Book Cover
Author Burley, Mikel, 1972- author

Title Rebirth and the stream of life : a philosophical study of reincarnation, karma and ethics / Mikel Burley
Published New York : Bloomsbury Academic, 2016
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource
Contents Introduction Thinking about Rebirth -- 'Stream of Life' -- Terminological Matters -- An Expanded Conception of Philosophy of Religion -- Chapter Summaries -- Chapter 1 Varieties of Rebirth -- Soteriological Orientations -- Retributive Correlations -- Affinitive and Consanguineous Continuities -- Concluding Remarks -- Chapter 2 Remembering Having Lived Before? -- 'Infamous Puzzle Cases' -- Rebirth and Remembering -- Remembering and Merely Seeming to Remember -- Lived Examples -- Concluding Remarks -- Chapter 3 Finding Meaning in Multiple Lives -- Allegedly Fatal Objections to a Belief in Rebirth -- The Ethical Significance of 'Same Person' -- Simultaneous Multiplicity -- Rebirth and the Spirit World -- Concluding Remarks -- Chapter 4 Integrating Rebirth and Ethics -- Transmigration and Moral Outlooks in Ancient Greece -- Eschatologies and 'Ethicization' -- Instances of Non-Karmic Ethical Integration -- Concluding Remarks -- Chapter 5 Demythologizing Rebirth? -- 'Demythologizing' in Theology and the Study of Religions -- Karma and Rebirth without Personal Continuation -- Critical Discussion -- Concluding Remarks -- Chapter 6 Karma and Evil -- Karma as a Principle of Moral Guidance -- Is the Doctrine of Karma Incoherent? -- The Problem of 'Blaming the Victim' -- A Deep Disagreement -- Alternative Aspects of Karma -- Concluding Remarks -- Chapter 7 Conclusions -- Disrupting Assumptions -- Diversity and Dispute -- Methodological Reflections
Summary Rebirth and the Stream of Life explores the diversity as well as the ethical and religious significance of rebirth beliefs, focusing especially on Hindu and Buddhist traditions but also discussing indigenous religions and ancient Greek thought. Utilizing resources from religious studies, anthropology and theology, an expanded conception of philosophy of religion is exemplified, which takes seriously lived experience rather than treating religious beliefs in isolation from their place in believers' lives. Drawing upon his expertise in interdisciplinary working and Wittgenstein-influenced approaches, Mikel Burley examines several interrelated phenomena, including purported past-life memories, the relationship between metaphysics and ethics, efforts to 'demythologize' rebirth, and moral critiques of the doctrine of karma. This range of topics, with rebirth as a unifying theme, makes the book of value to anyone interested in philosophy, the study of religions, and what it means to believe that we undergo multiple lives
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Online resource; title from PDF title page (EBSCO, viewed December 10, 2015)
Subject Ethics, Comparative.
Philosophy, Indic.
Reincarnation -- Comparative studies.
Genre/Form Comparative studies.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 1628922273
1628922281 (electronic bk.)
9781628922288 (electronic bk.)