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Basic Critical Theory for Photographers by Ashley la Grange

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10 Bertrand Russell, Appearance and Reality

The Problems of Philosophy

Bertrand Russell was one of twentieth century’s leading philosophers, and according to him the problem of ‘appearance and reality’ is a longstanding philosophical problem [predating the invention of photography]. This is a summary of the first chapter of Russell’s book The Problems of Philosophy.

Appearance and Reality

Russell starts by asking the philosophical question ‘. . . is there any knowledge . . . so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it?’ In seeking certainty, we can start with ‘. . . our present experiences, and in some sense . . . knowledge is to be derived from them’ (p. 2). Russell points out that his immediate experiences suggest that he is sitting in ...

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