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100.1.#.a: Rabossi, Eduardo A.

524.#.#.a: Rabossi, Eduardo A. (1968). Dualismo y monismo neutral. Crítica. Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía; Vol 2 No 4, 1968; 53-57. Recuperado de https://repositorio.unam.mx/contenidos/4115753

245.1.0.a: Dualismo y monismo neutral

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520.3.#.a: The purpose of the paper is to trace the evolution of Russell"s thought between 1914, and 1921. It describes particularly the process beginning with his adoption of dualism and ending with his rejection of it, in favor of neutral monism, This is as important a step in the evolution of Russell"s ideas, as is his abandonment of the theory that every expression has a denotation if it has any significance at all. I. Dualism, as understood by Russell, may be characterized as follows. Every cognitive fact is a relatioti between two necessary and irreducible terms: subject and object. Russell"s reason for holding dualism is not clear. If subject-object dualism is a fundamental fact about cognition, as he maintains, it cannot be his real reason, since "fundamental facts" of this kind are always the result not the starting point of philosophical considerations. And the considerations that in this case led Russell to adopt dualism seem to be related to the need to refute or improve upon idealism. The main thesis of idealism says that every existing thing is mental. This opinion links up with the idea that every immediate datum of consciousness exists only in the mind. If we add that there are no knowable objects except thesc immediate data, it follows that (i) we cannot know any object external to the mind, and (ii) we cannot give to objects any kind of reality independent from the fact of their perception, i.c. esse est percipi. The principle esse est percipi. appears in most of the known arguments to prove that everything that exists in mental. It would then, be useful to invalidate the principle. Even if idealisrn were not thereby refuted, it would at least lose much of its support. Moore took this line, his main objection to esse est percipi. being that it implies a confusion. We must distinguish in every sensation (i) a common element to all sensations, mind; (ii) an element permitting the differentiation of one sensation from another, the object, sometimes called "sense datum", and (iii) a specific relation between both elernents. Russells accepts this analysis and uses it as a positive description of every cognition. Knowledge of objetes is a relation of mind with something different from it. Now that it is clear why Russell adopted dualism, we can review briefly some traits of his theory. He distinguishes two kinds of knowledge. Knowledge of truths and knowledge of things. The second subdivides into knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description. He analyses judgment, belief and supposition as n-adie relations in which mind is always one of the terms. The principle that the other terms of the relation are related directly to mind is considered by Russell to be evident. All our knowledge is founded on acquaintance. This important principle presupposes the empiricist distinction between immediate and derivative knowledge, and enables Russell to develop the notion of an epistemological order (hierarchy). Knowledge by acquaintance is an immediate relation of the subject with the object. It never involves any inferential process, nor does it need any other knowledge. It is the converse relation to presentation. If I am acquainted with something, that thing is present to me. But Russell would not admit the substitution of "inrnediate relation" for "presentation". The Iormer expression is better because it exhibits the relational character of the fact and the existence of the subject. But, what things are knowable by acquaintance? Russell indicates the following: sense-data, mental events, universals, and data from memory. With respect to the self, he finds it difficult to answer. Russell here distinguishes two aspects: (i) Are we acquainted with ourselves? and (ii) is acquaintance with the self a necessary condition for the truth of dualism? As for the first, he recognizes that introspection does not help. It is difficult to think of a state of mind in which the self is conscious of itself independently of acquaintance with other mental events. The word "I" must be a description and the self counted out of the objects of immediate knowledge. With respect to the second question, the answer is "no". There is a difference between sensations (related to particulars) and perception (related to facts). All introspection is perception of facts. When we are conscious of an object, we perceive the fact that something is acquainted with the object. The self appears, then, as a variable. And, if every experience is an immediate relation with something, the self can be defined as "subject of experience" and therefore known by description. But the problem is by no means resolved. This is one of the more pervasive inconveniences shown by any psycho-physical dualism, even in Russell"s empiricist version. Neutral monism, on the contrary does not present this inconvenience since it cares nothing for the self which becomes a theoretically useless feature of the world. II. Neutral monism was developed independently by Ernst Mach and Williams James, their main thesis being that the difference which is commonly established between matter and mind is not based on intrinsic properties, but in the form in which objects are combined in the context in which they are combined. It is not