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To enumerate the advantages I have 
derived from your instructions, both in 
regular lectures and in private conversation, 
would be needless to those acquainted with 
the parties, and to the Public, uninteresting. 
My object at present is simply to acknow- 
ledge how greatly I am indebted to you in 
respect of the present Work ; not merely as 
having originally imparted to me the prin- 
ciples of the Science, but also as having 

a 2 


contributed remarks, explanations, and illus- 
trations, relative to the most important points, 
to so great an amount that I can hardly 
consider myself as the Author of more than 
half of such portions of the treatise as are not 
borrowed from former publications. I could 
have wished, indeed, to acknowledge this 
more explicitly, by marking with some note 
of distinction those parts which are least my 
own. But I found it could not be done. In 
most instances there is something belonging 
to each of us ; and even in those parts where 
your share is the largest, it would not be fair 
that you should be made responsible for any 
thing that is not entirely your own. Nor 
is it possible, in the case of a Science, to 
remember distinctly how far one has been, in 
each instance, indebted to the suggestions of 
another. Information, as to matters of fact, 
may easily be referred in the mind to the 
person from whom we have derived it : but 
scientific truths, when thoroughly embraced, 
become much more a part of the mind, as it 


were; since they rest, not on the authority 
of the instructor, but on reasoning from 
data, which we ourselves furnish ;* they 
are scions engrafted on the stems previously 
rooted in our own soil ; and we are apt to 
confound them with its indigenous pro- 

You yourself also, I have reason to be- 
lieve, have forgotten the greater part of the 
assistance you have afforded in the course 
of conversations on the subject ; as I have 
found, more than once, that ideas which I 
distinctly remembered to have received from 
you, have not been recognized by you when 
read or repeated. As far, however, as I can 
recollect, though there is no part of the 
following pages in which I have not, more 
or less, received valuable suggestions from 
you, I believe you have contributed less to 
the Analytical Outline, and to the Treatise 
on Fallacies, and more, to the subjoined 
Dissertation, than to the rest of the Work. 

*SeeB. IV. Ch. ii. 1. 


I take this opportunity of publicly de- 
claring, that as, on the one hand, you are 
not responsible for any thing contained in 
this Work, so, on the other hand, should 
you ever favour the world with a publication 
of your own on the subject, the coincidence 
which will doubtless be found in it with many 
things here brought forward as my own, is 
not to be regarded as any indication of 
plagiarism, at least on your side. 

Believe me to be, 

My dear Lord, 

Your obliged and affectionate 
Pupil and Friend, 



THE following Treatise contains the sub- 
stance of the Article " LOGIC " in the Ency- 
clopedia Metropolitana. It was suggested to 
me that a separate publication of it might 
prove acceptable, not only to some who are 
not subscribers to that work, but also to 
several who are ; but who, for convenience 
of reference, would prefer a more portable 

I have accordingly revised it, and made 
such additions, chiefly in the form of Notes, 
as I thought likely to increase its utility. 

I have taken without scruple whatever 
appeared most valuable from the works of 
former writers ; especially the concise, but in 
general accurate, treatise of Aldrich : but 
while I acknowledge my obligations to my 
predecessors, of whose labours I have largely 
availed myself, I do not profess to be alto- 
gether satisfied with any of the treatises that 
have yet appeared ; nor have I accordingly 

viii PREFACE. 

judged it any unreasonable presumption to 
point out what seem to me the errors they 
contain. Indeed, whatever deference an 
Author may profess for the authority of those 
who have preceded him, the very circum- 
stance -of his publishing a work on the same 
subject, proves that he thinks theirs open to 
improvement. In censuring, however, as I 
have had occasion to do, several of the doc- 
trines and explanations of logical writers, and 
of Aldrich in particular, I wish it to be 
understood that this is not from my having 
formed a low estimate of the merits of the 
Compendium drawn up by the Author just 
mentioned, but, on the contrary, from its 
deserved popularity, from the impossibility 
of noticing particularly all the points in 
which we agree, and from the consideration 
that errors are the more carefully to be 
pointed out in proportion to the authority 
by which they are sanctioned. 

In the later editions I have introduced, in 
the Appendix, under the word " Person/' an 
extract from the theological works of my 
illustrious predecessor in the teaching of 
Logic, Dr. Wallis, Professor of Geometry in 
this University. 

I have also to acknowledge assistance 
received from several friends who have at 


various times suggested remarks and alte- 
rations. But I cannot avoid particularizing 
the Rev. J. Newman, Fellow of Oriel Col- 
lege, who actually composed a considerable 
portion of the work as it now stands, from 
manuscripts not designed for publication, 
and who is the original author of several 
pages. Some valuable illustrations of the 
importance of attending to the ambiguity of 
the terms used in Political Economy, were 
furnished by the kindness of my friend arid 
former pupil, Mr. Senior, of Magdalen Col- 
lege and of Lincoln's Inn, who preceded me 
in the office of Professor of Political Economy 
at Oxford, and afterwards was appointed to 
the same at King's College, London. They 
are printed in the Appendix. But the friend 
to whom it is inscribed has contributed far 
more, and that, in the most important parts, 
than all others together ; so much, indeed, 
that, though there is in the treatise nothing 
of his which has not undergone such expan- 
sion or modification as leaves me solely 
responsible for the whole, there is not a 
little of which I cannot fairly claim to be 
the Author. 

The present edition has been revised with 
the utmost care. But though the work has 
undergone not only the close examination of 


myself and several friends, but the severer 
scrutiny of determined opponents, I am 
happy to find that no material errors have 
been detected, nor any considerable al- 
terations found necessary. Some small 
additions have, however, been introduced 
into the later editions ; and also a change 
in the arrangement, which I trust will some- 
what lighten the student's labour. I have 
removed into an Appendix a considerable 
portion of what was in the first two editions 
placed in Part I. (now Chap, i.) of the 
Compendium ; as being (though highly im- 
portant, not only from its connexion with 
the reasoning process, but for other pur- 
poses, yet) not necessary, after the perusal 
of the Analytical Outline, for the under- 
standing of the Second and Third Chapters. 
It may be studied, at the learner's choice, 
either before or after the Compendium. 

On the utility of Logic many writers have 
said much in which I cannot coincide, and 
which has tended to bring the study into 
unmerited disrepute. By representing Logic 
as furnishing the sole instrument for the 
discovery of truth in all subjects, and as 
teaching the use of the intellectual faculties 
in general, they raised expectations which 


could not be realised, and which naturally 
led to a re-action. The whole system, whose 
unfounded pretensions had been thus bla- 
zoned forth, has come to be commonly 
regarded as utterly futile and empty : like 
several of our most valuable medicines, 
which, when first introduced, were pro- 
claimed, each, as a panacea, infallible in the 
most opposite disorders ; and which conse- 
quently, in many instances, fell for a time 
into total disuse ; though, after a long inter- 
val, they were established in their just esti- 
mation, and employed conformably to their 
real properties. 

To explain fully the utility of Logic is 
what can be done only in the course of an 
explanation of the system itself. One pre- 
liminary observation only (for the original 
suggestion of which I am indebted to the 
same friend to whom this work is inscribed) 
it may be worth while to offer in this place. 
If it were inquired what is to be regarded as 
the most appropriate intellectual occupation 
of MAN, as man, what would be the answer? 
The Statesman is engaged with political 
affairs ; the Soldier with military ; the Mathe- 
matician, with the properties of numbers and 
magnitudes ; the Merchant, with commercial 
concerns, &c, ; but in what are all and each 


of these employed ? employed, I mean, as 
men ; for there are many modes of exercise 
of the faculties, mental as well as bodily, 
which are in great measure common to us 
with the lower animals. Evidently, in Rea- 
soning. They are all occupied in deducing, 
well or ill, conclusions from Premises ; each, 
concerning the Subject of his own particular 
business. If, therefore, it be found that the 
process going on daily, in each of so many 
different minds, is, in any respect, the same, 
and if the principles on which it is conducted 
can be reduced to a regular system, and if 
rules can be deduced from that system, for 
the better conducting of the process, then, it 
can hardly be denied that such a system and 
such rules must be especially worthy the 
attention, not of the members of this or that 
profession merely, but of every one who is 
desirous of possessing a cultivated mind. To 
understand the theory of that which is the 
appropriate intellectual occupation of Man 
in general, and to learn to do that ivell, 
which every one will and must do, whether 
well or ill, may surely be considered as an 
essential part of a liberal education. 

Even supposing that no practical improve- 
ment in argumentation resulted from the 
study of Logic, it would not by any means 


follow that it is unworthy of attention. The 
pursuit of knowledge on curious and interest- 
ing subjects, for its own sake, is usually 
reckoned no misemployment of time ; and is 
considered as, incidentally, if not directly, 
useful to the individual, by the exercise thus 
afforded to the mental faculties. All who 
study Mathematics are not training them- 
selves to become Surveyors or Mechanics : 
some knowledge of Anatomy and Chemistry 
is even expected in a man liberally educated, 
though without any view to his practising 
Surgery or Medicine. The investigation of 
a process which is peculiarly and universally 
the occupation of Man, considered as Man, 
can hardly be reckoned a less philosophical 
pursuit than those just instanced. 

It has usually been assumed, however, in 
the case of the present subject, that a theory 
which does not tend to the improvement of 
practice is utterly unworthy of regard ; and 
then, it is contended that Logic has no such 
tendency, on the plea that men may and 
do reason correctly without it : an objection 
which would equally apply in the case of 
Grammar, Music, Chemistry, Mechanics, &c., 
in all of which systems the practice must 
have existed previously to the theory. 

But many who allow the use of systematic 


principles in other things, are accustomed 
to cry up Common-Sense as the sufficient 
and only safe guide in Reasoning. Now 
by Common-Sense is meant, I apprehend, 
(when the term is used with any distinct 
meaning,) an exercise of the judgment un- 
aided by any Art or system of rules ; such 
an exercise as we must necessarily employ 
in numberless cases of daily occurrence ; in 
which, having no established principles to 
guide us, no line of procedure, as it were, 
distinctly chalked out, we must needs act 
on the best extemporaneous conjectures we 
can form. He who is eminently skilful in 
doing this, is said to possess a superior de- 
gree of Common-Sense. But that Common- 
Sense is only our second-best guide that 
the rules of Art, if judiciously framed, are 
always desirable when they can be had, is 
an assertion, for the truth of which I may 
appeal to the testimony of mankind in 
general ; which is so much the more valu- 
able, inasmuch as it may be accounted the 
testimony of adversaries. For the generality 
have a strong predilection in favour of Com- 
mon-Sense, except in those points in which 
they, respectively, possess the knowledge of 
a system of rules ; but in these points they 
deride any one who trusts to unaided Com- 


mon-Sense. A Sailor, e. g. will, perhaps, 
despise the pretensions of medical men, and 
prefer treating a disease by Common-Sense : 
but he would ridicule the proposal of navi- 
gating a ship by Common-Sense, without 
regard to the maxims of nautical art. A 
Physician, again, will perhaps contemn Sys- 
tems of Political-Economy,* of Logic, or 
Metaphysics, and insist on the superior wis- 
dom of trusting to Common-Sense in such 
matters ; but he would never approve of 
trusting to Common-Sense in the treatment 
of diseases. Neither, again, would the Archi- 
tect recommend a reliance on Com mon-Sense 
alone in building, nor the Musician in music, 
to the neglect of those systems of rules, 
which, in their respective arts, have been 
deduced from scientific reasoning aided by 
experience. And the induction might be 
extended to every department of practice. 
Since, therefore, each gives the preference to 
unassisted Common-Sense only in those cases 
where he himself has nothing else to trust 
to, and invariably resorts to the rules of art, 
wherever he possesses the knowledge of them, 
it is plain that mankind universally bear 
their testimony, though unconsciously and 

* See Senior's Introductory Lecture on Political-Economy, 
p. 28. 


often unwillingly, to the preferableness of 
systematic knowledge to conjectural judg- 

There is, however, abundant room for the 
employment of Common-Sense in the appli- 
cation of the system. To bring arguments, 
out of the form in which they are expressed 
in conversation and in books, into the 
regular logical shape, must be, of course, 
the business of Common-Sense, aided by 
practice ; for such arguments are, by sup- 
position, not as yet within the province of 
Science; else they would not be irregular, 
but would be already strict syllogisms. To 
exercise the learner in this operation, I have 
subjoined, in the Appendix, some examples, 
both of insulated arguments, and (in the last 
three editions) of the analysis of argumen- 
tative works. It should be added, however, 
that a large portion of what is usually intro- 
duced into Logical treatises, relative to the 
finding of Arguments, the different kinds 
of them, &c., I have referred to the head 
of Rhetoric, and treated of in a work on the 
Elements of that Art. 

It was doubtless from a strong and deli- 
berate conviction of the advantages, direct 
and indirect, accruing from an acquaintance 


with Logic, that the University of Oxford, 
when re-modelling their system, not only 
retained that branch of study, regardless of 
the clamours of many of the half-learned, 
but even assigned a prominent place to it, 
by making it an indispensable part of the 
Examination for the first Degree. This last 
circumstance, however, I am convinced, has, 
in a great degree, produced an effect opposite 
to what was designed. It has contributed to 
lower instead of exalting, the estimation of 
the study ; and to withhold from it the earnest 
attention of many who might have applied 
to it with profit. I am not so weak as to 
imagine that any System can ensure great 
proficiency in any pursuit whatever, either 
in all students, or in a very large proportion 
of them : " we sow many seeds to obtain a 
few flowers ;" but it might have been ex- 
pected (and doubtless was expected) that 
a majority at least of successful candidates 
would derive some benefit worth mentioning 
from their logical pursuits ; and that a 
considerable proportion of the distinguished 
candidates would prove respectable, if not 
eminent logicians. Such expectations I do 
not censure as unreasonable, or such as I 
might not have formed myself, had I been 
called upon to judge at that period when our 



experience was all to come. Subsequently, 
however, experience has shown that those 
expectations have been very inadequately 
realized. The truth is, that a very small 
proportion, even of distinguished students, 
ever become proficients in Logic ; and that 
by far the greater part pass through the 
University without knowing any thing at all 
of the subject. I do not mean that they 
have not learned by rote a string of tech- 
nical terms ; but that they understand abso- 
lutely nothing whatever of the principles of 
the Science. 

I am aware that some injudicious friends 
of Oxford will censure the frankness of this 
avowal. I have only to reply that such is the 
truth; and that I think too well of, and 
know far too well, the University in which I 
have been employed in various academical 
occupations above a quarter of a century, to 
apprehend danger to her reputation from 
declaring the exact truth. With all its de- 
fects, and no human institution is perfect, 
the University would stand, I am convinced, 
higher in public estimation than it does, 
were the whole truth, and nothing but the 
truth, in all points respecting it, more fully 
known. But the scanty and partial success 
of the measures employed to promote logical 


studies is the consequence, I apprehend, of 
the universality of the requisition. That 
which must be done by every one, will, of 
course, often be done but indifferently ; and 
when the belief is once fully established, 
which it certainly has long been, that any- 
thing which is indispensable to a testimo- 
nial, has little or nothing to do with the 
attainment of honors,* the lowest standard 
soon becomes the established one in the 
minds of the greater number; and provided 
that standard be once reached, so as to 
secure the candidate from rejection, a greater 
or less proficiency in any such branch of 
study is regarded as a matter of indifference, 
as far as any views of academical distinction 
are concerned. 

Divinity is one of these branches; and 
to this also most of what has been said 
concerning Logic might be considered as 
equally applicable ; but, in fact, there are 
several important differences between the 
two cases. In the first place, most of the 
students who are designed for the Church, 
and many who are not, have a value for 
theological knowledge, independently of the 

* In the last-framed Examination-statute an express declara- 
tion has been inserted, that proficiency in Logic is to have weight 
in the assignment of honors. 



requisition of the schools ; and on that 
ground do not confine their views to the 
lowest admissible degree of proficiency : 
whereas this can be said of very few in 
the case of Logic. And moreover, such as 
design to become candidates for holy Orders, 
know that another examination in Theology 
awaits them. But a consideration, which is 
still more to the present purpose, is, that 
Theology, not being a Science, admits of 
infinite degrees of proficiency, from that 
which is within the reach of a child, up to 
the highest that is attainable by the most 
exalted genius ; every one of which degrees 
is inestimably valuable as far as it goes. If 
any one understands tolerably the Church- 
catechism, or even half of it, he knows 
something of divinity ; and that something is 
incalculably preferable to nothing. But it 
is not so with a Science : one who does 
not understand the principles of Euclid's 
demonstrations, whatever number of ques- 
tions and answers he may have learnt by 
rote, knows absolutely nothing of geometry : 
unless he attain this point, all his labour is 
utterly lost ; worse than lost, perhaps, if he 
is led to believe that he has learnt some- 
thing of a Science, when, in truth, he has 
not. And the same is the case with Logic, 


or any other Science. It does not admit of 
such various degrees, as a knowledge of 
religion. Of course I am far from supposing 
that all who understand anything at all of 
Logic stand on the same level ; but I mean, 
what is surely undeniable, that one who does 
not embrace the fundamental principles, of 
that, or any other Science, whatever he may 
have taken on authority, and learned by rote, 
knows, properly speaking, nothing of that 
Science. And such, I have no hesitation in 
saying, is the case with a considerable pro- 
portion even of those candidates who obtain 
testimonials, including many who gain dis- 
tinction. There are some persons (probably 
not so many as one in ten, of such as have 
in other respects tolerable abilities,) who are 
physically incapable of the degree of steady 
abstraction requisite for really embracing the 
principles of Logic or of any other Science, 
whatever pains may be taken by themselves 
or their teachers. But there is a much 
greater number to whom this is a great 
difficulty, though not an impossibility ; and 
who having, of course, a strong disin- 
clination to such a study, look naturally 
to the very lowest admissible standard. 
And the example of such examinations in 
Logic as must be expected in the case 


of men of these descriptions, tends, in com- 
bination with popular prejudice, to degrade 
the study altogether in the minds of the 

It was from these considerations, perhaps, 
that it was proposed, a few years ago, to 
leave the study of Logic altogether to the 
option of the candidates ; but the suggestion 
was rejected ; the majority appearing to 
think (in which opinion I most fully coin- 
cide) that, so strongly as the tide of po- 
pular opinion sets against the study, the 
result would have been, within a few years, 
an almost universal neglect of that Science. 
Matters were accordingly left, at that time, 
in respect of this point, on their former foot- 
ing; which I am convinced was far prefer- 
able to the proposed alteration. 

But a middle course between these two 
was suggested, which I was persuaded would 
be infinitely preferable to either ; a persua- 
sion which I had long entertained, and 
which is confirmed by every day's observa- 
tions and reflections ; of which, few persons, 
I believe, have bestowed more on this sub- 
ject. Let the study of Logic, it was urged, 
be made optional to those who are merely 
candidates for a degree, but indispensable to 
the attainment of academical honors ; and 


the consequence would be, that it would 
speedily begin and progressively continue, 
to rise in estimation and to be studied with 
real profit. The examination might then, 
it was urged, without any hardship, be made 
a strict one ; since no one could complain 
that a certain moderate degree of scientific 
ability, and a resolution to apply to a certain 
prescribed study, should be the conditions of 
obtaining distinction. The far greater part 
would still study Logic ; since there would 
be (as before) but few who would be willing 
to exclude themselves from the possibility 
of obtaining distinction ; but it would be 
studied with a very different mind, when 
ennobled, as it were, by being made part of 
the passport to University honors, and when 
a proficiency in it came to be regarded gene- 
rally as an honorable distinction. And in 
proportion as the number increased of those 
who really understood the Science, the 
number, it was contended, would increase of 
such as would value it on higher and better 
grounds. It would in time come to be 
better known and better appreciated by all 
the well-informed part of society : and lec- 
tures in Logic at the University would then, 
perhaps, no longer consist exclusively of an 
explanation of the mere elements. This 


would be necessary indeed for beginners ; 
but to the more advanced students, the 
tutors would no more think of lecturing in 
the bare rudiments, than of lecturing in 
the Latin or Greek Grammar; but, in the 
same manner as they exercise their pupils in 
Grammar, by reading with them Latin and 
Greek authors with continual reference to 
grammar-rules, so, they would exercise them 
in Logic by reading some argumentative 
work, requiring an analysis of it on Logical 

These effects could not indeed, it was 
acknowledged, be expected to show them- 
selves fully till after a considerable lapse of 
time ; but that the change would begin to 
appear, (and that very decidedly) within 
three or four years, was confidently antici- 

To this it was replied, that it was most 
desirable that no one should be allowed to 
obtain the Degree of B.A. without a know- 
ledge of Logic. This answer carries a plau- 
sible appearance to those unacquainted with 
the actual state of the University ; though in 
fact it is totally irrelevant. For it goes on 
the supposition, that hitherto this object has 
been accomplished ; that every one who 
passes his examination does possess a know- 


ledge of Logic ; which is notoriously not 
the fact, nor ever can be, without some 
important change in some part of our system. 
The question therefore is, not, as the above 
objection would seem to imply, whether a 
real, profitable knowledge of Logic shall be 
strictly required of every candidate for a 
Degree, (for this in fact never has been 
done) but whether, in the attempt to accom- 
plish this by requiring the form of a logical 
examination from every candidate without 
exception, we shall continue to degrade the 
Science, and to let this part of the exami- 
nation be regarded as a mere form, by many 
who might otherwise have studied Logic in 
earnest, and with advantage : whether the 
great majority of candidates, and those too 
of a more promising description, shall lose 
a real and important benefit, through the 
attempt, (which, after all, experience has 
proved to be a vain attempt) to comprehend 
in this benefit a very small number, and of 
the least promising. 

Something of an approach to the proposed 
alteration, was introduced into the Examina- 
tion-statute passed in 1830 ; in which, per- 
mission is granted to such as are candidates 
merely for a testimonial, to substitute for 
Logic a portion of Euclid. I fear, however, 


that little or nothing will be gained by this ; 
unless indeed the Examiners resolve to make 
the examinations in Logic far stricter than 
those in Euclid. For since every one who 
is capable of really understanding Euclid 
must be also capable of Logic, the alteration 
does not meet the case of those whose in- 
aptitude for Science is invincible ; and these 
are the very description of men whose (so 
called) logical-examinations tend to depress 
the Science. Those few who really are phy- 
sically incapable of scientific reasoning, and 
the far greater number who fancy them- 
selves so, or who at least will rather run a 
risk than surmount their aversion and set 
themselves to study in earnest, all these 
will be likely, when the alternative is pro- 
posed, to prefer Logic to Euclid ; because 
in the latter, it is hardly possible, at least not 
near so easy as in Logic, to present the sem- 
blance of preparation by learning questions 
and answers by rote : in the cant phrase 
of undergraduates, by getting crammed. 
Experience has proved this, in the case of 
the Responsion-examinations, where the al- 
ternative of Logic or Euclid has always 
been proposed to the candidates ; of whom 
those most averse to Science, or incapable of 
it, are almost always found to prefer Logic. 


The determination may indeed be formed, 
and acted on from henceforth, that all who 
do in reality know nothing, properly speak- 
ing, of any Science, shall be rejected : all 
I know is, that this has never been the 
case hitherto. 

Still, it is a satisfaction to me, that atten- 
tion has been called to the evil in question, 
and an experimental measure adopted for 
its abatement. A confident hope is thus 
afforded, that in the event (which I much 
fear) of the failure of the experiment, some 
other more effectual measure may be re- 
sorted to.* 

I am sensible that many may object, that 
this is not the proper place for such remarks 
as the foregoing : what has the Public at 
large, they may say, to do with the statutes 
of the University of Oxford ? To this it 
might fairly be replied, that not only all 
who think of sending their sons or other 
near relatives to Oxford, but all likewise who 
are placed under the ministry of such as 
have been educated there, are indirectly con- 

* Since this was written, the experiment has been tried. In 
the first Examination-list under the new Statute (Easter, 1831), of 
125 candidates who did not aspire to the higher classes, twenty - 
five presented Euclid for their examination, and one hundred, 
Logic ! 


cerned, to a certain degree, in the system 
there pursued. But the consideration which 
had the chief share in inducing me to say 
what I have, is, that the vindication of 
Logic from the prevailing disregard and con- 
tempt under which it labo.urs, would have 
been altogether incomplete without it. For 
let it be remembered that the science is 
judged of by the Public in this country, in a 
very great degree, from the specimens dis- 
played, and the reports made, by those 
whom Oxford sends forth. Every one, on 
looking into the University Calendar or Sta- 
tute Book, feels himself justified in assuming, 
that whoever has graduated at Oxford must 
be a Logician : not, indeed, necessarily, a 
first-rate Logician ; but such as to satisfy the 
public examiners that he has a competent 
knowledge of the Science. Now, if a very 
large proportion of these persons neither are, 
nor think themselves at all benefited by their 
(so called) logical education, and if many of 
them treat the study with contempt, and 
represent it as a mere tissue of obsolete and 
empty jargon, which it is a mere waste of 
time to attend to, let any one judge what 
conclusions respecting the utility of the 
study, and the wisdom of the University in 
upholding it, are likely to be the result. 


That prejudices so deeply-rooted as those 
I have alluded to, and supported by the 
authority of such eminent names, especially 
that of Locke, and (as is commonly, though 
not very correctly supposed) Bacon, should 
be overthrown at once by the present trea- 
tise, I am not so sanguine as to expect; 
but if I have been successful in refuting 
some of the most popular objections, and 
explaining some principles which are in 
general ill-understood, it may be hoped 
that in time just notions on the subject 
may gain ground : especially if, as I have 
some reason to hope, a more able advo- 
cate of the same cause should be induced 
to step forward. 

It may be permitted me to mention, that 
as I have addressed myself to various classes 
of students, from the most uninstructed tyro, 
to the furthest-advanced Logician, and have 
touched accordingly both on the most ele- 
mentary principles, and on some of the most 
remote deductions from them, it must be 
expected that readers of each class will find 
some parts not well calculated for them. 
Some explanations will appear to the one 
too simple and puerile ; and for another 
class, some of the disquisitions will be at first 
too abstruse. If to each description some 


portions are found interesting, it is as much 
as I can expect. 

With regard to the style, I have con- 
sidered perspicuity not only, as it always 
must be, the first point, but as one of such 
paramount importance in such a subject, as 
to justify the neglect of all others. Prolixity 
of explanation, homeliness in illustration, 
and baldness of expression, I have regarded 
as blemishes not worth thinking of, when 
anything was to be gained in respect of 
clearness. To some of my readers a tem- 
porary difficulty may occasionally occur from 
the use of some technical terms different, 
or differently applied, from what they have 
been accustomed to.* They must consider, 
however, that the attempt to conform in this 
point to the usage of every logical writer, 
would have been, on account of their vari- 
ations from each other, utterly hopeless. T 
have endeavonred, in the terms employed, 
to make no wanton innovations, but to con- 
form generally to established usage, except 
when there is some very strong objection 
to it ; where usage is divided to prefer what 
may appear in each case the most convenient 
term ; and, above all, to explain distinctly 

* See Book II. Chap. i. 1. 


the sense in which each is employed in the 
present work. 

If any should complain of my not having 
given a history of all the senses in which 
each technical term has been used by each 
writer from its first introduction, and a re- 
view of the works of each, I can only reply 
that my design was not to write a Logical 
Archseology, or a Commentary on the works 
of former Logicians, but an elementary intro- 
duction to the science. And few, I suppose, 
would consider a treatise, for instance, on 
Agriculture, as incomplete, which should 
leave untouched the questions of, who was 
the inventor of the plough, what successive 
alterations that implement has undergone, 
and from what region wheat was first intro- 

And if again any should complain of the 
omission of such metaphysical disquisitions 
on the laws of thought, and the constitution 
of the human mind generally, as they have 
been accustomed to include under the head 
of Logic, my answer must be, that that term 
has been employed by me in a different 
sense ; for reasons which I have stated in 
several parts of this treatise, and especially 
in Book IV. Chap, iii ; and that I am there- 
fore only to be censured at the utmost as not 


having undertaken a work of a different kind, 
and on a different subject. 

Of the correctness of the fundamental 
doctrines maintained in the work, I may be 
allowed to feel some confidence ; not so 
much from the length of time (above twenty 
years) that I have been more or less occupied 
with it, ending at the same time the advan- 
tage of frequent suggestions and corrections 
from several judicious friends, as from the 
nature of the subject. In works of taste, an 
author cannot be sure that the judgment of 
the public will coincide with his own ; and if 
he fail to give pleasure, he fails of his sole 
or most appropriate object. But in the case 
of truths which admit of Scientific demon- 
stration, it is possible to arrive by reasoning 
at as full an assurance of the justness of the 
conclusions established, as the imperfection 
of the human faculties will admit ; and ex- 
perience, accompanied with attentive obser- 
vation, and with repeated trials of various 
methods, may enable one long accustomed 
to tuition, to ascertain with considerable 
certainty what explanations are the best com- 
prehended. Many parts of the detail, how- 
ever, may probably be open to objections ; 
but if (as experience now authorizes me the 
more confidently to hope) no errors are 


discovered, which materially affect the sub- 
stantial utility of the work, but only such as 
detract from the credit of the author, the 
object will have been attained which I ought 
to have had principally in view. 

No credit, I am aware, is given to an 
author's own disclaimer of personal motives, 
and profession of exclusive regard for public 
utility ; since even sincerity cannot, on this 
point, secure him from deceiving himself; 
but it may be allowable to observe, that one 
whose object was the increase of his repu- 
tation as a writer, could hardly have chosen 
a subject less suitable for his purpose than 
the present. Though the interest in it has 
greatly exceeded what I had anticipated, it 
still can hardly be called a popular subject, 
or one likely to become so, in any conside- 
rable degree ; at least, during the lifetime 
of a writer of the present day. Ignorance, 
fortified by prejudice, opposes its reception, 
even in the minds of those who are con- 
sidered as both candid and well-informed. 
Besides that a great majority of readers not 
only know not what Logic is, but have no 
curiosity to learn, the greater part of those 
who imagine that they do know, are wedded 
to erroneous notions of it. The multitude 
never think of paying any attention to the 



correctness of their reasoning ; and those 
who do, are usually too confident that they 
are already completely successful in this 
point, to endure the thought of seeking 
instruction upon it. 

And as, on the one hand, a large class 
of modern philosophers may be expected to 
raise a clamour against " obsolete preju- 
dices ;" "bigoted devotion to the decrees of 
Aristotle;" "confining the human mind in 
the trammels of the Schoolmen/' &c., so, 
on the other hand, all such as really are thus 
bigoted to everything that has been long 
established, merely because it has been long 
established, will be ready to exclaim against 
the presumption of an author, who presumes 
to depart in several points from the track of 
his predecessors. 

There is another circumstance, also, which 
tends materially to diminish the credit of a 
writer on this and some other kindred sub- 
jects. We can make no discoveries of 
striking novelties : the senses of our readers 
are not struck, as with the return of a 
Comet which had been foretold, or the 
extinction of a taper in carbonic-acid gas : 
the materials we work upon are common 
and familiar to all, and, therefore, supposed 
to be well understood by all. And not only 


is any one's deficiency in the use of these 
materials, such as is generally unfelt by 
himself, but when it is removed by satis- 
factory explanations when the notions, 
which had been perplexed and entangled, 
are cleared up by the introduction of a few 
simple and apparently obvious principles, 
he will generally forget that any explanation 
at all was needed, and consider all that has 
been said as mere truisms, which even a 
child could supply to himself. Such is the 
nature of the fundamental principles of a 
Science they are so fully implied in the 
most evident and well-known truths, that 
the moment they are fully embraced, it 
becomes a difficulty to conceive that we 
could ever have been not aware of them. 
And hence, the more simple, clear, and 
obvious any principle is rendered, the more 
likely is its exposition to elicit those common 
remarks, " of course ! of course !" " no one 
could ever doubt that;" "this is all very 
true, but there is nothing new brought to 
light ; nothing that was not familiar to 
every one," " there needs no ghost to tell 
us that." I am convinced that a verbose, 
mystical, and partially obscure way ot 
writing on such a subject, is the most likely 
to catch the attention of the multitude. The 
generality verify the observation of Tacitus, 


kf omne ignotum pro mirifico :" and when 
any thing is made very plain to them, are 
apt to fancy that they knew it already; so 
that the explanations of scientific truths are 
likely, for a considerable time at least, to be, 
by most men, underrated the more, the more 
perfectly they accomplish their object. 

A very slow progress, therefore, towards 
popularity (slower indeed than has in fact 
taken place) is the utmost that I expected 
for such a treatise as I have endeavoured 
to make the present. I felt myself bound, 
however, not only as a member of Society, 
but more especially as a Minister of the 
Gospel, to use my endeavours towards pro- 
moting an object which to me appears highly 
important, and (what is much more) whose 
importance is appreciated by very few be- 
sides. The cause of Truth universally, and 
not least, of religious Truth, is benefited by 
every thing that tends to promote sound 
reasoning and facilitate the detection of 
fallacy. The adversaries of our Faith would, 
I am convinced, have been on many occa- 
sions more satisfactorily answered, and would 
have had fewer openings for cavil, had a 
thorough acquaintance with Logic been a 
more common qualification than it is. In 
lending my endeavours, therefore, whether 
with greater or less success, towards this 


object, I trust that I am neither uselessly 
nor unsuitably employed. 

I have seen in several writers, a sort of 
sneering allusions to " Logic ;" and also to 
" Truth," (the latter, in reference, I pre- 
sume, to an Essay of mine on that subject) 
which I cannot but feel to be consolatory 
and even flattering. Had such expressions 
indeed been always accompanied by attempts 
to refute the fundamental principles I have 
endeavoured to establish, it would have been 
understood that such implied censure was 
meant to be directed against unfounded pre- 
tensions. But as it is, such writers seem to 
admit that it is Truth, as Truth, and Logical 
reasoning, as such, that they dislike. And 
certainly any who wish to propagate errors, 
or to defend abuses, are perfectly right in 
disliking the cultivation of Logic, though 
they may not be prudent in avowing this 
feeling. When truth is against a man, it is 
natural he should be against truth ; and the 
clear day-light could not be more unwelcome 
to the " Children of the Mist," than the 
establishment and diffusion of accurate prin- 
ciples of reasoning, to the advocates of what 
they are aware is unsound. 

Many indeed whose opinions on various 
points are opposed, are sincerely convinced 
of the truth of what they respectively main- 


tian : but all of these ought to feel a full 
confidence that truth, wherever it may lie, 
will be best ascertained and best supported, 
by a system of sound reasoning. 

Those who are engaged in, or designed 
for the Sacred Ministry, and all others who 
are sensible that the cause of true Religion 
is not a concern of the Ministry alone, should 
remember that this is no time to forego any 
of the advantages which that cause may 
derive from an active and judicious culti- 
vation of the faculties. Among the enemies 
of Christianity in the present day, are in- 
cluded, if I mistake not, a very different 
description of persons from those who were 
chiefly to be met with a century, or even half 
a century ago : what were called " men of 
wit and pleasure about town ;" ignorant, 
shallow, flippant declaimers, or dull and 
powerless pretenders to Philosophy. Among 
the enemies of the Gospel now, are to be 
found men not only of learning and inge- 
nuity, but of cultivated argumentative powers, 
and not unversed in the principles of Logic. 
If the advocates of our Religion think proper 
to disregard this help, they will find, on 
careful inquiry, that their opponents do not. 
And let them not trust too carelessly to the 
strength of their cause : Truth will, indeed, 
prevail, where all other points are nearly 


equal ; but it may suffer a temporary dis- 
comfiture, if hasty assumptions, unsound ar- 
guments, and vague and empty declamation, 
occupy the place of a train of close, accurate, 
and luminous reasoning. 

It is not, however, solely or chiefly for 
polemical purposes that the cultivation of 
the reasoning faculty is desirable ; in per- 
suading, and investigating; in learning, or 
teaching, in all the multitude of cases in 
which it is our object to arrive at just con- 
clusions, or to lead others to them, it is most 
important. A knowledge of logical rules 
will not indeed supply the want of other 
knowledge ; nor was it ever proposed, by 
any one who really understood this Science, 
to substitute it for any other ; but it is no 
less true that no other can be substituted for 
this : that it is valuable in every branch of 
study ; and that it enables us to use to the 
greatest advantage the knowledge we possess. 
It is to be hoped, therefore, that those Aca- 
demical Bodies, who have been wise enough 
to retain this Science, will, instead of being 
persuaded to abandon it, give their attention 
rather to its improvement and more effectual 



Introduction 1 

Analytical Outline of the Science 21 


Synthetical Compendium ; ... 58 

Chap. I. Of the Operations of the Mind, and of Terms ib. 

Chap. II. Of Propositions 66 

Chap. III. Of Arguments 80 

Chap. IV. Supplement to Chap. Ill 102 

Chap. V. Supplement to Chap. 1 131 

Of Fallacies. 162 


Dissertation on the Province of Reasoning 255 

Chap. I. Of Induction 257 

Chap. II. On the Discovery of Truth 266 

Chap. III. Of Inference and Proof 302 

Chap. IV. Of Verbal and Real Questions . . . .311 
Chap. V. Of Realism 320 

No. I. On certain Terms which are peculiarly liable to 

be used ambiguously 337 

No. II. Miscellaneous Examples for the exercise of 

Learners * . 402 

No. III. Example of Analysis 420 

INDEX . 431 



LOGIC, in the most extensive sense which Definition of 
the name can with propriety be made to bear, Lc 
may be considered as the Science, and also 
as the Art, of Reasoning. It investigates the 
principles on which argumentation is con- 
ducted, and furnishes rules to secure the mind 
from error in its deductions. Its most appro- 
priate office, however, is that of instituting an 
analysis of the process of the mind in Reason- 
ing ; and in this point of view it is, as I have 
said, strictly a Science: while, considered in 
reference to the practical rules above men- 
tioned, it may be called the Art of Reasoning. 
This distinction, as will hereafter appear, has 
been overlooked, or not clearly pointed out 
by most writers on the subject ; Logic having 
been by many regarded as merely an art ; 
and its claim to hold a place among the 
Sciences having even been, by some, expressly 


prevailing Considering how early Logic attracted the 
L(Sc? tins attention of philosophers,, it may appear sur- 
prising that so little progress should have been 
made, as is confessedly the case, in developing 
its principles, and perfecting the detail of the 
system ; and this circumstance has been brought 
forward as a proof of the barrenness and futility 
of the study. But a similar argument might 
have been urged with no less plausibility, at 
a period not very remote, against the study of 
Natural Philosophy ; and, very recently, against 
that of Chemistry. No science can be expected 
to make any considerable progress, which is 
not cultivated on right principles. Whatever 
may be the inherent vigour of the plant, it will 
neither be flourishing nor fruitful till it meet 
with a suitable soil and culture : and in no 
case is the remark more applicable than in the 
present ; the greatest mistakes having always 
prevailed respecting the nature of Logic, and 
its province having in consequence been ex- 
tended by many writers to subjects with which 
it has no proper connexion. Indeed, with the 
exception perhaps of Aristotle, (who is himself 
however not entirely exempt from the errors 
in question,) hardly a writer on Logic can be 
mentioned who has clearly perceived, and 
steadily kept in view throughout, its real 
nature and object. Before his time, no dis- 
tinction was drawn between the science of 


which we are speaking, and that which is now 
usually called Metaphysics ; a circumstance 
which alone shows how small was the pro- 
gress made in earlier times. Indeed, those 
who first turned their attention to the subject, 
hardly thought of inquiring into the process 
of Reasoning itself, but confined themselves 
almost entirely to certain preliminary points, 
the discussion of which is (if logically con- 
sidered) subordinate to that of the main 

To give even a very condensed account of History of 

. Logic distinct 

the lives and works of all the principal writers J^}^ of 
on Logic, of the technical terms introduced" 1 
by each, and the senses in which each em- 
ployed them, and of the improvements or 
corruptions that were from time to time in- 
troduced, in short, to write the History and 
Antiquities of Logical Science, would be 
foreign to my present design. Such a work, 
if undertaken by a competent writer, would 
be, though not of a popular character, yet 
highly interesting and instructive to a limited 
class of students. But the extensive research 
which would form one indispensable qualifi- 
cation for such a task, would be only one out 
of many, even less common, qualifications, 
without which such a work would be worse 
than useless. The author should be one 
thoroughly on his guard against the common 



error of confounding together, or leading his 
readers to confound, an intimate acquaintance 
with many books on a given subject, and a 
clear insight into the subject itself. With 
ability and industry for investigating a mul- 
titude of minute particulars, he should possess 
the power of rightly estimating each according 
to its intrinsic importance, and not, as is very 
commonly done, according to the degree of 
laborious research it may have cost him, or 
the rarity of the knowledge he may in any 
case have acquired. And he should be careful, 
while recording the opinions and expressions 
of various authors on points of science, to 
guard both himself and his readers against 
the mistake of taking anything on authority 
that ought to be evinced by scientific reason- 
ing; or of regarding each technical term as 
having a sort of prescriptive right to retain 
for ever the meaning attached to it by those 
who first introduced it. In no subject, in 
short, is it more important for an author to 
be free from all tinge of antiquarian pedantry. 
But if I felt myself as fully competent to the 
task of writing such a history of Logic as I 
have alluded to, as I am conscious of not being 
so, I should still decidedly prefer keeping such 
a work altogether distinct from a treatise on 
the science ; because the combination of the 
two in a single volume would render it the 


more difficult to avoid the blending of them 
confusedly together ; and also because, on 
such a plan, the distinction could not be so 
easily preserved between Logic, in the sense 
in which I am here using that title, and 
various metaphysical disquisitions, to which 
several writers have given the same name. 

For these reasons I have thought it best to 
take only a slight and rapid glance of the series 
of logical writers down to the present day, 
and of the general tendency of their labours. 

Zeno the Eleatic, whom most accounts re- Early writers 

on Logic. 

present as the earliest systematic writer on the 
subject of Logic, or, as it was then called, 
Dialectics, divided his work into three parts ; 
the first of which (upon Consequences) is 
censured by Socrates [Plato, ParmenJ] for 
obscurity and confusion. In his second part, 
however, he furnished that interrogatory me- 
thod of disputation [^pwr^cni} which Socrates 
adopted, and which has since borne his name. 
The third part of his work was devoted to 
what may not be improperly termed the art of 
wrangling [l/wcm/a)] , which supplied the dis- 
putant with a collection of sophistical ques- 
tions, so contrived, that the concession of some 
point which seemed unavoidable, immediately 
involved some glaring absurdity. This, if it 
is to be esteemed as at all falling within the 


province of Logic, is certainly not to be re- 
garded (as some have ignorantly or heedlessly 
represented it) as its principal or proper busi- 
ness. The Greek philosophers generally have 
unfortunately devoted too much attention to 
it ; but we must beware of falling into the 
vulgar error of supposing the ancients to have 
regarded as a serious and intrinsically impor- 
tant study, that which in fact they considered 
as an ingenious recreation. The disputants 
diverted themselves in their leisure-hours by 
making trial of their own and their adversary's 
acuteness, in the endeavour mutually to per- 
plex each other with subtle fallacies; much in 
the same way as men amuse themselves with 
propounding and guessing riddles, or with the 
game of chess ; to each of which diversions 
the sportive disputations of the ancients bore 
much resemblance. They were closely analo- 
gous to the wrestling and other exercises of 
the Gymnasium ; these last being reckoned 
conducive to bodily vigour and activity, as the 
former were to habits of intellectual acuteness; 
but the immediate object in each was a spor- 
tive, not a serious contest ; though doubtless 
fashion and emulation often occasioned an 
undue importance to be attached to success 
in each. 

Zeno, then, is hardly to be regarded as any 
further a logician than as to what respects his 


erotetic method of disputation ; a course of 
argument constructed on this principle being 
properly an hypothetical Sorites, which may 
easily be reduced into a series of syllogisms. 

To Zeno succeeded Euclid of Megara, and Euclid and 


Antisthenes ; both pupils of Socrates. The 
former of these prosecuted the subject of the 
third part of his predecessor's treatise, and is 
said to have been the author of many of the 
fallacies attributed to the Stoical school. Of 
the writings of the latter nothing certain is 
known ; if, however, we suppose the above- 
mentioned sect to be his disciples in this study, 
and to have retained his principles, he cer- 
tainly took a more correct view of the subject 
than Euclid. The Stoics divided all \eKra, 
every thing that could be said, into three 
classes; 1st, the simple Term; 2d, the Pro- 
position ; 3d, the Syllogism ; viz. the hypo- 
thetical ; for they seem to have had little 
notion of a more rigorous analysis, of argu- 
ment than into that familiar form. 

We must not here omit to notice the merits 
of Archytas, to whom we are indebted (as he 
himself probably was, in a great degree, to 
older writers) for the doctrines of the Cate- 
gories. He, however, (as well as the other 
writers on the subject) appears to have had 
no distinct view of the proper object and just 
limits of the science of Logic ; but to have 


blended with it metaphysical discussions not 
strictly connected with it, and to have dwelt 
on the investigation of the nature of terms and 
propositions, without maintaining a constant 
reference to the principles of Reasoning; to 
which all the rest should be made subservient. 
Aristotle. The state, then, in which Aristotle found 
the science (if indeed it can properly be said 
to have existed at all before his time) appears 
to have been nearly this: the division into 
Simple Terms, Propositions, and Syllogisms, 
had been slightly sketched out ; the doctrine 
of the Categories, and perhaps that of the 
Opposition of propositions, had been laid 
down ; and, as some believe, the analysis of 
Species into Genus and Differentia, had been 
introduced by Socrates. These, at best, were 
rather the materials of the system, than the 
system itself; the foundation of which indeed 
he distinctly claims the merit of having laid, 
and which remains fundamentally the same 
as he left it. 

It has been remarked, that the logical system 
is one of those few theories which have been 
begun and perfected by the same individual. 
The history of its discovery, as far as the main 
principles of the science are concerned, pro- 
perly commences and ends with Aristotle ; and 
this may perhaps in part account for the 
subsequent perversions of it. The brevity and 


simplicity of its fundamental truths (to which 
point indeed all real science is perpetually 
tending) has probably led many to suppose 
that something much more complex, abstruse, 
and mysterious, remained to be discovered. 
The vanity, too, by which all men are prompted 
unduly to magnify their own pursuits, has led 
unphilosophical minds, not in this case alone, 
but in many others, to extend the boundaries 
of their respective sciences, not by the patient 
development and just application of the prin- 
ciples of those sciences, but by wandering into 
irrelevant subjects. The mystical employment 
of numbers by Pythagoras, in matters utterly 
foreign to arithmetic, is perhaps the earliest 
instance of the kind. A more curious and 
important one is the degeneracy of Astronomy 
into judicial Astrology ; but none is more 
striking than the misapplication of Logic, by 
those who have treated of it as "the art of 
rightly employing the rational faculties," or 
who have intruded it into the province of 
Natural Philosophy, and regarded the Syllo- 
gism as an engine for the investigation of 
nature ; while they overlooked the boundless 
field that was before them within the legiti- 
mate limits of the science ; and perceived 
not the importance and difficulty of the task, 
of completing and properly filling up the 
masterly sketch before them. 


The writings of Aristotle were not only for 
the most part absolutely lost to the world for 
about two centuries, but seem to have been 
but little studied for a long time after their 
recovery. An art, however, of Logic, derived 
from the principles traditionally preserved by 
his disciples, seems to have been generally 
known, and to have been employed by Cicero 
in his philosophical works ; but the pursuit of 
the science seems to have been abandoned for 
a long time. As early in the Christian era as 
the second and third centuries, the Peripatetic 
doctrines experienced a considerable revival ; 
Gaien r an( j we meet with the names of Galen, Ammo- 


nius, (who seems to have taken the lead among 
Alexander, the commentators on Aristotle) Alexander of 
porphyry, Aphrodisias, and Porphyry, as logicians ; but 
it is not till the close of the fifth century, or 
the beginning of the sixth, that Aristotle's 
logical works were translated into Latin by 
the celebrated Boethius.* Not one of these 
seems to have made any considerable ad- 
vances in developing the theory of reason- 
ing. Of the labours of Galen (who added 
the insignificant fourth Figure to the three 
recognized by Aristotle) little is known ; and 
Porphyry's principal work is merely on the 
predicables. We have little of the science till 

* Born about A.D. 475, and died about A.D. 524. 


the revival of learning among the Arabians, 
by whom Aristotle's treatises on this as well 
as on other subjects, were eagerly studied. 

Passing by the names of some Byzantine 
writers of no great importance, we come to 
the times of the Schoolmen ; whose waste of schoolmen. 
ingenuity and frivolous subtilty of disputation 
have been often made the subject of com- 
plaints, into the justice of which it is unne- 
cessary here fully to inquire. It may be 
sufficient to observe, that their fault did not 
lie in their diligent study of Logic, and the 
high value they set upon it, but in their utterly 
mistaking the true nature and object of the 
science ; and by the attempt to employ it for 
the purpose of physical discoveries, involving 
every subject in a mist of words, to the ex- 
clusion of sound philosophical investigation.* 
Their errors may serve to account for the 
strong terms in which Bacon sometimes ap- Bacon. 
pears to censure logical pursuits ; but that 
this censure was intended to bear against the 
extravagant perversions, not the legitimate cul- 
tivation of the science, may be proved from 
his own observations on the subject, in his 
Advancement of Learning. 

His moderation, however, was not imitated 

* Of the character of the School-divinity, Dr. Hampden's 
Bampton Lectures furnish the best view that has perhaps 
ever appeared. 


Locke. in other quarters. Even Locke confounds in 
one sweeping censure the Aristotelic theory, 
with the absurd misapplications and perver- 
sions of it in later years. His objection to the 
science, as unserviceable in the discovery of 
truth (which has of late been often repeated), 
while it holds good in reference to many (mis- 
named) logicians, indicates that, with regard 
to the true nature of the science itself, he had 
no clearer notions than they have, of the pro- 
per province of Logic, viz. Reasoning ; and of 
the distinct character of that operation from 
the observations and experiments which are 
essential to the study of nature. 

An error apparently different, but substan- 

was. tially the same, pervades the treatises of Watts 
and other modern writers on the subject. 
Perceiving the inadequacy of the syllogistic 
theory to the vast purposes to which others 
had attempted to apply it, he still craved after 
the attainment of some equally comprehensive 
and all-powerful system ; which he accordingly 
attempted to construct under the title of The 
Right Use of Reason, which was to be a 
method of invigorating and properly directing 
all the powers of the mind : a most magni- 
ficent object indeed, but one which not only 
does not fall under the province of Logic, but 
cannot be accomplished by any one science or 
system that can even be conceived to exist. 


The attempt to comprehend so wide a field, is 
no extension of science, but a mere verbal 
generalization, which leads only to vague and 
barren declamation. In every pursuit, the 
more precise and definite our object, the more 
likely we are to attain some valuable result. 
If, like the Platonists, who sought after the 
avrdyaQov, the abstract idea of good, we 
pursue some specious but ill-defined scheme 
of universal knowledge, we shall lose the sub- 
stance while grasping at a shadow, and be- 
wilder ourselves in empty generalities. And 
learning, at least much of what is commonly 
called learning, is so far from furnishing a 
safeguard against this fault, to one who is 
deficient in philosophical clearness of under- 
standing, that it is more likely to increase it, 
by puffing him up with a vain conceit of his 
own supposed superiority. 

It is not perhaps much to be wondered 
at, that in still later times several ingenious 
writers, forming their notions of the science 
itself from professed masters in it, such as have 
just been alluded to, and judging of its value 
from their failures, should have treated the 
Aristotelic system with so much reprobation 
and scorn. Too much prejudiced to bestow 
on it the requisite attention for enabling them 
clearly to understand its real character and 
object, or even to judge correctly from the 

views of the 
nature of the 


little they did understand, they have assailed 
the study with a host of objections, so totally 
irrelevant, and consequently impotent, that, 
considering the talents and general information 
of those from whom they proceed, they might 
excite astonishment in any one who did not 
fully estimate the force of very early prejudice. 
incorrect Logic has usually been considered by these 

views of the * * 

objectors as professing to furnish a peculiar 
method of reasoning, instead of a method of 
analyzing that mental process which must 
invariably take place in all correct reasoning ; 
and accordingly they have contrasted the ordi- 
nary mode of reasoning with the syllogistic, and 
have brought forward with an air of triumph 
the argumentative skill of many who never 
learned the system ; a mistake no less gross 
than if any one should regard Grammar as a 
peculiar Language, and should contend against 
its utility, on the ground that many speak 
correctly who never studied the principles of 
grammar. For Logic, which is, as it were, the 
Grammar of Reasoning, does not bring forward 
the regular Syllogism as a distinct mode of ar- 
gumentation, designed to be substituted for any 
other mode ;* but as the form to which all 

* Strange as it may seem, there are some, (I suspect not 
a few) who even go a step further, and consider Logic as 
something opposed to right reasoning. I have seen a 
Review, of a work which the Reviewer characterized as the 


correct reasoning may be ultimately reduced : 
and which, consequently, serves the purpose 
(when we are employing Logic as an art) of 
a test to try the validity of any argument ; in 
the same manner as by chemical analysis we 
develop and submit to a distinct examination 
the elements of which any compound body is 
composed, and are thus enabled to detect any 
latent sophistication and impurity. 

Complaints have also been made that Logic complaints 
leaves untouched the greatest difficulties, and Lo & c - 
those which are the sources of the chief errors 
in reasoning ; viz. the ambiguity or indistinct- 
ness of Terms, and the doubts respecting the 
degrees of evidence in various Propositions : an 
objection which is not to be removed by any 
such attempt as that of Watts to lay down 
" rules for forming clear ideas," and, for 
"guiding the judgment;" but by replying 
that no art is to be censured for not teaching 
more than falls within its province, and indeed 
more than can be taught by any conceivable 
art. Such a system of universal knowledge as 
should instruct us in the full meaning or mean- 
ings of every term, and the truth or falsity, 

production of an able Logician, and which he therefore con- 
cluded was likely to have influence with such as will not 
reason! The "not" might naturally be regarded as a 
misprint ; but the context shows that such was the re- 
viewer's real meaning. 


certainty or uncertainty, of every propo- 
sition, thus superseding all other studies, it 
is most unphilosophical to expect, or even to 
imagine. And to find fault with Logic for 
not performing this, is as if one should object 
to the science of Optics for not giving sight 
to the blind ; or as if (like the man of whom 
Warburton tells a story in his Div. Leg.) one 
should complain of a reading-glass for being of 
no service to a person who had never learned 
to read. 

