return to list of latest ideas

Single Idea 21577

[catalogued under 12. Knowledge Sources / C. Rationalism / 1. Rationalism]

Full Idea

All empirical evidence is of particular truths. Hence, if there is any knowledge of general truths at all, there must be some knowledge of general truths which is independent of empirical evidence.

Gist of Idea

Empirical truths are particular, so general truths need an a priori input of generality


Bertrand Russell (Our Knowledge of the External World [1914], 2)

A Reaction

Humean empiricists respond by being a sceptical of general truths. At this stage of his career Russell looks like a thoroughgoing rationalist, and he believes in the reality of universals, relations and propositions. He became more empirical later.

Book Reference

Russell,Bertrand: 'Our Knowledge of the External World' [Routledge 1993], p.65