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Mao Zedong (1893-1976)
Mao Zedong

Chinese revolutionary leader and founder of the People's Republic of China. While leading the Chinese revolution, Mao wrote extensively on the theoretical application of Marx's philosophy to the traditional values of Chinese culture. Many of his comments are included in Quotations from Chairman Mao. Other significant articles include Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society (1926) On Practice (1937), and On New Democracy (1940).

Recommended Reading: Zedong Mao, On Guerrilla Warfare, tr. by Samuel B. Griffith (Illinois, 2000); Jonathan D. Spence, Mao Zedong (Viking, 1999); and Critical Perspectives on Mao Zedong's Thought, ed. by Arif Dirlik, Paul Michael Healy, and Nick Knight (Promethean, 1997).

Also see EB.

Marcel, Gabriel (1889-1973)

French philosopher whose Le Mystère de l'être (The mystery of Being) (1950), The Existentialist Background to Human Dignity (1963), and The Philosophy of Existentialism (1967) are often considered classic statements of theistic existentialism, in which despair and self-deception are overcome by hope and a spirit of truth. Marcel also wrote plays exhibiting similar themes, including Un Homme de Dieu (A Man of God) (1925) and La Dimension Florestan (The Florestan Dimension) (1956).

Recommended Reading: Joe McCown, Gabriel Marcel and the Phenomenology of Human Openness (Scholars' Press, 1978); Seymour Cain, Gabriel Marcel's Theory of Religious Experience (Peter Lang, 1995); Reflections on Gabriel Marcel: A Collection of Essays, ed. by William Cooney (Edwin Mellen, 1989); and The Philosophy of Gabriel Marcel, ed. by Paul Arthur Schilpp and Lewis Edwin Hahn (Open Court, 1984).

Also see SEP, EB, and Bernard A. Gendreau.

Marcus Aurelius (121-180)
Marcus Aurelius

Roman emperor and philosopher; author of an intensely personal statement of stoic principles in the aphorisms of the Meditations. Written during his frequent military campaigns, these sayings provided Marcus with reminders of his ethical obligations.

Recommended Reading: Pierre Hadot, The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, trans. by Michael Chase (Harvard, 1998) and Anthony R. Birley, Marcus Aurelius (Routledge, 2000).

Also see SEP, CE, Robert Sarkissian, EB, and ELC.

Marcuse, Herbert (1898-1979)

German-American political philosopher associated with the Frankfurt School. Author of Eros and Civilization (1955) and One-Dimensional Man (1964). Marcuse combined Marx's economic analysis with Freudian psychology in an effort to show that a fundamental social transformation could liberate individual human beings from the alienation and repression that characterize patriarchal capitalist societies.

Recommended Reading: Herbert Marcuse, Towards a Critical Theory of Society, ed. by Douglas Kellner (Routledge, 2001); Joan Nordquist, Herbert Marcuse: A Bibliography (Ref. and Res. Serv., 2000); Douglas Kellner, Herbert Marcuse and the Crisis of Marxism (California, 1992); Marcuse, ed. by Robert Pippin, Andrew Feenberg, and Charles P. Webel (Greenwood, 1987); and Charles Reitz, Art, Alienation, and the Humanities: A Critical Engagement With Herbert Marcuse (SUNY, 2000).

Also see The Herbert Marcuse Homepage, Douglas Kellner, Andrew Feenberg, EB, Andy Blunden, and ELC.

Maritain, Jacques (1882-1973)

French philosopher. After studying with Bergson, Maritain became the leading exponent of neo-Thomistic thought. His works include: Art et scholastique (Art and Scholasticism) (1920), Distinguer pour unir, ou les degrés du savoir (The Degrees of Knowledge) (1932), and Humanisme intégral (True Humanism) (1936), along with many commentaries on the philosophy of Aquinas. In Approaches de Dieu (Approaches to God) (1953), for example, Maritain defended the five ways of proving God's existence. Maritain was also one of the authors of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights approved by the United Nations in 1948.

Recommended Reading: Jacques Maritain, Man and the State (Catholic Univ. of Amer., 1998); Jacques Maritain, An Essay on Christian Philosophy, ed. by Edward H. Flannery (Irvington, 1955); The Future of Thomism: The Maritain Sequence, ed. by Deal W. Hudson, Dennis William Moran, and Donald Arthur Gallagher (Notre Dame, 1992); Charles A. Fechek, The Philosophy of Jacques Maritain (Greenwood, 1953); and James V. Schall, Jacques Maritain (Rowman & Littlefield, 1998).