In fact, the difficulties and errors above 
alluded to are not in the process of Reasoning 
itself (which alone is the appropriate province 
of Logic), but in the subject-matter about which 
it is employed. This process will have been 
correctly conducted if it have conformed to the 
logical .rules, which preclude the possibility of 
any error creeping in between the principles 
from which we are arguing, and the conclu- 
sions we deduce from them. But still that 
conclusion may be false, if the principles 
we start from are so. In like manner, no 
arithmetical skill will secure a correct result 
to a calculation, unless the data are correct 
from which we calculate ; nor does any one 
on that account undervalue Arithmetic ; and 
yet the objection against Logic rests on no 
better foundation. 

There is in fact a striking analogy in this 


respect between the two sciences. All Num- 
bers (which are the subject of Arithmetic) 
must be numbers of some things, whether 
coins, persons, measures, or any thing else ; 
bat to introduce into the science any notice 
of the things respecting which calculations are 
made, would be evidently irrelevant, and 
would destroy its scientific character : we 
proceed therefore with arbitrary signs, repre- 
senting numbers in the abstract. So also 
does Logic pronounce on the validity of a 
regularly-constructed argument, equally well, 
though arbitrary symbols may have been 
substituted for the terms ; and, consequently, 
without any regard to the things signified 
by those terms. And the possibility of doing 
this (though the employment of such arbi- 
trary symbols has been absurdly objected to, 
even by writers who understood not only 
Arithmetic but Algebra) is a proof of the 
strictly scientific character of the system. But 
many professed logical writers, not attending 
to the circumstances which have been just 
mentioned, have wandered into disquisitions 
on various branches of knowledge ; disquisitions 
which must evidently be as boundless as human 
knowledge itself, since there is no subject on 
which Reasoning is not employed, and to 
which, consequently, Logic may not be applied. 
The error lies in regarding every thing as the 



proper province of Logic to which it is appli- 
cable. A similar error is complained of by 
Aristotle, as having taken place with respect 
to Rhetoric ; of which, indeed, we find speci- 
mens in the arguments of several of the inter- 
locutors in Cic. de Oratore. 

From what has been said, it will be evident 
that there is hardly any subject to which it 
is so difficult to introduce the student in a clear 
and satisfactory manner, as the one we are now 
engaged in. In any other branch of know- 
ledge, the reader, if he have any previous 
acquaintance with the subject, will usually be 
so far the better prepared for comprehending 
the exposition of the principles ; or if he be 
entirely a stranger to it, will at least come to 
the study with a mind unbiassed, and free from 
prejudices and misconceptions : whereas, in the 
present case, it cannot but happen, that many 
who have given some attention to logical pur- 
suits (or what are usually considered as such) 
will have rather been bewildered by funda- 
mentally erroneous views, than prepared, by 
the acquisition of just principles, for ulterior 
progress ; and that not a few who pretend not 
to any acquaintance whatever with the science, 
will yet have imbibed either such prejudices 
against it, or such false notions respecting its 
nature, as cannot but prove obstacles in their 
study of it. 


There is, however, a difficulty which exists Difficulty 

. attending 

more or less in all abstract pursuits ; though ^"JJ 
it is perhaps more felt in this, and often oc- 
casions it to be rejected by beginners as dry 
and tedious; viz. the difficulty of perceiving 
to what ultimate end, to what practical or 
interesting application the abstract principles 
lead, which are first laid before the student ; 
so that he will often have to work his way 
patiently through the most laborious part of 
the system before he can gain any clear idea 
of the drift and intention of it. 

This complaint has often been made by che- 
mical students ; who are wearied with descrip- 
tions of oxygen, hydrogen, and other invisible 
elements, before they have any knowledge 
respecting such bodies as commonly present 
themselves to the senses. And accordingly 
some teachers of chemistry obviate in a great 
degree this objection, by adopting the ana- Analytical 

r f* anc * s y nt h et i' 

tyttcal instead of the synthetical mode or pro- 
cedure, when they are first introducing the 
subject to beginners ; i. e. instead of syntheti- 
cally enumerating the elementary substances, 
proceeding next to the simplest combinations 
of these, and concluding with those more 
complex substances which are of the most 
common occurrence, they begin by analyzing 
these last, and resolving them step by step 
into their simple elements ; thus at once 

c 2 


presenting the subject in an interesting point 
of view, and clearly setting forth the object of 
it. The synthetical form of teaching is in- 
deed sufficiently interesting to one who has 
made considerable progress in any study ; and 
being more concise, regular, and systematic, 
is the form in which our knowledge naturally 
arranges itself in the mind, and is retained by 
the memory : but the analytical is the more 
interesting, easy, and natural kind of intro- 
duction ; as being the form in which the first 
invention or discovery of any kind of system 
must originally have taken place. 

It may be advisable, therefore, to begin by 
giving a slight sketch, in this form, of the 
logical system, before we enter regularly upon 
the details of it. The reader will thus be pre- 
sented with a kind of imaginary history of the 
course of inquiry by which that system may be 
conceived to have occurred to a philosophical 



IN every instance in which we reason, in 
the strict sense of the word, L e. make use of 
arguments, whether for the sake of refuting 
an adversary, or of conveying instruction, or 
of satisfying our own minds on any point, 
whatever may be the subject we are engaged 
on, a certain process takes place in the mind, 
which is one and the same in all cases, pro- 
vided it be correctly conducted. 

Of course it cannot be supposed that every 
one is even conscious of this process in his own 
mind ; much less, is competent to explain the 
principles on which it proceeds. This indeed 
is, and cannot but be, the case with every 
other process respecting which any system has 
been formed ; the practice not only may exist 
independently of the theory, but must have 
preceded the theory. There must have been 
Language before a system of Grammar could 
be devised ; and musical compositions, previous 
to the science of Music. This, by the way, 


will serve to expose the futility of the popular 
objection against Logic, that men may reason 
very well who know nothing of it.* The 

* Locke has a great deal to this purpose ; e. g. in chap. 
xvii. " on Reason," (which, by the way, he perpetually 
confounds with Reasoning.) He says, in 4, " If syllo- 
gisms must be taken for the only proper instrument of 
reason and means of knowledge, it will follow, that before 
Aristotle there was not one man that did or could know 
any thing by reason ; and that since the invention of syl- 
logisms there is not one in ten thousand that doth. But 
God has not been so sparing to men to make them barely 
two-legged creatures, and left it to Aristotle to make them 
rational, i. e. those few of them that he could get so to 
examine the grounds of syllogisms, as to see that in above 
threescore ways that three propositions may be laid together, 
there are but fourteen wherein one may be sure that 
the conclusion is right," fyc. 8$c. " God has been more 
bountiful to mankind than so : He has given them a mind 
that 'can reason without being instructed in methods of 
syllogizing," fyc. $c. All this is not at all less absurd than 
if any one, on being told of the discoveries of modern 
chemists respecting caloric, and on hearing described the 
process by which it is conducted through a boiler into the 
water, which it converts into a gas of sufficient elasticity 
to overcome the pressure of the atmosphere, fyc., should 
reply, " If all this were so, it would follow that before the 
time of these chemists no one ever did or could make any 
liquor boil." 

In an ordinary, obscure, and trifling writer, all this con- 
fusion of thought and common-place declamation might 
as well have been left unnoticed ; but it is due to the 
general ability and to the celebrity of such an author as 
Locke, that errors of this kind should be exposed. 

He presently after inserts an encomium upon Aristotle, 
in which he is equally unfortunate ; he praises him for the 
''invention of syllogisms:" to which he certainly had no 


parallel instances adduced, show that such an 
objection might be applied in many other cases, 
where its absurdity would be obvious ; and 
that there is no ground for deciding thence, 
either that the system has no tendency to 
improve practice, or that even if it had not, it 
might not still be a dignified and interesting 

One of the chief impediments to the attain- 
ment of a just view of the nature and object of 
Logic, is the not fully understanding, or not 
sufficiently keeping in mind, the SAMENESS of 
the reasoning-process in all cases. If, as the 
ordinary mode of speaking would seem to in- 
dicate, mathematical reasoning, and theologi- 
cal, and metaphysical, and political, Sfc. were 
essentially different from each other, i. e. dif- 
ferent kinds of reasoning, it would follow, that 
supposing there could be at all any such science 
as we Jiatfe described Logic, there must be so 
many different species, or at least different 

more claim than Linnaeus to the creation of plants and 
animals ; or Harvey, to the praise of having made the blood 
circulate ; or Lavoisier, to that of having formed the atmo- 
sphere we breathe. And the utility of this invention con- 
sists, according to him, in the great service done against 
"those who were not ashamed to deny anything;" a service 
which never could have been performed, had syllogisms 
been an invention or discovery of Aristotle's ; for what 
sophist could ever have consented to restrict himself to one 
particular kind of arguments, dictated by his opponent ? 


branches of Logic. And such is perhaps the 
most, prevailing notion. Nor is this much to 
be wondered at ; since it is evident to all, that 
some men converse and write, in an argumen- 
tative way, very justly on one subject, and 
very erroneously on another ; in which again 
Reasoning others excel, who fail in the former. This error 

process simi- 

j^ t 1 s llallsub - may be at once illustrated and removed, by 
considering the parallel instance of Arithmetic; 
in which every one is aware that the process 
of a calculation is not affected by the nature of 
the objects, whose numbers are before us : but 
that (e. g.) the multiplication of a number is 
the very same operation, whether it be a 
number of men, of miles, or of pounds ; 
though nevertheless persons may perhaps 
be found who are accurate in calculations 
relative to natural philosophy, and incorrect 
in those of political economy, from their dif- 
ferent degrees of skill in the subjects of these 
two sciences ; not surely because there are 
different arts of Arithmetic applicable to each 
of these respectively. 

Others again, who are aware that the simple 
system of Logic may be applied to all subjects 
whatever, are yet disposed to view it as a 
peculiar method of reasoning, and not, as it is, 
a method of unfolding and analyzing our rea- 
soning : whence many have been led (e.g. the 
author of the Philosophy of Rhetoric) to talk 


of comparing Syllogistic reasoning with Moral 
reasoning; taking it for granted that it is 
possible to reason correctly without reasoning 
logically ; which is, in fact, as great a blunder 
as if any one were to mistake grammar for a 
peculiar language, and to suppose it possible 
to speak correctly without speaking grammati- 
cally. They have in short considered Logic 
as an art of reasoning ; whereas (so far as it 
is an art) it is the art of reasoning ; the logi- 
cian's object being, not to lay down principles 
by which one may reason, but, by which all 
must reason, even though they are not dis- 
tinctly aware of them : to lay down rules, 
not which may be followed with advantage, 
but which cannot possibly be departed from 
in sound reasoning. These misapprehensions 
and objections being such as lie on the very 
threshold of the subject, it would have been 
hardly possible, without noticing them, to 
convey any just notion of the nature and 
design of the logical system. 


Supposing it then to have been perceived 
that the operation of reasoning is in all cases 
the same, the analysis of that operation could 
not fail to strike the mind as an interesting 
matter of inquiry. And moreover, since 
(apparent) arguments which are unsound and 


inconclusive, are so often employed, either from 
error or design ; and since even those who are 
not misled by these fallacies, are so often at 
a loss to detect and expose them in a manner 
satisfactory to others, or even to themselves ; 
it could not but appear desirable to lay down 
some general rules of reasoning applicable to all 
cases ; by which a person might be enabled the 
more readily and clearly to state the grounds 
of his own conviction, or of his objection to the 
arguments of an opponent ; instead of arguing 
at random, without any fixed and acknowledged 
principles to guide his procedure. Such rules 
would be analogous to those of Arithmetic, 
which obviate the tediousness and uncertainty 
of calculations in the head ; wherein, after 
much labour, different persons might arrive at 
different results, without any of them being 
able distinctly to point out the error of the rest. 
A system of such rules, it is obvious, must, in- 
stead of deserving to be called the art of wrang- 
ling, be more justly characterized as the "art 
of cutting short wrangling," by bringing the 
parties to issue at once, if not to agreement ; 
and thus saving a waste of ingenuity. 
Analysis of In pursuing the supposed investigation, it 
will be found that every conclusion is deduced, 
in reality, from two other propositions; (thence 
called Premises;) for though one of these may 
be, and commonly is, suppressed, it must never- 


theless be understood as admitted ; as may 
easily be made evident by supposing the denial 
of the suppressed premiss ; which will at once 
invalidate the argument : e.g. if any one, from 
perceiving that " the world exhibits marks of 
design," infers that "it must have had an in- 
telligent author," though he may not be aware 
in his own mind of the existence of any other 
premiss, he will readily understand, if it be 
denied that " whatever exhibits marks of design 
must have had an intelligent author," that the 
affirmative of that proposition is necessary to 
the validity of the argument. An argument 
thus stated regularly and at full length, is 
called a Syllogism; which therefore is evidently 
not a peculiar kind of argument, but only a 
peculiar form of expression, in which every 
argument may be stated. 

When one of the premises is suppressed, 
(which for brevity's sake it usually is) the 
argument is called an Enthymeme. And it 
may be worth while to remark, that when the 
argument is in this state, the objections of an 
opponent are (or rather appear to be) of two 
kinds ; viz. either objections to the assertion 
itself, or objections to its/ora?as an argument. 
E. G. In the above instance, an atheist may be 
conceived either denying that the world does 
exhibit marks of design, or denying that it 
follows from thence that it had an intelligent 


author. Now it is important to keep in mind 
that the only difference in the two cases is, that 
in the. one, the expressed premiss is denied, in 
the other the suppressed ; for the force as an 
argument of either premiss depends on the 
other premiss : if both be admitted, the con- 
clusion legitimately connected with them 
cannot be denied. 

It is evidently immaterial to the argument 
whether the conclusion be placed first or last ; 
but it may be proper to remark, that a premiss 
placed offer its conclusion is called the Reason* 
of it, and is introduced by one of those con- 
junctions which are called causal ; vis. " since," 
" because," fyc. which may indeed be employed 
to designate a premiss, whether it came first 
or last. The illative conjunctions, " therefore," 
$c. designate the conclusion. 

It is a circumstance which often occasions 
error and perplexity, that both these classes 
of conjunctions have also another signification, 
being employed to denote, respectively, Cause 
and Effect, as well as Premiss and Conclusion: 
e. g. If I say, " this ground is rich, because the 
trees on it are flourishing," or " the trees are 
flourishing, and therefore the soil must be rich," 
I employ these conjunctions to denote the con- 
nexion of Premiss and Conclusion; for it is 

* The Major-premiss is often called the Principle; and 
the word Reason is then confined to the Minor. 


plain that the luxuriance of the trees is not 
the cause of the soil's fertility, but only the 
cause of my knowing it. If again I say, "the 
trees flourish, because the ground is rich/ 
or " the ground is rich, and therefore the trees 
flourish," I am using the very same conjunc- 
tions to denote the connexion of cause and Proof and 
effect; for in this case, the luxuriance of the 
trees, being evident to the eye, would hardly 
need to be proved, but might need to be 
accounted for. There are, however, many 
cases, in which the cause is employed to prove 
the existence of its effect ; especially in argu- 
ments relating iv future events ; as e. g. when 
from favourable weather any one argues that 
the crops are likely to be abundant :* the 
cause and the reason, in that case, coincide. 
And this contributes to their being so often 
confounded together in other cases. 


In an argument, such as the example above 
given, it is, as has been said, impossible for any 
one, who admits both premises, to avoid 
admitting the conclusion* But there will be 
frequently an apparent connexion of premises Apparent 
with a conclusion which does not in reality 
follow from them, though to the inattentive 

* See Appendix, No. I. art. Reason. See also Rhetoric, 
Part I. ch. 2. ii. 


or unskilful the argument may appear to be 
valid : and there are many other cases in 
which a doubt may exist whether the argu- 
ment be valid or not : i. e. whether it be 
possible or not to admit the premises, and 
yet deny the conclusion. It is of the highest 
importance, therefore, to lay down some regu- 
lar form to which every valid argument may 
be reduced, and to devise a rule which shall 
show the validity of every argument in that 
form, and consequently the unsoundness of 
any apparent argument which cannot be re- 
duced to it : e. g. if such an argument as this 
be proposed, " every rational agent is account- 
able ; brutes are not rational agents ; therefore 
they are not accountable :" or again, " all wise 
legislators suit their laws to the genius of their 
nation ; Solon did this ; therefore he was a 
wise legislator :" there are some, perhaps, who 
would not perceive any fallacy in such argu- 
ments, especially if enveloped in a cloud of 
words ; and still more, when the conclusion 
is true, or (which comes to the same point) 
if they are disposed to believe it : and others 
might perceive indeed, but might be at a loss 
to explain, the fallacy. Now these (apparent) 
arguments exactly correspond, respectively, 
with the following, the absurdity of the con- 
clusions from which is manifest : "every horse 
is an animal ; sheep are not horses ; therefore 


they are not animals ;" and, " all vegetables 
grow ; an animal grows ; therefofe it is a 
vegetable." These last examples, I have said, 
correspond exactly (considered as arguments) 
with the former ; the question respecting the 
validity of an argument being, not whether 
the conclusion be true, but whether it follows 
from the premises adduced. This mode of 
exposing a fallacy, by bringing forward a simi- 
lar one whose conclusion is obviously absurd, 
is often, and very advantageously, resorted 
to in addressing those who are ignorant of 
Logical rules ;* but to lay down such rules, 
and employ them as a test, is evidently a safer 
and more compendious, as well as a more 
philosophical mode of proceeding. To attain 
these, it would plainly be necessary to analyze 
some clear and valid arguments, and to observe 
in what their conclusiveness consists. 

* An exposure of some of Hume's fallacies in his "Essay 
on Miracles" and elsewhere, was attempted, on this plan, 
a few years ago, in a pamphlet (published anonymously, as 
the nature of the argument required, but which I see no 
reason against acknowledging) entitled " Historic Doubts 
relative to Napoleon Buonaparte ;" in which it was shown 
that the existence of that extraordinary person could not, 
on Hume's principles, be received as a well-authenticated 
fact ; since it rests on evidence less strong than that which 
supports the Scripture-histories. 

For a clear development of the mode in which this last 
evidence operates on most minds, see " Hinds on Inspira- 
tion," p. 3046. 


Let us suppose, then, such an examination 
to be made of the syllogism above mentioned : 
" whatever exhibits marks of design had an 
intelligent author ; the world exhibits marks of 
design ; therefore the world had an intelligent 
author." In the first of these premises we find 
it assumed universally of the class of " things 
which exhibit marks of design/' that they had 
an intelligent author ; and in the other premiss, 
"the world "is referred to that class as com- 
prehended in it : now it is evident, that what- 
ever is said of the whole of a class, may be said 
of any thing comprehended in that class : so 
that we are thus authorized to say of the 
world, that "it had an intelligent author." 
Again, if we examine a syllogism with a nega- 
tive conclusion, as, e. g. " nothing which exhi- 
bits marks of design could have been produced 
by chance ; the world exhibits, tyc. ; therefore 
the world could not have been produced by 
chance :" the process of Reasoning will be 
found to be the same ; since it is evident, that 
whatever is denied universally of any class may 
be denied of any thing that is comprehended 
in that class. 

On further examination it will be found, that 
all valid arguments whatever may be easily 
reduced to such a form as that of the fore- 
going syllogisms ; and that consequently the 
principle on which they are constructed is the 


So elliptical, indeed, is the ordinary mode of 
expression, even of those who are considered 
as prolix writers, i. e. so much is implied and 
left to be understood in the course of argu- 
ment, in comparison of what is actually stated, 
(most men being impatient, even to excess, of 
any appearance of unnecessary and tedious 
formality of statement), that a single sentence 
will often be found, though perhaps considered 
as a single argument, to contain, compressed 
into a short compass, a chain of several distinct 
arguments. But if each of these be fully deve- 
loped, and the whole of what the author in- 
tended to imply be stated expressly, it will be 
found that all the steps even of the longest and 
most complex train of reasoning, may be re- 
duced into the above form. 

It is a mistake (which might appear scarcely 
worthy of notice, had not so many, even 
esteemed writers, fallen into it) to imagine that 
Aristotle and other logicians meant to propose 
that this prolix form of unfolding arguments 
should universally supersede, in argumentative 
discourses, the common forms of expression ; 
and that, " to reason logically/' means, to state 
all arguments at full length in the syllogistic 
form : and Aristotle has even been charged with 
inconsistency for not doing so. It has been said 
that " in his Treatises of Ethics, Politics, $fc< 



he argues like a rational creature, and never 
attempts to bring his own system into prac- 
tice." * As well might a chemist be charged 
with inconsistency for making use of any of 
the compound substances that are commonly 
employed, without previously analyzing and 
resolving them into their simple elements ; as 
well might it be imagined that, to speak gram- 
matically, means, to parse every sentence we 
utter. The chemist (to pursue the illustration) 
keeps by him his tests and his method of 
analysis, to be employed when any substance is 
offered to his notice, the composition of which 
has not been ascertained, or in which adultera- 
tion is suspected. Now a fallacy may aptly 
be compared to some adulterated compound ; 
" it consists of an ingenious mixture of truth 
" and falsehood, so entangled, so intimately 
" blended, that the falsehood is (in the che- 
" mical phrase) held in solution : one drop of 
" sound logic is that test which immediately 
" disunites them, makes the Foreign substance 
" visible, and precipitates it to the bottom."f 

Aristotle's But to resume the investigation of the prin- 


* Lord Kames. 

"|" This excellent illustration is cited from a passage in an 
anonymous pamphlet, "An Examination of Kett's Logic." 
The author displays, though in a hasty production, great 
reach of thought, as well as knowledge of his subject. 


ciples of reasoning : the maxim resulting from 
the examination of a syllogism in the foregoing 
form, and of the application of which, every 
valid argument is in reality an instance, is, 
" that whatever is predicated (i. e. affirmed or 
denied) universally, of any class of things, may 
be predicated, in like manner, (viz. affirmed 
or denied) of any thing comprehended in that 
class." This is the principle, commonly called 
the dictum de omnl et nullo, for the establishment 
of which we are indebted to Aristotle, and which 
is the keystone of his whole logical system. 

It is not a little remarkable that some, 
otherwise judicious writers, should have been 
so carried away by their zeal against that phi- 
losopher, as to speak with scorn and ridicule 
of this principle, on account of its obviousness 
and simplicity ; though they would probably 
perceive at once, in any other case, that it is 
the greatest triumph of philosophy to refer 
many, and seemingly very various, phenomena 
to one, or a very few, simple principles ; and 
that the more simple and evident such a prin- 
ciple is, provided it be truly applicable to all 
the cases in question, the greater is its value 
and scientific beauty. If, indeed, any prin- 
ciple be regarded as not thus applicable, that 
is an objection to it of a different kind. Such 
an objection against Aristotle's dictum, no one 
has ever attempted to establish by any kind 
D 2 


of proof; but it has often been taken for 
granted ; it being (as has been stated) very 
commonly supposed, without examination, that 
the syllogism is a distinct kind of argument, 
and that the rules of it accordingly do not 
apply, nor were intended to apply, to all 
reasoning whatever. Dr. Campbell* endea- 
vours, under this misapprehension, with some 
ingenuity, and not without an air of plausi- 
bility, to show that every syllogism must be 
futile and worthless, because the premises vir- 
tually assert the conclusion : little dreaming of 
course, that his objections, however specious, 
lie against the process of reasoning itself, 
universally ; and will, therefore, of course, 
apply to those very arguments which he is 
himself adducing. He should have been re- 
minded of the story of the woodman, who had 
mounted a tree, and was so earnestly employed 
in lopping the boughs, that he unconsciously 
cut off the bough on which he was standing. 

It is much more extraordinary to find 
another eminent authorf adopting, expressly, 
the very same objections, and yet distinctly 
admitting (within a few pages) the possibility 
of reducing every course of argument to a 
series of syllogisms. 

The same writer brings an objection against 

* " Philosophy of Rhetoric." 

\ Dugald Stewart : Philosophy, vol. ii. 


the Dictum of Aristotle, which it may be worth 
while to notice briefly, for the sake of setting 
in a clearer light the real character and object 
of that principle. Its application being, as 
has been seen, to a regular and conclusive 
syllogism, he supposes it intended to prove 
and make evident the collusiveness of such 
a syllogism ; and remarks how unphilosophical 
it is to attempt giving a demonstration of a 
demonstration. And certainly the charge 
would be just, if we could imagine the logi- 
cian's object to be, to increase the certainty 
of a conclusion which we are supposed to have 
already arrived at by the clearest possible mode 
of proof. But it is very strange that such an 
idea should ever have occurred to one who had 
even the slightest tincture of natural philo- 
sophy : for it might as well be imagined that 
a natural philosopher's or a chemist's design is 
to strengthen the testimony of our senses by 
a priori reasoning, and to convince us that a 
stone when thrown will fall to the ground, and 
that gunpowder will explode when fired ; be- 
cause they show that according to their prin- 
ciples those phenomena must take place as 
they do. But it would be reckoned a mark 
of the grossest ignorance and stupidity not to 
be aware that their object is not to prove the 
existence of an individual phenomenon, which 
our eyes have witnessed, but (as the phrase is) 


to account for it : i. e. to show according to 
what principle it takes place ; to refer, in 
short, the individual case to a general law of 
nature. The object of Aristotle's dictum is 
precisely analogous; he had, doubtless, no 
thought of adding to the force of any indi- 
vidual syllogism ; his design was to point out 
the general principle on which that process is 
conducted which takes place in each syllogism. 
And as the Laws* of nature (as they are called) 
are in reality merely generalized facts, of 
which all the phenomena coming under them 
are particular instances ; so, the proof drawn 
from Aristotle's dictum is not a distinct 
demonstration brought to confirm another 
demonstration, but is merely a generalized 
and abstract statement of all demonstration 
whatever ; and is, therefore, in fact, the very 
demonstration which (mutatis mutandis) ac- 
commodated to the various subject-matters, is 
actually employed in each particular case. 
The dictum, a In order to trace more distinctly the different 
ste P s * ^ e abstracting process, by which any 
particular argument may be brought into the 
most general form, we may first take a syllogism 
(i. e. an argument stated accurately and at full 
length), such as the example formerly given, 
" whatever exhibits marks of design, $*.," and 
then somewhat generalize the expression, by 

* Appendix, No. I. art. Law. 

statement of 


substituting (as in algebra) arbitrary unmeaning 
symbols for the significant terms that were 
originally used ; the syllogism will then stand 
thus ; " every B is A ; C is B ; therefore C is 
A." The reasoning is no less evidently valid 
when thus stated, whatever terms A, B, and C, 
respectively may be supposed to stand for. 
Such terms may indeed be inserted as to 
make all or some of the assertions false ; but 
it will still be no less impossible for ar.y one 
who admits the truth of the premises, in an 
argument thus constructed, to deny the con- 
clusion ; and this it is that constitutes the 
conclusiveness of an argument. 

Viewing then the syllogism thus expressed, 
it appears clearly, that " A stands for any thing 
zvhatever that is affirmed of a whole class," 
(viz. of every B) " which class comprehends or 
contains in it something else," viz. C (of which 
B is, in the second premiss, affirmed) ; and 
that, consequently, the first term (A) is, in the 
conclusion, predicated of the third C. 

Now to assert the validity of this process, 
now before us, is to state the very dictum 
we are treating of, with hardly even a verbal 
alteration ; viz. : 

1. Anything whatever, predicated of a whole 

2. Under which class something else is con- 


3. May be predicated of that which is so 

The three members into which the maxim 
is here distributed, correspond to the three 
propositions of the syllogism to which they are 
intended respectively to apply. 

The advantage of substituting for the terms, 
in a regular syllogism, arbitrary unmeaning 
symbols, such as letters of the alphabet, is 
much the same as in geometry : the reasoning 
itself is then considered, by itself, clearly, and 
without any risk of our being misled by the 
truth or falsity of the conclusion ; which is, in 
fact, accidental and variable ; the essential 
point being, as far as the argument is con- 
cerned, the connexion between the premises 
and the conclusion. We are thus enabled to 
embrace the general principle of all reasoning, 
and to perceive its applicability to an inde- 
finite number of individual cases. That Aris- 
totle, therefore, should have been accused of 
making use of these symbols for the purpose 
of darkening his demonstrations, and that too 
by persons not unacquainted with geometry 
and algebra, is truly astonishing. If a geo- 
meter, instead of designating the four angles 
of a square by four letters, were to call them 
north, south, east, and west, he would not 
render the demonstration of a theorem the 
easier ; and the learner would be much 


more likely to be perplexed in the application 
of it. 

It belongs then exclusively to a syllogism, 
properly so called (i. e. a valid argument, so 
stated that its conclusiveness is evident from 
the mere form of the expression), that if letters, 
or any other unmeaning symbols, be substi- 
tuted for the several terms, the validity of the 
argument shall still be evident. Whenever 
this is not the case, the supposed argument is 
either unsound and sophistical, or else may be 
reduced (without any alteration of its meaning) 
into the syllogistic form ; in which form, the 
test just mentioned may be applied to it. 

What is called an unsound or fallacious Detection of 

unsound ar- 

argument (i.e. an apparent argument, which is, uments - 
in reality, none) cannot, of course, be reduced 
into this form ; but when stated in the form 
most nearly approaching to this that is possible, 
its fallaciousness becomes more evident, from 
its nonconformity to the foregoing rule : e. g. 
" whoever is capable of deliberate crime is re- 
sponsible ; an infant is not capable of deliberate 
crime ; therefore, an infant is not resposible," 
(see 3) : here the term " responsible " is 
affirmed universally of " those capable of deli- 
berate crime ;" it might, therefore, according 
to Aristotle's dictum, have been affirmed of 
anything contained under that class ; but, in 
the instance before us, nothing is mentioned 


as contained under that class ; only, the term 
"infant" is excluded from that class; and 
though what is affirmed of a whole class may 
be affirmed of any thing that is contained under 
it, there is no ground for supposing that it may 
be denied of whatever is not so contained ; for 
it is evidently possible that it may be applicable 
to a whole class and to something else besides : 
to say, e. g. that all trees are vegetables, does 
not imply that nothing else is a vegetable. 
Nor, when it is said, that all who are capable 
of deliberate crime are responsible, does this 
imply, that no others are responsible ; for 
though this may be very true, it has not been 
asserted in the premiss before us ; and in the 
analysis of an argument, we are to discard all 
consideration of what might be asserted ; con- 
templating only what actually is. laid down in 
the premises. It is evident, therefore, that such 
an apparent argument as the above does not 
comply with the rule laid down, nor can be so 
stated as to comply with it ; and is conse- 
quently invalid. 

Again, in this instance, " food is necessary to 
life ; corn is food ; therefore, corn is necessary 
to life :" the term " necessary to life" is affirmed 
of food, but not universally ; for it is not said of 
every kind of food: the meaning of the assertion 
being manifestly that some food is necessary to 
life : here again, therefore, the rule has not 


been complied with, since that which has been 
predicated, (I. e. affirmed or denied) not of the 
whole, but of a part only of a certain class, 
cannot be, on that ground, predicated of any 
thing whatever, that is contained under that 


The fallacy in this last case is, what is usually 
described in logical language as consisting in 
the " non-distribution of the middle term :" i. e. 
its not being employed to denote all the objects ^ 
to which it is applicable. In order to under- 
stand this phrase, it is necessary to observe, that 
a proposition being an expression in which one 
thing is said, L e. affirmed or denied of another ; 
(e. g. " A is B,") both that of which something 
is said, and that which is said of it (i. e. both A 
and B), are called " terms;" from their being 
(in their nature) the extremes or boundaries of 
the proposition: and there are, of course, two, 
and but two, terms in a proposition (though it 
may so happen that either of them may con- 
sist either of one word, or of several) ; and a Distribution 

. .1 T i i > of terms. 

term is said to be "distributed/ when it is 
taken universally, so as to stand for every 
thing it is capable of being applied to ; and 
consequently " undistributed,'* when it stands 
for a portion only of the things signified by 
it : thus, " all food," or every kind of food, are 


expressions which imply the distribution of the 
term " food ;" " some food " would imply its 
non-distribution. And it is also to be ob- 
served that the term of which, in one premiss, 
something is affirmed or denied, and to 
which, in the other premiss, something else 
is referred as contained in it, is called the 
" middle " term in the syllogism, as standing 
between the other two (viz. the two terms of 
the conclusion), and being the medium of 
proof. Now it is plain, that if in each 
premiss a part only of this middle term is 
employed, i. e. if it be not at all distributed, 
no conclusion can be drawn. Hence, if, in 
the example formerly adduced, it had been 
merely stated that "something " (not " what- 
ever," or " everything ") " which exhibits marks 
of design, is the work of an intelligent author," 
it would not have followed, from the world's 
exhibiting marks of design, that that is the 
work of an intelligent author. 

It is to be observed, also, that the words 
" all " and " every," which mark the distribu- 
tion of a term, and " some," which marks its 
non-distribution, are not always expressed : 
they are frequently understood, and left to be 
supplied by the context ; e. g. " food is neces- 
sary ;" viz. " some food ;" " man is mortal ;" viz. 
" every man." Propositions thus expressed are 
called by logicians " Indefinite," because it is 


left undetermined by the form of the expres- 
sion whether the " subject" (the term of which 
something is affirmed or denied being called 
the "subject" of the proposition, and that which 
is said of it, the " predicate ") be distributed 
or not. Nevertheless it is plain that in every 
proposition the Subject either is, or is not, 
meant to be distributed ; though it be not 
declared whether it is or not. Consequently, 
every proposition, whether expressed indefi- 
nitely or not, must be understood as either 
" universal " or " particular ;" those being 
called universal in which the predicate is 
said of the whole of the subject (or, in other 
words, where the subject is distributed) ; and 
those, particular, in which it is said only of 
a part of the subject : e. g. " All men are 
sinful," is universal ; " some men are sinful," 
particular. And this division of propositions 
is, in logical language, said to be according to 
their "quantity." 

But the distribution or non-distribution of Quai?tityand 
the predicate is entirely independent of the 
quantity of the proposition ; nor are the signs 
" all " and " some " ever affixed to the pre- 
dicate ; because its distribution depends upon, 
and is indicated by, the "quality" of the pro- 
position ; i. e. its being affirmative or negative ; 
it being a universal rule, that the predicate of 
a negative proposition is distributed, and of 


an affirmative, undistributed.* The reason 
of this may easily be understood, by consider- 
ing that a term which stands for a whole class 
may be applied to (i. e. affirmed of) any thing 
that is comprehended under that class, though 
the term of which it is thus affirmed may be 
of much narrower extent than that other, and 
may, therefore, be far from coinciding with the 
whole of it. Thus it may be said with truth, 
that "the Negroes are uncivilized," though 
the term uncivilized be of much wider extent 
than "Negroes," comprehending, besides them, 
Hottentots, fyc.\ so that it would not be allow- 
able to assert, that " all who are uncivilized 
are Negroes ;" it is evident, therefore, that it 
is a part only of the term " uncivilized " that 
has been affirmed of " Negroes :" and the 
same reasoning applies to every affirmative 
proposition ; for though it may so happen 

* The learner may perhaps be startled at being told that 
the predicate of an affirmative is never distributed ; espe- 
cially as Aldrich has admitted that accidentally this may 
take place : as in such a proposition as " all equilateral 
triangles are equiangular :" but this is not accurate : he 
might have said that in such a proposition as the above 
the predicate is distributable, but not that it is actually dis- 
tributed : i. e. it so happens that " all equiangular triangles 
are equilateral ;" but this is not implied in the previous 
assertion ; and the point to be considered is, not what 
might be said with truth, but what actually has been said. 
And accordingly mathematicians give distinct demonstration 
of the above two propositions. 


that the subject and predicate coincide, i. e. 
are of equal extent, as, e. g. " all men are 
rational animals;" "all equilateral triangles 
are equiangular ;" (it being equally true, that 
" all rational animals are men," and that " all 
equiangular triangles are equilateral ;") yet this 
is not implied by the form of the expression ; 
since it would be no less true, that " all men 
are rational animals," even if there were other 
rational animals besides man. 

It is plain, therefore, that if any part of the 
predicate is applicable to the subject, it may 
be affirmed, and, of course, cannot be denied, 
of that subject ; and consequently, when the 
predicate is denied of the subject, this implies 
that no part of that predicate is applicable to 
that subject ; i.e. that the whole of the predicate 
is denied of the subject : for to say, e. g. that 
" no beasts of prey ruminate," implies that 
beasts of prey are excluded from the whole 
class of ruminant animals, and consequently 
that " no ruminant animals are beasts of prey." 
And hence results the above-mentioned rule, 
that the distribution of the predicate is implied 
in negative propositions, and its non-distribu- 
tion in affirmatives. 

It is to be remembered, therefore, that it is Distribution 

of middle 

not sufficient for the middle term to occur in a terms - 
universal proposition ; since if that proposition 
be an affirmative, and the middle term be the 


predicate of it, it will not be distributed : e. g. 
if in the example formerly given, it had been 
merely asserted, that " all the works of an 
intelligent author show marks of design/' 
and that "the universe shows marks of design," 
nothing could have been proved ; since, though 
both these propositions are universal, the 
middle term is made the predicate in each, 
and both are affirmative ; and accordingly, the 
rule of Aristotle is not here complied with, 
since the term " work of an intelligent author," 
which is to be proved applicable to " the 
universe," would not have been affirmed of the 
middle term (" what shows marks of design ") 
under which " universe" is contained ; but the 
middle term, on the contrary, would have been 
affirmed of it. 

If, however, one of the premises be nega- 
tive, the middle term may then be made the 
predicate of that, and will thus, according to 
the above remark, be distributed ; e. g. " no 
ruminant animals are predacious ; the lion is 
predacious ; therefore the lion is not rumi- 
nant :" this is a valid syllogism ; and the middle 
term (predacious) is distributed by being made 
the predicate of a negative proposition. The 
form, indeed, of the syllogism is not that pre- 
scribed "by the dictum of Aristotle, but it may 
easily be reduced to that form, by stating the 
first proposition thus: " no predacious animals 


are ruminant ;" which is manifestly implied 
(as was above remarked) in the assertion that 
" no ruminant animals are predacious." The 
syllogism will thus appear in the form to 
which the dictum applies. 

It is not every argument, indeed, that can be 
reduced to this form by so short and simple an 
alteration as in the case before us : a longer and 
more complex process will often be required ; 
and rules will hereafter be laid down to faci- 
litate this process in certain cases : but there is 
no sound argument but what can be reduced 
into this form, without at all departing from 
the real meaning and drift of it ; and the form 
will be found (though more prolix than is 
needed for ordinary use) the most perspicuous 
in which an argument can be exhibited. 

All reasoning whatever, then, rests on the 
one simple principle laid down by Aristotle, 
that " what is predicated, either affirmatively 
or negatively, of a term distributed, may be 
predicated in like manner (i. e. affirmatively or 
negatively) of any thing contained under that 
term." So that when our object is to prove 
any proposition, i. e. to show that one term 
may rightly be affirmed or denied of another, 
the process which really takes place in our 
minds is, that we refer that term (of which 
the other is to be thus predicated; to some 
class (L e. middle term) of which that other 



may be affirmed, or denied, as the case may 

Whatever the subject-matter of an argu- 
ment may be, the reasoning itself, considered 
by itself, is in every case the same process ; 
and if the writers against Logic had kept 
this in mind, they would have been cautious 
of expressing their contempt of what they call 
" syllogistic reasoning," which is in truth all 
reasoning ; and instead of ridiculing Aristotle's 
principle for its obviousness and simplicity, 
would have perceived that these are, in fact, 
its highest praise : the easiest, shortest, and 
most evident theory, provided it answer the 
purpose of explanation, being ever the best. 


If we conceive an inquirer to have reached, 
in his investigation of the theory of reasoning, 
the point to which we have now arrived, a 
question which would be likely next to engage 
his attention, is that of Predication; i. e. since 
in reasoning we are to find a middle term, 
which may be predicated affirmatively of the 
subject in question, we are led to inquire what 
terms may be affirmed, and what denied, of 
what others. 

ft j s evident that proper names, or any 
other terms, which denote each but a single 
individual, as " Caesar," " the Thames," " the 



Conqueror of Pompey," "this river" (hence 
called in Logic "singular terms") cannot be 
affirmed of any thing besides themselves, and 
are therefore to be denied of any thing else ; 
we may say, "this river is 'the Thames," or 
" Caesar was the conqueror of Pompey ;" but 
we cannot say of any thing else that it is the 
Thames, fyc. 

On the other hand, those terms which are 
called " common," as denoting any one indivi- 
dual of a whole class, as " river," " conqueror," 
may of course be affirmed of any, or all that 
belong to that class : as, " the Thames is a 
river ;" "the Rhine and the Danube are rivers." 

Common terms, therefore, are called " pre- 
dicables" (viz. affirmatively predicable), from 
their capability of being affirmed of others : a 
singular term, on the contrary, may be the 
Subject of a proposition, but never the Predi- 
cate, unless it be of a negative proposition ; (as, 
e.g. the first-born of Isaac was not Jacob;) or, 
unless the subject and predicate be only two 
expressions for the same individual object ; as 
in some of the above instances. 

The process by which the mind arrives at Abstraction 

and generali- 

the notions expressed by these " common" zation - 
(or in popular language, " general") terms, is 
properly called Generalization ; though it is 
usually (and truly) said to be the business of 
abstraction ; for Generalization is one of the 

K 2 


purposes to which Abstraction is applied. 
When we draw off, and contemplate separately 
any part of an object presented to the mind, 
disregarding the rest of it, we are said to 
abstract that part. Thus, a person might, 
when a rose was before his eyes or mind, 
make the scent a distinct object of attention, 
laying aside all thought of the colour, form, 
8fc. ; and thus, even though it were the only 
rose he had ever met with, he would be em- 
ploying the faculty of Abstraction ; but if, in 
contemplating several objects, and finding that 
they agree in certain points, we abstract the 
circumstances of agreement, disregarding the 
differences, and give to all and each of these 
objects a name applicable to them in respect 
of this agreement, i. e. a common name, as 
(( rose," we are then said to generalize. Ab- 
straction, therefore, does not necessarily imply 
Generalization, though Generalization implies 

Much needless difficulty has been raised 
respecting the results of this process ; many 
having contended, and perhaps more having 
taken for granted, that there must be some 
really existing thing,* corresponding to each 
of those general or common terms, and of 
which such term is the name, standing for 

* See the subjoined Dissertation, -Book IV. Chap. v. 


and representing it : e. g. that as there is a 
really existing Being corresponding to the 
proper name, " .Etna," and signified by it, so 
the common term " mountain," must also have 
some one really existing thing corresponding 
to it ; and of course distinct from each indivi- 
dual mountain (since the term is not singular 
but common), yet existing in each, since the 
term is applicable to each of them. " When 
many different men," it is said, " are at the 
same time thinking or speaking about a 
mountain, i. e. not any particular one, but 
a mountain generally, their minds must be 
all employed on something; which must also 
be one thing, and not several, and yet cannot 
be any one individual." And hence a vast 
train of mystical disquisitions about Ideas, fyc. 
has arisen, which are at best nugatory, and 
tend to obscure our view of the process which 
actually takes place in the mind. 

The fact is, the notion expressed by a com- Notions ex - 

J pressed by 

mon term is merely an inadequate (or incom- t 
plete) notion of an individual ; and from the 
very circumstance of its inadequacy, it will 
apply equally well to any one of several in- 
dividuals : e. g. if I omit the mention and the 
consideration of every circumstance which dis- 
tinguishes ^Etna from any other mountain, I 
then form a notion (expressed by the common 
term mountain) which inadequately designates 


./Etna (i. e. which does not imply any of its 
peculiarities), and is equally applicable to any 
one of several other individuals. 

Generalization, it is plain, may be indefi- 
nitely extended by a further abstraction applied 
to common terms : e. g. as by abstraction from 
the term Socrates we obtain the common term 
" Philosopher ; " so, from " philosopher," by a 
similar process, we arrive at the more general 
term " man ; " from " man" we advance to 
" animal," #c. 

The employment of this faculty at pleasure 
has been regarded, and perhaps with good 
reason, as the characteristic distinction of the 
human mind from that of the Brutes. We are 
thus enabled, not only to separate, and consider 
singly one part of an object presented to the 
mind, but also to fix arbitrarily upon whatever 
part we please, according as may suit the pur- 
pose we happen to have in view. E. G. any 
individual person to whom we may direct our 
attention, may be considered either in a politi- 
cal point of view, and accordingly referred to 
the class of Merchant, Farmer, Lawyer, fyc. as 
the case may be ; or physiologically, as Negro, 
or White-man ; or theologically, as Pagan or 
Christian, Papist or Protestant ; or geographi- 
cally, as European, American, fyc. fyc. And 
so, in respect of anything else that may be 
the subject of our reasoning : we arbitrarily fix 


upon and abstract that point which is essential 
to the purpose in hand ; so that the same object . 
may be referred to various different classes, object. 
according to the occasion. Not, of course, 
that we are allowed to refer anything to a 
class to which it does not really belong ; which 
would be pretending to abstract from it some- 
thing that was no part of it ; but that we arbi- 
trarily fix on any part of it which we choose 
to abstract from the rest. 

It is important to notice this, because men 
are often disposed to consider each object as 
really and properly belonging to some one class 
alone ;* from their having been accustomed, in 
the course of their own pursuits, to consider, 
in one point of view only, things which may 
with equal propriety be considered in other 
points of view also: i. e. referred to various 
Classes, (or predicates.) And this is that 
which chiefly constitutes what is called narrow- 
ness-of-mind. E.G. a mere botanist might be 
astonished at hearing such plants as Clover and 
Lucerne included, in the language of a farmer, 
under the term " grasses," which he has been 
accustomed to limit to a tribe of plants widely 
different in all botanical characteristics ; and 
the mere farmer might be no less surprised to Different 

modes of clas- 

find the troublesome " weed," (as he has been siflcatio 

* See the subjoined Dissertation, Book IV. Chap. v. 


accustomed to call it,) known by the name of 
Couch-grass, and which he has been used to 
class with nettles and thistles, to which it has 
no botanical affinity, ranked by the botanist as 
a species of Wheat, (Triticum Repens.) And 
yet neither of these classifications is in itself 
erroneous or irrational ; though it would be 
absurd, in a botanical treatise, to class plants 
according to their agricultural use ; or, in an 
agricultural treatise, according to the structure 
of their flowers. 

The utility of these considerations, with a 
view to the present subject, will be readily 
estimated, by recurring to the account which 
has been already given of the process of rea- 
soning; the analysis of which shows that it 
consists in referring the term we are speaking 
of to some class, viz. a middle term ; which term 
again is referred to or excluded from (as the 
case may be) another class, viz. the term which 
we wish to affirm or deny of the subject of the 
conclusion. So that the quality of our reason- 
ing in any case must depend on our being 
able correctly, clearly and promptly, to ab- 
stract from the subject in question that which 
may furnish a Middle-term suitable to the 

The imperfect and irregular sketch which 
has here been attempted, of the logical system, 
may suffice (even though some parts of it should 


not be at once fully understood by those who 
are entirely strangers to the study) to point out 
the general drift and purpose of the science, 
and to render the details of it both more inte- 
resting and more intelligible. The analytical 
form, which has here been adopted, is, gene- 
rally speaking, better suited for introducing 
any science in the plainest and most interesting 
form ; though the synthetical, which will hence- 
forth be employed, is the more regular, and 
the more compendious form for storing it up 
in the memory. 

58 [BOOK n. 



CHAP. I. Of the Operations of the Mind and 
of Terms. 


operations of THERE are three operations (or states) of 

the mind. > J 

the mind which are immediately concerned 
in argument ; 1st. Simple Apprehension ; 2d. 
Judgment ; 3d. Discourse or Reasoning.* 
1st. Simple-apprehension is that act or con- 


dition of the mind in which it receives a notion 

of any object; and is analogous to the percep- 

* Logical writers have in general begun by laying down 
that there are, in all, three operations of the mind: (in 
universum tres) an assertion by no means incontrovertible, 
and which, if admitted, is nothing to the present purpose. 
Our business is with argumentation, expressed in words, and 
the operations of the mind implied in that ; what others 
there may be, or whether any, are irrelevant questions. 

The opening of a treatise with a statement respecting 
the operations of the mind universally, tends to foster the 
prevailing error (from which probably the minds of the 
writers were not exempt) of supposing that Logic pro- 
fesses to teach " the use of the mental faculties in general;" 
the " right use of reason," according to Watts. 


tion of the senses. It is either Incomplex or 
Complex :* Incomplex-apprehension is of 
one object, or of several without any relation 
being perceived between them, as of " a man," 
" a horse," " cards :" Complex is of several 
with such a relation, as of " a man on horse- 
back," " a pack of cards." 

2d. Judgment is the comparing together in Judgment. 
the mind two of the notions (or ideas) which 
are the objects of Apprehension, whether com- 
plex or incomplex, and pronouncing that they 
agree or disagree with each other : (or that 
one of them belongs or does not belong to the 
other.) Judgment, therefore, is either affir- 
mative or negative. 

3d. Reasoning (or discourse) is the act of Discourse 
proceeding from one judgment, to another 
founded upon that one, (or the result of it.) 


Language affords the signs by which these Language. 
operations of the mind are expressed and com- 
municated. The notion obtained in an act of 
apprehension, is called, when expressed in lan- 
guage, a term : an act of judgment is expressed 
by a proposition; an act of reasoning, by an 

* With respect to the technical terms employed in this 
work, See Preface, p. xxix. 


argument ; (which, when regularly expressed, 
is a syllogism ;) as e. g. 

" Every dispensation of Providence is beneficial ; 
Afflictions are dispensations of Providence, 
Therefore they are beneficial :" 

is a Syllogism ; the act of reasoning being 
indicated by the word " therefore." It consists 
of three propositions, each of which has (neces- 
sarily) two terms, as " beneficial," " dispensa- 
tions of Providence," Spc.* 

Language is employed for various purposes. 
It is the province of the historian, for instance, 
to convey information by means of language, 
of the Poet, to afford a certain kind of gratifi- 
cation, of the orator, to persuade, &c. &c. ; 
while it belongs to the argumentative writer or 
speaker, as such, to convince the understand- 
ing. And as Grammar is conversant about 
language universally, for whatever purpose it 
is employed, so, it is only so far as it is 
employed for this last purpose, viz. that of 

* In introducing the mention of language previously to 
the definition of Logic, I have departed from established 
practice, in order that it may be clearly understood, that 
Logic is entirely conversant about language. If any process 
of reasoning can take place, in the mind, without any 
employment of language, orally or mentally, (a metaphysical 
question which I shall not here discuss) such a process does 
not come within the province of the science here treated of. 
This truth, most writers on the subject, if indeed they were 
fully aware of it themselves, have certainly not taken due 
care to impress on their readers. 


reasoning, that it falls under the cognizance of 

And whereas, in reasoning, terms are liable Terms. 


to be indistinct, (i. e. without any clear, de- 
terminate meaning,) propositions to be false, 
and arguments inconclusive, Logic undertakes 
directly and completely to guard against this 
last defect, and, incidentally, and in a certain 
degree, against the others, as far as can be done 
by the proper use of language. It is, therefore, 
(when regarded as an art*} " the Art of 
employing language properly for the purpose 
of Reasoning ; and of distinguishing what is 
properly and truly an argument, from spurious 
imitations of it." The importance of such a 
study no one can rightly estimate who has not 
long and attentively considered how much our 
thoughts are influenced by expressions, and 
how much error, perplexity, and labour are 
occasioned by a faulty use of language. 

* It is to be observed, however, that as a science is con- 
versant about speculative knowledge only, so an art is the 
application of knowledge to practice : hence Logic (as well 
as any other system of knowledge) becomes, when applied 
to practice, an art ; while confined to the theory of reason- 
ing, it is strictly a science : and it is as such that it occupies 
the higher place in point of dignity, since it professes to de- 
velop some of the most interesting and curious intellectual 
phenomena. It is surely strange, therefore, to find in a 
treatise on Logic, (Aldrich's) a distinct dissertation to prove 
that it is an Art, and not a Science! 


A syllogism being, as aforesaid, resolvable 
into three propositions, and each proposition 
containing two terms ; of these terms, that 
which is spoken of is called the subject ; that 
which is said of it, the predicate ; and these two 
are called the terms or (extremes) because, 
logically, the Subject is placed first, and the 
Predicate last:* and, in the middle, the Copula, 
which indicates the act of judgment, as by it 
the Predicate is affirmed or denied of the Sub- 
ject. The Copula must be either is or is NOT; 
which expressions indicate simply that you 
affirm or deny the Predicate, of the subject. 
The substantive verb is the only verb recog- 
nised by Logic ; inasmuch as all others are 
compound, being resolvable, by means of the 
verb, "to be," and a participle or adjective: 
e. g. " the Romans conquered :" the word con- 
quered is both copula and predicate, being 
equivalent to " were (Cop.) victorious " (Pred.) 

It is proper to observe, that the copula, as 
such, has no relation to time : but expresses 
merely the agreement or disagreement of two 
given terms : hence, if any other tense of the 
substantive verb, besides the present is used, 
it is either to be understood as the same in 

* In Greek and in Latin, very often, and, not unfre- 
quently, in English, the predicate is, actually, put first : as 
" great is Diana of the Ephesians." 


sense, (the difference of tense being regarded 
as a matter of grammatical convenience only;) 
or else, if the circumstance of time really do 
modify the sense of the whole proposition, so as 
to make the use of that tense an essential, 
then, this circumstance is to be regarded as 
a part of one of the terms : " at that time," 
or some such expression, being understood. 
Sometimes the substantive verb is both copula 
and predicate ; i. e. where existence only is 
predicated : e. g. Deus est, " there is a God." 


