Either Objective Fact or Cognitive Construction: Russell and Jin Yuelin on Facts
- Available Online: 2018-10-01
Abstract: This article systematically reviews and compares Russell’s and Jin Yuelin’s views on facts. Russell develops a realist conception of fact. His core thesis is that the world contains facts, and that facts are located in the external world. Through logical analysis, Russell arrives at " logical atoms”, including particulars, predicates and relations. Combination of logical atoms gives rise to atomic facts. Through negation and quantifiers, atomic facts are connected into negative facts, universal facts, and existential facts. Russell appeals to the logical structure of language to explain the ontological structure of the world. Influenced by Russell and his philosophy, Jin Yuelin develops a cognitivist conception of facts. His core thesis is that facts are given, accepted and arranged by us, and more specifically, facts are cognitive constructions we build on the basis of sensory material. Facts are both objective and subjective. Jin’s conception of facts is very different from Russell’s, and most of its conclusions are in conflict with the latter. Jin Yuelin is thus not only a follower of Russell’s philosophy. Based on the traditions of both Chinese and Western philosophies, Jin is an original philosopher, being rare in modern China, who developed a new theory of facts.