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{{PhilPsy}}
   
In [[philosophy]], '''materialism''' is that form of [[physicalism]] which holds that the only thing that can truly be said to ''[[existence|exist]]'' is [[matter]]; that fundamentally, all things are composed of ''material'' and all phenomena are the result of material interactions. Science uses a working assumption, sometimes known as [[Naturalism (philosophy)|methodological naturalism]], that [[observation|observable]] events in [[nature]] are explained only by natural causes without assuming the existence or non-existence of the [[supernatural]]. As a theory, materialism belongs to the class of [[monist]] [[ontology]]. As such, it is different from ontological theories based on [[dualism]] or [[pluralism]]. In terms of singular explanations of the phenomenal reality, materialism stands in sharp contrast to [[idealism]].
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{{PsyPerspective}}
   
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The [[philosophy]] of '''materialism''' holds that the only thing that [[existence|exists]] is [[matter]]; that all things are composed of ''material'' and all phenomena (including [[consciousness]]) are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only [[Substance theory|substance]]. As a theory, materialism is a form of [[physicalism]] and belongs to the class of [[monism|monist]] [[ontology]]. As such, it is different from ontological theories based on [[dualism]] or [[Pluralism (metaphysics)|pluralism]]. For singular explanations of the phenomenal reality, materialism would be in contrast to [[idealism]] and to [[spiritualism]].
   
== Overview ==
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==Overview==
The first detailed description of the philosophy occurs in the scientific poem ''[[De Rerum Natura]]'' by [[Lucretius]] in his recounting of the mechanistic philosophy of [[Democritus]] and [[Epicurus]]. According to this view, all that exists is matter and void, and all phenomena are the result of different motions and conglomerations of base material particles called "atoms." ''De Rerum Natura'' provides remarkably insightful, mechanistic explanations for phenomena, like erosion, evaporation, wind, and sound, that would not become accepted for more than 1500 years. Famous principles like "nothing can come from nothing" and "nothing can touch body but body" first appeared in this most famous work of Lucretius.
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The view is perhaps best understood in its opposition to the doctrines of immaterial substance applied to the mind historically, famously by [[René Descartes]]. However, by itself materialism says nothing about how material substance should be characterized. In practice it is frequently assimilated to one variety of [[physicalism]] or another.
   
The view is perhaps best understood in its opposition to the doctrines of immaterial substance applied to the mind historically, and most famously by [[René Descartes]]. However, by itself materialism says nothing about how material substance should be characterized. In practice it is frequently assimilated to one variety of [[physicalism]] or another.
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Materialism is often associated with [[Reduction (philosophy)|reductionism]], according to which the objects or phenomena individuated at one level of description, if they are genuine, must be explicable in terms of the objects or phenomena at some other level of description — typically, a more general level than the reduced one. ''Non-reductive materialism'' explicitly rejects this notion, however, taking the material constitution of all particulars to be consistent with the existence of real objects, properties, or phenomena not explicable in the terms canonically used for the basic material constituents. [[Jerry Fodor]] influentially argues this view, according to which empirical laws and explanations in "special sciences" like psychology or geology are invisible from the perspective of basic physics. A lot of vigorous literature has grown up around the relation between these views.
   
Materialism is sometimes allied with the methodological principle of [[Reduction (philosophy)|reductionism]], according to which the objects or phenomena individuated at one level of description, if they are genuine, must be explicable in terms of the objects or phenomena at some other level of description -- typically, a more general level than the reduced one. ''Non-reductive materialism'' explicitly rejects this notion, however, taking the material constitution of all particulars to be consistent with the existence of real objects, properties, or phenomena not explicable in the terms canonically used for the basic material constituents. [[Jerry Fodor]] influentially argues this view, according to which empirical laws and explanations in "special sciences" like psychology or geology are invisible from the perspective of, say, basic physics. A vigorous literature has grown up around the relation between these views.
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Modern philosophical materialists extend the definition of other scientifically observable entities such as [[energy]], [[force]]s, and the [[curvature of space]]. However philosophers such as [[Mary Midgley]] suggest that the concept of "matter" is elusive and poorly defined.<ref>[[Mary Midgley]] ''The Myths We Live By''.</ref>
   
Materialism typically contrasts with [[dualism (philosophy of mind)|dualism]], [[phenomenalism]], [[idealism]], and [[vitalism]]. The definition of "matter" in modern philosophical materialism extends to all scientifically observable entities such as [[energy]], [[force|forces]], and the [[curvature of space]]. In this sense, one might speak of the "[[material world]]".
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Materialism typically contrasts with [[dualism (philosophy of mind)|dualism]], [[phenomenalism]], [[idealism]], [[vitalism]] and [[dual-aspect monism]]. Its materiality can, in some ways, be linked to the concept of [[Determinism]], as espoused by [[Age of Enlightenment|Enlightenment]] thinkers.
   
Materialism has frequently been understood to designate an entire scientific, ''[[rationalism|rationalistic]]'' [[world view]], particularly by religious thinkers opposed to it, who regard it as a spiritually empty religion. [[Marxism]] also uses ''materialism'' to refer to the scientific world view, It emphasizes a "materialist conception of history", which is not concerned with metaphysics but centers on the empirical world of actual human activity (practice, including labor) and the [[institution]]s created, reproduced, or destroyed by that activity (see [[historical materialism|materialist conception of history]]).
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Materialism has been criticised by religious thinkers opposed to it{{Weasel-inline|date=August 2009}}, who regard it as a [[Spirituality|spiritually]] empty philosophy. [[Marxism]] uses ''materialism'' to refer to a "materialist conception of history", which is not concerned with [[metaphysics]] but centers on the roughly empirical world of human activity (practice, including labor) and the [[institution]]s created, reproduced, or destroyed by that activity (see [[historical materialism|materialist conception of history]]).
   
== Varieties of materialism ==
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==History of materialism==
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===Axial Age===
   
* [[Christian materialism]]
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Materialism developed, possibly independently, in several geographically separated regions of [[Eurasia]] during the [[Axial Age]].
* [[Dialectical materialism]] (See also [[Marxist philosophy of nature]].)
 
