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Immortal Remains: The Evidence for Life After Death Paperback – April 16, 2003

3.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Braude takes great care to clearly define concepts and summarize the case material in sufficient detail for the educated lay reader to follow his argument. This book does much more than present a case for personal postmodern survival. Immortal Remains not only contains Braude's personal perspective, but also highlights the state of the debate thus far. Even one with just a slight interest in survival research would do well to get acquainted with Braude and the philosophers with whom he puts himself into conversation throughout the book. Finally, he tackles these difficult issues with clear language and suitable wit, making Immortal Remains both a thought-provoking and entertaining read. (Journal of Scientific Exploration)

Stephen Braude is unique among those evaluating the evidence for an after-life in that he manages to combine a sympathetic consideration of favorable cases with an honest, penetrating philosophical critique of them. (Richard M. Gale, University of Pittsburgh)

[Braude's] research is thorough. He brings credibility to parapsychology. (Metapsychology Online Reviews)

Braude's treatment is psychologically much more sophisticated than most previous attempts to evaluate the literature. The book is worth close study. There are also touches of humor that lighten the seriousness of the topic. Professor Braude has produced a prodigious and fascinating work for which we can only offer our thanks. (Australian Journal of Parapsychology)

Lucid and comprehensive, Stephen Braude's Immortal Remains is certainly one of the best assessments ever written―perhaps, the best ever written―of the evidence for human survival of bodily death. (Raymond Martin, Union College)

As one would expect . . . Dr. Braude gives us a solid work of critical scholarship. He employs considerable philosophical and psychological sophistication. (The Christian Parapsychologist)

Imaginative, detailed, and well written. (Journal of the Society for Psychical Research)

This book is impressive. The author is a respected philosopher and parapsychologist whose works on psi, multiple personality, and other subjects are exemplars of scholarship...Superlatives are in order. This is the best book on survival that I have read. (Journal Of Parapsychology)

I welcome this book as an important contribution to the debate on whether or not we survive physical death. Scholarly, carefully argued and elegantly written, I hope it achieves the success it so clearly deserves. (David Fontana, Cardiff University The Scientific and Medical Network)

About the Author

Stephen E. Braude is professor and chair of the philosophy department at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (April 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742514722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742514720
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,485,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Folks who are not afraid of looking at what are still regarded as intellectually obscene phenomena (mediumship, apparitions, past live experiences, etc.) will be pleased to have such an able and sharp thinker as philosopher Stephen Braude examining the evidence for life after death.
Braude demonstrates how essential it is to acknowledge dissociative disorders and latent creative abilities when looking at some of the best cases suggesting survival, as well as the respective psychological settings in which those investigations are carried out. An implicit but also vital lesson to learn from "Immortal Remains" is how emotionally detached an author can and must be from this truly existential question (at least when dealing with it scientifically), as obviously managed by Braude, who permanently and cool-headedly weighs the arguments pro and con.
If you're out for easy answers, this book is not for you; if you enjoy brain-racking argumentation combined with a down-to-earth humor, "Immortal Remains" has certainly earned a place on your bookshelf.
In my view, this book is the legitimate successor of Alan Gauld's "Mediumship and Survival," and at the same time raises the standards of scientific survival research on an overdue next level.
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Format: Paperback
A reviewer on this page was obviously frustrated by the lack of a conclusion in 'Immortal Remains'. But the response, "I don't know", or "I'm not 100% sure", is a perfectly good one when investigating a diverse and complex subject such as survival after death. A book like Braude's, which grapples in great conceptual depth with ostensible evidence for survival and the various hypotheses that have arisen around this evidence, will not seem at all palatable to people with presupposed opinions on the issue. In any case, the current evidence for survival is not strong enough that one can fully commit oneself to any particular hypothesis.
Prof. Braude, to his credit, fully explores some of the best ostensible evidence for survival without any evident bias or coyness. He compares it against the evidence for psychic functioning among the living, motivated ESP, hidden capacities, creativity, linguistic skills, dissociation, and considers whether, and to what extent, they can help explain cases such as Runki's Leg, Mrs. Piper's trance mediumship, Cagliostro, Patience Worth, Sharada and others.
In the best cases the evidence is so remarkable that, ultimately, one must adopt either survival or super-psi (coupled with other abilities) as the most likely interpretation. But how do we decide? This is where Braude's book really shines through. He fully explores both hypotheses in their strongest and most plausible forms.
Although most cases end in a stalemate between survival and super-psi, Braude hesitantly favours survival since super-psi would inevitably suffer from "crippling complexity" - i.e.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stephen Braude did an excellent work in this book. Since this topic is amazingly vast, there is no escape from making a highly "incomplete" work. Nonetheless, he managed to achieve a level of quality that, in my view, makes this book a must in the field. It did help me enormously, both with its empirical feedbacks and with its theoretical ones. The main strength of it is its deep and detailed evaluation and comparison of the "life after life hypothesis" (also known as "survivalist hypothesis") vs the "super paranormality hypothesis" (usually known as super psi or super ESP).

I would like to comment on some flaws, however.

The first chapter, "Preliminaries", gives a theoretical background of the issues involved. It is a good chapter indeed, but I think it should have been better. Braude makes a witty distinction between "epistemological survival" vs "ontological survival" (a distinction that, curiously, I myself had come to some time ago, in the form of "objective survival" vs "subjective survival"). But I think he should have dealt more deeply with what is meant by "survival", and especially HOW we survive both after death and BEFORE death (probing these issues leads one to curious and insightful conclusions...). Tightly linked to this previous issue is the question of "identity" or "what we really ARE and what makes each one of us really US" (that is: what is it to be an "individual"?). Further, I found him lacking for not dealing with the problem of "what is consciousness?". There is a huge body of discussion, both in phylosophy and in science, about the true nature of consciouness; that is: is consciousness really produced by the brain (materialism) or is it a fundamental element of the Universe (Brahmanist Panpsychism)?
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Format: Paperback
Stephen Braude takes us on a fascinating tour of what he believes to be the best evidence for continuing life after death. Ever in search of truth, not comforting imagery, he examines skeptical responses to such evidence, adding some of his own based on his knowledge of human psychopathology. Yet, he is hardly a dogmatic skeptic: he finds that some of the most stunning cases stand up well against attack and call forth reasonable belief in immortality.
This book is not for everyone. It is written in a rigorous style (Dr. Braude is a philosophy professor) that may turn off those seeking easier new-age reads. Personally I wish Dr. Braude had looked more at broad-based phenomena in the culture (near-death experiences, visions of departed loved ones, ESP capabilities) that suggest that consciousness may be non-local and exist in disembodied form. Braude, instead, focuses on a limited number of canonical (and somewhat astounding) cases, some dating back to the 19th century. Nonetheless, his recounting and assessment of these cases is fascinating, meticulous, objective, and intelligent, and forms a great addition to existing literature. His references to such literature also provides a quick introduction to other serious authors in the field.
A book I highly recommend to those interested in exploring perhaps the most important question of all: does the human soul transcend death?
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