PHILOSOPHICAL MATERIALISM

by

Alex PATERSON

http://www.vision.net.au/~apaterson/science/philosophical_materialism.htm

Updated: 8 January 2010


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PHILOSOPHICAL MATERIALISM

Philosophical Materialism is based on the concept that the Universe is solely a material dimension and that all phenomena (i.e. reality) in the Universe are strictly the result of the material interactions of the separate physical 'bits' comprising it - all operating in accordance with 'natural', immutable laws 1 of the universe and not exhibiting, or being the subject of, 'consciousness'. In other words, the universe was considered to be strictly deterministic and causal in operation - a gigantic 'super machine' so to speak. 2

Philosophical materialism specifically rejects the concept of an essential wholeness or interconnectedness between all the 'parts' comprising the Universe, let alone of an overlighting 'consciousness' pervading that universe. Religion and spirituality are considered to be just "superstitious nonsense" of a bygone era. Non-physical phenomena which cannot be 'objectively' verified 3 are considered to be "unreal" or "non-existent" and "all in the mind". 4

Philosophical materialism postulates that all consciousness (including human consciousness) is a direct result of the workings of a physical 'brain' and as such physical 'death' results in the destruction of the consciousness associated with that physical body. In other words there is nothing beyond death and as such "death is final".

Because Philosophical Materialism totally rejects out of hand the concept of a 'Creative Principle' overlighting the existence of the Universe, it relies almost entirely on Darwin's Theory of Evolution to explain how life began on Earth and subsequently evolved. In essence, the respective theories rely on each other as their 'raison d'etre'. (i.e. reason to be) 5

Philosophical Materialism is at the core of western scientific methodology and with the apparent success of that methodology in explaining much of the known universe (as defined by Philosophical Materialism) and the resulting 'invention' of modern technology, the philosophy has come to define Western civilisation - imbuing that culture with a materialistic view of reality which few question and which now pervades most cultures.

However, the recent findings of Quantum Physics, 6 has seriously challenged the basic paradigm of Philosophical Materialism. Quantum Physics has revealed the Physical universe to be an enormous web of interconnected energy fields in which the the delineation of one field from another is meaningless, implying that the Universe 7 is a singularity (or Whole) in which 'matter' at a subatomic level is just slowed down energy showing 'tendencies to exist' and displaying what appears to be something akin to consciousness associated with the phenomena of 'Non-Locality' 8 and 'The Observer Effect'. 9

This, coupled with the recent discovery of the staggering level of Irreducible Complexity associated with the biochemistry of even the simplest life forms - the evolution of which cannot be explained by Darwin's Theory of Evolution - has further weakened the basic paradigm of Philosophical Materialism, leading to an increasing number of scientists beginning to privately question the basic premise underpinning the philosophy. 10

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FOOTNOTES

1. i.e. The 'natural laws' as defined by orthodox science such as physics, chemistry, biology etc.

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2. According to Philip Johnson: "Philosophical Materialism is interchangeable with, or closely related to, : Scientific Naturalism, Evolutionary Naturalism, Scientific Materialism, Scientism and Naturalism. All these terms imply that scientific investigation is either the exclusive path to knowledge or at least the most reliable path, and that only natural or material phenomena are real. In other words, what 'science' can't study is effectively 'unreal'." Source: 'Darwin on Trial' by Philip Johnson (p116)

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3. Defining what is 'real' and 'unreal' by a criterion of objective (material) analysis becomes a self serving exercise (and a very limiting one at that) because it automatically dismisses any phenomenon that is not of the material universe. (i.e. that is not materialistic) Presumably at some stage in the future the criteria of what is applicable to 'scientific investigation' will be widened to include all phenomena as and when they are encountered.

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4. It is ironical that Philosophical Materialism postulates that non physical phenomena are "all in the mind", because on this point perennial spiritual knowledge entirely agrees. However there is a fundamental difference between the respective theories as to the nature of the 'Mind'. Philosophical Materialism maintains that the 'mind' is entirely the result of the workings of the physical brain, whereas perennial spiritual knowledge asserts that the entire universe is made up of a holographic 'energy' field which IS the "Mind" of an infinite Singularity which I (Alex Paterson) choose to call Source, and most other humans call God.

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5. For more on this subject see:

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6. For more on this subject see:

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7. The etymology of the word 'universe' is from Latin: universum neut. of universus meaning "combined into one, whole" (Source: Oxford Dictionary 1991)

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8. Non-Locality is the phenomenon that occurrences on one side of the Universe can instantly effect 'matter' on the other side of the Universe. Non-locality has profound implications for the prevailing world view of reality in that it clearly demonstrates the inter-connectedness between all matter in the Physical Universe and the illusory nature of Space and Time, something that those who have had some sort of deep spiritual experience are already well aware of.

For more on Non-Locality see:

NOTE: The phenomena of non-locality has been scientifically verified on at least three occasions that I am aware of. The American scientist, Gregg Braden, describes at least three experiments conducted during the 1940s and 1990s that touches on this phenomenon which are the subject of a book he is currently writing. This book is scheduled to be published in mid 2003.

For more on Gregg Braden see:

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9. The 'Observer Effect' relates to the Quantum Physics discovery that at a sub-atomic level "there is no phenomena until it is observed". This discovery has profound implications for our (human) perception of reality because it clearly implies consciousness underlies the existence of the physical universe. (i.e. the physical universe is based on Atoms and atoms are based on sub-atomic 'phenomena' and sub-atomic 'phenomena' do not exist until they are 'observed'.

For more on this subject see:

THE OBSERVER EFFECT by Alex Paterson

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10. For more on this subject see:

A CRITIQUE OF WESTERN SCIENCE by Alex Paterson

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Copyright Alex Paterson 1999

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ABOUT Alex PATERSON

Alex PATERSON is an Australian citizen by birth. He writes articles and advises on issues pertaining to aviation, politics, sociology, the environment, sustainable farming, history, computers, natural health therapies and spirituality.

He can be contacted at:


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The document, 'Philosophical Materialism' is the copyright of the author, Alex Paterson. All rights reserved by the author. Notwithstanding this, the document may be reproduced and disseminated without the express permission of the author so long as reference to the author is made, no alterations are made to the document and no money is charged for it.

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