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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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Logical Constructions (i): Matter

Logical Constructions (i): Matter

(p.151) 9 Logical Constructions (i): Matter
Russell's Logical Atomism

David Bostock

Oxford University Press

Russell’s so-called ‘logical constructions’ aim to replace an ordinary concept that is in some way puzzling by a more economical substitute. He offers a construction of material objects from sensibilia, which are supposedly just like sense-data except that they also exist unsensed. (The hypothesis of unsensed sensibilia involves several problems.) The basic idea is that the material object should be identified with the class of all the sensibilia that it causes, but in fact Russell has no satisfactory account of which sensibilia come from the same material object. He does offer a general argument that we must be able to answer this question for actual sense-data, but it begs the question by supposing that the answer can be given independently of the theory that there are material objects.

Keywords:   constructions, logical constructions, replacement, material objects, sensibilia, cause, external world

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