"Materialism" Essays and Research Papers


Materialism is the philosophical stance that "all that exists", or is real, is material - that is, it consists of the various forms of matter and energy as we know them, and, possibly, other forms of "material" that we just simply don't know about yet. The word is usually used by creationists and their use is usually vaguely defined. Accusations of materialism in science tend to confuse two differing meanings of the word: Ontological materialism is the belief, or assumption, that only material...

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Materialism is a problem to our society because people are becoming obsessed with it. Obsession over anything is never a good. Our society is becoming obsessed to the point that it is affecting our lives negatively. People that were once living comfortably are now struggling to get by each day at the cost of looking like a rich person on the outside. A materialistic person is someone who values things such as image, status, beauty, or popularity, more than they value intrinsic factors (being a good...

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Reductive Materialism

Reductive Materialism: Reductive materialism is a 'sub theory' or a version of Physicalism. It suggests that sensations of the mind correlate exactly to physical 'movements' of the brain. In other words, every thought or experience which occurs in your mind, can be found as activity in your brain. This does not mean however, that the mind and the brain are the same thing, just that they are both different experiences of the same thing. For example, a neuroscientist may be able to study your brain...

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Materialism and Pop Culture in Art

While it is certainly the art movement most famous for it’s materialism it is not infact the first time that philosophy and ideas that centred around materialistic views were apparent. Without meaning and philosophy there is no art, if someone creates with no meaning behind their work, they are little more than craftsmen. The use of philosophy is what separates artists and creates meaning behind their art works. The history of materialism is a long and varied one with many believing that the use...

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Children and Materialism

"Materialism is the only form of distraction from true bliss." As Doug Horton explains by stating this, materialism is a common obstacle that many people must overcome in order to achieve happiness in life. Many Americans now believe that in order to achieve happiness and fulfill their goals, it is necessary to obtain wealth and certain material goods. For example, in Juliet Schor's book, Born To Buy, it states that "…more than half (of kids) agree that when you grow up, the more money you have...

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Eliminative Materialism and Dualism

Eliminative Materialism is a theory that deems that the common sense understanding of the mind is wrong. It also poses that one day neurosciences will reveal that mental states do not refer to anything real. In fact, the concept of mental states will eventually be eliminated by neuroscience. In the past, mental states were explained by what is called folk psychology. Churchland argues that folk psychology will gradually be replaced as neuroscience grows more advanced and explains more. The problems...

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A brief inspection into Australian Materialism:

A brief inspection into Australian Materialism: The views of the Australian materialists on the identification of the mind and the body, simply stated, are that states and processes of the mind are identical to states and processes of the brain. Henceforth these philosophers (for the purpose of this article I will be referring in particular to Smart and Armstrong’s views on the matter) assume the position that all processes of the mind and experiences are due to physical reactions occurring in...

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To What Extent Is All My Sons a Tragedy Concerned with the Concept of American Materialism?

To what extent is All My Sons a tragedy concerned with the concept of American Materialism? All My Sons is a play concerned with capitalistic culture being pitted against human decency, in which the culprit is the ‘self-made’ man; an image promoted by the American dream, which states that even an impoverished, disadvantaged youth can attain prestige and wealth through determination, hard work and moral integrity. Joe Keller is this self-made man, one who came from a working class background to...

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Materialism can refer to either the simple concern with the material world, as opposed to the intellectual or spiritual concepts, or to the theory that physical matter is all that there is. This theory is way more complex than a simple focus on material possessions. It shows that everything that is in the universe is made of matter, without any spiritual or intellectual existence. Materialism can also refer to a doctrine that material success and progress are the highest values in your life. This...

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Nagel: What It Is Like to Be a Bat

the qualia and some things can just not be reproduced in their entirety. So breaking everything down in to chemicals; does this really explain the qualia of the experience? To an eliminativist, there would be no need to even try. Eliminative materialism denies the existence of any psychic phenomena outside of biological function. It is the view of the Churchland’s; that love does not exist beyond a biological function. Nagel would reject this idea completely. It goes against his entire theory of...