It is evident that a Term may consist either 
of one Word or of several ; and that it is not 
every word that is categorematic, i. e. capable 
of being employed by itself as a Term. Ad- 
verbs, Prepositions, tyc. and also Nouns in any 
other case besides the nominative, are syncate- s y ncate g ore- 
gorematic, i. e. can only form part of a term. 
A nominative Noun may be by itself a term. 
A Verb (all except the substantive verb used as 
the copula) is a mixed word, being resolvable Mixed. 
into the Copula and Predicate, to which it is 
equivalent ; and, indeed, is often so resolved 
in the mere rendering out of one language 
into another; as "ipse adest," "he is present." 
It is to be observed, however, that under 
" verb," we do not include the Infinitive, 
which is properly a Noun-substantive, nor 



the Participle, which is a Noun -adjective. 
They are verbals; being related to their re- 
spective verbs in respect of the things they 
signify : but not verbs, inasmuch as they 
differ entirely in their mode of signification. 
It is worth observing, that an Infinitive (though 
it often comes last in the sentence) is never the 
predicate, except when another Infinitive is the 
Subject : e. g. 

subj. pred. 

" I hope to succeed :" i. e. " to succeed is what I hope." 

It is to be observed, also, that in English 
there are two infinitives, one in "ing"* the 
same in sound and spelling as the participle 
present, from which, however, it should be 
carefully distinguished ; e. g. " rising early is 
healthful," and " it is healthful to rise early," 
are equivalent. In this, and in many other 
cases, the English word IT serves as a represen- 
tative of the subject when that is put last : e. g. 

pred. subj. 

" It is to be hoped that we shall succeed." 

* Grammarians have produced much needless perplexity 
by speaking of the participle in " ing" being employed so 
and so ; when it is manifest that that very employment of 
the word constitutes it, to all intents and purposes, an 
infinitive and not a participle. 

The advantage of the infinitive in ing, is, that it may be 
used either in the nominative or in any oblique case ; not 
(as some suppose) that it necessarily implies a habit ; e. g. 
" Seeing is believing :" " there is glory in dying for one's 
country :" " a habit of observing," fyc. 


An adjective (including participles) cannot, 
by itself, be made tbe subject of a proposition ; 
but is often employed as a predicate : as 
" Crassus was rich ;" though some choose to 
consider some substantive as understood in 
every such case, (e. g. rich man) and conse- 
quently do not reckon adjectives among Simple 
terms ; (L e. words which are capable, singly, 
of being employed as terms.) This, however, 
is a question of no practical consequence ; but 
I have thought it best to adhere to Aristotle's 
mode of statement. (See his Categ.) 

Of Simple-terms, then, (which are what the simple- 
first part of Logic treats of) there are many e 
divisions ; of which, however, one will be suffi- 
cient for the present purpose ; viz. into singular 
and common : because, though any term what- 
ever may be a subject, none but a common term 
can be affirmatively predicated of several others. 
A singular term stands for one individual, as singular 
" Caesar," " the Thames " (these, it is plain, 
cannot be said [or predicated] affirmatively, of 
any thing but themselves.) A common term 
stands for several individuals, (which are called 
its significates) : i. e. can be applied to any of 
them, as comprehending them in its single 
signification; as "man," "river," "great." 

The learner who has gone through the 
Analytical Outline, will now be enabled to pro- 
ceed to the Second and Third Chapters either 



with or without the study of the remainder of 
what is usually placed in the First Chapter, 
and which is subjoined as a Supplement. See 
Chap. V. 

CHAP. II. Of Propositions. 


The second part of Logic treats of the 
proposition ; which is, " Judgment expressed in 

Definition of A Proposition is defined logically* " a sentence 
indicative" i. e. affirming or denying ; (this ex- 
cludes commands and questions.') " Sentence" 
being the genus, and "Indicative" the difference, 
this definition expresses the whole essence ; 
and it relates entirely to the words of a propo- 
sition. With regard to the matter, its property 
is to be true or false. Hence it must not be 
ambiguous (for that which has more than one 
meaning is in reality several propositions), nor 
imperfect nor ungrammatical, for such an ex- 
pression has no meaning at all. 

Since the substance (i. e. genus^ or material 
part) of a Proposition is, that it is a sentence 
and since every sentence (whether it be a pro- 

* See Chap. V. 6. f Ibid - 3 - 


position or not) may be expressed either abso- Divisions of 

. propositions. 

lutely* or under an hypothesis,^ on this we 
found the division J of propositions according 
to their substance ; viz. into categorical and substance. 
hypothetical.^ And as genus is said to be pre- 
dicated in quid (what), it is by the members of 
this division that we answer the question, what 
is this proposition ? (quce est propositio.) An- 
swer, Categorical or Hypothetical. 

Categorical propositions are subdivided into 
pure, which asserts simply or purely, that the 
subject does or does not agree with the predi- 
cate, and modal, which expresses in what mode 
(or manner) it agrees ; e. g. " an intemperate 
man will be sickly;" "Brutus killed Caesar;" 
are pure. " An intemperate man will probably 
be sickly;" " Brutus killed Caesar justly;" are 
modal. At present we speak only of pure cate- 
gorical propositions. 

It being the differentia^ of a proposition that 
it affirms or denies, and its property to be true 
or false ; and Differentia being predicated in 

* As, " Caesar deserved death ;" " did Caesar deserve 
death ?" 

j- As, "if Caesar was a tyrant, what did he deserve ?" 
" Was Caesar a hero or a villain ?" " If Caesar was a 
tyrant, he deserved death ;" " He was either a hero or 
a villain." 

J See Chap. V. 5. 

Simple and Compound) according to some writers. 

|| See Chap. V. 3. 



quale quid, Property in quale, we hence form 
another division of propositions, viz. according 

Quality. to their quality, into Affirmative and Negative, 
(which is the quality of the expression, and 
therefore, in Logic, essential} and into True 
and False (which is the quality of the matter, 
and therefore accidental.) An affirmative pro- 
position is one whose copula is affirmative, as 
" birds fly ;" " not to advance is to go back ;" 
a Negative proposition is one whose copula is 
negative, as " man is not perfect ;" " no miser 
is happy." 

Quantity. Another division* of propositions is accord- 
ing to their quantity [or extent.] If the Predi- 
cate is said of the whole of the Subject, the 
proposition is Universal: if of a part of it 
only, the proposition is Particular (or partial :) 
e. g. " England is an island ;" " all tyrants 
are miserable ;" ( ' no miser is rich ;" are Uni- 
versal propositions, and their subjects are 
therefore said to be distributed, being under- 
stood to stand, each, for the whole of its Signi- 
ficates : but, " some islands are fertile ;" " all 
tyrants are not assassinated ;" are Particular, 
and their subjects, consequently, not distri- 
buted, being taken to stand for a part only of 
their Significates. 

As every proposition must be either Affirma- 
tive or Negative, and must also be either uni- 

* See Chap. V. 5. 


versal or particular, we reckon, in all, four 
kinds of pure categorical propositions, (L e. 
considered as to their quantity and quality 
both;) viz. Universal Affirmative, whose symbol 
(used for brevity) is A ; Universal Negative, E ; 
Particular Affirmative, I ; Particular Nega- 
tive, O. 


tr\ >* f\ tr\ y\ o 1 4"i ^ K* to i i^ s\ w 

When the subject of a proposition is a Com- 

mon-term, the universal signs ("all, no, every") 
are used to indicate that it is distributed, (and 
the proposition consequently is then universal ;) 
i\\Q particular signs (" some, $<?.") the contrary. 
Should there be no sign at all to the common 
term, the quantity of the proposition (which is 
called an Indefinite proposition) is ascertained 
by the matter; L e. the nature of the connexion 
between the extremes : which is either Neces- 
sary, Impossible, or Contingent. In necessary 
and in impossible matter, an Indefinite is un- indefinite. 
derstood as a universal : e. g. " birds have 
wings ;" i. e. all : " birds are not quadrupeds ;" 
i. e. none: in contingent matter, (i. e. where 
the terms partly (i. e. sometimes) agree, and 
partly not) an Indefinite is understood as a 
particular ; e. g. food is necessary to life ;" 
i. e. some food ; " birds sing ;" i. e. some do ; 
" birds are not carnivorous ;" i. e. some are not, 
or, all are not. 


It is very perplexing to the learner, and 
needlessly so, to reckon indefinites as one 
class of propositions in respect of quantity.* 
They must be either universal or particu- 
lar, though it is not declared which. The 
person, indeed, who utters the indefinite pro- 
position, may be mistaken as to this point, 
and may mean to speak universally in a case 
where the proposition is not universally true. 
And the hearer may be in doubt which was 
meant, or ought to be meant ; but the speaker 
must mean either the one or the other. 

Of course the determination of a question 
relating to the " matter," i. e. when we are 
authorized to use the universal, and when, the 
particular sign, when, an affirmative, and 
when a negative, is what cannot be deter- 
mined by Logic. 
singular pro- As for singular propositions, (viz. those whose 

positions. . . , . ..-i 

subject is either a proper name, or a common 
term with a singular sign) they are reckoned as 
Universals, (see Book IV. Ch. IV. 2.) because 
in them we speak of the whole of the subject ; 
e. g. when we say, " Brutus was a Roman," we 
mean the whole of Brutus : this is the general 
rule ; but some singular propositions may 
fairly be reckoned particular ; i. e. when some 

* Such a mode of classification resembles that of some 
grammarians, who, among the Genders, enumerate the 
doubtful gender ! 


qualifying word is inserted, which indicates 
that you are not speaking of the whole of the 
subject; e.g. "Caesar was not wholly a 
tyrant ;" " this man is occasionally intempe- 
rate ;" " non omnis mortar."* 

It is evident that the subject is distributed 
in every universal proposition, and never in a 
particular : (that being the very difference be- 
tween universal and particular propositions :) 
but the distribution or non-distribution of the 
predicate, depends (not on the quantity, but) 
on the quality 9 of the proposition ; for, if any 
part of the predicate agrees with the subject, 
it must be affirmed and not denied of the sub- 
ject ; therefore, for an affirmative proposition 
to be true, it is sufficient that some part of t/ie 
predicate agrees with the subject ; and (for the 
same reason) for a negative to be true, it is 
necessary that the whole of the predicate 
should disagree with the subject : e. g. it is 
true that " learning is useful," though the 
whole of the term " useful" does not agree 
with the term " learning " (for many things 

* It is not meant that these may not be, and that, the 
most naturally, accounted Universals ; but it is only by 
viewing them in the other light, that we can regularly 
state the Contradictory to a Singular proposition. Strictly 
speaking, when we regard such propositions as admitting 
of a variation in Quantity, they are not properly considered 
as Singular ; the subject being, e* g. not Caesar, but the 
parts of his character. 


are useful besides learning,) but " no vice is 
useful," would be false if any part of the term 
" useful" agreed with the term " vice ;" (i. e. 
if you could find any one useful thing which 
was a vice.) The two practical rules then to 
be observed respecting distribution, are, 

1st. All universal propositions (and no par- 
ticular) distribute the subject. 

2d. All negative (and no affirmative) the 

* Hence, it is matter of common remark, that it is 
difficult to prove a Negative. At first sight this appears 
very obvious, from the circumstance that a Negative has 
one more Term distributed than the corresponding Affir- 
mative. But then, again, a difficulty may be felt in 
accounting for this, inasmuch as any Negative may be 
expressed (as we shall see presently) as an Affirmative, 
and vice versd. The proposition, e. g. that <f such a one is 
not in the Town," might be expressed by the use of an 
equivalent term, " he is absent from the Town." 

The fact is, however, that in every case where the ob- 
servation as to the difficulty of proving a Negative holds 
good, it will be found that the proposition in question is 
contrasted with one which has really a term the less, dis- 
tributed ; or a term of less extensive sense. E. G. It is 
easier to prove that a man has proposed wise measures, 
than that he has never proposed an unwise measure. In 
fact, the one would be to prove that " Some of his mea- 
sures are wise ;" the other, that " All his measures are 
wise." And numberless such examples are to be found. 

But it will very often happen that there shall be Nega- 
tive propositions much more easily established than certain 
Affirmative ones on the same subject. E. G. That " The 
cause of animal-heat is not respiration," has been established 


It may happen indeed, that the whole of the 
predicate in an affirmative may agree with the 
subject ; e. g. it is equally true, that " all men 
are rational animals ;" and " all rational ani- 
mals are men ;" but this is merely accidental, 
and is not at all implied in the form of ex- 
pression, which alone is regarded in Logic.* 

Of Opposition. 

Two propositions are said to be opposed to 
each other, when, having the same subject 
and predicate, they differ, in quantity, or 
quality, or both.^ It is evident, that with any 
given subject and predicate, you may state 
four distinct propositions, viz. A, E, I, and 
O ; any two of which are said to be opposed ; 
hence there are four different kinds of opposi- 
tion, viz. 1st. the two universals (A and E) 
are called contraries to each other : 2d. the contraries. 
two particular, (I and O) subcontraries ; 3d. A subcontra- 


and I, or E and O, subalterns ; 4th. A and O, subalterns. 

or E and I, contradictories. contradicto- 


by experiments ; but what the cause is remains doubtful. 
See Note to Chap. III. 5. 

* When, however, a Singular Term is the Predicate ; it 
must, of course, be co-extensive with the subject; as 
" Romulus was the founder of Rome." 

f- For Opposition of Terms, see Chap. V. 


As it is evident, that the truth or falsity of 
any proposition (its quantity and quality being 
known) must depend on the matter of it, we 
must bear in mind, that, " in necessary matter 9 
all affirmatives are true, and negatives false ; 
in impossible matter, vice verm; in contingent 
matter, all universals, false, and particulars 
true ;" (? g* " all islands (or some islands) 
are surrounded by water," must be true, be- 
cause the matter is necessary : to say, " no 
islands, or some not, $c" would have been 
false : again, " some islands are fertile ;" " some 
are not fertile," are both true, because it is 
Contingent Matter: put "all" or "no" in- 
stead of " some," and the propositions will be 
false.) Hence it will be evident, that Con- 
traries will be both false in Contingent matter, 
but never both true: Subcontraries, both true 
in Contingent matter, but never both false : 
Contradictories, always one true and the other 
false, Sec. with other observations, which will 
be immediately made on viewing the scheme ; 
in which the four propositions are denoted by 
their symbols, the different kinds of matter by 
the initials, n, i, c, and the truth or falsity 
of each proposition in each matter, by the 
letter v. for (verurn) true, f. for (falsum) 



C. V. 

By a careful study of this scheme, bearing 
in mind, and applying the above rule con- 
cerning matter, the learner will easily elicit all 
the maxims relating to opposition ; as that, 
in the Subalterns, the truth of the particular 
(which is called the subalternate) follows from 
the truth of the universal (subalternans), and 
the falsity of the universal from the falsity of 
the particular : that Subalterns differ in quan- 
iity alone ; Contraries, and also Subcontraries, 
in quality alone ; Contradictories, in both : 
and hence, that if any proposition is known 
to be true, we infer that its Contradictory is 
false ; if false, its Contradictory true, Sfc. 

Of course the learner must remember, as 


above observed, that the determination of the 
"matter" is out of the province of Logic. 
The rules of Opposition merely pronounce 
on the truth or falsity of each proposition, 
given, the matter. 

Of Conversion. 


A proposition is said to be converted when 
its terms are transposed ; i. e. when the sub- 
ject is made the predicate, and the predicate 
the subject : when nothing more is done, this 
is called simple conversion. No conversion is 
employed for any logical purpose, unless it be 
illative ;* i. e. when the truth of the converse is 
implied by the truth of the Exposita, (or pro- 
position given ;) e. g. 

" No virtuous man is a rebel, therefore 

No rebel is a virtuous man." 
" No Christian is an astronomer, therefore 

No astronomer is a Christian." ( 

" Some boasters are cowards, therefore 
Some cowards are boasters." 

Conversion can then only be illative when 


* The reader must not suppose from the use of the word 
" illative," that this conversion is a process of reasoning : 
it is in fact only stating the same Judgment in another 

f When Galileo's persecutors endeavoured to bring about 
the former of these, they forgot that it implied the latter. 


no term is distributed in the Converse, which 
was not distributed in the Exposita : (for if that 
be done, you will employ a term universally in 
the Converse, which was only used partially 
in the Exposita.) Hence, as E distributes 
both terms, and I, neither, these propositions 
may be illatively converted in the simple 
manner ; (vide 2.) But as A does not dis- 
tribute the predicate, its simple conversion 
would not be illative ; (e. g. from " all birds 
are animals," you cannot infer that " all ani- 
mals are birds,") as there would be a term 
distributed in the converse, which was not, 
before. We must therefore limit its quantity 
from universal to particular, and the Conver- 
sion will be illative : (e. g. " some animals 
are birds ;") this might be fairly named con- 
version by limitation ; but is commonly called 
" Conversion per accidens" E may thus be con- conversion 

per accidens. 

verted also. But in O, whether the quantity 
be changed or not, there will still be a term 
(the predicate of the converse) distributed, 
which was not before : you can therefore only 
convert it illatively, by changing the quality ; 
i. e. considering the negative as attached to 
the predicate instead of to the copula, and thus 
regarding it as I. One of the terms will then 
not be the same as before ; but the proposition 
will be equipollent (i. e. convey the same 
meaning); e.g. "some members of the uni : 


versity are not learned :" you may consider 
"not-learned" as the predicate, instead of 
" learned; " the proposition will then be I, and 
of course may be simply converted, " some 
who are not learned are members of the uni- 
versity." This may be named conversion by 
negation; or as it is commonly called, by 
contra-position.* A may also be fairly con- 
verted in this way, e. g. 

" Every poet is a man of genius ; therefore 
He who is not a man of genius is not a poet :" 
(or, "None but a man of genius can be a poet :" 
or, "a man of genius alone can be a poet.") 

For (since it is the same thing- to affirm some 
attribute of the subject, or to deny the absence 
of that attribute) the original proposition is 
precisely equipollent to this, 

subj. pred. 

" No poet is not-a-man -of- genius ;" 

which, being E, may of course be simply 
converted. Thus, in one of these three ways, 
every proposition may be illatively converted : 
viz. E, I, simply ; A, O, by negation ; A> E, 
by limitation. 

convertible Note, that as it was remarked that, in some 
affirmatives, the whole of the predicate does 

* No mention is made by Aldrich of this kind of con- 
version ; but it has been thought advisable to insert it, as 
being in frequent use, and also as being employed in this 
treatise for the direct reduction of Baroko and Bokardo. 



actually agree with the subject, so, when this 
is the case, A being converted simply, the 
converse will be true: but still, as its truth 
does not follow from that of the original 
proposition [" exposita"] the conversion is 
not illative. Many propositions in mathe- 
matics are of this description : e. g. 

"All equilateral triangles are equiangular ;" and 
" All equiangular triangles are equilateral." 

Though both these propositions are true, the 
one does not follow from the other ; and 
mathematicians accordingly give a distinct 
proof of each. 

As the simple converse of A can then only 
be true when the subject and predicate are 
exactly equivalent (or, as they are called, 
convertible terms); and as this must always 
be the case in a just definition, so the correct- 
ness of a definition may be tried by this test. 
E. G. " a good government is that which has 
the happiness of the governed for its object ;" 
if this be a right definition, it will follow that 
" a government which has the happiness of 
the governed for its object is a good one." 


CHAP. III. Of Arguments. 

The third operation of the mind, viz. rea- 
soning, (or discourse) expressed in words, is 
argument ; and an argument stated at full 
length, and in its regular form, is called a 
syllogism: the third part of Logic therefore 
syllogisms, treats of the syllogism. Every Argument* 
consists of two parts; that which is proved; 
and that by means of which it is proved : the 
former is called, before it is proved, the ques- 
tion ; when proved, the conclusion (or infer- 
ence ;) that which is used to prove it, if stated 
last (as is often done in common discourse,} is 
called the reason, and is introduced by " be- 
cause," or some other causal conjunction ; 
(e. g. " Caesar deserved death, because he was a 
tyrant, and all tyrants deserve death.") If the 
conclusion be stated last (which is the strict 
logical form, to which all Reasoning may be 
reduced) then that which is employed to 

* I mean, in the strict technical sense ; for in popular 
use the word Argument is often employed to denote the 
latter of these two parts alone : e. g. "This is an Argument 
to prove so and so ;" this conclusion is established by the 
Argument :" i. e. Premises. See Appendix, No. I. art. 


prove it is called the premises* and the Con- 
clusion is then introduced by some illative 
conjunction, as " therefore," e. g. 

" All tyrants deserve death : 
Caesar was a tyrant ; 
therefore he deserved death. "f 

Since, then, an argument is an expression Definition of 

* Argument. 

in which "from something laid down and 

* Both the premises together are sometimes called the 

f It may be observed that the definition here given of 
an argument, is in the common treatises of logic laid down 
as the definition of a syllogism; a word which I have 
confined to a more restricted sense. There cannot evi- 
dently be any argument, whether regularly or irregularly 
expressed, to which the definition given by Aldrich, for 
instance, would not apply ; so that he appears to employ 
"syllogism" as synonymous with "argument." But be- 
sides that it is clearer and more convenient, when we 
have these two words at hand, to employ them in the two 
senses respectively which we want to express, the truth 
is, that in so doing I have actually conformed to Aldrich's 
practice : for he generally, if not always, employs the 
term syllogism in the very sense to which I have confined 
it : viz. to denote an argument stated in regular logical 
form ; as, e. g. in a part of his work (omitted in the late 
editions) in which he is objecting to a certain pretended 
syllogism in the work of another writer, he says, " valet 
certe argumentum ; syllogismus tamen est falsissimus," &c. 
Now (waiving the exception that might be taken at this 
use of " falsissimus," nothing being, strictly, true or false, 
but a proposition) it is plain that he limits the word 
" syllogism" to the sense in which it is here defined, and 
is consequently inconsistent with his own definition of it. 



granted as true (i. e. the Premises) something 
else (i. e. the Conclusion) beyond this must be 
admitted to be true 9 as following necessarily (or 
resulting) from the other ; and since Logic is 
wholly concerned in the use of language, it 
follows that a Syllogism (which is an argument 
stated in a regular logical form) must be 
of " an argument so expressed, that the con- 
clusiveness of it is manifest from the mere 
force of the expression" i. e. without consider- 
ing the meaning of the terms : e. g. in this 
syllogism, " Y is X, Z is Y, therefore Z is X :" 
the conclusion is inevitable, whatever terms 
X, Y, and Z, respectively are understood to 
stand for. And to this form all legitimate 
arguments may ultimately be brought. 

Aristotle's The rule or axiom (commonly called " die- 

dictum. f 

turn de omni et nullo'} by which Aristotle 
explains the validity of this argument, is this : 
"whatever is predicated of a term distributed, 
whether affirmatively or negatively, may be pre- 
dicated in like manner of every thing contained 
under it." Thus, in the examples above, X is 
predicated of Y distributed, and Z is contained 
under Y (i. e. is its subject ; ) therefore X is 
predicated of Z : so "all tyrants," $c. (p. 81.) 
This rule may be ultimately applied to all 
arguments ; (and their validity ultimately rests 


on their conformity thereto) but it cannot be 
directly and immediately applied to all even of 
pure categorical syllogisms ; for the sake of 
brevity, therefore, some other axioms are 
commonly applied in practice, to avoid the 
occasional tediousness of reducing all syllo- 
gisms to that form in which Aristotle's dictum 
is applicable.* 

We will speak first of pure categorical 
syllogisms ; and the axioms or canons by 
which their validity is to be explained : viz. 
first, if two terms agree with one and the same 
third, they agree with each other: secondly, 
if one term agrees and another disagrees with 
one and the same third, these two disagree with 

* Instead of following Aldrich's arrangement, in laying 
down first the canons which apply to all the figures of 
categorical syllogisms, and then going back to the " dic- 
tum of Aristotle" which applies to only one of them, I 
have pursued what appears a simpler and more philo- 
sophical arrangement, and more likely to impress on the 
learner's mind a just view of the science: viz. 1st, to 
give the rule (Aristotle's dictum) which applies to the 
most clearly and regularly-constructed argument, the 
Syllogism in the first figure, to which all reasoning may 
be reduced : then, the canons applicable to all categorical s ; 
then, those belonging to the hypothetical ; and lastly, to 
treat of the Sorites ; which is improperly placed by 
Aldrich before the hypothetical. By this plan the pro- 
vince of strict Logic is extended as far as it can be ; every 
kind of argument which is of a syllogistic character, and 
accordingly directly cognizable by the rules of logic, 
being enumerated in natural order. 



each other. On the former of these canons 
rests the validity of affirmative conclusions ; 
on the latter, of negative : for no categorical 
syllogism can be faulty which does not violate 
these canons ; none correct which does : hence 
on these two canons are built the rules or 
cautions which are to be observed with respect 
to syllogisms, for the purpose of ascertaining 
whether those canons have been strictly ob- 
served or not. 

1st. Every syllogism has three, and only 
three terms: viz. the middle term, and the 
two terms (or extremes, as they are commonly 
called) of the Conclusion or Question. Of 
these, 1st, the subject of the conclusion is 
called the minor term; 2d, its predicate, the 
major term ; and 3d, the middle term, (called 
by the older logicians " Argumentum,") is 
that with which each of them is separately 
compared, in order to judge of their agree- 
ment or disagreement with each other. If 
therefore there were two middle terms, the 
extremes, (or terms of conclusion) not being 
both compared to the same, could not be 
conclusively compared to each other. 

2d. Every syllogism has three, and only 
three propositions ; viz. 1st, the major premiss 
(in which the major term is compared with the 
middle :) 2d, the minor premiss (in which the 
minor term is compared with the middle ;) and 


3d, the Conclusion, in which the Minor term 
is compared with the Major.* 

3d. Note, that if the middle term is ambi- 
guous, there are in reality two middle terms, in 
sense, though but one in sound. An am- 
biguous middle term is either an equivocal 
term used in different senses in the two pre- 
mises : (e. g. 

11 Light is contrary to darkness ; 
Feathers are light ; therefore 
Feathers are contrary to darkness:") 

or a term not distributed: for as it is then 
used to stand for a part only of its significates, 
it may happen that one of the extremes may 
have been compared with one part of it, and 
the other with another part of it ; e. g. 

" White is a colour, 

Black is a colour ; therefore 

Black is white." Again, 

" Some animals are beasts, 

Some animals are birds ; therefore 

Some birds are beasts." 

The middle term therefore must be distri- 
buted once, at least, in the premises ; (L e. by 
being the subject of an universal, or predicate 

* In some logical treatises the Major premiss is called 
simply " Propositio ;" and the Minor, " Assumptio" In 
ordinary discourse, the word " Principle " is often used to 
denote the Major premiss, and " Reason," the Minor. 


of a negative, Chap. ii. 2, p. 69,) and once is 
sufficient ; since if one extreme has been 
compared to a part of the middle term, and 
another to the whole of it, they must have 
been both compared to the same. 

4th. No term must be distributed in the con- 
clusion which was not distributed in one of the 
premises ; for that (which is called an illicit 
process, either of the Major or the Minor 
term) would be to employ the whole of a 
term in the conclusion, when you had em- 
ployed only a part of it in the Premiss ; and 

thus, in reality, to introduce a fourth term : 

" All quadrupeds are animals, 
A bird is not a quadruped ; therefore 
It is not an animal." Illicit process of the major. 

5th. From negative premises you can infer 
nothing. For in them the Middle is pro- 
nounced to disagree with both extremes ; not, 
to agree with both ; or, to agree with one, and 
disagree with the other ; therefore they can- 
not be compared together ; e. g. 

" A fish is not a quadruped ; " 

*' A bird is not a quadruped," proves nothing. 

6th. If one premiss be negative, the conclu- 
sion must be negative ; for in that premiss the 
middle term is pronounced to disagree with 


one of the extremes, and in the other premiss 
(which of course is affirmative by the pre- 
ceding rule) to agree with the other extreme ; 
therefore the extremes disagreeing with each 
other, the conclusion is negative. In the 
same manner it may be shown, that to prove 
a negative conclusion one of the Premises must 
be a negative. 

* By these six rules all Syllogisms are to be 
tried ; and from them it will be evident ; 1st, 
that nothing can be proved from two particular 
Premises; (for you will then have either the 
middle Term undistributed t or an illicit pro- 
cess : e. g. 

" Some animals are sagacious : 
Some beasts are not sagacious : 
Some beasts are not animals.") 

And, for the same reason, 2dly, that if one 
of the Premises be particular, the Conclusion 
must be particular ; e. g. 

" All who fight bravely deserve reward ; 

Some soldiers fight bravely ;" you can only infer that 
" Some soldiers deserve reward :" 

* Others have given twelve rules, which I found might 
more conveniently be reduced to six. No syllogism can 
be faulty which violates none of these six rules. It is 
much less perplexing to a learner not to lay down as a 
distinct rule, that, e. g. against particular premises ; which 
is properly a result of the foregoing ; since a syllogism 
with two particular premises would oftend against either 
R. 3. or K. 4. 


for to infer a universal Conclusion would be 
an illicit process of the minor. But from two 
universal Premises you cannot always infer a 
universal Conclusion ; e. g. 

" All gold is precious, 
All gold is a mineral : therefore 
Some mineral is precious." 

And even when we can infer a universal, 
we are always at liberty to infer a particular ; 
since what is predicated of all may of course be 
predicated of some. 

Of Moods. 

When we designate the three propositions 
of a syllogism in their order, according to 
their respective quantity and quality (2. e. their 
symbols) we are said to determine the wood of 
the syllogism ; e. g. the example just above, 
" all gold, fyc" is in the mood A, A, I. As 
there are four kinds of propositions, and three 
propositions in each syllogism, all the possible 
ways of combining these four, (A, E, I, O,) by 
threes, are sixty-four. For any one of these 
four may be the major premiss, each of these 
four majors may have four different minors, 
and of these sixteen pairs of premises, each 
may have four different conclusions. 4x4 


(= 16) x 4 = 64. This is a mere arithmetical 
calculation of the moods, without any regard 
to the logical rules : for many of these moods 
are inadmissible in practice, from violating 
some of those rules ; e. g. the mood E, E, E, 
must be rejected as having negative premises ; 
I, O, O, for particular premises ; and many 
others for the same faults ; to which must be 
added I, E, O, for an illicit process of the 
major, in every figure. By examination then 
of all, it will be found that, of the sixty-four 
there remain but eleven moods which can be 
used in a legitimate syllogism, viz. A, A, A, 
A, A, I, A,E, E, A,E,0, A, I, I, A,O,O, 
E,A,E, E,A,0, E,I, O, I, A, I, O, A, O. 

Of Figure. 


The Figure of a syllogism consists in the 
situation of the Middle term with respect to 
the Extremes of the Conclusion, ( i. e. the major 
and minor term.) When the Middle term is 
made the subject of the major premiss, and the 
predicate of the minor, that is called the first 
Figure ; (which is far the most natural and 
clear of all, as to this alone Aristotle's dictum 
may be at once applied.) In the second Figure 
the Middle term is the predicate of both pre- 
mises : in the third, the subject of both : in the 


fourth the predicate of the Major premiss, and 
the subject of the Minor. (This is the most 
awkward and unnatural of all, being the very 
reverse of the first.) Note, that the proper 
order is to place the Major premiss first, and 
the Minor second ; but this does not constitute 
the Major and Minor premises ; for that pre- 
miss (wherever placed) is the Major, which 
contains the major term, and the Minor, the 
minor (v. R. 2. p. 84.) Each of the allowable 
moods mentioned above will not be allowable 
in every Figure ; since it may violate some of 
the foregoing rules, in one Figure, though not 
in another : e. g. I, A, I, is an allowable mood 
in the third Figure ; but in the first it would 
have an undistributed middle.* So A, E, E, 
would in the first Figure have an illicit process 
of the major, but is allowable in the second ; 
and A, A, A, which in the first Figure is allow- 
able, would in the third have an illicit process 
of the minor : all which may be ascertained by 
trying the different Moods in each figure, as 
per scheme. 

r A 

* e. g. Some restraint is salutary : all restraint is un- 
i i 

pleasant : something unpleasant is salutary. Again : Some 

i A 

herbs are fit for food : nightshade is an herb : some 

nightshade is fit for food. 


Let X represent the major term, Z the 
minor, Y the middle. 

1st Fig. 

2d Fig. 

3d Fig. 

4th Fig. 




X, Y, 

Z, Y, 



Y, Z, 


Z, X, 


Z, X. 

The Terms alone being here stated, the 
quantity and quality of each Proposition (and 
consequently the Mood of the whole Syllo- 
gism) is left to be filled up : (i. e. between 
Y and X, we may place either a negative or 
affirmative Copula : and we may prefix either 
a universal or particular sign to Y.) By 
applying the Moods then to each Figure, it 
will be found that each figure will admit six 
Moods only, as not violating the rules against 
undistributed middle, and against illicit process : 
and of the Moods so admitted, several (though 
valid) are useless, as having a particular Con- 
clusion, when 4 universal might have been 
drawn ; e. g. A, A, I, in the first Figure, 

" All human creatures are entitled to liberty ; 
All slaves are human creatures ; therefore 
Some slaves are entitled to liberty/' 

Of the twenty-four Moods, then, (six in each 
Figure) five are for this reason neglected : 
for the remaining nineteen, logicians have 
devised names to distinguish both the Mood 


itself, and the Figure in which it is found ; 
since when one Mood (i. e. one in itself, 
without regard to Figure) occurs in two 
different Figures, (as E, A, E, in the first 
and second) the mere letters denoting the 
mood would not inform us concerning the 
figure. In these names, then, the three 
vowels denote the propositions of which the 
Syllogism is composed : the consonants (be- 
sides their other uses, of which hereafter) 
serve to keep in mind the Figure of the 

Fig. 1. bArbArA, cElArEnt, dArll, fErlOque prio- 

Fig. 2. cEsArE, cAmEstrEs, fEstlnO, bArOkO,* 


( tertia, dArAptl, dlsArals, dAtlsI, fElAptOn, 
Fig. 3. < bOkArdO,f fErlsO, habet : quarta insuper 

( addit. 

Fig. 4. brAmAntlp, cAmEnEs, dlmArla, fEsApo, 

By a careful study of these mnemonic lines 
(which must be committed to memory) you 
will perceive that A can only be proved in 
the first Figure, in which also every other 
Proposition may be proved ; that the second 
proves only negatives; the third only parti- 
culars ; that the first Figure requires the 

* Or, Fakoro, see 7. 
f Or Dokamo, see 7. 


major premiss to be universal, and the minor, 
affirmative, fyc. ; with many other such obser- 
vations, which will readily be made, (on trial 
of several Syllogisms, in different Moods) 
and the reasons for which will be found in 
the foregoing rules : e. g. to show why the 
second figure has only negative Conclusions, 
we have only to consider, that in it the mid- 
dle term being the predicate in both premises, 
would not be distributed unless one premiss 
were negative; (Chap. ii. 2) therefore the 
Conclusion must be negative also, by Chap. iii. 
2, Rule 6. One Mood in each figure may 
suffice in this place by way of example : 

First, Barbara, viz. (bAr.) " Every Y is X ; 
(bA) every Z is Y ; therefore (rA) every Z 
is X :" e. g. let the major term (which is 
represented by X) be " one who possesses all 
virtue ;" the minor term (Z) " every man who 
possesses one virtue ;" and the middle term 
(Y) " every one who possesses prudence ;" 
and you will have the celebrated argument of 
Aristotle, Eth. sixth book, to prove that the 
virtues are inseparable ; viz. 

" He who possesses prudence, possesses all virtue ; 
He who possesses one virtue, must possess prudence ; 

He who possesses one, possesses all." 

Second, Camestres, (cAm) " every X is Y ; 
(Es) no Z is Y ; (trES) no Z is X." Let the 


major term (X) be " true philosophers," the 
minor (Z) " the Epicureans ;" the middle (Y) 
" reckoning virtue a good in itself ;" and this 
will be part of the reasoning of Cicero, Off. 
book first and third, against the Epicureans. 
Third, Darapti, viz. (dA) " every Y is X ; 

(rA'p) every Y is Z ; therefore (tl) Some Z is 

: e.g. 

" Prudence has for its object the benefit of individuals ; 
but prudence is a virtue : therefore some virtue has for its 
object the benefit of the individual," 

is part of Adam Smith's reasoning {Moral 
Sentiments) against Hutcheson and others, 
who placed all virtue in benevolence. 

Fourth, Camenes, viz. (cAm) " every X is 
Y ; (En) no Y is Z ; therefore (Es) no Z is 
X:" e.g. 

" Whatever is expedient, is conformable to nature ; 
Whatever is conformable to nature, is not hurtful to 

society ; therefore 
What is hurtful to society is never expedient ;'' 

is part of Cicero's argument in Off. Lib. iii. ; 
but it is an inverted and clumsy way of 
stating what would much more naturally fall 
into the first Figure ; for if you examine the 
Propositions of a Syllogism in the fourth 
Figure, beginning at the Conclusion, you will 
see that as the major term is predicated of the 
minor, so is the minor of the middle, and that 


again of the major ; so that the major appears 
to be merely predicated of itself. Hence the 
five Moods in this Figure are seldom or never 
used ; some one of the fourteen (moods with 
names) in the first three Figures, being the 
forms into which all arguments may most 
readily be thrown ; but of these, the four in 
the first Figure are the clearest and most 
natural; as to them Aristotle's dictum will 
immediately apply. 

With respect to the use of the first three 
Figures (for the fourth is never employed but 
by an accidental awkwardness of expression) 
it may be remarked, that the First is that 
into which an argument will be found to fall 
the most naturally, except in the following 
cases : First, When we have to disprove 
something that has been maintained, or is 
likely to be believed, our arguments will 
usually be found to take most conveniently 
the form of the Second Figure : viz. we 
prove that the thing we are speaking of 
cannot belong to such a Class, either be- 
cause it wants what belongs to the whole 
of that Class, (Cesare) or because it has 
something of which that class is destitute ; 
(Camestres) e. g. " No impostor would have 
warned his followers, as Jesus did, of the 
persecutions they would have to submit 
to ;" and again, " An enthusiast would have 


expatiated, which Jesus and his followers did 
not, on the particulars of a future state," 

The same observations will apply, mutatis 
mutandis, when a Particular conclusion is 
sought, as in Festino and Baroko, 

The arguments used in the process called 
the "Abscissio Infiniti," will in general be 
the most easily referred to this Figure. See 
Chap. v. 1. subsection 6. 

The Third Figure is, of course, the one 
employed when the Middle Term is Singular, 
since a Singular term can only be a Subject. 
This is also the form into which most argu- 
ments will naturally fall that are used to esta- 
blish an objection (Enstasis of Aristotle) to an 
opponent's Premiss, when his argument is such 
as to require that premiss to be Universal. It 
might be called, therefore, the Enstatic Figure. 
E. G. If any one contends that " this or that 
doctrine ought not to be admitted, because it 
cannot be explained or comprehended," his 
suppressed major premiss may be refuted by 
the argument that " the connexion of the 
Body and Soul cannot be explained or com- 
prehended," &c, 

A great part of the reasoning of Butler's 
Analogy may be exhibited in this form. 

As it is on the dictum above-mentioned that 
all Reasoning ultimately depends, so, all argu- 
ments may be in one way or other brought 


into some one of the four Moods in the first 
Figure : and a Syllogism is, in that case, said 
to be reduced : (i. e. to the first figure.} These 
four are called the perfect moods, and all the 
rest imperfect. 

Os tensive Reduction. 

In reducing a Syllogism, we are not, of 
course, allowed to introduce any new Term 
or Proposition, having nothing granted but 
the truth of the Premises ; but these Pre- 
mises are allowed to be illatively converted 
(because the truth of any Proposition implies 
that of its illative converse) or transposed : by 
taking advantage of this liberty, where there 
is need, we deduce (in Figure 1st,) from the 
Premises originally given, either the very same 
Conclusion as the original one, or another 
from which the original Conclusion follows by 
illative conversion. E. G. Darapti, 

" All wits are dreaded ; 

All wits are admired ; 

Some who are admired are dreaded," 

is reduced into Darii, by converting by limita- 
tion (per accidens) the minor Premiss. 

" All wits are dreaded ; 

Some who are admired are wits ; therefore 

Some who are admired are dreaded." 



And Camestres, 

" All true philosophers account virtue a good in itself ; 
The advocates of pleasure do not account, fyc. 
Therefore they are not true philosophers," 

is reduced to Celarent, by simply converting 
the minor, and then transposing the Premises. 

" Those who account virtue a good in itself, are not 

advocates of pleasure ; 

All true philosophers account virtue, fyc. : therefore 
No true philosophers are advocates of pleasure." 

This Conclusion may be illatively converted 
into the original one. 

Reduction by So, BdTOko ,** 6. g. 

means of 

conversion **T P i , T 

by negation. Every true patriot is a friend to religion ; 

Some great statesmen are not friends to religion ; 
Some great statesmen are not true patriots," 

to Ferioy by converting the major by negation, 
(contraposition), vide Chap. ii. 4. 

" He who is not a friend to religion, is not a true patriot : 
Some great statesmen, $c." 

and the rest of the Syllogism remains the 
same : only that the minor Premiss must be 
considered as affirmative, because you take 
" not-a-friend-to-religion," as the middle term. 
In the same manner Bokardo^ to Darn ; e. g. 

" Some slaves are not discontented ; 

All slaves are wronged ; therefore 

Some who are wronged are not discontented." 

* Or Fakoro, considered i. e. as Festino. 
f Or Dokamo, considered i e. as Disamis. 


Convert the major by negation (contra- 
position) and then transpose them ; the Con- 
clusion will be the converse by negation of the 
original one, which therefore may be inferred 
from it ; e. g. 

" All slaves are wronged ; 

Some who are not discontented are slaves ; 

Some who are not discontented are wronged." 

In these ways (by what is called Ostensive 
Reduction, because you prove, in the first 
figure, either the very same Conclusion as be- 
fore, or one which implies if) all the imperfect 
Moods may be reduced to the four perfect 
ones. But there is also another way, called 

Reductio ad impossibile. 


By which we prove (in the first figure) not 
directly that the original Conclusion is true, 
but that it cannot be false ; i.e. that an ab- 
surdity would follow from the supposition of 
its being false ; e. g. 

" All true patriots are friends to religion ; 
Some great statesmen are not friends to religion ; 
Some great statesmen are not true patriots :" 

if this Conclusion be not true, its contradictory 
must be true ; viz. 

" All great statesmen are true patriots :" 

ii 2 


let this then be assumed, in the place of the 
minor Premiss of the original Syllogism, and a 
false conclusion will be proved ; e. g. 

bAr, " All true patriots are friends to religion ; 
bA, All great statesmen are true patriots ; 
rA, All great statesmen are friends to religion :" 

for as this Conclusion is the Contradictory of 
the original minor Premiss, it must be false, 
since the Premises are always supposed to be 
granted ; therefore one of the Premises (by 
which it has been correctly proved) must be 
false also ; but the major Premiss (being one 
of those originally granted) is true ; therefore 
the falsity must be in the minor Premiss ; 
which is the contradictory of the original con- 
clusion ; therefore the original Conclusion 
must be true. This is the indirect mode of 
Reasoning. (See Rhetoric, Part I. Ch. ii. 1.) 


This kind of Reduction is seldom employed 
but for Baroko and Bokardo, which are thus 
reduced by those who confine themselves to 
simple Conversion, and Conversion by limita- 
tion, (per accidens ;) and they framed the 
names of their Moods, with a view to point 
out the manner in which each is to be re- 
duced ; viz. B, C, D, F, which are the initial 
letters of all the Moods, indicate to which 
Mood of the first figure (Barbara, Celarent, 
Darii, and Ferio) each of the others is to be 


reduced : m indicates that the Premises are to 
be transposed; s and p, that the Proposition 
denoted by the vowel immediately preceding, 
is to be converted ; s, simply, p, per accidens, 
(by limitation:) thus, in Camestres, (see ex- 
ample, p. 93,) the C indicates that it must be 
reduced to Celarent ; the two ss, that the 
minor Premiss and Conclusion must be con- 
verted simply ; the m, that the Premises must 
be transposed. The P> in the mood Bramantip, 
denotes that the premises warrant a univer- 
sal conclusion in place of a particular. The 
/, though of course it cannot be illatively 
converted per accidens, viz. : so as to become 
A, yet is thus converted in the Conclusion, 
because as soon as the premises are trans- 
posed (as denoted by the m,) it appears that a 
universal conclusion follows from them. 

K (which indicates the reduction ad im- 
possibile) is a sign that the Proposition, 
denoted by the vowel immediately before it, 
must be left out, and the contradictory of the 
Conclusion substituted ; viz. for the minor 
Premiss in Baroko and the major in Bokardo. 
But it has been already shown, that the 
Conversion by contraposition (by negation) 
will enable us to reduce these two Moods, 

* If any one should choose that the names of these 
moods should indicate this, he might make K the index 




Of Modal Syllogisms, and of all Arguments 
besides regular and Pure- Categorical Syl- 

Of Modals. 


Hitherto we have treated of pure categorical 
Propositions, and the Syllogisms composed of 
such. A pure categorical proposition is styled 
by some logicians a proposition "de inesse" 
from its asserting simply that the Predicate is 
or is not (in our conception) contained in the 
Subject ; as " John killed Thomas." A modal 
proposition asserts that the predicate is or is 
not contained in the Subject in a certain 
mode, or manner ; as, " accidentally," " wil- 
fully," Sfc. 

A Modal proposition may be stated as a 
pure one, by attaching the mode to one of 
the Terms : and the Proposition will in all 
respects fall under the foregoing rules ; e. g. 
"John killed Thomas wilfully and maliciously ;' ? 
here the Mode is to be regarded as part of the 
Predicate. " It is probable that all knowledge 

of conversion by negation ; and then the names would be, 
by a slight change, Fakoro and DoJcamo. 


is useful ;" " probably useful" is here the Pre- 
dicate. But when the Mode is only used to 
express the necessary, contingent, or impos- 
sible connexion of the Terms, it may as well 
be attached to the Subject: e. g. "man is 
necessarily mortal ;" is the same as " all men 
are mortal :" " injustice is in no case expe- 
dient," corresponds to " no injustice is ex- 
pedient :" and " this man is occasionally 
intemperate," has the force of a particular : 
(vide Chap. ii. 2. note.) It is thus, and thus 
only, that two singular Propositions may be 
contradictories ; e. g. " this man is never in- 
temperate," will be the contradictory of the 
foregoing. Indeed every sign (of universality 
or particularity) may be considered as a Mode. 
Since, however, in all Modal Propositions, 
you assert that the dictum (i. e. the assertion 
itself) and the Mode, agree together, or dis- 
agree, so, in some cases, this may be the most 
convenient way of stating a Modal, purely : 

subj. cop. pred. subject. 

e. g. " It is impossible that all men should 


be virtuous." Such is a proposition of the 

subj. cop. pred. 

Apostle Paul's : "This "is a faithful saying, fyc. 


that Jesus Christ came into the world to save 


sinners." In these cases one of your Terms 
(the subject) is itself an entire Proposition. 


In English, the word IN is often used in 
expressing one proposition combined with 
another, in such a manner as to make the 
two, one proposition : e. g. " You will have a 
formidable opponent to encounter in the Em- 
peror :" this involves two propositions; 1st, 
" You will have to encounter the Emperor ;" 
2d, f( He will prove a formidable opponent :" 
this last is implied by the word in, which de- 
notes (agreeably to the expression of Logicians 
mentioned above when they speak of a pro- 
position " de inesse ") that that Predicate is 
contained in that Subject. 

It may be proper to remark in this place, 
that we may often meet with a Proposition 
whose drift and force will be very different, 
according as we regard this or that as its. Pre- 
dicate.* Indeed, properly speaking, it may be 
considered as several different Propositions, 
each indeed implying the truth of all the rest, 
but each having a distinct Predicate ; the 
division of the sentence being varied in each 
case ; and the variations marked, either by 
the collocation of the words, the intonation 
of the voice, or by the designation of the 

* On the logical analysis of propositions Mr. Greenlaw 
has founded a very ingenious, and as it appears to me, cor- 
rect and useful grammatical theory, of the use of the Latin 
Subjunctive. His work is well worth the notice of 
Students of Logic as well as of Latinity. 


emphatic words, [viz.: the Predicate,] as scored 
under, or printed in italics. E. G. " The 

1 2 % 3 

Organon ' of Bacon was not designed to 


supersede the Qrganon of Aristotle :" this 
might be regarded as, at least, six different 
propositions : if the word numbered (1) were 
in italics, it would leave us at liberty to 
suppose that Bacon might have designed to 
supersede by some work of his, the Organon 
of Aristotle ; but not by his own Organon ; 
if No. 2 were in italics, we should understand 
the author to be contending, that whether or 
no any other author had composed an Or- 
ganon with such a design, Bacon at least did 
not : if No. 3, then, we should understand 
him to maintain that whether Bacon's Or- 
ganon does or does not supersede Aristotle's, 
no such design at least was entertained : and 
so with the rest. Each of these is a distinct 
Proposition ; and though each of them im- 
plies the truth of all the rest, (as may easily be 
seen by examining the example given) one of 
them may be, in one case, and another, in 
another, the one which it is important to 
insist on. 

We should consider in each case what 
Question it is that is proposed, and what an- 
swer to it would, in the instance before us, 
be the most opposite or contrasted to the one 
to be examined. E. G. " You will find this 


doctrine in Bacon," may be contrasted, either 
with, "You will find in Bacon a different 
doctrine," or with, " You will find this doc- 
trine in a different author." 

And observe, that when a proposition is 
contrasted with one which has a different pre- 
dicate, the Predicate is the emphatic word ; 
as "this man is a murderer ;" i.e. not one 
who has slain another accidentally, or in self- 
defence : " this man is a murderer," with the 
Copula for the emphatic word, stands opposed 
to " he is not a murderer ;" a proposition with 
the same terms, but a different Copula.* 

It will often happen that several of the Pro- 
positions which are thus stated in a single 
sentence, may require, each, to be distinctly 
stated and proved : e. g the Advocate may 
have to prove, first the fact, that "John killed 
Thomas ;" and then, the character of the act, 

* Thus if any one reads (as many are apt to do) " Thou 
shalt not steal," "Thou shalt not commit adultery," he 
implies the question to be, whether we are commanded to 
steal or to forbear : but the question really is, what things 
are forbidden ; and the answer is, " Thou shalt not steal ; 
" Thou shalt not commit adultery" &c. 

The connexion between Logic and correct Delivery is 
further pointed out in Rhet. App. 1. 

Strictly speaking, the two cases I have mentioned coin- 
cide ; for when the " is" or the " not " is emphatic, it 
becomes properly the Predicate : viz. " the statement of 
this man's being a murderer, is true, 1 ' or, " is false." 


that "the killing was wilful and malicious." 
See Praxis, at the end of the vol. See also 
Elements of Rhetoric, Part I. Ch. iii. 5. 

Of Hypothetical. 


A hypothetical* Proposition is defined to 
be two or more categoricals united by a Copula 
(or conjunction), and the different kinds of 
hypothetical Propositions are named from 
their respective conjunctions ; viz. conditional, 
disjunctive, causal, fyc. 

When a hypothetical conclusion is inferred 
from a hypothetical Premiss, so that the force 
of the Reasoning does not turn on the hypo- 
thesis, then the hypothesis (as in modals) 
must be considered as part of one of the 
Terms; so that the Reasoning will be, in 
effect, categorical : e. g. 


" Every conqueror is either a hero or a villain : 
Caesar was a conqueror ; therefore 


He was either a hero or a villain." 

" Whatever comes from God is entitled to reverence ; 


If the Scriptures are not wholly false, they must come 
from God ; 

If they are not wholly false, they are entitled to reve- 

* Compound, according to some writers. 


But when the Reasoning itself rests on the 
hypothesis (in which way a categorical Con- 
clusion may be drawn from a hypothetical 
Premiss,) this is what is called a hypothetical 
Syllogism ; and rules have been devised for 
ascertaining the validity of such Arguments 
at once, without bringing them into the 
categorical form. (And note, that in these 
Syllogisms the hypothetical Premiss is called 
the major, and the categorical one the minor.} 
They are of two kinds, conditional and dis- 

Of Conditionals. 


A Conditional * Proposition has in it an illa- 
tive force ; i. e. it contains two, and only two 
categorical Propositions, whereof one results 
from the other (or follows from it,) e. g. 


" If the Scriptures are not wholly false, 


they are entitled to respect." 

That from which the other results is called 
the antecedent ; that which results from it, the 
consequent (consequens ;) and the connexion 

* Called Hypothetical by those writers who use the 
word Compound to denote what I have called Hypothe- 


between the two (expressed by the word "if") 
the consequence (consequentia.) The natural 
order is, that the antecedent should come 
before the consequent ; but this is frequently 
reversed : e. g. " the -husbandman is well off if 
he knows his own advantages ;" Virg. Geor. 
And note, that the truth or falsity of a con- 
ditional Proposition depends entirely on the 
consequence: e.g. "if Logic is useless, it 
deserves to be neglected ;" here both Ante- 
cedent and Consequent are false : yet the 
whole Proposition is true ; i. e. it is true that 
the Consequent follows from the Antecedent. 
" If Cromwell was an Englishman, he was an 
usurper," is just the reverse case : for though 
it is true that " Cromwell was an English- 
man/' and also " that he was an usurper," yet 
it is not true that the latter of these Pro- 
positions depends on the former; the whole 
Proposition, therefore, is false, (or at least 
absurd, see next section) though both Ante- 
cedent and Consequent are true. 

It is to be observed, however, that a false, 
or at least nugatory Conditional Proposition of 
this kind, viz. : in which each member is a true 
categorical, is such, that, though itself absurd, 
no false conclusion can be drawn from it ; as 
may be seen from the instance just given. 

A Conditional Proposition, in short, may be 
considered as an assertion of the validity of a 


certain Argument; since to assert that an 
argument is valid, is to assert that the Con- 
clusion necessarily results from the Premises, 
whether those Premises be true or not. 

