Analiza i Egzystencja

ISSN: 1734-9923     eISSN: 2300-7621    OAI    DOI: 10.18276/aie.2016.33-04

Issue archive / 33 (2016)
Bertranda Russella koncepcja monizmu neutralnego
(Bertrand Russell’s conception of neutral monism)

Authors: Jacek Jarocki
Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski
Keywords: neutral monism metaphysics mind-body problem Bertrand Russell consciousness
Year of publication:2016
Page range:20 (69-88)
Cited-by (Crossref) ?:


The metaphysical view of Bertrand Russell, called neutral monism, is not widely known today, although its impact on the contemporary debate over mind-body problem is clearly visible. The aim of this paper is to answer the question: what was Russell’s neutral monism? Firstly, I present the views of Russell’s predecessors – Ernst Mach and William James. Then, I discuss Russell’s own thought which can be divided into three phases. The initial phase is the rejection of neutral monism (mainly because of Russell’s commitments to epistemology). The second phase – I call it the first neutral monism – appears in The Analysis of Mind, where he proposes a deflationary theory of the object and the subject. The last, third phase – called the second neutral monism, initiated in 1927 in The Analysis of Matter and An Outline of Philosophy – introduces the notions of intrinsic and extrinsic properties. Finally, I suggest that the agnostic metaphysics of Russell is too reductive for a dualist and too mysterious for a materialist. However, it might be also true that Russell’s view is more epistemological than metaphysical, and the frames of (misleading) Cartesian dictionary of mind/matter may be too narrow for neutral monism to be pertinently interpreted.
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