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Monism vs Dualism

person is made up of only the body or only the mind (Morris p155). Dualists hold the belief that existence is based upon the body as well as the mind and its mental properties (Morris p155). There are two basic types of monism. The first view is materialism, which states, "All that exists is matter, configured into material objects" (Morris p155). In other words materialists believe everything that exists is purely physical. Materialists believe that existence is only based on the body. This leads...

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Mind Body Problem

viewpoint the evidence could support multiple theories at once. This makes deciding what can be classed as evidence for and against different theory’s very difficult. The term materialism, sometimes called central-state materialism, asserts that states of the mind are identical to states of the human brain("materialism," 2009). Scientific testing has shown that when people are asked to picture doing certain tasks mentally that specific areas of the brain are stimulated. They tested this on numerous...

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Metaphysics: objective Realism

energy, are just as much to be classified as metaphysicians as are idealists, who maintain that there is nothing but ideas, or mind, or spirit (Metaphysics, par 2). The major schools of thought in relation with metaphysics are realism, idealism, materialism, determinism, and libertarianism. Realism is an inclination toward literal truth and pragmatism. The representation of realism in art or literature of objects, as well as actions or social conditions as they actually are. Realism, quite simply...

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Phil. 101 Metaphysics

study of the nature of reality, and within metaphysics there are three more divisions materialism, idealism, and hylemorphism. Each philosopher fits into one category more then others. I have chosen to write about Aristotle, Plato, and Histories because I feel they each fit into a category with little confusion as to where they belong in metaphysics. Materialism falls all the way on the left of the spectrum. Materialism is defined as all reality is only and ever matter. This is the mindset of nothing...

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Examine and Comment on the Claim That the Mind and the Body Are the Same

view; criticisms; counter criticism Finally: 1. Soft Materialism b. Soft materialist response to the question c. Aquinas’ perspective on the mind/body, purgatory and resurrection i. Evidence of his view and a challenge. d. Hick’s defence of the soft materialist view, including the replica theory ii. Criticisms of soft materialism generally iii. Counter criticism of soft materialism 2. CONCLISION Refer back to the question and say which...

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Mind Body Dualism

consciousness can’t work in this situation because something will about be left out, the “what it is like” experience. Others will argue that the mind and body are the same thing, monism. Two forms of philosophical monism are physicalism and materialism. Physicalism and materialism are closely related. Physicalists believe that everything is physical, that the brain creates mind. Materialists believe that matter is the fundamental substance in nature and that everything known through the senses, including consciousness...

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Eliminative Materialism

Explain Eliminative Materialism. Explain an argument in its favor. Does the Argument succeed? In this paper I will discuss Eliminative Materialism, a theory in philosophy of mind. First I will explain the term theory-theory, next Folk Psychology, as a theory will be discussed. Then, I will clarify the failure of Folk Psychology as per Eliminative Materialism. Last, I will explain an argument in favor of Eliminative Materialism. Finally, I will elucidate whether the argument succeeds...

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Materialism America has been labeled "The land of opportunity," a place where it is possible to accomplish anything and everything. This state of mind is known as "The American Dream." The American Dream provides a sense of hope and faith that looks forward to the fulfillment of human wishes and desires. This dream, however, originates from a desire for spiritual and material improvement. Unfortunately, the acquisition of material has been tied together with happiness in America. Although "The...

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3.05 Essay

about how much you value your possessions?   Do you value your belongings more than you value friends, family, love, or even yourself? Materialism is commonly practiced as a way of life. Author David Henry Thoreau was completely against materialism. As opposed to Thoreau, there are also many individuals that are against idealism. Although idealism and materialism have some similarities, they are extremely different. Also, they are both an unrealistic way of living. In life, there should be no monist...

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Argument of Dualism

to doubt. As a result of this conjecture, he believed that he could doubt absolutely everything except one truth: "I think, therefore I am." A modern form of this argument has been presented by Saul Kripke, against recent forms of scientific materialism which claim that the relation of mental states to brain states is like the relation of water to H2O. What happens in the mind clearly depends on what happens in the brain, but facts about the physical operation of the brain don't seem to be capable...

