Indian Materialism

Indian Materialism

Context: It explains materialism’s origin, its names and ethical implications.

Origins of Materialism in India
• Materialism in India, often referred to as Lokāyata or Cārvāka, is a philosophical tradition that rejects spiritualism and supernaturalism. Materialism is an ancient Indian philosophy, detailing that only matter is fundamentally real.
• Some of the early sources of materialism in India include Jābāli, Ajita Kesakambala, and Bṛhaspati.

Significance of theory
• Eminent freedom fighter and rationalist M.N. Roy brought materialism into the 20th-century context, challenging spiritual doctrines.
• Materialism in India also influenced social and political movements, including the support for democracy and science.

Materialism names in India
• Lokāyata: It means philosophy of the people.
• Chárváka: The Charvaka school, dating back to the Rigveda period, emphasized direct perception over scripture.
• Bhautikvad: From ‘Bhautika’, meaning ‘physical or material’, it underscores the importance of materiality.
• Jadavāda: Focuses on the ‘jada’ or essence of existence.
• Dehātmavāda: Highlights the unity of the self (‘atman’) with the body (‘deha’).

What are the key tenets of Indian materialism?
• Rejection of Supernaturalism: Indian Materialism rejects the existence of otherworldly entities such as an immaterial soul or god and the after-life.
• Scientific and Naturalistic Approach: Its primary philosophical import comes by way of a scientific and naturalistic approach to metaphysics.
• Ethics Centered on Pleasure: The good, for the Indian materialist, is strictly associated with pleasure and the only ethical obligation forwarded by the system is the maximization of one’s own pleasure.
• Empirical Validation of Truth: Materialist thought dignified the physical world and elevated the sciences to a respectable level. Moreover, the Materialist emphasis on empirical validation of truth became the golden rule of the Scientific Method.

What is ethics of Materialism?
• It is centered on pleasure as mentioned above.
• It believes in living in the present.
• Materialists view values as human constructs, independent of divine morality.
• They stress the impact of one’s actions on themselves and the world, highlighting ethical conduct.

What is the Materialism view on heaven and hell?
• Materialists redefined heaven and hell in worldly terms.
• Heaven was perceived as enjoying life’s luxuries, akin to the gods’ enjoyment in mythological heavens.
• Hell was seen as earthly suffering, like diseases and hunger.

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