Tabula rasa in an essay concerning human understanding

The next step in the development of Empiricism was Logical Empiricism (or Logical Positivism ), an early 20th Century attempt to synthesize the essential ideas of British Empiricism (a strong emphasis on sensory experience as the basis for knowledge) with certain insights from mathematical logic that had been developed by Gottlob Frege , Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein . This resulted in a kind of extreme Empiricism which held that any genuinely synthetic assertion must be reducible to an ultimate assertion (or set of ultimate assertions) which expresses direct observations or perceptions .

Edmund Gettier called into question the theory of knowledge and the traditional definition of knowledge. Gettier's argument is that there are situations in which one's belief may be justified and true, yet fail to count as knowledge. He contended that while justified belief in a true proposition is necessary for that proposition to be known, it is not sufficient. According to Gettier, there are certain circumstances in which one does not have knowledge, even when all of the above conditions are met. Gettier proposed two thought experiments, which have come to be known as "Gettier cases," as counter examples to the classical account of knowledge. He argued it is possible to arrive at an assumption based on belief which is deemed justified, but happens to be true only by chance, because the outcome was predicted for the wrong reason and so can't be classed to be knowledge.

Still, the beach isn’t quite the same as the sea, as Rachel Carson suggested in  The Sea Around Us , a lyrical natural history of the world’s oceans. “The boundary between sea and land is the most fleeting and transitory feature of the earth,” Carson wrote. This elusiveness helps explain why the beach hasn’t, until recently, had a history, despite being a global phenomenon. Nineteenth-century Europeans went in search of uncrowded, “unspoiled” shores in their colonial empires. Beach resorts multiplied along the coasts of North and South America over the course of the 20th century. To be sure, each stretch of sand has its own history; a political and social context with its own dynamics of gender, race and class. But everywhere modernity went, it contributed to the rise of a global “pleasure periphery,” places beyond the boundaries of quotidian life dedicated to the pursuit of health and leisure. On the beach, Rachel Carson saw “the history of the earth” in “every grain of sand.” Her words are a reminder that beach has a history; one that might soon disappear.

The actual process of then producing the final images came to be more like film-making than conventional illustration. Realising the importance of consistency over multiple panels, coupled with a stylistic interest in early photographs, I physically constructed some basic ‘sets’ using bits of wood and fridge-box cardboard, furniture and household objects. These became simple models for drawn structures in the book, anything from towering buildings to breakfast tables. With the right lighting, and some helpful friends acting out the roles of characters plotted in rough drawings, I was able to video or photograph compositions and sequences of action that seemed to approximate each scene. Selecting still images, I played with these by digitally, distorting, adding and subtracting, drawing over the top of them, and testing various sequences to see how they could be ‘read’. These became the compositional references for finished drawings that were produced by a more old-fashioned method – graphite pencil on cartridge paper. For each page of up to twelve images, the whole process took about a week… not including any rejects, of which there were several.

Tabula rasa in an essay concerning human understanding

tabula rasa in an essay concerning human understanding

The actual process of then producing the final images came to be more like film-making than conventional illustration. Realising the importance of consistency over multiple panels, coupled with a stylistic interest in early photographs, I physically constructed some basic ‘sets’ using bits of wood and fridge-box cardboard, furniture and household objects. These became simple models for drawn structures in the book, anything from towering buildings to breakfast tables. With the right lighting, and some helpful friends acting out the roles of characters plotted in rough drawings, I was able to video or photograph compositions and sequences of action that seemed to approximate each scene. Selecting still images, I played with these by digitally, distorting, adding and subtracting, drawing over the top of them, and testing various sequences to see how they could be ‘read’. These became the compositional references for finished drawings that were produced by a more old-fashioned method – graphite pencil on cartridge paper. For each page of up to twelve images, the whole process took about a week… not including any rejects, of which there were several.

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