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Our Knowledge of the External World

This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1914 edition. Excerpt: ... what he means by "reality," and may be asked how their unreality follows from the supposed reality of his super-sensible world. In answering these questions, he is led to a logic which merges into that of Parmenides and Plato and the idealist tradition. The logic of the idealist tradition has gradually grown very complex and very abstruse, as may be seen from the Bradleian sample considered in our first lecture. If we attempted to deal fully with this logic, we should not have time to reach any other aspect of our subject; we will therefore, while acknowledging that it deserves a long discussion, pass by its central doctrines with only such occasional criticism as may serve to exemplify other topics, and concentrate our attention on such matters as its objections to the continuity of motion and the infinity of space and time--objections which have been fully answered by modern mathematicians in a manner constituting an abiding triumph for the method of logical analysis in philosophy. These objections and the modern answers to them will occupy our fifth, sixth, and seventh lectures. Berkeley's attack, as reinforced by the physiology of the sense-organs and nerves and brain, is very powerful. I think it must be admitted as probable that the immediate objects of sense depend for their existence upon physiological conditions in ourselves, and that, for example, the coloured surfaces which we see cease to exist when we shut our eyes. But it would be a mistake to infer that they are dependent upon mind, not real while we see them, or not the sole basis for our knowledge of the external world. This line of argument will be developed in the present lecture. The discrepancy between the world of physics and the world of sense, which we shall...
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