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Philosophical Heavyweights: Marx Versus Plato

believed that doing and becoming is achieved through creativity and inventing. There is no defined or essential nature to the Marxist self, or "soul". Its nature is created and shaped with the help of its environment and the influence of historical materialism. Marx believed that evil was social, structural oppression. A government or ruling figure with complete control and dictation over its subjects or a confining system of structures and classes was wrong to Marx. Marx said that "Necessity...

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Gilbert Ryle V. Rene Descartes

Philosophy Ryle V. Descartes Concerning Dualism Dualism – 1. The view that the world consists of or is explicable as two fundamental entities, such as mind and matter. 2. The view that substances are either material or mental. Materialism - 1. The theory that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena. 2. Theory that regards matter and its motions as constituting the universe...

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The concept of the afterlife is incoherent

with the body. As a materialist, Dawkins completely denies the existence of a soul or any spiritual aspect of the self, as there is no empirical evidence of one. He focuses on the physical and not the metaphysical. He supports a biological form of materialism, and believes that consciousness can be explained through biology and evolution, hence rendering the concept of the soul passing onto the afterlife as a meaningless concept. There is only the life we live in – which is merely an evolved natural...

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Response To Reading Dakota Zimmerman This article, “The Psychology of Materialism, And Why It’s Making You Unhappy” written by, Carolyn Gregorie was very relevant to my life today. I could have told you that materialism can cause negativity without ever reading this or learning about the studies they have conducted to prove this correlation between unhappiness and materials. My mother has always told me that your own happiness should not be based on the situation you are in, but rather what...

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Metaphysics and Monism

essentially the same. However, this 'sameness' has come in a number of different and contradictory varieties. For example, Hobbes felt that the mental is merely and epiphenomena of the physical, thus the physical is the one real substance (Contemporary materialism is also a form of physicalistic monism (see Churchland, 1996). In direct contrast, Berkeley postulated that the physical is just a collection of ideas (hence, idealism) and thus the mental is the only thing that really exists. Finally, there are...

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Naturalistic vs Personalistic Approach in Psychology

early philosophical evolution, enabling his reader to track the emergence of his immaterialist philosophy from a critical response to Descartes, Locke, Malebranche, Newton, Hobbes, and others. Berkeley charges that materialism promotes skepticism and atheism: skepticism because materialism implies that our senses mislead us as to the natures of these material things, which moreover need not exist at all, and atheism because a material world could be expected to run without the assistance of God. Berkeley...

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The Role of Happiness and Emotions.

the role of happiness; whereas, I’ve noticed that materialism is the American dream for most. Some might embrace in order to accomplished happiness is because of their accolades. Their status depicts the lifestyle they have chosen for themselves that being materialism seems as a façade. Mistaken materialistic items for happiness is where the search for the pursuit of happiness gets confusing, so do we measure our self accomplishments with materialism when we reach that greater level of happiness....

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Konseptong Papel

of theism and the affirmation of the primacy of the spirit over matter against the growing materialist trend among British intellectuals. He described his philosophical system as an immaterialism since it is aimed at responding to the errors of materialism. What exactly is immaterialism? Berkeley retains that matter does not exist in itself. When we say that something exists we mean that such a thing is perceived by us, that is, its entire being consists in its being perceived (esse est percipi)....

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Rocking Horse Winner Analysis

Shannon Nease September 23, 2013 “The Rocking Horse Winner” Analysis “The Rocking Horse Winner” presents a middles class family whose parents are consumed by materialism, the consequences of which affect the children, especially the protagonist, Paul. Third person omniscient point of view allows for; Paul’s feelings and development, the mother’s selfishness and detachment from other people, and the uncle’s greed off of Paul’s gambling to be portrayed. The thoughts and motives of each character...

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Maxism in Literature

Marxist theorist often champion authors sympathetic to the working classes and authors whose work challenges economic equalities found in capitalist societies. Main key features of Marxism are commodificaion, conspicuous consumption, dialectical materialism, material circumstances, reflectionism, superstructure etc. Major figures include Karl Marx, Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, Raymond Williams, Louis Althusser, Walter Benjamin, Antonio Gramsci, Georg Lukacs, Friedrich Engels, Theordor Adorno, Edward...

