The theories of most writers on Ethics, with whose works I am acquainted, appear to be based upon the assumption of the unique character of goodness or The Good. By the word unique these writers mean, I think, among other things that goodness cannot be analysed into or described in terms of anything other than itself, that it can be and is desired for its own sake and not for the sake of some other thing which is not goodness, and (...) that the apprehension of or desire for goodness is a distinct and specific character of our mental states. By asserting, however, that the state of mind constituted by the apprehension of goodness, or that the state of emotion aroused by the desire for goodness, is distinguished by a specific and unique property, they do not, I think, necessarily mean that this property is the same as the specific property of goodness itself. Most writers on Ethics have also believed that man is free to desire goodness, and to act in accordance with his desire, that is to say, they have held in some form or other the doctrine of free-will. (shrink)
It is probably true to say that the majority of philosophers have considered the universe to be mental. If the universe is really mental, it follows that matter cannot be quite real, and many philosophers have in fact brought forward cogent reasons for regarding matter as in some sense illusory. Those who hold this view are called Idealists. Idealism has historically assumed a number of different forms, between some of which there is little in common, but all forms of Idealism (...) agree in maintaining that objects, such as chairs and tables, of which common sense believes the external world to exist, are not material. (shrink)
The stream of books and papers devoted to the bearing of modern physics upon philosophical problems is apparently endless. Nevertheless, I am, I think, safe in asserting that the relations between physics and philosophy are still far from satisfactory. If, then, I venture to add one more paper to the stream, it is not because I believe that I am in a position to succeed where so many have failed, but because I have a suggestion to offer which, while it (...) has not hitherto to my knowledge been made, would, if it could be accepted, throw some light upon one aspect of the vexed question of the status of the physical world. (shrink)
I propose in this article to consider the question of the relation between mind and body. This question raises some of the most difficult issues in philosophy and constitutes the main problem of psychology.
The belief that the universe is fundamentally a unity, that there is, in other words, some fundamental principle from which all the variety of nature and experience can be derived, has been entertained in some form or another by the majority of philosophers. It is also the presupposition of most religions. If we hold that the universe is really one, or really a unity, it will follow that there is a distinction between reality and appearance. For the universe certainly appears (...) as a plurality; it certainly seems, that is to say, that there are many things in the universe, chairs and tables and people and numbers and thoughts about them, which are really different one from another. If, then, the universe is really one, this appearance of plurality will be in some sense an illusory appearance, and it will be necessary to explain how this illusory appearance arises. (shrink)