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The Philosophy of Logical Atomism

The Philosophy of Logical Atomism Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 (Th e following articles are the first two lectures of a course of eight lectures delivered in London in the first months of 1918, and are very largely concerned with explaining certain ideas which I learnt from my friend and former pupil Ludwig Wittgenstein. I have had no opportunity of knowing his views since August, 1914, and I do not even know whether he is alive or dead. He has there­ fore no responsibility for what is said in these lectures beyond that of having originally supplied many of the theories contained in them. The six other lectures will appear in the three following numbers of The Monist.—B. R.) I. FACTS AND PROPOSITIONS. HI S course of lectures which I am now beginning I T have called the Philosophy of Logical Atomism. Per­ haps I had better begin by saying a word or two as to what I understand by that title. The kind of philosophy that I wish to advocate, which I call Logical Atomism, is one which has forced itself upon me in the course of think­ ing about the. philosophy of mathematics, although I should find it hard to say exactly how far there is a definite logical connection between the two. The things I am going to say in these lectures are mainly my own personal opinions and I do not claim that they are more than that. As I have attempted to prove in The Principles of Mathematics, when we analyze mathematics we bring it all back to logic. It all comes back to logic in the strictest and most formal sense. In the present lectures, I shall try to set forth in a sort of outline, rather briefly and rather Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. unsatisfactorily, a kind of logical doctrine which seems to me to result from the philosophy of mathematics—not ex­ actly logically, but as what emerges as one reflects: a cer­ tain kind of logical doctrine, and on the basis of this a certain kind of metaphysic. The logic which I shall ad­ vocate is atomistic, as opposed to the monistic logic of the people who more or less follow Hegel. When I say that my logic is atomistic, I mean that I share the common-sense belief that there are many separate things; I do not regard the apparent multiplicity of the world as consisting merely in phases and unreal divisions of a single indivisible Real­ ity. It results from that that a considerable part of what one would have to do to justify the sort of philosophy I wish to advocate would consist in justifying the process of analysis. One is often told that the process of analysis is falsification, that when you analyze any given concrete whole you falsify it and that the results of analysis are not true. I do not think that is a right view. I do not mean to say, of course, and nobody would maintain, that when you have analyzed you keep everything that you had before you analyzed. If you did, you would never attain anything in analyzing. I do not propose to meet the views that I disagree with by controversy, by arguing against those views, but rather by positively setting forth what I believe to be the truth about the matter, and endeavoring all the way through to make the views that I advocate result in­ evitably from absolutely undeniable data. When I talk of "undeniable data" that is not to be regarded as synon­ ymous with "true data," because "undeniable" is a psycho­ logical term and "true" is not. When I say that something is "undeniable," I mean that it is not the sort of thing that anybody is going to deny; it does not follow from that that it is true, though it does follow that we shall all think it true—and that is as near to truth as we seem able to get. When you are considering any sort of theory of knowledge, Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 497 you are more or less tied to a certain unavoidable subjec­ tivity, because you are not concerned simply with the ques­ tion what is true of the world, but "What can I know of the world ?" You always have to start any kind of argument from something which appears to you to be true; if it ap­ pears to you to be true, there is no more to be done. You cannot go outside yourself and consider abstractly whether the things that appear to you to be true are true; you may do this in a particular case, where one of your beliefs is changed in consequence of others among your beliefs. The reason that I call my doctrine logical atomism is because the atoms that I wish to arrive at as the sort of last residue in analysis are logical atoms and not physical atoms. Some of them will be what I call "particulars,"— such things as little patches of color or sounds, momentary things—and some of them will be predicates or relations and so on. The point is that the atom I wish to arrive at is the atom of logical analysis, not the atom of physical analysis. It is a rather curious fact in philosophy that the data which are undeniable to start with are always rather vague and ambiguous. You can, for instance, say: "There are a number of people in this room at this moment." That is obviously in some sense undeniable. But when you come to try and define what this room is, and what it is for a person to be in a room, and how you are going to distin­ guish one person from another, and so forth, you find that what you have said is most fearfully vague and that you really do not know what you meant. That is a rather singular fact, that everything you are really sure of, right off is something that you do not know the meaning of, and the moment you get a precise statement you will not be sure whether it is true or false, at least right off. The process of sound philosophizing, to my mind, consists mainly in passing from those obvious, vague, ambiguous things, Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 49 8 THE MONIST. that we feel quite sure of, to something precise, clear, defi­ nite, which by reflection and analysis we find is involved in the vague thing that we started from, and is, so to speak, the real truth of which that vague thing is a sort of shadow. I should like, if time were longer and if I knew more than I do, to spend a whole lecture on the conception of vague­ ness. I think vagueness is very much more important in the theory of knowledge than you would judge it to be from the writings of most people. Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise, and everything precise is so remote from every­ thing that we normally think, that you cannot for a moment suppose that is what we really mean when we say what we think. When you pass from the vague to the precise by the method of analysis and reflection that I am speaking of, you always run a certain risk of error. If I start with the statement that there are so and so many people in this room, and then set to work to make that statement precise, I shall run a great many risks and it will be extremely likely that any precise statement I make will be something not true at all. So you cannot very easily or simply get from these vague undeniable things to precise things which are going to retain the undeniability of the starting-point. The pre­ cise propositions that you arrive at may be logically prem­ ises to the system that you build up upon the basis of them, but they are not premises for the theory of knowledge. It is important to realize the difference between that from which your knowledge is, in fact, derived, and that from which, if you already had complete knowledge, you would deduce it. Those are quite different things. The sort of premise that a logician will take for a science will not be the sort of thing which is first known or easiest known: it will be a proposition having great deductive power, great cogency and exactitude, quite a different thing from the Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 THE PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 499 actual premise that your knowledge started from. When you are talking of the premise for theory of knowledge, you are not talking of anything objective, but of something that will vary from man to man, because the premises of one man's theory of knowledge will not be the same as those of another man's. There is a great tendency among a very large school to suppose that when you are trying to philosophize about what you know, you ought to carry back your premises further and further into the region of the inexact and vague, beyond the point where you yourself are, right back to the child or monkey, and that anything whatsoever that you seem to know—but that the psychol­ ogist recognizes as being the product of previous thought and analysis and reflection on your part—cannot really be taken as a premise in your own knowledge. That, I say, is a theory which is very widely held and which is used against that kind of analytic outlook which I wish to urge. It seems to me that when your object is, not simply to study the history or development of mind, but to ascertain the nature of the world, you do not want to go any further back than you are already yourself. You do not want to go back to the vagueness of the child or monkey, because you will find that quite sufficient difficulty is raised by your own vagueness. But there one is confronted by one of those difficulties that occur constantly in philosophy, where you have two ultimate prejudices conflicting and where argu­ ment ceases. There is the type of mind which considers that what is called primitive experience must be a better guide to wisdom than the experience of reflective persons, and there is the type of mind which takes exactly the oppo­ site view. On that point I cannot see any argument what­ soever. It is quite clear that a highly educated person sees, hears, feels, does everything in a very different way from a young child or animal, and that this whole manner of experiencing the world and of thinking about the world is Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. very much more analytic than that of a more primitive ex­ perience. The things we have got to take as premises in any kind of work of analysis are the things which appear to us undeniable—to us here and now, as we are—and I think on the whole that the sort of method adopted by Des­ cartes is right: that you should set to work to doubt things and retain only what you cannot doubt because of its clear­ ness and distinctness, not because you are sure not to be induced into error, for there does not exist a method which will safeguard you against the possibility of error. The wish for perfect security is one of those snares we are al­ ways falling into, and is just as untenable in the realm of knowledge as in everything else. Nevertheless, granting all this, I still think that Descartes's method is on the whole a sound one for the starting-point. I propose, therefore, always to begin any argument that I have to make by appealing to data which will be quite ludicrously obvious. Any philosophical skill, that is required will consist in the selection of those which are capable of yielding a good deal of reflection and analysis, and in the reflection and analysis themselves. Wha t I have said so far is by way of introduction. The first truism to which I wish to draw your attention —and I hope you will agree with me that these things that I call truisms are so obvious that it is almost laugh­ able to mention them—is that the world contains facts, which are what they are whatever we may choose to think about them, and that there are also beliefs, which have ref­ erence to facts, and by reference to facts are either true or false. I will try first of all to give you a preliminary ex­ planation of what I mean by a "fact." When I speak of a fact—I do not propose to attempt an exact definition, but an explanation, so that you will know what I am talking about—I mean the kind of thing that makes a proposition true or false. If I say "It is raining," what I say is true Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 501 in a certain condition of weather and is false in other con­ ditions of weather. The condition of weather that makes my statement true (or false as the case may be), is what I should call a "fact." If I say "Socrates is dead," my statement will be true owing to a certain physiological oc­ currence which happened in Athens long ago. If I say, "Gravitation varies inversely as the square of the distance," my statement is rendered true by astronomical fact. If I say, "Two and two are four," it is arithmetical fact that makes my statement true. On the other hand, if I say "Socrates is alive," or "Gravitation varies directly as the distance," or "Two and two are five," the very same facts which made my previous statements true show that these new statements are false. I want you to realize that when I speak of a fact I do not mean a particular existing thing, such as Socrates or the rain or the sun. Socrates himself does not render any statement true or false. You might be inclined to suppose that all by himself he would give truth to the statement "Socrates existed," but as a matter of fact that is a mistake. It is due to a confusion which I shall try to explain in the sixth lecture of this course, when I come to deal with the notion of existence. Socrates himself, or any particular thing just by itself, does not make any proposition true or false. "Socrates is dead" and "Socrates is alive" are both of them statements about Socrates. One is true and the other false. What I call a fact is the sort of thing that is expressed by a whole sentence, not by a single name like "Socrates." When a single word does come to express a fact, like "fire" or "wolf," it is always due to an unex­ pressed context, and the full expression of a fact will al­ ways involve a sentence. We express a fact, for example, when we say that a certain thing has a certain property, 1 am here for the moment treating Socrates as a "particular." But we shall see shortly that this view requires modification. Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. or that it has a certain relation to another thing; but the thing which has the property or the relation is not what I call a "fact." It is important to observe that facts belong to the ob­ jective world. They are not created by our thoughts or beliefs except in special cases. That is one of the sort of things which I should set up as an obvious truism, but, of course, one is aware, the moment one has read any philos­ ophy at all, how very much there is to be said before such a statement as that can become the kind of position that you want. The first thing I want to emphasize is that the outer world—the world, so to speak, which knowledge is aiming at knowing—is not completely described by a lot of "particulars," but that you must also take account of these things that I call facts, which are the sort of things that you express by a sentence, and that these, just as much as particular chairs and tables, are part of the real world. Except in psychology, most of our statements are not in­ tended merely to express our condition of mind, though that is often all that they succeed in doing. They are in­ tended to express facts, which (except when they are psy­ chological facts) will be about the outer world. There are such facts involved, equally when we speak truly and when we speak falsely. When we speak falsely it is an objective fact that makes what we say true when we speak truly. There are a great many different kinds of facts, and we shall be concerned in later lectures with a certain amount of classification of facts. I will just point out a few kinds of facts to begin with, so that you may not imagine that facts are all very much alike. There are particular facts, such as "This is white"; then there are general facts, such as "All men are mortal." Of course, the distinction between particular and general facts is one of the most important. There again it would be a very great mistake to suppose that you could describe the world completely by means of Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 503 particular facts alone. Suppose that you had succeeded in chronicling every single particular fact throughout the universe, and that there did not exist a single particular fact of any sort anywhere that you had not chronicled, you still would not have got a complete description of the uni­ verse unless you also added: "These that I have chronicled are all the particular facts there are." So you cannot hope to describe the world completely without having general facts as well as particular facts. Another distinction, which is perhaps a little more difficult to make, is between positive facts and negative facts, such as "Socrates was alive"—a positive fact,— and "Socrates is not alive"—you might say a negative fact. But the distinction is difficult to make precise. Then there are facts concerning particular things or particular qualities or relations, and, apart from them, the completely general facts of the sort that you have in logic, where there is no mention of any constituent what­ ever of the actual world, no mention of any particular thing or particular quality or particular relation, indeed strictly you may say no mention of anything. That is one of the characteristics of logical propositions, that they men­ tion nothing. Such a proposition is: "If one class is part of another, a term which is a member of the one is also a member of the other." All those words that come in the statement of a pure logical proposition are words really belonging to syntax. They are words merely expressing form or connection, not mentioning any particular con­ stituent of the proposition in which they occur. This is, of course, a thing that wants to be proved; I am not laying it down as self-evident. Then there are facts about the properties of single things; and facts about the relations between two things, three things, and so on; and any num­ ber of different classifications of some of the facts in the world, which are important for different purposes. Negative facts are further discussed in a later lecture. Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. It is obvious that there is not a dualism of true and false facts; there are only just facts. It would be a mistake, of course, to say that all facts are true. That would be a mistake because true and false are correlatives, and you would only say of a thing that it was true if it was the sort of thing that might be false. A fact cannot be either true or false. That brings us on to the question of statements or propositions or judgments, all those things that do have the duality of truth and falsehood. For the purposes of logic, though not, I think, for the purposes of theory of knowledge, it is natural to concentrate upon the proposition as the thing which is going to be our typical vehicle on the duality of truth and falsehood. A proposition, one may say, is a sentence in the indicative, a sentence asserting something, not questioning or commanding or wishing. It may also be a sentence of that sort preceded by the word "that." For example, "That Socrates is alive," "That two and two are four," "That two and two are five," any­ thing of that sort will be a proposition. A proposition is just a symbol. It is a complex symbol in the sense that it has parts which are also symbols: a symbol may be defined as complex when it has parts that are symbols. In a sentence containing several words, the several words are each symbols, and the sentence com­ posing them is therefore a complex symbol in that sense. There is a good deal of importance to philosophy in the theory of symbolism, a good deal more than at one time I thought. I think the importance is almost entirely nega­ tive, i. e., the importance lies in the fact that unless you are fairly self-conscious about symbols, unless you are fairly aware of the relation of the symbol to what it symbolizes, you will find yourself attributing to the thing properties which only belong to the symbol. That, of course, is espe- ically likely in very abstract studies such as philosophical logic, because the subject-matter that you are supposed to Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 505 be thinking of is so exceedingly difficult and elusive that any person who has ever tried to think about it knows you do not think about it except perhaps once in six months for half a minute. The rest of the time you think about the symbols, because they are tangible, but the thing you are supposed to be thinking about is fearfully difficult and one does not often manage to think about it. The really good philosopher is the one who does once in six months think about it for a minute. Bad philosophers never do. That is why the theory of symbolism has a certain im­ portance, because otherwise you are so certain to mistake the properties of the symbolism for the properties of the thing. It has other interesting sides to it too. There are different kinds of symbols, different kinds of relation be­ tween symbol and what is symbolized, and very important fallacies arise from not realizing this. The sort of con­ tradictions about which I shall be speaking in connection with types in a later lecture all arise from mistakes in sym­ bolism, from putting one sort of symbol in the place where another sort of symbol ought to be. Some of the notions that have been thought absolutely fundamental in philos­ ophy have arisen, I believe, entirely through mistakes as to symbolism—e. g., the notion of existence, or, if you like, reality. Those two words stand for a great deal that has been discussed in philosophy. There has been the theory about every proposition being really a description of reality as a whole and so on, and altogether these notions of reality and existence have played a very prominent part in phi­ losophy. Now my own belief is that as they have occurred in philosophy, they have been entirely the outcome of a muddle about symbolism, and that when you have cleared up that muddle, you find that practically everything that has been said about existence is sheer and simple mistake, and that is all you can say about it. I shall go into that in Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. a later lecture, but it is an example of the way in which symbolism is important. Perhaps I ought to say a word or two about what I am understanding by symbolism, because I think some people think you only mean mathematical symbols when you talk about symbolism. I am using it in a sense to include all language of every sort and kind, so that every word is a symbol, and every sentence, and so forth. When I speak of a symbol I simply mean something that "means" some­ thing else, and as to what I mean by "meaning" I am not prepared to tell you. I will in the course of time enumerate a strictly infinite number of different things that "mean­ ing" may mean, but I shall not consider that I have ex­ hausted the discussion by doing that. I think that the notion of meaning is always more or less psychological, and that it is not possible to get a pure logical theory of meaning, nor therefore of symbolism. I think that it is of the very essence of the explanation of what you mean by a symbol to take account of such things as knowing, of cognitive relations, and probably also of association. At any rate I am pretty clear that the theory of symbolism and the use of symbolism is not a thing that can be explained in pure logic without taking account of the various cogni­ tive relations that you may have to things. As to what one means by "meaning," I will give a few illustrations. For instance, the word "Socrates," you will say, means a certain man; the word "mortal" mean's a certain quality; and the sentence "Socrates is mortal" means a certain fact. But these three sorts of meaning are entirely distinct, and you will get into the most hopeless contradictions if you think the word "meaning" has the same meaning in each of these three cases. It is very im­ portant not to suppose that there is just one thing which is meant by "meaning," and that therefore there is just one sort of relation of the symbol to what is symbolized. Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 50/ A name would be a proper symbol to use for a person; a sentence (or a proposition) is the proper symbol for a fact. A belief or a statement has duality of truth and false­ hood, which the fact does not have. A belief or a statement always involves a proposition. You say that a man be­ lieves that so and so is the case. A man believes that Soc­ rates is dead. What he believes is a proposition on the face of it, and for formal purposes it is convenient to take the proposition as the essential thing having the duality of truth and falsehood. It is very important to realize such things, for instance, as that propositions are not names for facts. It is quite obvious as soon as it is pointed out to you, but as a matter of fact I never had realized it until it was pointed out to me by a former pupil of mine, Wittgenstein. It is perfectly evident as soon as you think of it, that a proposition is not a name for a fact, from the mere circum­ stance that there are Hvo propositions corresponding to each fact. Suppose it is a fact that Socrates is dead. You have two propositions: "Socrates is dead" and "Socrates is not dead." And those two propositions corresponding to the same fact, there is one fact in the world which makes one true and one false. That is not accidental, and illus­ trates how the relation of proposition to fact is a totally different one from the relation of name to the thing named. For each fact there are two propositions, one true and one false, and there is nothing in the nature of the symbol to show us which is the true one and which is the false one. If there were, you could ascertain the truth about the world by examining propositions without looking round you. There are two different relations, as you see, that a proposition may have to a fact: the one the relation that you may call being true to the fact, and the other being false to the fact. Both are equally essentially logical rela­ tions which may subsist between the two, whereas in the case of a name, there is only one relation that it can have Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 THE MONIST. to what it names. A name can just name a particular, or, if it does not, it is not a name at all, it is a noise. It cannot be a name without having just that one particular relation of naming a certain thing, whereas a proposition does not cease to be a proposition if it is false. It has these two ways, of being true and being false, which together corre­ spond to the property of being a name. Just as a word may be a name or be not a name but just a meaningless noise, so a phrase which is apparently a proposition may be either true or false, or may be meaningless, but the true and false belong together as against the meaningless. That shows, of course, that the formal logical characteristics of propositions are quite different from those of names, and that the relations they have to facts are quite different, and therefore propositions are not names for facts. You must not run away with the idea that you can name facts in any other way; you cannot. You cannot name them at all. You cannot properly name a fact. The only thing you can do is to assert it, or deny it, or desire it, or will it, or wish it, or question it, but all those are things involving the whole proposition. You can never put the sort of thing that makes a proposition to be true or false in the position of a logical subject. You can only have it there as something to be asserted or denied or something of that sort, but not something to be named. DISCUSSION . Do you take your starting-point "That there are many things" as a postulate which is to be carried along all through, or has to be proved afterward? Mr. Russell: No, neither the one nor the other. I do not take it as a postulate that "There are many things." I should take it that, in so far as it can be proved, the proof is empirical, and that the disproofs that have been offered are a priori. The empirical person would naturally say, there are many things. The monistic philosopher attempts to show that there are not. I should propose to refute his a priori arguments. Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 5OO, I do not consider there is any logical necessity for there to be many things, nor for there not to be many things. I mean in making a start, whether you start with the em­ pirical or the a priori philosophy, do you make your state­ ment just at the beginning and come back to prove it, or do you never come back to the proof of it? Mr. Russell: No, you never come back. It is like the acorn to the oak. You never get back to the acorn in the oak. I should like a statement which would be rough and vague and have that sort of obviousness that belongs to things of which you never know what they mean, but I should never get back to that statement. I should say, here is a thing. We seem somehow convinced that there is truth buried in this thing somewhere. We will look at it inside and out until we have ex­ tracted something and can say, now that is true. It will not really be the same as the thing we started from because it will be so much more analytic and precise. Does it not look as though you could name a fact by a date? Mr. Russell: You can apparently name facts, but I do not think you can really: you would always find that if you set out the whole thing fully, it was not so. Suppose you say "The death of Socrates." You might say, that is a name for the fact that Socrates died. But it obviously is not. You can see that the moment you take account of truth and falsehood. Supposing he had not died, the phrase would still be just as significant although there could not be then anything you could name. But supposing he had never lived, the sound "Socrates" would not be a name at all. You can see it in another way. You can say "The death of Socrates is a fic­ tion." Suppose you had read in the paper that the Kaiser had been assassinated, and it turned out to be not true. You could then say, "The death of the Kaiser is a fiction." It is clear that there is no such thing in the world as a fiction, and yet that statement is a perfectly sound statement. From this it follows that "The death of the Kaiser" is not a name. II. PARTICULARS, PREDICATES, AND RELATIONS. I propose to begin to-day the analysis of facts and prop­ ositions, for in a way the chief thesis that I have to main- Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. 5i o tain is the legitimacy of analysis, because if one goes into what I call Logical Atomism that means that one does be­ lieve the world can be analyzed into a number of separate things with relations and so forth, and that the sort of arguments that many philosophers use against analysis are not justifiable. In a philosophy of logical atomism one might suppose that the first thing to do would be to discover the kinds of atoms out of which logical structures are composed. But I do not think that is quite the first thing; it is one of the early things, but not quite the first. There are two other questions that one has to consider, and one of these at least is prior. You have to consider: i. Are the things that look like logically complex en­ tities really complex? 