48. Let us apply the method of §2 to the account in the Theaetetus. Let us
consider a language-game for which this account is really valid. The language
serves to describe combinations of coloured squares on a surface. The squares
form a complex like a chessboard. There are red, green, white and black squares.
The words of the language are (correspondingly) "R", "G", "W", "B", and a
sentence is a series of these words. They describe an arrangement of squares in
And so for instance the sentence "RRBGGGRWW" describes an arrangement of this sort:
Here the sentence is a complex of names, to which corresponds a complex of elements. The primary elements are the coloured squares. "But are these simple?"—I do not know what else you would have me call "the simples", what would be more natural in this language-game. But under other circumstances I should call a monochrome square "composite", consisting perhaps of two rectangles, or of the elements colour and shape. But the concept of complexity might also be so extended that a smaller area was said to be 'composed' of a greater area and another one subtracted from it. Compare the 'composition of forces', the 'division' of a line by a point outside it; these expressions shew that we are sometimes even inclined to conceive the smaller as the result of a composition of greater parts, and the greater as the result of a division of the smaller.
But I do not know whether to say that the figure described by our sentence consists of four or of nine elements! Well, does the sentence consist of four letters or of nine?—And which are its elements, the types of letter, or the letters? Does it matter which we say, so long as we avoid misunderstandings in any particular case?