Though materialism can be traced as far back as Hegel, an early philosopher, Marx was the first to apply materialistic ideas to human societies in a quasi-anthropological manner. Marx developed the concept of dialectical materialism borrowing his dialectics from Hegel and his materialism from others. To Marx, "the mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social, political, and spiritual processes of life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but on the contrary, their social existence determines their consciousness"
Materialism can refer either to the simple preoccupation with the material world, as opposed to intellectual or spiritual concepts, or to the theory that physical matter is all there is. This theory is far more than a simple focus on material possessions. It states that everything in the universe is matter, without any true spiritual or intellectual existence. Materialism can also refer to a doctrine that material success and progress are the highest values in life. This doctrine appears to be prevalent in western society today.
cultural materialism explains cultural similarities and differences as well as models for cultural change within a societal framework consisting of three distinct levels: infrastructure, structure and superstructure. Cultural materialism promotes the idea that infrastructure, consisting of “material realities” such as technological, economic and reproductive (demographic) factors mold and influence the other two aspects of culture. The “structure” sector of culture consists of organizational aspects of culture such as domestic and kinship systems and political economy, while the “superstructure” sector consists of ideological and symbolic aspects of society such as religion. Therefore, cultural materialists believe that technological and economic aspects play the primary role in shaping a society.
Cultural Materialists believe that all societies operate according to model in which production and reproduction dominate and determine the other sectors of culture ,effectively serving as the driving forces behind all cultural development. They propose that all non-infrastructure aspects of society are created with the purpose of benefitting societal productive and reproductive capabilities.
Modern versions of eliminative materialism claim that our common-sense understanding of psychological states and processes is deeply mistaken and that some or all of our ordinary notions of mental states will have no home, at any level of analysis, in a sophisticated and accurate account of the mind. In other words, it is the view that certain common-sense mental states, such as beliefs and desires, do not exist.
Eliminative materialism (or eliminativism) is the radical claim that our ordinary, common-sense understanding of the mind is deeply wrong and that some or all of the mental states posited by common-sense do not actually exist. Descartes famously challenged much of what we take for granted, but he insisted that, for the most part, we can be confident about the content of our own minds. Eliminative materialists go further than Descartes on this point, since they challenge the existence of various mental states that Descartes took for granted
Materialists have generally believed that the only things that are real are the things that a person can perceive through his senses and that all events in the universe can be explained by scientific law. Basic to materialism is the denial of the existence of a God who directs the universe and of the immortality of the individual soul.
Philosophical Materialism is based on the concept that the Universe is solely a material dimension and that all phenomena (i.e. reality) in the Universe are strictly the result of the material interactions of the separate physical 'bits' comprising it - all operating in accordance with 'natural', immutable laws of the universe and not exhibiting, or being the subject of, 'consciousness'. In other words, the universe was considered to be strictly deterministic and causal in operation - a gigantic 'super machine' so to speak.
Cultural Materialism seeks to explain cultural organization, ideology and symbolism within a materialistic (Infrastructure/structure/superstructure) framework. Cultural Materialists believe society develops on a trial and error basis. If something is not beneficial to a society's ability to produce and/or reproduce, or causes production and/or reproduction to exceed acceptable limits, it will disappear from society altogether
Philosophical materialism specifically rejects the concept of an essential wholeness or interconnectedness between all the 'parts' comprising the Universe, let alone of an overlighting 'consciousness' pervading that universe. Religion and spirituality are considered to be just "superstitious nonsense" of a bygone era. Non-physical phenomena which cannot be 'objectively' verified are considered to be "unreal" or "non-existent" and "all in the mind"