Neutral monism

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Neutral monism is the philosophical thesis that both mind and matter can be reduced to basic, identical elements that are neutral in that they are either neither material nor mental in nature, or in which both are created equally. The respective spirituality or materiality of the world is solely attributed to the relationships between these neutral elements.

It can be said that neutral monism was first introduced through the psychophysical parallelism of Baruch Spinoza , a 17th century Dutch philosopher. A later variant was temporarily represented by Bertrand Russell , from whom the name comes. The real classic neutral monist, however, is the physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach , for whom the neither mental nor physical sensory elements are either physical or psychological, depending on the relationship they enter into. Mach gained his view through the further development of the psychophysical parallelism of Gustav Theodor Fechner . Even William James is seen as a classic representative of a neutral monism.

The American philosopher Donald Davidson took a position of mind-body identity that he called " abnormal monism ". This is related to the theories dealt with here, even if not identical: “ Anomalous ” means for the spiritual in this context “cannot be derived from physical laws alone”.

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