By B. Russell

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Extra resources for An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth

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It can he deduced from "I saw A and A is human"; thus it can be proved by empirical data, although it is not the sort of sentence that expresses a perceptual datum, since such a sentence would have to mention A or B or C or whoever it was that you saw. Per contra, no perceptual data can disprove ·-It o the sentence "I saw a man". Propositions containing "all" or "none'' can be disproved by empirical data, but not proved except in logic and mathe­ matics. t we have overlooked no one. In fact, "all men are mortal" is a statement about everything, not only about all men; it states, concerning every x, that x is either mortal or not human.

A relation is symmetrical when, if it holds between x and y, it also holds between y and x; it is asymmetrical if, when it holds between x and y, it cannot hold between y and x. Thus similarity is symmetrical, and so is dissimilarity; but "before", "greater", "to the right of", and so on, are asymmetrical. There are also relations which are neither symmetrical nor asymmetrical ; "brother" is an example, since, if x is the brother of y, y may be the sister of x. These and asymmetrical relations are called non-symmetrical...

SENTENCES, SYNTAX, AND PARTS OF S PE E C H a time order, and some words assert a time order. We know that, if "x" and ')/' are names of particular events, then if "x pre­ " cedes y is a true sentence, 'y precedes x" is a false sentence. My present problem is this : can we state anything equivalent to the above in terms which are not concerned with language, but with events ? It would seem that we are concerned with a characteristic of temporal relations, and yet, when we try to state what this characteristic is, we appear to be driven to stating a characteristic of sentences about temporal relations.

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An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth by B. Russell


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