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UNGS 2030 MATERIALISM Table of Contents 1.0 INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................... 2 2.0 DEFINITION OF MATERIALISM ............................................................................... 3 3.0 HISTORY OF MATERIALISM .................................................................................... 3 3.1 PERSPECTIVE OF MIND ..............................................................

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and the aim is perfection. In philosophy the term refers to efforts to account for all objects in nature and experience as representations of the mind and sometimes to assign to such representations a higher order of existence. It is opposed to materialism. Plato conceived a world in which eternal ideas constituted reality, of which the ordinary world of experience is a shadow. In modern times idealism has largely come to refer the source of ideas to man's consciousness, whereas in the earlier period...

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Modern Atheism Hitchens

believe that human made religion as a projection of itself, but not as a positive projection. Another founder of modern atheism is Karl Marx. Marx, like most of his fellow founders, is also a projectionist. Marx is also a firm believer in materialism, but not in the same way as Feuerbach. Marx developed his own interpretation of historical development, in terms of an economic and sociopolitical view called Marxism. Hitchens at one point in his life also was a firm believer in Marxism. “Marxism...

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Keeping Up with the Joneses

Jeffery Bowen Professor Brownlee English 111X 16 July 2010 Word Count: 755 Keeping up with the Joneses Materialism and consumption maybe it is the new globally social epidemic. Where’s it going, is there a cure for this disease? Everyone is guilty of materialism to some extent whether he or she chose to accept this concept or deny it whole-heartedly. Is it the individuals fault or can this way of life blame someone or something? Fortunately, always wanting more is not a crime, or else everyone...

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Depiction of the Valley of the Ashes in Chapter 2 of Great Gatsby

Valley of Ashes, a landfill site solely for ashes, is painted by Fitzgerald to greaten our appreciation of American Society and the themes it generates such as social decline, moral ambiguity, the loss of hope and faith and the dominance of shallow materialism. Nick Carraway labels the Valley as “desolate”, thus steering our attention into one which will perceive the Valley negatively. Fitzgerald then paints the Valley of Ashes as a crude distortion of nature. The references to nature stem from a “farm”...

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Is a Materialistic Value Orientation Bad for You?

individuals who have a strong MVO do in fact report having a lower quality of life. Kasser and Ryan (1993) claimed that striving for material goods does not fulfil instrinsic human needs, in attempts to explain the inverse relationship between materialism and subjective well-being (SWB). Kasser, Ryan, Couchman, and Sheldon (2004) further proposed that people with an MVO struggle to satisfy three psychological needs; competence, relatedness and autonomy. People with an MVO personality struggle to...

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The Riddle of Existence

I have been trying to build, an accident has not yet occurred which will change this ‘behavior’. Thus, absolute nothingness may have existed before but because an accident happened, ‘something’ existed. This approach then somehow fuses both materialism and idealism. It takes into account that mass-energy and consciousness are dependent with each other in affirming concrete things. However, this kind of thinking presupposes that physical existence is not enough; and at the same time, ‘something’...

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PHI 2010

Eliminative materialism is the doctrine stating the nonexsistance of mental states. 3. Folk Psychology is a commonsense theory of the mind explaining peoples behavior in terms of beliefs and desires. 4. Searle’s Chevrolet Station Wagon thought experiment states that if we accept the theory of eliminative materialism then we must accept that Chevrolet station wagons and split level ranch houses do not exist, this is also how his theory attempts to undermine eliminative materialism. 5. Physicalism...

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Mind and Body Paper

one of philosophy's oldest, possibly dating back to when humans began to wonder about their place in the world. In the modern world, however, three main views exist on this realm of the mind and consciousness and their interactions – dualism, materialism, and idealism. This classification is, however, in the simplest terms and in fact, the variety of theories which exist are far more elaborate (Goodwin, 2005; Young, 2005) and beyond the scope of this paper. Thus, in the interest of space and time ...

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Philosophy of Aquinas

themes in one of his best known body of works, Summa Theologiae, draw heavily from that of former philosophical giants—ones such as Aristotle or Augustine. On that note, one of Augustine major accomplishments included defining mind-body dualism and materialism—an important distinction in philosophy. According to Augustine, Materialists believe that the mind exists as a part somewhere in the body; whereas dualists believe they are two wholly separate entities. In his Summa Theologiae, Aquinas pays homage...

