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Russell's Logical Atomism$
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David Bostock

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199651443

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199651443.001.0001

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Knowledge and its Foundations

Knowledge and its Foundations

(p.135) 8 Knowledge and its Foundations
Russell's Logical Atomism

David Bostock

Oxford University Press

Russell thinks of knowledge in terms of justification, perhaps because that is also how the sceptic thinks, and this leads quite naturally to a foundationalist theory. Among the foundations Russell counts our knowledge of deductive and inductive methods of reasoning, of a priori connections between universals, and of the properties and relations of one’s present sense-data. In pursuit of the last, he came gradually to see that it is difficult to separate the sense-datum, as what is given, from the various interpretations that we ourselves add to it. He always did think of our sense-data as providing us with what he called ‘hard data’, though it is difficult to see any way in which our knowledge of our sense-data is somehow ‘more secure’ than our knowledge of physical objects.

Keywords:   knowledge, justification, foundations of knowledge, induction, sense-data, hard data vs.soft data, scepticism

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