The Demise of Neutral Monism

David Bostock

in Russell's Logical Atomism

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199651443
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741197 | DOI:
The Demise of Neutral Monism

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In 1927 Russell gave a new theory of perception, emphasising its causal nature. This led him to abandon his old claim that causation was nothing more than regular concomitance, and it also led him to say that the events from which material objects are constructed are not sensings, but are the physical happenings that would cause those sensings if sense-organs, nerves, and brain were present. They are, for example, the passings of light-waves. Such events are not ‘neutral stuff’, composing both minds and matter, so neutral monism is here abandoned. (But it is not clear that Russell himself realised this.)

Keywords: neutral monism; perception; sensation; causes; light-waves

Chapter.  4472 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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