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

By Omar W. Nasim

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

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This, however, thinks Cook Wilson, ‘would involve a terrible mess’ (Cook Wilson 1904; 1926, 784). What this terrible mess is, Cook Wilson never describes. Stout argues that these sorts of problems are all based on a misunderstanding. Stout stresses that what he regards as sensible appearances (of which sensible extensions are a species) are ‘not merely the Thing itself appearing’ (Stout 1905, 153). This provision is important. If it is ignored, one is bound to misunderstand Stout’s doctrine and raise what he calls a ‘hypothetical criticism’.

The more specific problem may be illustrated by quoting Thomas Reid’s articulation of the issue: ‘Is there anything common to the primary [quality] which belongs not to the secondary [quality]? ’35 Very simply put, Stout’s answer is that there is no such distinguishing feature, and that ‘there is no essential difference between the primary and secondary attributes of matter so far as regards their connection with sense-experience’ (Stout 1904, 153). 36 What this view is, says Stout, ‘remains to be investigated.

For Stout, and as we shall see for the New Realists and Russell, however, what appears here is distinct from any mental act of appearing. For what appears is itself a certain distinct existent. As a matter of fact, one of the lessons of this chapter ought to be the importance of Stout’s early articulation of this difference. In later chapters we shall see how this idea was adopted by both the New Realists and Russell. Cook Wilson is thus claiming that in order to even mistakenly attribute the fact to appearance, one must be acquainted with the real extension and real objects first.

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