matter
That which occupies space, possessing size and shape, mass, movability, and solidity (which may be the same as impenetrability). Its nature was historically one of the great subjects of philosophy, now largely pursued through the philosophy of physics. Plato and Aristotle passed on a classification of matter into four kinds (earth, air, water, and fire) but also the view (not necessarily held by Aristotle himself) that any such division reflected a different form taken by one prime, undifferentiated matter or hylē (see materia prima ). In Aristotle there is also a fifth kind of matter ( quintessence ) found in the celestial world, whose possessors were thereby exempt from change. This physics was replaced from the 17th century onwards by the classical conception first of corpuscles (see corpuscularianism ) and then of modern atoms. In modern physics, the tidy picture of inert massy atoms on the one hand, and forces between them on the other, has entirely given way. The quantum mechanical description of fundamental particles blurs the distinction between matter and its energy, and between particles and the forces that describe their interaction. Philosophically, however, quantum mechanics leaves considerable unease of its own.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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  • Matter — • Taking the term in its widest sense, matter signifies that out of which anything is made or composed Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Matter     Matter      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • matter — mat·ter n 1: a subject of consideration, disagreement, or litigation: as a: a legal case, dispute, or issue a matter within the court s jurisdiction often used in titles of legal proceedings matter of Doe see also in re b …   Law dictionary

  • Matter — Mat ter, n. [OE. matere, F. mati[ e]re, fr. L. materia; perh. akin to L. mater mother. Cf. {Mother}, {Madeira}, {Material}.] 1. That of which anything is composed; constituent substance; material; the material or substantial part of anything; the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • matter — n 1 Matter, substance, material, stuff are comparable when they mean what goes into the makeup or forms the being of a thing whether physical or not. In the relevant sense matter basically denotes that of which all physical objects are made, but… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • matter — ► NOUN 1) physical substance or material in general, as distinct from mind and spirit; (in physics) that which occupies space and possesses mass. 2) an affair or situation under consideration; a topic. 3) (the matter) the reason for a problem. 4) …   English terms dictionary

  • matter — [mat′ər] n. [ME matiere < OFr < L materia, material, stuff, wood (< base of mater, MOTHER1), orig., the growing trunk of a tree] 1. what a thing is made of; constituent substance or material 2. what all (material) things are made of;… …   English World dictionary

  • Matter — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Bernhard Matter (1821–1854), Schweizer Krimineller, erwähnt in einem Lied von Mani Matter Franz Matter (1931–1999), Schweizer Schauspieler und Regisseur Herbert Matter (1907–1984), Schweizer Fotograf und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • matter — [n1] substance amount, being, body, constituents, corporeality, corporeity, element, entity, individual, material, materialness, object, phenomenon, physical world, protoplasm, quantity, stuff, substantiality, sum, thing; concepts 407,433,470 Ant …   New thesaurus

  • Matter — Mat ter, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Mattered}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Mattering}.] 1. To be of importance; to import; to signify. [1913 Webster] It matters not how they were called. Locke. [1913 Webster] 2. To form pus or matter, as an abscess; to maturate.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Matter — Mat ter, v. t. To regard as important; to take account of; to care for. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] He did not matter cold nor hunger. H. Brooke. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Matter — Matter, Jacques, geb. 1791 zu Alteckendorf im Elsaß, wurde 1819 Professor der Geschichte in Strasburg, 1821 Gymnasialdirector u. Professor der Geschichte an der dortigen protestantischen Akademie, 1831 Inspector der Akademie u. 1832… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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