Identity and Contradiction
IN this chapter we shall examine the logical foundations of Bradley's philosophy, although, as we saw at the end of the previous chapter, in the last resort these may not be regarded as fundamentally any different from its metaphysical foundations. In particular we shall look at two topics: Bradley's account of the relation between thought and reality, and his core beliefs about the basic logical structure of reality. Both of these matters are of central importance to the discussion in the rest of the book.
Thoughts which purport to describe things may stand to reality either in the relation of truth or in the relation of falsehood. But what is truth? What is the relationship between a true thought and the reality it is true of? If anything is foundational to Bradley's philosophy, it is this question. The theory he gives stands central to, and has consequences that radiate outwards through, his thought. We shall consider first his own theory about the nature of truth, and then, since there has been much misinterpretation over what his position was, some of the other accounts that are commonly attributed to him, and how he in fact stands to them.
At this stage a word is in order about the precise way in which Bradley frames the question of truth. All of his discussions replace the general talk of 'thought' as the bearer of truth with the more specific term 'judgement'. It is tempting to suppose that 'judgement' for Bradley plays the role of 'proposition' in modern philosophy. In so far as the intended contrast is with 'sentence', this is correct: different sentences, for instance in different languages, could be used to make the same judgement, just as they might express the same proposition. However, like Hegel, Bradley does not believe that 'proposition' and 'judgement' may be taken as simply equivalent. The former, in so far as it is considered in