Ideas from 'The Analysis of Matter' by Bertrand Russell [1927], by Theme Structure

[found in 'The Analysis of Matter' by Russell,Bertrand [Routledge 1992,0-415-08297-8]].

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7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 4. Events / b. Events as primitive
In 1927, Russell analysed force and matter in terms of events
                        Full Idea: In his 'Analysis of Matter' (1927), Russell sought to analyse the chief concepts of physics, such as force and matter, in terms of events.
                        From: report of Bertrand Russell (The Analysis of Matter [1927]) by A.C. Grayling - Russell Ch.2
                        A reaction: My immediate reaction is that this is not very promising, simply because we can always ask why a particular event occurred, and this seems to point to a deeper level in the analysis. See Idea 4779, for example.
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 1. Physical Objects
A perceived physical object is events grouped around a centre
                        Full Idea: The physical object, as inferred from perception, is a group of events arranged about a centre.
                        From: Bertrand Russell (The Analysis of Matter [1927], 23)
                        A reaction: At least I like the active aspect of this definition. You then have to explain what an event is, without mentioning objects. You'd better no mention properties either, since they will probably depend on the dreaded objects.
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / e. Substance critique
An object produces the same percepts with or without a substance, so that is irrelevant to science
                        Full Idea: There may be a substance at the centre of an object, but is no reason to think so, since the group of events making up the object will produce exactly the same percepts; so the substance, if there is one, is an abstract possibility irrelevant to science.
                        From: Bertrand Russell (The Analysis of Matter [1927], 23)
                        A reaction: All empiricists (as Russell is in this passage) seem to neglect inference to the best explanation. Things can be indirectly testable, and I would say that there are genuine general entities which are too close to abstraction to ever be testable.
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 2. Phenomenalism
Russell rejected phenomenalism because it couldn't account for causal relations
                        Full Idea: Russell reverted to realism when he recognised that the notion of causality is problematic for phenomenalism; things in the world seem to affect one another causally in ways that are difficult to account for properly by mere reports of sense-experiences.
                        From: report of Bertrand Russell (The Analysis of Matter [1927]) by A.C. Grayling - Russell Ch.3
                        A reaction: This is very interesting, and doesn't seem to have been enough to make A.J. Ayer eschew phenomenalism (Idea 5170). Once your metaphysics becomes realist (like Russell), your account of perception and objects has to change too.
27. Natural Reality / B. Modern Physics / 4. Standard Model / a. Concept of matter
At first matter is basic and known by sense-data; later Russell says matter is constructed
                        Full Idea: In the beginning Russell's ontology included matter as basic, to be known, however, only by inference from sense-data. By the end he wanted to 'contruct' matter from sense-data.
                        From: report of Bertrand Russell (The Analysis of Matter [1927]) by Bernard Linsky - Russell's Metaphysical Logic 1
                        A reaction: [see also p.133] Russell always seems to have been a robust realist about the external world, but the later view seems a lot less realist than the earlier view.