Matter, Mind, and Meaning

Authored by: Donald A. Crosby

The Routledge Handbook of Religious Naturalism

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138292079
eBook ISBN: 9781315228907
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



Matter, mind, and meaning: these three terms are bound inextricably together because the third requires recognition and interpretation by the second, and both of these are necessarily dependent on the first. Matter exists in great profusion in the universe and on our home planet, and it is generally devoid of mind and of mind’s awareness of meaning. But there are also organizations of matter here on earth and probably elsewhere in the universe that are able to function as minds. There is no meaning without mind, and mind requires meaning for its effective operations. This statement is true of sensate meaning, conceptual meaning, artistic meaning, and existential meaning. Mind and meaning, in their turn, are functions of matter. Meaning lies in the relations of matter and mind and of mind with mind. Material existence gives rise to mind. Mind, in its relations to matter—the matter of its own embodiment and the matter of the world external to and interacting with its embodiment—becomes a field of meaning. The world external to itself with which a particular mind has relations includes material beings that, like itself, have varying degrees of mental capacity. With such internal and external relationships, matter becomes meaning through the mediation of mind.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.