the object but the direction of our investigation which is different. As Russell explains, objects are neutral, but are placed in the intersection of two causal series governed by rules of different kinds. It is their belonging to one or the other series which was taken by dualists as the membership of two irreducible categories, the physical and the mental. Neutral monism is not original qua monism. Its originality lies rather in the thesis that the ultimate elements of reality are neutral, and in the view that the menal and he physical can be built from these elements. The consequences of the theory are important. It breaks up dualism even on an empiricist ground. Dark and philosophically compromised notions such as "substance", "thing in itself" and others are rendered useless. The idea of the self as an irreducible element of reality is also eliminated. In 1914 Russell defended dualism and criticized monisrn, Some of the criticisms were of a general kind. He remarks, e.g., that monists use the word "experience" in a way that suggests that all the constituent elements of the world have a common property: that of being objects of experience, this unhappy result arising from the fact that monists were under the unconscious influence of idealist mental habits, Russell also indicates that monists draw false conclusions from the facts that ideas are not needed by our knowledge of the external world and that the constituent elements of the physical world are immediately presented: that the mental and the physical are composed of the same elements and that if something is immediately given it must be part of my mind. This late view is exactly that of idealism. Russell also advances more specific criticisms, Neutral monism finds difficulties in explaining the difference between the elements of reality that have been experienced by someone and the elements that have never hen experienced. This theory is unable, furthermore, to make clear the sense in which a subject"s total experience differs from external things. With respect to the first problem, Russell tries to show that between a color that nobody has seen and a color seen by somebody, there is a difference which does not lie in their relations with other colors, objects of experience or the nervous system, but in something more private, more immediate and evident. A second objection is against James" theory of error as a helief in something not real. He has to admit, then, that there are unreal things. Hussell considers this view as the direct consequence of assimilating a belief with a sensation, a judgment with an immediate presentation. Another cynicism is against the neutral monists" theory of memory. If what is remembered actually exists in the mind, the past character of the memory is lost. Other objections are in relation with James" definition of "knowledge" and with certain inconveniences related to "this", "now", and "l". But, though sorne of these criticism are important Russell abandoned dualism. He must have confronted these shortcomings with the merits of the theory. He recognizes the important simplification it introduces: things belong to the same essential type, dualism is superficial. III. Russell"s neutral monism does not follow the orthodox scheme. In its purest version, neutral monism aims at the construction of both mental and physical worlds using no more than ultimate neutral elements and specific causal laws. Russell exceeds this plan substantially, since he calls not only for neutral elements but also for images and unexperienced aspects, which belong respectively to the mental and physical realms. Causal laws divide into two classes, physical and psychological. Sensations obey both, hut there are entities that are only submitted to one class of law, the purely material and the purely mental things. This extension of neutral monism originates in the need for a set of elements rich enough to build, without omission, the whole physical and mental world. In this way the advantages of neutral monism are not lost, as might be supposed at least directly. Russell denies to images every intentional character, distinguishes images from sensations by thcir causes and effects, not by their intrinsic properties. Events that have not been experienced are introduced for similar reasons to the ones that led Russell to accept "sensibilia": to assure the continuity of existence of an object when it is not experimented. The first consequence of monism is the elimination of the subject as an irreducible element of reality. The self is not an ingredient of every thought, but it is built on the relations of thoughts to one another. Thus the relational analysis of knowledge no long. er holds. Acquaintance is not possible because it presupposes sensation and object to be different, which is now denied. Knowledge is, then, in need of a new analysis and Russell has to offer one similar to James". This theory encountered so many difficulties, that it seems that he decided later to abandon neutral monism for this reason, Another consequence of the abandonment of dualism is that the analysis of belief is no longer right. It cannot be a relation in which the subject was one of the terms and the others were the constituent elements of the facts that would verify or falsify the belief. The subject having been abandoned, the other terms of the relation are not those belonging to the fact. This result is good, because it permits differentiation of content and objective fact, which enables one to explain what we believe when the belief is false, but it suffers from the defect that the knowledge of facts is now dubious. Resumen

