Glossary of Terms ‘M’

Written By Thomas Perez. December 14th, 2010 at 5:40PM. Copyright 2010.

Manichaeism
Was one of the major ancient religions. Though its organized form is mostly extinct today, a revival has been attempted under the name of Neo-Manichaeism. However, most of the writings of the founding prophet Mani have been lost. Some scholars and anti-Catholic polemicists argue that its influence subtly continues in Western Christian thought via Saint Augustine of Hippo, who converted to Christianity from Manichaeism and whose writing continues to be enormously influential among Catholic and Protestant theologians.

Marxism
A set of philosophical, political and economic positions and movements based on the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marx’s philosophy of history included the notion of class struggle within dialectical materialism. Marxism was the intellectual foundation for the 20th-century political movement known as Communism, and was developed into various factions such as Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, and Trotskyism, each hewing to the ideas of a particular political leader.

Neo-Marxism
Loose term for various 20th-century approaches that amend or extend Marxism and Marxist theory, usually by incorporating elements from other intellectual traditions (such as critical theory).[10]

Materialism
The philosophical view that the only thing that can truly be said to ‘exist’ is matter; that fundamentally, all things are composed of ‘material’ and all phenomena are the result of material interactions.

Christian Materialism
The philosophical view that the only thing that can truly be said to ‘exist’ is matter due to the teachings of Christ.

Dialectical Materialism
Considered to be the philosophical basis of Marxism, it states that ideas and arguments can only exist as matter and that the subconscious proto-human does not exist.

Historical Materialism
The methodological approach to the study of society, economics, and history which was first articulated by Karl Marx. His fundamental proposition of historical materialism can be summed up in the following: It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness – Karl Marx, Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human societies in the way in which humans collectively make the means to live, thus giving an emphasis, through economic analysis, to everything that co-exists with the economic base of society (e.g. social classes, political structures, ideologies).

Eliminative Materialism
Absolute version of materialism and physicalism with respect to mental entities and mental vocabulary, according to which our common-sense understanding of the mind (what eliminativists call folk psychology) is not a viable theory on which to base scientific investigation: behavior and experience can only be adequately explained on the biological level. Therefore, no coherent neural basis will be found for everyday folk psychological concepts (such as belief, desire and intention, for they are illusory and therefore do not have any consistent neurological substrate. Eliminative materialists therefore believe that consciousness does not exist except as an epiphenomenon of brain function and some believe that the concept will eventually be eliminated as neuroscience progresses.

Emergent Materialism
A philosophy which asserts that the mind is an irreducible existent in some sense, albeit not in the sense of being an ontological simple, and that the study of mental phenomena is independent of other sciences.

Evolutionary Materialism
The philosophical view that the only thing that can truly be said to ‘exist’ is matter and that the process of observing such existence evolves and changes over time.

French Materialism
A philosophy which holds that both the associationist psychology and Empiricism of John Locke with the Totality of Isaac Newton are correct and compatible with each other.

Reductive Materialism
Reductionism

Mazdaism
The religion that acknowledges the divine authority of Ahura Mazda, proclaimed by Zoroaster(see Zoroastrianism) to be the one uncreated Creator of all (God).

Mechanism
Theory that all natural phenomena can be explained by physical causes. It can be contrasted with vitalism, the philosophical theory that vital forces are active in living organisms, so that life cannot be explained solely by mechanism.

Meliorism
The idea in metaphysics that humans can, through their interference with natural processes, produce an improvement over the natural outcome. It is at the foundation of contemporary liberal democracy and human rights, and is contrasted by the concept apologism.

Mentalism
The view, in philosophy of mind, that the mind and mental states exist as causally efficacious inner states of persons. The view should be distinguished from substance dualism, which is the view that the mind and the body (or brain) are two distinct kinds of things which nevertheless interact (somehow) with one another. Although this dualistic view of the mind-body connection entails mentalism, mentalism does not entail dualism. Jerry Fodor and Noam Chomsky have been two of mentalism’s most ardent recent defenders.

Metaphysical Naturalism
See its entry under naturalism.

Modernism
Describes a series of reforming cultural movements in art and architecture, music, literature and the applied arts which emerged roughly in the period of 1884-1914. The term covers many political, cultural and artistic movements rooted in the changes in Western society at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the 20th century. It is a trend of thought that affirms the power of human beings to create, improve, and reshape their environment, with the aid of scientific knowledge, technology and practical experimentation.[11]

Mohism
The philosophy of Chinese philosopher Mozi, distinguished for its principles of universal love and mutual (utilitarian) benefit.

Molinism
A religious doctrine which attempts to reconcile the omniscience of God with human free will. Named after 16th Century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina.

Monism
The metaphysical and theological view that there is only one principle, essence, substance or energy. Monism is to be distinguished from dualism, which holds that ultimately there are two principles, and from pluralism, which holds that ultimately there are many principles.

Monistic Theism
See its entry under theism.

Monolatrism
A philosophy which holds that there are many gods, with a worshiper of any God receiving his or her blessing.

Monotheism
See its entry under theism.

Moral Absolutism
The belief in a single set of ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’, with no variation. These are known by all people and to not respect them is a choice.

Moral Realism
See its entry under realism.

Moral Relativism
The view that there are no universal moral truths.

Moral Universalism
The view that there are moral propositions that apply universally.

Mysticism
The pursuit of achieving communion, identity with, or conscious awareness of ultimate reality, the divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, or insight. Traditions may include a belief in the literal existence of dimensional realities beyond empirical perception, or a belief that a true human perception of the world goes beyond current logical reasoning or intellectual comprehension.

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