Erik C. Banks
The Realistic Empiricism of Mach, James, and Russell
Neutral Monism Reconceived
Cambridge University Press 2014
The Austrian physicist Ernst Mach, the American psychologist William James, and the British philosopher Bertrand Russell shared an interest in explaining the mind in naturalistic terms – unified with the rest of nature, not metaphysically distinct as Descartes argued. In The Realistic Empiricism of Mach, James, and Russell: Neutral Monism Reconceived (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Erik C. Banks delves into the movement that these three figures launched, for the first time showing how they provide a unified, if incomplete, theory of the mind. Realistic empiricism combines a direct realist view about knowledge with neutral monism – the idea that the basic events that make up the world are neither mental nor physical and can be manifested as either. Banks also advances the position as a non-panpsychist contender in contemporary philosophy of mind, and outlines the underlying mathematical framework for the basic events.