2. Are they really entities? The second question we can put off; in fact, I shall not deal with it fully until my last lecture. The first question, whether they are really complex, is one that you have to consider at the start. Neither of these questions is, as it stands, a very precise question. I do not pretend to start with precise questions. I do not think you can start with anything precise. You have to achieve such precision as you can, as you go along. Each of these two questions, however, is capable of a precise meaning, and each is really important. There is another question which comes still earlier, namely: what shall we take as prima facie examples of logically complex entities ? That really is the first question of all to start with. What sort of things shall we regard as prima facie complex? Of course, all the ordinary objects of daily life are ap­ parently complex entities: such things as tables and chairs, Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 THE PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 511 loaves and fishes, persons and principalities and powers— they are all on the face of it complex entities. All the kinds of things to which we habitually give proper names are on the face of them complex entities: Socrates, Piccadilly, Rumania, Twelfth Night or anything you like to think of, to which you give a proper name, they are all apparently complex entities. They seem to be complex systems bound together into some kind of a unity, that sort of a unity that leads to the bestowal of a single appellation. I think it is the contemplation of this sort of apparent unity which has very largely led to the philosophy of monism, and to the suggestion that the universe as a whole is a single complex entity more or less in the sense in which these things are that I have been talking about. For my part, I do not believe in complex entities of this kind, and it is not such things as these that I am going to take as the prima facie examples of complex entities. My reasons will appear more and more plainly as I go on. I cannot give them all to-day, but I can more or less explain what I mean in a preliminary way. Suppose, for example, that you were to analyze what appears to be a fact about Piccadilly. Suppose you made any statement about Picca­ dilly, such as: "Piccadilly is a pleasant street." If you analyze a statement of that sort correctly, I believe you will find that the fact corresponding to your statement does not contain any constituent corresponding to the word "Picca­ dilly." The word "Piccadilly" will form part of many sig­ nificant propositions, but the facts corresponding to these propositions do not contain any single constituent, whether simple or complex, corresponding to the word "Piccadilly." That is to say, if you take language as a guide in your analysis of the fact expressed, you will be led astray in a statement of that sort. The reasons for that I shall give at length in Lecture VI, and partly also in Lecture VII , but I could say in a preliminary way certain things that would Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. make you understand what I mean. "Piccadilly," on the face of it, is the name for a certain portion of the earth's surface, and I suppose, if you wanted to define it, you would have to define it as a series of classes of material entities, namely those which, at varying times, occupy that portion of the earth's surface. So that you would find that the logical status of Piccadilly is bound up with the logical status of series and classes, and if you are going to hold Piccadilly as real, you must hold that series of classes are real, and whatever sort of metaphysical status you assign to them, you must assign to it. As you know, I believe that series and classes are of the nature of logical fictions: therefore that thesis, if it can be maintained, will dissolve Piccadilly into a fiction. Exactly similar remarks will apply to other instances: Rumania, Twelfth Night, and Socrates. Socrates, perhaps, raises some special questions, because the question what constitutes a person has special difficul­ ties in it. But, for the sake of argument, one might identify Socrates with the series of his experiences. He would be really a series of classes, because one has many experiences simultaneously. Therefore he comes to be very like Picca­ dilly. Considerations of that sort seem to take us away from such prima facie complex entities as we started with to others as being more stubborn and more deserving of ana­ lytic attention, namely facts. I explained last time what I meant by a fact, namely, that sort of thing that makes a proposition true or false, the sort of thing which is the case when your statement is true and is not the case when your statement is false. Facts are, as I said last time, plainly something you have to take account of if you are going to give a complete account of the world. You can­ not do that by merely enumerating the particular things that are in it: you must also mention the relations of these things, and their properties, and so forth, all of which are Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 THE PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 513 facts, so that facts certainly belong to an account of the objective world, and facts do seem much more clearly com­ plex and much more not capable of being explained away than things like Socrates and Rumania. However you may explain away the meaning of the word "Socrates," you will still be left with the truth that the proposition "Socrates is mortal" expresses a fact. You may not know exactly what Socrates means, but it is quite clear that "Socrates is mortal" does express a fact. There is clearly some valid meaning in saying that the fact expressed by "Socrates is mortal" is complex. The things in the world have various properties, and stand in various relations to each other. That they have these properties and relations are facts, and the things and their qualities or relations are quite clearly in some sense or other components of the facts that have those qualities or relations. The analysis of appar­ ently complex things such as we started with can be re­ duced by various means, to the analysis of facts which are apparently about those things. Therefore it is with the analysis of facts that one's consideration of the problem of complexity must begin, not by the analysis of apparently complex things. The complexity of a fact is evidenced, to begin with, by the circumstance that the proposition which asserts a fact consists of several words, each of which may occur in other contexts. Of course, sometimes you get a proposi­ tion expressed by a single word, but if it is expressed fully it is bound to contain several words. The proposition "Socrates is mortal" may be replaced by "Plato is mortal" or by "Socrates is human"; in the first case we alter the subject, in the second the predicate. It is clear that all the propositions in which the word "Socrates" occurs have something in common, and again all the propositions in which the word "mortal" occurs have something in com­ mon, something which they do not have in common with Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. all facts but only to those which are about Socrates or mor­ tality. It is clear, I think, that the facts corresponding to propositions in which the word "Socrates" occurs have something in common corresponding to the common word "Socrates" which occurs in the propositions, so that you have that sense of complexity to begin with, that in a fact you can get something which it may have in common with other facts, just as you may have "Socrates is human" and "Socrates is mortal," both of them facts, and both having to do with Socrates, although Socrates does not constitute the whole of either of these facts. It is quite clear that in that sense there is a possibility of cutting up a fact into component parts, of which one component may be altered without altering the others, and one component may occur in certain other facts though not in all other facts. I want to make it clear, to begin with, that there is a sense in which facts can be analyzed. I am not concerned with all the difficulties of any analysis, but only with meeting the prima facie objections of philosophers who think you really can­ not analyze at all. I am trying as far as possible again this time, as I did last time, to start with perfectly plain truisms. My desire and wish is that the things I start with should be so obvious that you wonder why I spend my time stating them. That is what I aim at, because the point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will be­ lieve it. One prima facie mark of complexity in propositions is the fact that they are expressed by several words. I come now to another point, which applies primarily to proposi­ tions and thence derivatively to facts. You can understand a proposition when you understand the words of which it is composed even though you never heard the proposition before. That seems a very humble property, but it is a Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 THE PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 515 property which marks it as complex and distinguishes it from words whose meaning is simple. When you know the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax of a language, you can understand a proposition in that language even though you never saw it before. In reading a newspaper, for example, you become aware of a number of statements which are new to you, and they are intelligible to you immediately, in spite of the fact that they are new, because you under­ stand the words of which they are composed. This charac­ teristic, that you can understand a proposition through the understanding of its component words, is absent from the component words when those words express something simple. Take the word "red," for example, and suppose —as one always has to do—that "red" stands for a par­ ticular shade of color. You will pardon that assumption, but one never can get on otherwise. You cannot under­ stand the meaning of the word "red" except through seeing red things. There is no other way in which it can be done. It is no use to learn languages, or to look up dictionaries. None of these things will help you to understand the mean­ ing of the word "red." In that way it is quite different from the meaning of a proposition. Of course, you can give a definition of the word "red," and here it is very im­ portant to distinguish between a definition and an analysis. All analysis is only possible in regard to what is complex, and it always depends, in the last analysis, upon direct ac­ quaintance with the objects which are the meanings of cer­ tain simple symbols. It is hardly necessary to observe that one does not define a thing but a symbol. (A "simple" symbol is a symbol whose parts are not symbols.) A simple symbol is quite a different thing from a simple thing. Those objects which it is impossible to symbolize otherwise than by simple symbols may be called "simple," while those which can be symbolized by a combination of symbols may be called "complex." This is, of course, a preliminary Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. 5i 6 definition, and perhaps somewhat circular, but that does not much matter at this stage. I have said that "red" could not be understood except by seeing red things. You might object to that on the ground that you can define red, for example, as "The color with the greatest wave-length." That, you might say, is a definition of "red" and a person could understand that definition even if he had seen nothing red, provided he understood the physical theory of color. But that does not really constitute the meaning of the word "red" in the very slightest. If you take such a proposition as "This is red" and substitute for it "This has the color with the greatest wave-length," you have a different proposition altogether. You can see that at once, because a person who knows nothing of the physical theory of color can understand the proposition "This is red," and can know that it is true, but cannot know that "This has the color which has the great­ est wave-length." Conversely, you might have a hypothet­ ical person who could not see red, but who understood the physical theory of color and could apprehend the proposi­ tion "This has the color with the greatest wave-length," but who would not be able to understand the proposition "This is red," as understood by the normal uneducated person. Therefore it is clear that if you define "red" as "The color with the greatest wave-length" you are not giving the actual meaning of the word at all ; you are simply giving a true description, which is quite a different thing, and the propositions which result are different propositions from those in which the word "red" occurs. In that sense the word "red" cannot be defined, though in the sense in which a correct description constitutes a definition it can be defined. In the sense of analysis you cannot define "red." That is how it is that dictionaries are able to get on, be­ cause a dictionary professes to define all the words in the language by means of words in the language, and therefore Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 517 it is clear that a dictionary must be guilty of a vicious circle somewhere, but it manages it by means of correct descrip­ tions. I have made it clear, then, in what sense I should say that the word "red" is a simple symbol and the phrase "This is red" a complex symbol. The word "red" can only be understood through acquaintance with the object, whereas the phrase "Roses are red" can be understood if you know what "red" is and what "roses" are, without ever having heard the phrase before. That is a clear mark of what is complex. It is the mark of a complex symbol, and also the mark of the object symbolized by the complex symbol. That is to say, propositions are complex symbols, and the facts they stand for are complex. The whole question of the meaning of words is very full of complexities and ambiguities in ordinary language. When one person uses a word, he does not mean by it the same thing as another person means by it. I have often heard it said that that is a misfortune. That is a mistake. It would be absolutely fatal if people meant the same things by their words. It would make all intercourse impossible, and language the most hopeless and useless thing imagin­ able, because the meaning you attach to your words must depend on the nature of the objects you are acquainted with, and since different people are acquainted with dif­ ferent objects, they would not be able to talk to each other unless they attached quite different meanings to their words. We should have to talk only about logic—a not wholly undesirable result. Take, for example, the word "Piccadilly." We, who are acquainted with Piccadilly, attach quite a different meaning to that word from any which could be attached to it by a person who had never been in London: and, supposing that you travel in foreign parts and expatiate on Piccadilly, you will convey to your hearers entirely different propositions from those in your Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. 5i 8 mind. They will know Piccadilly as an important street in London; they may know a lot about it, but they will not know just the things one knows when one is walking along it. If you were to insist on language which was unam­ biguous, you would be unable to tell people at home what you had seen in foreign parts. It would be altogether in­ credibly inconvenient to have an unambiguous language, and therefore mercifully we have not got one. Analysis is not the same thing as definition. You can define a term by means of a correct description, but that does not constitute an analysis. It is analysis, not defini­ tion, that we are concerned with at the present moment, so I will come back to the question of analysis. We may lay down the following provisional definitions: That the components of a proposition are the sym­ bols we must understand in order to understand the proposition; That the components of the fact which makes a prop­ osition true or false, as the case may be, are the meanings of the symbols which we must under­ stand in order to understand the proposition. That is not absolutely correct, but it will enable you to understand my meaning. One reason why it fails of cor­ rectness is that it does not apply to words which, like "or" and "not," are parts of propositions without corresponding to any part of the corresponding facts. This is a topic for Lecture III. I call these definitions preliminary because they start from the complexity of the proposition, which they define psychologically, and proceed to the complexity of the fact, whereas it is quite clear that in an orderly, proper proce­ dure it is the complexity of the fact that you would start from. It is also clear that the complexity of the fact can­ not be something merely psychological. If in astronomical Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 519 fact the earth moves round the sun, that is genuinely com­ plex. It is not that you think it complex, it is a sort of genuine objective complexity, and therefore one ought in a proper, orderly procedure to start from the complexity of the world and arrive at the complexity of the proposition. The only reason for going the other way round is that in all abstract matters symbols are easier to grasp. I doubt, however, whether complexity, in that fundamental objec­ tive sense in which one starts from complexity of a fact, is definable at all. You cannot analyze what you mean by complexity in that sense. You must just apprehend it— at least so I am inclined to think. There is nothing one could say about it, beyond giving criteria such as I have been giving. Therefore, when you cannot