Materialism - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Religion

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 10 pages of information about Materialism.
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Beginnings

It is to Aristotle (384–322 BCE) that we owe the first explicit articulation of a concept of "matter," that is, an underlying substratum to which reference must be made in explaining physical change. Aristotle criticizes the Ionian physicists, his predecessors of two centuries earlier, because of their supposedly exclusive reliance on a common underlying "stuff" (water, air, fire) in explaining change in nature. Such a stuff would retain its own identity throughout all change; substantial change would, therefore, be excluded and the apparently fundamental differences between different kinds (different species of animal, for instance) would be reduced to mere differences in arrangement of the fundamental "stuff." Aristotle rejected this "materialist" doctrine. But he did not believe the Ionians to be materialists. He notes that Thales thought all things to be "full of gods" and to be in some sense "ensouled"; similar views are attributed to the other major...

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This section contains 2,919 words
(approx. 10 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Materialism Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Religion
Materialism from Encyclopedia of Religion. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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