* [[Historical materialism]] (Marxist application of materialism to history)
 
* [[Eliminative materialism]]
 
* [[Emergent materialism]]
 
* [[Evolutionary materialism]]
 
* [[French materialism]]
 
* [[Reductive materialism]] / [[Reductionism]]
 
* [[Cartesian materialism]]
 
   
== History of materialism ==
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In [[Ancient India]]n [[Indian philosophy|philosophy]], materialism developed around 600 BCE with the works of [[Ajita Kesakambali]], [[Payasi]], [[Kanada]], and the proponents of the [[Cārvāka]] school of philosophy. Kanada was one of the early proponents of [[atomism]]. The [[Nyaya]]-[[Vaisesika]] school (600 BCE - 100 BCE) developed one of the earliest forms of atomism, though their proofs of God and positing that the consciousness was not material made them not to be materialists. The atomic tradition was carried forward by [[Buddhist atomism]] and the [[Jaina]] school.
   
Ancient [[Greek philosophy | Greek philosophers]] like [[Thales]], [[Parmenides]], [[Anaxagoras]], [[Democritus]], [[Epicurus]], and even [[Aristotle]] prefigure later materialists. Later on, [[Thomas Hobbes]] and [[Pierre Gassendi]] represent the materialist tradition, in opposition to [[René Descartes]]' attempts to provide the [[natural sciences]] with [[dualism|dualist]] foundations. Later materialists included [[Denis Diderot]] and other French [[The Enlightenment|enlightenment]] thinkers, as well as [[Ludwig Feuerbach]].
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[[Xun Zi]] developed a [[Confucian]] doctrine oriented on realism and materialism in Ancient China. Other notable Chinese materialists of this time include [[Yang Xiong (author)|Yang Xiong]] and [[Wang Chong]].
   
[[Schopenhauer]] wrote that "...materialism is the philosophy of the subject who forgets to take account of himself." (''[[The World as Will and Representation]]'', II, Ch. 1) "Everything objective, extended, active, and hence everything material, is regarded by materialism as so solid a basis for its explanations that a reduction to this (especially if it should ultimately result in thrust and counter-thrust) can leave nothing to be desired. (But) [a]ll this is something that is given only very indirectly and conditionally, and is therefore only relatively present, for it has passed through the machinery and fabrication of the brain, and hence has entered the forms of time, space, and causality, by virtue of which it is first of all presented as extended in space and operating in time." (''ibid.'', I, §7)
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Ancient [[Greek philosophy|Greek philosophers]] like [[Thales]], [[Parmenides]], [[Anaxagoras]], [[Democritus]], [[Darwin Antigua]], prefigure later materialists. The poem ''[[De Rerum Natura]]'' by [[Lucretius]] recounts the [[mechanism (philosophy)|mechanistic]] philosophy of [[Democritus]] and [[Epicurus]]. According to this view, all that exists is matter and void, and all phenomena are the result of different motions and conglomerations of base material particles called "atoms." ''De Rerum Natura'' provides mechanistic explanations for phenomena such as erosion, evaporation, wind, and sound. Famous principles like "nothing can come from nothing" and "nothing can touch body but body" first appeared in the works of Lucretius.
   
[[Karl Marx]] and [[Friedrich Engels]], turning the [[idealism|idealist]] [[dialectic]]s of [[Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel|Georg Hegel]] upside down, provided materialism with a view on processes of quantitative and qualitative change called ''[[dialectical materialism]]'', and with a materialist account of the course of history, known as ''[[historical materialism]].''
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===Common Era===
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Later Indian materialist [[Jayaraashi Bhatta]] (6th century CE) in his work ''Tattvopaplavasimha'' ("the Upsetting of all principles") refuted the [[Nyaya Sutra]] epistemology. The materialistic Cārvāka philosophy appears to have died out some time after 1400 CE.
   
In recent years, [[Paul Churchland|Paul]] and [[Patricia Churchland]] have advocated ''[[eliminativist materialism]]'', which holds that mental phenomena simply do not exist at all -- that talk of the mental reflects a totally spurious "[[folk psychology]]" that simply has no basis in fact, something like the way that folk science speaks of demon-caused illness.
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In early 12th-century [[al-Andalus]], the [[Early Islamic philosophy|Arabian philosopher]], [[Ibn Tufail]] (Abubacer), wrote discussions on materialism in his [[philosophical novel]], ''[[Hayy ibn Yaqdhan]]'' (''Philosophus Autodidactus''), while vaguely foreshadowing the idea of a [[historical materialism]].<ref name=Urvoy>Dominique Urvoy, "The Rationality of Everyday Life: The Andalusian Tradition? (Aropos of Hayy's First Experiences)", in Lawrence I. Conrad (1996), ''The World of Ibn Tufayl: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓān'', pp. 38-46, [[Brill Publishers]], ISBN 9004093001.</ref>
   
== References ==
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===European Enlightenment===
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Later on, [[Thomas Hobbes]] and [[Pierre Gassendi]] represent the materialist tradition, in opposition to [[René Descartes]]' attempts to provide the [[natural sciences]] with [[dualism|dualist]] foundations. Later are materialist and [[atheism|atheist]] [[Jean Meslier]], [[Julien Offroy de La Mettrie]], Paul-Henri Thiry [[Baron d'Holbach]], [[Denis Diderot]] and other minor French [[The Enlightenment|enlightenment]] thinkers, as well as [[Ludwig Feuerbach]], and, in England, the pedestrian traveller [[John "Walking" Stewart]], whose insistence that all matter is endowed with a [[moral]] dimension had a major impact on the philosophical poetry of [[William Wordsworth]].
   