get a. real proper analysis of a thing, it is generally best to talk round it without professing that you have given an exact definition. It might be suggested that complexity is essentially to do with symbols, or that it is essentially psychological. I do not think it would be possible seriously to maintain either of these views, but they are the sort of views that will occur to one, the sort of thing that one would try, to see whether it would work. I do not think they will do at all. When we come to the principles of symbolism which I shall deal with in Lecture VII, I shall try to persuade you that in a logically correct symbolism there will always be a certain fundamental identity of structure between a fact and the symbol for it; and that the complexity of the symbol corresponds very closely with the complexity of the facts symbolized by it. Also, as I said before, it is quite directly evident to inspection that the fact, for example, that two things stand in a certain relation to one another— e. g., that this is to the left of that—is itself objectively complex, and not merely that the apprehension of it is complex. The fact that two things stand in a certain rela­ tion to each other, or any statement of that sort, has a Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. complexity all of its own. I shall therefore in future as­ sume that there is an objective complexity in the world, and that it is mirrored by the complexity of propositions. A moment ago I was speaking about the great advan­ tages that we derive from the logical imperfections of lan­ guage, from the fact that our words are all ambiguous. I propose now to consider what sort of language a logically perfect language would be. In a logically perfect language the words in a proposition would correspond one by one with the components of the corresponding fact, with the exception of such words as "or," "not," "if," "then," which have a different function. In a logically perfect language, there will be one word and no more for every simple object, and everything that is not simple will be expressed by a combination of words, by a combination derived, of course, from the words for the simple things that enter in, one word for each simple component. A language of that sort will be completely analytic, and will show at a glance the logical structure of the facts asserted or denied. The lan­ guage which is set forth in Principia Mathematica is in­ tended to be a language of that sort. It is a language which has only syntax and no vocabulary whatsoever. Bar­ ring the omission of a vocabulary I maintain that it is quite a nice language. It aims at being that sort of a language that, if you add a vocabulary, would be a logically perfect language. Actual languages are not logically perfect in this sense, and they cannot possibly be, if they are to serve the purposes of daily life. A logically perfect language, if it could be constructed, would not only be intolerably prolix, but, as regards its vocabulary, would be very largely private to one speaker. That is to say, all the names that it would use would be private to that speaker and could not enter into the language of another speaker. It could not use proper names for Socrates or Piccadilly or Ru­ mania for the reasons which I went into earlier in the lee- Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 THE PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 521 ture. Altogether you would find that it would be a very inconvenient language indeed. That is one reason why logic is so very backward as a science, because the needs of logic are so extraordinarily different from the needs of daily life. One wants a language in both, and unfortunately it is logic that has to give way, not daily life. I shall, how­ ever, assume that we have constructed a logically perfect language, and that we are going on state occasions to use it, and I will now come back to the question which I in­ tended to start with, namely, the analysis of facts. The simplest imaginable facts are those which consist in the possession of a quality by some particular thing. Such facts, say, as "This is white." They have to be taken in a very sophisticated sense. I do not want you to think about the piece of chalk I am holding, but of what you see when you look at the chalk. If one says, "This is white" it will do for about as simple a fact as you can get hold of. The next simplest would be those in which you have a rela­ tion between two facts, such as: "This is to the left of that." Next you come to those where you have a triadic relation between three particulars. (An instance which Royce gives is "A gives B to C" ) So you get relations which require as their minimum three terms, those we call triadic relations; and those which require four terms, which we call tetradic, and so on. There you have a whole in­ finite hierarchy of facts,—facts in which you have a thing and a quality, two things and a relation, three things and a relation, four things and a relation, and so on. That whole hierarchy constitutes what I call atomic facts, and they are the simplest sort of fact. You can distinguish among them some simpler than others, because the ones containing a quality are simpler than those in which you have, say, a pentadic relation, and so on. The whole lot of them, taken together, are as facts go very simple, and are what I call Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. atomic facts. The propositions expressing them are what I call atomic propositions. In every atomic fact there is one component which is naturally expressed by a verb (or, in the case of quality, it may be expressed by a predicate, by an adjective). This one component is a quality or dyadic or triadic or tetradic . . . relation. It would be very convenient, for purposes of talking about these matters, to call a quality a "monadic relation" and I shall do so; it saves a great deal of circum­ locution. In that case you can say that all atomic propositions assert relations of varying orders. Atomic facts contain, besides the relation, the terms of the relation—one term if it is a monadic relation, two if it is dyadic, and so on. These "terms" which come into atomic facts I define as "par­ ticulars." Particulars = terms of relations in atomic facts. Definition. That is the definition of particulars, and I want to em­ phasize it because the definition of a particular is some­ thing purely logical. The question whether this or that is a particular, is a question to be decided in terms of that logical definition. In order to understand the definition it is not necessary to know beforehand "This is a particular" or "That is a particular". It remains to be investigated what particulars you can find in the world, if any. The whole question of what particulars you actually find in the real world is a purely empirical one which does not interest the logician as such. The logician as such never gives in­ stances, because it is one of the tests of a logical proposi­ tion that you need not know anything whatsoever about the real world in order to understand it. Passing from atomic facts to atomic propositions, the word expressing a monadic relation or quality is called a Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 523 "predicate," and the word expressing a relation of any higher order would generally be a verb, sometimes a single verb, sometimes a whole phrase. At any rate the verb gives the essential nerve, as it were, of the relation. The other words that occur in the atomic propositions, the words that are not the predicate or verb, may be called the subjects of the proposition. There will be one subject in a monadic proposition, two in a dyadic one, and so on. The subjects in a proposition will be the words expressing the terms of the relation which is expressed by the proposition. The only kind of word that is theoretically capable of standing for a particular is a proper name, and the whole matter of proper names is rather curious. Proper Names = words for particulars. Definition. I have put that down although, as far as common lan­ guage goes, it is obviously false. It is true that if you try to think how you are to talk about particulars, you will see that you cannot ever talk about a particular particular ex­ cept by means of a proper name. You cannot use general words except by way of description. How are you to ex­ press in words an atomic proposition? An atomic propo­ sition is one which does mention actual particulars, not merely describe them but actually name them, and you can only name them by means of names. You can see at once for yourself, therefore, that every other part of speech ex­ cept proper names is obviously quite incapable of standing for a particular. Yet it does seem a little odd if, having made a dot on the blackboard, I call it "John." You would be surprised, and yet how are you to know otherwise what it is that I am speaking of. If I say, "The dot that is on the right-hand side is white" that is a proposition. If I say "This is white" that is quite a different proposition. "This" will do very well while we are all here and can see Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. it, but if I wanted to talk about it to-morrow it would be convenient to have christened it and called it "John." There is no other way in which you can mention it. You cannot really mention it itself except by means of a name. What pass for names in language, like "Socrates," "Plato," and so forth, were originally intended to fulfil this function of standing for particulars, and we do accept, in ordinary daily life, as particulars all sorts of things that really are not so. The names that we commonly use, like "Socrates," are really abbreviations for descriptions; not only that, but what they describe are not particulars but complicated systems of classes or series. A name, in the narrow logical sense of a word whose meaning is a particu­ lar, can only be applied to a particular with which the speaker is acquainted, because you cannot name anything you are not acquainted with. You remember, when Adam named the beasts, they came before him one by one, and he became acquainted with them and named them. We are not acquainted with Socrates, and therefore cannot name him. When we use the word "Socrates," we are really using a description. Our thought may be rendered by some such phrase as, "The Master of Plato," or "The philos­ opher who drank the hemlock," or "The person whom logi­ cians assert to be mortal," but we certainly do not use the name as a name in the proper sense of the word. That makes it very difficult to get any instance of a name at all in the proper strict logical sense of the word. The only words one does use as names in the logical sense are words like "this" or "that." One can use "this" as a name to stand for a particular with which one is acquainted at the moment. We say "This is white." If you agree that "This is white," meaning the "this" that you see, you are using "this" as a proper name. But if you try to ap­ prehend the proposition that I am expressing when I say "This is white," you cannot do it. If you mean this piece Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 THE PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 525 of chalk as a physical object, then you are not using a proper name. It is only when you use "this" quite strictly, to stand for an actual object of sense, that it is really a proper name. And in that it has a very odd property for a proper name, namely that it seldom means the same thing two moments running and does not mean the same thing to the speaker and to the hearer. It is an ambiguous proper name, but it is really a proper name all the same, and it is almost the only thing I can think of that is used properly and logically in the sense that I was talking of for a proper name. The importance of proper names, in the sense of which I am talking, is in the sense of logic, not of daily life. You can see why it is that in the logical language set forth in Principia Mathematica there are not any names, because there we are not interested in particular particulars but only in general particulars, if I may be allowed such a phrase. Particulars have this peculiarity, among the sort of ob­ jects that you have to take account of in an inventory of the world, that each of them stands entirely alone and is completely self-subsistent. It has that sort of self-subsis­ tence that used to belong to substance, except that it usually only persists through a very short time, so far as our ex­ perience goes. That is to say, each particular that there is in the world does not in any way logically depend upon any other particular. Each one might happen to be the whole universe; it is a merely empirical fact that this is not the case. There is no reason why you should not have a uni­ verse consisting of one particular and nothing else. That is a peculiarity of particulars. In the same way, in order to understand a name for a particular, the only thing neces­ sary is to be acquainted with that particular. When you are acquainted with that particular, you have a full, ade­ quate, and complete understanding of the name, and no further information is required. No further information Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 52 6 TH E MONIST. as to the facts that are true of that particular would enable you to have a fuller understanding of the meaning of the name. BERTRAND RUSSELL. LONDON, ENGLAND. DISCUSSION. Mr. Carr: You think there are simple facts that are not complex. Are complexes all composed of simples ? Are not the simples that go into complexes themselves complex? Mr. Russell: No facts are simple. As to your second question, that is, of course, a question that might be argued—whether when a thing is complex it is necessary that it should in analysis have constituents that are simple. I think it is per­ fectly possible to suppose that complex things are capable of analysis ad infinitum, and that you never reach the simple. I do not think it is true, but it is a thing that one might argue, certainly. I do myself think that complexes—I do not like to talk of complexes—but that facts are composed of simples, but I admit that that is a difficult argument, and it might be that analysis could go on forever. Mr. Carr: You do not mean that in calling the thing complex, you have asserted that there really are simples? Mr. Russell: No, I do not think that is necessarily implied. Mr. Neville: I do not feel clear that the proposition "This is white" is in any case a simpler proposition than the proposition "This and that have the same color." Mr. Russell: That is one of the things I have not had time for. It may be the same as the proposition "This and that have the same color." It may be that white is defined as the color of "this," or rather that the proposition "This is white" means "This is identical in color with that," the color of "that" being, so to speak, the definition of white. That may be, but there is no special reason to think that it is. Mr. Neville: Are there any monadic relations which would be better examples ? Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 527 Mr. Russell: I think not. It is perfectly obvious a priori that you can get rid of all monadic relations by that trick. One of the things I was going to say if I had had time was that you can get rid of dyadic and reduce to triadic, and so on. But there is no particular reason to suppose that that is the way the world begins, that it begins with relations of order n instead of relations of order 1. You cannot reduce them downward, but you can reduce them upward. If the proper name of a thing, a "this," varies from in­ stant to instant, how is it possible to make any argument? Mr. Russell: You can keep "this" going for about a minute or two. I made that dot and talked about it for some little time. I mean it varies often. If you argue quickly, you can get some little way before it is finished. I think things last for a finite time, a matter of some seconds or minutes or what­ ever it may happen to be. You do not think that air is acting on that and chan­ ging it? Mr. Russell: It does not matter about that if it does not alter its appearance enough for you to have a different sense-datum. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Monist Unpaywall

The Philosophy of Logical Atomism

The MonistJan 1, 1918

