Monthly Archives: November 2016

David Berman TCD Lecture Series on Near Death Experience Extra-Mural Lectures: Berman describes his lecture series as follows “I am writing to say that I plan to give six additional extra-mural lectures in Hilary term 2017 on ‘The Logic and Credibility of After-death Existences’, to begin on Saturday, 4 February 2017. What I am proposing is not to give again the original course of nine lectures, although I plan to review and revise that course of lectures*, as well  as deepen and extend what I have to say on various topics- as, for example, on Spinoza and reincarnation. As before the lectures are to take place in the Philosophy Department seminar room, 5012, in the Arts Building,  on Saturday mornings, from 10:00 to 11:15.  The first lecture is to be on Saturday, 4 Feb. 2017,  and extend over the next five weeks, to Saturday,  11 March 2017.  As before, I am setting a quota, for this course 20 persons. Those who wish to attend the new course, can do so by post, enclosing a cheque/draft/ postal money order made payable to Trinity College no. 1 account, to the Executive Officer, Ms Una Campbell, Department of Philosophy, Arts Building, Trinity College, or call into the Philosophy Department Office, and pay directly.  It might also be possible to pay and the course on the morning of the first lecture, outside the seminar room 5012.  But, as mentioned above, places are limited to 20. The cost for the six lectures is €50.  A concession rate (€35) is available to students, unemployed persons and those in receipt of a social welfare pension. Those wanting additional information can contact me at or 01 8961126. *Here is the summary of the 9 lectures, originally printed in the TCD brochure of extra-mural lectures, for 2015/6: I begin by setting out what I take to be the seven or eight most serious forms or scenarios of after-death existences; these are (1) a disembodied realm of Heaven & Hell; (2) reincarnated persons; (3) resurrection of bodies; (4) pure indivisible minds; (5) world of Gods, demi-gods or Forms; (6) Brahmin consciousness, Moksha or Nirvana; (7) dream-image world; (8) oblivion or extinction.  Along with setting out the logic and some history of after-death existences [=ade], I also introduce the case against ade, as well perhaps their greatest critic, namely David Hume and his great essay against immortality. I then move into a more autobiographical mode, in which I briefly describe how I came to be interested in this subject, and how I came to see that those holding (8)- which is the present educated consensus, and was previously my position- are in the grips of an illusion- understood in the Freudian sense- an illusion of mortality.  I have also come to see that options 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7, are more feasible than is now generally allowed; whereas scenario 3, which is most widely and fervently accepted nowadays, by Fundamentalist Christians and Muslims, turns out, ironically, to be least credible as well as tending to occlude the other more credible options. Hence what is probably most distinctive about these lectures is that while their attitude to after-death existences is positive, this does not come from a commitment to any established religion- indeed, if anything, quite the opposite.  Another distinctive feature of this course concerns dreams, and especially the crucial idea that just as when we normally dream we do not know we are dreaming, so, according to various writers, the dead (at least the recent dead) do not know that they are dead.  What follows from this idea is the hypothesis that the most plausible way to understand the next life is as dream imaging, which is, in fact, broadly held by various religious traditions and has also been developed in a clear way by the Analytic philosopher, H. H. Price. I then examine the account of reincarnation of the idealistic philosopher, John McTaggart, which I believe is, like the dream-image theory, plausible yet largely ignored by present-day philosophers and those interested in reincarnation. I then look closely at the work of another now largely ignored thinker, Emmanuel Swedenborg, and his extraordinary account of the next life, which presents in detail one of the three important sub-forms of scenario 1 (the others being by Plato and Dante), having argued in an earlier lecture  that combining it with Price’s account of the next life as dream-image can enhance both theories. Looking back on what has been said, and glancing very briefy at what is presently the most popular source of ade, namely Near Death Experiences, or NDEs, I then, at the end of the course, try to reach a conclusion about the credibility of ade.”