- (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 2), pluralism(def 1a).
- (in epistemology) a theory that the object and datum of cognition are identical.Compare pluralism(def 1b).
- the reduction of all processes, structures, concepts, etc., to a single governing principle; the theoretical explanation of everything in terms of one principle.
- the conception that there is one causal factor in history; the notion of a single element as primary determinant of behavior, social action, or institutional relations.
- 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 propertiesCompare dualism (def. 2) See also materialism (def. 2), idealism (def. 3)
- philosophy the doctrine that reality consists of an unchanging whole in which change is mere illusionCompare pluralism (def. 5)
- the epistemological theory that the object and datum of consciousness are identical
- the attempt to explain anything in terms of one principle only
n.1836, from Greek monos “single” (see mono-) + -ist. Also see monism. Related: Monistic. n.“the philosophical doctrine that there is only one principle,” 1862, from Modern Latin monismus, from Greek monos “alone” (see mono-). First used in German by German philosopher Baron Christian von Wolff (1679-1754). A position in metaphysics that sees only one kind of principle whereas dualism sees two. On the question of whether people’s minds are distinct from their bodies, for example, a monist would hold either that mental conditions are essentially physical conditions (materialism), or that bodies depend on minds for their existence (idealism).