In this post, Is a materialist afterlife possible? , the OP asks if the concept of afterlife as accepted in Christianity (and presumably other religions) is compatible with materialism. Presumably this means a strictly materialist ontology that also includes an omnipotent God.
But this would be a strange form of materialism indeed. The way I see it, most materialists believe at least implicitly that materialism implies that nothing is possible that doesn't follow the laws of physics.
Materialist disbelief in deities, spiritual beings, souls, cartesian mental substances, etc...usually stem from the fact that such entities existence defies the known laws of physics:
- Either such entities do not follow the laws of physics, and they believe that that is impossible. Or,
- The laws of physics are so radically different from what empirical evidence has shown us that such entities are possible, an equally unlikely scenario.
Based on these two considerations, they would rather just deny the existence of deities and spiritual entities all together, as this is the most likely case given empirical evidence.
So materialism isn't really a position about the ontology of the world, but more of a statement on whether the world follows certain laws or not, and what is the source of these laws.
- Is this reasoning correct?
- If materialism isn't an ontological position, is it an epistemic one?