* Churchland, Paul (1981). ''Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes''. The Philosophy of Science. Boyd, Richard; P. Gasper; J. D. Trout. Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT Press.
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[[Schopenhauer]] wrote that "...materialism is the philosophy of the subject who forgets to take account of himself."<ref>''[[The World as Will and Representation]]'', II, Ch. 1)</ref> He claimed that an observing subject can only know material objects through the mediation of the brain and its particular organization. The way that the brain knows determines the way that material objects are experienced. "Everything objective, extended, active, and hence everything material, is regarded by materialism as so solid a basis for its explanations that a reduction to this (especially if it should ultimately result in thrust and counter-thrust) can leave nothing to be desired. But all this is something that is given only very indirectly and conditionally, and is therefore only relatively present, for it has passed through the machinery and fabrication of the brain, and hence has entered the forms of time, space, and causality, by virtue of which it is first of all presented as extended in space and operating in time."<ref>''[[The World as Will and Representation]]'', I, §7</ref>
* Flanagan, Owen (1991). ''The Science of the Mind''. 2nd edition Cambridge Massachusetts, MIT Press.
 
* Fodor, J.A. (1974) Special Sciences, ''Synthese'', Vol.28.
 
* Kim, J. (1994) Multiple Realization and the Metaphysics of Reduction, ''Philosophy and Phenomenological Research'', Vol. 52.
 
* Lange, Friedrich A.,(1925) ''The History of Materialism''. New York, Harcourt, Brace, & Co.
 
* Moser, P. K.; J. D. Trout, Ed. (1995) ''Contemporary Materialism: A Reader''. New York, Routledge.
 
* Schopenhauer, Arthur, (1969) ''[[The World as Will and Representation]]''. New York, Dover Publications, Inc.
 
* Vitzthum, Richard C. (1995) ''Materialism: An Affirmative History and Definition''. Amhert, New York, Prometheus Books.
 
* Buchner, L. (1920). ''Force and Matter''. New York, Peter Eckler Publishing CO.
 
* [[La Mettrie]], ''Man The machine''.
 
   
{{Philosophy (navigation)}}
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===Marx's social materialism===
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[[Karl Marx]] and [[Friedrich Engels]], turning the [[idealism|idealist]] [[dialectic]]s of [[Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel|Georg Hegel]] upside down, came up with ''[[dialectical materialism]]'' and a materialist account of the course of history known as ''[[historical materialism]].''<ref>{{cite encyclopedia |last= |first= |author= |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor=Jonathan Wolff, Ph.D. |encyclopedia=Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy |title=Karl Marx |url=http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/marx/ |accessdate=2009-09-17 |edition= |date= |year= |publisher=Stanford |volume= |location= |id= |doi= |pages= |quote= }}</ref> For Marx, the base material of the world is social relations (and mainly class relations, e.g, between serfs and lord, or today, between employees and employer). As an expression of these basic social relations, all other [[ideologies]] form, including those of science, economics, law, morality, etc.
   
[[Category:Materialism| ]]
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[[Karl Marx]] and [[Friedrich Engels]] used the term to refer to a theoretical perspective that holds the satisfaction of everyday economic needs is the primary reality in every epoch of history. Opposed to German idealist philosophy, materialism takes the position that society and reality originate from a set of simple economic acts which human beings carry out in order to provide the material necessities of food, shelter, and clothing. Materialism takes as its starting point that before anything else, human beings must produce their everyday economic needs through their physical labor and practical productive activity. This single economic act, Marx believed, gives rise to a system of social relations which include political, legal and religious structures of society.
[[Category:Monism]]
 
[[Category:Metaphysics]]
 
[[Category:Philosophy of mind]]
 
[[Category:Secularism]]
 
