The view that everything that actually exists is material, or physical. Many philosophers and scientists now use the terms `material' and `physical' interchangeably (for a version of physicalism distinct from materialism, see physicalism ). Characterized in this way, as a doctrine about what exists, materialism is an ontological, or a metaphysical, view; it is not just an epistemological view about how we know or just a semantic view about the meaning of terms.
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