Materialism (physicalism) is dead?

#1
It perplexes me why anyone would state this as a fact. Stating such is equivalent to stating classical mechanics is false because the strange world of quantum mechanics is true. Classical mechanics is equivalent to materialism (physicalism) as quantum is to immaterialism (spiritual). I don't see why both can't be true.
 
#2
Materialists usually hold that nothing non-material exists, this makes it a negative stance. It's not proposing something positive, but stating something negative, which is why it can easily be shown to be false. That doesn't make the material world any less real. It is still valid to talk about the material world while acknowledging there is a lot more than just the material (which is what I think is your point).
 
#3
It perplexes me why anyone would state this as a fact. Stating such is equivalent to stating classical mechanics is false because the strange world of quantum mechanics is true. Classical mechanics is equivalent to materialism (physicalism) as quantum is to immaterialism (spiritual). I don't see why both can't be true.
I agree with what stewart said, that materialists usually assert that there can be nothing in the universe which is not material. It is this blind adherence to the materialist dogma, that it is sufficient to explain everything, and that that which it cannot explain cannot be said to exist, which is unreasonable. You are right, in some way, there is no reason why the two can't co exist and inform one another in much the same way as classical and quantum physics do. But most 'materialists' don't seem to get this, in my experience.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#4
I agree with what stewart said, that materialists usually assert that there can be nothing in the universe which is not material. It is this blind adherence to the materialist dogma, that it is sufficient to explain everything, and that that which it cannot explain cannot be said to exist, which is unreasonable. You are right, in some way, there is no reason why the two can't co exist and inform one another in much the same way as classical and quantum physics do. But most 'materialists' don't seem to get this, in my experience.
But classical and quantum mechanics are simply two models of the universe. If material and immaterial things interact, where can we possible draw the line between them?

~~ Paul
 
#5
But classical and quantum mechanics are simply two models of the universe. If material and immaterial things interact, where can we possible draw the line between them?

~~ Paul
Well yes, but classical mechanics is now considered to be an approximation, and neither theory seems to incorporate mind.

BTW, is your avatar an actual picture of you?

David
 
#7
Well yes, but classical mechanics is now considered to be an approximation, and neither theory seems to incorporate mind.

BTW, is your avatar an actual picture of you?

David
But that's the argument that's made here; immaterialism (the spiritual) only is true but not materialism ( physicalism).
Can it be rightfully stated that immaterialism is also an approximation?

This brings up another point of contention. Why does the mind have to be apart of it? Why can't the mind arise from brain function? Why can't the mind arise from brain function yet continue after death? Why must it be that way or not at all ?
 
#8
I agree with what stewart said, that materialists usually assert that there can be nothing in the universe which is not material. It is this blind adherence to the materialist dogma, that it is sufficient to explain everything, and that that which it cannot explain cannot be said to exist, which is unreasonable. You are right, in some way, there is no reason why the two can't co exist and inform one another in much the same way as classical and quantum physics do. But most 'materialists' don't seem to get this, in my experience.
Conversely, it's my observation those stating immaterialism is absolutely, sans the other, true don't get it either.
Perhaps it should be acknowledge that materialism has a much broader range in definition than it used too. That's why I've included the word physicalism. In physics anything that can be measured (quantified) is material/physical. A lot of confusion arises it seems when the 19th century definition is the only acceptable one.
 
Last edited:
#10
I don't think physicalism will be dead until matter, including the human body, disappears, if such a twist would ever be possible. Matter, and our experience of it, seems to be a "bedrock" fact. Yet so is our mental life, which perceives external matter as an object external to the psyche, and perceives the body as functioning in a "different category" from psyche. As long as some people think of themselves as (supposedly, in Teilhard's words,) "spiritual beings having a physical adventure/experience", they will hold to a dualistic split between psyche and matter, a split that rests both on the physical reality of matter and on the non-physical reality of psyche ... thus a form of physicalism will be preserved in these people. And as long as some people think of themselves as purely physical beings living out patterns of material existence ... then, of course, physicalism will be their position.

The only escape from the dilemma, as far as I can figure it, would be a series of documented, peer-reviewed veridical OBEs, in the lab through voluntary cardiac arrest and from an anthropological approach, studying the OBE claims of sages, teachers, shamans, "God-realized/Self-realized" people, gurus, native practitioners, and such people around the world, who claim to undergo frequent, real dissociation and "travel" away from their bodies.
 
#11
Sure, I agree with that statement. However, it is dead in terms of it's being the whole picture. It really is like the classical and quantum physics split for me.
Possibly. Keep in mind religious teachings have said the same, but even after thousands of years still have to say have faith there is life after death.
 