   
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==Scientific materialists==
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{{Unreferenced section|date=August 2009}}
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Many current and recent philosophers in the school of [[scientific materialism]] —e.g., [[Daniel Dennett]], [[Willard Van Orman Quine]], [[Donald Davidson (philosopher)|Donald Davidson]], [[John Rogers Searle]], [[Jerry Fodor]], and [[Richard Dawkins]]—operate within a broadly physicalist or materialist framework, producing rival accounts of how best to accommodate [[mind]]—[[functionalism (philosophy of mind)|functionalism]], [[anomalous monism]], [[identity theory]] and so on.
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In recent years, [[Paul Churchland|Paul]] and [[Patricia Churchland]] have advocated a more extreme position, ''[[eliminativist materialism]]'', which holds that mental phenomena simply do not exist at all—that talk of the mental reflects a totally spurious "[[folk psychology]]" that simply has no basis in fact, something like the way that folk science speaks of demon-caused illness.
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==Defining matter==
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The nature and definition of matter have been subject to much debate<ref>{{CathEncy|title=Matter|url=http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10053b.htm}}</ref>, as have other key concepts in science and philosophy. Is there a single kind of matter which everything is made of ([[hyle]]), or multiple kinds? Is matter a continuous substance capable of expressing multiple forms ([[hylomorphism]])<ref>[http://www.britannica.com/ebc/article-9041771 Concise Britannica on hylomorphism]</ref>, or a number of discrete, unchanging constituents ([[atomism]])? <ref>[http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local/DHI/dhi.cgi?id=dv1-21 ''Dictionary of the History of Ideas'': Atomism: Antiquity to the Seventeenth Century]</ref>
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<ref>[http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local/DHI/dhi.cgi?id=dv1-22 ''Dictionary of the History of Ideas'':Atomism in the Seventeenth Century]</ref><ref> [http://people.umass.edu/schaffer/papers/Fundamental.pdf Article by a philosopher who opposes atomism]</ref>
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<ref>[http://www.abstractatom.com/buddhist_atomism_and_the_r_theory_of_time.htm Information on Buddhist atomism]</ref><ref>[http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/democritus/ Article on traditional Greek atomism]</ref><ref>[http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/atomism-modern/ Atomism from the 17th to the 20th Century at Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]</ref> Does it have intrinsic properties ([[substance theory]])<ref>[http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/substance/ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on substance theory]</ref><ref>[http://www.friesian.com/essence.htm The Friesian School on Substance and Essence]</ref>, or is it lacking them ([[prima materia]])?
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Without question science has made unexpected discoveries about matter. Some paraphrase departures from traditional or [[common-sense]] concepts of matter as "disproving the existence of matter".
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However, most physical scientists take the view that the concept of matter has merely changed, rather than being eliminated.{{Citation needed|date=February 2007}}
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One challenge to the traditional concept of matter as tangible "stuff" is the rise of field physics in the 19th century. However the conclusion that materialism is false may be premature. [[Special relativity|Relativity]] shows that matter and energy (including the spatially distributed energy of fields) are interchangeable. This enables the ontological view that energy is [[prima materia]] and matter is one of its forms. On the other hand, [[quantum field theory]] models fields as [[Standard model#Force Mediating Particles|exchanges of particles]] &mdash; [[photon]]s for [[electromagnetic fields]] and so on. On this view it could be said that fields are "really matter". {{Citation needed|date=February 2007}}
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All known solid, liquid, and gaseous substances are composed of protons, neutrons and electrons. All three are [[fermions]] or spin-half particles, whereas the particles that mediate fields in [[quantum field theory]] are [[bosons]]. Thus matter can be said to divide into a more tangible fermionic kind and a less tangible bosonic kind. However it is now generally believed that less than 5% of the physical composition of the universe is made up of such "matter", and the majority of the universe is composed of [[Dark Matter]] and [[Dark Energy]] - with no agreement amongst scientists about what these are made of<ref>Bernard Sadoulet ''Particle Dark Matter in the Universe: At the Brink of Discovery?'' Science 5 January 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5808, pp. 61 - 63 </ref>. This obviously refutes the traditional materialism that held that the only things that exist are things composed of the kind of matter with which we are broadly familiar ("traditional matter") - which was anyway under great strain as noted above from [[Special relativity|Relativity]] and [[quantum field theory]]. But if the definition of "matter" is extended to "anything whose existence can be inferred from the observed behaviour of traditional matter" then there is no reason ''in principle'' why entities whose existence materialists normally deny should not be considered as "matter"<ref>eg [[C. S. Lewis]] in ''[[The Great Divorce]]'' suggested that [[Heaven]] was composed of super-massive matter that was more substantial than normal matter</ref>
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Some philosophers feel that these dichotomies necessitate a switch from materialism to physicalism. Others use materialism and physicalism interchangeably.<ref>[http://philosophy.uwaterloo.ca/MindDict/materialism.html Dictionary of the Philosophy of mind -- "Many philosophers and scientists now use the terms `material' and `physical' interchangeably"]</ref>
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==Criticism and alternatives ==
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The professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame [[Alvin Plantinga]] criticises it, and the Emiritus Regius Professor of Divinity [[Keith Ward]] suggests that materialism is rare amongst contemporary UK philosophers: "Looking around my philosopher colleagues in Britain, virtually all of whom I know at least from their published work, I would say that very few of them are materialists."<ref>''[[Is Religion Dangerous?]]'' p 91</ref>.
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===Religious and spiritual objections===
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According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, materialism denies the existence of both God and the soul.<ref>{{CathEncy|wstitle=Materialism}}</ref> It is therefore incompatible with most world religions including [[Islam]], [[Christianity]], [[Judaism]], and [[Buddhism]].<ref>Gunasekara</ref>
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In most of [[Hinduism]] and [[Transcendentalism]], all matter is believed to be an illusion called [[Maya (illusion)|Maya]], blinding us from knowing the truth. Maya is the limited, purely physical and mental reality in which our everyday consciousness has become entangled. Maya gets destroyed for a person when they perceive [[Brahman]] with transcendental knowledge.
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[[Kant]] argued against all three forms of materialism, subjective idealism (which he contrasts with his "transcendental idealism"<ref>see [[Critique of Pure Reason]] where he gives a "refutation of idealism" in pp345-52 (1st Ed) and pp 244-7 (2nd Ed) in the Norman Kemp Smith edition</ref>) and dualism.<ref>[[Critique of Pure Reason]] (A379, p352 NKS translation).
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"If, however, as commonly happens, we seek to extend the concept of dualism, and take it in the transcendental sense, neither it nor the two counter-alternatives &mdash; pneumatism [idealism] on the one hand, materialism on the other &mdash; would have any sort of basis [...] Neither the transcendental object which underlies outer appearances nor that which underlies inner intuition, is in itself either matter or a thinking being, but a ground (to us unknown)..." </ref> However, Kant also argues that change and [[time]] require an enduring substrate.<ref>"Kant argues that we can determine that there has been a change in the objects of our perception, not merely a change in our perceptions themselves, only by conceiving of what we perceive as successive states of enduring substances (see Substance)".[http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/DB047SECT7 Routledge Encyclopedia of philosophy]</ref>, and does so in connection with his Refutation of Idealism<ref>"All determination of time presupposes something permanent in perception. This permanent cannot, however, be something in me [...]" Critique of Pure Reason, B274, P245 (NKS translation) </ref>
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[[Postmodern]]/[[poststructuralist]] thinkers also express a skepticism about any all-encompassing metaphysical scheme.
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Philosopher [[Mary Midgley]]<ref> see [[Mary Midgley]] ''The Myths we Live by''</ref>, among others <ref>Baker, L. (1987). ''Saving Belief'' Princeton, Princeton University Press</ref><ref> Reppert, V. (1992). ''Eliminative Materialism, Cognitive Suicide, and Begging the Question''. Metaphilosophy 23: 378-92.</ref><ref>Seidner, Stanley S. (June 10, 2009) "A Trojan Horse: Logotherapeutic Transcendence and its Secular Implications for Theology". Mater Dei Institute. p 5. </ref><ref>Boghossian, P. (1990). ''The Status of Content'' Philosophical Review 99: 157-84. and (1991)''The Status of Content Revisited''. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 71: 264-78.</ref>, argues that materialism is a [[self-refuting idea]], at least in its eliminative form.
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===Other ontologies===
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{{Unreferenced section|date=August 2009}}
