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 (mō′nĭz′əm, mŏn′ĭz′əm)
n. Philosophy
1. The view in metaphysics that reality is a unified whole and that all existing things can be ascribed to or described by a single concept or system.
2. The doctrine that mind and matter are formed from, or reducible to, the same ultimate substance or principle of being.

mo′nist n.
mo·nis′tic (mō-nĭs′tĭk, mŏ-) adj.
mo·nis′ti·cal·ly adv.


1. (Philosophy) philosophy the doctrine that the person consists of only a single substance, or that there is no crucial difference between mental and physical events or properties. Compare dualism2 See also materialism2, idealism3
2. (Philosophy) philosophy the doctrine that reality consists of an unchanging whole in which change is mere illusion. Compare pluralism5
3. (Philosophy) the epistemological theory that the object and datum of consciousness are identical
4. the attempt to explain anything in terms of one principle only
[C19: from Greek monos single + -ism]
ˈmonist n, adj
moˈnistic, moˈnistical adj
moˈnistically adv


(ˈmɒn ɪz əm, ˈmoʊ nɪz əm)

a. (in metaphysics) any of various theories holding that there is only one basic substance or principle as the ground of reality or that reality consists of a single element. Compare dualism (def. 2a), pluralism (def. 1a).
b. (in epistemology) a theory that the object and datum of cognition are identical.
2. the reduction of all processes, structures, etc., to a single governing principle.
3. the notion that there is only one causal factor in history.
[1860–65; < German Monismus. See mon-, -ism]
mon′ist, n.
mo•nis•tic (məˈnɪs tɪk, moʊ-) mo•nis′ti•cal, adj.
mo•nis′ti•cal•ly, adv.


1. Metaphysics. a theory that only one basic substance or principle exists as the ground of reality. Cf. dualism, pluralism.
2. Metaphysics. a theory that reality consists of a single element. Cf. pluralism.
3. Epistemology. a theory that the object and the sense datum of cognition are identical. — monist, n.monistic, monistical, adj.
See also: Philosophy
Epistemology. a theory that the object and datum of cognition are identical.
See also: Knowledge
Metaphysics. any of various theories holding that there is only one basic substance or principle that is the ground of reality. — monist, n. — monistic, monistical, adj.
See also: Matter
the theory that there is only one causal factor in history, as intellect or nature. — monist, n. — monistic, adj.
See also: History


The belief that all things are unified, or that they are all explained ultimately on one single principle or law.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.monism - the doctrine that reality consists of a single basic substance or element
doctrine, ism, philosophical system, philosophy, school of thought - a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school
pluralism - the doctrine that reality consists of several basic substances or elements
References in classic literature ?
He'll talk Nietzsche, or Schopenhauer, or Kant, or anything, but the only thing in this world, not excepting Mary, that he really cares for, is his monism.
Long before the school of materialistic monism arose, the ground was removed so that there could be no foundation.
He, so warm in spirit, was dominated by that cold and forbidding philosophy, materialistic monism.
He discusses the purity of the pure theory of law, law as an order of force or violence, law as permission, the law as a schema of interpretation, normative monism, and absolute positivism.
McCloskey's discussion of ethical monism highlights the value of Constant's and Tocqueville's narratives about virtue in modernity.
She considers three different kinds of objections to monism that stem specifically from considerations unique to assessing the credibility of persons, along with corresponding pluralist proposals.
Daly cautions, however, that proposing both a self and an Other (human or object) perennially risks either a solipsistic monism that reduces the Other to a projection of the self, or a substance dualism that invites skepticism about non-mental entities (61).
With this idea Spinoza connects with Parmenides' original monism.
Huang's real weakness, in my opinion, is that he acquiesced to (or perhaps did not dare to break away from) certain traditional Western assumptions about Chinese culture and Confucian religion, such as the so-called "degeneration" of the idea of God in Confucian history and the absolute monism of the Neo-Confucian worldview.
If he is selected as the president of the country on August 10, DemirtaE- said every king of monism will disappear and democratic nation will be reinforced.
Space constraints preclude me from discussing all the essays in detail, but those that stood out to me included Christopher Tilmouths essay, which takes up recent work on inter-subjectivity to show how this understanding of early modern selfhood helps us read accounts of the passions more accurately; Russ Leo's, on Spinoza; Cummings's 'Donne's Passions: Emotion, Agency and Language'; Felicity Greens essay on Montaigne and emotion; Katherine Fletcher on how Milton's monism pushes him to counter Cartesian dualism in his writing; and Katrin Ettenhuber's essay on Augustine, Donne, and grief.