By Richard E. Noble Bertrand has written on many different subjects and many of his books can often appeal to the general reader. This book is for those interested in philosophy and who enjoy esoteric arguments. It is for the person with and average philosophical interest and not necessarily the Ph.D. candidate. It is not a difficult book but some of the problems discussed seem rather unimportant from my perspective ... but? The first problem is Appearance and Reality. This gets into the Bishop Berkeley school of thought which has never much appealed to me. I realize that appearances can be deceiving but to jump to the notion that reality and matter really do not even exist is a little much for me. To start talking about things only having existence in the mind of God when no one can establish that a God exists and if he did exist how he could possibly have a mind is out in right field to me. The chapter begins by asking if there is any knowledge in the world which is so certain that no reasonable man could doubt it. The chapter ends telling us that Leibniz believes that matter is a community of souls and Berkeley tell us that matter is an idea in the mind of God and sober science tells us that matter is a vast collection of electric charges in violent motion. The conclusion is that maybe matter doesn't exist after all, and is really only a matter of appearances. The second chapter discusses the Existence of Matter. We immediately get into Descartes discovering himself and expand into the notion that maybe only Descartes exist and all else is the product of his imagination. Bertrand then tells us that if we wish to become philosophers we must be willing to tackle the absurd. Obviously! By the end of this chapter the author assures us that there is something in the universe besides our comprehension of ourselves and our dreams. There does seem to be "reality" or matter even if it is perceived differently or inadequately by each of us. The next chapter discusses the Nature of Matter. As we try to figure out what matter is we discover that we cannot separate ourselves and our methods of perception from the investigation. This problem has led some philosophers (i.e. Berkeley and Leibniz) to conclude that matter really does not exist and is more a case of mistaken identity. Bertrand disagrees and promises us his reasoning on the matter in the future chapter. This chapter is entitled Idealism. Bertrand once again warns us about dismissing the apparently absurd. I wonder why? But from my perspective to say that something does not exist because I am not viewing it correctly or with total objectivity or accuracy is rather absurd. But we will persist. Bertrand goes on to tell us that the Bishop Berkeley made valid arguments that confirm that our sense data cannot have an existence independent of us. (Yeah? But the object of our senses can exist in and of themselves whether we can sense them or not.) Berkeley then concludes that matter can then only exist in the mind of the observer or some Infinite observer. Once again, in my opinion we are back to the absurd and a rather advanced egocentricity. Bertrand then explains that the Bishop has confused the thing apprehended with the act of apprehension. No kidding! It seems that Mr. Berkley thinks that his seeing something gives that something its existence. I'm sorry - is this really worth all this discussion? Isn't this just foolishness? Bertrand then states that Berkeley's notion that the objects apprehended must be mental has no validity whatsoever. I agree but then why are we wasting so much time on Mr. Berkley? I guess that it is because if we want to be philosophers we must not dismiss the absurd. Sartre also spent a lot of time and space analyzing this confusion in his book Being and Nothingness. After a while he also boarders on the absurd. The trouble with discussing things that are absurd is that eventually you will also become absurd and very possibly irrelevant. In the next chapter we get into knowledge and how we learn things. We learn of Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description. This seems rather basic - you know something because of your personal experience with that thing or you know of it because it has been described or explained to you. In the next chapter we get in learning by induction or inductive learning. This is predictable expectation based on past uniformity. The sun will probably rise tomorrow because of our knowledge of what the sun has done in the past. No guarantee but a good indicator. Next we discuss experience and a priori knowledge. Some things we know because of our experience and others we know because of general principles - nothing can both be and not be; whatever is, is; everything must either be or not be. Bertrand then states that Immanuel Kant is generally regarded as the greatest of the modern day philosophers. I didn't know that. How a priori knowledge is possible is the next discussion. This is somewhat difficult when we start analyzing two plus two but that something either is or it isn't seems clear enough. When we get into "numbers" I have a problem. Numbers are not "things" they are contrived representations of quantities of things. To state that mathematics is a priori knowledge of some sort is confusing to me. Obviously this a priori and synthetic stuff is an area where I need to read more. Numbers are all contrived as far as I am concerned. And any relation between them is learned or gained by previous induction episodes of learning. That numbers or mathematics has some sort of a priori significance, I don't get. When we get into universals and Plato we seem to be returning to Berkley and the realm of the absurd. Universals can be confusing but once again when we start believing that there actually exists a universal concept of a head or a chair or a wall or a dog or whatever we are going bonkers. What exists is my head, your head and his head not a head. This is another area that has been problematic to philosophers but not to anyone else. Now we come to intuitive knowledge and things that are self-evident. This chapter I don't understand. Self-evident seems simple enough - something is there or it isn't there. Intuitive knowledge? Now we come to truths and falsehoods. But for my dollar truth is what is. But I'm talking "matter" and fact. Bertrand wants to talk about statements. This statement is true and this statement is false. In which case truth depends on some correspondence between belief and fact. As we all know this can get very complicated and debatable. "The greater part of what would commonly pass as knowledge is more or less probable opinion," says Mr. Russell. The next chapter deals with those that think that we can know more than we actually can know and with those who think, on the other hand, that nothing is knowable - Hegel in the first case and Hume in the latter. Finally we come to the nature of philosophy and its value. Philosophy deals in questioning the unknown and once the unknown becomes known it is no longer called philosophy but science. So philosophy has a rather nebulous list of achievements. Bertrand closes this book with this final paragraph: "Thus to sum up our discussion of the value of philosophy; philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation; but above all because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind is also rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good." Well that, of course, states the case better than anything that I could say but for my part I must offer something. I have always been attracted to philosophy because the philosophers were asking the questions that seemed important to me and by reading and studying their answers I always felt that I was learning how to think and reason intelligently and logically. By being able to think intelligently and logically I felt that I was then better equipped to solve the problems of life - my life in particular.
