The Lord's Prayer: Origins and History
History of Humanism with Ancient Renaissance Philosophers
Deceived by the Dialectic Process
The Dark History of Food Fraud, From Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee
By Bee Wilson
Seeds of Concern
The Genetic Manipulation of Plants
By David R. Murray
- The view in metaphysics that reality is a unified whole and that all existing things can be ascribed to or described by a single concept or system.
- The doctrine that mind and matter are formed from, or reducible to, the same ultimate substance or principle of being.
monistic mo·nis'tic (mō-nĭs'tĭk, mŏ-) adj.
monistically mo·nis'ti·cal·ly adv.
In metaphysics, the doctrine that the world is essentially one substance or contains only one kind of substance. Monism is opposed both to dualism and to pluralism. Examples of monism include materialism, pantheism, and metaphysical idealism. See also Benedict de Spinoza.
Monism finds one where dualism finds two. Physicalism is the doctrine that everything that exists is physical, and is a monism contrasted with mind-body dualism; absolute idealism is the doctrine that the only reality consists in modifications of the Absolute. Parmenides and Spinoza each believed that there were philosophical reasons for supposing that there could only be one kind of self-subsistent, real thing. See also neutral monism.
monism (mō'nĭzəm) [Gr.,=belief in one], in metaphysics, term introduced in the 18th cent. by Christian von Wolff for any theory that explains all phenomena by one unifying principle or as manifestations of a single substance. Monistic theorists differ considerably in their choice of a basis of unification. It may be material, as with Ernst Haeckel, who took the substance, or energy, as the only reality. It may be spiritual, as with G. W. Hegel, to whom mind, or spirit, is the reality by which all is to be explained. Or, as in Spinoza, it may be a substance, or Deity, of which body and mind are attributes that are held in equipoise. The opposites of monism are dualism and pluralism.
Hence an antagonism has been presented between communitarianism and liberalism, which may, however, be overdrawn. Frequently identified communitarians are Alasdair MacIntyre, Michael Sandel, Michael Walzer, and Charles Taylor. The fundamental division is said to be about the nature of the self. Communitarianism insists upon the interaction of the social context and individuals' self-conceptions, while liberalism allegedly works with an atomized individual artificially if not incoherently divorced from his or her social surroundings.
The intellectual origins of communitarianism are various, but Hegel and the English Idealists, notably T. H. Green, provide important perspectives, because of Hegel's concept of sittlichkeitz, or the shared values of the community, and the English Idealists' emphasis on the obligations of citizenship.
The socialist tradition, notably through its concern with fraternity, and the anarchist tradition, with its focus on the possibility of community in the absence of state coercion, are also important. Ferdinand Tonnies's work on Community and Society drew attention to the value of community, and the threat posed to it by industrial society.
Fundamental questions about the desirable relationships between ‘the community’, ‘the nation’, and ‘the state’ remain intellectually contentious and hotly contested in practical politics.
"It may be perpetual motion, but it will take forever to test it."