Near-Death Experiencers’ Beliefs and Aftereffects: Problems for the Fischer and Mitchell-Yellin Naturalist Explanation

Journal of Near-Death Studies 39 (2):103-122 (2021)
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Among the phenomena of near-death experiences (NDEs) are what are known as aftereffects whereby, over time, experiencers undergo substantial, long-term life changes, becoming less fearful of death, more moral and spiritual, and more convinced that life has meaning and that an afterlife exists. Some supernaturalists attribute these changes to the experience being real. John Martin Fischer and Benjamin Mitchell-Yellin, on the other hand, have asserted a naturalist thesis involving a metaphorical interpretation of NDE narratives that preserves their significance but eliminates the supernaturalist causal explanation. I argue that Fischer and Mitchell-Yellin’s psychological thesis fails as an explanation of NDEs.

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Patrick Brissey
University of South Carolina


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