ONT Re: Russell -- Philosophy Of Logical Atomism
POLA. Note 17
| 4. Propositions and Facts with More than One Verb: Beliefs, Etc. (cont.)
| Of course you see that the sort of obvious first notion that one would
| naturally arrive at would be that a belief is a relation to the proposition.
| "I believe the proposition p." "I believe that today is Tuesday." "I believe
| that two and two are four." Something like that. It seems on the face of it
| as if you had there a relation of the believing subject to a proposition.
| That view won't do for various reasons which I shall go into. But you
| have, therefore, got to have a theory of belief which is not exactly that.
| Take any sort of proposition, say "I believe Socrates is mortal". Suppose
| that that belief does actually occur. The statement that it occurs is a
| statement of fact. You have there two verbs. You may have more than two
| verbs, you may have any number greater than one. I may believe that Jones
| is of the opinion that Socrates is mortal. There you have more than two
| verbs. You may have any number, but you cannot have less than two.
| You will perceive that it is not only the proposition that has the two verbs,
| but also the fact, which is expressed by the proposition, has two constituents
| corresponding to verbs. I shall call those constituents verbs for the sake
| of shortness, as it is very difficult to find any word to describe all those
| objects which one denotes by verbs. Of course, that is strictly using the
| word "verb" in two different senses, but I do not think it can lead to any
| confusion if you understand that it is being so used.
| This fact (the belief) is one fact. It is not like what you had in molecular
| propositions where you had (say) "p or q". It is just one single fact that
| you have a belief. That is obvious from the fact that you can believe a
| falsehood. It is obvious from the fact of false belief that you cannot
| cut off one part; you cannot have:
| I believe / Socrates is mortal.
| There are certain questions that arise about such facts,
| and the first that arises is, Are they undeniable facts
| or can you reduce them in some way to relations of other
| facts? Is it really necessary to suppose that there
| are irreducible facts, of which that sort of thing
| is a verbal expression?
| On that question until fairly lately I should certainly not have
| supposed that any doubt could arise. It had not really seemed to
| me until fairly lately that that was a debatable point. I still
| believe that there are facts of that form, but I see that it is
| a substantial question that needs to be discussed.
| Russell, POLA, pp. 81-82.
| Bertrand Russell, "The Philosophy of Logical Atomism", pp. 35-155
| in 'The Philosophy of Logical Atomism', edited with an introduction
| by David Pears, Open Court, La Salle, IL, 1985. First published 1918.