Books by Richard Edward Noble. Click on covers below for more info and purchasing instructions.
Classic Tragic Novel
Don't Laugh - This Could Have Been Your Life
Funny stories and some strange characters.
Monkey Dishes and Cocktail Fawks
My Harrowing days in the restaurant business. Great Read.
It's a Long Story
Long Short Fiction - Great stories!
Bloggin' Be My Life
"Bloggin' be My Life" contains a selection of some of my more popular Hobo Philosopher blogs.If you enjoy reading this blog, you should love Bloggin' Be My Life.
It's All About Love
It's All About Love is ... all about love. This is the 2nd book of poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford off Arlington. Every poem in this book comes with a prose introduction. If you enjoy poetry this is a simple choice. Have fun!
A Little Something
Traditional poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford Off Arlington with some poignant prose introductions. If you enjoy any type of poetry, you will enjoy this volume. Thanks.
Talking To Myself
This is my third book of poetry.
Bits and Pieces
The Hobo Philosopher - My first book using the Hobo Philosopher brand. Featuring a variety of writing styles and ideas. Look for the Thoughtful Hobo on the cover.
A Baker's Dozen
The Hobo Philosopher: My Second book of Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction and Short Stories. All varieties of short stories - lots of laughs!
Cat Point - and Them Dang Oyster People
Cat Point is the sequel to "The Eastpointer." Both books contain humorous tales about life in a fishing community on the Florida Panhandle. Lots of laughs.
Won 1st Place award for humor in 2007 from Florida Press Association. More wit, wisdom and humor from the yet to be world famous author, R.E. Noble
A Summer with Charlie - Lawrence
Fiction - Salisbury Beach, Lawrence, Mass. Featured in Merrimack Valley Magazine July /Aug. issue 2010
Travel, Humor, Commentary on migrant farm work and illegal immigration still very pertinent today.
"Just Hangin' Out Ma"
Thank God for the Street Corners of Lawrence, Mass. Anecdotes and humorous escapades about growing up in an industrial mill town in the 40s,50s and 60s.
This is the sequel to "Just Hangin' Out, Ma"
That Old Gang of Mine
This is # 3 in my Lawrence Hometown series. The series is about growing up in the 40's, 50's and 60's in an industrial mill town. Sorta like a Huck Finn goes to vist Uncle Ralph, the bus driver, who lives in a big, rundown city. Lots of fun.
Come On-A My House
This is # 4 in my Lawrence Hometown series.The old homested at 32 Chelmsford ST is pictured on the cover..
Down By The Old Mill Stream
# 5 in the Lawrence My Hometown series.
Standing on the Corner is # 6 in the lawrence My Hometown series.
The old Howard Playstead on Lawrence St.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
# 7 in the Lawrence my Hometown series.
Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother
Classic tragic novel written from child's perspective. Deals with abuse, poverty, unemployment. Pulls no punches.
Noble Notes on Famous Folks
Humorous, satirical notes on everybody from Constantine to Bill Clinton. Inspiration: Willy Cuppy.
America on Strike
History - documented survey of labor strikes in America
Mein Kampf - An Analysis of Book One
Who are the American Nazis - the Liberals or the Conservatives?
MY NAME IS RICHARD EDWARD NOBLE. I AM A FREELANCE WRITER AND I HAVE PUBLISHED 12 BOOKS:"THE EASTPOINTER" - SELECTIONS FROM AWARD WINNING NEWSPAPER COLUMN - "A LITTLE SOMETHING" - POETRY WITH PROSE -"HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER" - A NOVEL ABOUT GROWING UP IN THE NEW ENGLAND MILL TOWN OF LAWRENCE, MASS, "HOBO-ING AMERICA" - A WORKINGMAN'S TOUR OF THE U.S.A. - "A SUMMER WITH CHARLIE" - THE STORY OF A YOUNG SAILOR'S LAST DAYS AT SALISBURY BEACH, "NOBLE NOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS" - HUMOROUS ANECDOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS IN HISTORY,
"AMERICA ON STRIKE" HISTORY BOOK - A SURVEY OF LABOR STRIKES IN AMERICA; "A BAKER'S DOZEN" A BOOK OF HUMOROUS SHORT STORIES; "JUST HANGIN' OUT, MA" - GROWING UP IN THE 40'S, 50'S AND 60'S IN LAWRENCE, MY HOMETOWN, "TENEMENT DWELLERS" - SEQUEL TO JUST HANGIN OUT, MA; MEIN KAMPF - ANALYSIS OF BOOK ONE - HISTORY. CAT POINT - AND THEM DANG OYSTER PEOPLE - SEQUEL TO THE EASTPOINTER
All 12 BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM, BARNES AND NOBLE AND OTHER INTERNET SOURCES OR FROM NOBLE PUBLISHING. ALL 12 OF MY BOOKS ARE NOW ON KINDLE AT BARGAIN PRICES TOO. IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DISCOUNTS AND SPECIAL OFFERS E-MAIL ME. MY EMAIL IS ON MY PROFILE PAGE.