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date: 30 November 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on the debate on perception or intuition between Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein as constructed largely from ‘The Limits of Empiricism’ and ‘Cause and Effect: Intuitive Awareness’. In consulting several Nachlass items as written in 1935–1936, it shows, first, that Wittgenstein puts forward a detailed criticism of Russell's account of perception, as Russell presents it in the context of a discussion on causation. This criticism is interesting in that it leads up to an account of knowledge and certainty that foreshadows the position known from On Certainty. In addition, the article demonstrates that a crucial element in Wittgenstein's critique of Russell is similar to his critique of L. E. J. Brouwer's intuitionist stance in mathematics, a criticism that Wittgenstein expressed in the early 1930s. Russell presents an account of the relation between sense experience and knowledge that should produce propositions functioning as examples of our most immediate knowledge.

Keywords: Bertrand Russell, perception, intuition, Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Limits of Empiricism, certainty, L. E. J. Brouwer, causation, knowledge, sense experience

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