Mind, Matter, Materialism
TERMS TO KNOW
What do you think this cover story is going to be about?
Plato conceived of a “Being World” but could mind or soul or spirit be another reality?
What is thought?
Can you measure thought? Does thought have weight or shape? What is it?
Have you ever wondered if everything was just a dream?
DESCARTES (1591-1649 EARLY MODERN AGES)
Philosophy takes a turn with Descartes
Descartes, a good example of how thought can change
Often, when someone finally gets fed up with the way things are, they strike out on a new path.
Rene Descartes (Day-cart)
1546 -1649 Father of Modern Philosophy
1. French mathematician and scientist- (Cartesian Mathematics)
2. Set out to create new definitive kind of philosophy
3. Proposed mind and matter as two realms of reality and set out to prove their reality
Famous quote, “I think therefore I am.”
(more on this later)
Descartes’ dualistic philosophy encounters the same difficulty of Plato …
How do the two realm of reality interact?
[Descartes solution- a gland in the brain is the mixing point between the two realities.]
MATERIALISM (CH. 5)
Matter: the substance (atoms/molecules) that things are made of
Descartes thought matter was a reality but that “mind” was another reality apart from it. But other philosophers think matter is the only realm of reality. This way of thinking is called Materialism.
only one realm of reality- matter
nothing “transcends” human beings
even what we think of as thoughts or the soul are made up of matter.
[contemporary definition of materialism: focus on wealth and possessions. ]
Democritus (460-370 BC) – father of atomic science
Epicurus (341-270 BC) believed the soul was matter and would disperse at death
Hobbes (1588-1679AD) believed in God but human beings were only material
Only one realm of reality- matter
All matter operates by fixed laws of nature
(Copernicus and Newton, added to this notion.)
Le Metrie – Man a Machine – 1748
– Thoughts, feelings, emotions etc. are all parts of the human machine.
Materialism leads to Determinism
All things are caused by other things. (causation)
If the universe is only material, nothing outside of the material world can act upon it or change the universe
Conclusion : All things are the way they could only be
All things about people are the way they could only be
So we could say – the universe is deterministic
What are the implications of Determinism for your life and society?
(Hard Determinism/Soft Determinism)
B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) – Behavioral Psychologist
Skinner “an example of someone with physicalistic view of mind and a pervasive view of causal determinism” – Ed. L. Miller
humans are product of (deterministic) environment and have no “free will”
therefore, to get a person (or society) to change, condition their mind instead of trying to change their “will.”
Questions/implications; if humans are not autonomous, who decides how they should be changed? If humans have no will, can they be justifiably held accountable for their actions?
IMPLICATIONS OF MATERIALISM ?
If there is a transcendent reality
Then there is philosophical justification for:
Truth/Meaning and purpose
Human value and dignity
Therefore: expect people to be responsible for self
Without a transcendent reality the above items can be theorized about but are difficult if not impossible to justify intellectually.
Issue to ponder: If we can’t justify human value or absolute morality- how might we deal with the questions of there being too many people on the planet?
Scientism is a belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or the most valuable part of human learning—to the exclusion of other viewpoints. Scientism is for the most part an extension of the belief of materialism.
Metaphysics is the study of reality. It asks
what is there, or what is real?
Some think there is more than one reality
Some think there is only one reality- materialism
What are the implications of both ways of thought?
THINGS TO KNOW
Can you describe how Materialism leads to Determinism?
Can you discuss some of the implications of Materialism and Determinism?
TERMS TO KNOW
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