Philosophy

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Does Physics Lead to Berkeley?

John O. Nelsona1

a1 University of Colorado

Russell said that physics drove him to a position not unlike that of Berkeley —by which he meant subjectivism or solipsism. ‘As regards metaphysics’, he tells us in his Autobiography, ‘when, under the influence of Moore, I first threw off the belief in German idealism, I experienced the delight of believing that the sensible world is real. Bit by bit, chiefly under the influence of physics, this delight has faded, and I have been driven to a position not unlike that of Berkeley, without his God and his Anglican complacency’.