The meaning, then, of a Conditional Pro- 
position, which is, that the antecedent being 
granted, the consequent is granted, may be 
considered in two points of view : first, if the 
Antecedent be true, the Consequent must be 
true ; hence the first rule ; the antecedent being 
granted, the consequent may be inferred; se- 
condly, if the Antecedent were true, the Con- 
sequent wouldbe true ; hence the second rule ; 
the consequent being denied, the antecedent may 
be denied ; for the Antecedent must in that 
case be false ; since if it were true, the Con- 
sequent (which is granted to be false) would 
be true also. E. G. " If this man has a fever, 
he is sick :" here if you grant the antecedent, 
the first rule applies, and you infer the truth 
of the Consequent ; " he has a fever, there- 
fore he is sick ;" if A is B, C is D ; but A is B, 
therefore C is D (and this is called a construc- 
tive Conditional Syllogism ;) but if you deny 
the consequent (i. e. grant its contradictory) 
the second rule applies, and you infer the 
contradictory of the antecedent ; <f he is not 
sick, therefore he has not a fever ; 5 ' this is the 
constructive destructive Conditional Syllogism : if A is B, 

and Destruc- . 

tive C is D ; C is not D, therefore A is not B. 


Again, " if the crops are not bad, corn must 
be cheap," for a major ; then, " but the crops 
are not bad, therefore corn must be cheap," is 
Constructive. " Corn is not cheap, therefore 
the crops are bad," is Destructive. " If every 
increase of population is desirable, some mi- 
sery is desirable ; but no misery is desirable ; 
therefore some increase of population is not 
desirable," is Destructive. 

But if you affirm the consequent or deny the 
antecedent, you can infer nothing ; for the 
same Consequent may follow from other Ante- 
cedents : e. g. in the example above, a man 
may be sick from other disorders besides a 
fever ; therefore it does not follow, from his 
being sick, that he has a fever ; or (for the 
same reason) from his not having a fever, that 
he is not sick. 

There are, therefore, two, and only two, 
kinds of Conditional Syllogisms ; the construc- 
tive, founded on the first rule, and answering 
to direct Reasoning ; and the destructive, on 
the second, answering to indirect; being in 
fact a mode of throwing the indirect form of 
reasoning into the direct : e. g. If C be not 
the centre of the circle, some other point must 
be ; which is impossible : therefore C is the 
centre. (Euclid, B. III. Pr. 1.) 

And note, that a Conditional Proposition conversion of 


may (like the categorical A) be converted by 


negation ; i. e. you may take the contradictory 
of the consequent, as an antecedent, and the 
contradictory of the antecedent, as a consequent : 
e. g. "if this man is not sick, he has not a 
fever." By this conversion of the major Pre- 
miss, a Constructive Syllogism may be reduced 
to a Destructive, and vice versa. (See 6. 
p. 99.) 

Of Disjunctives. 

A Disjunctive Proposition is one that con- 
sists of two or more categorical, connected 
by the conjunctions " either " and " or," the 
force of which is, to state an alternative ; i. e. 
to imply that some one of the categoricals thus 
connected must be true : e. g. " either A is B 
or C is D " will not be a true proposition unless 
one of the two members of it be true. 

On the other hand, one of the members 
may be true, and yet they may have no such 
natural connexion together as to warrant their 
being proposed as an alternative ; as " either 
Britain is an island, or a triangle is a square.'' 
Such a proposition would rather be called 
nugatory and absurd, than false ; since no 
false conclusion could be deduced from it ; as 
was remarked in the last section concerning 
such a conditional as this might be reduced 


to : e. g. " If Britain is not an island," &c. 
Such propositions are often colloquially uttered 
in a kind of jest. 

If, therefore, one or more of these categori- 
cals be denied (i. e. granted to be false) you 
may infer that the remaining one, or (if several) 
some one of the remaining ones, is true. E. G. 
" Either the earth is eternal, or the work of 
chance, or the work of an intelligent Being ; 
it is not eternal, nor the work of chance ; 
therefore it is the work of an intelligent 
Being." " It is either spring, summer, 
autumn, or winter ; but it is neither spring 
nor summer ; therefore it is either autumn or 
winter." Either A is B, or C is D ; but A is 
not B, therefore C is D. 

Observe, that in these examples (as well as 
in most others) it is implied not only that 
one of the members (the categorical Proposi- 
tions) must be true, but that only one can be 
true ; so that, in such cases, if one or more 
members be affirmed, the rest may be denied; 
[the members may then be called exclusive :] 
e. g. " it is summer, therefore it is neither 
spring, autumn, nor winter ;" " either A is B 
or C is D ; but A is B, therefore C is not D." 
But this is by no means universally the case ; 
e. g. " virtue tends to procure us either the 
esteem of mankind, or the favour of God :" 
here both members are true, and consequently 



from one being affirmed we are not authorized 
to deny the other. Of course we are left to 
conjecture in each case, from the context, 
whether it is meant to be implied that the 
members are or are not " exclusive." 

It is evident that a disjunctive Syllogism may 
easily be reduced to a conditional, by taking 
as an antecedent the contradictory of one or 
more of the members : e. g. if it is not spring 
or summer, it is either autumn or winter, fyc. 

It is to be observed of Hypothetical (com- 
pound) Propositions, whether Conditional, or 
Disjunctive, that they are always affirmative: 
i.e. it is always affirmed, not denied, that 
the connexion between the several categorical 
members, denoted, respectively, by the con- 
junctions employed, does exist. Accordingly, 
the contradiction of any hypothetical proposi- 
tion is not made by a hypothetical. If I assert 
that " if A is B, C is D," you might deny that, 
by saying " it does not follow that if A is B, C 
must be D ;" or in some such expression. So 
the contradiction of this, " either A is B or C 
is D, would be by two categorical negatives ; 
" neither is A, B, nor is C, D." The conjunc- 
tions " neither " and " nor," it should be ob- 
served, do not correspond in their nature with 
"either" and "or;" since these last are dis- 
junctive, which the others are not. 


The Dilemma, 

is a complex kind of Conditional Syllogism. 
The account usually given of the Dilemma 
in Logical treatises is singularly perplexed and 
unscientific* And it is remarkable that all the 
rules they usually give respecting it, and the 
faults against which they caution us, relate 
exclusively to the Subject-matter : as if one 
were to lay down as rules respecting a Syllo- 
gism in Barbara, " 1st. Care must be taken 
that the major Premiss be true : 2dly. that the 
minor Premiss be true !" 

Most, if not all, writers on this point either 
omit to tell us whether the Dilemma is a kind 
of conditional, or of disjunctive argument; or 
else refer it to the latter class, on account of 
its having one disjunctive Premiss ; though it 
clearly belongs to the class of conditionals. 

1st. If you have in the major Premiss se- 
veral antecedents all with the same consequent, 
then these Antecedents, being (in the minor) 
disjunctively granted (i. e. it being granted 
that some one of them is true,) the one common 
consequent may be inferred, (as in the case of a 
simple Constructive Syllogism :) e.g. if A is B, 
C is D ; and if X is Y, C is D ; but either 
A is B, or X is Y : therefore C is D. "If the 
blest in heaven have no desires, they will be 
i 2 

structive Di- 

structive Di- 


perfectly content : so they will, if their desires 
are fully gratified ; but either they will have 
no desires, or have them fully gratified ; there- 
fore they will be perfectly content." Note in 
hj s case> the two conditionals which make up 
the major Premiss may be united in one Pro- 
position by means of the word " whether :" e. g. 
" whether the blest, fyc. have no desires, or 
have their desires gratified, they will be con- 

2d. But if the several antecedents have each 
a different consequent, then the Antecedents, 
being, as before, disjunctively granted, you 
can only disjunctively infer the consequents : 
e.g. if A is B, C is D ; and if X is Y, E is F ; 
but either A is B, or X is Y ; therefore either 
C is D, or E is F. " If ^Eschines joined in 
the public rejoicings, he is inconsistent; if 
he did not, he is unpatriotic : but he either 
joined, or not, therefore he is either incon- 
sistent or unpatriotic." (Demost. For the 
Crown.} This case, as well as the foregoing, 
is evidently constructive. 

In the Destructive form, whether you have 
one Antecedent with several Consequents, or 
several Antecedents, either with one, or with 
several Consequents ; in all these cases, if you 
deny the whole of the Consequent, or Conse- 
quents, you may in the conclusion deny the 
whole of the Antecedent or Antecedents : e. g. 


"if the world were eternal, the most useful 
arts, such as printing, $c. would be of un- 
known antiquity : and on the same supposi- 
tion, there would be records long prior to the 
Mosaic ; and likewise the sea and land, in all 
parts of the globe, might be expected to 
maintain the same relative situations now as 
formerly : but none of these is the fact : 
therefore the world is not eternal." Again, 
" if the world existed from eternity, there 
would be records prior to the Mosaic ; and 
if it were produced by chance, it would not 
bear marks of design : there are no records 
prior to the Mosaic : and the world does bear 
marks of design : therefore it neither existed 
from eternity, nor is the work of chance." 
These are sometimes called Dilemmas, but 
hardly differ from simple conditional Syllo- 
gisms, two or more being expressed together. 
Nor is the case different if you have one 
antecedent with several consequents, which 
consequents you disjunctively deny ; for that 
comes to the same thing as wholly denying 
them ; since if they be not all true, the one 
antecedent must equally fall to the ground ; 
and the Syllogism will be equally simple : e. g. 
" If we admit the popular objections against 
Political Economy, we must admit that it 
tends to an excessive increase of wealth ; and 
also, that it tends to impoverishment : but it 


cannot do both of these ; (i. e. either not/ the 
one, or, not the other) therefore we cannot 
admit the popular objections," tyc. ; which is 
evidently a simple Destructive. The true 
Dilemma is, " a conditional Syllogism with 
several* antecedents in the major, and a dis- 
junctive minor;" hence, 
Destructive 3d. That is most properly called a destructive 

Dilemma. r r J 

Dilemma, which has (like the constructive ones) 
a disjunctive minor Premiss ; i. e. when you 
have several Antecedents with each a different 
Consequent ; which Consequent (instead of 
wholly denying them, as in the case lately 
mentioned) you disjunctively deny ; and thence, 
in the Conclusion, deny disjunctively the An- 
tecedents : e. g. if A is B, C is D ; and if X is 
Y, E is F : but either C is not D, or E is not 
F ; therefore, either A is not B, or X is not Y. 
" If this man were wise, he would not speak 
irreverently of Scripture in jest ; and if he 
were good he would not do so in earnest; 
but he does it, either in jest, or earnest; 
therefore he is either not wise or not good." 
Resoiutionof Every Dilemma may be reduced into two or 

a Dilemma. * J 

more simple Conditional Syllogisms : e. g. " If 
^Eschines joined, S^c. he is inconsistent; he 

* The name Dilemma implies precisely two antecedents ; 
and hence it is common to speak of " the horns of a di- 
lemma ;" but it is evident there may be either two or 


did join, $c. therefore he is inconsistent ;" and 
again, ' 4 if ^Eschines did not join, fyc. he is 
unpatriotic ; he did not, fyc. therefore he is 
unpatriotic." Now an opponent might deny 
either of the minor Premises in the above 
Syllogisms, but he could not deny both ; and 
therefore he must admit one or the other of 
the Conclusions ; for, when a Dilemma is 
employed, it is supposed that some one of the 
Antecedents must be true (or, in the destruc- 
tive kind, some one of the Consequents false), 
but that we cannot tell which of them is so ; 
and this is the reason why the argument is 
stated in the form of a Dilemma. 

Sometimes it may happen that both ante- 
cedents may be true, and that we may be 
aware of this ; and yet there may be an 
advantage in stating (either separately or con- 
jointly) both arguments, even when each 
proves the same conclusion, so as not to 
derive any additional confirmation from the 
other ; still, I say, it may sometimes be 
advisable to state both, because, of two pro- 
positions equally true, one man may deny or 
be ignorant of the one, while he admits the 
other, and another man, vice versa. 

From what has been said, it may easily be 
seen that all Dilemmas are in fact conditional 
syllogisms; and that Disjunctive Syllogisms 
may also be reduced to the form of Con- 


ditionals ; but as it has been remarked, that 
all Reasoning whatever may ultimately be 
brought to the one test of Aristotle's " Dic- 
tum," it remains to show how a Conditional 
Syllogism may be thrown into such a form, 
that that test will at once apply to it; and 
this is called the 

Reduction of Hypothetical * 

For this purpose we must consider every 
Conditional Proposition as a universal affir- 

* Aldrich has stated, somewhat rashly, that Aristotle 
utterly despised Hypothetical Syllogisms, and thence made 
no mention of them. We cannot, considering how large a 
portion of his works is lost, draw any conclusion from the 
mere absence of a treatise on this branch, in the portion 
which has come down to us. 

Aldrich observes, that no hypothetical argument is valid 
which cannot be reduced to a categorical form ; and this 
is evidently agreeable to what has been said at the begin- 
ning of chap. iii. ; but then he has unfortunately omitted 
to teach us how to reduce Hypothetical to this form ; 
except in the case where the Antecedent and Consequent 
chance to have each the same subject ; in which case, he 
tells us to take the minor Premiss and Conclusion as an 
Enthymeme, and fill that up categorically ; e. g. " If Caesar 
was a tyrant, he deserved death : he was a tyrant ; there- 
fore he deserved death ;" which may easily be reduced to 
a categorical form, by taking as a major Premiss, " all 
tyrants deserve death." But when (as is often the case) 
the Antecedent and Consequent have not each the same 
subject, (as in the very example he gives, " if A is B, C is 
D,") he gives no rule for reducing such a Syllogism as 


mative categorical Proposition, of which the 
Terms are entire Propositions, viz. the ante- 
cedent answering to the Subject, and the con- 
sequent to the Predicate ; e. g. to say, " if 
Louis is a good king, France is likely to 
prosper," is equivalent to saying, "the case 
of Louis being a good king, is a case of 
France being likely to prosper :" and if it be 
granted as a minor Premiss to the Condi- 
tional Syllogism, that "Louis is a good king ;" 
that is equivalent to saying, " the present case 
is the case of Louis being a good king;" 
from which you will draw a conclusion in 
Barbara, (viz. "the present case is a case 
of France being likely to prosper,") exactly 
equivalent to the original Conclusion of the 

has a Premiss of this kind; and indeed leads us to sup- 
pose that it is to be rejected as invalid, though he has just 
before demonstrated its validity. And this is likely to 
have been one among the various causes which occasion 
many learners to regard the whole system of Logic as a 
string of idle reveries, having nothing true, substantial, or 
practically useful in it ; but of the same character with the 
dreams of Alchymy, Demonology, and judicial Astrology. 
Such a mistake is surely the less inexcusable in a learner, 
when his master first demonstrates the validity of a certain 
argument, and then tells him that after all it is good for 
nothing ; (prorsus repudiandum.) In the late editions of 
Aldrich's Logic, all that he says of the reduction of 
Hypothetical is omitted; which certainly would have 
been an improvement, if a more correct one had been 
substituted ; but as it is, there is a complete hiatus in the 


Conditional Syllogism : viz. " France is likely 
to prosper." As the Constructive Condition 
may thus be reduced to Barbara, so may the 
Destructive, in like manner, to Celarent: e.g. 
"if the Stoics are right, pain is no evil : but 
pain is an evil; therefore the Stoics are not 
right;" is equivalent to "the case of the 
Stoics being right, is the case of pain being 
no evil ; the present case is not the case of 
pain being no evil ; therefore the present case 
is not the case of the Stoics being right." 
This is Camestres, which, of course, is easily 
reduced to Celarent. Or, if you will, all 
Conditional Syllogisms may be reduced to 
Barbara, by considering them all as con- 
structive ; which may be done, as mentioned 
above, by converting by negation the major 
Premiss. (See p. 111.) 

The reduction of Hypothetical may always 
be effected in the manner above stated ; but 
as it produces a circuitous awkwardness of 
expression, a more convenient form may in 
some cases be substituted : e. g. in the ex- 
ample above, it may be convenient to take 
" true " for one of the Terms : " that pain is 
no evil is not true ; that pain is no evil is 
asserted by the Stoics ; therefore something 
asserted by the Stoics is not true." Some- 
times again it may be better to unfold the 
argument into two Syllogisms : e. g. in a 


former example ; first, " Louis is a good king ; 
the governor of France is Louis ; therefore 
the governor of France is a good king." And 
then, second, " every country governed by a 
good king is likely to prosper," fyc. [A Di- 
lemma is generally to be reduced into two or 
more categorical Syllogisms.] And when the 
antecedent and consequent have each the 
same Subject, you may sometimes reduce the 
Conditional by merely substituting a categori- 
cal major Premiss for the conditional one : 
e. g. instead of " if Caesar was a tyrant, he 
deserved death ; he was a tyrant, therefore he 
deserved death ;" you may put for a major, 
" all tyrants deserve death ;" fyc. But it is of 
no great consequence, whether Hypotheticals 
are reduced in the most neat and concise man- 
ner or not ; since it is not intended that they 
should be reduced to categoricals, in ordinary 
practice, as the readiest way of trying their 
validity, (their own rules being quite sufficient 
for that purpose ;) but only that we should be 
able, if required, to subject any argument 
whatever to the test of Aristotle's Dictum, in 
order to show that all Reasoning turns upon 
one simple principle. 


Of Enthymeme, Sorites, fyc. 


There are various abridged forms of Argu- 
ment which may be easily expanded into 
regular Syllogisms ; such as, 

1st. The Enthy meme,* which is a Syllo- 
gism with one Premiss suppressed. As all the 
Terms will be found in the remaining Premiss 
and Conclusion, it will be easy to fill up the 
Syllogism by supplying the Premiss that is 
wanting, whether major or minor : e. g. 
" Caesar was a tyrant ; therefore he deserved 
death." " A free nation must be happy ; 
therefore the English are happy." 

This is the ordinary form of speaking and 
writing. It is evident that Enthymemes may 
be filled up hypothetically. 

It is to be observed, that the Enthymeme is 
not strictly syllogistic ; i. e. its conclusiveness 
is not apparent from the mere form of expres- 
sion, till the suppressed Premiss shall have 
been, either actually, or mentally supplied. 
The expressed Premiss may be true, and yet 
the Conclusion false. 

* The word Enthymeme is employed in a different sense 
from this, by Aristotle, in Rhet. B. i. See Elements of 
Rhetoric, Part. I. Ch. ii. 2. 


The Sorites, on the other hand, is strictly 
syllogistic ; as may be seen by the examples. 
If the Premises stated be true, the Conclusion 
must be true. For, 

2d. When you have a string of Syllogisms, 
in the first figure, in which the Conclusion of 
each is made the Premiss of the next, till you 
arrive at the main or ultimate Conclusion of all, 
you may sometimes state these briefly, in the 
form called Sorites ; in which the Predicate sorites. 
of the first proposition is made the Subject of 
the next ; and so on, to any length, till finally 
the Predicate of the last of the Premises is 
predicated (in the Conclusion) of the Subject 
of the first : e. g. A is B, B is C, C is D, D is 
E ; therefore A is E. " The English are a 
brave people ; a brave people are free ; a free 
people are happy ; therefore the English are 
happy." A Sorites then, has as many middle 
Terms as there are intermediate Propositions 
between the first and the last ; and conse- 
quently, it may be drawn out into as many 
separate Syllogisms ; of which the first will 
have, for its major Premiss, the second, and 
for its minor, the Jirst of the Propositions of 
the Sorites ; as may be seen by the example. 
The reader will perceive also by examination 
of that example, and by framing others, that 
the first proposition in the Sorites is the only 
minor premiss that is expressed: when the 


whole is resolved into distinct syllogisms, each 
conclusion becomes the minor premiss of the 
succeeding syllogism. Hence, in a Sorites, 
the first proposition, and that alone, of all the 
premises may be particular ; because in the 
first figure the minor may be particular, but 
not the major ; (see Chap. iii. 4) and all 
the other propositions, prior to the conclusion, 
are major premises. It is also evident that 
there may be, in a Sorites, one, and only one, 
negative premiss, viz. the last : for if any of 
the others were negative, the result would be 
that one of the syllogisms of the Sorites would 
have a negative minor premiss ; which is (in 
the 1st Fig.) incompatible with correctness. 
See Chap. iii. 4. 

Hypothetical A string of Conditional Syllogisms * may 
in like manner be abridged into a Sorites ; 
e.g. if A is B, C is D; if C is D, E 
is F ; if E is F, G is H ; but A is B, there- 
fore G is H. " If the Scriptures are the word 
of God, it is important that they should be 
well explained ; if it is important, fyc. they 
deserve to be diligently studied : if they de- 
serve, fyc. an order of men should be set 
aside for that purpose ; but the Scriptures are 

* Hence it is evident how injudicious an arrangement 
has been adopted by former writers on Logic, who have 
treated of the Sorites and Enthymeme before they en- 
tered on the subject of Hypotheticals. 


the word, fyc.\ therefore an order of men 
should be set aside for the purpose, $c.:" in 
a destructive Sorites, you, of course, go back 
from the denial of the last consequent to the 
denial of the first antecedent : " G is not H ; 
therefore A is not B." 

Those who have spoken of Induction or of induction. 
Example, as a distinct kind of Argument in a Example. 
Logical point of view, have fallen into the 
common error of confounding Logical with 
Rhetorical distinctions, and have wandered 
from their subject as much as a writer on the 
orders of Architecture would do who should 
introduce the distinction between buildings of 
brick and of marble. Logic takes no cogni- 
zance of Induction, for instance, or of a priori 
reasoning, fyc., as distinct Forms of argument ; 
for when thrown into the syllogistic form, and 
when letters of the alphabet are substituted 
for the Terms (and it is thus that an Argu- 
ment is properly to be brought under the 
cognizance of Logic), there is no distinction 
between them ; e. g. " a Property which 
belongs to the ox, sheep, deer, goat, and 
antelope, belongs to all horned animals ; ru- 
mination belongs to these ; therefore to all." 
This, which is an inductive argument, is evi- 
dently a Syllogism in Barbara. The essence 
of an inductive argument, as well as of the 
other kinds which are distinguished from it, 



consists not in the form of the Argument, but 
in the relation which the Subject-matter of the 
Premises bears to that of the Conclusion.* 

3d. There are various other abbreviations 
commonly used, which are so obvious as 
hardly to call for explanation : as where one 
of the Premises of a Syllogism is itself the 
Conclusion of an Enthymeme, which is ex- 
pressed at the same time : e. g. " all useful 
studies deserve encouragement ; Logic is 
such (since it helps us to reason accurately,) 
therefore it deserves encouragement ;" here 
the minor Premiss is what is called an En- 
thymematic sentence. The antecedent in that 
minor Premiss (i. e. that which makes it 
Enthymematic) is called by Aristotle the Pro- 

Equivalents. It is evident that you may, for brevity, 
substitute for any term an equivalent: as in 
the last example, "it" for "Logic;" "such" 
for "a useful study," fyc. The doctrine of 
Conversion, laid down in the Second Chapter, 
furnishes many equivalent propositions, since 
each is equivalent to its illative converse. 
The division of nouns also (for which see 

* See Rhetoric, Part I. Ch. ii. 6. Nothing probably 
has tended more to foster the prevailing error of consi- 
dering Syllogism as a particular kind of argument, than 
the inaccuracy just noticed, which appears in all or most 
of the logical works extant. See Dissertation on the 
Province of Reasoning, Ch. i. 


Chap, v.) supplies many equivalents; e.g. if 
A is the genus of B, B must be a species 
of A : if A is the cause of B, B must be the 
effect of A. 

4th. And many Syllogisms, which at first 


sight appear faulty, will often be found, on incorrect - 
examination, to contain correct reasoning, 
and, consequently, to be reducible to a re- 
gular form ; e. g. when you have, apparently, 
negative Premises, it may happen, that by 
considering one of them as affirmative, (see 
Chap. ii. 4. p. 78), the Syllogism will be 
regular : e. g. " no man is happy who is not 
secure : no tyrant is secure ; therefore no 
tyrant is happy," is a Syllogism in Cdarent. 
If this experiment be tried on a Syllogism 
which has really negative Premises, the only 
effect will be to change that fault into another : 
viz. an excess of Terms, or (which is sub- 
stantially the same) an undistributed middle ; 
e. g. " an enslaved people is not happy ; the 
English are not enslaved ; therefore they are 
happy :" if "enslaved" be regarded as one of 
the Terms, and "not enslaved" as another, 
there will manifestly be four. Hence you 
may see how very little difference there is in 
reality between the different faults which are 

Sometimes there will appear to be too many 
terms ; and yet there will be no fault in the 



Reasoning, only an irregularity in the ex- 
pression : e. g. l( no irrational agent could 
produce a work which manifests design ; the 
universe is a work which manifests design ; 
therefore no irrational agent could have pro- 
duced the universe." Strictly speaking, this 
Syllogism has five terms ; but if you look to 
the meaning, you will see, that in the first 
Premiss (considering it as a part of this Argu- 
ment} it is not, properly, "an irrational agent" 
that you are speaking of, and of which you 
predicate that it could not produce a work 
manifesting design ; but rather it is this 
"work/' fyc. of which you are speaking, and 
of which it is predicated that it could not be 
produced by an irrational agent; if, then, 
you state the Propositions in that form, the 
Syllogism will be perfectly regular. (See 1. 
of this Supplement.) 

Thus, such a Syllogism as this, " every true 
patriot is disinterested ; few men are disin- 
terested ; therefore few men are true patriots;" 
might appear at first sight to be in the second 
Figure, and faulty ; whereas it is Barbara, 
with the Premises transposed: for you do not 
really predicate of "few men," that they are 
" disinterested," but of " disinterested persons," 
that they are " few." Again, te none but 
candid men are good reasoners ; few infidels 
are candid; few infidels are good reasoners." 


In this it will be most convenient to consider 
the major Premiss as being, " all good rea- 
soners are candid," (which of course is pre- 
cisely equipollent to its illative converse by 
negation ;) and the minor Premiss and Con- 
clusion may in like manner be fairly expressed 
thus " most infidels are not candid ; there- 
fore most infidels are not good reasoners :" 
which is a regular Syllogism in Camestres.* 
Or, if you would state it in the first Figure, 
thus : " those who are not candid (or un- 
candid) are not good reasoners ; most infidels 
are not candid ; most infidels are not good 




[This Supplement may be studied either before or after the 


The usual divisions of nouns into univocal, 
equivocal, and analogous, and into nouns of 

* The reader is to observe that the term employed as 
the Suhject of the minor premiss, and of the conclusion, 
is " most-infidels :" he is not to suppose that " most" is a 
sign of distribution ; it is merely a compendious expres- 
sion for " the greater part of." 

K 2 


the first and second intention, are not, strictly 
speaking, divisions of words, but divisions of 
the manner of employing them ; the same word 
may be employed either univocally, equivo- 
cally, or analogously ; either in the first inten- 
tion or in the second. The ordinary logical 
treatises often occasion great perplexity to the 
learner, by not noticing this circumstance, but 
rather leading him to suppose the contrary. 
(See Book III. 8.) Some of those other 
divisions of nouns, which are the most com- 
monly in use, though not appropriately and 
exclusively belonging to the Logical system, 
i. e. to the theory of reasoning, it may be 
worth while briefly to notice in this place. 

Let it be observed then, that a noun ex- 
presses the view we take of an object. And 
its being viewed as an object, i. e. as one, or 
again as several, depends on our arbitrary 
choice ; e. g. we may consider a troop of 
cavalry as one object ; or we may make any 
single horse with its rider, or any separate 
man or horse, or any limb of either, the sub- 
ject of our thoughts. 
singular and 1. When then any one object is considered 

Common , . . 

terms. according to its actual existence, as numerically 
one, the noun denoting it is called Singular ; 
as, " this tree," the " city of London," fyc. 
When it is considered as to its nature and 
character only, as being of such a description 


as will equally apply to other single objects, 
the inadequate or incomplete view (see Ana- 
lytical Outline, 6.) thus taken of an indi- 
vidual is expressed by a Common noun ; as 
" tree," " city/' 

2. When any object is considered as a part 
of a whole, viewed in reference to the whole 
or to another part, of a more complex object 
of thought, the noun expressing this view 
is called Relative : and to Relative noun is 
opposed Absolute ; as denoting an object con- 
sidered as a whole, and without reference to 
anything of which it is a part, or to any other 
part distinguished from it. Thus, " Father," 
and " Son," " Rider," " Commander,'* #c. 
are Relatives, being regarded, each as a part 
of the complex objects, Father-and-Son, $*c. ; 
the same object designated absolutely would 
be termed a Man, Living-Being, fyc. 

Nouns are Correlative to each other, which correlative. 
denote objects related to each other, and 
viewed as to that relation. Thus, though a 
King is a ruler of men, "King" and "Man" 
are not correlative, but King and Subject, are. 

3. When there are two views which cannot compatible 

and opposite. 

be taken of one single object at the same 
time, the terms expressing these views are 
said to be Opposite, or Inconsistent (repug- 
nantia) ; as, " black and white ;" when both 
may be taken of the same object at the same 


time, they are called Consistent, or Compatible 
(convenientia) ; as, " white and cold." Rela- 
tive terms are Opposite, only when applied 
with reference to the same subject : as, one 
may be both Master and Servant ; but not at 
the same time to the same person. 

concrete and 4. When the notion derived from the view 
taken of any object, is expressed with a refe- 
rence to, or as in conjunction with, the object 
that furnished the notion, it is expressed by a 
Concrete term ; as, "foolish," or "fool;" when 
without any such reference, by an Abstract 
term ; as, " folly." 

positive, 5. A term which denotes a certain view 

o f an object as being actually taken of it, is 
called Positive ; as, " speech" " a man speak* 
ing :" a term denoting that this view might 
conceivably be taken of the object, but is not, 
is Privative; as " dumbness," a " man silent," 
fyc.* That which denotes that such a notion 
is not and could not be formed of the object, 

* Many Privative epithets are such that by a little 
ingenuity the application of them may be represented as 
an absurdity. Thus, Wallis's remark (introduced in this 
treatise) that a jest is generally a mock -fallacy, *. e. a 
fallacy not designed to deceive, but so palpable as only to 
furnish amusement, might be speciously condemned as 
involving a contradiction : for " the design to deceive," it 
might be said, " is essential to a fallacy." In the same 
way it might be argued that it is absurd to speak of " a 
dead man ;" e.g. " every man is a living creature ; nothing 
dead is a living creature ; therefore no man is dead !" 


is called Negative; as, a " dumb statue," a 
" lifeless carcase," fyc. 

It is to be observed that the same term 
may be regarded either as Positive, or as Pri- 
vative or Negative, according to the quality 
or character which we are referring to in our 
minds: thus, of " happy" and "miserable," 
we may regard the former as Positive, and 
the latter (w/zhappy) as Privative ; or vice 
versa ; according as we are thinking of enjoy- 
ment or of suffering. 

6. A Privative or Negative term is also Definite and 
called Indefinite (infinitum) in respect of its 
not defining and marking out an object ; in 
contradistinction to this, the Positive term is 
called Definite (finitum) because it does thus 
define or mark out. Thus, " organized Being," 
or " Caesar," are called Definite, as marking 
out, and limiting our view to, one particular 
class of Beings, or one single person ; " unor- 
ganized," or " not-Caesar," are called Indefi- 
nite, as not restricting our view to any class, 
or individual, but only excluding one, and 
leaving it undetermined, what other individual 
the thing so spoken of may be, or what other 
class it may belong to. 

It is to be observed, that the most perfect 

tory opposi- 

opposition between nouns exists between any tionofterm8 - 
two which differ only in respectively wanting 
and having the particle not (either expressly, or 


in sense) attached to them ; as, " organized/' 
and " not-organized," " corporeal," and " in- 
corporeal ;" for not only is it impossible for 
both these views to be taken at once of the 
same thing, but also, it is impossible but that 
one or other should be applicable to every 
object ; as there is nothing that can be both, 
so there is nothing that can be neither. Every 
thing that can be even conceived must be 
either (l Caesar," or " not-Caesar ;" either " cor- 
poreal," or " incorporeal." And in this way a 
complete twofold division may be made of any 
subject, being certain (as the expression is) to 
exhaust it. And the repetition of this process, 
so as to carry on a subdivision as far as there 
is occasion, is thence called by Logicians 
" abscissio infiniti ;" i. e. the repeated cutting 
off of that which the object to be examined is 
not; e.g. " I. This disorder either is, or is not, 
a dropsy ; and for this or that reason, it is 
not ; 2. Any other disease either is, or is not, 
gout ; this is not : then, 3. It either is, or is 
not, consumption, fyc. Sfc." This procedure is 
very common in Aristotle's works. 

Such terms may be said to be in contra- 
dictory opposition to each other. 
contrary On the other hand, Contrary terms, L e. 
those which, coming under some one class, 
are the most different of all that belong to that 
class, as " wise" and " foolish," both denoting 



mental habits, are opposed, but in a different 
manner : for though both cannot be applied to 
the same object, there may be other objects 
to which neither can be applied : nothing can 
be at once both " wise " and " foolish ;" but a 
stone cannot be either. 


The notions expressed by Common terms, 
we are enabled (as has been remarked in the 
Analytical Outline) to form by the faculty of 
abstraction: for by it, in contemplating any 
object (or objects,) we can attend exclusively 
to some particular circumstances belonging to 
it, [some certain parts of its nature as it 
were,] and quite withhold our attention from 
the rest. When, therefore, we are thus con- 
templating several individuals which resemble 
each other in some part of their nature, we 
can (by attending to that part alone, and not 
to those points in which they differ) assign 
them one common name, which will express or 
stand for them merely as far as they all agree ; 
and which, of course, will be applicable to all 
or any of them ; (which process is called 
generalization} and each of these names is 
called a common term, from its belonging to 
them all alike ; or a predicable, because it 
may be predicated affirmatively of them, or of 
any one of them. 


Generalization (as has been remarked) im- 
plies abstraction, but it is not the same thing ; 
for there may be abstraction without generali- 
zation. When we are speaking of an Indi- 
vidual, it is usually an abstract notion that we 
form ; e. g. suppose we are speaking of the 
present King of France ; he must actually be 
either at Paris or elsewhere ; sitting, standing, 
or in some other posture ; and in such and 
such a dress, fyc. Yet many of these circum- 
stances, (which are separable Accidents [vide 
6] and consequently) which are regarded as 
non-essential to the individual, are quite dis- 
regarded by us ; and we abstract from them 
what we consider as essential ; thus forming 
an abstract notion of the Individual. Yet 
there is here no generalization. 


The following is the account usually given 
in logical treatises of the different kinds of 
predicables; but it cannot be admitted without 
some considerable modifications, explanations 
and corrections, which will be subjoined. 

Whatever term can be affirmed of several 
things, must express either their whole essence, 
which is called the Species ; or a part of their 
essence (viz. either the material part, which is 
Genus. called the Genus, or the formal and distin- 
guishmg part, which is called Differentia, or 



in common discourse, characteristic) or some- 
thing joined to the essence ; whether necessarily 
(i.e. to the whole species, or, in other words, 
universally, to every individual of it), which is 
called a Property ; or contingently (i. e. to property. 
some individuals only of the species), which is 
an Accident. 


Every predicable expresses either 

The whole essence 
of its subject : 
viz. : Species 

or part of its 


Genus Difference 

or something 

joined to its 




universal [peculiar universal 
but not but not and pe- 

peculiar universal]* culiar 

inseparable separable. 

Of these predicables, genus and species are 
commonly said, in the language of logicians, 
to be predicated in quid () (i. e. to answer 
to the question, " what?" as, " what is Caesar ?" 
Answer, " a man ;" " what is a man ?" Answer, 
"an animal.") Difference, in " quale quid;' 
(jn-olov rt) Property and Accident in quale 

(7T040 1/.) 

It is evident from what has been said, that 

See below, 4. 


the Genus and Difference put together make up 
the Species: e.g. "rational" and "animal 15 con- 
stitute " man ;" so that, in reality, the Species 
contains the Genus (i. e. implies it ;) and when 
the Genus is called a whole, and is said to con- 
tain the Species, this is only a metaphorical 
expression, signifying that it comprehends the 
Species, in its own more extensive signification. 
If for instance I predicate the term " animal " 
of an individual man, as Alexander, I speak 
truth indeed, but only such a portion of the 
truth that I might equally predicate the same 
term of his horse Bucephalus. If I predicate 
the terms " Man " and " Horse " of Alexander 
and of Bucephalus respectively, I use a more 
full and complete expression for each than the 
term "animal;" and this last is accordingly 
the more extensive, as it contains, (or, more 
properly speaking, comprehends) and may 
be applied to, several different species ; viz.: 
" bird," " beast," " fish," $c. 

In the same manner the name of a species 
is a more extensive (L e. comprehensive) but 
less full and complete term than that of an 
individual (viz. a singular term ;) since the 
species may be predicated of each of these. 

" The impression produced on the mind by 
a Singular Term, may be compared to the dis- 
tinct view taken in by the eye, of any object 
(suppose some particular man) near at hand, 


in a clear light, which enables us to distinguish 
the features of the Individual: in a fainter 
light, or rather further off, we merely perceive 
that the object is a man: this corresponds 
with the idea conveyed by the name of the 
Species : yet farther off, or in a still feebler 
light, we can distinguish merely some living 
object; and at length, merely some object; 
these views corresponding respectively with 
the terms denoting the Genera, less or more 
remote." Rhet. Part III. Chap. ii. 1. 

Hence it is plain that when logicians 
speak of " Species" as " expressing the whole 
essence of its subjects," this is not strictly 
correct, unless we understand by the " whole 
essence" the "whole that any common term 
can express ;" the " nearest approach to the 
whole essence of the subject that any term 
(not synonymous with the subject) can denote." 
No predicate can express, strictly, the whole 
essence of its subject, unless it be merely 
another name, of the very same import, and 
co-extensive with it ; as " Caesar was the con- 
queror of Pompey." 

But when logicians speak of Species as a 
" whole," this is, properly, in reference to the 
Genus and the Difference ; each of which 
denotes a "part" of that species which we 
constitute by joining those two together. But 
then, it should be remembered that a Species 


is not a predicable in respect of its Genus and 
Difference (since it cannot be predicated of 
them) but only in respect of the individuals or 
lower species, of which it can be predicated. 


A Species then, it is plain, when predicated 
of individuals, stands in the same relation to 
them, as the Genus to the Species ; and when 
predicated of other (lower) species, it is then, 
in respect of these, a Genus, while it is a 
Species in respect of a higher Genus ; as 
" quadruped/' which is a species of " animal/' 
is a genus in respect of " horse ;" which latter 
again may be predicated of Bucephalus and 
of other individuals. Such a term is called 
a subaltern species or genus ; being each, in 
respect of different other terms, respectively. 

A genus that is not considered as a species 
of anything, is called summum (the highest) 
genus ; a species that is not considered as a 
genus of anything, L e. is regarded as con- 
taining under it only individuals, is called 
infima (the lowest) species. 

When I say of a Magnet, that it is " a kind 
of iron-ore" that is called its proximum genus, 
because it is the closest (or lowest) genus 
that is predicated of it : " mineral" is its more 
remote genus. 


When I say that the Differentia of a magnet 
is its " attracting iron," and that its Property 
is "polarity" these are called respectively 
a Specific Difference and Property ; because 
magnet is (I have supposed) an infima, species 
(i. e. only a species.) 

When I say that the Differentia of iron 
ore is its " containing iron" and its property 
" & ing attracted by the magnet" these are 
called respectively, a generic Difference and 
Property, because "iron ore" is a subaltern 
species or genus ; being both the genus of mag- 
net, and a species of mineral. 

It should be observed here, that when 
logicians speak of Property and Accident as 
predicables expressing, not the Essence or 
part of the Essence of a subject, but some- 
thing united to the Essence, this must be 
understood as having reference not to the 
nature of things as they are in themselves, 
but to our conceptions of them. " Polarity" 
for instance is as much a part of the real 
nature of the substance we call Magnet, as its 
attraction of iron ; and again, a certain shape, 
colour, or specific gravity as much belongs in 
reality to those magnets which are of that 
description, as either polarity, or attraction. 
But our modes of conceiving, and of ex- 
pressing our conceptions have reference to 
the relations in which objects stand to our 


own minds ; and are influenced in each in- 
stance by the particular end we have in view. 
That, accordingly, is accounted a part of the 
Essence of anything which is essential to the 
notion of it formed in our minds. Thus, if 
we have annexed such a notion to the term, 
Man, that "rationality" stands prominent in 
our minds, in distinguishing Man from other 
Animals, we call this, the " Difference," and 
apart of the " Essence" of the term Man ; 
though " risibility " be an attribute which does 
not less really belong to Man. So, the pri- 
mary and prominent distinction in our minds 
of a Triangle from other plane rectilineal 
Figures, is its having three sides ; though 
the equality of its three angles to two right- 
angles, be, in reality, no less essential to 
a triangle. But that this last is the fact, is 
demonstrated to the learner not till long after 
he is supposed to have become familiar with 
the notion of a Triangle. 

Hence, in different sciences or arts, different 
attributes are fixed on, as essentially charac- 
terising each species, according as this or that 
is the most important in reference to the 
matter we are engaged in. In navigation, 
for instance, the polarity of the Magnet is the 
essential quality ; since if there could be any 
other substance which could possess this, 
without attracting iron, it would answer the 


same purpose : but to those manufacturers 
who employ Magnets for the purpose of more 
expeditiously picking up small bits of iron, and 
for shielding their faces from the noxious steel- 
dust, in the grinding of needles, the attracting 
power of the Magnet is the essential point. 

Under the head of Property, logicians have 
enumerated, as may be seen in the preceding- 
table, not only such as are strictly called pro- 
perties, as belonging each to the whole species 
of which it is predicated, arid to that alone, 
but also, such as belong to the whole species, 
and to others besides ; in other words, pro- 
perties which are universal, but not peculiar ; 
as, " to breathe air " belongs to every man ; 
but not to man alone ; and it is, therefore, 
strictly speaking, not so much a property of 
the Species " man," as of the higher, i. e. more 
comprehensive, Species, which is the genus of 
that, viz. of " land-animal." 

Other Properties, as some logicians call 
them, are peculiar to a species, but do not 
belong to the whole of it ; e. g. man alone can 
be a poet, but it is not every man that is 
so. These, however, are more commonly and 
more properly reckoned as accidents. 

Some have also added a fourth kind of Pro- 
perty ; viz. that which is peculiar to a Species^ 
and belongs to every Individual of it, but not 
at every time. But this is, in fact, a contradid- 



tion ; since whatever does not always belong 
to a Species, does not belong to it universally. 
It is through the ambiguity of words that they 
have fallen into this confusion of thought ; e. g. 
the example commonly given is, " homini 
canescere ;" " to become grey " being, they 
say, (though it is not) peculiar to man, and 
belonging to every individual, though not 
always, but only in old age, &c. Now, if 
by " canescere " be meant the very state of 
becoming grey, this manifestly does not belong 
to every man : if again it be meant to signify the 
liability to become grey at some time or other, 
this does belong always to man. And the 
same in other instances. Indeed the very 
Proprium fixed on by Aldrich, " risibility/' is 
nearly parallel to the above. Man is " always 
capable of laughing ;" but he is not " capable 
of laughing always" 
Accidents sc- That is most properly called an Acci- 

parable and . 

inseparable, dent, which may be absent or present, the 
essence of the Species continuing the same ; 
as, for a man to be " walking? or a " native 
of Paris." Of these two examples, the former 
is what logicians call a separable Accident, 
because it may be separated from the indi- 
vidual : (e. g. he may sit down ;) the latter 
is an inseparable Accident, being not separable 
from the individual, (i.e. he who is a native 
of Paris can never be otherwise ;) " from the 


individual," I say, because every accident must 
be separable from the species, else it would be 
a property. 

This seems to me a clearer and more correct 
description of the two kinds of accident than 
the one given by Aldrich ; viz. that a Separable 
Accident may be actually separated, and an 
Inseparable, only in thought, " ut Mantuanum 
esse, a Virgilio." For surely " to be the 
author of the ^Eneid " was another Insepa- 
rable Accident of the same individual ; " to 
be a Roman citizen" another ; and " to live in 
the days of Augustus " another ; now can we 
in thought separate all these things from the 
essence of that individual? To do so would 
be to form the idea of a different individual. 
We can indeed conceive a man, and one who 
might chance to bear the name of Virgil, 
without any of these Accidents ; but then it 
would plainly not be the same man. But 
Virgil, whether sitting or standing, &c. we 
regard as the same man ; the abstract notion 
which we have formed of that individual being 
unaltered by the absence or presence of these 
separable accidents. (See above, 2.) 

Let it here be observed, that both the 
general name " Predicable," and each of the 
classes of Predicables, (viz. Genus, Species, 
8?c.) are relative ; L e. we cannot say what 
predicable any term is, or whether it is any 



at all, unless it be specified of what it is to 
be predicated : e. g. the term " red " would 
be considered a genus, in relation to the terms 
" pink/' " scarlet," fyc. : it might be regarded 
as the differentia, in relation to " red rose ;"- 
as a property of " blood," as an accident of 
" a house," fyc. And in all cases accord- 
ingly, the Differences or Properties of any 
lower species will be Accidents in refer- 
ence to the class they come under. E. G. 
" malleability" is an " accident" in reference 
to the term metal; but it is a " property" of 
gold and most other metals ; as the absence 
of it, brittleness, is of Antimony and 
Arsenic, and several others, formerly called 

And universally, it is to be steadily kept 
in mind, that no " common terms " have, as 
the names of individuals have, any real thing 
existing in nature corresponding to them (roSe 
TI,, as Aristotle expresses it, though he has 
been represented as the champion of the op- 
posite opinion : vide Categ. c. 3.), but that 
each of them is merely a name denoting a 
certain inadequate notion which our minds 
have formed of an Individual, and which, 
consequently, not including anything wherein 
that individual differs from certain others, is 
applicable equally well to all or any of them : 
thus "man" denotes no real thing (as the 


sect of the Realists maintained) distinct from 
each individual, but merely any man, viewed 
Inadequately, i. e. so as to omit, and abstract 
from, all that is peculiar to each individual ; 
by which means the term becomes applicable 
alike to any one of several individuals, or 
(in the plural) to several together ; and we 
arbitrarily fix on the circumstance which we 
thus choose to abstract and consider sepa- 
rately, disregarding all the rest ; so that the 
same individual may thus be referred to any 
of several different Species, and the same 
Species to several Genera, as suits our pur- 
pose. Thus, it suits the Farmer's purpose to JJc7or 
class his cattle with his ploughs, carts, and ssification - 
other possessions, under the name of "stock? 
the Naturalist, suitably to his purpose, classes 
them as " quadrupeds" which term would 
include wolves, deer, 8fc., which to the farmer 
would be a most improper classification : the 
Commissary, again, would class them with 
corn, cheese, fish, fyc., as ''provision ;" that 
which is most essential in one view, being 
subordinate in another, 


An individual is so called because it is in- Division. 
capable of logical division ; which is a meta- 
phorical expression to signify " the distinct 
(i. e. separate) enumeration of several things 


signified by one common name." This ope- 
ration is directly opposite to generalization, 
(which is performed by means of abstrac- 
tion ;) for as, in that, you lay aside the 
differences by which several things are dis- 
tinguished, so as to call them all by one 
common name, so, in Division, you add on 
the Differences, so as to enumerate them 
by their several particular names. Thus, 
" mineral " is said to be divided into " stones, 
metals/' fyc. ; and metals again into "gold, 
iron," fyc. ; and these are called the Parts 
(or members) of the division. 

The rules for Division are three : 1st. each 
of the Parts, or any of them short of all, 
must contain less (i. e. have a narrower signi- 
fication) than the thing divided. 2d. All the 
Parts together must be exactly equal to the 
thing divided; (therefore we must be careful 
to ascertain that the summiim genus may be 
predicated of every term placed under it, and 
of nothing else.) 3d. The Parts or Members 
must be opposed; i.e. must not be contained 
in one another: e.g. if you were to divide 
" book " into " poetical, historical, folio, 
quarto, french, latin," fyc. the members would 
be contained in each other ; for a french book 
may be a quarto, and a quarto, french, fyc. 
You must be careful, therefore, to keep in 
mind the principle of division with which you 


set out : c. g. whether you begin dividing 
books according to their matter, their language, 
or their size, fyc. all these being so many 
cross divisions. And when anything is capable 
(as in the above instance) of being divided in 
several different ways, we are not to reckon 
one of these as the true, or real, or right 
one, without specifying what the object is 
which we have in view : for one mode of 
dividing may be the most suitable for one 
purpose, and another for another; as e.g. one 
of the above modes of dividing books would 
be the most suitable to a bookbinder ; another 
in a philosophical, and the other in a philo- 
logical view. 

It must be carefully remembered, that the 
word " Division," as employed in Logic, is, 
as has been observed already, metaphorical; 
for to divide, means, originally and properly, 
to separate the component parts of anything ; 
each of which is of course absolutely less than 
the whole: e.g. atvee (i.e. any individual tree) 
might be divided " physically," as it is called, 
into root, trunk, branches, leaves, fyc. Now 
it cannot be said that a root or a leaf is a 
tree : whereas in a Logical Division each of 
the members is, in reality, more than the 
whole ; e. g. if you divide tree (i. e. the genus, 
tree) into oak, elm, ash, fyc. we may say of the 
oak, or of any individual oak, that "it is a 


tree ;" for by the very word " oak," we express 
not only the general notion of a tree, but more, 
viz. the peculiar Characteristic (i. e. Difference) 
of that kind of tree. 

It is plain, then, that it is logically only, 
i. e. in our mode of speaking, that a Genus 
is said to contain (or rather comprehend) its 
Species; while metaphysically, (i. e. in our 
conceptions) a Species contains, i. e. implies, 
its Genus. 

Care must be taken not to confound a 
physical Division with a logical ; which begin- 
ners are apt to do, by introducing, in the 
course of a Division, the mention of the real 
Parts of which an Individual consists, and of 
each of which accordingly the whole cannot be 


Definition is another metaphorical word, 
which literally signifies, " laying down a boun- 
dary ;" and is used in Logic to signify "an 
expression which explains any term, so as 
to separate it from everything else," as a 
boundary separates fields. 

A Nominal Definition (such as are those 
usually found in a dictionary of one's own lan- 
guage) explains only the meaning of the term, 
by giving some equivalent expression, which 
may happen to be better known. Thus you 


might define a " Term," that which forms one 
of the extremes or boundaries of a " proposition ;" 
and a " Predicable," that which may be predi- 
cated; "decalogue," ten commandments; "tele- 
scope," an instrument for viewing ^distant 
objects, S^c. A Real Definition is one which 
explains and unfolds the nature of the thing ; 
and each of these kinds of definition is either 
accidental or essential. An essential Definition 
assigns (or lays down) the constituent parts of 
the essence (or nature). An accidental Defi- 
nition (which is commonly called a description) 
assigns the circumstances belonging to the 
essence, viz. Properties and Accidents (e.g. 
causes, effects, fyc.) : thus, "man" may be 
described as " an animal that uses fire to dress 
his food," fyc. {And here note, that in de- T WO divi- 

. . . sions of de- 

scribmg a species, you cannot mention any- fiiiitio s - 
thing which is strictly an accident, because, if 
it does not belong to the whole of the Species, 
it cannot define it : in describing an individual, 
on the contrary, you enumerate the accidents, 
because by them it is that one individual 
differs from another, and in this case you add 
the species : e. g. " Philip was a man, of Mace- 
don, who subdued Greece," fyc. Individuals, 
it is evident, can be defined (i. e. described) in 
this way alone.] 

Lastly, the Essential Definition is divided 
into physical (i. e. natural) and logical or 


metaphysical: the physical Definition lays 
down the real parts of the essence which are 
actually separable ; the logical, lays down the 
ideal parts of it, which cannot be separated 
except in the mind: thus, a plant would be 
defined physically, by enumerating the leaves, 
stalks, roots, fyc. of which it is composed : 
logically, it would be defined " an organized 
Being, destitute of sensation ;" the former of 
these expressions denoting the Genus, the 
latter the Difference ; for a logical definition 
must always consist of the genus and differen- 
tia, which are the parts of which Logic con- 
siders every species as consisting, and which 
evidently are separable in the mind alone. 
Thus " man " is defined " a rational animal," 
fyc. So also a " Proposition" might be de- 
fined, physically, " a subject and predicate 
combined by a copula :" the parts here enume- 
rated being actually separable ; but logically 
it would be defined " a sentence which affirms 
or denies ;" and these two parts of the essence 
of a Proposition (which are the genus and 
differentia of it) can be separated in the mind 
only. And note, that the Difference is not 
always one quality, but is frequently com- 
pounded of several together, no one of which 
would alone suffice. 
Nominal and Definitions are divided into Nominal and 


Real, according to the object accomplished by 


them ; whether to explain, merely, the mean- 
ing of the word, or the nature of the thing : 
on the other hand, they are divided into 
Accidental, Physical, and Logical, according to 
the means employed by each for accomplishing 
their respective objects ; whether it be the 
enumeration of attributes, or of the physical, 
or the metaphysical parts of the essence. 
These, therefore, are evidently two cross di- 
visions. In this place we are concerned with 
nominal definitions only (except, indeed, of 
logical terms) because all that is requisite for 
the purposes of reasoning (which is the proper 
province of Logic) is, that a term shall not 
be used in different senses : a real definition 
of anything belongs to the science or system 
which is employed about that thing. It is to 
be noted, that in mathematics (and indeed 
in all strict Sciences) the Nominal, and the 
Real Definition exactly coincide ; the meaning 
of the word, and the nature of the thing, being 
exactly the same. This holds good also with 
respect to Logical terms, most Legal, and 
many Ethical terms. 

It is scarcely credible how much confusion 
has arisen from the ignorance of these dis- 
tinctions which has prevailed among logical 

* In Chap. ii. 3 of Book IV. the doctrine here laid 
down will be more fully developed. 



The principal rules for definition are three ; 
viz. 1st. The definition must be adequate ; i.e. 
neither too extensive nor too narrow for the 
thing defined : e. g. to define " fish," " an 
animal that lives in the water," would be too 
extensive, because many insects, fyc. live in 
the water ; to define it, " an animal that has 
an air-bladder," would be too narrow ; because 
many fish are without any. 

2d. The definition must be in itself plainer 
than the thing defined, else it would not ex- 
plain it : I say, " in itself," (i. e. generally) 
because, to some particular person, the term 
defined may happen to be even more familiar 
and better understood, than the language of 
the definition. 