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Idealism vs practicality in all my sons

nothing back at home. Because of his war experiences, he believes in a higher responsibility to the world at large. He has a hard time, even though he still seems to live quite a comfortable life and never outright rejects his father's money, with materialism: 'I felt wrong to be alive, to open the bank-book, to drive the new car, to see the new refrigerator....Otherwise what you have is really loot, and there's blood on it.' (Act One) He also has a different view of the business than Joe does. He's...

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Fight Club: Consumerism

and products having moved beyond our basic needs and instead adapting to luxurious items and technological innovations that we think will help us become a better society. Where do we draw the line between the needs and wants? In a world wherein materialism vs. spirituality is in constant battle, it gets harder and harder to prevent oneself from jumping onto the bandwagon of overshopping. In the movie Fight Club, the narrator states that "Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes...

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Idealism vs Realism

Western thought which represents things in an ideal form, or as they ought to be rather than as they really are, in the fields of ethics, morality, aesthetics, and value. Some forms of idealism, like that of Berkeley, are often contrasted with materialism. Some idealists, like Spinoza, are monists as opposed to dualist, again like Descartes, or pluralist ontologies. Plato is called an idealist because of his theory of Forms or doctrine of Ideas, which are "ideal" in the dictionary sense. Most interpreters...

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The High Price of Materialism

competitive drive toward the abundance of consumerism and materialism rules our society as a whole. Stepping back from our wants, our needs are much different then what we are striving for. In Tim Kasser’s eye opening book, The High Price of Materialism, the author takes a scientific and very modern approach to this world wide epidemic that is costing people their happiness. Kasser explains how people who value and put priority on materialism often have a greater risk of being unhappy and acquiring...

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Property Dualism

of a theory of mind called property dualism. However, before we can assess the theory we must be aware that the question assumes the existence of mental states and as such we cannot answer this question from some perspectives (e.g. eliminative materialism) Property dualism proclaims the existence of a single, physical substance (unlike Cartesian dualism), but argues that this single substance has two potential properties: physical and mental states that are not reducible. It is not just that we...

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Marvin Harris and the Sacred Cow

beliefs were more important to them than having the meat or the milk or anything else that the cows have to offer. Anyone could look at the people of India and surmise that our thoughts guide us and not our need to have a thick wad of Benjamins. If materialism is actually the notion that guides us then an amazing anomaly has occurred: it just skipped an entire nation! Marvin acknowledges that material things do effect how people think but they do not dictate what we think or do. In short, Marvin Harris...

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Marx Historical Materialism

Marx’s Historical Materialism—a very short summary (with thanks to G. A. Cohen’s interpretive work) Philosophy 166 1. The productive forces tend to develop throughout history. (The productive forces are the means available for transforming nature to satisfy human wants. Raw materials, tools, labor power, technological knowledge about how to produce goods with various inputs, are all examples of productive forces.) 2. The nature of the productive relations of a given society is explained by the...

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Materialism vs Values

Materialism VS Values. Have you ever sat down and really thought about how much you value your possessions? Do you value your belongings more than you value friends, family, love, or yourself? I have put much thought into materialism and maybe you should too. I believe that materialism has become a way of life in today’s society. Materialism can be defined as a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values. A person who believes that...

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Individual vs. Social Consciousness

toward an understanding of mental progression culminating in an ideal self consciousness. This is the finis ultimus that Hobbes does not allow for in his political vision. Marx maintains the Hegelian dialectic but changes the idealism to historical materialism. In contrast to Hegel’s idealist philosophy, by which material reality is created by consciousness, Marx claims that material reality creates consciousness and the realm of knowledge. Marx plays out the dialectic along, material, economic and historical...

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Two Cheers for Materialism

in our lives. Whether we know it or not, materialism is one of the most influential forces we interact with. In his essay “Two Cheers for Materialism” James Twitchell discusses the history, location, and impact materialism has had on society. With the use of the view points from many academics and historical figures, Twitchell offers insight into materialism’s effect on how we function in today’s world. He concludes all of this with the idea that materialism is not just the desire to collect commodities...

