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Featured What's wrong with Materialism?

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by blü 2, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    I'm a materialist, principally because I think the primary question is, What's true in reality? and I'm not aware of any meaningful alternative to materialism.

    By 'materialism' I mean (as Smart and Armstrong put it) the idea that the only entities and processes that exist are those recognized by physics from time to time.

    And accordingly, by 'reality' I mean the realm of the physical sciences, the sum of things that have objective existence.

    The purpose of this thread is to invite those who oppose materialism to set out the reasons for their opposition.

    If you reject materialism, why?
     
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  2. Kemosloby

    Kemosloby Well-Known Member
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    It makes people shallow, then you end up with bad episodes of the Walking Dead. Know what I mean? Just dead people walking.
     
  3. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity simple man
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    Its not the idea of physical reality that is a problem but putting it forward as a complete way of life. The word sounds like its a replacement for other walks of life, and its a poor one. Compare a Leopard, which is a solitary cat, to a Lion which lives in prides and hunts in groups. The Leopard is like Materialism and represents a future where each person looks out for themselves only. The Lion on the other hand is a future where people cooperate and share. The Lion is better. It recognizes material things but also social things, and it shares. Its just a better species.
     
  4. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    So your critique is romantic but not reasoned?
     
  5. suncowiam

    suncowiam Well-Known Member

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    I don't reject materialism. My 82 inch 4k TV just came today.
     
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  6. Kemosloby

    Kemosloby Well-Known Member
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    It's observation, there's not much to be reasoned with observation. It is what it is.
     
  7. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita and Spiritualist and Pantheist
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    I reject materialism as wrong from the mountain of paranormal experiences that I believe beyond reasonable doubt shows materialism to be a dramatically incomplete understanding of existence.
     
  8. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Materialism isn't a way of life. It's simply a place to stand when addressing questions about reality. It doesn't stop anyone falling in love, getting drunk, telling jokes, writing poetry, reading ghost stories, dining with friends or having a Freddy Kruger poster.
    Where on earth do you get that notion from? Humans are gregarious. Materialists are humans. Decency is one of the currencies of society. Selfishness is found in believers and materialists in about the same proportion. Materialism neither implies or requires selfishness in anyone.

    You appear to be running a version of the old 'No morality without God' line. Whether you are or not, that was never true and isn't now.


    But still no reasoned criticism of materialism as such, no suggestion that it's wrong.
     
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  9. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Why is there no satisfactory demonstration of even a few rocks from this mountain of paranormal evidence?

    Without examinable evidence, what would distinguish the paranormal from the imaginary?
     
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  10. bobhikes

    bobhikes Liveinthenowist
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    For me materialism is useless, a rock is a rock, gravity makes the rock fall. I can observe all this it explains nothing of importance. What is conscious and where does it come from. (All reality we know stems from consciousness). How do emotions work and what is there role in consciousness. (half of the brain is emotional)(love/hate is of major importance to all humans). I could go on but just those to take up a lot of my research and materialism has no answer.
     
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  11. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity simple man
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    A definition of materialism: "a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values." Notice it does not say "An invisible world" just spiritual values, and believe it or not the word 'Material' concatenated with 'Ism' sends the message that there is no need to learn anything beyond how to make money. People can get into a survivalist mode and can obsess over competition; and that is out of balance. This is a consistent problem historically and currently -- people living like its a dog-eat-dog world; and its just not good enough. That is why I don't like this word 'Materialism' but still think its important to recognize the world is material.
     
  12. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member

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    One is unable to explain how
    a) Mathematics and logical relations are emergent from physical substrates
    b) How information (bits) is emergent from matter (it)
    c) Experiential phenomenology of consciousness. Why is it "something like to be" a conscious process.
    For physicalism to work, it has to say how the above three things can be explained by positing that only "stuff" exists. So far, I see nothing like this.
     
