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Materialism: A Historical and Philosophical Inquiry

Robin Gordon Brown James Ladyman (University of Bristol, UK)

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Routledge
18 June 2019
Philosophy; Philosophy: metaphysics & ontology; Philosophy of religion; Philosophy of science
The doctrine of materialism is one of the most controversial in the history of ideas. For much of its history it has been aligned with toleration and enlightened thinking, but it has also aroused strong, often violent, passions amongst both its opponents and proponents. This book explores the development of materialism in an engaging and thought-provoking way and defends the form it takes in the twenty-first century.

Opening with an account of the ideas of some of the most important thinkers in the materialist tradition, including Epicurus, Lucretius, Hobbes, Hume, Darwin and Marx, the authors discuss materialism's origins, as an early form of naturalistic explanation and as an intellectual outlook about life and the world in general. They explain how materialism's beginnings as an imaginative vision of the true nature of things faced a major challenge from the physics it did so much to facilitate, which now portrays the microscopic world in a way incompatible with traditional materialism. Brown and Ladyman explain how out of this challenge materialism developed into the new doctrine of physicalism.

Drawing on a wide range of colourful examples, the authors argue that although materialism does not have all the answers, its humanism and commitment to naturalistic explanation and the scientific method is our best philosophical hope in the ideological maelstrom of the modern world.
By:   Robin Gordon Brown, James Ladyman (University of Bristol, UK)
Imprint:   Routledge
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 197mm,  Width: 133mm, 
Weight:   145g
ISBN:   9780367201340
ISBN 10:   0367201348
Pages:   142
Publication Date:   18 June 2019
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Further / Higher Education ,  A / AS level
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Robin Gordon Brown is a Research Associate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Bristol, UK. James Ladyman is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bristol, UK. He is the author of Understanding Philosophy of Science (2002) and editor (with Alexander Bird) of Arguing About Science (2012), both published by Routledge.

Reviews for Materialism: A Historical and Philosophical Inquiry

Highly recommended for those interested in materialism as a perennial current in the history of philosophy and for those wondering how contemporary physicalism and naturalism connect with older materialist philosophies and politics. - William Lewis, Skidmore College, USA Brown and Ladyman offer a clear exposition of philosophical materialism much needed in these muddle-headed times. Particularly refreshing is their stress on the essential incompleteness of the explanations it provides, which distinguish it as a scientific worldview from its more strictly 'philosophical' rivals. - Thomas Uebel, University of Manchester, UK


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