Also see SEP, Maritain, EB, and ELC.

Marsilius of Padua (1277-1342)

Italian political theorist who taught in Paris and Nuremberg. His Defensor Pacis (Defender of Peace) (1324) refuted papal claims to political as well as ecclesiastical power and argued that the chief function of republican government is the resolution of conflicts among citizens.

Recommended Reading: Marsilius of Padua, Writings on the Empire: Defensor Minor and De Translatione Imperii, ed. by Cary J. Nederman (Cambridge, 1993) and Alan Gewirth, Marsilius of Padua (Ayer, 1979).

Also see EB.

Marx, Karl (1818-1883)

German political philosopher who used an analysis of the alienation of labor and adherence to dialectical materialism as the bases for a trenchant criticism of capitalistic economic and political structures.

For a discussion of his life and works, see Marx.

Masham, Damaris Cudworth (1659-1708)

English philosopher. The daughter of Ralph Cudworth and an intimate friend of John Locke, Masham used religious arguments to encourage the education of women in Occasional Thoughts in Reference to a Christian Life (1694) and A Discourse concerning the Love of God (1696).

Recommended Reading: Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period, ed. by Margaret Atherton (Hackett, 1994).

Also see SEP and ELC.

material cause

Basic stuff of which a thing is made; one of Aristotle's four causes.

Recommended Reading: Aristotle, The Physics: Books I-IV, tr. by Philip H. Wicksteed and Francis M. Cornford (Harvard, 1986) and Aristotle's Physics: A Collection of Essays, ed. by Lindsay Judson (Clarendon, 1995).

material equivalence

The logical relationship between any two propositions that have the same truth-value. See equivalence.

material implication

The logical relationship between any two propositions such that either the first is false or the second is true. See implication.

Recommended Reading: David H. Sanford, If P, Then Q: Conditionals and the Foundations of Reasoning (Routledge, 1992); W. L. Harper, R. Stalnaker, and G. Pearce, Ifs: Conditionals, Belief, Decision, Chance, and Time (Kluwer, 1980); and Michael Woods, Conditionals, ed. by David Wiggins and Dorothy Edgington (Clarendon, 1997).


Belief that only physical things truly exist. Materialists claim (or promise) to explain every apparent instance of a mental phenomenon as a feature of some physical object. Prominent materialists in Western thought include the classical atomists, Hobbes, and La Mettrie.

Recommended Reading: Julien Offray de La Mettrie, Machine Man and Other Writings, ed. by Ann Thomson (Cambridge, 1996); Richard C. Vitzthum, Materialism: An Affirmative History and Definition (Prometheus, 1995); Materialism and the Mind-Body Problem, ed. by David M. Rosenthal (Hackett, 2000); Hud Hudson, A Materialist Metaphysics of the Human Person (Cornell, 2001); Jennifer Trusted, The Mystery of Matter (Palgrave, 1999); and Physicalism and Its Discontents, ed. by Carl Gillett and Barry Loewer (Cambridge, 2001).

Also see ISM, SEP, David J. Chalmers, EB, and DPM.


Physical stuff—whatever has size and shape, is solid and tangible, takes up space, and can move. Hence, for many philosophers of the Western tradition, material objects are substances that have the attribute of extension. Idealists deny the reality of any such stuff, while materialists deny that there is anything else.

Also see .

mauvaise foi

Sartre's French term for "bad faith," the culpable self-deception involved in declining to accept responsibility for one's choices.

Recommended Reading: Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, tr. by Hazel E. Barnes (Washington Square, 1993); Joseph S. Catalano, A Commentary on Jean-Paul Sartre's 'Being and Nothingness' (Chicago, 1985); and Ronald E. Santoni, Bad Faith, Good Faith, and Authenticity in Sartre's Early Philosophy (Temple, 1995).

maximin (or minimax) principle

Supposition that the preferable alternative is one whose worst outcome is least harmful, originally in mathematical and game-theoretical contexts. Thus, when success in any venture is uncertain, it is better to choose courses of action that risk the least, even if they don't offer a chance at the most. Rawls argued that this maximization of the minimum gain to be achieved is a rational guide for social decision-making.

Recommended Reading: V. F. Dem'Yanov and V. N. Malozemov, Introduction to Minimax (Dover, 1990); Stephen Simons, Minimax and Monotonicity (Springer Verlag, 1999); Ronald Christensen, General Description of Entropy Minimax (Entropy, 1981); and John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Belknap, 1999).

Also see Robert Johnson.


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Last modified 29 December 2011.
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