Materialism will be mocked

Every generation scorns the ideas of reality that came before it

Throughout history, our predecessors in science and philosophy have been convinced that their particular understanding of reality was, at least largely, correct. Yet time and again, subsequent generations have proven—or at least were convinced of having proven—them wrong. Each generation has looked upon the ideas of their predecessors as naïve, simplistic, even superstitious.

During the Renaissance, scientists attempted to explain electrostatic attraction by postulating the existence of an invisible elastic substance—called ‘effluvium’—that supposedly stretched out across bodies. Strange as it may sound now, at the time effluvium was as plausible an explanation for empirical observations as subatomic particles today, which are equally invisible beyond the effects they putatively produce.

As the Renaissance gave way to the Enlightenment, scientists began trying to frame every phenomenon in terms of the action of small corpuscles—atoms—interacting with eac

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Joe Anderson 15 November 2022

Interesting article.

Frank Spence 14 August 2022

Another idealist! Wow. But the same reasoning leads me (uncomfortably) to solipsism. Experience has one subject. Others, whether supposedly material or otherwise, and even Self, are constructs within experience. I would love to hear a convincing argument for the reality of other subjects.

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Hugh Manbeing 30 June 2020

"The very root of the word ‘matter’—mater—means mother, matrix, that from which we came into being."

That's such an interesting little fact that I had to stop reading at that point.

Jeff Wunder 26 June 2020

"For even the notion that you and I have our own private mind—separate from others—is part of the self-deception."

So... I deceived myself into believing that I have a self? Isn't something logically amiss there?

I'm sorry. Everything I know or think I know -- all the science, math, philosophy, art etc -- none of it has ever actually been separated from my experience and my perspective on reality. I suspect the same is true for you, and your theory of everything. Perspective may be more fundamental than you think.

James Cross 4 March 2020

Unfortunately there is no historical evidence of progress on any metaphysical questions. One could make a reasonable argument that the metaphysical views of today are not substantively different from those of two thousand years ago. Science does progress and reaches consensus even if the consensus of today may not be the same as that of yesterday or what we will be tomorrow. There is no consensus in metaphysics. There are no new arguments, only new spinning of old arguments. Whatever metaphysical arguments scientists make are not made on the basis of science but are incidental to it.