#12
I don't think physicalism will be dead until matter, including the human body, disappears, if such a twist would ever be possible. Matter, and our experience of it, seems to be a "bedrock" fact. Yet so is our mental life, which perceives external matter as an object external to the psyche, and perceives the body as functioning in a "different category" from psyche. As long as some people think of themselves as (supposedly, in Teilhard's words,) "spiritual beings having a physical adventure/experience", they will hold to a dualistic split between psyche and matter, a split that rests both on the physical reality of matter and on the non-physical reality of psyche ... thus a form of physicalism will be preserved in these people. And as long as some people think of themselves as purely physical beings living out patterns of material existence ... then, of course, physicalism will be their position.

The only escape from the dilemma, as far as I can figure it, would be a series of documented, peer-reviewed veridical OBEs, in the lab through voluntary cardiac arrest and from an anthropological approach, studying the OBE claims of sages, teachers, shamans, "God-realized/Self-realized" people, gurus, native practitioners, and such people around the world, who claim to undergo frequent, real dissociation and "travel" away from their bodies.
The more I think of it, the more this problem can be characterised in exactly the same way as the split between classical Newtonian physics, and quantum physics. Classical physics describes the interactions of macro objects, and declares that all objects with mass and substance will behave in certain immutable ways, whereas quantum mechanics says there really aren't any such things as macro objects independently and objectively interacting in the ways we assume, as the elements that make up these macro objects do the impossible, and flit in and out of existence. It seems as long as there is some conscious observation of the macro world (collapse of the wave into particle), then classical mechanics will describe it's functioning quite well.

The same may be true of materialism, and immaterialism (I prefer Idealism). We know through quantum mechanics that matter is only a stable particle when it is being observed, the act of observation collapsing the wave function into the particle aspect, but as long as the act of observation is occurring, material principles will largely describe the world that is being sustained through observation.

Just a thought, feels parsimonious, but just a thought :p
 
#13
The same may be true of materialism, and immaterialism (I prefer Idealism). We know through quantum mechanics that matter is only a stable particle when it is being observed, the act of observation collapsing the wave function into the particle aspect, but as long as the act of observation is occurring, material principles will largely describe the world that is being sustained through observation.
I meant to add, that a form of Idealism may more adequately describe what is happening beneath the material model, much in the same way that quantum mechanics does beneath the classical physics model
 
#14
It seems as long as there is some conscious observation of the macro world (collapse of the wave into particle), then classical mechanics will describe it's functioning quite well.

The same may be true of materialism, and immaterialism (I prefer Idealism). We know through quantum mechanics that matter is only a stable particle when it is being observed, the act of observation collapsing the wave function into the particle aspect, but as long as the act of observation is occurring, material principles will largely describe the world that is being sustained through observation.

Just a thought, feels parsimonious, but just a thought :p
Conscious observation isn't a correct understanding. When a measurement aka, [a disturbance] of a quantum system [super-position] is done that disturbance causes the quantum system to take on one definite position whose outcome can't be predetermined. Remember long before there was life in this universe quantum collapses happened and still happen.
 
#17
How do you know life did not exist prior to this universe?
Your question is hypothetical an extremely speculative, so it's a fruitless argument. I did not mention a previous universe either. But why bring it up at all, when the only life we know of is us?
 
#18
Conscious observation isn't a correct understanding. When a measurement aka, [a disturbance] of a quantum system [super-position] is done that disturbance causes the quantum system to take on one definite position whose outcome can't be predetermined. Remember long before there was life in this universe quantum collapses happened and still happen.
Long before there was life in this universe?

Where has it been shown that consciousness is limited to a human brain, or any brain for that matter?

Isn't that the underlying implication of what we are discussing now, that consciousness may play a far more primary role than matter, rather than be a mere epiphenomenon?
 
#20
Materialism (physicalism) is dead?...Stating such is equivalent to stating classical mechanics is false because the strange world of quantum mechanics is true. Classical mechanics is equivalent to materialism (physicalism) as quantum is to immaterialism (spiritual). I don't see why both can't be true.
I suspect there's some confusion of terms/concepts here which is muddying the water. First, materialism obviously isn't dead - many people still subscribe to it as their primary faith (whether implicitly or explicitly). So I take the original question to be, is materialism wrong? The fact (?) that materialism is essentially an ontological position means that it is embraced as a belief prior to other beliefs, which entails that it is assumed to be true, thereby begging the original question. Seemingly it is only when enough of the beliefs built upon this bedrock clash with 'reality' that a person starts to question their foundational beliefs. So until a person's faith in materialism is sufficiently rocked, it will always be foundationally true. Under these circumstances the experiences/claims that clash with reality are always found to be at fault, not materialism. In this way it is impossible to say whether materialism is wrong/dead because it is entirely subjective. The question is perhaps better expressed as, is materialism wrong for you yet? Clearly it is wrong for many people - but this doesn't make it wrong for everyone. But it is probably an error to think that this is an objective question instead of the subjective one I am suggesting it to be.
 
Top