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'''Bundle Theory'''. It can be argued that it is the properties of material bodies, such as size and shape, which are perceived, and not the material substrate itself. [[John Locke|Locke]] said we "know not what" the basic substance is.<ref>[http://www.rbjones.com/rbjpub/philos/classics/locke/ctb2c23.htm Locke, J. Essan Understay Concerning Humanding/]</ref> As [[George Berkeley|Berkeley]] wrote "I acknowledge it is possible we might perceive all things just as we do now, though there was no Matter in the world; neither can I conceive, if there be Matter, how it should produce any idea in our minds". If mind-independent properties (properly speaking property-instances or [[Trope (philosophy)|tropes]]) are held to exist
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in association with each other but without a material substrate, [[bundle theory]] results. If bundle theory is shown to be illogical or inconceivable, the existence of a substrate is thereby demonstrated conceptually, despite the unpercievability of matter per se.
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'''Idealism'''. An argument for [[idealism]], such as those of [[Hegel]] and [[George Berkeley|Berkeley]] is ''ipso facto'' an argument against materialism. Matter can be argued to be redundant, as in bundle theory, and mind-independent properties can in turn be reduced to subjective [[percept]]s.
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'''Dualism'''. If matter is seen as necessary to explain the physical world, but incapable of explaining mind, [[dualism (philosophy of mind)|dualism]] results.
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'''[[Emergence]]''', '''[[Holism]]''' and '''[[Process philosophy]]''' are some of the approaches that seek to ameliorate the perceived shortcomings of traditional (especially [[mechanism (philosophy)|mechanistic]]) materialism without abandoning materialism entirely.
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=== Materialism as methodology===
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Some critics object to materialism as part of an overly skeptical, narrow or [[reductionism|reductivist]] approach to theorizing, rather than to the ontological claim that matter is the only substance.
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[[particle physics|Particle physicist]] and [[theology|theologian]] [[John Polkinghorne]] objects to what he calls ''promissory materialism'' &mdash; claims that materialistic science ''will'' eventually be able to explain phenomena it has not so far been able to explain.<ref>However, critics of materialism are equally guilty of prognosticating that it will ''never'' be able to explain certain phenomena " Over a hundred years ago [[William James]] saw clearly that science would never resolve the [[mind-body dichotomy|mind-body problem]]".[http://www.designinference.com/documents/1999.10.spiritual_machines.htm Dembski, W. Are We Spiritual Machines]</ref> He prefers [[dual-aspect monism]] to materialism.<ref>[http://www.crosscurrents.org/polkinghorne.htm Interview with John Polkinghorne]</ref>
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The psychologist [[Imants Barušs]] suggests that "materialists tend to indiscriminately apply a 'pebbles in a box' schema to explanations of reality even though such a schema is known to be incorrect in general for physical phenomena. Thus, materialism cannot explain matter, let alone anomalous phenomena or subjective experience <ref>Baruss, I. (1993). Can we consider matter as ultimate reality? Some fundamental problems with a materialist interpretation of reality. ''Ultimate Reality and Meaning: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Philosophy of Understanding'', 16(3-4), 245-254</ref>, but remains entrenched in academia largely for political reasons."<ref>Baruss, I. (2001). The art of science: Science of the future in light of alterations of consciousness. ''Journal of Scientific Exploration'', 15(1), 57-68</ref> (Compare with [[Charles Fort]])
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=== The flow of time ===
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[[Four-dimensionalism]] is the most commonly accepted theory of time among members of the scientific community.{{Citation needed|date=August 2009}} Critics of materialism could argue that it's impossible for our subjective [[sense of time]] to arise from a static, four-dimensional universe. It must be noted that the flow of time isn't the same as the [[arrow of time]].
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==See also==
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{{Div col}}
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*[[Antimaterialism]]
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*[[Atheism]]
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*[[Buddhism]]
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*[[Cārvāka]]
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*[[Christian materialism]]
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*[[Cultural materialism]]
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*[[Dialectical materialism]]
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*[[Dualism]]
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*[[Economic materialism]]
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*[[Eliminative materialism]]
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*[[Grotesque body]]
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*[[Historical materialism]]
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*[[Humanism]]
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*[[Hyle]]
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*[[Idealism]]
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*[[Immaterialism]]
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* [[Madhyamaka]] - a philosophy of [[middle way]]
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*[[Material feminism]]
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*[[Marxist philosophy of nature]]
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*[[Matter]]
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*[[Metaphysical naturalism]]
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*[[Naturalism (philosophy)]]
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*[[Postmaterialism]]
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*[[Philosophy of mind]]
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*[[Reality in Buddhism]]
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*[[Substance theory]]
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*[[Theravada]]
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*[[Transcendence (religion)]]
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*[[Work of art]]
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{{Div col end}}
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==References==
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Specific references:
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{{reflist|2}}
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{{More footnotes|date=August 2009}}
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General references:
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{{refbegin}}
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*Buchner, L. (1920). ''Force and Matter''. New York, Peter Eckler Publishing Co.
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*Churchland, Paul (1981). ''Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes''. The Philosophy of Science. Boyd, Richard; P. Gasper; J. D. Trout. Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT Press.
  +
*Flanagan, Owen (1991). ''The Science of the Mind''. 2nd edition Cambridge Massachusetts, MIT Press.
  +
*Fodor, J.A. (1974). Special Sciences, ''Synthese'', Vol.28.
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*Gunasekara, Victor A. (2001). "Buddhism and the Modern World". ''Basic Buddhism: A Modern Introduction to the Buddha's Teaching". 18 January 2008 <http://www.buddhismtoday.com/english/buddha/Teachings/basicteaching11.htm>.
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*Kim, J. (1994) Multiple Realization and the Metaphysics of Reduction, ''Philosophy and Phenomenological Research'', Vol. 52.
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*[[Julien Offray de La Mettrie|La Mettrie, La Mettrie, Julien Offray de]] (1748). ''L'Homme Machine'' (''[[Man a Machine]]'')
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*Lange, Friedrich A.,(1925) ''The History of Materialism''. New York, Harcourt, Brace, & Co.
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*Moser, P. K.; J. D. Trout, Ed. (1995) ''Contemporary Materialism: A Reader''. New York, Routledge.
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*Schopenhauer, Arthur (1969). ''[[The World as Will and Representation]]''. New York, Dover Publications, Inc.
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*Seidner, Stanley S. (June 10, 2009). [http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache:FrKYAo88ckkJ:www.materdei.ie/media/conferences/a-secular-age-parallel-sessions-timetable.pdf+%22Stan+Seidner%22&hl=en&gl=us "A Trojan Horse: Logotherapeutic Transcendence and its Secular Implications for Theology"]. ''Mater Dei Institute''
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*Turner, M. S. (2007). Quarks and the cosmos. Science 315, 59–61.
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*Vitzthum, Richard C. (1995) ''Materialism: An Affirmative History and Definition''. Amhert, New York, Prometheus Books.
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{{refend}}
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==External links==
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{{Wiktionary}}
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*[[Stanford Encyclopedia]]:
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**[http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/physicalism/ Physicalism]
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**[http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/materialism-eliminative Eliminative Materialism]
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*[http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_vitzthum/materialism.html Philosophical Materialism (by Richard C. Vitzthum)] from infidels.org
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*[http://philosophy.uwaterloo.ca/MindDict/materialism.html Dictionary of the Philosophy of Mind on Materialism] from the [[University of Waterloo]]
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The philosophy of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance. As a theory, materialism is a form of physicalism and belongs to the class of monist ontology. As such, it is different from ontological theories based on dualism or pluralism. For singular explanations of the phenomenal reality, materialism would be in contrast to idealism and to spiritualism.