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0026-9662
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Abstract

Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 (Th e following articles are the first two lectures of a course of eight lectures delivered in London in the first months of 1918, and are very largely concerned with explaining certain ideas which I learnt from my friend and former pupil Ludwig Wittgenstein. I have had no opportunity of knowing his views since August, 1914, and I do not even know whether he is alive or dead. He has there­ fore no responsibility for what is said in these lectures beyond that of having originally supplied many of the theories contained in them. The six other lectures will appear in the three following numbers of The Monist.—B. R.) I. FACTS AND PROPOSITIONS. HI S course of lectures which I am now beginning I T have called the Philosophy of Logical Atomism. Per­ haps I had better begin by saying a word or two as to what I understand by that title. The kind of philosophy that I wish to advocate, which I call Logical Atomism, is one which has forced itself upon me in the course of think­ ing about the. philosophy of mathematics, although I should find it hard to say exactly how far there is a definite logical connection between the two. The things I am going to say in these lectures are mainly my own personal opinions and I do not claim that they are more than that. As I have attempted to prove in The Principles of Mathematics, when we analyze mathematics we bring it all back to logic. It all comes back to logic in the strictest and most formal sense. In the present lectures, I shall try to set forth in a sort of outline, rather briefly and rather Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. unsatisfactorily, a kind of logical doctrine which seems to me to result from the philosophy of mathematics—not ex­ actly logically, but as what emerges as one reflects: a cer­ tain kind of logical doctrine, and on the basis of this a certain kind of metaphysic. The logic which I shall ad­ vocate is atomistic, as opposed to the monistic logic of the people who more or less follow Hegel. When I say that my logic is atomistic, I mean that I share the common-sense belief that there are many separate things; I do not regard the apparent multiplicity of the world as consisting merely in phases and unreal divisions of a single indivisible Real­ ity. It results from that that a considerable part of what one would have to do to justify the sort of philosophy I wish to advocate would consist in justifying the process of analysis. One is often told that the process of analysis is falsification, that when you analyze any given concrete whole you falsify it and that the results of analysis are not true. I do not think that is a right view. I do not mean to say, of course, and nobody would maintain, that when you have analyzed you keep everything that you had before you analyzed. If you did, you would never attain anything in analyzing. I do not propose to meet the views that I disagree with by controversy, by arguing against those views, but rather by positively setting forth what I believe to be the truth about the matter, and endeavoring all the way through to make the views that I advocate result in­ evitably from absolutely undeniable data. When I talk of "undeniable data" that is not to be regarded as synon­ ymous with "true data," because "undeniable" is a psycho­ logical term and "true" is not. When I say that something is "undeniable," I mean that it is not the sort of thing that anybody is going to deny; it does not follow from that that it is true, though it does follow that we shall all think it true—and that is as near to truth as we seem able to get. When you are considering any sort of theory of knowledge, Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 497 you are more or less tied to a certain unavoidable subjec­ tivity, because you are not concerned simply with the ques­ tion what is true of the world, but "What can I know of the world ?" You always have to start any kind of argument from something which appears to you to be true; if it ap­ pears to you to be true, there is no more to be done. You cannot go outside yourself and consider abstractly whether the things that appear to you to be true are true; you may do this in a particular case, where one of your beliefs is changed in consequence of others among your beliefs. The reason that I call my doctrine logical atomism is because the atoms that I wish to arrive at as the sort of last residue in analysis are logical atoms and not physical atoms. Some of them will be what I call "particulars,"— such things as little patches of color or sounds, momentary things—and some of them will be predicates or relations and so on. The point is that the atom I wish to arrive at is the atom of logical analysis, not the atom of physical analysis. It is a rather curious fact in philosophy that the data which are undeniable to start with are always rather vague and ambiguous. You can, for instance, say: "There are a number of people in this room at this moment." That is obviously in some sense undeniable. But when you come to try and define what this room is, and what it is for a person to be in a room, and how you are going to distin­ guish one person from another, and so forth, you find that what you have said is most fearfully vague and that you really do not know what you meant. That is a rather singular fact, that everything you are really sure of, right off is something that you do not know the meaning of, and the moment you get a precise statement you will not be sure whether it is true or false, at least right off. The process of sound philosophizing, to my mind, consists mainly in passing from those obvious, vague, ambiguous things, Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 49 8 THE MONIST. that we feel quite sure of, to something precise, clear, defi­ nite, which by reflection and analysis we find is involved in the vague thing that we started from, and is, so to speak, the real truth of which that vague thing is a sort of shadow. I should like, if time were longer and if I knew more than I do, to spend a whole lecture on the conception of vague­ ness. I think vagueness is very much more important in the theory of knowledge than you would judge it to be from the writings of most people. Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise, and everything precise is so remote from every­ thing that we normally think, that you cannot for a moment suppose that is what we really mean when we say what we think. When you pass from the vague to the precise by the method of analysis and reflection that I am speaking of, you always run a certain risk of error. If I start with the statement that there are so and so many people in this room, and then set to work to make that statement precise, I shall run a great many risks and it will be extremely likely that any precise statement I make will be something not true at all. So you cannot very easily or simply get from these vague undeniable things to precise things which are going to retain the undeniability of the starting-point. The pre­ cise propositions that you arrive at may be logically prem­ ises to the system that you build up upon the basis of them, but they are not premises for the theory of knowledge. It is important to realize the difference between that from which your knowledge is, in fact, derived, and that from which, if you already had complete knowledge, you would deduce it. Those are quite different things. The sort of premise that a logician will take for a science will not be the sort of thing which is first known or easiest known: it will be a proposition having great deductive power, great cogency and exactitude, quite a different thing from the Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 THE PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 499 actual premise that your knowledge started from. When you are talking of the premise for theory of knowledge, you are not talking of anything objective, but of something that will vary from man to man, because the premises of one man's theory of knowledge will not be the same as those of another man's. There is a great tendency among a very large school to suppose that when you are trying to philosophize about what you know, you ought to carry back your premises further and further into the region of the inexact and vague, beyond the point where you yourself are, right back to the child or monkey, and that anything whatsoever that you seem to know—but that the psychol­ ogist recognizes as being the product of previous thought and analysis and reflection on your part—cannot really be taken as a premise in your own knowledge. That, I say, is a theory which is very widely held and which is used against that kind of analytic outlook which I wish to urge. It seems to me that when your object is, not simply to study the history or development of mind, but to ascertain the nature of the world, you do not want to go any further back than you are already yourself. You do not want to go back to the vagueness of the child or monkey, because you will find that quite sufficient difficulty is raised by your own vagueness. But there one is confronted by one of those difficulties that occur constantly in philosophy, where you have two ultimate prejudices conflicting and where argu­ ment ceases. There is the type of mind which considers that what is called primitive experience must be a better guide to wisdom than the experience of reflective persons, and there is the type of mind which takes exactly the oppo­ site view. On that point I cannot see any argument what­ soever. It is quite clear that a highly educated person sees, hears, feels, does everything in a very different way from a young child or animal, and that this whole manner of experiencing the world and of thinking about the world is Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. very much more analytic than that of a more primitive ex­ perience. The things we have got to take as premises in any kind of work of analysis are the things which appear to us undeniable—to us here and now, as we are—and I think on the whole that the sort of method adopted by Des­ cartes is right: that you should set to work to doubt things and retain only what you cannot doubt because of its clear­ ness and distinctness, not because you are sure not to be induced into error, for there does not exist a method which will safeguard you against the possibility of error. The wish for perfect security is one of those snares we are al­ ways falling into, and is just as untenable in the realm of knowledge as in everything else. Nevertheless, granting all this, I still think that Descartes's method is on the whole a sound one for the starting-point. I propose, therefore, always to begin any argument that I have to make by appealing to data which will be quite ludicrously obvious. Any philosophical skill, that is required will consist in the selection of those which are capable of yielding a good deal of reflection and analysis, and in the reflection and analysis themselves. Wha t I have said so far is by way of introduction. The first truism to which I wish to draw your attention —and I hope you will agree with me that these things that I call truisms are so obvious that it is almost laugh­ able to mention them—is that the world contains facts, which are what they are whatever we may choose to think about them, and that there are also beliefs, which have ref­ erence to facts, and by reference to facts are either true or false. I will try first of all to give you a preliminary ex­ planation of what I mean by a "fact." When I speak of a fact—I do not propose to attempt an exact definition, but an explanation, so that you will know what I am talking about—I mean the kind of thing that makes a proposition true or false. If I say "It is raining," what I say is true Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 501 in a certain condition of weather and is false in other con­ ditions of weather. The condition of weather that makes my statement true (or false as the case may be), is what I should call a "fact." If I say "Socrates is dead," my statement will be true owing to a certain physiological oc­ currence which happened in Athens long ago. If I say, "Gravitation varies inversely as the square of the distance," my statement is rendered true by astronomical fact. If I say, "Two and two are four," it is arithmetical fact that makes my statement true. On the other hand, if I say "Socrates is alive," or "Gravitation varies directly as the distance," or "Two and two are five," the very same facts which made my previous statements true show that these new statements are false. I want you to realize that when I speak of a fact I do not mean a particular existing thing, such as Socrates or the rain or the sun. Socrates himself does not render any statement true or false. You might be inclined to suppose that all by himself he would give truth to the statement "Socrates existed," but as a matter of fact that is a mistake. It is due to a confusion which I shall try to explain in the sixth lecture of this course, when I come to deal with the notion of existence. Socrates himself, or any particular thing just by itself, does not make any proposition true or false. "Socrates is dead" and "Socrates is alive" are both of them statements about Socrates. One is true and the other false. What I call a fact is the sort of thing that is expressed by a whole sentence, not by a single name like "Socrates." When a single word does come to express a fact, like "fire" or "wolf," it is always due to an unex­ pressed context, and the full expression of a fact will al­ ways involve a sentence. We express a fact, for example, when we say that a certain thing has a certain property, 1 am here for the moment treating Socrates as a "particular." But we shall see shortly that this view requires modification. Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. or that it has a certain relation to another thing; but the thing which has the property or the relation is not what I call a "fact." It is important to observe that facts belong to the ob­ jective world. They are not created by our thoughts or beliefs except in special cases. That is one of the sort of things which I should set up as an obvious truism, but, of course, one is aware, the moment one has read any philos­ ophy at all, how very much there is to be said before such a statement as that can become the kind of position that you want. The first thing I want to emphasize is that the outer world—the world, so to speak, which knowledge is aiming at knowing—is not completely described by a lot of "particulars," but that you must also take account of these things that I call facts, which are the sort of things that you express by a sentence, and that these, just as much as particular chairs and tables, are part of the real world. Except in psychology, most of our statements are not in­ tended merely to express our condition of mind, though that is often all that they succeed in doing. They are in­ tended to express facts, which (except when they are psy­ chological facts) will be about the outer world. There are such facts involved, equally when we speak truly and when we speak falsely. When we speak falsely it is an objective fact that makes what we say true when we speak truly. There are a great many different kinds of facts, and we shall be concerned in later lectures with a certain amount of classification of facts. I will just point out a few kinds of facts to begin with, so that you may not imagine that facts are all very much alike. There are particular facts, such as "This is white"; then there are general facts, such as "All men are mortal." Of course, the distinction between particular and general facts is one of the most important. There again it would be a very great mistake to suppose that you could describe the world completely by means of Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 503 particular facts alone. Suppose that you had succeeded in chronicling every single particular fact throughout the universe, and that there did not exist a single particular fact of any sort anywhere that you had not chronicled, you still would not have got a complete description of the uni­ verse unless you also added: "These that I have chronicled are all the particular facts there are." So you cannot hope to describe the world completely without having general facts as well as particular facts. Another distinction, which is perhaps a little more difficult to make, is between positive facts and negative facts, such as "Socrates was alive"—a positive fact,— and "Socrates is not alive"—you might say a negative fact. But the distinction is difficult to make precise. Then there are facts concerning particular things or particular qualities or relations, and, apart from them, the completely general facts of the sort that you have in logic, where there is no mention of any constituent what­ ever of the actual world, no mention of any particular thing or particular quality or particular relation, indeed strictly you may say no mention of anything. That is one of the characteristics of logical propositions, that they men­ tion nothing. Such a proposition is: "If one class is part of another, a term which is a member of the one is also a member of the other." All those words that come in the statement of a pure logical proposition are words really belonging to syntax. They are words merely expressing form or connection, not mentioning any particular con­ stituent of the proposition in which they occur. This is, of course, a thing that wants to be proved; I am not laying it down as self-evident. Then there are facts about the properties of single things; and facts about the relations between two things, three things, and so on; and any num­ ber of different classifications of some of the facts in the world, which are important for different purposes. Negative facts are further discussed in a later lecture. Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. It is obvious that there is not a dualism of true and false facts; there are only just facts. It would be a mistake, of course, to say that all facts are true. That would be a mistake because true and false are correlatives, and you would only say of a thing that it was true if it was the sort of thing that might be false. A fact cannot be either true or false. That brings us on to the question of statements or propositions or judgments, all those things that do have the duality of truth and falsehood. For the purposes of logic, though not, I think, for the purposes of theory of knowledge, it is natural to concentrate upon the proposition as the thing which is going to be our typical vehicle on the duality of truth and falsehood. A proposition, one may say, is a sentence in the indicative, a sentence asserting something, not questioning or commanding or wishing. It may also be a sentence of that sort preceded by the word "that." For example, "That Socrates is alive," "That two and two are four," "That two and two are five," any­ thing of that sort will be a proposition. A proposition is just a symbol. It is a complex symbol in the sense that it has parts which are also symbols: a symbol may be defined as complex when it has parts that are symbols. In a sentence containing several words, the several words are each symbols, and the sentence com­ posing them is therefore a complex symbol in that sense. There is a good deal of importance to philosophy in the theory of symbolism, a good deal more than at one time I thought. I think the importance is almost entirely nega­ tive, i. e., the importance lies in the fact that unless you are fairly self-conscious about symbols, unless you are fairly aware of the relation of the symbol to what it symbolizes, you will find yourself attributing to the thing properties which only belong to the symbol. That, of course, is espe- ically likely in very abstract studies such as philosophical logic, because the subject-matter that you are supposed to Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 505 be thinking of is so exceedingly difficult and elusive that any person who has ever tried to think about it knows you do not think about it except perhaps once in six months for half a minute. The rest of the time you think about the symbols, because they are tangible, but the thing you are supposed to be thinking about is fearfully difficult and one does not often manage to think about it. The really good philosopher is the one who does once in six months think about it for a minute. Bad philosophers never do. That is why the theory of symbolism has a certain im­ portance, because otherwise you are so certain to mistake the properties of the symbolism for the properties of the thing. It has other interesting sides to it too. There are different kinds of symbols, different kinds of relation be­ tween symbol and what is symbolized, and very important fallacies arise from not realizing this. The sort of con­ tradictions about which I shall be speaking in connection with types in a later lecture all arise from mistakes in sym­ bolism, from putting one sort of symbol in the place where another sort of symbol ought to be. Some of the notions that have been thought absolutely fundamental in philos­ ophy have arisen, I believe, entirely through mistakes as to symbolism—e. g., the notion of existence, or, if you like, reality. Those two words stand for a great deal that has been discussed in philosophy. There has been the theory about every proposition being really a description of reality as a whole and so on, and altogether these notions of reality and existence have played a very prominent part in phi­ losophy. Now my own belief is that as they have occurred in philosophy, they have been entirely the outcome of a muddle about symbolism, and that when you have cleared up that muddle, you find that practically everything that has been said about existence is sheer and simple mistake, and that is all you can say about it. I shall go into that in Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. a later lecture, but it is an example of the way in which symbolism is important. Perhaps I ought to say a word or two about what I am understanding by symbolism, because I think some people think you only mean mathematical symbols when you talk about symbolism. I am using it in a sense to include all language of every sort and kind, so that every word is a symbol, and every sentence, and so forth. When I speak of a symbol I simply mean something that "means" some­ thing else, and as to what I mean by "meaning" I am not prepared to tell you. I will in the course of time enumerate a strictly infinite number of different things that "mean­ ing" may mean, but I shall not consider that I have ex­ hausted the discussion by doing that. I think that the notion of meaning is always more or less psychological, and that it is not possible to get a pure logical theory of meaning, nor therefore of symbolism. I think that it is of the very essence of the explanation of what you mean by a symbol to take account of such things as knowing, of cognitive relations, and probably also of association. At any rate I am pretty clear that the theory of symbolism and the use of symbolism is not a thing that can be explained in pure logic without taking account of the various cogni­ tive relations that you may have to things. As to what one means by "meaning," I will give a few illustrations. For instance, the word "Socrates," you will say, means a certain man; the word "mortal" mean's a certain quality; and the sentence "Socrates is mortal" means a certain fact. But these three sorts of meaning are entirely distinct, and you will get into the most hopeless contradictions if you think the word "meaning" has the same meaning in each of these three cases. It is very im­ portant not to suppose that there is just one thing which is meant by "meaning," and that therefore there is just one sort of relation of the symbol to what is symbolized. Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 50/ A name would be a proper symbol to use for a person; a sentence (or a proposition) is the proper symbol for a fact. A belief or a statement has duality of truth and false­ hood, which the fact does not have. A belief or a statement always involves a proposition. You say that a man be­ lieves that so and so is the case. A man believes that Soc­ rates is dead. What he believes is a proposition on the face of it, and for formal purposes it is convenient to take the proposition as the essential thing having the duality of truth and falsehood. It is very important to realize such things, for instance, as that propositions are not names for facts. It is quite obvious as soon as it is pointed out to you, but as a matter of fact I never had realized it until it was pointed out to me by a former pupil of mine, Wittgenstein. It is perfectly evident as soon as you think of it, that a proposition is not a name for a fact, from the mere circum­ stance that there are Hvo propositions corresponding to each fact. Suppose it is a fact that Socrates is dead. You have two propositions: "Socrates is dead" and "Socrates is not dead." And those two propositions corresponding to the same fact, there is one fact in the world which makes one true and one false. That is not accidental, and illus­ trates how the relation of proposition to fact is a totally different one from the relation of name to the thing named. For each fact there are two propositions, one true and one false, and there is nothing in the nature of the symbol to show us which is the true one and which is the false one. If there were, you could ascertain the truth about the world by examining propositions without looking round you. There are two different relations, as you see, that a proposition may have to a fact: the one the relation that you may call being true to the fact, and the other being false to the fact. Both are equally essentially logical rela­ tions which may subsist between the two, whereas in the case of a name, there is only one relation that it can have Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 THE MONIST. to what it names. A name can just name a particular, or, if it does not, it is not a name at all, it is a noise. It cannot be a name without having just that one particular relation of naming a certain thing, whereas a proposition does not cease to be a proposition if it is false. It has these two ways, of being true and being false, which together corre­ spond to the property of being a name. Just as a word may be a name or be not a name but just a meaningless noise, so a phrase which is apparently a proposition may be either true or false, or may be meaningless, but the true and false belong together as against the meaningless. That shows, of course, that the formal logical characteristics of propositions are quite different from those of names, and that the relations they have to facts are quite different, and therefore propositions are not names for facts. You must not run away with the idea that you can name facts in any other way; you cannot. You cannot name them at all. You cannot properly name a fact. The only thing you can do is to assert it, or deny it, or desire it, or will it, or wish it, or question it, but all those are things involving the whole proposition. You can never put the sort of thing that makes a proposition to be true or false in the position of a logical subject. You can only have it there as something to be asserted or denied or something of that sort, but not something to be named. DISCUSSION . Do you take your starting-point "That there are many things" as a postulate which is to be carried along all through, or has to be proved afterward? Mr. Russell: No, neither the one nor the other. I do not take it as a postulate that "There are many things." I should take it that, in so far as it can be proved, the proof is empirical, and that the disproofs that have been offered are a priori. The empirical person would naturally say, there are many things. The monistic philosopher attempts to show that there are not. I should propose to refute his a priori arguments. Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 5OO, I do not consider there is any logical necessity for there to be many things, nor for there not to be many things. I mean in making a start, whether you start with the em­ pirical or the a priori philosophy, do you make your state­ ment just at the beginning and come back to prove it, or do you never come back to the proof of it? Mr. Russell: No, you never come back. It is like the acorn to the oak. You never get back to the acorn in the oak. I should like a statement which would be rough and vague and have that sort of obviousness that belongs to things of which you never know what they mean, but I should never get back to that statement. I should say, here is a thing. We seem somehow convinced that there is truth buried in this thing somewhere. We will look at it inside and out until we have ex­ tracted something and can say, now that is true. It will not really be the same as the thing we started from because it will be so much more analytic and precise. Does it not look as though you could name a fact by a date? Mr. Russell: You can apparently name facts, but I do not think you can really: you would always find that if you set out the whole thing fully, it was not so. Suppose you say "The death of Socrates." You might say, that is a name for the fact that Socrates died. But it obviously is not. You can see that the moment you take account of truth and falsehood. Supposing he had not died, the phrase would still be just as significant although there could not be then anything you could name. But supposing he had never lived, the sound "Socrates" would not be a name at all. You can see it in another way. You can say "The death of Socrates is a fic­ tion." Suppose you had read in the paper that the Kaiser had been assassinated, and it turned out to be not true. You could then say, "The death of the Kaiser is a fiction." It is clear that there is no such thing in the world as a fiction, and yet that statement is a perfectly sound statement. From this it follows that "The death of the Kaiser" is not a name. II. PARTICULARS, PREDICATES, AND RELATIONS. I propose to begin to-day the analysis of facts and prop­ ositions, for in a way the chief thesis that I have to main- Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. 5i o tain is the legitimacy of analysis, because if one goes into what I call Logical Atomism that means that one does be­ lieve the world can be analyzed into a number of separate things with relations and so forth, and that the sort of arguments that many philosophers use against analysis are not justifiable. In a philosophy of logical atomism one might suppose that the first thing to do would be to discover the kinds of atoms out of which logical structures are composed. But I do not think that is quite the first thing; it is one of the early things, but not quite the first. There are two other questions that one has to consider, and one of these at least is prior. You have to consider: i. Are the things that look like logically complex en­ tities really complex? 