Difference in Views

According to the philosopher Lucretius, matter, which is made up of atoms, and the empty space, is what the whole universe is made up of. Due the empty space, atoms move about freely in the universe and when atoms collide with each other and come together, they form matter i.e. material objects. Human beings, just like the non living things such as a table or chair, are made up of atoms. When humans die or when these non living things are discarded or burnt in fire, the atoms are not destroyed. They come back into the empty space and again collide and come together to form living things which can think, speak, taste, etc, as well as non living things. Thus, it is the atoms, the matter which forms humans, their consciousness, soul, mind, and thoughts.

As materialism suggests that consciousness and ideas do not exist or even if they do, they are nothing but atoms, then why do different people have different ways of looking at things? A glass half filled with water, may seem half empty to some and half full to others. This shows that perceptions of reality differ from person to person, although we have the same electrical activities going on inside our brains are made up of the same atoms. It is these psychological processes such as our desires, beliefs, intentions, thoughts, feelings and sensory perceptions, that distinguish one person from another. This phenomenon has still not been satisfactorily explained by scientists or proponents of materialism.

If we look at modern science, it is very closely associated with the philosophy of materialism. Most scientists can be considered materialists by profession as they only study about or deal with material things, but personally they may have different beliefs and some of them may actually believe in things like human consciousness, perception, thoughts and other psychological processes.

People who have been debating on this subject, often point out the flaws of materialistic philosophy. They suggest that since atoms and particles do not have any consciousness, then how come they can come together to form human consciousness and soul? Thus, the philosophy of explaining everything in reference to material things or matter, is still highly debated and lot of questions are still left unanswered.

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In deontological ethics an action is considered morally good because of some characteristic of the action itself, not because the product of the action is good. Deontological ethics holds that at least some acts are morally obligatory regardless of their consequences for human welfare. Descriptive of such ethics are such expressions as “Duty for duty’s sake,” “Virtue is its own reward,” and “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

Teleological theories differ on the nature of the end that actions ought to promote. Eudaemonist theories (Greek eudaimonia, “happiness”), which hold that ethics consists in some function or activity appropriate to man as a human being, tend to emphasize the cultivation of virtue or excellence in the agent as the end of all action. These could be the classical virtues—courage, temperance, justice, and wisdom—that promoted the Greek ideal of man as the “rational animal”; or the theological virtues—faith, hope, and love—that distinguished the Christian ideal of man as a being created in the image of God.

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I suppose therefore that all things I see are illusions; I believe that nothing has ever existed of everything my lying memory tells me. I think I have no senses. I believe that body, shape, extension, motion, location are functions. What is there then that can be taken as true? Perhaps only this one thing, that nothing at all is certain.
René Descartes