beings which makes us survive?
 
#9
What is it about human beings which makes us survive?
Nothing makes us survive. We simply do. The only difference I can think of is that we are able to report back after having an NDE while the hippopotamus might also have an NDE but at best might only be able to share it with other hippos, or more probably be unable to share it at all.

In other words people talk a lot - that doesn't place us in a privileged position, except with regard to having the ability to talk a lot.
 
#13
Sorry Saiko, I'm unable to discern any flaws in my argument.
If tI;d hadn't pointed them out I'd suggest you take a course in critical thinking. As it is,the least offensive thing I can think is to that you're clearly so wedded to your opinion that you refuse to see aught else. I can appreciate that stance when someone is expressing something they know, but taking that approach to something you're muddling though by an intellectual process ( a poor one in this case) is just silly.
 
#14
If tI;d hadn't pointed them out I'd suggest you take a course in critical thinking. As it is,the least offensive thing I can think is to that you're clearly so wedded to your opinion that you refuse to see aught else. I can appreciate that stance when someone is expressing something they know, but taking that approach to something you're muddling though by an intellectual process ( a poor one in this case) is just silly.

Perhaps I haven't explained myself properly. It's not that I disagree with your counterarguments. Rather I don't know what they are. Your reply to me didn't convey anything. Perhaps you're not a native English speaker?

I want you to respond in the spirit of my opening post: Namely clearly state what is wrong with my arguments. If you want to use a phrase like "primary consciousness", then state what you mean by it.
 
#15
But yes Saiko, for what it's worth I think the notion that only human beings survive is preposterous. I'm just fascinated at what counterarguments people could possibly give.
 
#16
I agree with Ian. The fact that the evidence for an afterlife is usually restricted to the human realm: NDEs are reported by human beings, apparitions are often deceased human beings, the mediums are human beings and through them speak deceased humans, etc., not implies that only human beings retain their consciousness after death because nonhuman living beings also can have a postmortem life just that their evidence is largely beyond human reach.

Apart from that I think you are doing what I now think of as a classic misconstruction - equating primary consciousness with human awareness. This leads to the (as I see it false) idea of there being one-to-one relationship between human form and primary consciousness.
The misunderstanding that occurs here is to discuss whether nonhuman animals retain their consciousness after death, we must agree first that human beings retain their consciousness after death. I think Saiko (tell me if I'm wrong) is not in agreement on this last because he / she does not believe that exists the survival of human personality after bodily death, but he / she believes there is only an undifferentiated consciousness that is independent of its instances (living beings). However, all the empirical evidence on survival (NDEs, apparitions, mediumship, etc.) points to the existence of human individuality / personality after bodily death.
 
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#17
Not sure if you've misunderstood me. I mean why should our selves survive the death of our bodies, but no other animals.

I'm not really getting many intelligible responses here...
I've expressed it as clearly as I can. I think the difficulty here is that you expect others to first adopt your own belief system (or at least one you have proposed, whether or not it is believed), before entering into a conversation with you. I don't think that is particularly practical. At best it would be merely an exercise in creative writing.
 
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#18
I've expressed it as clearly as I can. I think the difficulty here is that you expect others to first adopt your own belief system (or at least one you have proposed, whether or not it is believed), before entering into a conversation with you. I don't think that is particularly practical. At best it would be merely an exercise in creative writing.
I understand what you're saying now. I thought you seemed to have just gone off on a tangent talking about NDEs.

Yes we only hear about NDEs from other human beings and never animals, but clearly we cannot infer anything from that.
 
#19
I agree with Ian. The fact that the evidence for an afterlife is usually restricted to the human realm: NDEs are reported by human beings, apparitions are often deceased human beings, the mediums are human beings and through them speak deceased humans, etc., not implies that only human beings retain their consciousness after death because nonhuman living beings also can have a postmortem life just that their evidence is largely beyond human reach.



The misunderstanding that occurs here is to discuss whether nonhuman animals retain their consciousness after death, we must agree first that human beings retain their consciousness after death. I think Saiko (tell me if I'm wrong) is not in agreement on this last because he / she does not believe that exists the survival of human personality after bodily death, but he / she believes there is only an undifferentiated consciousness that is independent of its instances (living beings). However, all the empirical evidence on survival (NDEs, apparitions, mediumship, etc.) points to the existence of human individuality / personality after bodily death.
But if there is simply an undifferentiated consciousness after death it still wouldn't be true to say that humans survive and animals don't.

I'm not sure what is meant by personality. Phineas Gage's personality changed fundamentally after his accident. And our intelligence and interests etc change throughout our lives. And people get more gregarious when drunk.

I think the self survives, and this self has some influence over what we regard as "personality".
 
#20
Yes we only hear about NDEs from other human beings and never animals, but clearly we cannot infer anything from that.
I gave that as just one example of something from which we do infer something. It happens throughout our belief systems - the human-centric viewpoint is the one which is given primary importance.

My argument is that many of our proposed beliefs are invalid because they fail to take into account this bias simply because it happens so routinely.

I alluded to another human-centric bias previously, that of considering this life primary, and anything else in effect an afterthought.

The subject area is difficult to view clearly, in my opinion, unless we abandon at least temporarily, our focus on our own physical human existence and instead consider the whole, that is not just the physical, and not just the human. See - now I'm playing Ian's game, I'm asking people to take a hypothetical view of things, for the sake of a discussion. I guess it's difficult to do otherwise. But personally I found the original premise too constrained to raise much interest for me.
 
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