Materialism (Britannica article)

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Smart, John Carswell Jamieson. "Materialism." Encyclopaedia Britannica: Macropaedia. 1974.

Begins with defining a paradigmatic "mechanical Materialism," where What Is is matter, matter understood as a collection of minute hard particles, possibly moving through a void—a classic atomist paradigm immediately modernized "to cover anyone who bases his theory on whatever it is that physics asserts ultimately to exist": "physicalistic Materialism" (611). Note discussion of R. Descartes's "doctrine that animals are automata," applied by Julien (Offroy) de La Mettrie to humans in his unequivocally titled L'Homme machine, 1747, trans. English Man a Machine, 1750 (612). Bringing the discussion to the late 20th c., the article deals with computers and the question of "real" AI (614). Includes a useful analytical, lightly annotated biblio. See under the Category of Background R. Descartes; T. Hobbes; D. Hofstadter; J. R. Munson and R. C. York; D. S. Robinson; C. Sagan, "Life"; B. de Spinoza; S. E. Toulmin; R. A. Watson[1]; R. S. Westfall.