chapter  III
14 Pages

Sentences Describing Experiences

All persons who have learnt to speak can use sentences to describe events. The events are the evidence for the truth of the sentences. In some ways, the whole thing is so obvious that it is difficult to see any problem; in other ways, it is so obscure that it is difficult to see any solution. If you say "it is raining", you may know that what you say is true because you see the rain and feel it and hear it; this is so plain that nothing could be plainer. But difficulties arise as soon as we try to analyse what happens when we make statements of this sort on the basis of immediate experience. In what sense do we "know" an occurrence independently of using words about it? How can we compare it with our words, so as to know that our words are right? What relation must subsist between the occurrence and our words in order that our words may be right? How do we know, in any given case, whether this relation subsists or not? Is it perhaps possible to know that our words are right without having any non-verbal knowledge of the occurrence to which they apply?