Monday, May 15, 2006
The Concept of Matter
One important key to understanding materialism, and the debates surrounding materialism, is to get a clear idea of what matter is. I think one of the big problems with the idea of a materialist account of mind is the idea that matter has to be defined in contrast to mind, as lacking in mental characteristics. If it were sufficient for something to be material for it to have a space-time location, then I'm not even sure that I would be disqualified as a materialist. Descartes was the first dualist to define dualism in the face of the contemporary materialist understanding of matter. However, for most materialists, matter must be devoid of intrinsci purpose, meaning, or consciousness, otherwise it just isn't matter.