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Theories of Materialism and Idealism

(Thurs 10:30-12:30) Due: Wednesday, March 19, 2014. Whitehead vs. Marx: Theories of Materialism and Idealism Materialism and idealism are two theories that greatly differ but are essentially straightforward to grasp in terms of contrasting and comparing the two. Karl Marx, a nineteenth century German philosopher and socialist saw materialism as a theory in regards to all reality being based on matter. Materialism is based on more of a scientific and factual approach. For example, the idea of a table...

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The Rocking Horse Winner

or near London. The story is about a young boy named Paul, who had the special power of communicating with his wooden rocking horse to find the winning races. He desired to be loved by his mother, but the mother had an unhealthy fixation with materialism. The author tries to illustrate a criticism of a modernized world’s admiration and desire for material objects. In reading this story, the reader will find themes of neglect, faulty sense of values, and obsession. The mother in the story is...

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Great Gatsby Exegesis

illustration that Fitzgerald begins to describe, he expresses Nick to be on both sides of the world. This reflects Fitzgerald's purpose to portray his view of America, a fruitless and corrupted society whose value had decayed as a result of a newfound materialism....

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Thomas Hobbes: Nature and Origins of Human Thought, Emotion, and Society

that has governments have attempted to apply. All these ideas are logically sound, all the theoretical reasoning is based upon tangible premises (ex: not God), and are either backed up by modern science or theorists. Argument 1: A challenge in materialism is to explain things such as emotions, thoughts, and sense – all of which are usually considered intangible. However, Hobbes’ was approached this problem in a mechanical manner – “For seeing life is but a motion of Limbs, the begining whereof is...

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critical appriciation A good man is hard to find

Cultural materialism has become an influential discipline in recent years, particularly so in 'Renaissance' studies, but also more generally in 'English', as well as departments defined as practising 'cultural' or 'communications' studies. The phrase is usually linked with the name of Raymond Williams, but a cursory examination of Williams's own work quickly establishes that it is a phrase he rarely uses, and only schematically attempts to define. The thesis therefore takes the form of an investigation...

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opinion, I truly believe that this statement is true and that people are becoming more materialistic in nature. In this essay, I will discuss how materialism has affected modern society’s way of life on an individual level, the country’s economy as well as our spiritual and moral beliefs. First and foremost, each individual is affected by materialism to some extent in this day and age because hedonism is becoming an uprising trend. This is because today's generation are geared towards making more...

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Why Does Marx's Social Theory Place so Much Emphasis on Class Conflict and Economic Processes?

social theories vary greatly between different schools of thought they all have the same purpose; to aid scholars in analysing society through the use of theoretical frameworks. Karl Marx’s social theory is today known as Marxist historical materialism, though throughout his life Marx referred to it as ‘the materialist conception of history.’ Born in 1818, in a small town in the south of the German Rhineland, to a middle class Jewish family, Marx had a comfortable start to his life. Home schooled...

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Marxism Criticism Essay (Wuthering Heights)

poor. Heathcliff, was a character that served as a stimulus for both ideologies Bronte illustrated in her novel. Beyond these two ideologies, Heathcliff embodied the three main principles of Karl Marx’s theories, Economic Determinism, Dialectical Materialism and Class Struggle throughout the entity of the novel. Viewing Wuthering Heights in a Marxist criticism lens, it seems that the novel truly is a perfect example of the kind of society that Karl Marx completely warned against. “Marxist criticism...

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Bling Bling

Dictionary in 2002, and has stuck with America since. This word’s significance is just one of the many examples that contribute to America’s growing obsession in materialism. Although excessive materialism currently may pertain to a small group of people, more Americans are spending money on useless desires. One can argue that excessive materialism only affects those who can afford their expenses. They claim that small groups of people, usually being “the 1%”, have a problem with spending money on items...

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 Historical materialism is a very interesting and complex idea, with many intricacies and possible implications. It can have applications in many different ways in society, including areas like class struggle and economic development. Due to how in-depth historical materialism can be, its discussion and implications can become extensive. Historical materialism is a theory regarding society, economics, and history that was first theorized by Karl Marx, in what can be described as a materialist...

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