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By Isaiah Berlin, Henry Hardy, Bernard Williams, Alasdair MacIntyre

''The target of philosophy is usually a similar, to help males to appreciate themselves and hence to function within the open, no longer wildly within the dark.''--Isaiah Berlin

This quantity of Isaiah Berlin's essays offers the sweep of his contributions to philosophy from his early participation within the debates surrounding logical positivism to his later paintings, which extra obviously displays his life-long curiosity in political thought, the historical past of rules, and the philosophy of background. right here Berlin describes his view of the character of philosophy, and of its major activity: to discover a few of the types and presuppositions--the recommendations and categories--that males carry to their life and that aid shape that life. all through, his writing is expert by means of his severe recognition of the plurality of values, the character of historic realizing, and of the fragility of human freedom within the face of inflexible dogma.

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Surely the argument from illusion, for example, cannot be dismissed as showing nothing at all because of logical considerations of how different types of sentences are used? Does the gramophone play tunes in a desert, or to an audience which is stone deaf? ' This rejoinder rests on a serious and important confusion which may in part be responsible for the desperate feeling that only phenomenalism can somehow, in the end, be true. e. empiricaI, and not a semantic or logical proposition. I am saying that the event described as the hearing of a sound emitted by a gramophone depends on certain necessary conditions, and amongst these the structure of the hearer's brain or ear occurs in the same sort of way as, let us say, the physical properties of the needle attached to the sound box of the gramophone.

E. dispositional, about the present table (or its visible portion) is doubtless equally hypothetical This is, of course, not literally true, since theories presuppose the existence of theorists tvith all that thcy need by way of a universe in order to fix the 'grammar' of their words, but this is not part of what the theories themselves assert, nor is it logically entailed by them. 2 It may be worth adding that such demonstratives as 'there is' or 'this is' are seldom employed to refer to 'sense data' - for that is a term which is rarely o f use in ordinary experience, and is more properly applicable to that aspect of things which concerns physiologists or oculists or impressionist painters, and is useful precisely because it contrasts that which interests these specialists purely sensuous qualities - with material objects - things - the furniture of ordinary life.

There is one more objection to be met. Supposing somconc were to ask, 'But how can we say anything about the table apart from the hypothetical sentences describing what an observer would see if he walked round it etc.? Is the table round or oval, dark or light brown, E M P I R I C A L PROPOSITIONS light or heavy? Surely the sense datum school of philosophy, if it has established nothing else, has made it clear beyond any doubt that these properties in some sense depend on the observer, his physical position, his physiological and psychological condition etc.?

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