Matter, in other words, substance, is one of the foundations of being; spirit, or consciousness, is opposed to it. The understanding of the foundations of matter is somewhat different, depending on whether it is viewed in the context of idealism or materialism.
Matter in philosophy
The word matter comes from the Latin materia, which translates as "substance". This term means physical substance, that is, being, everything that is present in the world and exists in it in direct embodiment. We can say that in the traditional sense, matter is everything that can be seen and touched.
In philosophy, reality is usually divided into subjective and objective. In materialism, subjective reality is consciousness, and objective reality is matter. It is matter (like everything that exists) that determines consciousness, it is primary, since it exists independently of consciousness or spirit. Consciousness is a product of matter, it relies on it, but without it it cannot exist.
In idealism, the opposite is true, consciousness is an objective reality, and matter is subjective. Spirit, or consciousness, is primary, it is spirit that creates matter, and objective reality itself depends on consciousness. In other words, everything that exists is determined by spirit, consciousness or thoughts.
The main difference between idealism and materialism lies precisely in this moment. Without understanding this difference, it is quite difficult to understand the role of matter, as the basis of being, in a philosophical understanding. Sometimes also matter means everything that exists, in a sense generalizing both spirit and matter. This is a fundamental term.
History of understanding matter
The ancient Greeks were the first to introduce the concept of matter. For example, Democritus and Leucippus stated that the whole world consists of particles (atomism), and these particles are matter. Plato introduced the concept of matter to oppose it to the world of ideas. Aristotle believed that matter is eternal, it exists objectively and independently of anything.
In the Middle Ages, mainly religious philosophy developed, therefore matter was considered from the standpoint of correlation with religious dogmas, in the context of Christianity.
Later philosophers tried to investigate matter, highlighting its properties, for example, Hobbes wrote that the substance is characterized by extension. He also divided matter into primary and secondary, and the first matter is generally everything that fills the universe, a kind of universe. And the second is what is available for direct perception.
There were also those who generally denied matter. These included George Berkeley. He wrote that the perception of matter is based only on the fact that the subjective spirit perceives ideas as material. Matter, as he argued, does not exist at all.
During the Enlightenment, matter began to be viewed from the point of view of the amazing diversity of the world. Diderot wrote that matter exists only in its diversity, if it were not there, there would be no matter.
The progress of science and the study of phenomena that cannot be seen with the eyes, pushed people to the idea that idealism triumphs. Kant brought order to this confusion by distinguishing between logical and physical matter. At the same time, he was a dualist, that is, he recognized the existence of matter and spirit at the same time.