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What is Materialism?.

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Presentation on theme: "What is Materialism?."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is Materialism?

2 Materialism In the Materialist perspective, reality is ultimately composed of matter Both Eastern and Western philosophers have argued for this view

3 Eastern Materialism The “Charvaka” philosophers of Eastern India, who flourished around 600 BCE, rejected the spiritualism of their countrymen The Charvaka said that there was only one valid source of knowledge of the world-our sense of perception They said that deductive and inductive reasoning was unreliable

4 Eastern Materialism They argued that if we cannot know something through the senses, then it is wrong to say that it exists They argued that there is no God, no soul, no heaven or hell Human life begins and ends here, so people should try to get as much pleasure as possible

5 Western Materialism Democritus- atoms are the smallest piece of matter; the universe is made up of atoms and empty space, even the soul is made of atoms

6 Western Philosophy With the classical philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, as well as with the rise of Christianity, the idea of a soul became dominant in the West The concept of personal immortality gave Western philosophy a distinctly non-material bias

7 Scientific Revolution
In the 17th Century, a growing interest in science once again turned minds back to materialism With the discoveries of Copernicus, Galileo and Newton, people began to believe the world could be quantified and scientists claimed materialism was all that mattered

8 Thomas Hobbes the Materialist
Hobbes maintained that all we can truly know about the world is the measurable aspects Hobbes concluded that measurable matter is all there is in the universe and only matter is real Hobbes advocated that mental states are the same as brain states

9 The Forms of Materialism
Today, materialism takes many forms with four characteristics: Seeks answers through objective methodology Deterministic-every event has a cause Denies any supernatural belief Reductionistic- the whole can be explained only in terms of the parts or units

10 Objections to Materialism
Difficulty in accounting for human consciousness ex. Thinking, wishing, hoping, dreaming Consciousness- an awareness of things; concepts of which it is aware need not exist ex. Fairness Materialists claim that states of consciousness ARE brain states, BUT brain states can be seen, felt and touched whereas conscious experiences cannot

11 Objections to Materialism
Atomic Physics- new discoveries; not everything is made up of electrons, protons and neutrons More than 200 elementary particles are made of “quarks”, which do not seem to be matter but likely energy forces

12 Objections to Materialism
Since the early 1930’s, when Werner Heisenberg discovered activities of electrons cannot be completely measured; materialism has been losing credibility De-Materialization of Matter: Many scientists, including Heisenberg, believe we may live in an idealistic universe; one whose reality depends solely on the mind This has led some philosophers to claim that reality consists of more than matter

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