Questions tagged [materialism]

Materialism is a form of philosophical monism which holds the fundamental basis of reality is matter and all mental states are caused by states of this material world.

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What is the difference between naturalism and materialism?

What is the difference between naturalism and materialism, if any? I see definitions of naturalism that say, in effect, it is the belief that there is no supernatural. But what is the supernatural ...
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Is there a causal influence of the mental on the physical?

Regardless of whether the mental is ultimately physical or not... doesn't the impact of human knowledge (science, mathematics, etc) on the world (ie: technology, agriculture, basically everything), ...
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Why do modern materialists tend to favor determinism?

There seems to be no logical link between matter and determinism (or ideal and indeterminism for that matter). And libertarian free will was first articulated by a materialist, Epicurus, and is ...
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How do materialists respond to the thought experiment of the perception of blue and red colors being swapped?

By materialism, I mean the belief that the totality of all in existence is material. That is, particles/waves/energy in the space-time fabric. If one were to construct a thought experiment that ...
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Can someone be an atheist and subscribe to substance dualism at the same time?

I consider myself to be firmly in the atheist camp. None of the arguments for the existence of a higher being or prime mover convince me, let alone attempts at proving the existence of the old God of ...
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How did materialists historically fit magnetism into their model?

Going by its Wikipedia page, materialism has been largely discredited due to advances in physics as it cannot explain phenomena such as gravity which apparently exist without the connivance of matter. ...
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Was there support for panpsychism among the Romantic poets?

Phillip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy and vocal critic of religion, is a supporter of panpsychism, the doctrine that consciousness arises because every inanimate particle actually ...
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Why is the statement about "Freewill is an illusion" considered profound? [closed]

So my understanding of the "freewill is an illusion" argument is if I know everything about a system since the laws of physics are deterministic the final solution is unique. Anyone who ...
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How did George Berkeley justify his disbelief in matter?

I recently read Berkeley's work entitled "Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous" in which he gives an account very similar to that of Kant. "Appearances, so far as they are thought as objects ...
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Please explain perspectivism to me

I was wondering if someone could please explain Nietzsche's perspectivism to me. I used to think that it was similar to Descartes' method of thinking. That everything was subjective because everything ...
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What is the difference between Naturalism and Physicalism?

I am trying to figure the difference between Naturalism and Physicalism. As far as I could tell, they were the same thing, except that physicalism (physicalist vs dualist) was the term used when ...
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If all we see is the sensible world, what are the proofs to affirm that matter exists?

I am new to philosophy and I have been looking for a way to find answers to my disturbing doubt for a long time, I was reading Berkeley but I did not find a convincing refutation, especially because ...
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What are the problems with the argument for the mind-body dualism from immateriality of thoughts?

I have started studying philosophy of mind and I am currently reading an introduction to the field. The first topic that is presented in the book is dualism of the Cartesian brand, and the case for it ...
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How can Marx be a materialist yet still speak of a human "essence" in his theory of alienation?

On one hand, Marx is a staunch materialist: he bases his theory of history on dialectical materialism, and denies any metaphysical realities above and beyond the material conditions that make human ...
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Does science provide the most accurate depiction of reality for analyzing and describing an accurate worldview?

I've been fighting throughout my philosophical reading with the question of the necessity of science as the only permitted view we (since the late 19th century) have on the world. My question might ...
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What Does Being Spiritual Mean?

When people say they are spiritual, although atheist, what do they mean, if they mean something at all? Can you claim being spiritual if you don't believe in gods, ghosts and the like? Is there a ...
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How materialism can be consistent in the context of qualia and simplicity?

Apologies for my English. Some thoughts from the camp of idealists. :) The following is the explanation of the question in the title. I think that the fact that in our days physicists may be ...
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Are there any physicalist arguments against strong AI?

Are there any arguments against strong AI in principle, given physicalism? Are there any arguments against strong AI in practice, given physicalism? Basically, I want to be aware of any potential ...
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Does materialism presuppose that a self is a bundle of mental states and perceptions?

The physicalist/materialist (going forward I'll use the two interchangeably) position on the mind body problem is the following: Nothing exits besides the physical and therefore the mind is just a ...
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What do philosophers mean when they say qualia do not exist?

In university, my professor said that his position is that there are no qualia. He acknowledged that non-philosophers can find this position bizarre, but did not explain the rationale behind why he ...
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Henry George vs. Karl Marx

I recently came across some of Marx's critique of Georgism, and was wondering where else the theories of these two thinkers conflict. Georgism to me certainly seems to have a slight materialist bent ...
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Does the existence of colors give evidence against materialism?

It seems to me the only thing about colors that can be understood rationally is that they are distinct. We interact with other people who for the most part label my red as their red, my green as their ...
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What are the rebuttals (if any) to Berkeley's dismissal of "primary qualities"?

I am rereading Berkeley's Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous and am curious about any subsequent works which actively rebut his dismissal of primary qualities. From the first dialogue: Phil. ...
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Productive Forces vs. Conditions of Bourgeois Property

In The Communist Manifesto, page 331 of the 2002/2014 Penguin Edition, Marx and Engels write; "The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the ...
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Thomas Nagels critique of materialism

By materialism I mean that all phenomena can be explained by matter and its interactions. What are the strongest arguments against materialism? I, being a former materialist, was convinced that ...
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Is there a word for the idea that the world is "a collection of collections"?

