Share this entry

Share this page

materialism

Syllabification: ma·te·ri·al·ism
Pronunciation: /məˈtirēəˌlizəm
 
/

Definition of materialism in English:

noun

1A tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.
Example sentences
  • Perceptions now abound of the West being held in the grip of materialism and spiritual values being sidelined.
  • This story teaches important lessons about materialism and valuing family relationships.
  • It also promotes vanity and materialism as a value.
2 Philosophy The doctrine that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications.
Example sentences
  • And, if we don't really know what matter is, then materialism is in trouble.
  • The first is ontological materialism, which says that nothing exists except the material world.
  • This materialism was of a mechanical kind - with matter interacting like parts in a giant clockwork mechanism.
2.1The doctrine that consciousness and will are wholly due to material agency. See also dialectical materialism.
Example sentences
  • In respect to his materialism and determinism Collins was clearly influenced more by Hobbes and Bayle than he was by Locke.
  • As Marx pointed out, idealism often was better than materialism at capturing agency.
  • Hobbes' view shows progress for reconciling materialism, determinism and free will, but it is unsatisfactory.

Derivatives

materialist

1
noun& adjective
Example sentences
  • ‘Because we're such materialists, and constantly want more stuff, we don't really look at the things that we've got,’ he suggests.
  • Yet the materialists merely accept as a matter of blind faith that an irrational universe can produce a mind capable of producing a trustworthy rationality.
  • Most materialists, particularly those in a liberal democracy, have no problem with this approach when they are able to draw the distinctions.

Definition of materialism in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day boscage
Pronunciation: ˈbɒskɪdʒ
noun
a mass of trees or shrubs