The philosophy of realism promotes the idea of a universe that we can observescientifically and understand objectively. The central idea of realism is that reality, knowledge, and facts are independent of the human mind. The real objects of the universe —stones, trees, and animals—exist whether or not there is a human mind to know them.
Realists believe that anything that exists can be measured scientifically. Philosopher andmathematician Bertrand Russell believed that reason, logic, and the methods of science couldbe used to build a precise philosophy of reality. Russell felt that the universe is characterizedby patterns that can be analyzed scientifically and verified mathematically. He believed thatonly science could claim to be real knowledge. According to Russell, we can get two types ofdata on reality: hard data and soft data. Hard data are the facts of the situation, facts that canwithstand measurement and analysis. Soft data arc such things as beliefs, passions, andemotions, which we can neither prove nor deny with certainty. Russell based his philosophymore on hard data that can be proven and less on soft data that are more difficult to Prove. Heargued that we should not believe something is real if it is based on soft data. Something isreal only if hard data exist to support it.
Russell hoped that by using the methods of science, we could begin to solve large humanproblems such as poverty. He believed in knowledge and education as the keys to a betterworld. According to Russell, if we applied realist philosophy and scientific methods toeducation, we would achieve excellence in education, and ultimately we could eliminateproblems such as poverty and create an ideal society.
Summarize the points made in the lecture, being sure to explain how they contradict specific points made in the reading passage.