Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds that matter is the fundamental substance in nature, and that all phenomena, including mental phenomena and consciousness, are the result of material interactions. Materialism is closely related to physicalism; the view that all that exists is ultimately physical. Philosophical physicalism has evolved from materialism with the discoveries of the physical sciences to incorporate more sophisticated notions of physicality than mere ordinary matter, such as: spacetime, physical energies and forces, dark matter, and so on. Thus the term "physicalism" is preferred over "materialism" by some, while others use the terms as if they are synonymous. Overview Despite the large number of philosophical schools and subtle nuances between many, all philosophies are said to fall into one of two primary categories, which are defined in contrast to each other: Idealism, and materialism. History Axial Age Common Era
Related: philosophy tree
PhysicalismPhysicalism is closely related to materialism. Physicalism grew out of materialism with the success of the physical sciences in explaining observed phenomena. The terms are often used interchangeably, although they are sometimes distinguished, for example on the basis of physics describing more than just matter (including energy and physical law). Definition of physical The use of "physical" in physicalism is a philosophical concept and can be distinguished from alternative definitions found in the literature (e.g. From the notion of supervenience, we see that, assuming that mental, social, and biological properties supervene on physical properties, it follows that two hypothetical worlds cannot be identical in their physical properties but differ in their mental, social or biological properties. Two common approaches to defining "physicalism" are the theory-based and object-based approaches. Supervenience-based definitions of physicalism Realisation physicalism
OverviewNaturalismNaturalism is "the idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world; (occas.) the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world." Adherents of naturalism (i.e., naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws. "Naturalism can intuitively be separated into a [metaphysical] and a methodological component. In contrast, assuming naturalism in working methods, without necessarily considering naturalism as an absolute truth with philosophical entailments, is called methodological naturalism. The subject matter here is a philosophy of acquiring knowledge. With the exception of pantheists—who believe that Nature and God are one and the same thing—theists challenge the idea that nature is all there is. The term "methodological naturalism" for this approach is much more recent.
Defining matter (property)ReductionismDescartes held that non-human animals could be reductively explained as automata — De homine, 1662. Reductionism strongly reflects a certain perspective on causality. In a reductionist framework, the phenomena that can be explained completely in terms of relations between other more fundamental phenomena, are called epiphenomena. Reductionism does not preclude the existence of what might be called emergent phenomena, but it does imply the ability to understand those phenomena completely in terms of the processes from which they are composed. Religious reductionism generally attempts to explain religion by boiling it down to certain nonreligious causes. Types Richard H. Theoretical reductionism Theoretical reduction is the process by which one theory absorbs another. Methodological reductionism Methodological reductionism is the position that the best scientific strategy is to attempt to reduce explanations to the smallest possible entities. Ontological reductionism
PhysicalismHolismFor the suffix, see holism. Holism (from Greek ὅλος holos "all, whole, entire") is the idea that natural systems (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) and their properties should be viewed as wholes, not as collections of parts. This often includes the view that systems function as wholes and that their functioning cannot be fully understood solely in terms of their component parts. Reductionism may be viewed as the complement of holism. Social scientist and physician Nicholas A. History The term "holism" was coined in 1926 by Jan Smuts, a South African statesman, in his book Holism and Evolution. Smuts defined holism as the "tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts through creative evolution". The idea has ancient roots. The concept of holism played a pivotal role in Baruch Spinoza's philosophy and more recently in that of Hegel and Edmund Husserl. In science
Marxist philosophy of natureThere is no specific "Marxist philosophy of nature", as Karl Marx didn't conceive of Nature as separate from Society. As the young Marx exposed in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, labor transforms Nature which becomes the "inorganic body" of Man. In the same way, Marx's conception of "human nature" (Gattungswesen) is problematic, since he opposed himself to the traditional conception of an eternal human nature which remained the same in all places and times. Later, Friedrich Engels wrote the Dialectics of Nature (1883), in opposition to German Naturphilosophie. Marx and Engels' thought was then codified into "dialectical materialism", which is what is usually referred to when speaking of a "Marxist philosophy of nature". Basic overview The basic Marxist idea is that everything can be explained by one thing -- Matter. Law of opposites Marx and Engels started with the observation that everything in existence is a combination or unity of opposites.
MonismMonism is the philosophical view that a variety of existing things can be explained in terms of a single reality or substance. The wide definition states that all existing things go back to a source which is distinct from them (e.g. in Neoplatonism everything is derived from The One). A commonly-used, restricted definition of monism asserts the presence of a unifying substance or essence. One must distinguish "stuff monism" from "thing monism". According to stuff monism there is only one kind of stuff (e.g. matter or mind), although there may be many things made out of this stuff. The term monism originated from Western philosophy, and has often been applied to various religions. History It was later also applied to the theory of absolute identity set forth by Hegel and Schelling. According to Jonathan Schaffer, monism lost popularity due to the emergence of Analytic philosophy in the early twentieth century, which revolted against the neo-Hegelians. Definitions a. b.