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monism(mō`nĭzəm) [Gr.,=belief in one], in metaphysics, term introduced in the 18th cent. by Christian von WolffWolff or Wolf, Christian von
, 1679–1754, German philosopher. One of the first to use the German language instead of Latin, he systematized and popularized the doctrines of Leibniz.
..... Click the link for more information. 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 HaeckelHaeckel, Ernst Heinrich
, 1834–1919, German biologist and philosopher. He taught (1862–1909) at the Univ. of Jena. An early exponent of Darwinism in Germany, he evolved a mechanistic form of monism based on his interpretation of Darwin's theories and set forth in his
..... Click the link for more information. , who took the substance, or energy, as the only reality. It may be spiritual, as with G. W. HegelHegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich
, 1770–1831, German philosopher, b. Stuttgart; son of a government clerk. Life and Works
Educated in theology at Tübingen, Hegel was a private tutor at Bern and Frankfurt.
..... Click the link for more information. , to whom mind, or spirit, is the reality by which all is to be explained. Or, as in SpinozaSpinoza, Baruch or Benedict
, 1632–77, Dutch philosopher, b. Amsterdam. Spinoza's Life
He belonged to the community of Jews from Spain and Portugal who had fled the Inquisition.
..... Click the link for more information. , it may be a substance, or Deity, of which body and mind are attributes that are held in equipoise. The opposites of monism are dualismdualism,
any philosophical system that seeks to explain all phenomena in terms of two distinct and irreducible principles. It is opposed to monism and pluralism. In Plato's philosophy there is an ultimate dualism of being and becoming, of ideas and matter.
..... Click the link for more information. and pluralismpluralism,
in philosophy, theory that considers the universe explicable in terms of many principles or composed of many ultimate substances. It describes no particular system and may be embodied in such opposed philosophical concepts as materialism and idealism. Empedocles, G. W.
..... Click the link for more information. .
a method of viewing the diversity of phenomena in the world that posits a single principle or source (substance) for all that exists; a method of formulating a logically consistent theory from a single initial proposition.
The opposites of monism are dualism, which recognizes two independent principles, and pluralism, which assumes a plurality of principles. Monism originally took the form of naive notions about the primary substance from which all things arose; for example, Thales believed this substance to be water, while Heraclitus asserted that it was fire. The main philosophical problem of monism is the way of comprehending the relationship between the material and the ideal; this presupposes the solution of the fundamental question of philosophy from a materialist or idealist standpoint. Materialist monism states that the ideal proceeds from the material; it rejects both objective-idealist and subjective-idealist monism. One of the varieties of the latter is neutral monism (Machism, empiriomonism), which seeks to trace both the physical and the mental back to some neutral substance—for example, elements, according to E. Mach. Idealist monism, facing the fundamentally insoluble task of giving a rational explanation for the “creation” of the world by consciousness or spirit, comes to contradict the data of natural science and logic. Dualism, which asserts the mutual independence of material and spiritual substances, cannot explain the agreement between physical and mental processes in human conduct (as in the dualistic philosophy of R. Descartes).
Unlike idealist monism and dualism, materialist monism considers the ideal a property and function of matter. However, metaphysical materialism, which seeks to link the ideal directly with nature, cannot explain either the rise of the ideal from the material or the conversion of the ideal into a material force; it cannot use the principle of materialist monism to attain an understanding of human society. The highest and only consistent form of monism is dialectical materialism, which links the principle of the material unity of the world with the principle of development. Dialectical materialism has proved that all the diverse phenomena of nature, society, and human consciousness are the end product of developing matter.
The introduction into philosophy of the category of practice made it possible to regard the two opposites, the material and the ideal, as arising in history and turning one into the other. The category of practice has enabled philosophers to combine the teachings on being and knowledge into a single view, to complete the edifice of materialism, to make it the philosophy of action, and to create a single methodology of revolutionary thought and revolutionary action.
The integrity of the teachings of Marxism-Leninism is a model of the monistic development of a theory. Dialectical materialist monism is not only a world view but a logical and methodological principle that requires that a theory reveal the inner unity and connection of phenomena. Dialectical materialist monism demands consistency in a specific view of the facts and requires the systematic ascent from the abstract to the concrete and from the general law to its specific manifestations.
REFERENCESEngels, F. Anti-Dühring. K. Marx, and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 20.
Lenin, V. I. “Filosofskie tetradi.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 29.
Plekhanov, G. V. K voprosu o razvitii monisticheskogo vzgliada na istoriiu. Moscow, 1949.
Naumenko, L. K.Monizm kakprintsip dialekticheskoi logiki. Alma-Ata, 1968.
L. K. NAUMENKO