Religion Past and Present

Get access

(2,027 words)

[German Version]

I. Philosophy – II. Natural Sciences – III. Dogmatics

I. Philosophy

In philosophy, the concept of matter is used only in a metaphysical/ontological sense, in order to underlay spatial-temporal phenomena with a substratum. Thus, pre-Socratic natural philosophers already postulated the existence of a hýlē (ὕλη, Lat. materia, orig. “forest,” “wood”). For Thales, this was water, for Anaximander the apeiron (“indefinite”), for Anaximenes air, for Heraclitus fire, and for Democritus ind…

Cite this page
Jammer, Max and Schwarke, Christian, “Matter”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 17 October 2019 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

▲   Back to top   ▲