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MATERA—MATHEMATICS


A little burnt sugar or lemon juice is sometimes added instead of milk. The beverage is then handed round to the company, each person being furnished with a bombilla. The leaves will bear steeping about three times. The infusion, if not drunk soon after it is made, rapidly turns black. Persons who are fond of maté drink it before every meal, and consume about 1 oz. of the leaves per day. In the neighbourhood of Parana it is prepared and drunk like Chinese tea. Maté is generally considered disagreeable by those unaccustomed to it, having a somewhat bitter taste; moreover, it is the custom to drink it so hot as to be unpleasant. But in the south-eastern republics it is a much-prized article of luxury, and is the first thing offered to visitors. The gaucho of the plains will travel on horseback for weeks asking no better fare than dried beef washed down with copious draughts of maté, and for it he will forego any other luxury, such as sugar, rice or biscuit. Maté acts as a restorative after great fatigue in the same manner as tea. Since it does not lose its flavour so quickly as tea by exposure to the air and damp it is more valuable to travellers.

Since the beginning of the 17th century maté has been drunk by all classes in Paraguay, and it is now used throughout Brazil and the neighbouring countries.

The virtues of this substance are due to the occurrence in it of caffeine, of which a given quantity of maté, as prepared for drinking, contains definitely less than a similar quantity of tea or coffee. It is less astringent than either of these, and thus is, on all scores, less open to objection.

See Scully, Brazil (London, 1866); Mansfield, Brazil (London, 1856); Christy, New Commercial Plants, No. 3 (London, 1880); Kew Bulletin (1892), p. 132.


MATERA, a city of Basilicata, Italy, in the province of Potenza, from which it is 68 m. E. by road (13 m. S. of the station of Altamura), 1312 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1901), 17,801. Part of it is built on a level plateau and part in deep valleys adjoining, the tops of the campaniles of the lower portions being on a level with the streets of the upper. The principal building is the cathedral of the archbishopric of Acerenza and Matera, formed in 1203 by the union of the two bishoprics, dating respectively from 300 and 398. The western façade of the cathedral is plain, while the utmost richness of decoration is lavished on the south front which faces the piazza. Almost in the centre of this south façade is an exquisitely sculptured window, from which letters from the Greek patriarch at Constantinople used to be read. The campanile is 175 ft. high. In the vicinity are the troglodyte caverns of Monte Scaglioso, still inhabited by some of the lower classes, and other caves with 13th-century frescoes.

Neolithic pottery has been found here, but the origin of the town is uncertain. Under the Normans Matera was a countship for William Bras de Fer and his successors. It was the chief town of the Basilicata from 1664 till 1811, when the French transferred the administration to Potenza.

MATERIALISM (from Lat. materia, matter), in philosophy, the theory which regards all the facts of the universe as explainable in terms of matter and motion, and in particular explains all psychical processes by physical and chemical changes in the nervous system. It is thus opposed both to natural realism and to idealism. For the natural realist stands upon the common-sense position that minds and material objects have equally effective existence; while the idealist explains matter by mind and denies that mind can be explained by matter. The various forms into which materialism may be classified correspond to the various causes which induce men to take up materialistic views. Naïve materialism is due to a cause which still, perhaps, has no small power, the natural difficulty which persons who have had no philosophic training experience in observing and appreciating the importance of the immaterial facts of consciousness. The pre-Socratics may be classed as naïve materialists in this sense; though, as at that early period the contrast between matter and spirit had not been fully realized and matter was credited with properties that belong to life, it is usual to apply the term hylozoism (q.v.) to the earliest stage of Greek metaphysical theory. It is not difficult to discern the influence of naïve materialism in contemporary thinking. We see it in Huxley, and still more in Haeckel, whose materialism (which he chooses to term “monism”) is evidently conditioned by ignorance of the history and present position of speculation. Cosmological materialism is that form of the doctrine in which the dominant motive is the formation of a comprehensive world-scheme: the Stoics and Epicureans were cosmological materialists. In anti-religious materialism the motive is hostility to established dogmas which are connected, in the Christian system especially, with certain forms of spiritual doctrine. Such a motive weighed much with Hobbes and with the French materialists of the 18th century, such as La Mettrie and d’Holbach. The cause of medical materialism is the natural bias of physicians towards explaining the health and disease of mind by the health and disease of body. It has received its greatest support from the study of insanity, which is now fully recognized as conditioned by disease of the brain. To this school belong Drs Maudsley and Mercier. The highest form of the doctrine is scientific materialism, by which term is meant the doctrine so commonly adopted by the physicist, zoologist and biologist.

It may perhaps be fairly said that materialism is at present a necessary methodological postulate of natural-scientific inquiry. The business of the scientist is to explain everything by the physical causes which are comparatively well understood and to exclude the interference of spiritual causes. It was the great work of Descartes to exclude rigorously from science all explanations which were not scientifically verifiable; and the prevalence of materialism at certain epochs, as in the enlightenment of the 18th century and in the German philosophy of the middle 19th, were occasioned by special need to vindicate the scientific position, in the former case against the Church, in the latter case against the pseudo-science of the Hegelian dialectic. The chief definite periods of materialism are the pre-Socratic and the post-Aristotelian in Greece, the 18th century in France, and in Germany the 19th century from about 1850 to 1880. In England materialism has been endemic, so to speak, from Hobbes to the present time, and English materialism is more important perhaps than that of any other country. But, from the national distrust of system, it has not been elaborated into a consistent metaphysic, but is rather traceable as a tendency harmonizing with the spirit of natural science. Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Mill and Herbert Spencer are not systematic materialists, but show tendencies towards materialism.

See Metaphysics; and Lange’s History of Materialism.


MATER MATUTA (connected with Lat. mane, matutinus, “morning”), an old Italian goddess of dawn. The idea of light being closely connected with childbirth, whereby the infant is brought into the light of the world, she came to be regarded as a double of Juno, and was identified by the Greeks with Eilithyia. Matuta had a temple in Rome in the Forum Boarium, where the festival of Matralia was celebrated on the 11th of June. Only married women were admitted, and none who had been married more than once were allowed to crown her image with garlands. Under hellenizing influences, she became a goddess of sea and harbours, the Ino-Leucothea of the Greeks. In this connexion it is noticeable that, as Ino tended her nephew Dionysus, so at the Matralia the participants prayed for the welfare of their nephews and nieces before that of their own children. The transformation was complete in 174 B.C., when Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, after the conquest of Sardinia, placed in the temple of Matuta a map commemorative of the campaign, containing a plan of the island and the various engagements. The progress of navigation and the association of divinities of the sky with maritime affairs probably also assisted to bring about the change, although the memory of her earlier function as a goddess of childbirth survived till imperial times.

Ovid, Fasti, vi. 475; Livy xli. 28; Plutarch, Quaestiones romanae, 16, 17.


MATHEMATICS (Gr. μαθηματική, sc. τέχνη or ἐπιστήμη; from μάθημα, “learning” or “science”), the general term for the various applications of mathematical thought, the traditional field of which is number and quantity. It has been usual to define mathematics as “the science of discrete and continuous magnitude.” Even Leibnitz,[1] who initiated a more modern point of view, follows the tradition in thus confining the scope of mathematics properly so called, while apparently conceiving it as a department of a yet wider science of reasoning. A short

  1. Cf. La Logique de Leibnitz, ch. vii., by L. Couturat (Paris, 1901).