By B. Russell
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Extra info for An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth
To say that we understand the word "before" is to say that, when we perceive two events A and B in a time-sequence, we know whether to say "A is before B" or "B is before A", and concerning one of these we know that it describes what we percei�e. ent, to mean the defining quality of books. Let us con; .. centrate on "A gives C to B", where A, B, C, are proper names. ) I want to consider what sort of occurrence gives us evidence of the truth of this statement. If we are to know its · • As to this, Dr.
Then Si consists of the three utterances Xi, P1, Y1 in that order, and S2 consists of the three utterances Y2, P2, � in that order. The order in each case is a fact of history, as definite and un alterable as the fact that Alexander preceded Caesar. When we . observe that the order of words can be Changed, and that · we can say "Caesar killed Brutus" just as easily as "Brutus killed . · not imply that there are universals. It only asserts that the status of a word, as op� to its instances, is the same as that ofDog as opposed to various particular dogs.
If so, the simplest propositions are relational. There is, however, a difference between relations that are sym metrical and those that are asymmetrical. 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.