Our Knowledge of the External World by Bertrand Russell, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Our Knowledge of the External World

Our Knowledge of the External World

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by Bertrand Russell
     
 

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Our Knowledge of the External World is a compilation of lectures Bertrand Russell delivered in the US in which he questions the very relevance and legitimacy of philosophy. In it he investigates the relationship between ‘individual’ and ‘scientific’ knowledge and questions the means in which we have come to understand our

Overview

Our Knowledge of the External World is a compilation of lectures Bertrand Russell delivered in the US in which he questions the very relevance and legitimacy of philosophy. In it he investigates the relationship between ‘individual’ and ‘scientific’ knowledge and questions the means in which we have come to understand our physical world. This is an explosive and controversial work that illustrates instances where the claims of philosophers have been excessive, and examines why their achievements have not been greater.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

‘It is in every sense an epoch-making book: one that has been needed and expected for years.’ - Cambridge Magazine

‘The author maintains a fresh and brilliant yet easy style which always makes his writings a pleasure to read.’ - Nature

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781317858225
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
01/09/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt


LECTURE V THE THEORY OF CONTINUITY The theory of continuity, with which we shall be occupied in the present lecture, is, in most of its refinements and developments, a purely mathematical subject very beautiful, very important, and very delightful, but not, strictly speaking, a part of philosophy. The logical basis of the theory alone belongs to philosophy, and alone will occupy us to-night. The way the problem of continuity enters into philosophy is, broadly speaking, the following : Space and time are treated by mathematicians as consisting of points and instants, but they also have a property, easier to feel than to define, which is called continuity, and is thought by many philosophers to be destroyed when they are resolved into points and instants. Zeno, as we shall see, proved that analysis into points and instants was impossible if we adhered to the view that the number of points or instants in a finite space or time must be finite. Later philosophers, believing infinite number to be self-contradictory, have found here an antinomy : Spaces and times could not consist of a finite number of points and instants, for such reasons as Zeno's ; they could not consist of an infinite number of points and instants, because infinite numbers were supposed to be self-contradictory. Therefore spaces and times, if real at all, must not be regarded as composed of points and instants. But even when points and instants, as independent entities, are discarded, as they were by the theory advocated in our last lecture, the problems of continuity, as I shall try to show presently, remain, in a practically unchanged form. Let us therefore, to begin with, admit points and instants, andconsider the problems in connection with this simpler or at least more familiar hypothesis. The argu...

Meet the Author

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970). The leading British Philosopher of the twentieth century, who made major contributions to the area of logic and epistemology. Politically active and habitually outspoken, his ethical principles twice lead to imprisonment

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