Diamond notes that when Anscombe was writing her introduction, the Tractatus was generally read as a form of British empiricism
, in a class with Russell's atomism.
The debate is prosecuted by Michael Ruse, who situates Darwin within the world of British empiricism
, Paleyan Natural Theology, and nineteenth-century social progressivism, and by Robert J.
In the former section, perhaps the most successful chapters are David Hollinger's "James, Protestantism, and Secularization," which unites the essentially religious themes of most of James' major philosophical books with broad cultural changes in ecumenical Protestantism in the United States, as well as Leslie Butler's "Encountering the Smashing Projectile: William James on John Stuart Mill and the Woman Question." Butler's chapter helps to redress a lack of recent scholarship reevaluating the relationship of pragmatism to British empiricism
Beyond the philosophical benefits of critiquing the strengths and weaknesses of an influential tradition such as British empiricism
against a philosophical tradition that is often neglected or misunderstood, some of the advances in mathematics and the physical sciences over the last 250 years suggest that the complexity involved in the study of the natural world raises serious questions about any version of strict empiricism, specifically, the development of nonlinear dynamical systems, special and general relativity, and quantum mechanics, all of which challenge the presuppositions of a strict empiricism.
The 17th-century English philosopher John Locke, the man most-closely associated with British empiricism
, stated that a person acquires knowledge [and thus personal development] from experience, rather than rationalism.
The notes on this phenomenology focus in particular on the development of self-consciousness from Descartes, through British empiricism
, to Kant.
Lewes' story The Physiology of Common Life (1859); Ruskin's critical essays on aesthetics in Modern Painters (1843); Eliot's novel Adam Bede (1859); Spencer's treatise on the relativity of knowledge, First Principles (1862); and psychologist Bain's The Emotions and the Will (1859), he discusses how their themes of subjectivity mirror the uncertainty about reality raised by Darwin and others that characterized mid-Victorian British empiricism
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