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Synopsis

Near death experiences fascinate everyone, from theologians to sociologists and neuroscientists. This groundbreaking book introduces the phenomenon of NDEs, their personal impact and the dominant scientific explanations. Taking a strikingly original cross-cultural approach and incorporating new medical research, it combines new theories of mind and body with contemporary research into how the brain functions.

Ornella Corazza analyses dualist models of mind and body, discussing the main features of NDEs as reported by many people who have experienced them. She studies the use of ketamine to reveal how characteristics of NDEs can be chemically induced without being close to death. This evidence challenges the conventional ‘survivalist hypothesis’, according to which the near death experience is a proof of the existence of an afterlife.

This remarkable book concludes that we need to move towards a more integrated view of embodiment, in order to understand what human life is and also what it can be.

Ornella Corazza is a NDE researcher at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. In 2004-5 she was a Member of the 21st Century Centre of Excellence (COE) ‘Program on the Construction of Death and Life Studies’ at the University of Tokyo.

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