46. What lies behind the idea that names really signify simples?—
Socrates says in the Theaetetus: "If I make no mistake, I have heard some people say this: there is no definition of the primary elements—so to speak—out of which we and everything else are composed; for everything that exists†1 in its own right can only be named, no other determination is possible, neither that it is nor that it is not..... But what exists†1 in its own right has to be..... named without any other determination. In consequence it is impossible to give an account of any primary element; for it, nothing is possible but the bare name; its name is all it has. But just as what consists of these primary elements is itself complex, so the names of the elements become descriptive language by being compounded together. For the essence of speech is the composition of names."
Both Russell's 'individuals' and my 'objects' (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus) were such primary elements.

 

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