The Madness of Materialism | Psychology Today

6) Materialist and Idealist theories of historical change

adopt materialism, the simpler theory

D. Values.
Scientific naturalism rejects the caricature of the materialistic ethic of the past. Moreover, hedonism, or the ethic based on pleasure, often called Epicurianism, is rejected. Modern naturalists are modified epicureans in that they affirm values of the mind and body because man is a whole. Man's life is in nature. Thus his values will be found there, and not beyond nature. Certain ideas may be listed to indicate the direction of the naturalistic theory of values, or its axiology.

Materialism is the simple view that all objects are ..

(l) Man has freedom to choose. The act of choosing is regarded as the essence of the ethical act. The reasons given for a choice are not as important as the fact of the choice.20 Freedom is the most recent of nature's developmental process. Its late appearance does not reduce its priority in importance.21 This emphasis on freedom liberates naturalism from the embarrassment associated with the older materialism and its machine-like world view in which freedom was an impossibility.

Structure. The system consists of a single division of labor within one world market butcontains many states and cultures. Labor is divided among functionally defined andgeographically distinct parts arranged in a hierarchy of occupational tasks (1974b: 349-50). Core states concentrate on higher-skill, capital-intensive production; they are militarily strong;they appropriate much of the surplus of the whole world-economy (1974a: 401). Peripheralareas focus on low-skill, labor-intensive production and extraction of raw materials; they haveweak states. Semiperipheral areas are less dependent on the core than peripheral ones; they havemore diversified economies and stronger states. In the first centuries of world-systemdevelopment, Northwest Europe constituted the core, Mediterranean Europe the semiperiphery,and Eastern Europe and the Western hemisphere (and parts of Asia) the periphery (1974a: 400-1). By the end of the twentieth century, the core comprised the wealthy industrialized countries,including Japan; the semiperiphery included many long-independent states outside the West;poor, recently independent colonies mainly constituted the periphery.


Journal | Historical Materialism

In the evolutionary picture of man, man is regarded as a continuity from sub-human species. Then what is special about man? Man is an animal that thinks. Man has a "mind." But what is mind? Philosophers who have not been naturalists regarded mind as an immaterial or spiritual principle in man. But the spiritual or immaterial cannot be subjected to scientific techniques. Thus the naturalist has to develop some explanation for man's thought life. How do you explain what appears to be spiritual by a non-spiritual device? Various suggestions are offered. (l) Some said that the brain is the seat of consciousness and some allowance is made for non-material symbols "as though it were an immaterial" operation of thought; (2) others regarded mind equal to behavior. Behavior can be examined experimentally, but mind cannot. Mind is then defined as "response to the meanings of stimuli."12 (3) Still others regarded mind as something that nature does. "Man thinks because nature is intelligible."13 This appears to personify nature and create some form of nature-mentalism, or mysticism.

Is Poststructuralism a Useful IR Theory

The becoming aspect of naturalism is nowhere seen more comprehensively than in the naturalistic theory of evolution. Krikorian declared: "The most important single event in the history of modern naturalism in America . . . was the publication . . . of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species . . . ."11 Special emphasis is given to the term "naturalistic" because evolution may be interpreted from many other philosophical stances. Nevertheless, evolution was seen as the key to a non-supernatural understanding of how reality is involved and developed from the inorganic to the organic with its great achievement in humanity. Evolution involves chance rather than a mechanical view of the older materialism. The use of evolution for philosophy is most relevant in the doctrine of man to which we now turn.

Glossary of Terms: Di - Marxists Internet Archive

According to the intentionality argument, intentionality is not a physical phenomenon. A materialist could rebut this claim by showing that intentionality is, after all, nothing more than a physical phenomenon. This could be accomplished by explaining how a purely physical process or thing could be intrinsically intentional. This could also be accomplished if intentionality could be broken down without remainder into purely physical components. From here, the materialist would have to show how the physical brain might possess intrinsic intentionality, since the materialist thinks the brain is the mind and since the mind obviously does have intentionality. Dualists argue that such a reduction will never be made and are not holding their breath.