Bertrand Russell and the Edwardian Philosophers: by Omar W. Nasim

By Omar W. Nasim

The writer demonstrates the numerous position that a number of the Edwardian philosophers performed within the formation of Russell's paintings at the challenge of the exterior global performed on the tail-end of an issue which raged among approximately 1900-1915.

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Stout notices that a visible extension may change its shape and size, without this being a change in the real extension of the thing. Conceivably there are a whole series of such possible alterations and variations of the visual appearance that may result from approaching or receding from a thing, without there being a corresponding change in the thing. Stout suggests three possible ways of understanding this relationship. One is to merely identify ‘the whole series of possible changes’ with the real thing.

Apart from Cook Wilson’s and Stout’s explanation, there is a third alternative. 76 That is, take all the various points of view, order them into some series, and then identify this whole series with the real size of AB. Stout thinks this is inadmissible, because ‘the real extension may remain constant while its appearance alters, and it does not in its own nature include or imply the concept of change’ (Stout 1904, 150). If this reason for the inadmissibility of the third explanation is rejected, because it merely posits a real thing in its argument, in rough outline we are left with Nunn’s and Russell’s respective constructions of physical things.

Cook Wilson, consequently, seems to assume that we have a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the situation, that we know what the real situation is apart from what we apprehend. With regard to the geometric example above, there appears to be an illusion, but when we step out and beyond the ‘mere appearing’ of the situation we find that in realityy AB is still equal to CD, and that whatever seems to contradict this reality can be explained by examining and understanding the real relations involved. But, as we shall see, what the New Realists will say is that no such stepping out and beyond immediate data is directly possible without inference (indirectly).

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