I'm looking for a (possibly ontological) recognised term for a theory that acknowledges that things can be broken down into smaller things - essentially components, parts and eventually atoms, quarks ...
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Are there any replies to Searle's philosophy of mind but Bennett's and Hacker's?

For a term paper I am looking for specific responses to Searle's philosophy of mind (though it's hard to even call it that) as presented in Minds, Brains and Science or the paper Consciousness (2000). ...
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Would there be free will if we assume a stochastic component in the decision making?

I was reading this answer regarding materialism and free will. It says that, under the assumption that there isn't a random process underlying decision making, there is no free will. And isn't that a ...
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Is the Phaedo relevant to a materialist?

I've just finished reading the Phaedo, and I'm wondering if one does not buy into the mind/body dualism arguments that Socrates advances in the dialogue, is there still anything to learned from it? Is ...
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Dialectical materialism outside Marxism

Wikipedia page on dialectical materialism mentions that some evolutionary biologists used it in their inquiries. What are other examples of using dialectical materialism outside Marxism? By "outside ...
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Can a rationalist ever be a materialist?

Note that I am using rationalist in its strict philosophical sense, as in rationalist like Descartes or Leibniz, not rationalist as it might be understood colloquially. from the Encyclopedia ...
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Are methodological individualism and materialism compatible?

One of the fundamental principles of the Austrian school of economics, particularly the kind promoted by Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, is methodological individualism, according to which the ...
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How can materialists make claims?

I dont have all the modern philosophical terms down, but I cannot see how materialists/physicalists can make any claims. If there is nothing but physical universe, then there is no “truth”. Actually ...
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Paradox for permanent bodies?

For many objects we have the (wrong) intuition, based on our experience, that they are "eternal". As an example, for our purposes, Planets, maybe monuments, ... looks like ever lasting bodies. ...
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Can a materialist accept indeterminism? Can a reductionist?

The usual argument against it is that if behavior of matter is not fully determined by its state then it has to be determined by something else, ergo dualism. This begs the question however, unless we ...
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How do we explain the brain's ability of thinking about non-materialistic concepts? [closed]

Question edited to avoid distraction If a physical event from a materialistic point of view cannot be good or evil, and the brain is just made of matter, does this mean the concept of good/evil came/...
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Did Hegel propagate the concept of dialectical materialism?

This is a test question: State and examine the main features of Dialectical Materialism as enunciated by Hegel. Is it wrong? The reason I ask is because Hegel propagated the concept of ...
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Can science prove or provide evidence that the brain is the source of the mind

I am seeking published discussions or arguments about this proposition, though some discussion here would be useful: Science can prove or provide significant evidence that the brain is the source ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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Does science forces us to embrace materialism?

This is practically a climate of many of my questions, and it's a simple question with possibly many complex answers, so I'd like to know what you will answer. Please note this in your answers: A) I'...
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3 votes
2 answers
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What does the experience of free will imply in a materialistic worldview?

In responses and comments to Do human thoughts interact with matter?, one answer begins, "Thoughts consist of nerve impulses..." Which, as I understand the materialist view, is partially correct. ...
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How can Christian heaven be interpreted as a part of materialist ontology?

Assume that heaven exists and we experience it in a physical way. In other words, we experience heaven as we do this Earth. Also assume we have bodies in heaven. Now, where is a possible place this ...
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Has Marxism been refuted as philosophy?

"For understandable, if philosophically frivolous, reasons the collapse of the Soviet Union has been taken - especially in the media - as signaling the defeat of Marxism qua philosophy", so writes ...
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If materialism is true, then what accounts for pleasure and pain?

[I went and wrote a long answer to a question that was in the interim deleted, so rather than waste that, I thought I'd do my best to reproduce it here. Credit to Micheal Lee for the original, some ...
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What is the difference between idealism and materialism?

I understand what materialism is, but idealism - not so much. I know however they are opposing views, and would like to know what are the differences. Analogies would be greatly appreciated.
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Is there any research into the ethics of immediate gratification?

I assume that the philosophy of hakuna matata (Swahili phrase from The Lion King roughly translated as "no worries") has been studied, almost certainly under a different name. The type of philosophy I ...
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What unique ideas does speculative realism present?

Speculative realism seems to be based primarily on opposing the Kantian philosophy of correlationism - I quote Meillassoux: Correlationism consists in disqualifying the claim that it is possible to ...
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How can complex material systems emerge in ways that allow them to transcend fundamental material structures?

One of the quandaries of reductionism from what I understand is how complex systems can emerge to overtake simple ones. This may sound convoluted, so bear with me as I try to explain. According to a ...
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Materialism/consumerism in philosophy

I was just wondering whether anybody knows of a philosopher(s) who have frequently commented and have philosophical ideas on materialism/consumerism.
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Is there a term for materialistic non-determinism?

I was trying to explain to someone that an underlying assumption of science is ... and then couldn't come up with a term to describe it. What I'm hoping to give a name to, is the idea that the world ...
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3 votes
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Does Marx make a metaphysical/ontological argument for Materialism anywhere?

As I understand it currently, I read Marx as more of a historian, economist and sociologist and I am finding it hard to locate any metaphysical argument against Hegel's 'idealism'. All I know is this ...
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