Bertrand Russell: The Analysis of Mind


One of the main purposes of these lectures is to give grounds for the belief that the distinction between mind and matter is not so fundamental as is commonly supposed. In the preceding lecture I dealt in outline with the physical side of this problem. I attempted to show that what we call a material object is not itself a substance, but is a system of particulars analogous in their nature to sensations, and in fact often including actual sensations among their number. In this way the stuff of which physical objects are composed is brought into relation with the stuff of which part, at least, of our mental life is composed.

There is, however, a converse task which is equally necessary for our thesis, and that is, to show that the stuff of our mental life is devoid of many qualities which it is commonly supposed to have, and is not possessed of any attributes which make it incapable of forming part of the world of matter. In the present lecture I shall begin the arguments for this view.

Corresponding to the supposed duality of matter and mind, there are, in orthodox psychology, two ways of knowing what exists. One of these, the way of sensation and external perception, is supposed to furnish data for our knowledge of matter, the other, called "introspection," is supposed to furnish data for knowledge of our mental processes. To common sense, this distinction seems clear and easy. When you see a friend coming along the street, you acquire knowledge of an external, physical fact; when you realize that you are glad to meet him, you acquire knowledge of a mental fact. Your dreams and memories and thoughts, of which you are often conscious, are mental facts, and the process by which you become aware of them SEEMS to be different from sensation. Kant calls it the "inner sense"; sometimes it is spoken of as "consciousness of self"; but its commonest name in modern English psychology is "introspection." It is this supposed method of acquiring knowledge of our mental processes that I wish to analyse and examine in this lecture.

This is page 78 of 220. [Mark this Page]
Mark any page to add this title to Your Bookshelf. (0 / 10 books on shelf)
Customize text appearance:
Color: A A A A A   Font: Aa Aa   Size: 1 2 3 4 5   Defaults
(c) 2003-2012 and Michael Moncur. All rights reserved.
For information about public domain texts appearing here, read the copyright information and disclaimer.