OverviewEdit

The view is perhaps best understood in its opposition to the doctrines of immaterial substance applied to the mind historically, famously by René Descartes. However, by itself materialism says nothing about how material substance should be characterized. In practice it is frequently assimilated to one variety of physicalism or another.

Materialism is often associated with reductionism, according to which the objects or phenomena individuated at one level of description, if they are genuine, must be explicable in terms of the objects or phenomena at some other level of description — typically, a more general level than the reduced one. Non-reductive materialism explicitly rejects this notion, however, taking the material constitution of all particulars to be consistent with the existence of real objects, properties, or phenomena not explicable in the terms canonically used for the basic material constituents. Jerry Fodor influentially argues this view, according to which empirical laws and explanations in "special sciences" like psychology or geology are invisible from the perspective of basic physics. A lot of vigorous literature has grown up around the relation between these views.

Modern philosophical materialists extend the definition of other scientifically observable entities such as energy, forces, and the curvature of space. However philosophers such as Mary Midgley suggest that the concept of "matter" is elusive and poorly defined.[1]

Materialism typically contrasts with dualism, phenomenalism, idealism, vitalism and dual-aspect monism. Its materiality can, in some ways, be linked to the concept of Determinism, as espoused by Enlightenment thinkers.

Materialism has been criticised by religious thinkers opposed to itTemplate:Weasel-inline, who regard it as a spiritually empty philosophy. Marxism uses materialism to refer to a "materialist conception of history", which is not concerned with metaphysics but centers on the roughly empirical world of human activity (practice, including labor) and the institutions created, reproduced, or destroyed by that activity (see materialist conception of history).

History of materialismEdit

Axial AgeEdit

Materialism developed, possibly independently, in several geographically separated regions of Eurasia during the Axial Age.

In Ancient Indian philosophy, materialism developed around 600 BCE with the works of Ajita Kesakambali, Payasi, Kanada, and the proponents of the Cārvāka school of philosophy. Kanada was one of the early proponents of atomism. The Nyaya-Vaisesika school (600 BCE - 100 BCE) developed one of the earliest forms of atomism, though their proofs of God and positing that the consciousness was not material made them not to be materialists. The atomic tradition was carried forward by Buddhist atomism and the Jaina school.

Xun Zi developed a Confucian doctrine oriented on realism and materialism in Ancient China. Other notable Chinese materialists of this time include Yang Xiong and Wang Chong.

Ancient Greek philosophers like Thales, Parmenides, Anaxagoras, Democritus, Darwin Antigua, prefigure later materialists. The poem De Rerum Natura by Lucretius recounts the mechanistic philosophy of Democritus and Epicurus. According to this view, all that exists is matter and void, and all phenomena are the result of different motions and conglomerations of base material particles called "atoms." De Rerum Natura provides mechanistic explanations for phenomena such as erosion, evaporation, wind, and sound. Famous principles like "nothing can come from nothing" and "nothing can touch body but body" first appeared in the works of Lucretius.

Common EraEdit

Later Indian materialist Jayaraashi Bhatta (6th century CE) in his work Tattvopaplavasimha ("the Upsetting of all principles") refuted the Nyaya Sutra epistemology. The materialistic Cārvāka philosophy appears to have died out some time after 1400 CE.

In early 12th-century al-Andalus, the Arabian philosopher, Ibn Tufail (Abubacer), wrote discussions on materialism in his philosophical novel, Hayy ibn Yaqdhan (Philosophus Autodidactus), while vaguely foreshadowing the idea of a historical materialism.[2]

European EnlightenmentEdit

Later on, Thomas Hobbes and Pierre Gassendi represent the materialist tradition, in opposition to René Descartes' attempts to provide the natural sciences with dualist foundations. Later are materialist and atheist Jean Meslier, Julien Offroy de La Mettrie, Paul-Henri Thiry Baron d'Holbach, Denis Diderot and other minor French enlightenment thinkers, as well as Ludwig Feuerbach, and, in England, the pedestrian traveller John "Walking" Stewart, whose insistence that all matter is endowed with a moral dimension had a major impact on the philosophical poetry of William Wordsworth.

Schopenhauer wrote that "...materialism is the philosophy of the subject who forgets to take account of himself."[3] He claimed that an observing subject can only know material objects through the mediation of the brain and its particular organization. The way that the brain knows determines the way that material objects are experienced. "Everything objective, extended, active, and hence everything material, is regarded by materialism as so solid a basis for its explanations that a reduction to this (especially if it should ultimately result in thrust and counter-thrust) can leave nothing to be desired. But all this is something that is given only very indirectly and conditionally, and is therefore only relatively present, for it has passed through the machinery and fabrication of the brain, and hence has entered the forms of time, space, and causality, by virtue of which it is first of all presented as extended in space and operating in time."[4]

Marx's social materialismEdit

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, turning the idealist dialectics of Georg Hegel upside down, came up with dialectical materialism and a materialist account of the course of history known as historical materialism.[5] For Marx, the base material of the world is social relations (and mainly class relations, e.g, between serfs and lord, or today, between employees and employer). As an expression of these basic social relations, all other ideologies form, including those of science, economics, law, morality, etc.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels used the term to refer to a theoretical perspective that holds the satisfaction of everyday economic needs is the primary reality in every epoch of history. Opposed to German idealist philosophy, materialism takes the position that society and reality originate from a set of simple economic acts which human beings carry out in order to provide the material necessities of food, shelter, and clothing. Materialism takes as its starting point that before anything else, human beings must produce their everyday economic needs through their physical labor and practical productive activity. This single economic act, Marx believed, gives rise to a system of social relations which include political, legal and religious structures of society.