773.1.#.t: Crítica. Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía; Vol 2 No 4 (1968); 53-57

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310.#.#.a: Cuatrimestral

300.#.#.a: Páginas: 53-57

264.#.1.b: Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, UNAM

758.#.#.1: http://critica.filosoficas.unam.mx/index.php/critica

doi: https://doi.org/10.22201/iifs.18704905e.1968.36

handle: 4fb0912f15ce7d98

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245.1.0.b: Dualismo y monismo neutral

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Artículo

Dualismo y monismo neutral

Rabossi, Eduardo A.

Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, UNAM, publicado en Crítica. Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía, y cosechado de Revistas UNAM

Licencia de uso

Procedencia del contenido

Cita

Rabossi, Eduardo A. (1968). Dualismo y monismo neutral. Crítica. Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía; Vol 2 No 4, 1968; 53-57. Recuperado de https://repositorio.unam.mx/contenidos/4115753

Descripción del recurso

Autor(es)
Rabossi, Eduardo A.
Tipo
Artículo de Investigación
Área del conocimiento
Artes y Humanidades
Título
Dualismo y monismo neutral
Fecha
2018-10-26
Resumen
The purpose of the paper is to trace the evolution of Russell"s thought between 1914, and 1921. It describes particularly the process beginning with his adoption of dualism and ending with his rejection of it, in favor of neutral monism, This is as important a step in the evolution of Russell"s ideas, as is his abandonment of the theory that every expression has a denotation if it has any significance at all. I. Dualism, as understood by Russell, may be characterized as follows. Every cognitive fact is a relatioti between two necessary and irreducible terms: subject and object. Russell"s reason for holding dualism is not clear. If subject-object dualism is a fundamental fact about cognition, as he maintains, it cannot be his real reason, since "fundamental facts" of this kind are always the result not the starting point of philosophical considerations. And the considerations that in this case led Russell to adopt dualism seem to be related to the need to refute or improve upon idealism. The main thesis of idealism says that every existing thing is mental. This opinion links up with the idea that every immediate datum of consciousness exists only in the mind. If we add that there are no knowable objects except thesc immediate data, it follows that (i) we cannot know any object external to the mind, and (ii) we cannot give to objects any kind of reality independent from the fact of their perception, i.c. esse est percipi. The principle esse est percipi. appears in most of the known arguments to prove that everything that exists in mental. It would then, be useful to invalidate the principle. Even if idealisrn were not thereby refuted, it would at least lose much of its support. Moore took this line, his main objection to esse est percipi. being that it implies a confusion. We must distinguish in every sensation (i) a common element to all sensations, mind; (ii) an element permitting the differentiation of one sensation from another, the object, sometimes called "sense datum", and (iii) a specific relation between both elernents. Russells accepts this analysis and uses it as a positive description of every cognition. Knowledge of objetes is a relation of mind with something different from it. Now that it is clear why Russell adopted dualism, we can review briefly some traits of his theory. He distinguishes two kinds of knowledge. Knowledge of truths and knowledge of things. The second subdivides into knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description. He analyses judgment, belief and supposition as n-adie relations in which mind is always one of the terms. The principle that the other terms of the relation are related directly to mind is considered by Russell to be evident. All our knowledge is founded on acquaintance. This important principle presupposes the empiricist distinction between immediate and derivative knowledge, and enables Russell to develop the notion of an epistemological order (hierarchy). Knowledge by acquaintance is an immediate relation of the subject with the object. It never involves any inferential process, nor does it need any other knowledge. It is the converse relation to presentation. If I am acquainted with something, that thing is present to me. But Russell would not admit the substitution of "inrnediate relation" for "presentation". The Iormer expression is better because it exhibits the relational character of the fact and the existence of the subject. But, what things are knowable by acquaintance? Russell indicates the following: sense-data, mental events, universals, and data from memory. With respect to the self, he finds it difficult to answer. Russell here distinguishes two aspects: (i) Are we acquainted with ourselves? and (ii) is acquaintance with the self a necessary condition for the truth of dualism? As for the first, he recognizes that introspection does not help. It is difficult to think of a state of mind in which the self is conscious of itself independently of acquaintance with other mental events. The word "I" must be a description and the self counted out of the objects of immediate knowledge. With respect to the second question, the answer is "no". There is a difference between sensations (related to particulars) and perception (related to facts). All introspection is perception of facts. When we are conscious of an object, we perceive the fact that something is acquainted with the object. The self appears, then, as a variable. And, if every experience is an immediate relation with something, the self can be defined as "subject of experience" and therefore known by description. But the problem is by no means resolved. This is one of the more pervasive inconveniences shown by any psycho-physical dualism, even in Russell"s empiricist version. Neutral monism, on the contrary does not present this inconvenience since it cares nothing for the self which becomes a