Investigating the Division of the ‘Being’ into Material and Immaterial in Philosophy and their Definitions

Yahya Nur-Muhammadi Najaf Abadi / Assistant Professor Malayer University

Received: 2018/08/10 - Accepted: 2019/03/12                 


Various spheres such as religious beliefs, natural and cosmological opinions, and the intellectual sphere regarding ontological and epistemological issues can be regarded as the historical background for dividing the being into immaterial and material. Although the philosophers of Milesian and Eleatic schools were the pioneers of this philosophical division, Plato and Aristotle were prominent philosophers who highlighted such a division with specified criteria. This trend went on in an evolutionary form during the history of philosophy, and changes appeared in standards of separating immaterial beings from material beings along with changes in other philosophical subjects. In the course of history, the philosophers have suggested various criteria and features for separating immaterial beings from material beings, features such as extension, spatiality, having location and position, being dividable, being perceptible and sensible, and having matter and knowledge. Some of these criteria refer to the difference between material being and the world of intellects, not between material and immaterial beings. Some of them have drawback, but some can be accepted with modifications or without them.

KEY WORDS: immaterial, material, philosophy, body, matter.


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