Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic by Bertrand Russell

By Bertrand Russell

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When DESCARTES first embarked on his brilliant career, he became engrossed in serious contemplation about the Method. The results of these he put down in the Discours de la méthode. In this, four fundamental rules for research are put forward. Two of them have no other purpose than to recommend [on the one hand] the necessary division of difficulties and [on the other] that the individual difficulties are to be dealt with in an order which is fixed and, as far as possible, outlined by nature. Instead of dividing psychognostic questions from questions pertaining to genetic psychology, psychologists, up to the present day, usually mix these questions in manifold ways.

For example, in an affirmation, that it is an accepting judging8 and in the judging, that it is a relation (of consciousness) [(Bewusstseins) beziehung] which is judging and intentional. What we emphasized earlier as being a general peculiarity [Eigenheit] of all logical parts, namely their being only one-sidedly distinctionally separable, is again true. e. experiencing visual (colour-sensing) experiencing, and seeing-red [type of] seeing [rotsehendes Sehen] (red-sensing experiencing of colour).

But even though the objection was based on an error, it did touch upon something true. 12 If the seeing subject really were ‘coloured’, if it really had the colour in and on itself, then we could indeed distinctionally separate the difference from the generic determination in the case of seeing qua coloured experiencing, and vice versa. But it is only ‘in a manner of speaking’ coloured, the colour is not really in it and therefore cannot be referred to as a distinctional part of seeing, in the strict sense.

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