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Reincarnation: A Critical Examination
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Top Customer Reviews
Edwards devotes to much space to irrelevant issues, or to irrelevant authors. For example, he talks a lot about Near-Death Experiences. But instead of performing a deep analysis of the works of highly respected authors in the field, like Kenneth Ring and Michael Sabom, he prefers to make lots of jokes and fun of the works of Kübler Ross and Moody Jr., who are considered very weak even by their own peers. Susan Blackmore, in "Dying to Live" (1993), did exactly the opposite, performing high quality skeptical analysis of the works of these authors. An update on that would be highly informative, but Mr. Edwards decided to give us only laughs instead.
In fact, it seems that Edwards' phobia of analyzing empirical evidence is a long lasting illness. He was criticised by philosopher Robert Almeder for this in 1997, and had already received this very same criticism by Almeder in 1990. Another lingering disease of his is his "reluctance to engage primary source material" (that is, he doesn't read and cite scientific papers, but popular books mostly), as anthropologist James Matlock put it in 1997 and again back in 1990. Both these 1990 comments refer to Edwards' four-chapter article published in the "Free Inquirer" magazine, in 1986-87, on the reincarnation hypothesis. That is where his book came from, apparently with very few additions, and possibly with no improvements... (easy money, huh?).
Edwards' analysis of the works of Ian Stevenson is a complete failure. Actually, his analysis "seems" to have some basis. The first time I read chapter 16 (on Stevenson), I thought: "Wow, that's devastating!".Read more ›
In chapter 16 of this book, author Edwards seeks to debunk Ian Stevenson. Here he informs us that most human lives are quite wretched, and that no one would want to incarnate into any such life. Since people are indeed born into such situations, he concludes that this refutes the notion of reincarnation, which Edwards declares straightaway to be "fantastic if not indeed pure nonsense".
Evidently, the author is assuming the act of reincarnation is voluntary.
Buddhists have been studying this "fantastic" idea of reincarnation for millennia, and their interest in this matter is well-known. The Tibetan Book of the Dead is essentially an instruction manual on how to avoid reincarnation. It describes death as something like the big sleep, and the bardo after death as a sort of dreamscape. According to this text, unless one has attained sufficient stability of mind through meditation and other practices, the process of reincarnation is INVOLUNTARY. And so, yes, people do get reincarnated into awful situations - because they have no more control over the process than most of us have over our dreams.
The idea that consciousness might exist independent of a physical body is also subject to Edwards' "fantastic if not indeed pure nonsense" dismissal. Apparently he belongs to the Alice in Wonderland school of investigation - first the verdict, then the evidence.Read more ›
Philosopher Paul Edwards, however, has taken stock of this situation and, out of the kindness of his heart, and what I can only surmise is a selfless devotion to rationality, has decided to disabuse anyone who will listen to him of this dangerous notion. The result is a tedious essay in pedantic nit-picking.
I am not a believer in, nor an apologist for, reincarnation. I am, I imagine, a sympathetic agnostic. When we get down to it, no one really knows what happens after death - no one, that is, who has yet to enjoy the experience. And those who have, ain't talking. So my displeasure in Edwards' grating text is not that of an adherent defending a sacred creed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Paul Edwards (1923-2004) was an Austrian-American philosopher, who was the editor-in-chief of MacMillan's eight-volume The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (8 Volumes in 4), and lectured... Read morePublished on April 23, 2013 by Steven H Propp
I recently posted my review for the author's another book "Immortality (1997)" (first published in 1992). Almost the same review can be applied to this book, too. Read morePublished on August 15, 2011 by Masayoshi Ishida
He does not say it explicitly, but Edwards has a very simple theory about reincarnation. He thinks anyone who believes in reincarnation is stupid, ignorant, misinformed,... Read morePublished on April 9, 2010 by Sapphire Harp
Few works can garner a worse review than Paul Edwards' "Reincarnation. A Critical Examination" which promises much but delivers precious little. Read morePublished on November 25, 2009 by I. Durovic
This is a wonderful work by great philosopher Paul Edwards.I should rather say that this is the only work along with Immortality(again by Paul Edwards) that has completely... Read morePublished on October 14, 2008 by Gurpreet S. Sumra
I have a disdain for the notion of reincarnation, and to my mind, others who are similarly skeptical, such as Paul Edwards, the author of this book, never propound the best... Read morePublished on January 9, 2005 by Jack Maybrick
Only guillible believers in reincarnation who has shut their minds to the facts, their consciences, and different viewpoints could possibly review this book poorly. Read morePublished on September 10, 2004 by socialecologist85
It is a breath of fresh air to have at long last a systematic examination of these strange Eastern beliefs. No one could have done the job better than Paul Edwards. Read morePublished on August 12, 2004 by Mythbuster
I am rather surprised at the quantity and inanity of bad reviews for this book. It is rather inexplicable to me - perhaps they read something else. Read morePublished on February 16, 2002 by Francois Tremblay