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Philosophia Christi

Volume 20, Issue 2, 2018

Matthew J. Hart
Pages 481-496
DOI: 10.5840/pc201820246

Christian Materialism and Demonic Temptation

Demons have the power to cause temptations in us, and Christian materialism implies the supervenience of temptations on brain states. This in turn implies that demons bring about temptations by causally interfering with our brains. But if they have such an ability to affect the physical world, it is mysterious why they do not wreak more havoc than they do both to our brains and in the world more generally. Substance dualism provides an elegant solution: demonic temptation is not a species of soul-to-brain causation, but soul-to-soul, and we don’t need to suppose demons have the power to directly affect the physical world. Materialist solutions, in contrast, are ad hoc.