2. Are they really entities? The second question we can put off; in fact, I shall not deal with it fully until my last lecture. The first question, whether they are really complex, is one that you have to consider at the start. Neither of these questions is, as it stands, a very precise question. I do not pretend to start with precise questions. I do not think you can start with anything precise. You have to achieve such precision as you can, as you go along. Each of these two questions, however, is capable of a precise meaning, and each is really important. There is another question which comes still earlier, namely: what shall we take as prima facie examples of logically complex entities ? That really is the first question of all to start with. What sort of things shall we regard as prima facie complex? Of course, all the ordinary objects of daily life are ap­ parently complex entities: such things as tables and chairs, Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 THE PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 511 loaves and fishes, persons and principalities and powers— they are all on the face of it complex entities. All the kinds of things to which we habitually give proper names are on the face of them complex entities: Socrates, Piccadilly, Rumania, Twelfth Night or anything you like to think of, to which you give a proper name, they are all apparently complex entities. They seem to be complex systems bound together into some kind of a unity, that sort of a unity that leads to the bestowal of a single appellation. I think it is the contemplation of this sort of apparent unity which has very largely led to the philosophy of monism, and to the suggestion that the universe as a whole is a single complex entity more or less in the sense in which these things are that I have been talking about. For my part, I do not believe in complex entities of this kind, and it is not such things as these that I am going to take as the prima facie examples of complex entities. My reasons will appear more and more plainly as I go on. I cannot give them all to-day, but I can more or less explain what I mean in a preliminary way. Suppose, for example, that you were to analyze what appears to be a fact about Piccadilly. Suppose you made any statement about Picca­ dilly, such as: "Piccadilly is a pleasant street." If you analyze a statement of that sort correctly, I believe you will find that the fact corresponding to your statement does not contain any constituent corresponding to the word "Picca­ dilly." The word "Piccadilly" will form part of many sig­ nificant propositions, but the facts corresponding to these propositions do not contain any single constituent, whether simple or complex, corresponding to the word "Piccadilly." That is to say, if you take language as a guide in your analysis of the fact expressed, you will be led astray in a statement of that sort. The reasons for that I shall give at length in Lecture VI, and partly also in Lecture VII , but I could say in a preliminary way certain things that would Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. make you understand what I mean. "Piccadilly," on the face of it, is the name for a certain portion of the earth's surface, and I suppose, if you wanted to define it, you would have to define it as a series of classes of material entities, namely those which, at varying times, occupy that portion of the earth's surface. So that you would find that the logical status of Piccadilly is bound up with the logical status of series and classes, and if you are going to hold Piccadilly as real, you must hold that series of classes are real, and whatever sort of metaphysical status you assign to them, you must assign to it. As you know, I believe that series and classes are of the nature of logical fictions: therefore that thesis, if it can be maintained, will dissolve Piccadilly into a fiction. Exactly similar remarks will apply to other instances: Rumania, Twelfth Night, and Socrates. Socrates, perhaps, raises some special questions, because the question what constitutes a person has special difficul­ ties in it. But, for the sake of argument, one might identify Socrates with the series of his experiences. He would be really a series of classes, because one has many experiences simultaneously. Therefore he comes to be very like Picca­ dilly. Considerations of that sort seem to take us away from such prima facie complex entities as we started with to others as being more stubborn and more deserving of ana­ lytic attention, namely facts. I explained last time what I meant by a fact, namely, that sort of thing that makes a proposition true or false, the sort of thing which is the case when your statement is true and is not the case when your statement is false. Facts are, as I said last time, plainly something you have to take account of if you are going to give a complete account of the world. You can­ not do that by merely enumerating the particular things that are in it: you must also mention the relations of these things, and their properties, and so forth, all of which are Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 THE PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 513 facts, so that facts certainly belong to an account of the objective world, and facts do seem much more clearly com­ plex and much more not capable of being explained away than things like Socrates and Rumania. However you may explain away the meaning of the word "Socrates," you will still be left with the truth that the proposition "Socrates is mortal" expresses a fact. You may not know exactly what Socrates means, but it is quite clear that "Socrates is mortal" does express a fact. There is clearly some valid meaning in saying that the fact expressed by "Socrates is mortal" is complex. The things in the world have various properties, and stand in various relations to each other. That they have these properties and relations are facts, and the things and their qualities or relations are quite clearly in some sense or other components of the facts that have those qualities or relations. The analysis of appar­ ently complex things such as we started with can be re­ duced by various means, to the analysis of facts which are apparently about those things. Therefore it is with the analysis of facts that one's consideration of the problem of complexity must begin, not by the analysis of apparently complex things. The complexity of a fact is evidenced, to begin with, by the circumstance that the proposition which asserts a fact consists of several words, each of which may occur in other contexts. Of course, sometimes you get a proposi­ tion expressed by a single word, but if it is expressed fully it is bound to contain several words. The proposition "Socrates is mortal" may be replaced by "Plato is mortal" or by "Socrates is human"; in the first case we alter the subject, in the second the predicate. It is clear that all the propositions in which the word "Socrates" occurs have something in common, and again all the propositions in which the word "mortal" occurs have something in com­ mon, something which they do not have in common with Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. all facts but only to those which are about Socrates or mor­ tality. It is clear, I think, that the facts corresponding to propositions in which the word "Socrates" occurs have something in common corresponding to the common word "Socrates" which occurs in the propositions, so that you have that sense of complexity to begin with, that in a fact you can get something which it may have in common with other facts, just as you may have "Socrates is human" and "Socrates is mortal," both of them facts, and both having to do with Socrates, although Socrates does not constitute the whole of either of these facts. It is quite clear that in that sense there is a possibility of cutting up a fact into component parts, of which one component may be altered without altering the others, and one component may occur in certain other facts though not in all other facts. I want to make it clear, to begin with, that there is a sense in which facts can be analyzed. I am not concerned with all the difficulties of any analysis, but only with meeting the prima facie objections of philosophers who think you really can­ not analyze at all. I am trying as far as possible again this time, as I did last time, to start with perfectly plain truisms. My desire and wish is that the things I start with should be so obvious that you wonder why I spend my time stating them. That is what I aim at, because the point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will be­ lieve it. One prima facie mark of complexity in propositions is the fact that they are expressed by several words. I come now to another point, which applies primarily to proposi­ tions and thence derivatively to facts. You can understand a proposition when you understand the words of which it is composed even though you never heard the proposition before. That seems a very humble property, but it is a Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 THE PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 515 property which marks it as complex and distinguishes it from words whose meaning is simple. When you know the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax of a language, you can understand a proposition in that language even though you never saw it before. In reading a newspaper, for example, you become aware of a number of statements which are new to you, and they are intelligible to you immediately, in spite of the fact that they are new, because you under­ stand the words of which they are composed. This charac­ teristic, that you can understand a proposition through the understanding of its component words, is absent from the component words when those words express something simple. Take the word "red," for example, and suppose —as one always has to do—that "red" stands for a par­ ticular shade of color. You will pardon that assumption, but one never can get on otherwise. You cannot under­ stand the meaning of the word "red" except through seeing red things. There is no other way in which it can be done. It is no use to learn languages, or to look up dictionaries. None of these things will help you to understand the mean­ ing of the word "red." In that way it is quite different from the meaning of a proposition. Of course, you can give a definition of the word "red," and here it is very im­ portant to distinguish between a definition and an analysis. All analysis is only possible in regard to what is complex, and it always depends, in the last analysis, upon direct ac­ quaintance with the objects which are the meanings of cer­ tain simple symbols. It is hardly necessary to observe that one does not define a thing but a symbol. (A "simple" symbol is a symbol whose parts are not symbols.) A simple symbol is quite a different thing from a simple thing. Those objects which it is impossible to symbolize otherwise than by simple symbols may be called "simple," while those which can be symbolized by a combination of symbols may be called "complex." This is, of course, a preliminary Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. 5i 6 definition, and perhaps somewhat circular, but that does not much matter at this stage. I have said that "red" could not be understood except by seeing red things. You might object to that on the ground that you can define red, for example, as "The color with the greatest wave-length." That, you might say, is a definition of "red" and a person could understand that definition even if he had seen nothing red, provided he understood the physical theory of color. But that does not really constitute the meaning of the word "red" in the very slightest. If you take such a proposition as "This is red" and substitute for it "This has the color with the greatest wave-length," you have a different proposition altogether. You can see that at once, because a person who knows nothing of the physical theory of color can understand the proposition "This is red," and can know that it is true, but cannot know that "This has the color which has the great­ est wave-length." Conversely, you might have a hypothet­ ical person who could not see red, but who understood the physical theory of color and could apprehend the proposi­ tion "This has the color with the greatest wave-length," but who would not be able to understand the proposition "This is red," as understood by the normal uneducated person. Therefore it is clear that if you define "red" as "The color with the greatest wave-length" you are not giving the actual meaning of the word at all ; you are simply giving a true description, which is quite a different thing, and the propositions which result are different propositions from those in which the word "red" occurs. In that sense the word "red" cannot be defined, though in the sense in which a correct description constitutes a definition it can be defined. In the sense of analysis you cannot define "red." That is how it is that dictionaries are able to get on, be­ cause a dictionary professes to define all the words in the language by means of words in the language, and therefore Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 517 it is clear that a dictionary must be guilty of a vicious circle somewhere, but it manages it by means of correct descrip­ tions. I have made it clear, then, in what sense I should say that the word "red" is a simple symbol and the phrase "This is red" a complex symbol. The word "red" can only be understood through acquaintance with the object, whereas the phrase "Roses are red" can be understood if you know what "red" is and what "roses" are, without ever having heard the phrase before. That is a clear mark of what is complex. It is the mark of a complex symbol, and also the mark of the object symbolized by the complex symbol. That is to say, propositions are complex symbols, and the facts they stand for are complex. The whole question of the meaning of words is very full of complexities and ambiguities in ordinary language. When one person uses a word, he does not mean by it the same thing as another person means by it. I have often heard it said that that is a misfortune. That is a mistake. It would be absolutely fatal if people meant the same things by their words. It would make all intercourse impossible, and language the most hopeless and useless thing imagin­ able, because the meaning you attach to your words must depend on the nature of the objects you are acquainted with, and since different people are acquainted with dif­ ferent objects, they would not be able to talk to each other unless they attached quite different meanings to their words. We should have to talk only about logic—a not wholly undesirable result. Take, for example, the word "Piccadilly." We, who are acquainted with Piccadilly, attach quite a different meaning to that word from any which could be attached to it by a person who had never been in London: and, supposing that you travel in foreign parts and expatiate on Piccadilly, you will convey to your hearers entirely different propositions from those in your Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. 5i 8 mind. They will know Piccadilly as an important street in London; they may know a lot about it, but they will not know just the things one knows when one is walking along it. If you were to insist on language which was unam­ biguous, you would be unable to tell people at home what you had seen in foreign parts. It would be altogether in­ credibly inconvenient to have an unambiguous language, and therefore mercifully we have not got one. Analysis is not the same thing as definition. You can define a term by means of a correct description, but that does not constitute an analysis. It is analysis, not defini­ tion, that we are concerned with at the present moment, so I will come back to the question of analysis. We may lay down the following provisional definitions: That the components of a proposition are the sym­ bols we must understand in order to understand the proposition; That the components of the fact which makes a prop­ osition true or false, as the case may be, are the meanings of the symbols which we must under­ stand in order to understand the proposition. That is not absolutely correct, but it will enable you to understand my meaning. One reason why it fails of cor­ rectness is that it does not apply to words which, like "or" and "not," are parts of propositions without corresponding to any part of the corresponding facts. This is a topic for Lecture III. I call these definitions preliminary because they start from the complexity of the proposition, which they define psychologically, and proceed to the complexity of the fact, whereas it is quite clear that in an orderly, proper proce­ dure it is the complexity of the fact that you would start from. It is also clear that the complexity of the fact can­ not be something merely psychological. If in astronomical Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 519 fact the earth moves round the sun, that is genuinely com­ plex. It is not that you think it complex, it is a sort of genuine objective complexity, and therefore one ought in a proper, orderly procedure to start from the complexity of the world and arrive at the complexity of the proposition. The only reason for going the other way round is that in all abstract matters symbols are easier to grasp. I doubt, however, whether complexity, in that fundamental objec­ tive sense in which one starts from complexity of a fact, is definable at all. You cannot analyze what you mean by complexity in that sense. You must just apprehend it— at least so I am inclined to think. There is nothing one could say about it, beyond giving criteria such as I have been giving. Therefore, when you cannot get a. real proper