Scientific materialistsEdit

Many current and recent philosophers in the school of scientific materialism —e.g., Daniel Dennett, Willard Van Orman Quine, Donald Davidson, John Rogers Searle, Jerry Fodor, and Richard Dawkins—operate within a broadly physicalist or materialist framework, producing rival accounts of how best to accommodate mindfunctionalism, anomalous monism, identity theory and so on.

In recent years, Paul and Patricia Churchland have advocated a more extreme position, eliminativist materialism, which holds that mental phenomena simply do not exist at all—that talk of the mental reflects a totally spurious "folk psychology" that simply has no basis in fact, something like the way that folk science speaks of demon-caused illness.

Defining matterEdit

The nature and definition of matter have been subject to much debate[6], as have other key concepts in science and philosophy. Is there a single kind of matter which everything is made of (hyle), or multiple kinds? Is matter a continuous substance capable of expressing multiple forms (hylomorphism)[7], or a number of discrete, unchanging constituents (atomism)? [8] [9][10] [11][12][13] Does it have intrinsic properties (substance theory)[14][15], or is it lacking them (prima materia)?

Without question science has made unexpected discoveries about matter. Some paraphrase departures from traditional or common-sense concepts of matter as "disproving the existence of matter". However, most physical scientists take the view that the concept of matter has merely changed, rather than being eliminated.[citation needed]

One challenge to the traditional concept of matter as tangible "stuff" is the rise of field physics in the 19th century. However the conclusion that materialism is false may be premature. Relativity shows that matter and energy (including the spatially distributed energy of fields) are interchangeable. This enables the ontological view that energy is prima materia and matter is one of its forms. On the other hand, quantum field theory models fields as exchanges of particlesphotons for electromagnetic fields and so on. On this view it could be said that fields are "really matter". [citation needed]

All known solid, liquid, and gaseous substances are composed of protons, neutrons and electrons. All three are fermions or spin-half particles, whereas the particles that mediate fields in quantum field theory are bosons. Thus matter can be said to divide into a more tangible fermionic kind and a less tangible bosonic kind. However it is now generally believed that less than 5% of the physical composition of the universe is made up of such "matter", and the majority of the universe is composed of Dark Matter and Dark Energy - with no agreement amongst scientists about what these are made of[16]. This obviously refutes the traditional materialism that held that the only things that exist are things composed of the kind of matter with which we are broadly familiar ("traditional matter") - which was anyway under great strain as noted above from Relativity and quantum field theory. But if the definition of "matter" is extended to "anything whose existence can be inferred from the observed behaviour of traditional matter" then there is no reason in principle why entities whose existence materialists normally deny should not be considered as "matter"[17]

Some philosophers feel that these dichotomies necessitate a switch from materialism to physicalism. Others use materialism and physicalism interchangeably.[18]

Criticism and alternatives Edit

The professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame Alvin Plantinga criticises it, and the Emiritus Regius Professor of Divinity Keith Ward suggests that materialism is rare amongst contemporary UK philosophers: "Looking around my philosopher colleagues in Britain, virtually all of whom I know at least from their published work, I would say that very few of them are materialists."[19].

Religious and spiritual objectionsEdit

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, materialism denies the existence of both God and the soul.[20] It is therefore incompatible with most world religions including Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism.[21]

In most of Hinduism and Transcendentalism, all matter is believed to be an illusion called Maya, blinding us from knowing the truth. Maya is the limited, purely physical and mental reality in which our everyday consciousness has become entangled. Maya gets destroyed for a person when they perceive Brahman with transcendental knowledge.

Kant argued against all three forms of materialism, subjective idealism (which he contrasts with his "transcendental idealism"[22]) and dualism.[23] However, Kant also argues that change and time require an enduring substrate.[24], and does so in connection with his Refutation of Idealism[25]

Postmodern/poststructuralist thinkers also express a skepticism about any all-encompassing metaphysical scheme.

Philosopher Mary Midgley[26], among others [27][28][29][30], argues that materialism is a self-refuting idea, at least in its eliminative form.

Other ontologiesEdit

Bundle Theory. It can be argued that it is the properties of material bodies, such as size and shape, which are perceived, and not the material substrate itself. Locke said we "know not what" the basic substance is.[31] As Berkeley wrote "I acknowledge it is possible we might perceive all things just as we do now, though there was no Matter in the world; neither can I conceive, if there be Matter, how it should produce any idea in our minds". If mind-independent properties (properly speaking property-instances or tropes) are held to exist in association with each other but without a material substrate, bundle theory results. If bundle theory is shown to be illogical or inconceivable, the existence of a substrate is thereby demonstrated conceptually, despite the unpercievability of matter per se.

Idealism. An argument for idealism, such as those of Hegel and Berkeley is ipso facto an argument against materialism. Matter can be argued to be redundant, as in bundle theory, and mind-independent properties can in turn be reduced to subjective percepts.

Dualism. If matter is seen as necessary to explain the physical world, but incapable of explaining mind, dualism results.

Emergence, Holism and Process philosophy are some of the approaches that seek to ameliorate the perceived shortcomings of traditional (especially mechanistic) materialism without abandoning materialism entirely.

