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Portal Site for Russellian in Japan



* 原著: Human Knowledge, its scope and limits, 1948)




 この本の中心的目的は,個人的経験(松下注:鎮目訳では個人的知識となっているが、原文は individual experience となっているので,鎮目訳は誤記・誤訳あるいは誤植)と科学的知識全体との関係を調べることにある。科学的知識は,おおまかな骨格に関しては,当然承認されるべきものとみなす。懐疑論は,論理的には許されるが,心理的には不可能であり,それを承認すると称するどんな哲学のなかにも,不まじめな要素がある。そのうえ,もし,懐疑論を理論的に弁護しようとすれば,経験されたものからの推論をすべてしりぞけねばならない。部分的な懐疑論,たとえば,だれにも経験されない物理的事象を否認する懐疑論や,自分の将来,または自分の覚えていない過去の事象を認める懐疑論は,論理的に許されない。なぜなら,そのような懐疑論は,それが否認する信念を導きだす推理の諸原則を容認しているにちがいないからである。
THE central purpose of this book is to examine the relation between individual experience and the general body of scientific knowledge. It is taken for granted that scientific knowledge, in its broad outlines, is to be accepted. Scepticism, while logically impeccable, is psychologically impossible, and there is an element of frivolous insincerity in any philosophy which pretends to accept it. Moreover, if scepticism is to be theoretically defensible it must reject all inferences from what is experienced; a partial scepticism, such as the denial of physical events experienced by no one, or a solipsism which allows events in my future or in my unremembered past, has no logical justification, since it must admit principles of inference which lead to beliefs that it rejects.
Ever since Kant, or perhaps it would be more just to say ever since Berkeley, there has been what I regard as a mistaken tendency among philosophers to allow the description of the world to be influenced unduly by considerations derived from the nature of human knowledge. To scientific common sense (which I accept) it is plain that only an infinitesimal part of the universe is known, that there were countless ages during which there was no knowledge, and that there probably will be countless ages without knowledge in the future. Cosmically and causally, knowledge is an unimportant feature of the universe; a science which omitted to mention its occurrence might, from an impersonal point of view, suffer only from a very trivial imperfection. In describing the world, subjectivity is a vice. Kant spoke of himself as having effected a 'Copernican revolution', but he would have been more accurate if he had spoken of a 'Ptolemaic counter-revolution', since he put Man back at the centre from which Copernicus had dethroned him.
But when we ask, not 'what sort of world do we live in ?' but 'how do we come by our knowledge about the world ?' subjectivity is in order. What each man knows is, in an important sense, dependent upon his own individual experience: he knows what he has seen and heard, what he has read and what he has been told, and also what, from these data, he has been able to infer. It is individual, not collective, experience that is here in question, for an inference is required to pass from my data induct to the acceptance of testimony. If I believe that there is such a place as Semipalatinsk, I believe it because of things that have are in happened to me; and unless certain substantial principles of inference are accepted, I shall have to admit that all these things justify might have happened to me without there being any such place.