3d. The Third Rule usually given by Logi- 
cians for a definition, is, that it should be 
couched in a convenient number of appropriate 
words (if such can be found suitable for the 
purpose) : since figurative words (which are 
opposed to appropriate) are apt to produce 

Aldrich, having given as an instance of a Nominal Defi- 
nition the absurfl one of " homo, qui ex humo," has led 
some to conclude that the Nominal Definition must be 
founded on the etymoloqy ; or at least that such was his 
meaning. But that it was not, is sufficiently plain from 
the circumstance that Wallis (from whose work his is 
almost entirely abridged) expressly says the contrary. Be 
this as it may, however, it is plain that the etymology of 
a term has nothing to do with any logical consideration of 
it. See 8, Book III. 


ambiguity or indistinctness ; too great brevity 
may occasion obscurity ; and too great prolixity, 
confusion. But this perhaps is rather an admo- 
nition with respect to -Style, than a strictly 
logical rule ; nor can we accordingly determine 
with precision, in each case, whether it has 
been complied with or not ; there is no draw- 
ing the line between " too long" and " too 
concise," fyc. Nor would a definition unne- 
cessarily prolix be censured as incorrect, but as 
inelegant, inconvenient, 8?c. If, however, a 
definition be chargeable with Tautology, (which Tautology. 
is a distinct fault from prolixity or verbosity) 
it is properly incorrect, though without offend- 
ing against the first two rules. Tautology 
consists in inserting too much, not in mere 
words, but in sense ; yet not so as too much to 
narrow the definition (in opposition to Rule 1.) 
by excluding some things which belong to 
the class of the thing defined ; but only, so as 
to state something which has been already 
implied. Thus, to define a Parallelogram 
" a four-sided figure whose opposite sides are 
parallel and equal? would be tautological ; be- 
cause, though it is true that such a figure, and 
such alone, is a parallelogram, the equality of 
the sides is implied in their being parallel, and 
may be proved from it. Now the insertion 
of the words " and equal," leaves, and indeed 
leads, a reader to suppose that there may be 


a four- s?ded figure whose opposite sides are 
parallel but 720^ equal. Though therefore 
such a definition asserts nothing false, it 
leads to a supposition of what is false ; and 
consequently is to be regarded as an incor- 
rect definition. 

The inference just mentioned, viz. : that 
you supposed a quadrangle might have its 
sides parallel, and not equal, would be drawn 
from such a definition, according to the prin- 
ciple of " exceptio probat regulum," an ex- 
ception proves a rule. The force of the maxim 
(which is not properly confined to the case 
of an exception, strictly so called) is this ; that 
the mention of any circumstance introduced 
into the statement either of a definition, or 
of a precept, law, remark, Sfc. is to be pre- 
sumed necessary to be inserted ; so that the 
precept, fyc. would not hold good if this cir- 
cumstance were absent. In short, the word 
" only" or some such expression, is supposed 
to be understood. If e. g. it be laid down that 
he who breaks into an empty house shall 
receive a certain punishment, it would be 
inferred that this punishment would not be 
incurred by breaking into an occupied house : 
if it were told us that some celestial pheno- 
menon could not be seen by the naked eye, it 
would be inferred that it would or might be 
visible through a telescope: fyc. 


And much is often inferred in this manner, 
which was by no means in the Author's mind ; 
from his having inaccurately inserted what 
chanced to be present to his thoughts. Thus, 
he who says that it is a crime for people to 
violate the property of a humane Landlord 
who lives among them, may perhaps not mean 
to imply that it is no crime to violate the 
property of an absentee-landlord, or of one 
who is not humane ; but he leaves an opening 
for being so understood. Thus again in saying 
that " an animal which breathes through gills 
and is scaly, is a fish," though nothing false is 
asserted, a presumption is afforded that you 
mean to give a definition such as would be 
too narrow ; in violation of Rule 1 . 

And Tautology, as above described, is sure 
to mislead any one who interprets what is 
said, conformably to the maxim that an ex- 
ception proves a rule. 

It often happens that one or more of the Accidental 


above rules is violated through men's prone- 
ness to introduce into their definitions " acci- 
dental, along with, or instead of, essential 
circumstances : I mean, that the notion they 
attach to each term, and the explanation they 
would give of it, shall embrace some circum- 
stances, generally, but not always, connected 
with the thing they are speaking of; and 
which might, accordingly, (by the strict 


account of an accident) be ' absent or present, 
the essential character of the subject remaining 
the same/ A definition framed from such 
circumstances, though of course incorrect, 
and likely at some time or other to mislead 
us, will not unfrequently obtain reception, 
from its answering the purpose of a correct 
one, at a particular time and place. 

" For instance, the Latin word Meridies, to 
denote the southern quarter, is etymologically 
suitable (and so would a definition founded on 
that etymology) in our hemisphere; while in 
the other, it would be found just the reverse. 
Or if any one should define the North Pole, 
that which is ' inclined towards the sun/ this 
would, for half the year, answer the purpose 
of a correct definition ; and would be the 
opposite of the truth for the other half, 

" Such glaring instances as these, which are 
never likely to occur in practice, serve best 
perhaps to illustrate the character of such 
mistakes as do occur. A specimen of that 
introduction of accidental circumstances which 
I have been describing, may be found, I think, 
in the language of a great number of writers, 
respecting Wealth and Value ; who have 
usually made Labour an essential ingredient 
in their definitions. Now it is true, it so 
happens, by the appointment of Providence, 
that valuable articles are, in almost all 


instances, obtained by Labour ; but still, this 
is an accidental, not an essential circumstance. 
If the aerolites which occasionally fall, were 
diamonds and pearls, and if these articles 
could be obtained in no other way, but were 
casually picked up, to the same amount as is 
now obtained by- digging and diving, they 
would be of precisely the same value as now. 
In this, as in many other points in Political- 
Economy, men are prone to confound cause 
and effect. It is not that pearls fetch a high 
price because men have dived for them ; but 
on the contrary, men dive for them because 
they fetch a high price."* 

* Pol. Econ. Lect. IX. p. 251253. 

162 [BOOK in. 




Definition of BY a Fallacy is commonly understood, " any 
unsound mode of arguing, which appears to 
demand our conviction, and to be decisive of 
the question in hand, when in fairness it is 
not." Considering the ready detection and 
clear exposure of Fallacies to be both more 
extensively important, and also more difficult, 
than many are aware of, I propose to take 
a Logical view of the subject ; referring the 
different Fallacies to the most convenient 
heads, and giving a scientific analysis of the 
procedure which takes place in each. 

After all, indeed, in the practical detection 
of each individual Fallacy, much must depend 
on natural and acquired acuteness ; nor can 
any rules be given, the mere learning of 
which will enable us to apply them with me- 
chanical certainty and readiness : but still we 
shall find that to take correct general views 
of the subject, and to be familiarized with 


scientific discussions of it, will tend, above all 
things, to engender such a habit of mind, as 
will best fit us for practice. 

Indeed the case is the same with respect to 
Logic in general. Scarcely any one would, in 
ordinary practice, state to himself either his 
own or another's reasoning, in Syllogisms in 
Barbara at full length ; yet a familiarity with 
Logical principles tends very much (as all 
feel, who are really well acquainted with 
them) to beget a habit of clear and sound 
reasoning. The truth is, in this, as in many 
other things, there are processes going on in 
the mind (when we are practising anything 
quite familiar to us) with such rapidity as to 
leave no trace in the memory ; and we often 
apply principles which did not, as far as 
we are conscious, even occur to us at the 

It would be foreign, however, to the pre- inaccurate 

language of 

sent purpose, to investigate fully the manner [ er *** 
in which certain studies operate in remotely 
producing certain effects on the mind : it is 
sufficient to establish the fact, that habits of 
scientific analysis (besides the intrinsic beauty 
and dignity of such studies) lead to practical 
advantage. It is on Logical principles there- 
fore that I propose to discuss the subject of 
Fallacies ; and it may, indeed, seem to have 
been unnecessary to make any apology for 
M 2 


so doing, after what has been formerly said, 
generally, in defence of Logic ; but that the 
generality of Logical writers have usually fol- 
lowed so opposite a plan. Whenever they have 
to treat of anything that is beyond the mere 
elements of Logic, they totally lay aside all 
reference to the principles they have been 
occupied in establishing and explaining, and 
have recourse to a loose, vague, and popular 
kind of language ; such as would be the best 
suited indeed to an exoterical discourse, but 
seems strangely incongruous in a professed 
Logical treatise. What should we think of 
a Geometrical writer, who, after having gone 
through the Elements, with strict definitions 
and demonstrations, should, on proceeding 
to Mechanics, totally lay aside all reference 
to scientific principles, all use of technical 
terms, and treat of the subject in undefined 
terms, and with probable and popular argu- 
ments ? It would be thought strange, if even 
a Botanist, when addressing those whom he 
had been instructing in the principles and the 
terms of his system, should totally lay these 
aside when he came to describe plants, and 
adopt the language of the vulgar. Surely it 
affords but too much plausibility to the cavils 
of those who scoff at Logic altogether, that 
the very writers who profess to teach it should 
never themselves make any application of, or 


reference to, its principles, on those very occa- 
sions, when, and when only, such application 
and reference are to be expected. If the 
principles of any system are well laid down, 
if its technical language is judiciously framed, 
then, surely, those principles and that lan- 
guage will afford (for those who have once 
thoroughly learned them) the best, the most 
clear, simple, and concise method of treating 
any subject connected with that system. Yet 
even the accurate Aldrich, in treating of the 
Dilemma and of the Fallacies, has very much 
forgotten the Logician, and assumed a loose 
and rhetorical style of writing, without making 
any application of the principles he had for- 
merly laid down, but, on the contrary, some- 
times departing widely from them.* 

The most experienced teachers, when ad- 
dressing those who are familiar with the 
elementary principles of Logic, think it re- 
quisite, not indeed to lead them, on each 
occasion, through the whole detail of those 

* He is far more confused in his discussion of Fallacies 
than in any other part of his treatise ; of which this one 
instance may serve : after having distinguished Fallacies 
into those in the expression^ and those in the matter (" in 
dictione," and " extra dictionem,") he observes of one or 
two of these last, that they are not properly called Falla- 
cies, as not being Syllogisms faulty in form : ("Syllogismi 
forma peccantes :") as if any one, that was such, could be 
" Fallacia extra dictionem." 


principles, when the process is quite obvious, 
but always to put them on the road, as it were, 
to those principles, that they may plainly see 
their own way to the end, and take a scientific 
view of the subject : in the same manner as 
mathematical writers avoid indeed the occa- 
sional tediousness of going all through a very 
simple demonstration, which the learner, if he 
will, may easily supply ; but yet always speak 
in strict mathematical language, and with re- 
ference to mathematical principles, though 
they do not always state them at full length. 
I would not profess, therefore, any more than 
they do, to write (on subjects connected with 
the science) in a language intelligible to those 
who are ignorant of its first rudiments. To 
do so, indeed, would imply that one was not 
taking a scientific view of the subject, nor 
availing one's-self of the principles that had 
been established, and the accurate and concise 
technical language that had been framed. 
Mistakes as The rules already given enable us to de- 

to the office * 

velop the principles on which all reasoning 
is conducted, whatever be the Subject-matter 
of it, and to ascertain the validity or fal- 
laciousness of any apparent argument, as far 
as the form of expression is concerned ; that 
being alone the proper province of Logic. 

But it is evident that we may nevertheless 
remain liable to be deceived or perplexed in 


Argument by the assumption of false or doubt- 
ful Premises, or by the employment of in- 
distinct or ambiguous Terms; and, accordingly, 
many Logical writers, wishing to make their 
systems appear as perfect as possible, have 
undertaken to give rules " for attaining clear 
ideas," and for " guiding the judgment ;" and 
fancying or professing themselves successful in 
this, have consistently enough denominated 
Logic, the "Art of using the Reason;" which 
in truth it would be, and would nearly super- 
sede all other studies, if it could of itself 
ascertain the meaning of every Term, and the 
truth or falsity of every Proposition ; in the 
same manner as it actually can, the validity of 
every Argument. And they have been led 
into this, partly by the consideration that 
Logic is concerned about the three operations 
of the mind simple Apprehension, Judgment, 
and Reasoning; not observing that it is not 
equally concerned about all : the last opera- 
tion being alone its appropriate province ; 
and the rest being treated of only in reference 
to that. 

The contempt justly due to such preten- 
sions has most unjustly fallen on the Science 
itself; much in the same manner as Chemistry 
was brought into disrepute among the un- 
thinking, by the extravagant pretensions of 
the Alchymists. And those Logical writers 


have been censured, not (as they should have 
been) for making such professions, but for not 
fulfilling them. It has been objected, espe- 
cially, that the rules of Logic leave us still at 
a loss as to the most important and difficult 
point in reasoning; viz. the ascertaining the 
sense of the terms employed, and removing 
their ambiguity. A complaint resembling that 
made (according to a story told by Warbur- 
ton,* and before alluded to) by a man who 
found fault with all the reading-glasses pre- 
sented to him by the shopkeeper ; the fact 
being that he never learnt to read. In the 
present case, the complaint is the more un- 
reasonable, inasmuch as there neither is, nor 
ever can possibly be, any such system devised 
as will effect the proposed object of clearing 
up the ambiguity of Terms. It is, however, 
no small advantage, that the rules of Logic, 
though they cannot, alone, ascertain and clear 
up ambiguity in any Term, yet do point out 
in which Term of an argument it is to be 
sought for; directing our attention to the 
middle Term, as the one on the ambiguity of 
which a Fallacy is likely to be built. 

It will be useful, however, to class and 
describe the different kinds of ambiguity 
which are to be met with ; and also the 
various ways in which the insertion of false, 

* In his Div. Leg. 


or, at least, unduly assumed, Premises, is 
most likely to elude observation. And though 
the remarks which will be offered on these 
points may not be considered as strictly form- 
ing a part of Logic, they cannot be thought 
out of place, when it is considered how essen- 
tially they are connected with the application 
of it. 

L . . 

The division of Fallacies into those in the Division of 


words (IN DTCTIONE,) and those in the 
matter (EXTRA DICTIONEM) has not 
been, by any writers hitherto, grounded on 
any distinct principle : at least, not on any 
that they have themselves adhered to. The 
confounding together, however, of these two 
classes is highly detrimental to all clear no- 
tions concerning Logic ; being obviously allied 
to the prevailing erroneous views which make 
Logic the art of employing the Intellectual 
faculties in general, having the discovery of 
truth for its object, and all kinds of know- 
ledge for its proper subject-matter; with all 
that train of vague and groundless specu- 
lations which have led to such interminable 
confusion and mistakes, and afforded a pre- 
text for such clamorous censures. 

It is important, therefore, that rules should 
be given for a division of Fallacies into 


Logical and Non-logical, on such a principle 
as shall keep clear of all this indistinctness 
and perplexity. 

If any one should object, that the division 
about to be adopted is in some degree arbi- 
trary, placing under the one head Fallacies, 
which many might be disposed to place under 
the other, let him consider not only the in- 
distinctness of all former divisions, but the 
utter impossibility of framing any that shall be 
completely secure from the objection urged, 
in a case where men have formed such various 
and vague notions, from the very want of 
some clear principle of division, Nay, from 
the elliptical form in which all reasoning is 
usually expressed, and the peculiarly involved 
and oblique form in which Fallacy is for the 
most part conveyed, it must of course be 
often a matter of doubt, or rather, of arbi- 
trary choice, not only to which genus each 
kind of fallacy should be referred, but even 
to which kind to refer any one individual 
Fallacy. For, since, in any Argument, one 
Premiss is usually suppressed, it frequently 
happens, in the case of a Fallacy, that the 
hearers are left to the alternative of supplying 
either a Premiss which is not true, or else, one 
which does not prove the Conclusion ; e. g. if a 

nate charac- 

!acies f Fal " man ex P a tiates on the distress of the country, 
and thence argues that the government is 

2.] OF FALLACIES. 171 

tyrannical, we must suppose him to assume 
either that " every distressed country is under 
a tyranny," which is a manifest falsehood, or, 
merely that " every country under a tyranny 
is distressed," which, however true, proves 
nothing, the Middle Term being undistributed. 
Now, in the former case, the Fallacy would 
be referred to the head of " extra dictionem ;" 
in the latter to that of " in dictione :" which 
are we to suppose the speaker meant us to 
understand ? Surely just whichever each of 
his hearers might happen to prefer : some 
might assent to the false Premiss ; others, 
allow the unsound Syllogism ; to the Sophist 
himself it is indifferent, as long as they can 
but be brought to admit the Conclusion. 

Without pretending, then, to conform to 
every one's mode of speaking on the subject, 
or to lay down rules which shall be in them- 
selves (without any call for labour or skill in 
the person who employs them) readily appli- 
cable to, and decisive on, each individual case, 
I shall propose a division which is at least per- 
fectly clear in its main principle, and coincides, 
perhaps, as nearly as possible, with the esta- 
blished notions of Logicians on the subject. 


In every Fallacy, the Conclusion either Logo.,i iai 
does, or does not follow from the Premises. 


Where the Conclusion does not follow from 
the Premises, it is manifest that the fault is 
in the Reasoning, and in that alone ; these, 
therefore, we call Logical Fallacies,* as being 
properly, violations of those rules of Reason- 
ing which it is the province of Logic to lay 

Of these, however, one kind^are more purely 
Logical, as exhibiting their fallaciousness by 
the bare form of the expression, without any 
regard to the meaning of the Terms : to 
which class belong: 1st. Undistributed Middle ; 
2d. Illicit Process ; 3d. Negative Premises, or 
Affirmative Conclusion from a Negative Pre- 
miss, and vice versa : to which may be added, 
4th. those which have palpably (i. e. expressed} 
more than three Terms. 

The other kind may be most properly called 
semi-logical ; viz. all the cases of ambiguous 
middle Term except its non-distribution : for 
though in such cases the conclusion does not 
follow, and though the rules of Logic show 
that it does not, as soon as the ambiguity of the 
middle Term is ascertained, yet the discovery 
and ascertainment of this ambiguity requires 
attention to the sense of the Term, and know- 
ledge of the Subject-matter ; so that here, 

* In the same manner as we call that a criminal court in 
which crimes are judged. 

2.] OF FALLACIES. 173 

Logic " teaches us not how to find the Fallacy, 
but only where to search for it," and on what 
principles to condemn it. 

Accordingly it has been made a subject of 
bitter complaint against Logic, that it presup- 
poses the most difficult point to be already 
accomplished, viz. the sense of the Terms to 
be ascertained. A similar objection might be 
urged against every other art in existence ; 
e. g. against Agriculture, that all the precepts 
for the cultivation of land presuppose the 
possession of a farm ; or against Perspective, 
that its rules are useless to a blind man. The 
objection is indeed peculiarly absurd when 
urged against Logic, because the object which 
it is blamed for not accomplishing cannot pos- 
sibly be within the province of any one art 
whatever. Is it indeed possible or conceivable 
that there should be any method, science, or 
system, that should enable one to know the 
full and exact meaning of every term in exist- 
ence ? The utmost that can be done is to give 
some general rules that may assist us in this 
work ; which is done in the first two chapters 
of Book II. 

The very author of the objection says, 
" This (the comprehension of the meaning of 
general Terms) is a study which every in- 
dividual must carry on for himself; and of 
which no rules of Logic (how useful soever 


they may be in directing our labours) can 
supersede the necessity." D. Stewart, Phil. 
Vol. II. chap. ii. s. 2. 

Nothing perhaps tends more to conceal 
from men their imperfect conception of the 
meaning of a term, than the circumstance of 
their being able fully to comprehend a process 
of reasoning in which it is involved, without 
attaching any distinct meaning at all to 
that Term ; as is evident when X Y Z are 
used to stand for Terms, in a regular Syllo- 
gism. Thus a man may be familiarized with a 
Term, and never find himself at a loss from 
not comprehending it ; from which he will be 
very likely to infer that he does comprehend it, 
when perhaps he does not, but employs it 
vaguely and incorrectly ; which leads to fal- 
lacious Reasoning and confusion. It must be 
owned, however, that many Logical writers 
have, in great measure, brought on themselves 
the reproach in question, by calling Logic 
" the right use of Reason," laying down 
" rules for gaining clear ideas," and such-like 
a\afaveta, as Aristotle calls it. (Rhet.Rook I. 
Chap, ii.) 


Material Fai- The remaining class ( viz. where the Conclu- 
sion does follow from the Premises) may be 
called the Material, or Non-logical Fallacies : 

3.] OF FALLACIES. 175 

of these there are two kinds;* 1st. when 
the Premises are such as ought not to have 
been assumed; 2d. when the Conclusion i s 
not the one required, but irrelevant ; which 
Fallacy is commonly called " ignoratio elenchi" 
because your Argument is not the " elenchus" 
(i. e. proof of the contradictory) of your oppo- 
nent's assertion, which it should be ; but proves, 
instead of that, some other proposition resem- 
bling it. Hence, since Logic defines what 
Contradiction is, some may choose rather to 
range this with the Logical Fallacies, as it 
seems, so far, to come under the jurisdiction 
of that art. Nevertheless, it is perhaps better 
to adhere to the original division, both on 
account of its clearness, and also because few 
would be inclined to apply to the Fallacy in 
question the accusation of being inconclusive, 
and consequently illogical reasoning ; besides 
which, it seems an artificial and circuitous 
way of speaking, to suppose in all cases an 
opponent and a contradiction ; the simple state- 
ment of the matter being this, I am required, 
by the circumstances of the case, (no matter 
why) to prove a certain Conclusion ; I prove, 
not that, but one which is likely to be mis- 
taken for it ; in this lies the Fallacy. 

* For it is manifest that the fault, if there be any, must 
be either 1st. in the Premises, or 2dly. in the Conclusion, 
or 3dly. in the Connexion between them. 


It might be desirable therefore to lay aside 
the name of " ignoratio elenchi," but that it 
is so generally adopted as absolutely to re- 
quire some mention to be made of it. The 
other kind of Fallacies in the Matter will 
comprehend (as far as the vague and ob- 
scure language of Logical writers will allow 
us to conjecture) the fallacy of " non causa 
pro causa," and that of " petitio principii : " of 
these, the former is by them distinguished into 
"a non vera pro vera" and " a non tali pro 
tali ;" this last would appear to mean arguing 
from a case not parallel as if it were so ; 
which, in Logical language, is, having the 
suppressed Premiss false ; for it is in that the 
parallelism is affirmed ; and the " non vera 
pro vera" will in like manner signify the ex- 
pressed Premiss being false ; so that this Fal- 
lacy will turn out to be, in plain terms, neither 
more nor less than falsity (or unfair assump- 
tion) of a Premiss. 

The remaining kind, te petitio principii" 
(begging the question,) takes place when a 
Premiss, whether true or false, is either 
plainly equivalent to the Conclusion, or de- 
pends on it for its own reception. It is to 
be observed, however, that in all correct 
Reasoning the Premises must, virtually, im- 
ply the Conclusion ; so that it is not possi- 
ble to mark precisely the distinction between 

4.] OF FALLACIES. 177 

the Fallacy in question and fair Argument ; 
since that may be correct and fair Rea- 
soning to one person, which would be, to 
another, " begging the question ;" inasmuch 
as to one, the Conclusion might be more 
evident than the Premiss, and to the other, 
the reverse. The most plausible form of this 
Fallacy is arguing in a circle ; and the greater 
the circle, the harder to detect. 


There is no Fallacy that may not properly 
be included under some of the foregoing 
heads: those which in the Logical treatises 
are separately enumerated, and contradistin- 
guished from these, being in reality instances 
of them, and therefore more properly enume- 
rated in the subdivision thereof; as in the 
scheme annexed : 








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P w 





3 a 
r* n, 

S a 

a 2 





0* 2. o 

2 o P 










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5.] OF FALLACIES. 179 


On each of the Fallacies which have been 
thus enumerated and distinguished, I propose 
to offer some more particular remarks ; but 
before I proceed to this, it will be proper to 
premise two general observations, 1st. on the 
importance, and 2d. the difficulty, of detect- 
ing and describing Fallacies. Both have been 
already slightly alluded to ; but it is requisite 
that they should here be somewhat more fully 
and distinctly set forth. 

1st. It seems by most persons to be taken importance 

of detecting 

for granted that a Fallacy is to be dreaded Fallacies. 
merely as a weapon fashioned and wielded by 
a skilful sophist ; or, if they allow that a man 
may with honest intentions slide into one un- 
consciously, in the heat of argument, still they 
seem to suppose that where there is no dispute, 
there is no cause to dread Fallacy ; whereas 
there is much danger, even in what may be 
called solitary reasoning, of sliding unawares 
into some Fallacy, by which one may be so far 
deceived as even to act upon the conclusion 
thus obtained. By solitary reasoning I mean 
the case in which one is not seeking for argu- 
ments to prove a given question, but labouring 
to elicit from one's previous stock of know- 
ledge some useful inference.* To select one 

* See the chapter on " inferring and proving," (Book IV. 
ch. iii.) in the Dissertation on the Province of Reasoning. 



from innumerable examples that might be 
cited, and of which some more will occur in 
the subsequent part of this essay; it is not 
improbable that many indifferent sermons 
have been produced by the ambiguity of the 
word "plain :" a young divine perceives the 
truth of the maxim, that " for the lower 
orders one's language cannot be too plain f 
(L e. clear and perspicuous, so as to require 
no learning nor ingenuity to understand it,) 
and when he proceeds to practice, the word 
"plain" indistinctly flits before him, as it 
were, and often checks him in the use of 
ornaments of style, such as metaphor, epithet, 
antithesis, fyc., which are opposed to " plain- 
ness " in a totally different sense of the word ; 
being by no means necessarily adverse to 
perspicuity, but rather, in many cases, con- 
ducive to it ; as may be seen in several of 
the clearest of our Lord's discourses, which 
are the very ones that are the most richly 
adorned with figurative language. So far 
indeed is an ornamented style from being unfit 
for the vulgar, that they are pleased with it even 
in excess. Yet the desire to be " plain," com- 
bined with that dim and confused notion which 
the ambiguity of the word produces in such 
as do not separate in their minds, and set 
before themselves, the two meanings, often 
causes them to write in a dry and bald style, 

5.] OF FALLACIES. 181 

which has no advantage in point of perspicuity, 
and is least of all suited to the taste of the 
vulgar. The above instance is not drawn 
from mere conjecture, but from actual expe- 
rience of the fact. 

Another instance of the strong influence of influence of 

words on 

words on our ideas may be adduced from a thoughts. 
widely different subject : most persons feel a 
certain degree of surprise on first hearing of 
the result of some late experiments of the 
Agricultural Chemists, by which they have 
ascertained that universally what are called 
heavy soils are specifically the lightest ; and 
vice versa. Whence this surprise ? for no one 
ever distinctly 'believed the established names 
to be used in the literal and primary sense, in 
consequence of the respective soils having 
been weighed together; indeed it is obvious 
on a moment's reflection that tenacious clay- 
soils (as well as muddy roads) are figuratively 
called heavy, from the difficulty of ploughing, 
or passing over them, which produces an effect 
like that of bearing or dragging a heavy 
weight ; yet still the terms " light " and 
" heavy," though used figuratively, have most 
undoubtedly introduced into men's minds 
something of the ideas expressed by them in 
their primitive sense. The same words, when 
applied to articles of diet, have produced im- 
portant errors ; many supposing some article. 


of food to be light of digestion from its being 
specifically light. So true is the ingenious 
observation of Hobbes, that " words are the 
counters of wise men, and the money of 

" Men imagine/' says Bacon, " that their 
minds have the command of Language ; but it 
often happens that Language bears rule over 
their mind." Some of the weak and absurd 
arguments which are often urged against 
Suicide may be traced to the influence of 
words on thoughts. When a Christian mo- 
ralist is called on for a direct Scriptural precept 
against suicide, instead of replying that the 
Bible is not meant for a complete code of 
laws, but for a system of motives and principles, 
the answer frequently given is " thou shalt do 
no murder;' and it is assumed in the argu- 
ments drawn from Reason, as well as in those 
from Revelation, that Suicide is a species of 
Murder ; viz. because it is called self-murder ; 
and thus, deluded by a name, many are led to 
rest on an unsound argument ; which, like all 
other fallacies, does more harm than good, in 
the end, to the cause of truth. Suicide, if any 
one considers the nature and not the name of 
it, evidently wants the most essential charac- 
teristic of murder, viz. the hurt and injury done 
to one's neighbour, in depriving him of life, as 
well as to others by the insecurity they are in 

5.] OF FALLACIES. 183 

consequence liable to feel. And since no one 
can, strictly speaking, do injustice to himself, 
he cannot, in the literal and primary accepta- 
tion of the words, be said either to rob or to 
murder himself. He who deserts the post 
to which he is appointed by his great Master, 
and presumptuously cuts short the state of 
probation graciously allowed him for working 
out his salvation, (whether by action or by 
patient endurance,) is guilty indeed of a 
grievous sin, but of one not the least ana- 
logous in its character to murder. It im- 
plies no inhumanity. It is much more closely 
allied to the sin of wasting life in indolence, 
or in trifling pursuits, that life which is 
bestowed as a seed-time for the harvest of 
immortality. What is called in familiar phrase 
" killing time," is, in truth, an approach, as far 
as it goes, to the destruction of one's own 
life : for " Time is the stuff life is made of." 

" Time destroyed 
Is suicide, where more than blood is spilt." Young. 

It is surely wiser and safer to confine our- 
selves to such arguments as will bear the test 
of a close examination, than to resort to such 
as may indeed at the first glance be more 
specious and appear stronger, but which, 
when exposed, will too often leave a man a 
dupe to the fallacies on the opposite side. 


But it is especially the error of controver- 
sialists to urge every thing that can be urged ; 
to snatch up the first weapon that comes to 
hand ; (" furor arma ministrat ;") without 
waiting to consider what is TRUE. 

More especially deserving of attention is the 
influence of Analogical Terms in leading men 
into erroneous notions in Theology ; where 
the most important terms are analogical ; and 
yet they are continually employed in Reason- 
ing, without due attention (oftener through 
want of caution than by unfair design) to 
their analogical nature ; and most of the 
errors into which theologians have fallen may 
be traced, in part, to this cause.* 

In speaking of the importance of refuting 
Fallacies, (under which name I include, as 
will be seen, any false assumption employed as 
a premiss) this consideration ought not to be 
overlooked ; that an unsound Principle, which 
has been employed to establish some mis- 
chievously false Conclusion, does not at once 
become harmless, and too insignificant to be 
worth refuting, as soon as that conclusion is 
given up, and the false Principle is no longer 
employed for that particular use. It may 
equally well lead to some other no less mis- 
chievous result. " A false premiss, according 

* See the notes to Ch. v. 1. of the Dissertation sub- 

5.] OF FALLACIES. 1 85 

as it is combined with this, or with that, true 
one, will lead to two different false conclu- 
sions. Thus, if the principle be admitted, 
that any important religious errors ought to 
be forcibly suppressed, this may lead either 
to persecution on the one side, or to latitudi- 
narian indifference on the other. Some may 
be led to justify the suppression of heresies by 
the civil sword ; and others, whose feelings 
revolt at such a procedure, and who see per- 
secution reprobated and discountenanced by 
those around them, may be led by the same 
principle to regard religious errors as of little 
or no importance, and all religious persuasions 
as equally acceptable in the sight of God."* 
It ought however to be observed on the other 
hand, that such effects are often attributed to 
some fallacy as it does not in fact produce. 
It shall have been perhaps triumphantly urged, 
and repeated again and again, and referred to 
by many as irrefragable ; and yet shall have 
never convinced any one ; but have been 
merely assented to by those already con- 
vinced. To many persons any two well-sound- 
ing phrases, which have a few words the same, 
and are in some manner connected with the 
same subject, will serve for premiss and con- 
clusion : and when we hear a man profess to 
derive conviction from such arguments, we are 

* The Errors of Romanism, Ch. v. 2. p. 228. 


naturally disposed to regard his case as hope- 
less. But it will often happen that in reality 
his reasoning faculties shall have been totally 
dormant ; and equally so perhaps in another 
case, where he gives his assent to a process of 
sound reasoning, leading to a conclusion which 
he has already admitted. " The puerile fal- 
lacies which you may sometimes hear a man 
adduce on some subjects, are perhaps in reality 
no more his own, than the sound arguments 
he employs on others ; he may have given 
an indolent unthinking acquiescence to each ; 
and if he can be excited to exertion of thought, 
he may be very capable of distinguishing the 
sound from the unsound."* 

Thus much, as to the extensive practical 
influence of Fallacies, and the consequent high 
importance of detecting and exposing them. 


Difficulty of 2dly. The second remark is, that while 

detecting . 

Fallacies, sound reasoning is ever the more readily ad- 
mitted, the more clearly it is perceived to be 
such, Fallacy, on the contrary, being rejected 
as soon as perceived, will, of course, be the 
more likely to obtain reception, the more it is 
obscured and disguised by obliquity and com- 
plexity of expression. It is thus that it is the 

* Pol. Econ. Lect. I. p. 15. 

6.] OF FALLACIES. 187 

most likely either to slip accidentally from the 
careless reasoner, or to be brought forward 
deliberately by the Sophist. Not that he 
ever wishes this obscurity and complexity to 
be perceived ; on the contrary, it is for his 
purpose that the expression should appear as 
clear and simple as possible, while in reality it 
is the most tangled net he can contrive. 

Thus, whereas it is usual to express our 
reasoning, elliptically, so that a Premiss (or 
even two or three entire steps in a course of 
argument) which may be readily supplied, as 
being perfectly obvious, shall be left to be 
understood, the Sophist in like manner sup- 
presses what is not obvious, but is in reality 
the weakest part of the argument : and uses 
every other contrivance to withdraw our atten- 
tion (his art closely resembling the juggler's) 
from the quarter where the Fallacy lies. Hence 
the uncertainty before mentioned, to which 
class any individual Fallacy is to be referred : 
and hence it is that the difficulty of detecting 
and exposing Fallacy, is so much greater than 
that of comprehending and developing a pro- 
cess of sound argument. It is like the de- 
tection and apprehension of a criminal in 
spite of all his arts of concealment and dis- 
guise ; when this is accomplished, and he is 
brought to trial with all the evidence of his 
guilt produced, his conviction and punishment 


are easy ; and this is precisely the case with 
those Fallacies which are given as examples in 
Logical treatises; they are in fact already 
detected, by being stated in a plain and 
regular form, and are, as it were, only brought 
up to receive sentence. Or again, fallacious 
reasoning may be compared to a perplexed 
and entangled mass of accounts, which it re- 
quires much sagacity and close attention to 
clear up, and display in a regular and intel- 
ligible form ; though when this is once accom- 
plished, the whole appears so perfectly simple, 
that the unthinking are apt to undervalue the 
skill and pains which have been employed 
upon it. 

Moreover, it should be remembered that a 
very long discussion is one of the most effec- 
tual veils of Fallacy. Sophistry, like poison, 
is at once detected, and nauseated, when 
presented to us in a concentrated form ; but 
a Fallacy which when stated barely, in a few 
sentences, would not deceive a child, may 
deceive half the world, if diluted in a quarto 
volume. For, as in a calculation, one single 
figure incorrectly stated will enable us to 
arrive at any result whatever, though every 
other figure, and the whole of the operations, 
be correct, so, a single false assumption in any 
process of reasoning, though every other be 
true, will enable us to draw what conclusion 

6.] OP FALLACIES. 189 

we please ; and the greater the number of 
true assumptions, the more likely it is that 
the false one will pass unnoticed. But 
when you single out one step in the course of 
the reasoning, and exhibit it as a Syllogism 
with one Premiss true and the other false, the 
sophistry is easily perceived. I have seen a 
long argument to prove that the potato is not 
a cheap article of food ; in which there was 
an elaborate, and perhaps correct, calculation 
of the produce per acre of potatoes, and of 
wheat, the quantity lost in bran expense 
of grinding, dressing, fyc., and an assumption 
slipped in, as it were incidentally, that a given 
quantity of potatoes contains hut one-tenth part 
of nutritive matter equal to bread: from all 
which (and there is probably but one ground- 
less assertion in the whole) a most triumphant 
result was deduced.* 

To use another illustration ; it is true in a 
course of argument, as in Mechanics, that 
" nothing is stronger than its weakest part ;" 

* This, however, gained the undoubting assent of a 
Review by no means friendly to the author, and usually 
noted more for scepticism than for ready assent! "All 
things," says an apocryphal writer, " are double, one against 
another, and nothing is made in vain :" unblushing assertors 
of falsehood seem to have a race of easy believers pro- 
vided on purpose for their use : men who will not indeed 
believe the best established truths of religion, but are ready 
to believe any thing else. 


and consequently a chain which has one faulty 
link will break : but though the number of the 
sound links adds nothing to the strength of 
the chain, it adds much to the chance of the 
faulty one's escaping observation. 

To speak, therefore, of all the Fallacies that 
have ever been enumerated as too glaring 
and obvious to need even being mentioned, 
because the simple instances given in logical 
treatises, and there stated in the plainest 
and consequently most easily detected form, 
are such as would (in that form) deceive no 
one ; this, surely, shows extreme weakness, 
or else unfairness. It may readily be allowed, 
indeed, that to detect individual Fallacies, and 
bring them under the general rules, is a harder 
task than to lay down those general rules ; 
but this does not prove that the latter office 
is trifling or useless, or that it does not 
essentially conduce to the performance of the 
other. There may be more ingenuity shown 
in detecting and arresting a malefactor, and 
convicting him of the fact, than in laying 
down a law for the trial and punishment of 
such persons ; but the latter office, L e. that 
of a legislator, is surely neither unnecessary 
nor trifling. 

It should be added that a close observation 
and Logical analysis of Fallacious arguments, 
as it tends (according to what has been already 

7.] OF FALLACIES. 191 

said) to form a habit of mind well suited for 
the practical detection of Fallacies ; so, for 
that very reason, it will make us the more 
careful in making allowance for them : i. e. to 
bear in mind how much men in general are 
liable to be influenced by them. E. G. a re- 
futed argument ought to go for nothing ; but in 
fact it will generally prove detrimental to the 
cause, from the Fallacy which will be pre- 
sently explained. Now, no one is more likely 
to be practically aware of this, and to take 
precautions accordingly, than he who is most 
versed in the whole theory of Fallacies ; for 
the best Logician is the least likely to calcu- 
late on men in general being such. 

Of Fallacies inform, 

enough perhaps has already been said in the 
preceding Compendium : and it has been re- 
marked above, that it is often left to our choice 
to refer an individual Fallacy to this head or 
to another. 

It may be worth observing, however, that 
to the present class we may the most con- 
veniently refer those Fallacies, so common in 
practice, of supposing the Conclusion false, 
because the Premiss is false, or because the 
Argument is unsound; and of inferring the 


truth of the Premiss from that of the Con- 
clusion. E. G. if any one argues for the 
existence of a God, from its being universally 
believed, a man might perhaps be able to 
refute the argument by producing an instance 
of some nation destitute of such belief; the 
argument ought then (as has been observed 
above) to go for nothing: but many would 
go further, and think that this refutation had 
disproved the existence of a God ; in which 
they would be guilty of an illicit process of 
the major term ; viz. " whatever is universally 
believed must be true ; the existence of a 
God is not universally believed ; therefore it 
is not true." Others again from being con- 
vinced of the truth of the Conclusion would 
infer that of the Premises ; which would 
amount to the Fallacy of an undistributed 
middle : vis. " what is universally believed, 
is true ; the existence of a God is true ; 
therefore it is universally believed." Or, 
these Fallacies might be stated in the hypo- 
thetical form ; since the one evidently proceeds 
from the denial of the antecedent to the denial 
of the consequent ; and the other from the 
establishing of the consequent to the inferring 
of the antecedent ; which two Fallacies will 
often be found to correspond respectively 
with those of Illicit process of the major, 
and Undistributed middle. 

7.j OF FALLACIKS. 193 

Fallacies of this class *are very much kept 
out of sight, being seldom perceived even by 
those who employ them ; but of their prac- 
tical importance there can be no doubt, since 
it is notorious that a weak argument is always, 
in practice, detrimental ; and that there is no 
absurdity so gross which men will not readily 
admit, if it appears to lead to a conclusion of 
which they are already convinced. Even a 
candid and sensible writer is not unlikely to 
be, by this means, misled, when he is seeking 
for arguments to support a conclusion which 
he has long been fully convinced of himself; 
L e. he will often use such arguments as would 
never have convinced himself, and are not likely 
to convince others, but rather (by the operation 
of the converse Fallacy) to confirm in their 
dissent those who before disagreed with him. 

It is best therefore to endeavour to put 
yourself in the place of an opponent to your 
own arguments, and consider whether you 
could not find some objection to them. The 
applause of ones own party is a very unsafe 
ground for judging of the real force of an 
argumentative work, and consequently of its 
real utility. To satisfy those who were doubt- 
ing, and to convince those who were opposed, 
are the only sure tests ; but these persons are 
seldom very loud in their applause, or very 
forward in bearing their testimony. 


194 ELEMENTS OF LOGIC. [Boon-Ill. 

Of Ambiguous Middle. 


That case in which the middle is undistri- 
buted belongs of course to the preceding head ; 
the fault being perfectly manifest from the 
mere form of the expression : in that case the 
extremes are compared with two parts of the 
same term ; but in the Fallacy which has been 
called semi-logical, (which we are now to 
speak of) the extremes are compared with 
two different terms, the middle being used in 
two different senses in the two Premises.* 

And here it may be remarked, that when 
the argument is brought into the form of a 
regular Syllogism, the contrast between these 
two senses will usually appear very striking, 
from the two Premises being placed together ; 
and hence the scorn with which many have 
treated the very mention of the Fallacy of 
Equivocation, deriving their only notion of it 
from the exposure of it in Logical treatises ; 
whereas, in practice it is common for the two 
Premises to be placed very far apart, and dis- 
cussed in different parts of the discourse ; by 
which means the inattentive hearer overlooks 
any ambiguity that may exist in the middle 

* For some instances of important ambiguities, see 


8.] OK FALLACIES. If).") 

term. Hence the advantage of Logical habits, 
to fix our attention strongly and steadily on 
the important terms of an argument. 

One case, which may be regarded as com- Parony m0 u 8 
ing under the head of Ambiguous middle, is, 
what is called, " Fallacia Figurce Dictionis" 
the Fallacy built on the grammatical structure 
of language, from men's usually taking for 
granted that paronymous words (L e. those 
belonging to each other, as the substantive, 
adjective, verb, fyc. of the same root) have a 
precisely correspondent meaning ; which is by 
no means universally the case. Such a fallacy 
could not indeed be even exhibited in strict 
Logical form, which would preclude even the 
attempt at it, since it has two middle terms in 
sound as well as sense. But nothing is more 
common in practice than to vary continually 
the terms employed, with a view to grammati- 
cal convenience ; nor is there anything unfair 
in such a practice, as long as the meaning is 
preserved unaltered : e. g. " murder should be 
punished with death ; this man is a murderer ; 
therefore he deserves to die," fyc. fyc. Here 
we proceed on the assumption (in this case 
just) that to commit murder and to be a mur- 
derer, to deserve death and to be one who 
ought to die, are, respectively, equivalent 
expressions : and it would frequently prove a 
heavy inconvenience to be debarred this kind 
o 2 


of liberty; but the abuse of it gives rise to 
the Fallacy in question : e.g. "projectors are 
unfit to be trusted ; this man has formed a 
project, therefore he is unfit to be trusted : * " 
here the Sophist proceeds on the hypothesis 
that he who forms a project must be a pro- 
jector : whereas the bad sense that commonly 
attaches to the latter word, is not at all 
implied in the former. 

This Fallacy may often be considered as 
lying not in the middle, but in one of the 
terms of the conclusion; so that the conclu- 
sion drawn shall not be, in reality, at all 
warranted by the Premises, though it will 
appear to be so, by means of the grammatical 
affinity of the words: e.g. "to be acquainted 
with the guilty is a presumption of guilt ; this 
man is so acquainted ; therefore we may 
presume that he is guilty:" this argument 
proceeds on the supposition of an exact cor- 
respondence between "presume" and "pre- 
sumption" which, however, does not really 
exist ; for " presumption " is commonly used 
to express a kind of slight suspicion ; whereas 
" to presume " amounts to absolute belief. 

The above remark will apply to some other 
cases of ambiguity of term ; viz. the conclu- 
sion will often contain a term, which (though 
not, as here, different in expression from the 

* Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations : Usury. 

8.] OF FALLACIES. |!)7 

corresponding one in the Premiss, yet) is 
liable to be understood in a sense different 
from what it bears to the Premiss ; though, of 
course, such a Fallacy is less common, be- 
cause less likely to deceive, in those cases than 
in this ; where the term used in the conclu- 
sion, though professing to correspond with 
one in the Premiss, is not the very name in 
expression, and therefore is more certain to 
convey a different sense ; which is what the 
Sophist wishes. 

There are innumerable instances of a non- 
correspondence in paronymous words, similar 
to that above instanced ; as between art and 
artful, design and designing, faith and faith- 
ful, fyc. ; and the more slight the variation of 
meaning, the more likely is the Fallacy to be 
successful ; for when the words have become 
so widely removed in sense as " pity " and 
" pitiful," every one would perceive such 
a Fallacy, nor could it be employed but 
in jest. 

This Fallacy cannot in practice be refuted, 
(except when you are addressing regular 
logicians,) by stating merely the impossibility of 
reducing such an argument to the strict logical 
form. You must find some way of point- 
ing out the non-correspondence of the terms 
in question ; e. g. with respect to the example 
above, it might be remarked, that we speak 


of strong or faint " presumption/' but we use 
no such expression in conjunction with the 
verb " presume," because the word itself im- 
plies strength. 

No fallacy is more common in controversy 
than the present, since in this way the Sophist 
will often be able to misinterpret the proposi- 
tions which his opponent admits or maintains, 
and so employ them against him. Thus in the 
examples just given, it is natural to conceive 
one of the Sophist's Premises to have been 
borrowed from his opponent.* 

Etymology. The present Fallacy is nearly allied to, or 
rather perhaps may be regarded as a branch 
of that founded on etymology ; viz. when a 
Term is used at one time, in its customary, 
and at another, in its etymological sense. 
Perhaps no example of this can be found 
that is more extensively and mischievously 
employed than in the case of the word repre- 
sentative : assuming that its right meaning 
must correspond exactly with the strict and 
original sense of the verb, " represent," the 
Sophist persuades the multitude, that a mem- 
ber of the House of Commons is bound to be 
guided in all points by the opinion of his 

* Perhaps a dictionary of such paronymous words as 
do not regularly correspond in meaning, would be nearly 
as useful as one of synonyms ; i. e. properly speaking, of 

.9.] OF FALLACIES. !<)<) 

constituents : and, in short, to be merely their 
spokesman: whereas law and custom, which 
in this case may be considered as fixing the 
meaning of the Term, require no such thing, 
but enjoin the representative to act according 
to the best of his own judgment, and on his 
own responsibility. 

Home Tooke has furnished a whole maga- 
zine of such weapons for any Sophist who may 
need them ; and has furnished some specimens 
of the employment of them. He contends, 
that it is idle to speak of eternal or immutable 
" Truth" because the word is derived from to 
"trow," i. e. believe. He might on as good 
grounds have censured the absurdity of speak- 
ing of sending a letter by the " post" because 
a post, in its primary sense, is a pillar ; or have 
insisted that " Sycophant " can never mean 
anything but " Fig- shower." 

It is to be observed, that to the head of Fallacy or 


Ambiguous middle should be referred what tiolls - 
is called " Fallacia plurium Interrogationum? 
which may be named, simply, " the Fallacy 
of Interrogation;" viz. the Fallacy of asking 
several questions which appear to be but one ; 
so that whatever one answer is given, being of 
course applicable to one only of the implied 
questions, may be interpreted as applied to 


the other; the refutation is, of course, to 
reply separately to each question, i. e. to 
detect the ambiguity. 

I have said, several " questions which ap- 
pear to be but one" for else there is no Fal- 
lacy ; such an example, therefore, as "estne 
homo animal et lapis?" which Aldrich gives, 
is foreign to the matter in hand; for there 
is nothing unfair in asking two distinct ques- 
tions (any more than in asserting two dis- 
tinct propositions) distinctly and avowedly. 

This Fallacy may be referred, as has been 
said, to the head of Ambiguous middle. In all 
Reasoning it is very common to state one of 
the Premises in form of a question, and when 
that is admitted, or supposed to be admitted, 
then to fill up the rest : if then one of the 
Terms of that question be ambiguous, which- 
ever sense the opponent replies to, the Sophist 
assumes the other sense of the Term in the 
remaining Premiss. It is therefore very com- 
mon to state an equivocal argument, in form 
of a question so worded, that there shall be 
little doubt which reply will be given ; but if 
there be such doubt, the Sophist must have 
two Fallacies of equivocation ready ; e. g. the 
question " whether anything vicious is expe- 
dient," discussed in Cic. Off. Book III. (where, 
by the bye, he seems not a little perplexed 
with it himself) is of the character in ques- 

9.] OF FALLACIES. 201 

tion, from the ambiguity of the word " expe- 
dient" which means sometimes, " conducive 
to temporal prosperity," sometimes " con- 
ducive to the greatest good :" whichever 
answer therefore was given, the Sophist might 
have a Fallacy of equivocation founded on this 
term ; viz. if the answer be in the negative, 
his argument, Logically developed, will stand 
thus, " what is vicious is not expedient ; 
whatever conduces to the acquisition of wealth 
and aggrandizement is expedient ; therefore it 
cannot be vicious :" if in the affirmative, then 
thus, " whatever is expedient is desirable ; 
something vicious is expedient, therefore de- 

This kind of Fallacy is frequently employed Distribution 
in such a manner, that the uncertainty shall tribution 
be, not about the meaning, but the extent of a 
Term, i. e. whether it is distributed or not : 
e. g. " did A B in this case act from such and 
such a motive?" which may imply either, 
" was it his sole motive?" or " was it one of 
his motives ? " in the former case the term 
" that-which-actuated-A B" is distributed ; in 
the latter, not : now if he acted from a mixture 

* Much of the declamation by which popular assemblies 
are often misled, against what is called, without any distinct 
meaning, the " doctrine of expediency," (as if the " right " 
and the " expedient" were in opposition) might be silenced 
by asking the simple question, ' Do you then admit that 
the course you recommend is inexpedient ?" 


of motives, whichever answer you give, may 
be misrepresented, and thus disproved. 

intrinsic and In some cases of ambiguous middle, the 


tns ca Term in question may be considered as having 
in itself, from its own equivocal nature, two 
significations ; (which apparently constitutes 
the " Fallacia equivocationis " of Logical wri- 
ters ;) others again have a middle Term which 
is ambiguous from the context, i. e. from what 
is understood in conjunction with it. This 
division will be found useful, though it is 
impossible to draw the line accurately in it. 
The elliptical character of ordinary discourse 
causes many Terms to become practically 
ambiguous, which yet are not themselves em- 
ployed in different senses, but with different 
applications, which are understood. Thus, 
" The Faith " would be used by a Christian 
writer to denote the Christian Faith, and by 
a Mussulman, the Mahometan ; yet the word 
Faith, has not in these cases, of itself, two 
different significations. So e/eXe/ero/, " elect," 
or " chosen," is sometimes applied to such as 
are " chosen," to certain privileges and advan- 
tages; (as the Israelites were, though " they 
were overthrown in the wilderness " for their 
disobedience; and as all Christians are fre- 
quently called in the New Testament) some- 

10.] OF FALLACIES. 203 

times again to those who are " chosen," as fit 
to receive a final reward, having made a right 
use of those advantages ; as when our Lord 
says, " many are called, but few chosen." 

What Logicians have mentioned under the 
title of " Fallacia amphiboliae " is referable to 
this last class ; though in real practice it is 
not very likely to occur. An amphibolous sen- 
tence is one that is capable of two meanings, 
not from the double sense of any of the words, 
but from its admitting of a double construction : 
as in the instance Aldrich gives, which is 
untranslatable ; " quod tangitur a Socrate, 
illud sentit ;" where " illud" may be taken 
either as the nominative or accusative. So 
also the celebrated response of the oracle ; 
" Aio te, jEacida, Romanes vincere posse :" 
which closely resembles (as Shakspeare re- 
marks) the witch-prophecy, " The Duke yet 
lives that Henry shall depose." A similar 
effect is produced by what the French call 
" construction louche," a squinting construc- 
tion ; i. e. where some word or words may be 
referred either to the former or latter clause 
of the sentence ; of which an instance occurs 
in the rubric prefixed to the service of the 
30th January. " If this day shall happen to 
be Sunday [this form of prayer shall be used] 
and the fast kept the next day following :" 
the clause in brackets may belong either to the 


former or the latter part of the sentence. In 
the Nicene Creed, the words, " by whom all 
things were made," are grammatically refer- 
able either to the Father or the Son. The fol- 
lowing clause of a sentence from a newspaper, 
is a curious specimen of Amphibolia : "For 
protecting and upholding such electors as 
refused, contrary to their desires and con- 
sciences, to vote for Messrs. , regardless 
of threats, and unmindful of intimidation." 

Accidental There are various ways in which words 


come to have two meanings : 

1st. By accident; (i. e. when there is no 
perceptible connexion between the two mean- 
ings) as " light" signifies both the contrary to 
" heavy" and the contrary to " dark." Thus, 
such proper names as John or Thomas, $c. 
which happen to belong to several different 
persons, are ambiguous, because they have a 
different signification in each case where they 
are applied. Words which fall under this first 
head are what are the most strictly called 
First and 2dly. There are several terms in the use of 

second inten- 

which it is necessary to notice the distinction 
between first and second intention.* The 

* I am aware that there exists another opinion as to 
the meaning of the phrase " second-intention ;" and that 
Aldrich is understood by some persons to mean (as indeed 
his expression may very well be understood to imply) 

10.] OF FALLACIES. 205 

" first-intention " of a Term, (according to 
the usual acceptation of this phrase) is a 
certain vague and general signification of it, as 
opposed to one more precise and limited, which 
it bears in some particular art, science, or 
system, and which is called its " second-inten- 
tion." Thus, among farmers, in some parts, 
the word " beast " is applied particularly and 
especially to the ox kind ; and " bird," in the 
language of many sportsmen, is in like manner 
appropriated to the partridge : the common 
and general acceptation (which every one is 
well acquainted with) of each of those two 
words, is the First-intention of each ; the 
other, its Second-intention. 