    #12 sayak83, Nov 13, 2017
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  13. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Materialism equally applies throughout biochemistry. The operation and cooperation of neurons, the secretion, release and effect of hormones, the descriptions of brain function in various human situations, are all part of it.
    For what was the leading hypothesis on the nature of consciousness
    when last I looked, see >Global workspace theory<.
    You could start your enquiries >here< ─ the biological basis of love.
     
  14. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Wrong page.

    I gave my definition of materialism in the OP.

    It's the view that the only entities and processes that exist are those recognized by the physical sciences from time to time.
     
  15. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    a) Mathematics and logical relations are part of mentation, and are the subject of study in brain mapping. We know the regions involved, and if more than one, the cooperative basis. But at the neuronal level, we don't yet have more details than our knowledge of the structure might imply.

    b) How information (bits) is emergent from matter (it). Yes, there are solid problems with reductionism. It too is a work in progress.

    c) Experiential phenomenology of consciousness. Why is it "something like to be" a conscious process. Not sure what you're driving at here. The debate over qualia has gone against that idea, if that's what you're referring to.

    But the existence of problems isn't a refutation of materialism.

    And the problems that exist for materialism seem to me to be minuscule compared to those that exist for eg any supernatural hypothesis; and the absence of a coherent useable definition of a (real) god is an enormous problem.
     
  16. bobhikes

    bobhikes Liveinthenowist
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    I am well beyond starting my inquires but far from resolving them. I understand materialism applies to biology but it is the same it can explain the blood, the lungs but fails to completely explain the working unit.
     
    #16 bobhikes, Nov 13, 2017
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  17. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita and Spiritualist and Pantheist
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    Well the mountain I am talking about includes controlled experiments yielding fantastic odds against chance and investigations done by many scientists and investigators in over 150 years of research.

    Things like physical phenomena, multiple witnesses and verifiable knowledge not reasonably learned through materialistic channels can not be satisfactorily explained through the 'imagination' hypothesis.
     
  18. SabahTheLoner

    SabahTheLoner Master of the Art of Couch Potato Cuddles

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    Imo, nothing is wrong about the philosophy of materialism, rather it is a fact that it only explains the processes of things and not always the reasons, and naturally people like to know reasons for why things happen.

    I think people also get caught up with the philosophy of materialism sounding like the lifestyle of materialism. Namely, by being someone who believes in the physical world and it’s processes, that same person makes it sound as if they align themselves with the idea that only material capital matters (and I’m aware that not everyone who describes themselves as a meterialist thinks this way, however many outside observers have their assumptions).
     
  19. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member

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    Mathematics and logic are not part of mentation as we see that computers can do both. More importantly math and logic are quite independent and stands apart from material processes that happen to embody them. Same with information bits.
    Consciousness requires an extensive discussion and I would prefer a separate thread. Briefly, saying that some material processes are correlated with conscious experience explains as little regarding ontology of conscious experience as saying " voltage patterns in CPU circuits are correlated with math processing" says about ontology of mathematical structures.

    Supernaturalism (whatever that means) is not the only alternative to physicalism. Both neutral monism and dual aspect ontology are options. While Eastern philosophies have these in far more developed forms, perhaps it will be easier if provides examples from Western thinkers.
    Neutral Monism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

    There are many other options of course.
     
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  20. ADigitalArtist

    ADigitalArtist Well-Known Member
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    A while back when you linked me that website, the vast majority of 'controlled experiments' I saw were anything but. Most that even had published data (and a lot didnt. Just said 'a study' and left it without reference to anything published beyond an abstract) didn't follow scientific rigor for publishing, with non-transparant methodology, ambiguous language, or conclusions that absolutely don't follow from the data. Treating 'witness testimony' as scientifically admissible as anything but 'a collection of claims' when it's not (science isn't a courtroom).
    It's the sort of things I see in new age medicine magazines talking about the healing power of magnetic bands and other scam grade nonsense. As a body of supposedly 'mountainous volume' of scientific evidence, it's pretty underwhelming. More like something geared towards convincing those already convinced.
     
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