The concept of materialism refers to both a philosophical current and an attitude .
On the one hand, in philosophy, materialism is defined as a current of thought that arises from opposition to spiritualism and considers tangible matter as unique and real.
In relation to its other meaning, materialism is equivalent to the attitude of people who place an excessive value on material goods, as shown by property and money.
materialism versus idealism
One of several divisions in philosophy is the difference between idealistic and materialist thinkers.
Within the first group we can find great philosophers like Hegel or Plato, who perfectly explained the thoughts of the idealist school by imagining history as a mere reflection of another ideal world. The central point of this current of thought can be roughly summarized in that all material things, including man, are the result of the action of a divine spirit.
Faced with this idea, materialist philosophers took a stand and defended (in fact, they still defend today) that the real world is the first and original, with their ideas being a simple product of the human mind. In this way, this spiritual conception of the world defended by idealists is not the creation of a divine entity, but of the human brain itself .
Based on this concept, it can be said that the bases that support this materialist thinking are the following:
Only the material world is real. Its development is due to the evolution of nature itself, without entering into the supernatural game.
There is no immaterial world. Ideas are the creation of something material, of the human brain and cannot have a life of their own. In this way, these idealistic thoughts cannot be detached from matter.
Engels proclaimed that the origins of modern materialism arose in England during the 17th century, for just then Francis Bacon began to develop revolutionary ideas that would be the reason for materialism.
In his writings, Bacon argued that the senses were infallible and showed himself to be the only possible source of knowledge acquisition . In doing so, he discarded the possibility of a world that was not material.
These thoughts were the basis for Thomas Hobbes to continue developing the foundations of materialism. Thus, Hobbes was the first to introduce an explanation that ideas are a mere reflection of the real world, making it impossible to separate thought from matter.
Later, John Locke ended up refining the ideas of Hobbes and Bacon, certifying with proof the existence of materialism.