It is evident that a Term may have several 
Second-intentions, according to the several 
systems into which it is introduced, and of 
which it is one of the technical Terms : thus 

that every predicable must necessarily be employed in the 
Second-intention. I do not undertake to combat the 
doctrine alluded to, because I must confess that, after 
the most patient attention devoted to the explanations 
given of it, I have never been able to comprehend what 
it is that is meant by it. It is one, however, which, 
whether sound or unsound, appears not to be connected 
with any Logical processes, and therefore may be safely 
passed by on the present occasion. 

For some remarks on the Second-intention of the word 
" Species," when applied to organized beings (viz. as de- 
noting those plants or animals, which it is conceived may 
have descended from a common stock), see the subjoined 
Dissertation, Book IV. Chap. v. 1. 


" line " signifies, in the Art-military, a certain 
form of drawing up ships or troops : in Geo- 
graphy, a certain division of the earth ; to 
the fisherman, a string to catch fish, Sfc. Sfc. ; 
all which are so many distinct Second-inten- 
tions, in each of which there is a certain 
signification " of extension in length " which 
constitutes the First-intention, and which cor- 
responds pretty nearly with the employment of 
the Term in Mathematics.* 

It will sometimes happen, that a Term shall 
be employed always in some one or other of 
its second intentions ; and never, strictly in 
the first, though that first intention is a part 
of its signification in each case. It is evident, 
that the utmost care is requisite to avoid con- 
founding together, either the first and second 
intentions, or the different second intentions 
with each other. 
Resemblance 3rdly. When two or more things are con- 

and analogy. 

. nected by resemblance or analogy, they will 
frequently have the same name. Thus a 
"blade of grass," and the contrivance in 
building called a "dove-tail," are so called 

* In a few instances the Second-intention, or philoso- 
phical employment of a Term, is more extensive than the 
First-intention, or popular use : thus " affection " is 
limited in popular use to "love;" "charity," to "alms- 
giving ;" " flower," to those which have conspicuous petals ; 
and fruit, to such as are eatable. 

10.] OF FALLACIES. 20? 

from their resemblance to the blade* of a 
sword, and the tail of a real dove. But two 
things may be connected by analogy, though 
they have in themselves no resemblance: for 
analogy is the resemblance of ratios (or rela- 
tions :) thus, as a sweet taste gratifies the 
palate, so does a sweet sound gratify the ear ; 
and hence the same word, " sweet " is applied 
to both, though no flavour can resemble a 
sound in itself. So, the leg of a table does not 
resemble that of an animal ; nor the foot of 
a mountain that of an animal ; but the leg 
answers the same purpose to the table, as the 
leg of an animal to that animal ; the foot of a 
mountain has the same situation relatively to 
the mountain, as the foot of an animal to the 
animal. This analogy therefore may be ex- 
pressed like a mathematical analogy (or pro- 
portion) ; " leg : animal : : supporting-stick : 

In all these cases (of this 3rd head) one of 
the meanings of the word is called by Logi- 
cians proper, i. e. original or primary ; the 
other improper, secondary, or transferred : 
thus, sweet is originally and properly applied 
to tastes ; secondarily and improperly (i. e. by 

* Unless, indeed, the primary application of the Term 
be to the leaf of grass, and the secondary to cutting 
instruments, which is perhaps more probable ; but the 
question is unimportant in the present case. 


analogy) to sounds : thus also, dove-tail is 
applied secondarily (though not by analogy, 
but by direct resemblance) to the contrivance 
in building so called. 

When the secondary meaning of a word 
is founded on some fanciful analogy, and 
especially when it is introduced for ornament's 
sake, we call this a metaphor; as when we 
speak of " a ship's ploughing the deep ;" the 
turning up of the surface being essential indeed 
to the plough, but accidental only to the ship. 
But if the analogy be a more important and 
essential one, and especially if we have no 
other word to express our meaning but this 
transferred one, we then call it merely an 
analogous word (though the metaphor is ana- 
logous also) e. g. one would hardly call it 
metaphorical or figurative language to speak 
of the leg of a table, or mouth of a river.* 
connexion 4thly. Several things may be called by the 

of time or ,,-11,11 

place. same name (though they have no connexion 
of resemblance or analogy) from being con- 
nected by vicinity of time or place; under 
which head will come the connexion of cause 
and effect, or of part and whole, fyc. Thus, a 
door signifies both an opening in the wall 
(more strictly called the door-way) and a 
board which closes it ; which are things 

* See Dr. Copleston's account of Analogy in the notes 
to his " Four Discourses." 

10.] OF FALLACI!> 209 

neither similar nor analogous. When I say, 
"the rose smells sweet;" and "I smell the 
rose;" the word "smell" has two meanings: 
in the latter sentence, I am speaking of a 
certain sensation in my own mind ; in the 
former, of a certain quality in the flower, 
which produces that sensation, but which of 
course cannot in the least resemble it ; and 
here the word smell is applied with equal 
propriety to both.* Thus again the word 
" certainty " denotes either, primarily, the state 
of our own mind when we are free from doubt, 
or, secondarily, the character of the event 
about which we feel certain. [See Appendix, 
No. I.] Thus, we speak of Homer, for " the 
works of Homer ;" and this is a secondary or 
transferred meaning : and so it is when we say, 
"a good shot," for a good marksman : but the 
word "shot" has two other meanings, which 
are both equally proper ; viz. the thing put into 
a gun in order to be discharged from it, and 
the act of discharging it. 

Thus, " learning " signifies either the act of 
acquiring knowledge, or the knowledge itself; 
e.g. "he neglects his learning;" "Johnson 
was a man of learning." "Possession" is 

* On this ambiguity have been founded the striking 
paradoxes of those who have maintained that there is no 
heat in fire, no cold in ice, fyc. The sensations of heat, 
cold, fyc. can of course only belong to a Sentient Being. 



ambiguous in the same manner; and a mul- 
titude of others. 

Much confusion often arises from ambiguity 
of this kind, when unperceived ; nor is there 
any point in which the copiousness and con- 
sequent precision of the Greek language, is 
more to be admired than in its distinct terms 
for expressing an act, and the result of that 
act ; e. g. Trpa&s, " the doing of anything ;" 
Trpaypa, the " thing done ;" so, Soo-t? and 

Scopov XT?^S and X?7/-tyu,a, fyc. 

It will very often happen, that two of the 
meanings of a word will have no connexion 
with one another, but will each have some con- 
nexion with a third. Thus, " martyr" origi- 
nally signified a witness; thence it was applied 
to those who suffered in bearing testimony 
to Christianity ; and thence again it is often 
applied to "sufferers" in general: the first and 
third significations are not the least connected. 
Thus " post " signifies originally a pillar, 
(postum, from pono) then, a distance marked 
out by posts ; and then, the carriages, mes- 
sengers, fyc. that travelled over this distance. 
It would puzzle any one, proceeding on mere 
conjecture, to make out how the word "pre- 
mises " should have come to signify a building. 

Ambiguities of this kind belong practically 
to the first head : there being no perceived 
connexion between the different senses. 

10.] OF FALLACIES. 211 

Another source of practical ambiguity " is, 

. . . language- 

that, in respect or any subject concerning 
which the generality of men are accustomed 
to speak much and familiarly, in their conver- 
sation relative to that, they usually introduce 
ELLIPTICAL expressions ; very clearly under- 
stood in the outset, but whose elliptical cha- 
racter comes, in time, to be so far lost sight of, 
that confusion of language, and thence, of 
thought, is sometimes the result. Thus, the 
expression of a person's possessing a fortune 
of 10,000/. is an elliptical phrase ; meaning, at 
full length, that all his property if sold would 
exchange for that sum of money. And in 
ninety-nine instances out of a hundred, no 
error or confusion of thought arises from this 
language ; but there is no doubt that it mainly 
contributed to introduce and foster the notion 
that Wealth consists especially of gold and 
silver (these being used to measure and express 
its amount) ; and that the sure way to enrich 
a country is to promote the importation, and 
prevent the export, of the precious metals ; 
with all the other absurdities of what is com- 
monly called 'the mercantile System.' 

"Again, when a man complains of being 
'out of work' is 4 looking out for employ- 
ment/ and hopes for subsistence by labour, 
this is elliptical language ; well enough under 
stood in general. We know that what man 


lives on, is food ; and that he who is said to 
be looking out for work, is in want of food and 
other necessaries, which he hopes to procure 
in exchange for his labour, and has no hope 
of obtaining without it. But there is no doubt 
that this elliptical language has contributed to 
lead those who were not attentive to the cha- 
racter of the expression, to regard every thing 
as beneficial to the labouring classes which 
furnishes employment, i. e. gives trouble ; even 
though no consequent increase should take 
place in the Country, of the food and other 
commodities destined for their support." * 

The remedy for ambiguity is a Definition of 
the Term which is suspected of being used in 
two senses ; viz. a Nominal, not necessarily a 
Real Definition : as was remarked in Book II. 
Chap. v. 
Definition, It is important to observe that the very 

when most 

needed. circumstance which in any case " makes a 
definition the more necessary, is apt to lead to 
the omission of it : for when any terms are 
employed that are not familiarly introduced 
into ordinary discourse, such as ' parallelo- 
gram,' or ' sphere,' or ' tangent/ ' pencil of 
rays/ or ( refraction/ ( oxygen/ or ' alkali/ 
the learner is ready to inquire, and the 
writer to anticipate the inquiry, what is 
meant by this or that term? And though in 

* Pol. Econ. Lect. IX. 

10.] OF FALLACIES. 213 

such cases it is undoubtedly a correct pro- 
cedure to answer this inquiry by a definition, 
yet, of the two cases, a definition is even 
more necessary in the other, where it is not 
so likely to be called for ; where the word, 
not being new to the student, but familiar to 
his ear, from its employment in every-day 
discourse, is liable to the ambiguity which is 
almost always the result. For in respect of 
words that sound ' something new and strange/ 
though it is, as I have said, much better to 
define them in the outset, yet even without 
this, the student would gradually collect their 
meaning pretty correctly, as he proceeded in 
his study of any treatise ; from having nothing 
to mislead him, nothing from which to form 
his notions at all, except the manner in which 
the terms were employed in the work itself 
that is before him. And the very desire he 
had felt of a definition would lead him in this 
way to form one, and generally a sufficiently 
correct one, for himself. 

" It is otherwise with terms to which we are 
familiarly accustomed. Of these, the student 
does not usually crave definitions, from sup- 
posing, for that reason, that he understands 
them well enough : though perhaps (without 
suspecting it) he has in reality been accus- 
tomed to hear them employed in various 
senses, and to attach but a vague and inac- 


curate notion to them. If you speak to an 
uninstructed hearer, of anything that is 
spherical, or circular, or cylindrical, he will 
probably beg for an explanation of your 
meaning ; but if you tell him of anything 
that is round, it will not strike him that any 
explanation is needed : though he has been 
accustomed to employ the word, indiscrimi- 
nately, in all the senses denoted by the other 
Definitions, But here it may be proper to remark, that 

how far to be J r r 

exacted. f or fa e abiding o f Fallacy or of verbal con- 
troversy, it is only requisite that the term 
should be employed uniformly in the same 
sense as far as the existing question is con- 
cerned. Thus, two persons might, in discuss- 
ing the question whether Caesar was a GREAT 
man, have some such difference in their ac- 
ceptation of the epithet " great," as would be 
non-essential to that question ; e. g. one of 
them might understand by it nothing more 
than eminent intellectual and moral qualities ; 
while the other might conceive it to imply the 
performance of splendid actions : this abstract 
difference of meaning would not produce any 
disagreement in the existing question, because 
both those circumstances are united in the 
case of Caesar ; but if one (and not the other) 
of the parties understood the epithet " great " 

* Pol, Econ. Lect. IX. 

11.] OF FALLACIES. 215 

to imply pure patriotism, GENEROSITY of cha- 
racter, $., then there would be a disagree- 
ment as to the application of the Term, even 
between those who might think alike of 
Caesar's character. Definition, the specific for 
ambiguity, is to be employed, and demanded 
with a view to this principle ; it is sufficient 
on each occasion to define a Term as far as 
regards the question in hand. 

1 1 

Of those cases where the ambiguity arises 
from the context, there are several species ; 
some of which Logicians have enumerated, 
but have neglected to refer them, in the first 
place, to one common class (viz. the one 
under which they are here placed ;) and have 
even arranged some under the head of Fal- 
lacies " in dictione" and others under that of 
" extra dictionem" 

We may consider, as the first of these Fallacy of 
species, the Fallacy of "Division " and that of composition. 
" Composition," taken together ; since in each 
of these the middle Term is used in one 
Premiss collectively, in the other, distribu- 
tive ly : if the former of these is the major 
Premiss, and the latter, the minor, this is 
called the " Fallacy of Division ;" the Term 
which is first taken collectively being after- 
wards divided ; and vice versa. The ordinary 


examples are such as these ; " All the angles 
of a triangle are equal to two right angles : 
A B C is an angle of a triangle ; therefore 
A B C is equal to two right angles." " Five 
is one number ; three and two are five : 
therefore three and two are one number ;" or, 
"three and two are two numbers, five is 
three and two, therefore five is two numbers :" 
it is manifest that the middle Term, three and 
two (in this last example) is ambiguous, signi- 
fying, in the major Premiss, " taken dis- 
tinctly ;" in the minor, " taken together :" 
and so of the rest. 

To this head may be referred the common 
Fallacy of over-rating, where each premiss of 
an argument is probable, the probability of the 
conclusion ; which, in that case, is less than 
that of the less probable of the premises. 
For, suppose the probability of one of these 
to be ^, and of the other, -^ (each more likely 
than not) the probability of the conclusion 
will be only j^ or a little more than 5 ; which 
is less than an even chance. This Fallacy 
may be most easily stated as a conditional ; 
a form in which any Fallacy of ambiguous 
middle may easily be exhibited. E. G. "If it 
is more likely than not, that these premises 
are true (L e. that they are both true) it is 
more likely than not, that the conclusion is 
true : but it is more likely than not that the 

11.] OF FALLACIES. 217 

premises are true : (I. e. that each of them is 
so) therefore it is more likely than not that 
the conclusion is true." Here, a term in the 
antecedent, viz. " that the premises are more 
likely than not to be true" is taken jointly in 
the Major, and dividedly in the Minor.* 

To the same class we may refer the Fallacy 
by which men have sometimes been led to 
admit, or pretend to admit, the doctrine of 
Necessity ; e. g. " he who necessarily goes 
or stays (L e. in reality, ( who necessarily goes, 
or who necessarily stays ') is not a free agent ; 
you must necessarily go or stay (i. e. ' you 
must necessarily take the alternative'}, there- 
fore you are not a free agent." Such also is 
the Fallacy which probably operates on most 
adventurers in lotteries ; e. g. " the gaining of 
a high prize is no uncommon ocurrence ; and 
what is no uncommon occurrence may rea- 
sonably be expected : therefore the gaining of 
a high prize may reasonably be expected ;" 
the Conclusion, when applied to the indi- 
vidual (as in practice it is), must be under- 
stood in the sense of "reasonably expected 
by a certain individual;" therefore for the 
major Premiss to be true, the middle Term 
must be understood to mean, "no uncom- 
mon occurrence to some one particular per- 
son ;" whereas for the minor (which has been 

* See 14. 


placed first) to be true, you must undertand 
it of " no uncommon occurrence to some one 
or other ;*' and thus you will have the Fallacy 
of Composition. 

There is no Fallacy more common, or more 
likely to deceive, than the one now before us : 
the form in which it is most usually employed, 
is to establish some truth, separately, con- 
cerning each single member of a certain class, 
and thence to infer the same of the whole col- 
lectively. Thus, some infidels have laboured 
to prove concerning some one of our Lord's 
miracles, that it might have been the result 
of an accidental conjuncture of natural cir- 
cumstances : next, they endeavour to prove 
the same concerning another ; and so on ; and 
thence infer that all of them occurring as a 
series might have been so. They might argue 
in like manner, that because it is not very 
improbable one may throw sixes in any one 
out of a hundred throws, therefore it is no 
more improbable that one may throw sixes 
a hundred times running. 

It will often happen that when two objects 
are incompatible, though either of them, sepa- 
rately, may be attained, the incompatibility is 
disguised by a rapid and frequent transition 
from the one to the other alternately. E. G. 
You may prove that 100/. would accomplish 
this object; and then, that it would accomplish 

11.] OF FALLACIES. '2\ [) 

that ; and then, you recur to the former ; and 
hack again : till at length a notion is generated 
of the possibility of accomplishing both by this 
100/. "Two distinct objects may, by being 
dexterously presented, again and again in 
quick succession, to the mind of a cursory 
reader, be so associated together in his thoughts, 
as to be conceived capable, when in fact they 
are not, of being actually combined in practice. 
The fallacious belief thus induced bears a 
striking resemblance to the optical illusion 
effected by that ingenious and philosophical 
toy called the Thaumatrope ; in which two 
objects painted on opposite sides of a card, 
for instance a man, and a horse, a bird, and 
a cage, are, by a quick rotatory motion, 
made to impress the eye in combination, so 
as to form one picture, of the man on the 
horse's back, the bird in the cage, &c. As 
soon as the card is allowed to remain at rest, 
the figures, of course, appear as they really 
are, separate and on opposite sides. A mental 
illusion closely analogous to this, is produced, 
when by a rapid and repeated transition from 
one subject to another alternately, the mind is 
deluded into an idea of the actual combination 
of things that are really incompatible. The 
chief part of the defence which various writers 
have advanced in favour of the system of 
penal Colonies consists, in truth of a sort of 


intellectual Thaumatrope. The prosperity of 
the Colony and the repression of crime, are, 
by a sort of rapid whirl, presented to the mind 
as combined in one picture. A very moderate 
degree of calm and fixed attention soon shews 
that the two objects are painted on opposite 
sides of the card."* 

The Fallacy of Division may often be con- 
sidered as turning on the ambiguity of the word 
" all ;" which may easily be dispelled by substi- 
tuting for it the word "each" or "every," where 
that is its signification; e.g. " all these trees 
make a thick shade," is ambiguous ; meaning, 
either, "every one of them," or "all together." 

This is a Fallacy with which men are ex- 
tremely apt to deceive themselves : for when a 
multitude of particulars are presented to the 
mind, many are too weak or too indolent to 
take a comprehensive view of them; but con- 
fine, their attention to each single point, by 
turns; and then decide, infer, and act, accord- 
ingly : e. g. the imprudent spendthrift, finding 
that he is able to afford this, or that, or the 
other expense, forgets that all of them together 
will ruin hirh. 

To the same head may be reduced that 
fallacious reasoning by which men vindicate 
themselves to their own conscience and to 
others, for the neglect of those undefined duties, 

* Remarks on Transportation, pp. 25, 26. 

11.] OF FALLACIES. 221 

which though indispensable, and therefore not 
left to our choice whether we will practise 
them or not, are left to our discretion as 
to the mode, and the particular occasions, of 
practising them ; e. g. " I am not bound to 
contribute to this charity in particular ; nor to 
that ; nor to the other :" the practical con- 
clusion which they draw, is, that all charity 
may be dispensed with. 

As men are apt to forget that any two cir- 
cumstances (not naturally connected) are 
more rarely to be met with combined than 
separate, though they be not at all incom- 
patible ; so also they are apt to imagine, 
from finding that they are rarely combined, 
that there is an incompatibility; e.g. if the 
chances are ten to one against a man's 
possessing strong reasoning powers, and ten 
to one against exquisite taste, the chances 
against the combination of the two (suppos- 
ing them neither connected nor opposed) will 
be a hundred to one. Many, therefore, from 
finding them so rarely united, will infer that 
they are in some measure incompatible ; 
which Fallacy may easily be exposed in the 
form of Undistributed middle : " qualities un- 
friendly to each other are rarely combined ; 
excellence in the reasoning powers, and in 
taste, are rarely combined ; therefore they are 
bualities unfriendly to each other." 



The other kind of ambiguity arising from 
the context, and which is the last case of 
Ambiguous middle that I shall notice, is the 
"fallacia accident is ;" together with its con- 
verse, "fallacia a dicto secundum quid ad 
dictum simpliciter ;" in each of which the 
middle Term is used, in one Premiss to 
signify something considered simply, in itself, 
and as to its essence ; and in the other Pre- 
miss, so as to imply that its Accidents are 
taken into account with it : as in the well- 
known example, " what is bought in the 
market is eaten ; raw meat is bought in the 
market ; therefore raw meat is eaten." Here 
the middle has understood in conjunction with 
it, in the major Premiss, " as to its substance 
merely :" in the minor, " as to its condition and 

To this head, perhaps, as well as to any, 
may be referred the Fallacies which are fre- 
quently founded on the occasional, partial, 
and temporary variations in the acceptation 
of some Term, arising from circumstances of 
person, time, and place, which will occasion 
something to be understood in conjunction 
with it beyond its strict literal signification. 
E. G. The word "loyalty," which properly 
denotes attachment to lawful government, 
whether of a king, president, senate, fyc., 

5 13.] OF FALLACIES. 223 

according to the respective institutions of each 
nation, has often been used to signify exclu- 
sively, attachment to regal authority; and 
that, even when carried beyond the boundaries 
of law. So, " reformer" has sometimes been 
limited to the protestant reformers of religion ; 
sometimes, to the advocates of some particular 
parliamentary reform ; fyc. And whenever any 
phrase of this kind has become a kind of 
watch-word or gathering-cry of a party, the 
employment of it would commonly imply cer- 
tain sentiments not literally expressed by the 
words. To assume therefore that one is 
friendly or unfriendly to " Loyalty " or to 
"Reform" in one sense, because he has de- 
clared himself friendly or unfriendly to it in 
another sense, when implying and connected 
with such and such other sentiments, is a 
Fallacy, such as may fairly be referred to the 
present head. 


On the non-logical (or material) Fallacies : 
and first, of " begging the question ;" Petitio 

The indistinct and unphilosophical account 
which has been given by Logical writers 
of the Fallacy of " non causa" and that of 
"petitio principiiy" makes it very difficult to 


ascertain wherein they conceived them to 
differ, and what, according to them, is the 
nature of each. Without therefore professing 
to conform exactly to their meaning, and 
with a view to distinctness only, which is the 
main point, let us confine the name " petitio 
pnncipil " to those cases in which the Premiss 
either appears manifestly to be the same as 
the Conclusion, or is actually proved from the 
Conclusion, or is such as would naturally 
and properly so be proved ; as e. g. if any 
one should infer the actual occurrence of the 
eclipses recorded in the Chinese annals, from 
an assumption of the authenticity of those 
annals. And to the other class may be re- 
ferred all other cases, in which the Premiss 
(whether the expressed or the suppressed one; 
is either proved false, or has no sufficient 
claim to be received as true. 

Let it however be observed, that in such 
cases (apparently) as this, we must not too 
hastily pronounce the argument fallacious ; 
for it may be perfectly fair at the commence- 
ment of an argument to assume a Premiss that 
is not more evident than the Conclusion, or is 
even ever so paradoxical, provided you pro- 
ceed to prove fairly that Premiss ; and in like 
manner it is both usual and fair to begin by 
deducing your Conclusion from a Premiss 
exactly equivalent to it; which is merely 

13.] OF FALLACIES. 225 

throwing the proposition in question into the 
form in which it will be most conveniently 

Arguing in a Circle, however, must neces- 
sarily be unfair ; though it frequently is prac- 
tised undesignedly ; e.g. some Mechanicians 
attempt to prove, (what they ought to lay 
down as a probable but doubtful hypothesis,) 
that every particle of matter gravitates equally; 
" why ?" because those bodies which contain 
more particles ever gravitate more strongly, 
i.e. are heavier: " but (it may be urged) those 
which are heaviest are not always more bulky ;" 
" no, but still they contain more particles, 
though more closely condensed ;" "how do you 
know that ? " " because they are heavier ;" 
" how does that prove it ? " " because all par- 
ticles of matter gravitating equally, that mass 
which is specifically the heavier must needs 
have the more of them in the same space." 

Obliquity and disguise being of course most 
important to the success of the petitio principii 
as well as of other Fallacies, the Sophist will 
in general either have recourse to the circle, 
or else not venture to state distinctly his 
assumption of the point in question, but will 
rather assert some other proposition which 
implies it ;* thus keeping out of sight (as a 

* Gibbon affords the most remarkable instances of this 
kind of style. That which he really means to speak of, 



dexterous thief does stolen goods) the point 
in question, at the very moment when he is 
taking it for granted. Hence the frequent 
union of this Fallacy with " ignoratio elenchi :" 
[vide 15.] The English language is per- 
haps the more suitable for the Fallacy of 
petitio prmcipii, from its being formed from 
two distinct languages, and thus abounding in 
synonymous expressions, which have no re- 
semblance in sound, and no connexion in 
etymology ; so that a Sophist may bring 
forward a proposition expressed in words of 
Saxon origin, and give as a reason for it, the 
very same proposition stated in words of Nor- 
man origin ; e. g. " to allow every man an 
unbounded freedom of speech must always 
be, on the whole, advantageous to the State ; 
for it is highly conducive to the interests of 
the Community, that each individual should 
enjoy a liberty perfectly unlimited, of ex- 
pressing his sentiments." 


undue as- The next head is, the falsity, or, at least, 

sumption. ' 

undue assumption, of a Premiss, when it is 
not equivalent to, or dependent on, the Con- 
clusion ; which, as has been before said, 

is hardly ever made the subject of his proposition. His 
way of writing reminds one of those persons who never 
dare look you full in the face. 

14.] OF FALLACIES. 227 

seems to correspond nearly with the meaning 
of Logicians, when they speak of " non causa 
pro causa" This name indeed would seem to 
imply a much narrower class : there being 
one species of arguments which are from cause 
to effect ; in which, of course, two things are 
necessary ; 1st, the sufficiency of the cause ; 
2d, its establishment ; these are the two 
Premises ; if therefore the former be unduly 
assumed, we are arguing from that which is 
not a sufficient cause as if it were so : e. g. as 
if one should contend from such a man's 
having been unjust or cruel, that he will 
certainly be visited with some heavy temporal 
judgment, and come to an untimely end. In 
this instance the Sophist, from having as- 
sumed, in the Premiss, the (granted) existence 
of a pretended cause, infers in the conclusion 
the existence of the pretended effect, which 
we have supposed to be the Question. Or 
vice versa, the pretended effect may be em- 
ployed to establish the cause ; e. g. inferring 
sinfulness from temporal calamity. But when 
both the pretended cause and effect are 
granted, i. e. granted to exist, then the So- 
phist will infer something from their pre- 
tended connexion ; i. e. he will assume as a 
Premiss, that " of these two admitted facts, the 
one is the cause of the other :" as Whitfield 
attributed his being overtaken by a hail- 

Q 2 



storm to his having not preached at the last 
town ; or as the opponents of the Reformation 
assumed that it was the cause of the troubles 
which took place at that period, and thence 
inferred that it was an evil. 

sign put for Many are the cases in which a Sign (see 
Rhet. Part I.) from which one might fairly 
infer a certain phenomenon, is mistaken for 
the Cause of it : (as if one should suppose the 
falling of the mercury to be a cause of rain ; 
of which it certainly is an indication) whereas 
the fact will often be the very reverse. E. G. 
a great deal of money in a country is a pretty 
sure proof of its wealth ; and thence has been 
often regarded as the cause of it ; whereas 
in truth it is an effect. The same, with a 
numerous and increasing population. Again, 
The labor bestowed on any commodity has 
often been represented as the cause of its 
value ; though every one would call a fine 
pearl an article of value, even though he 
should meet with it accidentally in eating 
an oyster. Pearls are indeed generally ob- 
tained by laborious diving : but they do not 
fetch a high price from that cause ; but on 
the contrary, men dive for them because 
they fetch a high price.* So also expo- 
sure to want and hardship in youth, has 
been regarded as a cause of the hardy con- 

* Pol. Econ. Lect. IX. p. 253. 

14.] OF FALLACIES. 229 

stitution of those men and brutes which have 
been brought up in barren countries of un- 
genial climate. Yet the most experienced 
cattle-breeders know that animals are, cceteris 
paribus, the more hardy for having been well 
fed and sheltered in youth; but early hard- 
ships, by destroying all the tender, ensure 
the hardiness of the survivors ; which is the 
cause, not the effect, of their having lived 
through such a training. So loading a gun- 
barrel to the muzzle, and firing it, does not 
give it strength ; though it proves, if it escape, 
that it was strong. 

In like manner, nothing is more common 
than to hear a person state confidently, as 
from his own experience, that such and such 
a patient was cured by this or that medicine : 
whereas all that he absolutely knows, is that 
he took the medicine, and that he recovered. 

Similar is the procedure of many who are 
no theorists forsooth, but have found by ex- 
perience that the diffusion of education dis- 
qualifies the lower classes for humble toil. 
They have perhaps experienced really a de- 
terioration in this last respect; and having 
a dislike to education, they shut their eyes 
to the increase of pauperism ; L e. of the 
habit of depending on parish-pay, rather than 
on independent exertions ; which, to any un- 
prejudiced eye would seem the most natural 


mode of explaining the relaxation of those 
exertions. But such men require us, on the 
ground that they are practical men, to adopt 
the results of their experience; i.e. to acquiesce 
in their crude guesses as to cause and effect, 
(like that of the rustic who made Tenterden- 
steeple the cause of Goodwin Sands,) precisely 
because they are not accustomed to reason. 
But I believe we may refer to the same 
head the apprehensions so often enter- 
tained, that a change however small, and 
however in itself harmless, is necessarily 
a dangerous thing, as tending to produce 
extensive and hurtful innovations. Many 
instances may be found of small alterations 
being followed by great and mischievous ones;* 
but I doubt whether all history can furnish 
an instance of the greater innovation having 
been, properly speaking, caused by the lesser. 
Of course the first change will always precede 
the second; and many mischievous innova- 
tions have taken place; but these may all 
I think be referred to a mistaken effort to 
obtain some good, or get rid of some evil ; 
not to the love of innovation for its own sake. 
The mass of mankind are, in the serious 
concerns of life, wedded to what is established 
and customary ; and when they make rash 
changes, this may often be explained by 

* "^ Post hoc ; ergo, propter hoc." 

14.] OF FALLACIES. 231 

the too long postponement of the requisite 
changes ; which allows (as in the case of 
the Reformation) evils to reach an intolerable 
height, before any remedy is thought of. 
And even then, the remedy is often so violently 
resisted by many, as to drive others into 
dangerous extremes. And when this occurs, 
we are triumphantly told that experience 
shows what mischievous excesses are caused 
by once beginning to innovate. " I told 
you that if once you began to repair your 
house you would have to pull it all down." 
" Yes ; but you told me wrong ; for if I 
had begun sooner, the replacing of a few 
tiles might have sufficed. The mischief was, 
not in taking down the first stone, but in 
letting it stand too long." 

Such an argument as any of these might 
strictly be called " non causa pro causa ;" but 
it is not probable that the Logical writers 
intended any such limitation (which indeed 
would be wholly unnecessary and imperti- 
nent,) but rather that they were confounding 
together cause and reason; the sequence of 
Conclusion from Premises being perpetually 
mistaken for that of effect from physical 
cause.* It may be better, therefore, to drop 
the name which tends to perpetuate this con- 
fusion, and simply to state (when such is the 

* See Appendix, No. I. article Reason. 


case) that the premiss is unduly assumed; 
i. e. without being either self-evident, or satis- 
factorily proved. 

The contrivances by which men may deceive 
themselves or others, in assuming Premises 
unduly, so that that undue assumption shall 
not be perceived, (for it is in this the Fallacy 
consists) are of course infinite. Sometimes 
(as was before observed) the doubtful premiss 
is suppressed, as if it were too evident to need 
being proved, or even stated, and as if the 
whole question turned on the establishment of 
the other premiss. Thus Home Tooke proves, 
by an immense induction, that all particles 
were originally nouns or verbs ; and thence 
concludes, that in reality they are so still, and 
that the ordinary division of the parts of 
speech is absurd ; keeping out of sight, as 
self-evident, the other premiss, which is ab- 
solutely false ; viz. that the meaning and force 
of a word, now, and for ever, must be that 
which it, or its root, originally bore. 
indirect as- Sometimes men are shamed into admitting 

sumption. f . ' 

an unfounded assertion, by being confidently 
told, that it is so evident, that it would argue 
great weakness to doubt it. In general, how- 
ever, the more skilful Sophist will avoid a 
direct assertion of what he means unduly to 
assume ; because that might direct the reader's 
attention to the consideration of the question 

14.] OF FALLACIES. 233 

whether it be true or not; since that which 
is indisputable does not so often need to be 
asserted. It succeeds better, therefore, to 
allude to the proposition, as something curious 
and remarkable ; just as the Royal Society 
were imposed on by being asked to account 
for the fact that a vessel of water received no 
addition to its weight by a live fish put into 
it; while they were seeking for the cause, 
they forgot to ascertain the fact ; and thus 
admitted without suspicion a mere fiction. 
Thus an eminent Scotch writer, instead of 
asserting that " the advocates of Logic have 
been worsted and driven from the field in every 
controversy," (an assertion which, if made, 
would have been the more readily ascertained 
to be perfectly groundless,) merely observes, that 
" it is a circumstance not a little remarkable." 

One of the many contrivances employed Fallac y of 

" L J references. 

for this purpose, is what may be called the 
" Fallacy of references ;" which is particularly 
common in popular theological works. It is 
of course a circumstance which adds great 
weight to any assertion, that it shall seem to 
be supported by many passages of Scripture, 
or of the Fathers and other ancient writers, 
whose works are not in many people's hands. 
Now when a writer can find few or none of 
these, that distinctly and decidedly favour his 
opinion, he may at least find many which may 


be conceived capable of being so understood, 
or which, in some way or other, remotely 
relate to the subject ; but if these texts were 
inserted at length, it would be at once per- 
ceived how little they bear on the question ; 
the usual artifice therefore is, to give merely 
references to them ; trusting that nineteen out 
of twenty readers will never take the trouble 
of turning to the passages, but, taking for 
granted that they afford, each, some degree 
of confirmation to what is maintained, will 
be overawed by seeing every assertion sup- 
ported, as they suppose, by five or six Scrip- 
ture-texts, as many from the Fathers, fyc. 

Great force is often added to the employ- 
ment in a declamatory work, of the fallacy 
now before us, by bitterly reproaching or 
deriding an opponent, as denying some sacred 
truth, or some evident axiom ; assuming, that 
is, that he denies the true premiss, and keeping 
out of sight the one on which the question 
really turns. E. G. a declaimer who is main- 
taining some doctrine as being taught in Scrip- 
ture, may impute to his opponents a contempt 
for the authority of Scripture, and reproach 
them for impiety ; when the question really is, 
whether the doctrine be scriptural or not. 

Frequently the Fallacy of ignoratio elenchi 
is called in to the aid of this ; i. e. the Premiss 
is assumed on the ground of another propo- 

14.] OF FALLACIES. 235 

sition, somewhat like it, having been proved. 
Thus, in arguing by example, $c. the pa- 
rallelism of two cases is often assumed from 
their being in some respects alike, though per- 
haps they differ in the very point which is 
essential to the argument. E. G. From the 
circumstance that some men of humble sta- 
tion, who have been well educated, are apt 
to think themselves above low drudgery, it 
is argued, that universal education of the 
lower orders would beget general idleness : 
this argument rests, of course, on the assump- 
tion of parallelism in the two cases, viz. the 
past and the future ; whereas there is a cir- 
cumstance that is absolutely essential, in which 
they differ ; for when education is universal it 
must cease to be a distinction ; which is pro- 
bably the very circumstance that renders men 
too proud for their work. 

This very same Fallacy is often resorted to 
on the opposite side : an attempt is made to 
invalidate some argument from Example, by 
pointing out a difference between the two 
cases : though they agree in every thing that 
is essential to the question. 

It should be added that we may often be calculation of 


deceived, not only by admitting a premiss 
which is absolutely unsupported, but also, by 
attributing to one which really is probable, 
a greater degree of probability than rightly 


belongs to it. And this effect will often be 
produced by our omitting to calculate the 
probability in each successive step of a long 
chain of argument, and being, in each, (see 
11,) deceived by the fallacy of Division. 
Each premiss successively introduced, may 
have, as was above explained, an excess of 
chances in its favour, and yet the ultimate 
conclusion may have a great preponderance 
against it ; e. g. " All Y is (probably) X : all 
Z is (probably) Y : therefore Z is (probably) 
X :" now suppose the truth of the major 
premiss to be more probable than not ; in 
other words, that the chances for it are more 
than - ; say ^ ; and for the truth of the minor, 
let the chances be greater still ; say | : then 
by multiplying together the numerators, and 
also the denominators of these two fractions, 
|x|, we obtain ^, as indicating the degree of 
probability of the conclusion ; which is less 
than - ; i. e. the conclusion is less likely to 
be true than not. E. G. " The reports this 
author heard are (probably) true ; this (some- 
thing which he records) is a report which 
(probably) he heard ; therefore it is true :" 
suppose, first, The majority of the reports he 
heard, as 4 out of 7, (or 12 of 21,) to be 
true ; and, next, That he generally, as twice 
in three times, ( or 8 in 12,) reports faithfully 
what he heard ; it follows that of 21 of his 

15.] OF FALLACIES. 237 

reports, only 8 are true. Of course, the 
results are proportionably striking when there 
is a long series of arguments of this descrip- 
tion. And yet weak and thoughtless reasoners 
are often influenced by hearing a great deal 
urged, a, great number of probabilities brought 
forward, in support of some conclusion ; i. e. 
a long chain, of which each successive link 
is weaker than the foregoing ; instead of (what 
they mistake it for) a cumulation of argu- 
ments, each, separately proving the probability 
of the conclusion. 

Lastly, it may be here remarked, conform- 
ably with what has been formerly said, that 
it will often be left to your choice whether to 
refer this or that fallacious argument to the 
present head, or that of Ambiguous middle ; 
" if the middle term is here used in this sense, 
there is an ambiguity ; if in that sense, the 
proposition \sfalse" 


The last kind of Fallacy to be noticed irrelevant 

* Conclusion. 

is that of Irrelevant Conclusion, commonly 
called ignoratio elenchi. 

Various kinds of propositions are, accord- 
ing to the occasion, substituted for the one 
of which proof is required. Sometimes the 
Particular for the Universal ; sometimes a 


proposition with different Terms : and various 
are the contrivances employed to effect and 
to conceal this substitution, and to make 
the Conclusion which the Sophist has drawn, 
answer, practically, the same purpose as the 
one he ought to have established. I say, 
"practically the same purpose," because it 
will very often happen that some emotion will 
be excited some sentiment impressed on the 
mind (by a dexterous employment of this 
Fallacy) such as shall bring men into the dis- 
position requisite for your purpose, though 
they may not have assented to, or even stated 
distinctly in their own minds, the proposition 
which it was your business to establish.* Thus 
if a Sophist has to defend one who has been 
guilty of some serious offence, which he wishes 
to extenuate, though he is unable distinctly to 
prove that it is not such, yet if he can succeed 
in making the audience laugh at some casual 
matter, he has gained practically the same 

So also if any one has pointed out the 
extenuating circumstances in some particular 
case of offence, so as to show that it differs 
widely from the generality of the same class, 
the Sophist, if he find himself unable to 
disprove these circumstances, may do away 
the force of them, by simply referring the 

* See Rhetoric, Part II. 

15.] OF FALLACIES. 239 

action to that very class, which no one can 
deny that it belongs to, and the very name 
of which will excite a feeling of disgust suffi- 

'cient to counteract the extenuation; e.g. let 
it be a case of peculation ; and that many 
mitigating circumstances have been brought 
forward which cannot be denied ; the sophis- 
tical opponent will reply, " well, but after all, 
the man is a rogue, and there is an end of it ;" 
now in reality this was (by hypothesis) never 
the question ; and the mere assertion of what 
was never denied, ought not, in fairness, to 
be regarded as decisive ; but practically, the 
odiousness of the word, arising in great mea- 
sure from the association of those very circum- 
stances which belong to most of the class, 
but which we have supposed to be absent in 
this particular instance, excites precisely that 

feeling of disgust, which in effect destroys the 
force of the defence. In like manner we may 
refer to this head, all cases of improper appeals 
to the passions, and every thing else which is 
mentioned by Aristotle as extraneous to the 

matter in hand (e<o rov TT pay paras.} 

In all these cases, as has been before ob- 
served, if the fallacy we are now treating of 
be employed for the apparent establishment, 
not of the ultimate Conclusion, but (as it very 
commonly happens) of a Premiss, (i. e. if the 
Premiss required be assumed on the ground 


that some proposition resembling it has been 
proved) then there will be a combination of 
this Fallacy with the last mentioned. 

A good instance of the employment and 
exposure of this Fallacy occurs in Thucydides, 
in the speeches of Cleon and Diodotus con- 
cerning the Mitylenaeans : the former (over 
and above his appeal to the angry passions 
of his audience) urges the justice of putting 
the revolters to death ; which, as the latter 
remarked, was nothing to the purpose, since 
the Athenians were not sitting in judgment, 
but in deliberation; of which the proper end 
is expediency. And to prove that they had 
a right to put them to death, did not prove 
this to be an advisable step. 
This fallacy It is evident, that ignoratio elenchi may be 

used in refu- * 

employed as well for the apparent refutation 
of your opponent's proposition, as for the 
apparent establishment of your own ; for it 
is substantially the same thing, to prove what 
was not denied, or to disprove what was not 
asserted : the latter practice is not less com- 
mon, and it is more offensive, because it 
frequently amounts to a personal affront, in 
attributing to a person opinions, fyc. which he 
perhaps holds in abhorrence. Thus, when in a 
discussion one party vindicates, on the ground 
of general expediency, a particular instance of 
resistance to Government in a case of intole- 

15.] OF FALLACIES. 241 

rable oppression, the opponent may gravely 
maintain, that "we ought riot to do evil that 
good may come :" a proposition which of 
course had never heen denied ; the point in 
dispute being " whether resistance in this par- 
ticular case were doing evil or not." In this 
example it is to be remarked (and the remark 
will apply very generally) that the Fallacy of 
petitio principii is combined with that of igno- 
ratio elenchi; which is a very common and often 
successful practice ; viz. the Sophist proves, or 
disproves, not the proposition which is really 
in question, but one which so implies it as to 
proceed on the supposition that it is already 
decided, and can admit of no doubt ; by this 
means his " assumption of the point in ques- 
tion" is so indirect and oblique, that it may 
easily escape notice ; and he thus establishes, 
practically, his Conclusion, at the very moment 
he is withdrawing your attention from it to 
another question. 

There are certain kinds of argument re- 
counted and named by Logical writers, which 
we should by no means universally call 
Fallacies ; but which when unfairly used, and 
so far as they are fallacious, may very well 
be referred to the present head ; such as 
the " argumentum ad hominem" or personal 

ad hominem, 

argument, " argumentum ad verectmdiam," &c - 
" argumentum ad populum" Sfc. all of them 



regarded as contradistinguished from " argu- 
mentum ad rem" or according to others 
(meaning probably the very same thing) 
"ad judicium." These have all been de- 
scribed in the lax and popular language 
before alluded to, but not scientifically : the 
" argumentum ad hominem" they say, " is 
addressed to the peculiar circumstances, 
character, avowed opinions, or past conduct 
of the individual, and therefore has a refer- 
ence to him only, and does not bear 
directly and absolutely on the real question, 
as the 'argumentum ad rem' does:" in like 
manner, the " argumentum ad verecundiam" 
is described as an appeal to our reverence 
for some respected authority, some vene- 
rable institution, fyc. and the " argumen- 
tum ad populum" as an appeal to. the preju- 
dices, passions, fyc. of the multitude ; and 
so of the rest. Along with these is usually 
enumerated "argumentum ad ignorantiam" 
which is here omitted, as being evidently 
nothing more than the employment of some 
kind of Fallacy, in the widest sense of that 
word, towards such as are likely to be 
deceived by it. It appears then (to speak 
rather more technically) that in the "argu- 
mentum ad hominem" the conclusion which 
actually is established, is not the absolute 
and general one in question, but relative and 

15.] UK KAIJ.AC IKS. 243 

particular ; viz. not that " such and such is 
the fact," but that "this man is bound to 
admit it, in conformity to his principles of 
Reasoning, or in consistency with his own 
conduct, situation, fyc.* Such a conclusion 
it is often both allowable and necessary to 
establish, in order to silence those who will 
not yield to fair general argument ; or to 
convince those whose weakness and preju- 

* The " argumentum ad hominem " will often have the 
effect of shifting the burden of proof, not unjustly, to the 
adversary. (See Rhet. Part I. chap. iii. 2.) A com- 
mon instance is the defence, certainly the readiest and most 
concise, frequently urged by the Sportsman, when accused 
of barbarity in sacrificing unoffending hares or trout to his 
amusement : he replies, as he may safely do, to most of his 
assailants, " why do you feed on the flesh of animals ?" and 
that this answer presses hard, is manifested by its being 
usually opposed by a palpable falsehood ; viz. that the 
animals which are killed for food are sacrificed to our neces- 
sities ; though not only men can, but a large proportion 
(probably a great majority) of the human race actually do, 
subsist in health and vigour without flesh-diet ; and the 
earth would support a much greater human population 
were such a practice universal. 

When shamed out of this argument they sometimes urge 
that the brute creation would overrun the earth, if we did 
not kill them for food ; an argument, which, if it were valid 
at all, would not justify their feeding on fish ; though, if 
fairly followed up, it would justify Swift's proposal for keep- 
ing down the excessive population of Ireland. The true 
reason, viz. that they eat flesh for the gratification of the 
palate, and have a taste for the pleasures of the table, though 
not for the sports of the field, is one which they do not like 
to assign. 

R 2 


dices would not allow them to assign to it 
its due weight. It is thus that our Lord on 
many occasions silences the cavils of the 
Jews ; as in the vindication of healing on 
the Sabbath, which is paralleled by the 
authorized practice of drawing out a beast 
that has fallen into a pit. All this, as we 
have said, is perfectly fair, provided it be 
done plainly, and avowedly ; but if you 
attempt to substitute this partial and relative 
Conclusion for a more general one if you 
triumph as having established your proposi- 
tion absolutely and universally, from having 
established it, in reality, only as far as it 
relates to your opponent, then you are 
guilty of a Fallacy of the kind which we 
are now treating of: your Conclusion is not 
in reality that which was, by your own 
account, proposed to be proved. The fal- 
laciousness depends upon the deceit, or 
attempt to deceive. The same observations 
will apply to " argumentum ad verecundiam" 
and the rest. 

It is very common to employ an ambi- 
guous Term for the purpose of introducing 
the Fallacy of irrelevant conclusion : L e. 
when you cannot prove your proposition in 
the sense in which it was maintained, to prove 
it in some other sense ; e. g. those who 
contend against -the efficacy of faith, usually 

16.] OF FALLACIES. 245 

employ that word in their arguments in the 
sense of mere belief, unaccompanied with 
any moral or practical result, but considered 
as a mere intellectual process; and when 
they have thus proved their Conclusion, they 
oppose it to one in which the word is used 
in a widely different sense.* 

* " When the occasion or object in question is not such 
as calls for, or as is likely to excite in those particular readers 
or hearers, the emotions required, it is a common Rhetorical 
artifice to turn their attention to some object which will call 
forth these feelings ; and when they are^too much excited 
to be capable of judging calmly, it will not be difficult to 
turn their Passions, once roused, in the direction required, 
and to make them view the case before them in a very dif- 
ferent light. When the metal is heated it may easily be 
moulded into the desired form. Thus vehement indignation 
against some crime, may be directed against a person who 
has not been proved guilty of it ; and vague declamations 
against corruption, oppression, fyc. or against the mischiefs 
of anarchy; with high-flown panegyrics on liberty, rights of 
man, fyc. or on social order, justice, the constitution, law, 
religion, <^c. will gradually lead the hearers to take for 
granted, without proof, that the measure proposed will lead 
to these evils,- or to these advantages ; and it will in conse- 
quence become the object of groundless abhorrence or ad- 
miration. For the very utterance of such words as have a 
multitude of what may be called stimulating ideas associated 
with them, will operate like a charm on the minds, espe- 
cially of the ignorant and unthinking, and raise such a 
tumult of feeling, as will effectually blind their judgment ; 
so that a string of vague abuse or panegyric will often have 
the effect of a train of sound Argument." Rhetoric, Part II. 
Chap. ii. 6. 



The Fallacy of ignoratio elenchi is nowhere 
more common than in protracted controversy, 
when one of the parties, after having at- 
tempted in vain to maintain his position, shifts 
his ground as covertly as possible to another, 
instead of honestly giving up the point. An 
instance occurs in an attack made on the 
system pursued at one of our Universities. 
The objectors, finding themselves unable to 
maintain their charge of the present neglect of 
Mathematics in that place, (to which neglect 
they attributed the late general decline in 
those studies) shifted their ground, and con- 
tended that that University was never famous 
for Mathematicians : which not only does not 
establish, but absolutely overthrows, their own 
original assertion ; for if it never succeeded in 
those pursuits, it could not have caused their 
late decline. 
Fallacy of A practice of this nature is common in oral 


^^7-' controversy especially ; viz. that of combating 
both your opponent's Premises alternately, and 
shifting the attack from the one to the other, 
without waiting to have either of them de- 
cided upon before you quit it. 

It has been remarked above, that one class 
of the propositions that may be, in this Fal- 
lacy, substituted for the one required, is the 

17.] OF FALLACIES. 247 

particular for the universal : similar to this, is 
the substitution of a conditional with a uni- 
versal antecedent, for one with a particular 
antecedent, which will usually be the harder 
to prove : e. g. you are called on, suppose, to 
prove that " if any private interests are hurt 
by a proposed measure, it is inexpedient ;" 
and you pretend to have done so by showing 
that " if all private interests are hurt by it, it 
must be inexpedient." Nearly akin to this is 
the very common case of proving something 
to be possible when it ought to have been 
proved highly probable ; or probable, when it 
ought to have been proved necessary ; or, 
which comes to the very same, proving it to 
be not necessary, when it should have been 
proved not probable ; or improbable, when it 
should have been proved impossible. Aristotle 
(in Rhet. Book II.) complains of this last 
branch of the Fallacy, as giving an undue 
advantage to the respondent ; many a guilty 
person owes his acquittal to this ; the jury 
considering that the evidence brought does not 
demonstrate the absolute impossibility of his 
being innocent ; though perhaps the chances 
are innumerable against it. 

Similar to this case is that which may be Fallacy of 

* . Olyections, 

called the Fallacy of objections : L e. showing 

248 ELEMENTS OF LOGIC. [Boon 111. 

that there are objections against some plan, 
theory, or system, and thence inferring that 
it should be rejected ; when that which ought 
to have been proved is, that there are more, 
or stronger objections, against the receiving 
than the rejecting of it. This is the main, 
and almost universal Fallacy of anti-christians ; 
and is that of which a young Christian should 
be first and principally warned.* They find 
numerous " objections " against various parts 
of Scripture ; to some of which no satisfactory 
answer can be given ; and the incautious 
hearer is apt, while his attention is fixed on 
these, to forget that there are infinitely more, 
and stronger objections against the supposition 
that the Christian Religion is of human origin ; 
and that where we cannot answer all objec- 
tions, we are bound in reason and in candour 
to adopt the hypothesis which labours under 
the least. That the case is as I have stated, 
I am authorized to assume, from this circum- 
stance ; that no complete and consistent account 
has ever been given of the manner in which the 
Christian Religion, supposing it a human con- 
trivance, could have arisen and prevailed as it 
did. And yet this may obviously be demanded 
with the utmost fairness, of those who deny 
its divine origin. The Religion exists : that is 
the phenomenon ; those who will not allow it 

* See Note at the end of Appendix, No. Ill, 

17.] OF FALLACIES. 249 

to have come from God, are bound to solve 
the phenomenon on some other hypothesis 
less open to objections; they are not indeed 
called on to prove that it actually did arise in 
this or that way ; but to suggest (consistently 
with acknowledged facts) some probable way 
in which it may have arisen, reconcileable 
with all the circumstances of the case. That 
infidels have never done this, though they 
have had near 2000 years to try, amounts to 
a confession that no such hypothesis can be 
devised, which will not be open to greater 
objections than lie against Christianity.* The 
Fallacy of Objections is also the strong-hold 
of bigoted anti-innovators, who oppose all 
reforms and alterations indiscriminately; for 
there never was, or will be, any plan exe- 
cuted or proposed, against which strong and 
even unanswerable objections may not be 
urged ; so that unless the opposite objections 
be set in the balance on the other side, we 
can never advance a step. " There are objec- 
tions," said Dr. Johnson, " against a plenum, 
and objections against a vacuum ; but one of 
them must be true." 

The very same Fallacy indeed is employed 

* In an " Essay on the Omissions of our Sacred Writers," 
I have pointed out some circumstances which no one has 
ever attempted to account for on any supposition of their 
being other than, not only true witnesses, but supernatu- 
rally inspired. 


(as has been said) on the other side, by those 
who are for overthrowing whatever is esta- 
blished as soon as they can prove an objection 
against it ; without considering whether more 
and weightier objections may not lie against 
their own schemes : but their opponents have 
this decided advantage over them, that they 
can urge with great plausibility, " we do not 
call upon you to reject at once whatever is ob- 
jected to, but merely to suspend your judgment 9 
and not come to a decision as long as there 
are reasons on both sides :" now since there 
always will be reasons on both sides, this wow- 
decision is practically the very same thing as 
a decision in favour of the existing state of 
things. The delay of trial becomes equivalent 
to an acquittal.* 



Fallacy of Another form of ignoratio elenchi, which is 
a ^ so ratner the more serviceable on the side 

of the respondent, is, to prove or disprove 
some part of that which is required, and dwell 
on that, suppressing all the rest. 

* " Not to resolve, is to resolve." Bacon. 

How happy it is for mankind that in the most momen- 
tous concerns of life their decision is generally formed for 
them by external circumstances : which thus saves them 
not only from the perplexity of doubt and the danger of 
delay, but also from the pain of regret ; since we acquiesce 
much more cheerfully in that which is unavoidable. 