Materialism as methodologyEdit

Some critics object to materialism as part of an overly skeptical, narrow or reductivist approach to theorizing, rather than to the ontological claim that matter is the only substance. Particle physicist and theologian John Polkinghorne objects to what he calls promissory materialism — claims that materialistic science will eventually be able to explain phenomena it has not so far been able to explain.[32] He prefers dual-aspect monism to materialism.[33]

The psychologist Imants Barušs suggests that "materialists tend to indiscriminately apply a 'pebbles in a box' schema to explanations of reality even though such a schema is known to be incorrect in general for physical phenomena. Thus, materialism cannot explain matter, let alone anomalous phenomena or subjective experience [34], but remains entrenched in academia largely for political reasons."[35] (Compare with Charles Fort)

The flow of time Edit

Four-dimensionalism is the most commonly accepted theory of time among members of the scientific community.[citation needed] Critics of materialism could argue that it's impossible for our subjective sense of time to arise from a static, four-dimensional universe. It must be noted that the flow of time isn't the same as the arrow of time.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

Specific references:

  1. Mary Midgley The Myths We Live By.
  2. Dominique Urvoy, "The Rationality of Everyday Life: The Andalusian Tradition? (Aropos of Hayy's First Experiences)", in Lawrence I. Conrad (1996), The World of Ibn Tufayl: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓān, pp. 38-46, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004093001.
  3. The World as Will and Representation, II, Ch. 1)
  4. The World as Will and Representation, I, §7
  5. "Karl Marx". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ed. Jonathan Wolff, Ph.D.. Stanford. Retrieved on 2009-09-17. 
  6. Template:CathEncy
  7. Concise Britannica on hylomorphism
  8. Dictionary of the History of Ideas: Atomism: Antiquity to the Seventeenth Century
  9. Dictionary of the History of Ideas:Atomism in the Seventeenth Century
  10. Article by a philosopher who opposes atomism
  11. Information on Buddhist atomism
  12. Article on traditional Greek atomism
  13. Atomism from the 17th to the 20th Century at Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  14. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on substance theory
  15. The Friesian School on Substance and Essence
  16. Bernard Sadoulet Particle Dark Matter in the Universe: At the Brink of Discovery? Science 5 January 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5808, pp. 61 - 63
  17. eg C. S. Lewis in The Great Divorce suggested that Heaven was composed of super-massive matter that was more substantial than normal matter
  18. Dictionary of the Philosophy of mind -- "Many philosophers and scientists now use the terms `material' and `physical' interchangeably"
  19. Is Religion Dangerous? p 91
  20. Template:CathEncy
  21. Gunasekara
  22. see Critique of Pure Reason where he gives a "refutation of idealism" in pp345-52 (1st Ed) and pp 244-7 (2nd Ed) in the Norman Kemp Smith edition
  23. Critique of Pure Reason (A379, p352 NKS translation). "If, however, as commonly happens, we seek to extend the concept of dualism, and take it in the transcendental sense, neither it nor the two counter-alternatives — pneumatism [idealism] on the one hand, materialism on the other — would have any sort of basis [...] Neither the transcendental object which underlies outer appearances nor that which underlies inner intuition, is in itself either matter or a thinking being, but a ground (to us unknown)..."
  24. "Kant argues that we can determine that there has been a change in the objects of our perception, not merely a change in our perceptions themselves, only by conceiving of what we perceive as successive states of enduring substances (see Substance)".Routledge Encyclopedia of philosophy
  25. "All determination of time presupposes something permanent in perception. This permanent cannot, however, be something in me [...]" Critique of Pure Reason, B274, P245 (NKS translation)
  26. see Mary Midgley The Myths we Live by
  27. Baker, L. (1987). Saving Belief Princeton, Princeton University Press
  28. Reppert, V. (1992). Eliminative Materialism, Cognitive Suicide, and Begging the Question. Metaphilosophy 23: 378-92.
  29. Seidner, Stanley S. (June 10, 2009) "A Trojan Horse: Logotherapeutic Transcendence and its Secular Implications for Theology". Mater Dei Institute. p 5.
  30. Boghossian, P. (1990). The Status of Content Philosophical Review 99: 157-84. and (1991)The Status of Content Revisited. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 71: 264-78.
  31. Locke, J. Essan Understay Concerning Humanding/
  32. However, critics of materialism are equally guilty of prognosticating that it will never be able to explain certain phenomena " Over a hundred years ago William James saw clearly that science would never resolve the mind-body problem".Dembski, W. Are We Spiritual Machines
  33. Interview with John Polkinghorne
  34. Baruss, I. (1993). Can we consider matter as ultimate reality? Some fundamental problems with a materialist interpretation of reality. Ultimate Reality and Meaning: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Philosophy of Understanding, 16(3-4), 245-254
  35. Baruss, I. (2001). The art of science: Science of the future in light of alterations of consciousness. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 15(1), 57-68

Template:More footnotes General references:

  • Buchner, L. (1920). Force and Matter. New York, Peter Eckler Publishing Co.
  • Churchland, Paul (1981). Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes. The Philosophy of Science. Boyd, Richard; P. Gasper; J. D. Trout. Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT Press.
  • Flanagan, Owen (1991). The Science of the Mind. 2nd edition Cambridge Massachusetts, MIT Press.
  • Fodor, J.A. (1974). Special Sciences, Synthese, Vol.28.
  • Gunasekara, Victor A. (2001). "Buddhism and the Modern World". Basic Buddhism: A Modern Introduction to the Buddha's Teaching". 18 January 2008 <http://www.buddhismtoday.com/english/buddha/Teachings/basicteaching11.htm>.
  • Kim, J. (1994) Multiple Realization and the Metaphysics of Reduction, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 52.
  • La Mettrie, La Mettrie, Julien Offray de (1748). L'Homme Machine (Man a Machine)
  • Lange, Friedrich A.,(1925) The History of Materialism. New York, Harcourt, Brace, & Co.
  • Moser, P. K.; J. D. Trout, Ed. (1995) Contemporary Materialism: A Reader. New York, Routledge.
  • Schopenhauer, Arthur (1969). The World as Will and Representation. New York, Dover Publications, Inc.
  • Seidner, Stanley S. (June 10, 2009). "A Trojan Horse: Logotherapeutic Transcendence and its Secular Implications for Theology". Mater Dei Institute
  • Turner, M. S. (2007). Quarks and the cosmos. Science 315, 59–61.
  • Vitzthum, Richard C. (1995) Materialism: An Affirmative History and Definition. Amhert, New York, Prometheus Books.


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