theoretically useless feature of the world. II. Neutral monism was developed independently by Ernst Mach and Williams James, their main thesis being that the difference which is commonly established between matter and mind is not based on intrinsic properties, but in the form in which objects are combined in the context in which they are combined. It is not the object but the direction of our investigation which is different. As Russell explains, objects are neutral, but are placed in the intersection of two causal series governed by rules of different kinds. It is their belonging to one or the other series which was taken by dualists as the membership of two irreducible categories, the physical and the mental. Neutral monism is not original qua monism. Its originality lies rather in the thesis that the ultimate elements of reality are neutral, and in the view that the menal and he physical can be built from these elements. The consequences of the theory are important. It breaks up dualism even on an empiricist ground. Dark and philosophically compromised notions such as "substance", "thing in itself" and others are rendered useless. The idea of the self as an irreducible element of reality is also eliminated. In 1914 Russell defended dualism and criticized monisrn, Some of the criticisms were of a general kind. He remarks, e.g., that monists use the word "experience" in a way that suggests that all the constituent elements of the world have a common property: that of being objects of experience, this unhappy result arising from the fact that monists were under the unconscious influence of idealist mental habits, Russell also indicates that monists draw false conclusions from the facts that ideas are not needed by our knowledge of the external world and that the constituent elements of the physical world are immediately presented: that the mental and the physical are composed of the same elements and that if something is immediately given it must be part of my mind. This late view is exactly that of idealism. Russell also advances more specific criticisms, Neutral monism finds difficulties in explaining the difference between the elements of reality that have been experienced by someone and the elements that have never hen experienced. This theory is unable, furthermore, to make clear the sense in which a subject"s total experience differs from external things. With respect to the first problem, Russell tries to show that between a color that nobody has seen and a color seen by somebody, there is a difference which does not lie in their relations with other colors, objects of experience or the nervous system, but in something more private, more immediate and evident. A second objection is against James" theory of error as a helief in something not real. He has to admit, then, that there are unreal things. Hussell considers this view as the direct consequence of assimilating a belief with a sensation, a judgment with an immediate presentation. Another cynicism is against the neutral monists" theory of memory. If what is remembered actually exists in the mind, the past character of the memory is lost. Other objections are in relation with James" definition of "knowledge" and with certain inconveniences related to "this", "now", and "l". But, though sorne of these criticism are important Russell abandoned dualism. He must have confronted these shortcomings with the merits of the theory. He recognizes the important simplification it introduces: things belong to the same essential type, dualism is superficial. III. Russell"s neutral monism does not follow the orthodox scheme. In its purest version, neutral monism aims at the construction of both mental and physical worlds using no more than ultimate neutral elements and specific causal laws. Russell exceeds this plan substantially, since he calls not only for neutral elements but also for images and unexperienced aspects, which belong respectively to the mental and physical realms. Causal laws divide into two classes, physical and psychological. Sensations obey both, hut there are entities that are only submitted to one class of law, the purely material and the purely mental things. This extension of neutral monism originates in the need for a set of elements rich enough to build, without omission, the whole physical and mental world. In this way the advantages of neutral monism are not lost, as might be supposed at least directly. Russell denies to images every intentional character, distinguishes images from sensations by thcir causes and effects, not by their intrinsic properties. Events that have not been experienced are introduced for similar reasons to the ones that led Russell to accept "sensibilia": to assure the continuity of existence of an object when it is not experimented. The first consequence of monism is the elimination of the subject as an irreducible element of reality. The self is not an ingredient of every thought, but it is built on the relations of thoughts to one another. Thus the relational analysis of knowledge no long. er holds. Acquaintance is not possible because it presupposes sensation and object to be different, which is now denied. Knowledge is, then, in need of a new analysis and Russell has to offer one similar to James". This theory encountered so many difficulties, that it seems that he decided later to abandon neutral monism for this reason, Another consequence of the abandonment of dualism is that the analysis of belief is no longer right. It cannot be a relation in which the subject was one of the terms and the others were the constituent elements of the facts that would verify or falsify the belief. The subject having been abandoned, the other terms of the relation are not those belonging to the fact. This result is good, because it permits differentiation of content and objective fact, which enables one to explain what we believe when the belief is false, but it suffers from the defect that the knowledge of facts is now dubious. Resumen
Idioma
spa
ISSN
ISSN electrónico: 1870-4905; ISSN impreso: 0011-1503

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