18.] OF FALLACIES. 251 

Thus, if a University is charged with culti- 
vating only the mere elements of Mathematics, 
and in reply a list of the books studied there 
is produced, should even any one of those 
books be not elementary, the charge is in 
fairness refuted; but the Sophist may then 
earnestly contend that some of those books 
are elementary ; and thus keep out of sight 
the real question, viz. whether they are all 
so. This is the great art of the answerer of a 
book ; suppose the main positions in any work 
to be irrefragable, it will be strange if some 
illustration of them, or some subordinate part 
in short, will not admit of a plausible objec- 
tion ; the opponent then joins issue on one of 
these incidental questions, and comes forward 
with " a Reply " to such and such a work. 

Hence the danger of ever advancing more 
than can be well maintained, since the refu- 
tation of that will often quash the whole. 
The Quakers would perhaps before now have 
succeeded in doing away our superfluous and 
irreverent oaths, if they had not, besides many 
valid and strong arguments, adduced so many 
that are weak and easily refuted. Thus also, a 
guilty person may often escape by having too 
much laid to his charge ; so he may also by 
having too much evidence against him, i. e. 
some that is not in itself satisfactory. Ac- 
cordingly, a prisoner may sometimes obtain 


acquittal by showing that one of the witnesses 
against him is an infamous informer and spy ; 
though perhaps if that part of the evidence 
had been omitted, the rest would have been 
sufficient for conviction. 

Cases of this nature might very well be re- 
ferred also to the Fallacy formerly mentioned, 
of inferring the Falsity of the Conclusion from 
the Falsity of a Premiss ; which indeed is very 
closely allied to the present Fallacy : the real 
question is, " whether or not this Conclusion 
ought to be admitted;" the Sophist confines 
himself to the question, " whether or not it 
is established by this particular argument;' 9 
leaving it to be inferred by the audience, if he 
has carried his point as to the latter question, 
that the former is thereby decided. 

suppressed It will readily be perceived that nothing is 

Couclusion. r 

less conducive to the success ot the Fallacy in 
question than to state clearly, in the outset, 
either the proposition you are about to prove, 
or that which you ought to prove. It answers 
best to begin with the Premises, and to intro- 
duce a pretty long chain of argument before 
you arrive at the Conclusion. The careless 
hearer takes for granted, at the beginning, 
that this chain will lead to the Conclusion 
required ; and by the time you are come to 

20.] OF FALLACIES. 253 

the end, he is ready to take for granted that 
the Conclusion which you draw is the one 
required ; his idea of the question having 
gradually become indistinct. This Fallacy is 
greatly aided by the common practice of sup- 
pressing the Conclusion and leaving it to be 
supplied by the hearer; who is of course less 
likely to perceive whether it be really that 
"which was to be proved," than if it were 
distinctly stated. The practice therefore is at 
best suspicious ; and it is better in general to 
avoid it, and to give and require a distinct 
statement of the Conclusion intended. 


Before we dismiss the subject of Fallacies, it Jests 
may not be improper to mention the just and 
ingenious remark, that Jests are Fallacies ;* 
i. e. Fallacies so palpable as not to be likely 
to deceive any one, but yet bearing just that 
resemblance of argument which is calculated 
to amuse by the contrast; in the same 
manner that a parody does, by the contrast 
of its levity with the serious production which 
it imitates. There is indeed something laugh- 
able even in Fallacies which are intended for 
serious conviction, when they are thoroughly 

* See Wallis's Logic. 

f See Rhetoric, Part I. Ch. iii. 7, p. 131. 


There are several different kinds of joke 
and raillery, which will be found to correspond 
with the different kinds of Fallacy. The pun 
(to take the simplest and most obvious case) 
is evidently, in most instances, a mock argu- 
ment founded on a palpable equivocation of 
the middle Term : and the rest in like manner 
will be found to correspond to the respec- 
tive Fallacies, and to be imitations of serious 

It is probable indeed that all jests, sports, 
or games, (iratBuu) properly so called, will be 
found, on examination, to be imitative of 
serious transactions ; as of War or Com- 
merce.* But to enter fully into this subject 
would be unsuitable to the present occasion. 

I shall subjoin some general remarks on the 
legitimate province of Reasoning, and on its 
connexion with Inductive philosophy, and 
with Rhetoric ; on which points much mis- 
apprehension has prevailed, tending to throw 
obscurity over the design and use of the 
Science under consideration. 

* See some excellent remarks on " Imitation," in Dr. 
A. Smith's posthumous Essays. 

BOOK IV.] 255 



LOGIC being concerned with the theory of 
Reasoning, it is evidently necessary, in order 
to take a correct view of this Science, that all 
misapprehensions should he removed relative 
to the occasions on which the Reasoning- 
process is employed, the purposes it has 
in view, and the limits within which it is 

Simple and obvious as such questions may 
appear to those who have not thought much 
on the subject, they will appear on further 
consideration to be involved in much per- 
plexity and obscurity, from the vague and 
inaccurate language of many popular writers. 
To the confused and incorrect notions that 
prevail respecting the Reasoning-process may 
be traced most of the common mistakes re- 
specting the Science of Logic, and much of the 
unsound and unphilosophical argumentation 


which is so often to be met with in the works 
of ingenious writers. 

These errors have been incidentally ad- 
verted to in the foregoing part of this work ; 
but it may be desirable, before we dismiss the 
subject, to offer on these points some further 
remarks, which could not have been there 
introduced without too great an interruption 
to the development of the system. Little or 
nothing indeed remains to be said that is 
not implied in the principles which have been 
already laid down ; but the results and appli- 
cations of those principles are liable in many 
instances to be overlooked, if not distinctly 
pointed out. These supplementary observa- 
tions will neither require, nor admit of, so 
systematic an arrangement as has hitherto 
been aimed at ; since they will be such as 
are suggested principally by the objections 
and mistakes of those who have misunder- 
stood, partially or entirely, the nature of the 
Logical system. 

Let it be observed, however, that as I am 
not writing a review or commentary on any 
logical works, but an introduction to the 
Science, I shall not deem it necessary to point 
out in all cases the agreement or disagreement 
between other writers and myself, in respect 
of the views maintained, or the terms em- 
ployed, by each. 



CHAP. I. Of Induction. 


MUCH has been said by some writers of the Mistake of 
superiority of the Inductive to the Syllogistic 
method of seeking truth ; as if the two stood 
opposed to each other ; and of the advantage 
of substituting the Organon of Bacon for that 
of Aristotle, fyc. fyc. which indicates a total 
misconception of the nature of both. There 
is, however, the more excuse for the confu- 
sion of thought which prevails on this subject, 
because eminent Logical writers have treated, 
or at least have appeared to treat, of Induc- 
tion as a kind of Argument, distinct from the 
Syllogism ; which if it were, it certainly might 
be contrasted with the Syllogism : or rather, 
the whole Syllogistic theory would fall to the 
ground, since one of the very first principles 
it establishes, is that all Reasoning, on what- 
ever subject, is one and the same process, 
which may be clearly exhibited in the form 
of Syllogisms. It is hardly to be supposed, 
therefore, that this was the deliberate mean- 
ing of those writers ; though it must be ad- 
mitted that they have countenanced the error 
in question, by their inaccurate expressions. 



This inaccuracy seems chiefly to have arisen 
from a vagueness in the use of the word 
Induction ; which is sometimes employed to 
designate the process of investigation and of 
collecting facts ; sometimes, the deducing of 
an inference from those facts. The former 
of these processes (viz. that of observation and 
experiment) is undoubtedly distinct from that 
which takes place in the Syllogism ; but then 
it is not a process of argumentation ; the 
latter again is an argumentative process ; but 
then it is, like all other arguments, capable of 
being Syllogistically expressed. And hence 
Induction has come to be regarded as a dis- 
tinct kind of argument from the Syllogism. 
This Fallacy cannot be more concisely or 
clearly stated, than in the technical form with 
which we may now presume our readers to be 

" Induction is distinct from Syllogism : 
Induction is a process of Reasoning ;" therefore 

" There is a process of Reasoning distinct from 
^Syllogism." ' 

Here, " Induction," which is the middle 
Term, is used in different senses in the two 
TWO senses Induction, so far forth as it is an argu- 

of the word 

induction, ment, may, of course, be stated Syllogisti- 
cally : but so far forth as it is a process of 
inquiry with a view to obtain the Premises of 


that argument, it is, of course, out of the 
province of Logic : and the latter is the ori- 
ginal and strict sense of the word. Induction 
means properly, not the inferring of the con- 
clusion,, but the bringing in, one by one, of 
instances, bearing on the point in question, 
till a sufficient number has been collected. 
The ambiguity therefore, above alluded to, and 
which has led to much confusion, would be best 
avoided by saying that we do not, strictly speak- 
ing, reason by Induction, but reason from In- 
duction : i.e. from our observations on one, or proper sense 

of Induction. 

on several individuals, (e/e TW KO,& e/caarov) we 

draw a conclusion respecting the class (TO 
Kado\ov) they come under : or, in like manner, 
from several species, to the genus which com- 
prehends them : in logical language, what we 
have predicated of certain singular terms, we 
proceed to predicate of a common term which 
comprehends them ; or proceed in the same 
manner from species to genus. E. G. " The 
Earth moves round the Sun in an elliptical 
orbit ; so does Mercury ; and Venus ; and 
Mars, fyc. : therefore a Planet (the common 
term comprehending these singulars) moves 
round," fyc. " Philip was reckless of human 
life ; so was Alexander ; and J. Caesar ; and 
Augustus, fyc. : therefore this is the general 
character of a Conqueror'' 

Now it appears as if the most obvious and 


simplest way of filling up such enthymemes 
as these, expressed as they are, would be, in 
the third figure ; having of course a particular 

inductiveAr- *' Earth, Mercury, Venus, fyc, move, fyc. 

pressed in a Mi. These are planets ; therefore 

Syllogism, ~ , n ,, 

borne planets move, fyc. 

But when we argue from Induction we gene- 
rally mean to infer more than a particular 
conclusion ; and accordingly most logical 
writers present to us the argument in the 
form of a syllogism in Barbara ; inserting, of 
course, a different minor premiss from the 
in the first foregoing, viz. : the simple converse of it. 


And if I am allowed to assume, not merely 
that " Mercury, Venus, and whatever others I 
may have named, are Planets," but also, that 
" All Planets are these," that these are the 
whole of the individuals comprehended under 
the term Planet, I am, no doubt, authorized 
to draw a universal conclusion. But such an 
assumption would, in a very great majority 
of cases where Induction is employed, amount 
to a palpable falsehood, if understood literally. 
And accordingly those logicians who state an 
argument from Induction in the above form, 
mean, I apprehend, that it is to be under- 
stood with a certain latitude ; i. e. that, in 
such propositions as " all planets are Mercury, 


Venus, fyc" or " all Conquerors are Philip, 
Alexander, and Caesar," they mean, (by a 
kind of logical fiction) to denote that " all 
Conquerors are adequately represented by 
Philip, Alexander, $*c." that these indivi- 
duals are a sufficient sample, in respect of the 
matter in question, of the class they belong to. 

I think it clearer, therefore, to state simply The Major 

A * premiss sup- 

and precisely what it is that we do mean to pressed< 
assert. And in doing this, we shall find that 
the expressed premiss of the enthymeme, 
viz.: that which contains the statement re- 
specting the individuals is the Minor ; and 
that it is the Major that is suppressed, as 
being in all cases substantially the same : viz. 
that what belongs to the individual or indivi- 
duals we have examined, belongs (certainly, or 
probably, as the case may be) to the whole 
class under which they come. E. G. From find- 
ing on an examination of several sheep, that 
they each ruminate, we conclude that the 
same is the case with the whole species of 
sheep : and from finding on examination of the 
sheep, ox, deer, and other animals deficient 
in upper cutting-teeth, that they each rumi- 
nate, we conclude (with more or less cer- 
tainty) that quadrupeds thus deficient are 
ruminants : the hearer readily supplying, in 
sense, the suppressed major premiss ; viz. that 
" what belongs to the individual sheep we have 


examined, is likely to belong to the whole 
species ;" fyc. 

Whether that which is properly called 
Induction (viz. the inquiry respecting the 
several individuals or species) be sufficiently 
ample, i. e. takes in a sufficient number of 
individual, or of specific cases, whether the 
character of those cases has been correctly 
ascertained and how far the individuals we 
have examined are likely to resemble, in this 
or that circumstance, the rest of the class, fyc. 
fyc., are points that require indeed great judg- 
ment and caution ; but this judgment and 
caution are not to be aided by Logic, because 
they are, in reality, employed in deciding 
whether or not it is fair and allowable to lay 
down your Premises ; i. e. whether you are 
authorized or not, to assert, that "what is 
true of the individuals you have examined, is 
true of the whole class :" and that this or that 
is true of those individuals. Now, the rules 
of Logic have nothing to do with the truth 
or falsity of the Premises ; except, of course, 
when they are the conclusions of former argu- 
ments; but merely teach us to decide, not 
whether the Premises are fairly laid down, but 
whether the Conclusion follows fairly from the 
Premises or not. 



Whether then the Premiss may fairly be Assumption 

* of Premises 

assumed, or not, is a point which cannot be in Inducti( 
decided without a competent knowledge of 
the nature of the subject. E. G. in Natural 
Philosophy, in which the circumstances that 
in any case affect the result, are usually far 
more clearly ascertained, a single instance is 
usually accounted a sufficient Induction ; e.g. 
having once ascertained that an individual 
magnet will attract iron, we are authorized to 
conclude that this property is .universal. In 
the affairs of human life, on the other hand, 
a much fuller Induction is required ; as in the 
former example. In short, the degree of evi- 
dence for any proposition we originally assume 
as a Premiss (whether the expressed or the 
suppressed one) is not to be learned from 
Logic, nor indeed from any one distinct Science ; 
but is the province of whatever Science fur- 
nishes the subject-matter of your argument. 
None but a Politician can judge rightly of the 
degree of evidence of a proposition in Politics ; 
a Naturalist, in Natural History, fyc. fyc. 
E. G. from examination of many horned ani- inve 8 ti ga 

* tion. 

mals, as sheep, cows, fyc.> a Naturalist finds 
that they have cloven feet ; now his skill as a 
Naturalist is to be shown in judging whether 
these animals are likely to resemble in the 


form of their feet all other horned animals; 
and it is the exercise of this judgment, toge- 
ther with the examination of individuals, that 
constitutes what is usually meant by the In- 
ductive process ; which is that by which we 
gain, what are properly, new truths ; and which 
is not connected with Logic ; being not what 
is strictly called Reasoning, but Investigation. 
But when this major Premiss is granted him, 
and is combined with the minor, viz. that the 
animals he has examined have cloven feet, 
then he draws the Conclusion logically: viz. 
that "the feet of all horned animals are 
cloven."* Again, if from several times meet- 
ing with ill-luck on a Friday, any one concluded 
that Friday, universally, is an unlucky day, 
one would object to his Induction ; and yet it 
would not be, as an argument, illogical; since 
the Conclusion follows fairly, if you grant his 
implied Premiss; viz. that the events which 
happened on those particular Fridays are such 
as must happen, or are especially likely to 
happen, on all Fridays : but we should object 
to his laying down this Premiss ; and therefore 
should justly say that his Induction is faulty, 
though his argument is correct. 

* I have selected an Instance in which Induction is the 
only ground we have to rest on ; no reason, that I know of, 
having ever been assigned that could have led us to conjec- 
ture this curious fact a priori 

CHAP. I. 2.] OF INDUCTION. 265 r 

And here it may be remarked, that the c more 

w . doubtful PlC- 

ordinary rule for fair argument, viz. that ^edVn 
in an Enthymeme the suppressed Premiss 
should be always the one of whose truth 
least doubt can exist, is not observed in In- 
duction : for the Premiss which is usually 
the more doubtful of the two, is, in this 
case, the major ; it being in few cases quite 
certain that the individuals, respecting which 
some point has been ascertained, are to be 
fairly regarded as a sample of the whole 
class : and yet the major Premiss is seldom 
expressed ; for the reason just given, that it 
is easily understood; as being (mutatis mu- 
tandis) the same in every Induction. 

What has been said of Induction will 
equally apply to Example ; which differs from 
it only in having a singular instead of a 
general conclusion ; and that, from a single 
case. E. G. in one of the instances above, 
if the conclusion had been drawn, not re- 
specting conquerors in general, but respecting 
this or that conqueror, that he was not likely 
to be careful of human life, each of the cases 
adduced to prove this would have been called 
an Example. (See Elements of Rhetoric, 
Part I. ch. ii. 6.) 


CHAP. II. On the Discovery of Truth. 


WHETHER it is by a process of Reasoning 
that New Truths are brought to light, is a 
question which seems to be decided in the ne- 
gative by what has been already said ; though 
many eminent writers seem to have taken for 
granted the affirmative. It is, perhaps, in a 
great measure, a dispute concerning the use of 
words ; but it is not, for that reason, either 
uninteresting or unimportant ; since an inac- 
curate use of language may often, in matters 
of Science, lead to confusion of thought, and 
to erroneous conclusions. And, in the present 
instance, much of the undeserved contempt 
which has been bestowed on the Logical sys- 
tem may be traced to this source. For when 
any one has laid down, that " Reasoning is 
important in the discovery of Truth," and that 
" Logic is of no service in the discovery of 
Truth," (each of which propositions is true 
in a certain sense of the terms employed, 
but not in the same sense) he is naturally 
led to conclude, that there are processes of 
Reasoning to which the Syllogistic theory does 
not apply ; and, of course, to misconceive alto- 
gether the nature of the Science. 


In maintaining the negative side of the 
above question, three things are to be pre- 
mised : first, that it is not contended that 
discoveries of any kind of Truth can be made 
(or at least are usually made) without Reason- 
ing ; only, that Reasoning is not the whole of 
the process, nor the whole of that which is 
important therein ; secondly, that Reasoning 
shall be taken in the sense, not of every exer- 
cise of the Reason, but of Argumentation, in 
which we have all along used it, and in which 
it has been defined by all the Logical writers, 
viz. " from certain granted propositions to 
infer another proposition as the consequence 
of them :" thirdly, that by a " New Truth," 
be understood, something neither expressly 
nor virtually asserted before, not implied 
and involved in anything already known. 

To prove, then, this point demonstratively, 
becomes on these data perfectly easy ; for 
since all Reasoning (in the sense above de- 
fined) may be resolved into Syllogisms ; and 
since even the objectors to Logic make it a 
subject of complaint, that in a Syllogism the 
Premises do virtually assert the Conclusion, 
it follows at once that no New Truth (as 
above defined) can be elicited by any process 
of Reasoning. 

It is on this ground, indeed, that the justly- 
celebrated author of the Philosophy of Rhetoric 


objects to the Syllogism altogether, as neces- 
sarily involving a petitio prmcipii ; an objection 
which, of course, he would not have been dis- 
posed to bring forward, had he perceived that, 
whether well or ill-founded, it lies against all 
arguments whatever. Had he been aware that 
a Syllogism is no distinct kind of argument 
otherwise than in form, but is, in fact, any 
argument whatever,* stated regularly and at 
full length, he would have obtained a more 
correct view of the object of all Reasoning ; 
which is, merely to expand and unfold the 
assertions wrapt up, as it were, and implied 
in those with which we set out, and to bring 
a person to perceive and acknowledge the full 
force of that which he has admitted ; to con- 
template it in various points of view; to admit 
in one shape what he has already admitted in 
another, and to give up and disallow whatever 
is inconsistent with it. 

Nor is it always a very easy task to bring 
before the mind the several bearings, the 
various applications, of even any one pro- 
position. A common Term comprehends 
several, often, numberless individuals ; and 
these, often, in some respects, widely differing 
from each other ; and no one can be, on 
each occasion of his employing such a Term, 

* Which Dugald Stewart admits, though he adopts 
Campbell's objection. 


attending to and fixing his mind on each of 
the individuals, or even of the species, so 
comprehended. It is to be remembered, too, 
that both Division and Generalization are in 
a great degree arbitrary ; i. e. that we may 
both divide the same genus on several dif- 
ferent principles, and may refer the same 
species to several different classes, according 
to the nature of the discourse and drift of the 
argument ; each of which classes will furnish 
a distinct middle Term for an argument, ac- 
cording to the question. E. G. If we wished 
to prove that "a horse feels," (to adopt an 
ill-chosen example from the above writer,) 
we might refer it to the genus " animal ;" to 
prove that " it has only a single stomach," to 
the genus of " non-ruminants ;" to prove that 
it is " likely to degenerate in a very cold 
climate," we should class it with " original 
productions of a hot climate," fyc. fc. Now, 
each of these, and numberless others to which 
the same thing might be referred, are implied 
by the very term, " horse ;" yet it cannot 
be expected that they can all be at once 
present to the mind whenever that term is 
uttered* Much less, when, instead of such 
a Term as that, we are employing Terms 
of a very abstract and, perhaps, complex 
signification,* as " government, justice," fyc. 

* On thhr^oint there are some valuable remarks in the 
Philosophy of Rhetoric itself, Book IV. Chap. vii. 


categories. The ten Categories * or Predicaments, 
which Aristotle and other Logical writers 
have treated of, being certain general heads 
or summa genera, to one or more of which 
every Term may be referred, serve the pur- 
pose of marking out certain tracks, as it were, 
which are to be pursued in searching for 
middle Terms, in each argument respectively; 
it being essential that we should generalize 
on a right principle, with a view to the ques- 
tion before us ; or, in other words, that we 
should abstract that portion of any object 
presented to the mind, which is important 
to the argument in hand. There are ex- 
pressions in common use which have a re- 
ference to this caution ; such as, " this is a 
question, not as to the nature of the object, 
but the magnitude of it :" " this a question 
of time, or of place" fyc. i. e. " the subject 
must be referred to this or to that Category." 
With respect to the meaning of the Terms 
in question, " Discovery," and " New Truth ;" 

* The Categories enumerated by Aristole, are overt a, 

TTOffOV, TTOIOV, TTpOffTl, 7TOV, TToYc, Kelffddl, 'kyilV, 7TOie~lV, 

Trda^tv ; which are usually rendered, as adequately as, 
perhaps, they can be in our language, Substance, Quan- 
tity, duality, Relation, Place, Time, Situation, Posses- 
sion, Action, Suffering. The Catalogue has been by 
some writers enlarged, as it is evident may easily be 
done by subdividing some of the heads ; and by others 
curtailed, as it is no less evident that all may ultimately 
be referred to the two heads of Substance, and Attribute, 
or (in the language of some Logicians) Accident. 


it matters not whether we confine ourselves to 
the narrowest sense, or admit the widest, pro- 
vided we do but distinguish. There certainly 
are two kinds of "Ne.w Truth" and of 
"Discovery," if we take those words in the TWO kinds of 


widest sense in which they are ever used. 
First, such Truths as were, before they were 
discovered, absolutely unknown, being not 
implied by anything we previously knew, 
though we might perhaps suspect them as 
probable; such are all matters of fact strictly 
so called, when first made known to one who 
had not any such previous knowledge, as 
would enable him to ascertain them a priori ; 
i. e. by Reasoning ; as if we inform a man that 
we have a colony at Botany Bay ; or that the 
earth is at such a distance from the sun ; or 
that platina is heavier than gold. The com- 
munication of this kind of knowledge is most 
usually, and most strictly, called information, information. 
We gain it from observation, and from testi- 
mony. No mere internal workings of our own 
minds (except when the mind itself is the very 
object to be observed), or mere discussions in 
words, will make a fact known to us ; though 
there is great room for sagacity in judging 
what testimony to admit, and in the forming of 
conjectures that may lead to profitable obser- 
vation, and to experiments with a view to it. 
The other class of Discoveries is of a very 


different nature. That which may be elicited 
by Reasoning, and consequently is implied in 
that which we already know, we assent to on 
that ground, and not from observation or tes- 
timony. To take a Geometrical truth upon 
trust, or to attempt to ascertain it by obser- 
vation, would betray a total ignorance of the 
nature of the Science. In the longest de- 
instruction, monstration, the Mathematical teacher seems 
only to lead us to make use of our own stores, 
and point out to us how much we had already 
admitted ; and, in the case of many Ethical 
propositions, we assent at first hearing, though 
perhaps we had never heard or thought of 
the proposition before. So also do we readily 
assent to the testimony of a respectable man 
who tells us that our troops have gained a 
victory ; but how different is the nature of 
the assent in the two cases. In the latter 
we are disposed to thank the man for his 
information, as being such as no wisdom or 
learning would have enabled us to ascertain ; 
in the former, we usually exclaim "very true!" 
" that is a valuable and just remark ; that 
never struck me before !" implying at once 
our practical ignorance of it, and also our 
consciousness that we possess, in what we 
already know, the means to ascertain the 
truth of it ; that we have a right, in short, 
to bear our testimony to its truth. 


To all practical purposes, indeed, a Truth 
of this description may be as completely un- 
known to a man as the other; but as soon 
as it is set before him, and the argument by 
which it is connected with his previous no- 
tions is made clear to him, he recognizes it as 
something conformable to, and contained in, 
his former belief. 

It is not improbable that Plato's doctrine of 
Reminiscence arose from a hasty extension of 
what he had observed in this class, to all ac- 
quisition of knowledge whatever. His Theory 
of ideas served to confound together matters 
of fact respecting the nature of things, (which 
may be perfectly new to us) with propositions 
relating to our own notions, and modes of 
thought ; (or to speak, perhaps, more cor- 
rectly, our own arbitrary signs) which propo- 
sitions must be contained and implied in those 
very complex notions themselves ; and whose 
truth is a conformity, not to the nature of 
things, but to our own hypothesis. Such 
are all propositions in pure Mathematics, and 
many in Ethics, viz. those which involve no 
assertion as to real matters of fact. It has 
been rightly remarked,* that Mathematical 
propositions are not properly true or false, 
in the same sense as any proposition respect- 
ing real fact is so called. And hence, the 

* Dugald Stewart's Philosophy, Vol. II. 


truth (such as it is) of such propositions is 
necessary and eternal ; since it amounts only 
to this, that any complex notion which you 
have arbitrarily framed, must be exactly con- 
formable to itself. The proposition, that " the 
belief in a future state, combined with a 
complete devotion to the present life, is not 
consistent with the character of prudence," 
would be not at all the less true if a future 
state were a chimera, and prudence a quality 
which was no-where met with ; nor would the 
truth of the Mathematician's conclusion be 
shaken, that " circles are to each other as 
the squares of their diameters," should it be 
found that there never had been a circle, or a 
square, conformable to the definition, in rerum 

Hence the futility of the attempt of Clarke, 
and others, to demonstrate (in the mathe- 
matical sense) the existence of a Deity. This 
can only be done by covertly assuming in the 
Premises the very point to be proved. No 
matter of fact can be mathematically demon- 
strated; though it may be proved in such a 
manner as to leave no doubt on the mind. 
E. G. I have no more doubt that I met such 
and such a man, in this or that place, yester- 
day, than that the angles of a triangle are 
equal to two right angles : but the kind of 
certainty I have of these two truths is widely 


different ; to say, that I did not meet the man, 
would be false indeed, but it would not be 
anything inconceivable, self-contradictory, and 
absurd; but it would be so, to deny the 
equality of the angles of a triangle to two 
right angles. 

The Ethical proposition, instanced above, 
is one of those which Locke calls " trifling," 
because the Predicate is merely a part of the 
complex idea implied by the subject. And he 
is right, if by " trifling" he means that it 
gives not, strictly speaking, any information : 
but he should consider that to remind a man 
of what he had not, and might not have, 
thought of, may be, practically, as valuable 
as giving him information ; and that most pro- 
positions in the best Sermons, and all, in pure 
Mathematics, are of the description which he 

It is, indeed, rather remarkable that he 
should speak so often of building Morals into 
a demonstrative Science, and yet speak so 
slightingly of those very propositions to which 
we must absolutely confine ourselves, in order 
to give to Ethics even the appearance of such 
a Science ; for the instant you come to an 
assertion respecting a matter of fact, as that 
u men (i. e. actually existing men) are bound 
to practise virtue," or " are liable to many 
temptations," you have stepped off the ground 
T 2 



of strict demonstration ; just as when you 
proceed to practical Geometry. 

information But to return i it is of the utmost import- 
ana Instruc- * 

ance to distinguish these two kinds of Dis- 
covery of Truth. In relation to the former, 
as I have said, the word ' ' information " is 
most strictly applied ; the communication of 
the latter is more properly called "instruc- 
tion" I speak of the usual practice ; for it 
would be going too far to pretend that writers 
are uniform and consistent in the use of these, 
or of any other term. We say that the His- 
torian gives us information respecting past 
times ; the Traveller, respecting foreign coun- 
tries : on the other hand, the Mathematician 
gives instruction in the principles of his Sci- 
ence ; the Moralist instructs us in our duties ; 
and we generally use the expressions " a well- 
informed man," and " a well-instructed man," 
in a sense conformable to that which has been 
here laid down. However, let the words be 
used as they may, the things are evidently 
different, and ought to be distinguished. It 
is a question comparatively unimportant, whe- 
ther the term " Discovery " shall or shall not 
be extended to the eliciting of those Truths, 
which, being implied in our previous know- 
ledge, may be established by mere strict 

Similar verbal questions, indeed, might be 


raised respecting many other cases : e. g. one 
has forgotten (i. e. cannot recollect) the name 
of some person or place ; perhaps we even try 
to think of it, but in vain ; at last some one 
reminds us, and we instantly recognise it as the 
one we wanted to recollect : it may be asked, 
was this in our mind, or not ? The answer is, 
that in one sense it was, and in another sense, 
it was not. Or, again, suppose there is a vein 
of metal on a man's estate, which he does not 
know of; is it part of his possessions or not ? 
and when he finds it out and works it, does 
he then acquire a new possession or not ? 
Certainly not, in the same sense as if he has 
a fresh estate bequeathed to him, which he 
had formerly no right to ; but to all practical 
purposes it is a new possession. This case, 
indeed, may serve as an illustration of the one 
we have been considering ; and in all these 
cases, if the real distinction be understood, 
the verbal question will not be of much 
consequence. To use one more illustration. 
Reasoning has been aptly compared to the 
piling together blocks of stone ; on each of 
which, as on a pedestal, a man can raise 
himself a small, and but a small height above 
the plain ; but which, when skilfully built up, 
will form a flight of steps, which will raise 
him to a great elevation. Now (to pursue 
this analogy) when the materials are all ready 


to the builder's hand, the blocks ready dug 
and brought, his work resembles one of the 
two kinds of Discovery just mentioned, viz. 
that to which we have assigned the name of 
instruction: but if his materials are to be 
entirely, or in part, provided by himself, if 
he himself is forced to dig fresh blocks from 
the quarry, this corresponds to the other 
kind of Discovery.* 

* " The fundamental differences between these two 
great branches of human knowledge, as well as their con- 
sequences, cannot perhaps be more strikingly illustrated 
than in the following familiar exposition by a celebrated 
writer. ' A clever man,' says Sir J. Herschel, ' shut up 
alone and allowed all unlimited time, might reason out for 
himself all the truths of mathematics, by proceeding from 
those simple notions of space and number of which he 
cannot divest himself without ceasing to think ; but he 
would never tell by any effort of reasoning what would 
become of a lump of sugar, if immersed in water, or what 
impression would be produced on his eye by mixing the 
colours yellow and blue,' results which can be learnt only 
from experience. 

" Thus then the extremes of human knowledge may be 
considered as founded on the one hand purely upon reason, 
and on the other purely upon sense. Now, a very large 
portion of our knowledge, and what in fact may be con- 
sidered as the most important part of it, lies between these 
two extremes, and results from a union or mixture of them, 
that is to say, consists of the application of rational prin- 
ciples to the phenomena presented by the objects of 
nature." Front's Bridgervater Treatise, p. 2. 



I have hitherto spoken of the employment Physical Dis- 

of argument in the establishment of those 
hypothetical Truths (as they may be called) 
which relate only to our own abstract no- 
tions. It is not, however, meant to be 
insinuated that there is no room for Reason- 
ing in the establishment of a matter of fact : 
but the other class of Truths have first been 
treated of, because, in discussing subjects of 
that kind, the process of Reasoning is always 
the principal, and often the only thing to be 
attended to, if we are but certain and clear 
as to the meaning of the terms ; whereas, 
when assertions respecting real existence are 
introduced, we have the additional and more 
important business of ascertaining and keep- 
ing in mind the degree of evidence for those 
facts ; since, otherwise, our Conclusions could 
not be relied on, however accurate our Rea- 
soning. But, undoubtedly, we may by Reason- 
ing arrive at matters of fact, if we have matters 
of fact to set out with as data ; only that it 
will very often happen that, " from certain 
facts," as Campbell remarks, " we draw only 
probable Conclusions ;" because the other 
Premiss introduced (which he overlooked) is - 
only probable. And the maxim of Mechanics 
holds good in arguments ; that " nothing is 


stronger than its weakest part." He observed 
that in such an instance, for example, as the 
one lately given, we infer from the certainty 
that such and such tyrannies have been short- 
lived, the probability that others will be so ; 
and he did not consider that there is an 
understood Premiss which is essential to the 
argument ; (viz. that all tyrannies will re- 
semble those we have already observed) which 
being only of a probable character, must attach 
the same degree of uncertainty to the Con- 
clusion. And the doubtfulness is multiplied, 
if both Premises are uncertain. For since it is 
only on the supposition of both Premises being 
true, that we can calculate on the truth of the 
Conclusion, we must state in numbers the 
chances against each Premiss being true, and 
then multiply these together, to judge of the 
degree of evidence of the Conclusion.* 

An individual fact is not unfrequently elicited 
by skilfully combining, and reasoning from, 
those already known ; of which many curious 
cases occur in the detection of criminals by 
officers of justice, and by Barristers; who 
acquire by practice such dexterity in that par- 
ticular department, as to draw sometimes the 
right conclusion from data, which might be in 
the possession of others, without being applied 
to the same use. But in all cases of the 

* See Book III. 14. 


establishment of a general fact from Induction, 
that general fact (as has been formerly re- 
marked) is ultimately established by Reasoning. 
E. G. Bakewell, the celebrated cattle-breeder, 
observed, in a great number of individual 
beasts, a tendency to fatten readily ; and in a 
great number of others, the absence of this 
constitution : in every individual of the former 
description, he observed a certain peculiar 
make, though they differed widely in size, 
colour, fyc. Those of the latter description 
differed no less in various points, but agreed 
in being of a different make from the others : 
these facts were his data ; from which, com- 
bining them with the general principle, that 
Nature is steady and uniform in her proceed- 
ings, he logically drew the conclusion that 
beasts of the specified make have universally 
a peculiar tendency to fattening. But then 
his principal merit consisted in making the 
observations, and in so combining them as to 
abstract from each of a multitude of cases, 
differing widely in many respects, the circum- 
stances in which they all agreed ; and also in 
conjecturing skilfully how far those circum- 
stances were likely to be found in the whole 
class. The making of such observations, and 
still more the combination, abstraction, and 
judgment employed,* are what men commonly 
* See Polit. Econ. Lect. IX. p. 229239. 


mean (as was above observed) when they 
speak of Induction ; and these operations are 
certainly distinct from Reasoning.* The same 
observations will apply to numberless other 
cases ; as, for instance, to the Discovery of the 
law of " vis inertice? and the other principles 
of Natural Philosophy. 

It may be remarked here, that even the 
most extensive observations of facts will often 
be worse than useless to those who are de- 
ficient in the power of discriminating and 
selecting. Their knowledge, whether much 
or little, is like food to a body whose digestive 
system is so much impaired as to be incapable 
of separating the nutritious portions. To 
attempt to remedy the defect of minds thus 
constituted " by imparting to them additional 
knowledge, to confer the advantage of wider 
experience on those who have not the power 
of profiting by experience, is to attempt 
enlarging the prospect of a short-sighted man 
by bringing him to the top of a hill."f 

But to what class, it may be asked, should 
be referred the Discoveries we have been 
speaking of ? All would agree in calling them, 
when first ascertained, " New Truths," in the 
strictest sense of the word ; which would seem 
to imply their belonging to the class which 

* See Book I. 1. Note. 

f Polit. Econ. Lect. IX. p. 236. 


may be called by way of distinction, " Physical 
Discoveries:" and yet their being ultimately 
established by Reasoning, would seem, accord- 
ing to the foregoing rule, to refer them to the 
other class, viz. what may be called " Logical 
Discoveries ;" since whatever is established by 
Reasoning must have been contained and 
virtually asserted in the Premises. In answer 
to this, I would say, that they certainly do 
belong to the latter class, relatively to a 
person who is in possession of the data : but to 
him who is not, they are New Truths of the 
other class. For it is to be remembered, that 
the words " Discovery" and "New Truths" 
are necessarily relative. There may be a pro- 
position which is to one person absolutely 
known; to another (viz. one to whom it has 
never occurred, though he is in possession of 
all the data from which it may be proved} it 
will be (when he comes to perceive it, by a 
process of instruction) what we have called a 
Logical Discovery : to a third (viz. one who is 
ignorant of these data) it will be absolutely 
unknown, and will have been, when made 
known to him, a perfectly and properly New 
Truth, a piece of information, a Physical 
Discovery, as we have called it.* To the 

* It may be worth while in this place to define what is 
properly to be called Knowledge : it implies three things ; 
1st, firm belief, 2dly, of what is true, 3dly, on sufficient 


Philosopher, therefore, who arrives at the 
Discovery by reasoning from his observations, 
and from established principles combined with 
them, the Discovery is of the former class ; to 
the multitude, probably of the latter ; as they 
will have been most likely not possessed of all 
his data. 

^ foWows from what has been said, that in 
Mathematics, and in such Ethical propositions 
as we were lately speaking of, we do not 
allow the possibility of any but a Logical 
Discovery ; i. e. no proposition of that class 
can be true, which was not implied in the 
definitions and axioms we set out with, which 
are the first principles. For since these pro- 
positions do not profess to state any matter of 
fact, the only truth they can possess, consists 
in conformity to the original principles. To 
one, therefore, who knows these principles, 
such propositions are Truths already implied ; 
since they may be developed to him by Rea- 
soning, if he is not defective in the discursive 

grounds. If any one e. g. is in doubt respecting one of 
Euclid's demonstrations, he cannot be said to know the pro- 
position proved by it ; if, again, he is fully convinced of any- 
thing that is not true, he is mistaken in supposing himself 
to know it ; lastly, if two perons are each fully confident, 
one that the moon is inhabited, and the other that it is not, 
(though one of these opinions must be true) neither of them 
could properly be said to know the truth, since he cannot 
have sufficient proof of it. 


faculty ; and again, to one who does not 
understand those principles (L e. is not master 
of the Definitions) such propositions are in 
great measure, if not wholly, unmeaning. On 
the other hand, propositions relating to mat- 
ters of fact, may be, indeed, implied in what 
he already knew ; (as he who knows the cli- 
mate of the Alps, the Andes, fyc. fyc. has 
virtually admitted the general fact, that " the 
tops of mountains are comparatively cold") 
but as these possess an absolute and physical 
Truth, they may also be absolutely "new," 
their Truth not being implied in the mere terms 
of tlie propositions. The truth or falsity of 
any proposition concerning a triangle, is im- 
plied by the meaning of that and of the other 
Geometrical terms ; whereas, though one may 
understand (in the ordinary sense of that word) 
the full meaning of the terms " planet," and 
" inhabited," and of all the other terms in the 
language, he cannot thence derive any cer- 
tainty that the planets are, or are not, 

" Every branch of study, it should be ob- 
served, which can at all claim the character of 
a science (in the widest acceptation,) requires 
two things : 1. A correct ascertainment of the 
data from which we are to reason; and, 2. Cor- 
rectness in the process of deducing conclusions 
from them. But these two processes, though 


both are in every case indispensable, are, in 
different cases, extremely different in their 
relative difficulty and amount ; in the space, 
if I may so speak, which they occupy in each 
branch of study. In pure mathematics, for 
instance, we set out from arbitrary definitions, 
and postulates, readily comprehended, which 
are the principles from which, by the help of 
axioms hardly needing even to be stated, our 
reasonings proceed. No facts whatever re- 
quire to be ascertained ; no process of induction 
to be carried on; the reasoning-process is 
nearly every thing. In Geology, (to take an 
instance of an opposite kind) the most extensive 
information is requisite ; and though sound 
reasoning is called for in making use of the 
knowledge acquired, it is well known what 
erroneous systems have been devised, by 
powerful reasoners, who have satisfied them- 
selves too soon with observations not suffi- 
ciently accurate and extensive. 

"Various branches of Natural-philosophy 
occupy, in this respect, various intermediate 
places. The two processes which I have 
elsewhere endeavoured to describe, under the 
titles of " Physical investigation " and "Logical 
investigation," will, in different cases, differ 
very much in their relative importance and 
difficulty. The science of Optics, for instance, 
furnishes an example of one approaching very 


near to pure mathematics ; since, though the 
foundation of it consists in facts ascertained by 
experiment, these are fewer and more easily 
ascertained than those pertaining to other 
branches of Natural-philosophy. A very small 
number of principles, comprehensible even 
without being verified by the senses, being 
assumed, the deductions from them are so 
extensive, that, as is well known, a blind 
mathematician, who had no remembrance of 
seeing, gave an approved course of lectures on 
the subject. In the application, however, of 
this science to the explanation of many of the 
curious natural phenomena that occur, a most 
extensive and exact knowledge of facts is 
called for. 

" In the case of Political-Economy, that the 
facts on which the science is founded are few, 
and simple, and within the range of every one's 
observation, would, I think, never have been 
doubted, but for the error of confounding 
together the theoretical and the practical 
branches of it; the science of what is properly 
called Political-Economy, and the practical 
employment of it. The theory supplies prin- 
ciples, which we may afterwards apply prac- 
tically to an indefinite number of various cases; 
and in order to make this application correctly, 
of course an accurate knowledge of the cir- 
cumstances of each case is indispensable. But 


it should be remembered that the same may be 
said even with respect to Geometry. As soon as 
we come to the practical branch of it, and apply 
it in actual measurements, a minute attention 
to facts is requisite for an accurate result. And 
in each practical question in Political-Economy 
that may arise, we must be prepared to ascer- 
tain, and allow for, various disturbing causes, 
which may more or less modify the results ob- 
tained from our general principles ; just as, in 
Mechanics, when we come to practice, we must 
take into account the thickness, and weight, 
and the degrees of flexibility, of ropes and 

" The facts then which it may be necessary 
to ascertain for the practical decision of any 
single case that may arise, are, of course, in 
Political-Economy (as in respect of the appli- 
cation of the principles of any science), inde- 
finite in number, and sometimes difficult to 
collect ; the facts on which the general princi- 
ples of the science are founded, come within 
the range of everyone's experience."* 


It has probably been the source of much 
perplexity, that the term "true" has been 
applied indiscriminately to two such different 

* Polit. Econ. Lect. IX. p. 225. 


classes of propositions. The term definition Definitions. 
is used with the same laxity; and much confu- 
sion has thence resulted. Such definitions as 
the Mathematical, must imply every attribute 
that belongs to the thing defined ; because 
that thing is merely our meaning; which 
meaning the Definition lays down : whereas, 
real substances, having an independent exist- 
ence, may possess innumerable qualities (as 
Locke observes) not implied in the meaning 
we attach to their names, or, as Locke ex- 
presses it, in our ideas of them. " Their 

Nominal de- 

nominal essence (to use his language) is not fictions. 
the same as their real essence ;" whereas the 
nominal essence, and the real essence, of a 
Circle, $c. are the same. A Mathematical 
Definition, therefore, cannot properly be called 
true, since it is not properly a proposition,* 
(any more than an article in a Dictionary,) 
but merely an explanation of the meaning of 
a Term. Perhaps in Definitions of this class, 
it might be better to substitute (as Aristotle 
usually does) the imperative mood for the 
indicative : thus bringing them into the form 

* I mean in this place, that expression of a Definition 
in which the name is conjoined with that which is, pro- 
perly speaking, the definition of it, in the form of a pro- 
position : as e.g. "a Triangle is a plane superficial figure 
bounded by three straight lines :" the words in italics are 
what, strictly speaking, constitute the Definition ; but 
what I am here speaking of is the whole sentence. 



of postulates; for the Definitions and the 
Postulates in Mathematics differ in little or 
nothing but the form of expression : e. g. " let 
a four-sided figure, of equal sides and right 
angles, be called a square," would clearly 
imply that such a figure is conceivable, and 
that the writer intended to employ that term to 
signify such a figure : which is precisely all 
that is meant to be asserted. If, indeed, a 
Mathematical writer mean to assert that the 
ordinary sense of the term is that which he 
has given, that, certainly, is a proposition, 
which must be either true or false ; but in 
defining a new term, though the term indeed 
may be ill-chosen and improper, or the Defi- 
nition may be self-contradictory, and conse- 
quently unintelligible, the words " true," and 
" false," do not apply. 

The same may be said of what are called 
nominal Definitions of other things ; i. e. those 
which merely explain the meaning of the 
word; viz. they can be true or false only 
when they profess (and so far as they pro- 
fess) to give the ordinary and established 
meaning of the term. But those which are 
called real Definitions, viz. which unfold 
the nature of the thing, (which they may 
do in various degrees,} to these the epithet 
"true" may be applied; and to make out 
such a Definition will often be the very end 


(not as in Mathematics the beginning) of 
our study.* 

In Mathematics there is no such distinction 
between nominal and real Definition ; the 
meaning of the term, and the nature, of the 
thing, being one and the same : so that no 
correct Definition whatever of any Mathema- 
tical term can be devised, which shall not 
imply every thing which belongs to the term. 


When it is asked, then, whether such great Ambiguity of 

" the word 

Discoveries, as have been made in NaturaJ & ea8onin e- 
Philosophy, were accomplished, or can be 
accomplished, by Reasoning? the inquirer 
should be reminded, that the question is am- 
biguous. It may be answered in the affir- 
mative, if by " Reasoning" is meant to be 
included the assumption of Premises, To the 
right performance of that work, is requisite, 
not only, in many cases, the ascertainment 
of facts, and of the degree of evidence for 
doubtful propositions, (in which, observation 
and experiment will often be indispensable,) 
but also a skilful selection and combination of 
known facts and principles ; such as implies, 
amongst other things, the exercise of that 
powerful abstraction which seizes the com- 

* Burke on Taste, in the Introducion to his " Essay on 
the Sublime and Beautiful." 



mon circumstances the point of agreement 
in a number of, otherwise, dissimilar indi- 
viduals; and it is in this that the greatest 
genius is shown. But if " Reasoning " be 
understood in the limited sense in which it 
is usually defined, then we must answer in 
the negative ; and reply that such Discoveries 
are made by means of Reasoning combined 
with other operations. 

In the process I have been speaking of, 
there is much Reasoning throughout ; and 
thence the whole has been carelessly called 
a " process of Reasoning." 

It is not, indeed, any just ground of com- 
plaint that the word Reasoning is used in two 
senses; but that the two senses are perpe- 
tually confounded together : and hence it is 
that some Logical writers fancied that Rea- 
soning (viz. that which Logic treats of) was 
the method of discovering Truth ; and that 
so many other writers have accordingly com- 
plained of Logic for not accomplishing that 
end ; urging that " Syllogism " (i. e. Reason- 
ing ; though they overlooked the coincidence) 
never established any thing that is, strictly 
speaking, unknown to him who has granted 
the Premises : and proposing the introduction 
of a certain "rational Logic " to accomplish 
this purpose ; i. e. to direct the mind in 
the process of investigation. Supposing that 


some such system could be devised that it 
could even be brought into a scientific form, 
(which he must be more sanguine than scien- 
tific who expects,) that it were of the great- 
est conceivable utility, and that it should be 
allowed to bear the name of "Logic" (since 
it would not be worth while to contend about 
a name) still it would not, as these writers 
seem to suppose, have the same object pro- 
posed with the Aristotelian Logic ; or be in 
any respect a rival to that system. A plough 
may be a much more ingenious and valuable 
instrument than a flail ; but it never can be 
substituted for it. 

Those Discoveries of general laws of Na- 
ture, fyc. of which we have been speaking, 
being of that character which we have de- 
scribed by the name of " Logical Discoveries/' 
to him who is in possession of all the Premises 
from which they are deduced ; but being, to the 
multitude (who are unacquainted with many 
of those Premises) strictly " New Truths," 
hence it is, that men in general give to the 
general facts, and to them, most peculiarly, 
the name of Discoveries ; for to themselves they 
are such, in the strictest sense ; the Premises 
from which they were inferred being not only 
originally unknown to them, but frequently 
remaining unknown to the very last. E. G. the 
general conclusion concerning cattle, which 


Bakewell made known, is what most Agricul- 
turists (and many others also) are acquainted 
with ; but the Premises he set out with, viz. the 
facts respecting this, that, and the other, indi- 
vidual ox, (the ascertainment of which facts was 
his first Discovery,) these are what few know, 
or care to know, with any exact particularity. 
observation And it may be added, that these disco- 
unt, yeries of particular facts, which are the 
immediate result of observation, are, in them- 
selves, uninteresting and insignificant, till they 
are combined so as to lead to a grand general 
result. Those who on each occasion watched 
the motions, and registered the times of oc- 
cultation of Jupiter's satellites, little thought, 
perhaps, themselves, what important results 
they were preparing the way for.* So that 
there is an additional cause which has confined 
the term Discovery to these grand general 
conclusions ; and, as was just observed, they 
are, ;to the generality of men, perfectly New 
Truths in the strictest sense of the word; not 
beingi implied in any previous knowledge they 
possessed. Very often it will happen, indeed, 
; that the conclusion thus drawn will amount 
only to a, probable conjecture; which conjecture 
will dictate to the inquirer such an experiment, 
or course of experiments, as will fully establish 

* Hence, Bacon urges us to pursue Truth, without 
always requiring to perceive its practical application. 


the fact. Thus Sir H. Davy, from finding that 
the flame of hydrogen gas was not communi- 
cated through a long slender tube, conjectured 
that a shorter but still slenderer tube would 
answer the same purpose ; this led him to try 
the experiments, in which, by continually 
shortening the tube, and at the same time 
lessening its bore, he arrived at last at the 
wire-gauze of his safety-lamp. 

It is to be observed also, that whatever 
credit is conveyed by the word " Discovery," 
to him who is regarded as the author of it, is 
well deserved by those who skilfully select 
and combine known Truths (especially such 
as have been long and generally known) so as 
to elicit important, and hitherto unthought of, 
conclusions. Their's is the master-mind : 
apXiretcToviKr) fypovyais. Whereas men of very 
inferior powers may sometimes, by immediate 
observation, discover perfectly new facts, em- 
pirically ; and thus be of service in furnishing 
materials to the others ; to whom they stand 
in the same relation (to recur to a former 
illustration) as the brickmaker or stone- 
quarrier to the architect. It is peculiarly 
creditable to Adam Smith, and to Mr. Mal- 
thus, that the data from which they drew such 
important Conclusions had been in every one's 
hands for centuries. 

As for Mathematical Discoveries, they (as 


we have before said) must always be of the 
description to which we have given the name 
of " Logical Discoveries ;" since to him who 
properly comprehends the meaning of the 
Mathematical terms, (and to no other are the 
Truths themselves, properly speaking, intel- 
ligible) those results are implied in his previous 
knowledge, since they are logically deducible 
therefrom. It is not, however, meant to be 
implied, that Mathematical Discoveries are 
effected by pure Reasoning, and by that 
singly. For though there is not here, as in 
Physics, any exercise of judgment as to the 
degree of evidence of the Premises, nor any 
experiments and observations, yet there is the 
same call for skill in the selection and combina- 
tion of the Premises in such a manner as shall 
be best calculated to lead to a new, that is, 
unperceived and unthought-of Conclusion. 

In following, indeed, and taking in a demon- 
stration, nothing is called for but pure Reason- 
ing ; but the assumption of Premises is not a 
part of Reasoning, in the strict and technical 
sense of that term. Accordingly, there are many 
who can follow a Mathematical demonstration, 
or any other train of argument, who would 
not succeed well in framing one of their own.* 

* Hence, the Student must not confine himself to this 
passive kind of employment, if he will truly become a 




For both kinds of Discovery then, the Lorn- operatic 

V connected 

cal, as well as the Physical, certain operations T itl 
are requisite, beyond those which can fairly 
be comprehended under the strict sense of 
the word " Reasoning." In the Logical, is 
required a skilful selection and combination of 
known Truths : in the Physical, we must em- 
ploy, in addition (generally speaking) to that 
process, observation and experiment. It will 
generally happen, that in the study of nature, 
and, universally, in all that relates to matters 
of fact, both kinds of investigation will be 
united ; L e. some of the facts or principles 
you reason from as Premises, must be ascer- 
tained by observation ; or, as in the case of the 
safety-lamp, the ultimate Conclusion will need 
confirmation from experience ; so that both 
Physical and Logical Discovery will take 
place in the course of the same process. We 
need not, therefore, wonder, that the two are 
so perpetually confounded. In Mathematics, 
on the other hand, and in great part of the 
discussions relating to Ethics and Jurispru- 
dence, there being no room for any Physical 
Discovery whatever, we have only to make a 
skilful use of the propositions in our posses- 
sion, to arrive at every attainable result. 

tical and 
other ] 


The investigation, however, of the latter 
class of subjects differs in other points also 
from that of the former. For, setting aside 
the circumstance of our having, in these, no 
question as to facts, no room for observation, 
there is also a considerable difference in 
what may be called, in both instances, the 
process of Logical investigation ; the Premises 
on which we proceed being of so different a 
nature in the two cases. 

To take the example of Mathematics, the 
soiin g Rea " Definitions, which are the principles of our 
Reasoning, are very few, and the Axioms still 
fewer ; and both are, for the most part, laid 
down and placed before the student in the, out- 
set; the introduction of a new Definition or 
Axiom, being of comparativly rare occur- 
rence, at wide intervals, and with a formal 
statement ; besides which, there is no room 
for doubt concerning either. On the other 
hand, in all Reasonings which regard matters 
of fact, we introduce, almost at every step, 
fresh and fresh propositions (to a very great 
number) which had not been elicited in the 
course of our Reasoning, but are taken for 
granted ; viz. facts and laws of Nature, which 
are here the principles of our Reasoning, and 
maxims, or " elements of belief," which answer 
to the axioms in Mathematics. If, at the 
opening of a Treatise, for example, on Che- 


mistry, on Agriculture, on Political-Economy, 
fyc. the author should make, as in Mathema- 
tics, a formal statement of all the propositions 
he intended to assume as granted, throughout 
the whole work, both he and his readers 
would be astonished at the number ; and, of 
these, many would be only probable, and 
there would be much room for doubt as to 
the degree of probability, and for judgment, in 
ascertaining that degree. 

