Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
After HegelGerman Philosophy, 1840-1900$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Frederick C. Beiser

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163093

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163093.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use (for details see www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 18 October 2018

The Materialism Controversy

The Materialism Controversy

Chapter:
(p.53) 2 The Materialism Controversy
Source:
After Hegel
Author(s):

Frederick C. Beiser

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691163093.003.0003

This chapter examines the so-called “materialism controversy,” one of the most important intellectual disputes of the second half of the nineteenth century. The dispute began in the 1850s, and its shock waves reverberated until the end of the century. The main question posed by the materialism controversy was whether modern natural science, whose authority and prestige were now beyond question, necessarily leads to materialism. Materialism was generally understood to be the doctrine that only matter exists and that everything in nature obeys only mechanical laws. If such a doctrine were true, it seemed there could be no God, no free will, no soul, and hence no immortality. These beliefs, however, seemed vital to morality and religion. So the controversy posed a drastic dilemma: either a scientific materialism or a moral and religious “leap of faith.” It was the latest version of the old conflict between reason and faith, where now the role of reason was played by natural science.

Keywords:   German philosophy, materialism controversy, modern natural science, scientific materialism, faith, reason

Princeton Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.