The Problems of Philosophy


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The Problems of Philosophy is an introduction to the discipline of philosophy, written during a Cambridge lectureship that Russell held in 1912. In it, Russell asks the fundamental question, “Is there any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it?” Russell sketches out the metaphysical and epistemological views he held at the time, views that would develop and change over the rest of his career. Russell begins by exploring the twin concepts of appearance and reality. Empiricists like Russell believe that all knowledge is ultimately derived from our sensory perceptions of the world around us. Individual perception, however, is easily affected and prone to error. If three people—one who’s had three martinis, one with a heavy fever, and one wh...

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