Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo

Materialism

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_200271

The view that all entities and phenomena in nature are material (as opposed to immaterial/supernatural). Materialism has played a decisive role in philosophical theories about the nature of reality since the dawn of western philosophy. In contemporary debate, the term is used to designate theories that claim all reality to be material and therefore reject the existence of immaterial things such as thought, consciousness, angels, ghosts, or gods. This rejection can be carried out in several ways. In philosophy of mind (philosophical theories about the nature and function of the human mind), the rejection is often done in one of two ways: by means of a reduction of the apparently immaterial phenomena and experience to material entities and explanations (Reductionism) or by way of a forthright elimination of such impalpable phenomena that are held to be subjective illusions (Eliminative Materialism)

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for Systematic TheologyFaculty of Theology, University of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark