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The Illusion of Immortality Fifth Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0804463775
ISBN-10: 0804463778
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Extraordinarily complete and well informed...worthy of the serious attention of all thoughtful persons." --John Dewey

From the Back Cover

In clear and unflinching language, Dr. Corliss Lamont states the case for human mortality--the finality of death. But, he argues, the illusion of immortality is an affirmative vision, not a negative one.

"Extraordinarily complete and well informed...worthy of the serious attention of all thoughtful persons."
(John Dewey)

Born in Englewood, New Jersey, in 1902, Dr. Lamont graduated first from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1920, then magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1924. He did graduate work at Oxford and at Columbia, where he received his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1932.

He was director of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1932 to 1954, and is currently chairman of the national Emergency Civil Liberties Committee. A leading proponent of the individual's rights under the Constitution, he has won famous court decisions over Senator Joseph McCarthy, the CIA, and in 1965 a Supreme Court ruling against censorship of incoming mail by the U.S. Postmaster General.

Dr. Lamont has long been associated with Humanism, and authored the standard text on the subject, The Philosophy of Humanism, in 1949. He taught at Columbia, Cornell, and Harvard Universities, and at the New School for Social Research. Corliss Lamont is currently honorary president of the American Humanist Association.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 303 pages
  • Publisher: The Continuum Publishing Company; Fifth edition (September 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804463778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804463775
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,627,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"_The Illusion of Immortality_ is the only book I know of which details the often ignored scientific evidence against life after death (though a few articles can be found on the subject), but with its first edition published in 1935, the evidence cited is a bit dated. Lamont first outlines different historical views of immortality, from the ancient Greek belief that everyone enters a faded and deteroriating existence in Hades when they die, through the early Hebrew belief that
death ends with the annihilation of consciousness, to modern astral body views. Lamont should be credited for pointing out that the notion of immortality does not presuppose that an existence after death will necessarily be a worthwhile immortality--an idea often not considered those who believe in an afterlife--as the ancient Greek notion of Hades illustrates. In addition to addressing different kinds of survival of bodily death and the evidence against it, Lamont considers the problem of what an afterlife environment could possibly be like and arguments that immortality must be guaranteed by the benevolence of God. There is some confusion in Lamont's argument for a kind of reductionist materialism, for in arguing that the mind is a function of the brain, he proposes the existence of "nonphysical ideas"--so it appears that he is actually arguing that the mind is a product of the brain (epiphenomenalism) as opposed to arguing that the mind is identical to the brain (reductionist materialism). Lamont concludes by considering the motivations for belief in life after death and coping with living a finite
existence. As a whole, _The Illusion of Immortality_ is a very good introduction to the some of the philosophical issues and scientific evidence against life after death."
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Format: Paperback
This book absolutely changed my life... for better or worse, I am still unsure... but I feel liberated nonetheless. My Father has died since and I felt the real sorrow of actually feeling like I am not to ever see him again... just because of this book. I read it a couple of years ago & I am just now starting to get over the shock and sorrow of what Corliss Lamont pointed out. I am not sorry I read it I suppose... afterall I cannot be angry at the truth. Yet on the other hand, is not the "mirage" of afterlife a false sense of happiness that we sorely need through this life? Once a believer actually comes to the end, they'll never really know if the afterlife was a big lie... because they'll be dead... and thus, unaware of their mistaken prediction. Meanwhile with blind "faith", they can at least wear a smile on their face until the end. So one might make the argument that the faithful are indeed better off... even if they are completely wrong. Afterall, they chase this "mirage" with delusional glee as I sit with the horrific realization that it isn't water at all. Sometimes I wish I were more gullible. Ignorance may very well be bliss.
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Format: Paperback
Corliss Lamont (1902-1995), was a socialist philosopher, and a key figure in the Humanist movement, as well as the author of books such as Philosophy of Humanism, Yes to Life: Memoirs of Corliss Lamont, A Humanist Funeral Service, etc.

This book was originally published in 1935; he wrote in the Preface to the Fourth [1985] edition, "I present this fourth edition with the continuing conviction that the issue of personal existence after death remains one of the most significant of all problems for religion and philosophy. No man can work through to a mature philosophy of life without coming to grips with this agelong question. I still believe that the probabilities against a future life for the individual are so overwhelming that I am fully justiried in calling immortality an illusion." (Pg. vii)

He suggests, "If, however, one must be a dualist, it may be more intelligent to be a MATERIALISTIC dualist. For if we ask WHERE the soul is at any moment, we must admit that it is where the body is." (Pg. 99)

He notes, "It is sometimes argued that the existence of telepathy, which has by no means been proved scientifically, would in and of itself create a presumption in favor of personal survival on the ground that mind was transcending so remarkably its ordinary powers.
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