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MATERIALIST SPIRITUALITY?

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Abstract:

Abstract. 

Contrary to proposals that seek a harmonious integration of “science and religion” or “science and spirituality,” I argue that contemporary scientific and philosophical work at the mind-brain interface gives us reason to be skeptical of many of the claims found within religious spiritualities. Religious spiritualities typically presume commitment to strong versions of metaphysical dualism, while contemporary mind science gives us every reason to think that the mind is the brain. If materialism is true, what becomes of spirituality? Materialism or naturalism is widely understood to be an anti-religious position with corrosive effects on morality. I correct this impression, arguing that materialism offers a compelling account of moral objectivity and is fully compatible with an appreciation for many aspects of religion. I further suggest that nothing precludes dialogue and conversation between naturalists and religious believers.

Keywords: atheism; consciousness; dualism; ethics; materialism; morality; naturalism; physicalism; theism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9744.2010.01190.x

Affiliations: Paul Voelker recently received his Ph.D. in constructive theology from Loyola University in Chicago. His mailing address is 6124 N. Winthrop Ave. #312, Chicago, IL 60660, USA;, Email: pvoelke@luc.edu.

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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