analysis of a thing, it is generally best to talk round it without professing that you have given an exact definition. It might be suggested that complexity is essentially to do with symbols, or that it is essentially psychological. I do not think it would be possible seriously to maintain either of these views, but they are the sort of views that will occur to one, the sort of thing that one would try, to see whether it would work. I do not think they will do at all. When we come to the principles of symbolism which I shall deal with in Lecture VII, I shall try to persuade you that in a logically correct symbolism there will always be a certain fundamental identity of structure between a fact and the symbol for it; and that the complexity of the symbol corresponds very closely with the complexity of the facts symbolized by it. Also, as I said before, it is quite directly evident to inspection that the fact, for example, that two things stand in a certain relation to one another— e. g., that this is to the left of that—is itself objectively complex, and not merely that the apprehension of it is complex. The fact that two things stand in a certain rela­ tion to each other, or any statement of that sort, has a Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. complexity all of its own. I shall therefore in future as­ sume that there is an objective complexity in the world, and that it is mirrored by the complexity of propositions. A moment ago I was speaking about the great advan­ tages that we derive from the logical imperfections of lan­ guage, from the fact that our words are all ambiguous. I propose now to consider what sort of language a logically perfect language would be. In a logically perfect language the words in a proposition would correspond one by one with the components of the corresponding fact, with the exception of such words as "or," "not," "if," "then," which have a different function. In a logically perfect language, there will be one word and no more for every simple object, and everything that is not simple will be expressed by a combination of words, by a combination derived, of course, from the words for the simple things that enter in, one word for each simple component. A language of that sort will be completely analytic, and will show at a glance the logical structure of the facts asserted or denied. The lan­ guage which is set forth in Principia Mathematica is in­ tended to be a language of that sort. It is a language which has only syntax and no vocabulary whatsoever. Bar­ ring the omission of a vocabulary I maintain that it is quite a nice language. It aims at being that sort of a language that, if you add a vocabulary, would be a logically perfect language. Actual languages are not logically perfect in this sense, and they cannot possibly be, if they are to serve the purposes of daily life. A logically perfect language, if it could be constructed, would not only be intolerably prolix, but, as regards its vocabulary, would be very largely private to one speaker. That is to say, all the names that it would use would be private to that speaker and could not enter into the language of another speaker. It could not use proper names for Socrates or Piccadilly or Ru­ mania for the reasons which I went into earlier in the lee- Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 THE PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 521 ture. Altogether you would find that it would be a very inconvenient language indeed. That is one reason why logic is so very backward as a science, because the needs of logic are so extraordinarily different from the needs of daily life. One wants a language in both, and unfortunately it is logic that has to give way, not daily life. I shall, how­ ever, assume that we have constructed a logically perfect language, and that we are going on state occasions to use it, and I will now come back to the question which I in­ tended to start with, namely, the analysis of facts. The simplest imaginable facts are those which consist in the possession of a quality by some particular thing. Such facts, say, as "This is white." They have to be taken in a very sophisticated sense. I do not want you to think about the piece of chalk I am holding, but of what you see when you look at the chalk. If one says, "This is white" it will do for about as simple a fact as you can get hold of. The next simplest would be those in which you have a rela­ tion between two facts, such as: "This is to the left of that." Next you come to those where you have a triadic relation between three particulars. (An instance which Royce gives is "A gives B to C" ) So you get relations which require as their minimum three terms, those we call triadic relations; and those which require four terms, which we call tetradic, and so on. There you have a whole in­ finite hierarchy of facts,—facts in which you have a thing and a quality, two things and a relation, three things and a relation, four things and a relation, and so on. That whole hierarchy constitutes what I call atomic facts, and they are the simplest sort of fact. You can distinguish among them some simpler than others, because the ones containing a quality are simpler than those in which you have, say, a pentadic relation, and so on. The whole lot of them, taken together, are as facts go very simple, and are what I call Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. atomic facts. The propositions expressing them are what I call atomic propositions. In every atomic fact there is one component which is naturally expressed by a verb (or, in the case of quality, it may be expressed by a predicate, by an adjective). This one component is a quality or dyadic or triadic or tetradic . . . relation. It would be very convenient, for purposes of talking about these matters, to call a quality a "monadic relation" and I shall do so; it saves a great deal of circum­ locution. In that case you can say that all atomic propositions assert relations of varying orders. Atomic facts contain, besides the relation, the terms of the relation—one term if it is a monadic relation, two if it is dyadic, and so on. These "terms" which come into atomic facts I define as "par­ ticulars." Particulars = terms of relations in atomic facts. Definition. That is the definition of particulars, and I want to em­ phasize it because the definition of a particular is some­ thing purely logical. The question whether this or that is a particular, is a question to be decided in terms of that logical definition. In order to understand the definition it is not necessary to know beforehand "This is a particular" or "That is a particular". It remains to be investigated what particulars you can find in the world, if any. The whole question of what particulars you actually find in the real world is a purely empirical one which does not interest the logician as such. The logician as such never gives in­ stances, because it is one of the tests of a logical proposi­ tion that you need not know anything whatsoever about the real world in order to understand it. Passing from atomic facts to atomic propositions, the word expressing a monadic relation or quality is called a Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 523 "predicate," and the word expressing a relation of any higher order would generally be a verb, sometimes a single verb, sometimes a whole phrase. At any rate the verb gives the essential nerve, as it were, of the relation. The other words that occur in the atomic propositions, the words that are not the predicate or verb, may be called the subjects of the proposition. There will be one subject in a monadic proposition, two in a dyadic one, and so on. The subjects in a proposition will be the words expressing the terms of the relation which is expressed by the proposition. The only kind of word that is theoretically capable of standing for a particular is a proper name, and the whole matter of proper names is rather curious. Proper Names = words for particulars. Definition. I have put that down although, as far as common lan­ guage goes, it is obviously false. It is true that if you try to think how you are to talk about particulars, you will see that you cannot ever talk about a particular particular ex­ cept by means of a proper name. You cannot use general words except by way of description. How are you to ex­ press in words an atomic proposition? An atomic propo­ sition is one which does mention actual particulars, not merely describe them but actually name them, and you can only name them by means of names. You can see at once for yourself, therefore, that every other part of speech ex­ cept proper names is obviously quite incapable of standing for a particular. Yet it does seem a little odd if, having made a dot on the blackboard, I call it "John." You would be surprised, and yet how are you to know otherwise what it is that I am speaking of. If I say, "The dot that is on the right-hand side is white" that is a proposition. If I say "This is white" that is quite a different proposition. "This" will do very well while we are all here and can see Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E MONIST. it, but if I wanted to talk about it to-morrow it would be convenient to have christened it and called it "John." There is no other way in which you can mention it. You cannot really mention it itself except by means of a name. What pass for names in language, like "Socrates," "Plato," and so forth, were originally intended to fulfil this function of standing for particulars, and we do accept, in ordinary daily life, as particulars all sorts of things that really are not so. The names that we commonly use, like "Socrates," are really abbreviations for descriptions; not only that, but what they describe are not particulars but complicated systems of classes or series. A name, in the narrow logical sense of a word whose meaning is a particu­ lar, can only be applied to a particular with which the speaker is acquainted, because you cannot name anything you are not acquainted with. You remember, when Adam named the beasts, they came before him one by one, and he became acquainted with them and named them. We are not acquainted with Socrates, and therefore cannot name him. When we use the word "Socrates," we are really using a description. Our thought may be rendered by some such phrase as, "The Master of Plato," or "The philos­ opher who drank the hemlock," or "The person whom logi­ cians assert to be mortal," but we certainly do not use the name as a name in the proper sense of the word. That makes it very difficult to get any instance of a name at all in the proper strict logical sense of the word. The only words one does use as names in the logical sense are words like "this" or "that." One can use "this" as a name to stand for a particular with which one is acquainted at the moment. We say "This is white." If you agree that "This is white," meaning the "this" that you see, you are using "this" as a proper name. But if you try to ap­ prehend the proposition that I am expressing when I say "This is white," you cannot do it. If you mean this piece Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 THE PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 525 of chalk as a physical object, then you are not using a proper name. It is only when you use "this" quite strictly, to stand for an actual object of sense, that it is really a proper name. And in that it has a very odd property for a proper name, namely that it seldom means the same thing two moments running and does not mean the same thing to the speaker and to the hearer. It is an ambiguous proper name, but it is really a proper name all the same, and it is almost the only thing I can think of that is used properly and logically in the sense that I was talking of for a proper name. The importance of proper names, in the sense of which I am talking, is in the sense of logic, not of daily life. You can see why it is that in the logical language set forth in Principia Mathematica there are not any names, because there we are not interested in particular particulars but only in general particulars, if I may be allowed such a phrase. Particulars have this peculiarity, among the sort of ob­ jects that you have to take account of in an inventory of the world, that each of them stands entirely alone and is completely self-subsistent. It has that sort of self-subsis­ tence that used to belong to substance, except that it usually only persists through a very short time, so far as our ex­ perience goes. That is to say, each particular that there is in the world does not in any way logically depend upon any other particular. Each one might happen to be the whole universe; it is a merely empirical fact that this is not the case. There is no reason why you should not have a uni­ verse consisting of one particular and nothing else. That is a peculiarity of particulars. In the same way, in order to understand a name for a particular, the only thing neces­ sary is to be acquainted with that particular. When you are acquainted with that particular, you have a full, ade­ quate, and complete understanding of the name, and no further information is required. No further information Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 52 6 TH E MONIST. as to the facts that are true of that particular would enable you to have a fuller understanding of the meaning of the name. BERTRAND RUSSELL. LONDON, ENGLAND. DISCUSSION. Mr. Carr: You think there are simple facts that are not complex. Are complexes all composed of simples ? Are not the simples that go into complexes themselves complex? Mr. Russell: No facts are simple. As to your second question, that is, of course, a question that might be argued—whether when a thing is complex it is necessary that it should in analysis have constituents that are simple. I think it is per­ fectly possible to suppose that complex things are capable of analysis ad infinitum, and that you never reach the simple. I do not think it is true, but it is a thing that one might argue, certainly. I do myself think that complexes—I do not like to talk of complexes—but that facts are composed of simples, but I admit that that is a difficult argument, and it might be that analysis could go on forever. Mr. Carr: You do not mean that in calling the thing complex, you have asserted that there really are simples? Mr. Russell: No, I do not think that is necessarily implied. Mr. Neville: I do not feel clear that the proposition "This is white" is in any case a simpler proposition than the proposition "This and that have the same color." Mr. Russell: That is one of the things I have not had time for. It may be the same as the proposition "This and that have the same color." It may be that white is defined as the color of "this," or rather that the proposition "This is white" means "This is identical in color with that," the color of "that" being, so to speak, the definition of white. That may be, but there is no special reason to think that it is. Mr. Neville: Are there any monadic relations which would be better examples ? Downloaded from http://monist.oxfordjournals.org/ by guest on June 7, 2016 TH E PHILOSOPHY OF LOGICAL ATOMISM. 527 Mr. Russell: I think not. It is perfectly obvious a priori that you can get rid of all monadic relations by that trick. One of the things I was going to say if I had had time was that you can get rid of dyadic and reduce to triadic, and so on. But there is no particular reason to suppose that that is the way the world begins, that it begins with relations of order n instead of relations of order 1. You cannot reduce them downward, but you can reduce them upward. If the proper name of a thing, a "this," varies from in­ stant to instant, how is it possible to make any argument? Mr. Russell: You can keep "this" going for about a minute or two. I made that dot and talked about it for some little time. I mean it varies often. If you argue quickly, you can get some little way before it is finished. I think things last for a finite time, a matter of some seconds or minutes or what­ ever it may happen to be. You do not think that air is acting on that and chan­ ging it? Mr. Russell: It does not matter about that if it does not alter its appearance enough for you to have a different sense-datum.

Journal

The MonistUnpaywall

Published: Jan 1, 1918

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