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SpringerBriefs in Philosophy

Materialism: A Historico-Philosophical Introduction

Authors: Wolfe, Charles T.

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  • The first historical and philosophical survey of materialism since mid-19th century
  • A comparative focus on Radical Enlightenment and contemporary philosophy of mind  
  • Covers issues including mind-body relation, ethics, atheism, and the status of science (medicine, physics, etc.) in a comparative European framework  
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-24820-2
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About this book

This book provides an overview of key features of (philosophical) materialism, in historical perspective. It is, thus, a study in the history and philosophy of materialism, with a particular focus on the early modern and Enlightenment periods, leading into the 19th and 20th centuries. For it was in the 18th century that the word was first used by a philosopher (La Mettrie) to refer to himself. Prior to that, ‘materialism’ was a pejorative term, used for wicked thinkers, as a near-synonym to ‘atheist’, ‘Spinozist’ or the delightful ‘Hobbist’. The book provides the different forms of materialism, particularly distinguished into claims about the material nature of the world and about the material nature of the mind, and then focus on materialist approaches to body and embodiment, selfhood, ethics, laws of nature, reductionism and determinism, and overall, its relationship to science. For materialism is often understood as a kind of philosophical facilitator of the sciences, and the author want to suggest that is not always the case. Materialism takes on different forms and guises in different historical, ideological and scientific contexts as well, and the author wants to do justice to that diversity. Figures discussed include Lucretius, Hobbes, Gassendi, Spinoza, Toland, Collins, La Mettrie, Diderot, d’Holbach and Priestley; Büchner, Bergson, J.J.C. Smart and D.M. Armstrong.

Reviews

“Wolfe successfully detects a historico-philosophical common trait connecting, rather than materialistic theories them­selves, the negative dismissals of materialism, from the first uses of the term in 17th century Cambridge Platonism to contempo­rary philosophy. ... opens new perspectives for both his­torical scholarship and philosophical reflection.” (Paolo Pecere, Rivista di Filosofia, Vol. CVII (3), December, 2016)

“This is a Modernist book, in the literary sense, for richness of ideas and characters, and for boldness of thought and expression. … All this fullness of content and expression makes undoubtedly for an intriguing and instructive reading.” (E. Pasini, Journal of Interdisciplinary History of Ideas, Vol. 5 (9), 2016)


Table of contents (9 chapters)

Table of contents (9 chapters)
  • (Introduction): Materialism, Opprobrium and the History of Philosophy

    Pages 1-18

    Wolfe, Charles T.

  • To Be Is to Be for the Sake of Something: Aristotle’s Arguments with Materialism

    Pages 19-33

    Wolfe, Charles T.

  • Chance, Necessity and Transformism: Brief Considerations

    Pages 35-41

    Wolfe, Charles T.

  • Early Modern Materialism and the Flesh or, Forms of Materialist Embodiment

    Pages 43-59

    Wolfe, Charles T.

  • Vital Materialism and the Problem of Ethics in the Radical Enlightenment

    Pages 61-78

    Wolfe, Charles T.

Buy this book

eBook $54.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-24820-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover $69.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-319-24818-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Immediate ebook access, if available*, with your print order
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Materialism: A Historico-Philosophical Introduction
Authors
Series Title
SpringerBriefs in Philosophy
Copyright
2016
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer International Publishing Switzerland
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-24820-2
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-24820-2
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-24818-9
Series ISSN
2211-4548
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 134
Topics

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