Moreover, Mathematical axioms are always 
employed precisely in the same simple form ; 
e. g. the axiom that " things equal to the same 
are equal to one another," is cited, whenever 
there is need, in those very words ; whereas 
the maxims employed in the other class of 
subjects, admit of, and require, continual mo- 
difications in the application of them. E. G. 
" the stability of the laws of Nature," which is 
our constant assumption in inquiries relating 
to Natural Philosophy, assumes many different 
shapes, and in some of them does not possess 
the same absolute certainty as in others ; e. g. 
when, from having always observed a certain 
sheep ruminating, we infer, that this individual 
sheep will continue to ruminate, we assume 
that "the property which has hitherto be- 
longed to this sheep will remain unchanged ; " 
when we infer the same property of all 
sheep, we assume that " the property which 


belongs to this individual belongs to the 
whole species : " if, on comparing sheep with 
some other kinds of horned animals, * 
and finding that all agree in ruminating, 
we infer that " all horned animals ruminate," 
we assume that "the whole of a genus 
or class are likely to agree in any point 
wherein many species of that genus agree ;" 
or in other words, " that if one of two pro- 
perties, fyc. has often been found accompanied 
by another, and never without it, the former 
will be universally accompanied by the latter :" 
now all these are merely different forms of the 
maxim, that " nature is uniform in her opera- 
tions," which, it is evident, varies in expression 
in almost every different case where it is 
applied, and admits of every degree of evi- 
dence, from absolute moral certainty, to mere 

The same may be said of an infinite number 
of principles and maxims appropriated to, and 
employed in, each particular branch of study. 
Hence, all such Reasonings are, in compa- 
rison of Mathematics, very complex; requiring 
so much more than that does, beyond the 
process of merely deducing the conclusion 

* Viz. having horns on the skull- What are called the 
horns of the Rhinoceros are quite different in origin, and in 
structure, as well as in situation, from what are properly 
called horns. 


Logically from the Premises : so that it is no 
wonder that the longest Mathematical demon- 
stration should be so much more easily con- 
structed and understood, than a much shorter 
train of just Reasoning concerning real facts. 
The former has been aptly compared to a 
long and steep, but even and regular flight of 
steps, which tries the breath, and the strength, 
and the preseverance only ; while the latter 
resembles a short, but 'rugged and uneven, 
ascent up a precipice, which requires a quick 
eye, agile limbs, and a firm step ; and in 
which we have to tread now on this side, now 
on that ever considering, as we proceed, 
whether this or that projection will afford 
room for our foot, or whether some loose 
stone may not slide from under us. There 
are probably as many steps of pure Reasoning 
in one of the longer of Euclid's demonstra- 
tions, as in the whole of an argumentative 
treatise on some other subject, occupying per- 
haps a considerable volume. 

It may be observed here that Mathematical Mathem 
tics usef 

reasoning, as it calls for no exercise of judg- 
ment respecting probabilities, is the best kind f 
of introductory exercise ; and, from the same 
cause, is apt, when too exclusively pursued, to 
make men incorrect moral-reason ers. 

As for those Ethical and Legal Reason- 
ings which were lately mentioned as in some 
respects resembling those of Mathematics, (viz. 


such as keep clear of all assertions respecting 
facts) they have this difference ; that not only 
men are not so completely agreed respecting 
the maxims and principles of Ethics and Law, 
but the meaning also of each term cannot be 
absolutely, and for ever, fixed by an arbitrary 
definition ; on the contrary, a great part of 
our labour consists in distinguishing accurately 
the various senses in which men employ each 
term, ascertaining which is the most proper, 
and taking care to avoid confounding them 

CHAP. III. Of Inference and Proof. 


SINCE it appears, from what has been said, 
that universally a man must possess some- 
thing else besides the Reasoning-faculty, in 
order to apply that faculty properly to his 
own purpose, whatever that purpose may be ; 
it may be inquired whether some theory could 
not be made out, respecting those " other 
operations' 9 and " intellectual processes, dis- 
tinct from Reasoning, which it is necessary 
for us sometimes to employ in the investi- 
gation of truth ;"* and whether rules could 
not be laid down for conducting them. 
Different AP- Something has, indeed, been done in this 

plications of 

Reasoning. wav j^y mO re than one writer ; and more might 

* D. Stewart. 


probably be accomplished by one who should 
fully comprehend and carefully bear in mind 
the principles of Logic, properly so called ; 
but it would hardly be possible to build up 
anything like a regular Science respecting 
these matters, such as Logic is, with respect 
to the theory of Reasoning It may be use- 
ful, however, to observe, that these " other 
operations" of which we have been speaking, 
and which are preparatory to the exercise 
of Reasoning, are of two kinds, according to 
the nature of the end proposed ; for Rea- 
soning comprehends In/erring and Proving; 
which are not two different things, but the 
same thing regarded in two different points 
of view : like the road from London to York, 
and the road from York to London. He 
who infers,* proves ; and he who proves, 
infers; but the word " infer" fixes the mind 
Jirst on the Premiss and then on the Con- 
clusion ; the word " prove," on the contrary, 
leads the mind from the Conclusion to the 
Premiss. Hence, the substantives derived 
from these words respectively, are often used 
to express that which, on each occasion, is 
last in the mind ; Inference being often used 
to signify the Conclusion (i. e. Proposition 
inferred) and Proof, the Premiss. We say, 

* I mean, of course, when the word is understood to 
imply correct Inference. ' 


also, " How do you prove that ?" and " What 
do you infer from that ?" which sentences 
would not be so properly expressed if we 
were to transpose those verbs. One might, 
therefore, define Proving, " the assigning of 
a reason or argument for the support of a 
given proposition ; " and Inferring, " the de- 
duction of a Conclusion from given Premises." 
In the one case our Conclusion is given, (i. e. 
set before us) and we have to seek for argu- 
ments ; in the other, our Premises are given, 
and we have to seek for a Conclusion : i. e. to 
put together our own propositions, and try 
what will follow from them ; or, to speak more 
Logically, in the one case, we seek to refer 
the Subject of which we would predicate 
something, to a class to which that Predicate 
will (affirmatively or negatively) apply ; in the 
other, we seek to find comprehended, in the 
Subject of which we have predicated some- 
thing, some other term to which that Predicate 
had not been before applied.* Each of these 
is a definition of Reasoning. 


adAdvo tor To infer, then, is the business of the Philo- 
sopher; to prove, of the Advocate ; the former, 

* "Proving" may be compared to the act of putting 
arvay any article into the proper receptacle of goods of 
that description; "inferring," to that of bringing out the 
article when needed. 

and Advo- 


from the great mass of known and admitted 
truths, wishes to elicit any valuable additional 
truth whatever, that has been hitherto unper- 
ceived ; and perhaps, without knowing, with 
certainty, what will be the terms of his Con- 
clusion. Thus the Mathematician, e. g. seeks 
to ascertain what is the ratio of circles to each 
other, or what is the line whose square will be 
equal to a given circle. The Advocate, on the 
other hand, has a Proposition put before him, 
which he is to maintain as well as he can. 
His business, therefore, is to find middle terms 
(which is the inventio of Cicero); the Philo- 
sopher's to combine and select known facts 
or principles, suitably, for gaining from them 
Conclusions which, though implied in the 
Premises, were before un perceived : in other 
words, for making " Logical Discoveries." 

To put the same thing in another point of 
view, we may consider all questions as falling 
under two classes ; viz. " What shall be pre- 
dicated of a certain Subject;" and, " Which 
Copula, affirmative or negative, shall connect 
a certain Subject and Predicate." We inquire, 
in short, either, 1st, "What is A?" or, 2d, 
" Is A, B, or is it not ?" The former class of 
questions belongs to the Philosopher ; the lat- 
ter to the Advocate. (See Rhet. Appendix G. 
p. 387.) 

The distinction between these two classes 



of questions is perhaps best illustrated by refe- 
rence to some case in which our decision of 
each of the questions involved in some asser- 
tion, is controverted, by different parties. 
E. G. Paul says, that the apostles preached 
" Christ crucified ; to the Jews a stumbling- 
block, and to the Greeks, foolishness : " that 
Jesus, who had suffered an ignominious death, 
was the Messiah, the Saviour of the World, 
was a doctrine opposed both by Jews and 
Gentiles ; though on different grounds, accord- 
ing to their respective prejudices : the Jews, 
who " sought after a Sign " (i. e. the coming of 
the Messiah in the clouds to establish a splen- 
did temporal kingdom) were " offended " 
" scandalized " at the doctrine of a suffering 
Messiah : the Greeks who " sought after 
Wisdom" (i. e. the mode of themselves exalting 
their own nature, without any divine aid) ridi- 
culed the idea of a Heavenly Saviour alto- 
gether ; which the Jews admitted. In logical 
language, the Gentiles could not comprehend 
the Predicate ; the Jews, denied the Copula. 

It may be added, that in modern phrase- 
ology, the operations of corresponding preju- 
dices are denoted, respectively by the words 
" paradox " (a " stumbling-block") and "non- 
sense ;" (" foolishness") which are often used, 
the one, by him who has been accustomed to 
hold an opposite opinion to what is asserted, 


the other, by him who has formed no opinion 
on the subject. 


Such are the respective preparatory pro- 
cesses in these two branches of study, the 
philosophical, and the rhetorical. They are 
widely different ; they arise from, and gene- 
rate, very different habits of mind ; and require 
a very different kind of training and precept. 
It is evident that the business of the Advocate 
and that of the Judge, are, in this point, 
opposed ; the one being, to find arguments for 
the support of his client's cause ; the other, to 
ascertain the truth. And hence it is, that 
those who have excelled the most in the 
former department, sometimes manifest a de- 
ficiency in the latter, though the subject-matter^ 
in which they are conversant, remains the 
same. The Pleader, or Controversialist, or, 
in short, the Rhetorician in general, who is, in 
his own province, the most skilful, may be but 
ill-fitted for Philosophical investigation, even 
where there is no observation wanted : when 
the facts are all ready ascertained for him. 
And again, the ablest Philosopher may make 
an indifferent disputant ; especially, since the 
arguments which have led him to the con- 
clusion, and have, with him, the most weight, 



may not, perhaps, be the most powerful in 

The commoner fault, however, by far, is to 
forget the Philosopher or Theologian, and to 
assume the Advocate, improperly. It is there- 
fore of great use to dwell on the distinction 
between these two branches. As for the bare 
process of Reasoning, that is the same in both 
cases ; but the preparatory processes which 
are requisite, in order to employ Reasoning 
profitably, these, we see, branch off into two 
distinct channels. In each of these, undoubt- 
edly, useful rules may be laid down ; but they 
should not be confounded together. Bacon 
philosophical has chosen the department of Philosophy ; 
giving rules in his Organon, not only for the 
conduct of experiments to ascertain new facts, 
but also for the selection and combination of 
known facts and principles, with a view of 
obtaining valuable Inferences ; and it is pro- 
bable that a system of such rules is what some 
writers mean (if they have any distinct mean- 
ing) by their proposed " Logic." 

I* 1 the other department, precepts have 
been given by Aristotle and other Rhetorical 
writers, as a part of their plan. How far 
these precepts are to be considered as belong- 
ing to the present system, whether " method" 
is to be regarded as a part of Logic, whether 
the matter of Logic (i. e. general maxims, 


axioms, or common-places) is to be included 
in the system, whether Bacon's is properly 
to be reckoned a kind of Logic ; all these are 
merely verbal questions, relating to the ex- 
tension, not of the Science, but of the name. 
The bare process of Reasoning, i. e. deducing 
a Conclusion from Premises, must ever remain 
a distinct operation from the assumption of 
Premises ; however useful the rules may be 
that have been given, or may be given, for 
conducting this latter process, and others con- 
nected with it ; and however properly such 
rules may be subjoined to the precepts of that 
system to which the name of Logic is applied 
in the narrowest sense. Such rules as I now 
allude to may be of eminent service ; but they 
must always be, as I have before observed, 
comparatively vague and general, and inca- 
pable of being built up into a regular demon- 
strative theory like that of the Syllogism ; to 
which theory they bear much the same re- 
lation as the principles and rules of Poetical 
and Rhetorical criticism to those of Grammar ; 
or those of practical Mechanics, to strict 
Geometry. I find no fault with the extension 
of a term ; but I would suggest a caution 
against confounding together, by means of a 
common name, things essentially different; 
and above all I would deprecate the sophistry 
of striving to depreciate what is called " the 


school-Logic," by perpetually contrasting it 
with systems with which it has nothing in 
common but the name, and whose object is 
essentially different. 


Aristotle's It is not a little remarkable that writers, 

Organon and 

Bacon's. whose expressions tend to confound together, 
by means of a common name, two branches of 
study which have nothing else in common (as 
if they were two different plans for attaining 
one and the same object,) have themselves 
complained of one of the effects of this con- 
fusion ; viz. the introduction, early in the 
career of Academical Education, of a course 
of Logic ; under which name, they observe, 
" men now* universally comprehend the works 
of Locke, Bacon, tyc." which, (as is justly re- 
marked) are unfit for beginners. Now this 
would not have happened, if men had always 
kept in mind the meaning or meanings of each 
name they used. 

And it may be added, that, however justly 
the word Logic may be thus extended, we 
have no ground for applying to the Aristotelian 
Logic the remarks above quoted respecting 
the Baconian ; which the ambiguity of the 
word, if not carefully kept in view, might lead 
us to do. Grant that Bacon's work is a part 

* *. e. In the Scotch universities. 


of Logic ; it no more follows, from the unfit- 
ness of that for learners, that the Elements of 
the Theory of Reasoning should be withheld 
from them, than it follows that the elements 
of Euclid, and common Arithmetic, are unfit 
for boys, because Newton s Principia, which 
also bears the title of Mathematical, is above 
their grasp. Of two branches of study which 
bear the same name, or even of two parts of 
the same branch, the one may be suitable to 
the commencement, the other to the close of 
the Academical career. 

At whatever period of that career it may 
be proper to introduce the study of such as 
are usually called Metaphysical writers, it 
may be safely asserted, that those who have 
had the most experience in the business of 
giving instruction in Logic, properly so called, 
as well as in other branches of knowledge, 
prefer and generally pursue the plan of letting 
their pupils enter on that study, next in order 
after the elements of Mathematics. 

CHAP. IV. Of Verbal and Real Questions. 


THE ingenious author of the Philosophy 
of Rhetoric having maintained, or rather as- 
sumed, that Logic is applicable to Verbal 


controversy alone, there may be an advantage 
(though it has been my aim throughout to 
show the application of it to all Reasoning) 
in pointing out the difference between Verbal 
and Real Questions, and the probable origin 
of Campbell's mistake. For to trace any error 
to its source, will often throw more light on 
the subject in hand than can be obtained if 
we rest satisfied with merely detecting and 
refuting it. 

Every Question that can arise, is in fact a 
Question whether a certain Predicate is or is 
not applicable to a certain Subject, or, what 
Predicate is applicable ; * and whatever other 
account may be given by any writer, of the 
nature of any matter of doubt or debate, 
will be found ultimately to resolve itself into 
Difference this. But sometimes the Question turns on 

between a 

re e i b !fue a s n t?on. the meaning and extent of the terms em- 
ployed ; sometimes, on the things signified by 
them. If it be made to appear, therefore, 
that the opposite sides of a certain Question 
may be held by persons not differing in their 
opinion of the matter in hand, then, that Ques- 
tion may be pronounced Verbal ; as depend- 
ing on the different senses in which they 
respectively employ the terms. If, on the 
contrary, it appears that they employ the 
terms in the same sense, but still differ as to 

* See Chap. iii. 2. 


the application of one of them to the other, 
then it may be pronounced that the Question 
is Real ; that they differ as to the opinions 
they hold of the things in Question. 

If, for instance, two persons contend whe- 
ther Augustus deserved to be called a " great 
man," then, if it appeared that the one in- 
cluded, under the term " great," disinterested 
patriotlsm 9 and on that ground excluded Au- 
gustus from the class, as wanting in that 
quality ; and that the other also gave him no 
credit for that quality, but understood no more 
by the term "great," than high intellectual 
qualities, energy of character, and brilliant 
actions, it would follow that the parties did 
not differ in opinion except as to the use of 
a term, and that the Question was Verbal. 

If, again, it appeared that the one did give 
Augustus credit for such patriotism as the 
other denied him, both of them including 
that idea in the term great, then, the Ques- 
tion would be Real. Either kind of Question, 
it is plain, is to be argued according to Logical 
principles ; but the middle terms employed 
would be different ; and for this reason, among, 
others, it is important to distinguish Verbal 
from Real controversy. In the former case, 
e. g. it might be urged (with truth) that the 
common use of the expression "great and 
good " proves that the idea of good is not 

tions mis- 


implied in the ordinary sense of the word 
great; an argument which could have, of 
course, no place in deciding the other Question. 


verbal Ques- It is byno means to be supposed that all 

mis- TTII/-V n c T 

for Verbal Questions are trifling and mvolous. It 
is often of the highest importance to settle cor- 
rectly the meaning of a word, either according 
to ordinary use, or according to the meaning 
of any particular writer or class of men. But 
when Verbal Questions are mistaken for Real, 
much confusion of thought and unprofitable 
wrangling will be generally the result. Nor is 
it always so easy and simple a task, as might 
at first sight appear, to distinguish them from 
each other. For, several objects to which one 
common name is applied, will often have many 
points of difference ; and yet that name may 
perhaps be applied to them all in the same 
sense, and may be fairly regarded as the 
genus they come under, if it appear that they 
all agree in what is designated by that name, 
and that the differences between them are in 
points not essential to the character of that 
genus. A cow and a horse differ in many 
respects, but agree in all that is implied by 
the term " quadruped," which is therefore 
applicable to both in the same sense.* So 

* Yet the charge of equivocation is sometimes unjustly 
brought against a writer in consequence of a gratuitous 


also the houses of the ancients differed in 
many respects from ours, and their ships still 
more ; yet no one would contend that the 
terms "house" and " ship/' as applied to 
both, are ambiguous, or that ol/cos might not 
fairly be rendered house, and vavs ship; be- 
cause the essential characteristic of a house 
is, not its being of this or that form or 
materials, but its being a dwelling for men; 
these therefore would be called two different 
kinds of houses ; and consequently the term 
"house" would be applied to each, without 
any equivocation, in the same sense : and so 
in the other instances. 

On the other hand, two or more things may 
bear the same name, and may also have a 
resemblance in many points, nay, and may from 
that resemblance have come to bear the same 
name, and yet if the circumstance which is 
essential to each be wanting in the other, 
the term may be pronounced ambiguous. 

assumption of our own. An Eastern writer, e. g. may be 
speaking of " beasts of burden ;" and the reader may chance 
to have the idea occur to his mind of Horses and Mules ; 
he thence takes for granted that these were meant ; and if it 
afterwards come out that it was Camels he perhaps com- 
plains of the writer for misleading him by not expressly 
mentioning the species ; saying, " I could not know that he 
meant Camels." He did not mean Camels, in particular ; 
he meant, as he said, " beasts of burden :" and Camels are 
such, as well as Horses and Mules. He is not accountable 
for your suppositions. 


E. G. The word "Plantain" is the name of 
a common herb in Europe, and of an Indian 
fruit-tree : both are vegetables ; yet the term 
is ambiguous, because it does not denote 
them so far forth as they agree. 

Again, the word " Priest" is applied to the 
Ministers of the Jewish and of the Pagan 
religions, and also to those of the Christian ; 
and doubtless the term has been so trans- 
ferred in consequence of their being both 
ministers (in some sort) of religion.* Nor 
would every difference that might be found 
between the Priests of different religions con- 
stitute the term ambiguous, provided such 
differences were non-essential to the idea 
suggested by the word Priest ; as e. g. the 
Jewish Priest served the true God, and the 
Pagan, false Gods : this is a most important 
difference, but does not constitute the term 
ambiguous, because neither of these circum- 
stances is implied and suggested by the term 
'lepevs; which accordingly was applied both 
to Jewish and Pagan Priests. But the term 
'lepevs does seem to have implied the office 
of offering sacrifice, atoning for the sins of 
the people, and acting as mediator between 
Man and the object of his worship. And ac- 
cordingly that term -is never applied to any 

* See Discourse on " the Christian Priesthood," appended 
to the Bampton Lectures. 


one under the Christian system, except to 
the ONE great Mediator. The Christian 
ministers not having that office which was 
implied as essential in the term 'lepe^, were 

never called by that name, but by that of 
Trpeo-fivrepos.* It may be concluded, there- 
fore, that the term Priest is ambiguous, as cor- 
responding to the terms 'lepevs and Trpea^vrepos 
respectively, notwithstanding that there are 
points in which these two agree. These there- 
fore should be reckoned, not two different 
kinds of Priests, but Priests in two different 
senses ; since (to adopt the phraseology of 
Aristotle) the definition of them, so far forth 
as they are Priests, would be different. 

A "real" question again is liable to be Real Ques- 

tions mis- 

mistaken for a " verbal," when different persons 
who are in fact using a term in the same sense, 
are supposed to be using it in different senses ; 
either, from its being erroneously taken for 
granted that what commonly belongs to the 
thing spoken of must be implied in the common 
acceptation of the name of that thing : as e. g. 
if any one should conclude, from the ordinary 
kinds of wood being lighter than water, that 
the ordinary sense of the term " wood " implies 
floating in water: or again, from its being 

* From which our word Priest is derived, but which (it 
is remarkable) is never translated " Priest" in our version 
of the Scriptures, but " Elder." 


rashly inferred from two persons having a 
difference of opinion respecting some thing, 
that they each denote that opinion in their use 
respectively, of the term which expresses that 
thing : as e. g. if two persons differing in opi- 
nion as to the question of episcopacy, should be 
considered as differing in their use of the word 
" Episcopalian," and implying by it, the one 
a right, and the other a wrong form of Church- 
government; whereas the word does not ex- 
press either the one or the other, but simply 
" an adherent to an episcopal form of govern- 
ment ;" they both mean the same thing ; their 
difference of opinion being, whether that thing 
be right or wrong. 

I have noticed some instances of the above 
kinds of mistake in the Appendix to " Errors of 
Romanism" (p. 332) and in the Introduction 
to " Political Economy," from which I will here 
cite a passage. 

" In speaking of exchanges, I did not mean 
to limit myself to voluntary exchanges ; those 
in which the whole transaction takes place 
with the full consent of both parties to all the 
terms of it. Most exchanges, indeed, are of 
this character ; but the case of taxation, the 
revenue levied from the subject in return for the 
protection afforded by the sovereign, consti- 
tutes a remarkable exception ; the payment 
being compulsory, and not adjusted by agree- 

CHAP. IV. 2.] REALISM. 319 

ment with the payer. Still, whether in any 
case it be fairly and reasonably adjusted, or 
the contrary, it is not the less an exchange. 
And it is worth remarking, that it is just so far 
forth as it is an exchange, so far forth as pro- 
tection, whether adequate or not, is afforded 
in exchange for this payment, that the pay- 
ment itself comes under the cognizance of this 
science. There is nothing else that distin- 
guishes taxation from avowed robbery. 

"Though the generality of exchanges are 
voluntary, this circumstance is not essential to 
an exchange : since otherwise the very expres- 
sion " voluntary exchange," would be tauto- 
logical and improper. But it is a common 
logical error to suppose that what usually 
belongs to the thing t is implied by the usual 
sense of the word. Although most noblemen 
possess large estates, the word " nobleman" 
does not imply the possession of a large estate. 
Although most birds can fly, the ordinary use 
of the term " bird " does not imply this, since 
the penguin and the ostrich are always admit- 
ted to be birds. And though, in a great 
majority of cases, wealth is acquired by labour, 
the ordinary use of the word " wealth" does 
not include this circumstance, since every one 
would call a pearl an article of wealth, even 
though a man should chance to meet with it 
in eating an oyster. 


" The logical error I have been adverting to 
has, in various instances, led to confusion of 
thought in many subjects, and not least in 

It is evidently of much importance to keep 
in mind the above distinctions, in order to 
avoid, on the one hand, stigmatizing, as Verbal 
controversies, what in reality are not such, 
merely because the Question turns (as every 
question must) on the applicability of a certain 
Predicate to a certain subject; or, on the other 
hand, falling into the opposite error of mis- 
taking words for things, and judging of men's 
agreement or disagreement in opinion in every 
case, merely from their agreement or disagree- 
ment in the terms employed. 

CHAP. V. Of Realism. 


NOTHING has a greater tendency to lead to 
the mistake just noticed, and thus to produce 
undetected Verbal Questions and fruitless Lo- 
gomachy, than the prevalence of the notion 
of the Realists,* that Genus and Species are 

* It is well known what a furious controversy long 
existed in all the universities of Europe between the sects 
of the Realists and the Nominalists ; the heat of which 
was allayed by the Reformation, which withdrew men's 
attention to a more important question. 

CHAP.V.!.] REALISM. 321 

some real THINGS, existing independently of 
our conceptions and expressions ; and that, as 
in the case of Singular terms there is some 
real individual corresponding to each, so, in 
Common terms also, there is some Thing 
corresponding to each ; which is the object 
of our thoughts when we employ any such 

There is one circumstance which ought to 
be noticed, as having probably contributed 
not a little to foster this error : I mean, the 
peculiar technical sense of the word " Species" 
when applied to organized Beings. 

It has been laid down in the course of this Technical 

sense of Spe- 

work, that when several individuals are ob-^ p e p s 1L ^ 
served to resemble each other in some point, Bdngs zed 
a common name may be assigned to them 
denoting that point, applying to all or any 
of them so far forth as respects that common 
attribute, and distinguishing them from all 
others; as, e.g. the several individual build- 

* A doctrine commonly, but falsely attributed to Aris- 
totle, who expressly contradicts it. He calls individuals 
" primary Substances" (vrpwrai ovviat) ; Genus and Species 
" secondary." as not denoting (roe n) a " really-existing 
thing." 13d<7a $e ovvia Soicei ro^e TI ffrifjiaivew '. 'En-i yuv 
ovv TWV TTpuTwv ovffi&v avajU^tor/3//7r;rov KCLI aX^e's e<rrti>, on 
ToSe TI ffrjfjLaivec aro^ov yap KO\ e v a'jotfyuw ro lr] 
tcrnv. 'Eiri le. TUV ^evrtpwv overlay, $AINETAl pev o 
r$ ffxhfjtart rfJQ Trpoo-r/yoptae ro^e TI ffr^iaiveiv, orav 
avOpwTroe, 1i faov' OY MHN TE AAH9ES' a'AAa /ua\Xo>/ 
Trolov TI ar}^.a.ivEC K. r, X. Aristotle, Categ. 3. 



ings, which, however different in other re- 
spects, agree in being constructed for men's 
dwelling, are called by the common name of 
" House :" and it was added, that as we select 
at pleasure the circumstance that we choose 
to abstract, we may thus refer the same Indi- 
vidual to several different Species, according 
as it suits our purpose ; and the same, in 
respect of the reference of Species to Genus : 
whence it seems plainly to follow that Genus 
and Species are no real things existing inde- 
pendent of our thoughts, but are creatures of 
our own minds. Yet in the case of Species of 
organized Beings, it seems at first sight as if 
this rule did not hold good ; but that the Spe- 
cies to which each individual belongs, could 
not be in any degree arbitrarily fixed by us, 
but must be something real, unalterable, and 
independent of our thoughts. Caesar or So- 
crates, for instance, it may be said, must 
belong to the Species Man, and can belong 
to no other ; and the like, with any individual 
Brute, or Plant. On the other hand, if any 
one utters such a proposition as " Argus was 
a mastiff," to what head of Predicables would 
this Predicate be referred ? Surely our logical 
principles would lead us to answer, that it 
is the Species ; since it could hardly be called 
an Accident, and is manifestly no other Pre- 
dicable. And yet every Naturalist would at 

CHAP.V. 1.] REALISM. 323 

once pronounce that Mastiff is no distinct 
Species, but only a variety of the Species Dog. 
This however does not satisfy our inquiry as 
to the head of Predicables to which it is to be 

The solution of the difficulty is to be found 
in the consideration of the peculiar technical 
sense (or " second intention ") of the word 
" Species " when applied to organized Beings : species 

. . , ,. , , , tinguishedby 

in which case it is always applied (when we JjJ^jjgy 
are speaking strictly, as naturalists) to such 
individuals as are supposed to be descended 
from a common stocky or which might have so 
descended ; viz. which resemble one another 
(to use M. Cuvier's expression) as much as 
those of the same stock do. Now this being 
a point on which all (not merely Naturalists) 
are agreed, and since it is & fact, (whether Questions of 
an ascertained fact or not) that such and such 
individuals are, or are not, thus connected, it 
follows, that every question whether a certain 
individual Animal or Plant belongs to a certain 
Species or not, is a question not of mere ar- 
rangement, but of fact. But in the case of 
questions respecting Genus, it is otherwise. 
If, e. g. two Naturalists differed, in the one 
placing (as Linnaeus) all the Species of Bee 
under one Genus, which the other subdivided 
(as later writers have done) into several 
genera, it would be evident that there was no 

Y 2 


question of fact debated between them, and 
that it was only to be considered which was 
the more convenient arrangement. If, on the 
other hand, it were disputed whether the 
African and the Asiatic Elephant are distinct 
Species, or merely Varieties, it would be 
equally manifest that the question is one of 
fact ; since both would allow that if they are 
descended (or might have descended) from 
the same stock, they are of the same Species ; 
and if otherwise, of two : this is the fact, 
which they endeavour to ascertain, by such 
indications as are to be found. 

For it is to be further observed, that this 
fact being one which can seldom be directly 
known, the consequence is, that the marks 
by which any Species of Animal or Plant is 
known, are not the very Differentia which 
constitutes that Species. Now, in the case of 
unorganized Beings, these two coincide; the 
Mark by marks by which a Diamond, e.g. is distin- 

. i 

g ulsne ^ from other minerals, being the very 
Differentia that constitutes the Species Dia- 
mond. And the same is the case in the 
Genera even of organized Beings : the Linnsean 
Genus " felis," e. g. (when considered as a 
Species, i. e. as falling under some more com- 
prehensive Class) is distinguished from others 
under the same Order, by those very marks 
which constitute its Differentia. But in the 

which a 

CHAP. V. 1 .J REALISM. 325 

" Infimae Species" (according to the view of a 
Naturalist) of plants and animals, this, as has 
been said, is not the case ; since here the 
Differentia which constitutes each Species 
includes in it a circumstance which cannot 
often be directly ascertained (viz. the being 
sprung from the same stock), but which we 
conjecture from certain circumstances of re- 
semblance ; so that the marks by which a 
Species is known, are not in truth the whole 
of the Differentia itself, but indications of the 
existence of that Differentia; viz. indications 
of descent from a common stock.* 

Hence it is that Species, in the case of 
organized Beings, appears to be something 
real, and independent of our thoughts and 
language. And hence, naturally enough, the 
same notions have been often extended to the 
Genera also, and to Species of other things : so 
that men have a notion that each individual of 
every description truly belongs to some one 

* There are few, and but a few, other Species to which 
the same observations will in a great degree apply : I mean 
in which the Differentia which constitutes the Species, and 
the mark by which the Species is known, are not the same : 
e.g. " Murder :" the Differentia of which is that it be com- 
mitted " with malice aforethought ;" this cannot be directly 
ascertained ; and therefore we distinguish murder from any 
other homicide by circumstances of preparation, $c., which 
are not in reality the Differentia, but indications of the Diffe- 
rentia ; i. e. grounds for concluding that the malice did exist. 

' same, 
' one," 


Species and no other ; and each Species, in 
like manner, to some one Genus ; whether we 
happen to be right or not in the ones to which 
we refer them. 

Few, if any indeed, in the present day avow 
and maintain this doctrine : but those who are 
not especially on their guard, are perpetually 
sliding into it unawares. 

Nothing so much conduces to this as the 
transferred and secondary use of the words 
Ambigmtyof ^ same ,"* " one and the same," "identical," 
fyc. when it is not clearly perceived and care- 
fully borne in mind, that they are employed 
in a secondary sense, and that, more fre- 
quently even than in the primary. 

Suppose, e. g. a thousand persons are think- 
ing of the Sun : it is evident it is one and the 
same individual object on which all these 
minds are employed. So far all is clear. But 
suppose all these* persons are thinking of a 
Triangle ; not any individual triangle, but 
Triangle in general;- and considering, per- 
haps, the equality of its angles to two right 
angles : it would seem as if, in this case also, 
their minds were all employed on " one and 
the same" object : and this object of their 
thoughts, it may be said, cannot be the mere 
word Triangle, but that which is meant by it : 

* See Appendix, No. I. art. Same. 

CHAP. V. 1.] REALISM. 327 

nor again, can it be everything that the word 
will apply to : for they are not thinking of 
triangles, but of one thing. Those who do not 
maintain that this " one thing" has an ex- 
istence independent of the human mind, are 
in general content to tell us, by way of 
explanation, that the object of their thoughts 
is the abstract " idea" of a triangle ;* an 
explanation which satisfies, or at least silences 
many ; though it may be doubted whether 
they very clearly understand what sort of a 
thing an "idea" is; which may thus exist in 
a thousand different minds at once, and yet be 
"one and the same." 

The fact is, that "unity" and "sameness" 
are in such cases employed, not in the pri- 
mary sense, but, to denote perfect similarity. 
When we say that ten thousand different 
persons have all "one and the same" Idea 
in their minds, or, are all of " one and the 
same" Opinion, we mean no more than that 
they are all thinking exactly alike. When we 
say that they are all in the "same" posture, 
we mean that they are all placed alike : 
and so also they are said all to have the 
"same" disease, when they are all diseased 

* Conceptualists is a name sometimes applied to those 
who adopt this explanation ; to which class Locke is 


Logomachy One instance of the confusion of thought 

resulting ^ 

an( * endless logomachy which may spring 
from inattention to this ambiguity of the 
words "same," fyc., is afforded by the con- 
troversy arising out of a sermon of Dr. King 
(Archbishop of Dublin), published about a 
century ago. He remarked (without express- 
ing himself perhaps with so much guarded 
precision as the vehemence of his opponents 
rendered needful) that " the attributes of the 
Deity (viz. Wisdom, Justice, $*c.) are not to 
be regarded as the same with those human 
qualities which bear the same names, but are 
called so by resemblance and analogy only." 
For this he was decried by Bishop Berkeley 
and a host of other objectors, down to the 
present time, as an Atheist, or little better. 
If the divine attributes, they urged, are not 
precisely the same in kind (though superior 
in degree) with the human qualities which 
bear the same name, we cannot imitate the 
Deity as the Scriptures require ; we cannot 
know on what principles we shall be judged ; 
we cannot be sure that God exists at all ; 
with a great deal more to the same purpose ; 
all of which would have been perceived to 
be perfectly idle, had the authors but recol- 
lected to ascertain the meaning of the prin- 
cipal word employed. 

For, 1st, when any two persons (or other 


objects) are said to have the "same" quality, 
accident, fyc., what we predicate of them is 
evidently a certain resemblance, and nothing *1* n * g 
else. One man e.g. does not feel another's I 
sickness ; but they are said to have the " same" 
disease, if they are precisely similar in respect 
of their ailments : and so also they are said to 
have the same complexion, if the hue and 
texture of their skins be alike. 2dly, Such 
qualities as are entirely relative, which con- 
sist in the relation borne by the subject to 
certain other things, in these, it is manifest, 
the only resemblance that can exist, is, resem- 
blance of relations, i. e. ANALOGY. Courage, 
e. g. consists in the relation in which one stands 
(ez; TW %eiv TTCOS irpos, Arist.) towards dangers ; 
Temperance or Intemperance, towards bodily 
pleasures, fyc. When it is said, therefore, of 
two courageous men, that they have both the 
same quality, the only meaning this expression 
can have, is, that they are, so far, completely 
analogous in their characters ; having similar 
ratios to certain similar objects. In short, as, 
in all qualities, sameness can mean only strict 
resemblance, so, in those which are of a rela- 
tive nature, resemblance can mean only ana- 
logy. Thus it appears, that what Dr. King 
has been so vehemently censured for asserting 
respecting the Deity, is literally true even 
with respect to men themselves ; viz. that it 


is only by Analogy that two persons can be 
said to possess the same virtue, or other such 
quality. 3dly, But what he means, is, plainly, 
that this analogy is far less exact and complete 
in the case of a comparison between the Deity 
and his creatures than between one man and 
another ; which surely no one would venture 
to deny. But the doctrine against which 
the attacks have been directed, is self-evident, 
the moment we consider the meaning of the 
term employed.* 

In the Introduction and Notes to the last 
edition of Archbishop King's Discourse, I 
have considered the matters in debate more 
fully ; but this slight notice of them has been 
introduced in this place, as closely connected 
with the present subject. 


origin of the The origin of this secondary sense of the 
" S ame,&c. words, " same," " one," " indentical," fyc. (an 
attention to which would clear away an in- 
calculable mass of confused Reasoning and 
Logomachy,) is easily to be traced to the use 
of Language and of other signs, for the pur- 
pose of mutual communication. If any one 
utters the " one single" word " triangle," and 

* See Dr. Copleston's excellent Analysis and Defence 
of Archbishop King's principles, in the Notes to his " Four 

CHAP. V. 2.] REALISM. 331 

gives "one single" definition of it, each of 
the persons who hear him forms a certain 
notion in his own mind, not differing in any 
respect from that of each of the rest. They 
are said therefore to have all " cne and the 
same" notion, because, resulting from, and 
corresponding with, (that which is, in the 
primary sense) " one and the same" expres- 
sion ; and there is said to be " one single " 
idea of every triangle (considered merely as a 
triangle) because one single name or defini- 
tion is equally applicable to each. In like 
manner, all the coins struck by the same single 
die, are said to have " one and the same" 
impression, merely because the (numerically) 
" one" description which suits one of these 
coins will equally suit any other that is exactly 
like it. The expression accordingly which has 
only of late begun to prevail, "such and 
such things are of the same description," is per- 
haps the most philosophical that can be em- 

It is not intended to recommend the disuse 
of the words " same" " identical," fyc. in this 
transferred sense ; which, if it were desirable, 
would be utterly impracticable ; but merely 
a steady attention to the ambiguity thus in- 
troduced, and watchfulness against the errors 
thence arising. " It is with words as with 
money. Those who know the value of it best 


are not therefore the least liberal. We may 
lend readily and largely ; and though this be 
done quietly and without ostentation, there is 
no harm in keeping an exact account in our 
private memorandum-book of the sums, the 
persons, and the occasions on which they 
were lent. It may be, we shall want them 
again for our own use ; or they may be em- 
ployed by the borrower for a wrong purpose ; 
or they may have been so long in his pos- 
session that he begins to look upon them as 
his own. In either of which cases it is allow- 
able, and even right, to call them in.* 

The difficulties and perplexities which have 
involved the questions respecting personal- 
identity, among others, may be traced prin- 
cipally to the neglect of this caution. I 
mean that many writers have sought an ex- 
planation of the primary sense of identity 
(viz. personal) by looking to the secondary. 
Any grown man, e.g. is, in the primary sense, 
the same person he was when a child : this 
sameness is, I conceive, a simple notion, which 
it is vain to attempt explaining by any other 
more simple ; but when philosophers seek to 
gain a clearer notion of it by looking to the 
cases in which sameness is predicated in 
another sense, viz. similarity, such as exists 

* " Logic Vindicated." Oxford, 1809. 

C,IAP.V.2.] REALISM. 333 

between several individuals denoted by a 
common name, (as when we say that there 
are growing on Lebanon some of the same 
trees with which the Temple was built; mean- 
ing, cedars of that species} this is surely as 
idle as if we were to attempt explaining the 
primary sense, e.g. of "rage" as it exists in 
the human mind, by directing our attention 
to the " rage" of the sea. Whatever personal 
identity does consist in, it is plain that it has 
nothing to do with similarity ; since every one 
would be ready to say, " When I WAS a child 
I thought as a child, I spake as a child, 
I understood as a child ; but when I became 
a man, I put away childish things." 

But a full consideration of this question 
would be unsuitable to the subject of the 
present work. 



No. I. 



i. Argument 

Hence. See Reason, 

xxiii. Same. 

ii. Authority. 


xxiv. Sin. 

Can. See May, Must 

Identical. See One, 

xxv. Tendency. 

Capable. See Possi- 



ble, Impossible, 

x. Impossibility. 

See Why. 


xi. Indifference. 

xxvi. Truth. 

iii. Case. 

xii. Law. 

xxvii. Why. 

Cause. See Reason, 

xiii. May. 



xiv. Necessary. 

See Why. 

iv. Certain. 

xv. Old. 

v. Church. 

xvi. One. 


vi. Election. 

xvii. Pay. 


vii. Expect. 

xviii. Person. 


viii. Experience. 

xix. Possible. 


Falsehood. SeeTruih. 

xx. Priest. 


ix. Gospel. 

xxi. Reason. 


xxii. Regeneration. 


IT has appeared to me desirable to illustrate the import- 
ance of attending to the ambiguity of terms, by a greater 
number of instances than could have been conveniently 
either inserted in the context or introduced in a note, 
without too much interrupting the course of the disser- 
tation on Fallacies. 

I have purposely selected instances from various subjects, 
and some, from the most important; being convinced that 
the disregard and contempt with which logical studies are 
usually treated, may be traced, in part, to a notion, that 
the science is incapable of useful application to any matters 



of real importance, and is merely calculated to afford an 
exercise of ingenuity on insignificant truisms ; syllogisms 
to prove that a horse is an animal, and distinctions of 
the different senses of " canis" or ' ' gallus ;" a mistake 
which is likely to derive some countenance (however 
unfairly) from the exclusive employment of such trifling 

The words and phrases which may be employed as 
ambiguous middle terms are of course innumerable: but 
it may be in several respects of service to the learner, to 
explain the ambiguity of a few of those most frequently 
occurring in the most important discussions, and whose 
double meaning has been the most frequently overlooked ; 
and this, not by entering into an examination of all the 
senses in which each term is ever employed, but of those 
only which are the most liable to be confounded together. 

It is worth observing, that the words whose ambiguity is 
the most frequently overlooked, and is productive of the 
greatest amount of confusion of thought and fallacy, are 
among the commonest, and are those of whose meaning the 
generality consider there is the least room to doubt. It 
is indeed from those very circumstances that the danger 
arises ; words in very common use are both the most liable, 
from the looseness of ordinary discourse, to slide from one 
sense into another, and also the least likely to have that 
ambiguity suspected. Familiar acquaintance is perpetually 
mistaken for accurate knowledge.* 

It may be necessary here to remark, that inaccuracy not 
unfrequently occurs in the employment of the very phrase, 
" such an author uses such a word in this, or that sense," 
or " means so and so, by this word." We should not use 
these expressions (as some have inadvertently done) in 
reference, necessarily, to the notion which may exist, in 

* See Pol. Econ. Lect. IX. 


the author s mind, of the object in question ; his ideas 
respecting the thing he is speaking of ; of which the notions 
conveyed to others by the word, may often (even according 
to the writer's own expectation) fall short : nor again, 
should we regard the sense in which they understand him, 
as necessarily his sense, (though it is their* s) of the word 
employed ; since they may mistake his meaning : but we 
must consider what sense it is likely he expected and in- 
tended to convey, to those to whom he addressed himselfi 
And a judicious writer will always expect each word to be 
understood, as nearly as the context will allow, in the sense* 
or in one of the senses, which use has established, except so 
far as he may have given some different explanation. But 
there are many who, from various causes, frequently fail of 
conveying the sense they design. 

It is but fair perhaps to add this warning to my readers ; 
that one who takes pains to ascertain and explain the sense 
of the words employed in any discussion, whatever care he 
may use to show that what he is inquiring after, is, the 
received sense, is yet almost sure to be charged, by the 
inaccurate, and the sophistical, with attempting to introduce 
some new sense of the words in question^ in order to serve 
a purpose. 

i. ARGUMENT, in the strict logical sense, has been 
defined in the foregoing treatise; (Compendium, Book II. 
Ch. iii. 1) : in that sense it includes (as is there remarked) 
the Conclusion as well as the Premises : and thus it is, that 
we say a Syllogism consists of three propositions ; viz. the 
Conclusion which is proved, as well as those by which it is 
proved. Argumentum is also used by many logical writers 
to denote the middle term. 

But in ordinary discourse, Argument is very often used 
for the Premises alone, in contradistinction to the Conclusion j 

z 2 


e. g. " the Conclusion which this Argument is intended to 
establish is so and so." 

It is also sometimes employed to denote what is, strictly 
speaking, a course or series of such Arguments ; when a 
certain Conclusion is established by Premises, which are 
themselves, in the same dissertation, proved by other pro- 
positions, and perhaps those again, by others ; the whole 
of this dissertation is often called an Argument to prove 
the ultimate conclusion designed to be established ; though 
in fact it is a train of Arguments. It is in this sense, e. g. 
that we speak of "Warburton's Argument to prove the 
divine legation of Moses," &c. 

Sometimes also the word is used to denote what may be 
properly called a Disputation ; i. e. two trains of argument, 
opposed to each other : as when we say that A and B had 
a long Argument on such and such a subject ; and that A 
had the best of the Argument. Doubtless the use of the 
word in this sense has contributed to foster the notion 
entertained by many, that Logic is the "art of wrangling," 
that it makes men contentious, fyc. : they have heard that 
it is employed about Arguments ; and hastily conclude that 
it is confined to cases where there is opposition and contest. 

It may be worth mentioning in this place, that the various 
forms of stating an Argument are sometimes spoken of 
as different kinds of Argument: as when we speak of a 
Categorical or Hypothetical Argument, or of one in the first 
or some other figure ; though every logician knows that 
the same individual Argument may be stated in various 
figures, $c. 

This, no doubt, has contributed to the error of those 
who speak of the Syllogism as a peculiar kind of Argu- 
ment ; and of " Syllogistic Reasoning," as a distinct mode 
of Reasoning, instead of being only a certain form of 
expressing any argument. 


ii. AUTHORITY. This word is sometimes employed 
in its primary sense, when we refer to any one's example, 
testimony, or judgment: as when, e. g. we speak of cor- 
recting a reading in some book, on the authority of an 
ancient MS. giving a statement of some fact, on the 
Authority of such and such historians, $c. 

In this sense the word answers pretty nearly to the 
Latin " Auctoritas." 

Sometimes again it is employed as equivalent to " Po- 
testas," Power : as when we speak of the Authority of a 
Magistrate, 8fc. 

Many instances may be found in which writers have 
unconsciously slid from one sense of the word to another, 
so as to blend confusedly in their minds the two ideas. 
In no case perhaps has this more frequently happened than 
when we are speaking of the Authority of the Church : in 
which the ambiguity of the latter word (see the Article 
Church) comes in aid of that of the former. The Authority 
(in the primary sense) of the Catholic, i. e. Universal 
Church, at any particular period, is often appealed to, in 
support of this or that doctrine or practice : and it is, 
justly, supposed that the opinion of the great body of the 
Christian World affords a presumption (though only a pre- 
sumption) in favour of the correctness of any interpretation 
of Scripture, or the expediency, at the time, of any cere- 
mony, regulation, $-c. 

On the other hand, each particular Church has Authority 
in the other sense, vis. Power, over its own members, (as 
long as they choose to remain members) to enforce anything 
not contrary to God's Word. But the Catholic or Univer- 
sal Church, not being one religious community on earth, 
can have no authority in the sense of Power ; since it is 
notorious there never was a time when the power of the 
Pope, of a Council, or of any other human Governors, over 


all Christians, was in fact admitted, or could be proved to 
have any just claim to be admitted. 

Authority again in the sense of Auctoritas, may have 
every degree of weight, from absolute infallibility, (such 
as, in religious matters, Christians attribute to the Scrip- 
tures) down to the faintest presumption. See Hawkins on 
Tradition. Hinds 's History of the Early Progress of 
Christianity, Vol. II. p. 99. Hinds on Inspiration. Errors 
of Romanism, Chap. iv. And Essay on the Omission of 
Creeds, $c. in the New Testament. 

CAN. See " MAY," " MUST." 


iii. CASE. Sometimes Grammarians use this word to 
signify (which is its strict sense) a certain " variation in 
the writing and utterance of a Noun, denoting the relation 
in which it stands to some other part of the sentence;" 
sometimes to denote that relation itself: whether indicated 
by the termination, or by a preposition, or by its colloca- 
tion ; and there is hardly any writer on the subject who 
does not occasionally employ the term in each sense, with- 
out explaining the ambiguity. Much confusion and frivolous 
debate has hence resulted. Whoever would see a specimen 
of this, may find it in the Port Royal Greek Grammar ; in 
which the Authors insist on giving the Greek language an 
Ablative case, with the same termination, however, as the 
Dative : (though, by the way, they had better have fixed 
on the Genitive ; which oftener answers to the Latin Abla- 
tive) urging, and with great truth, that if a distinct termi- 
nation be necessary to constitute a case, many Latin Nouns 
will be without an Ablative, some without a Genitive or 


without a Dative, and all Neuters without an Accusative. 
And they add, that since it is possible, in every instance, 
to render into Greek the Latin Ablative, consequently there 
must be an Ablative in Greek. If they had known and 
recollected that in the language of Lapland, there are, as 
we are told, thirteen Cases, they would have hesitated to 
use an argument which would prove that there must 
therefore be thirteen Cases in Greek and Latin also ! All 
this confusion might have been avoided, if it had but been 
observed that the word " Case" is used in two senses. See 
Book III. 10. 4. 

CAUSE. See " REASON," and " WHY." 

iv. CERTAIN. This is a word whose ambiguity, 
together with that of many others of kindred signification 
(as " may," " can," " must," " possible," $c.) has occasioned 
infinite perplexity in discussions on some of the most 
important subjects ; such as the freedom of human actions, 
the divine foreknowledge, *c. 

In its primary sense, it is applied (according to its 
etymology from cerno) to the state of a person's mind; 
denoting any one's full and complete conviction ; and, 
generally, though not always, implying that there is suf- 
ficient ground for such conviction. It was thence easily 
transferred to the truths or events, respecting which this 
conviction is rationally entertained. And Uncertain (as well 
as the substantives and adverbs derived from these adjec- 
tives) follows the same rule. Thus we say, "it is certain 
that a battle has been fought :" " it is certain that the moon 
will be full on such a day : " " it is uncertain whether such 
a one is alive or dead: ""it is uncertain whether it will 
rain to-morrow : " meaning, in these and in all other cases, 
that we are certain or uncertain respectively ; not indicating 


any difference in the character of the events themselves, 
except in reference to our knowledge respecting them ; for 
the same thing may be, at the same time, both certain and 
uncertain, to different individuals ; e. g. the life or death 
at a particular time, of any one, is certain to his friends 
on the spot ; uncertain or contingent, to those at a distance. 
From not attending to this circumstance, the words " un-? 
certain" and " contingent" (which is employed nearly in 
the same sense as uncertain in its secondary meaning) have 
been considered by many writers* as denoting some quality 
in the things themselves ; and have thus become involved 
in endless confusion. " Contingent" is indeed applied to 
events only, not to persons : but it denotes no quality in 
the events themselves ; only, as has been said, the relation 
in which they stand to a person who has no complete 
knowledge respecting them. It is from overlooking this 
principle, obvious as it is when once distinctly stated, that 
Chance or Fortune has come to be regarded as a real 
agent, and to have been, by the ancients, personified as a, 
(joddess, and represented by statues- 

v. CHURCH is sometimes employed to signify the 
Church, . e. the Universal or . Catholic Church, com- 
prehending in it all Christians ; who are " Members one 
of another," and who compose the body, of which Christ 
is the Head; which, collectively taken, has no visible 
supreme Head or earthly governor, either individual, or 
council; and which is one, only in reference to its One 

* Among others, Archbishop King, in his Discourse on Predestination, 
has fallen into this error ; as is explained in the Notes and the Appendix 
to my edition of that work. 

It may he allowable to mention in this place, that I have been repre- 
sented as coinciding with him as to the point in question, in a note to 
Mr. Davison's work on Prophecy ; through a mistake, which the author 
candidly acknowledged, and promised to rectify. 


invisible Governor and Paraclete, the Spirit of Christ, 
dwelling in it, to the one common faith, and character, which 
ought to be found in all Christians, and the common prin- 
ciples on which all Christian societies should be constituted. 
See Hinds's History of the Rise of Christianity, and 
Blanco White's Preservative against Popery. 

Sometimes again it is employed to signify a Church ; i. e. 
any one Society, constituted on these general principles ; 
having governors on earth, and existing as a Community 
possessing authority over its own members ; in which sense 
we read of the "Seven Churches in Asia;" of Paul's 
having " the care of all the Churches," $c. This ambiguity 
has often greatly favoured the cause of the Church of Rome ; 
which being admitted by her opponents to be a Church, 
i. e. a branch, though an unsound and corrupt one, of the 
universal Church of Christ, is thence assumed to be the 
Church, the Society in which all men are called upon to 
enrol themselves. See the article <{ TRUTH." 

The Church is also not unfrequently used to denote the 
Clergy, in contradistinction to the Laity ; as, when we speak 
of any one's being educated for the Church, meaning, " for 
the Ministry." Some would perhaps add that it is in this 
sense we speak of the endowments of the Church ; since 
the immediate emolument of these is received by clergymen. 
But if it be considered that they receive it in the capacity 
of public instructors and spiritual pastors, these endow^ 
ments may fairly be regarded as belonging, in a certain 
sense, to the whole body, for whose benefit they are, in 
this way, calculated ; in the same manner as we consider, 
e. g. the endowment of a professorship in a university, as 
a benefaction, not to the professors alone, but to the uni-. 
versity at large. 

vi. ELECTION. This is one of the terms which is 


oiten to all practical purposes ambiguous, when not employed, 
strictly speaking, in two different senses, but with different 
applications, according to that which is understood in con- 
junction with it. See Book III. 10. See also Essays 
on some of the Difficulties, 8fc. Essay III. "On Election." 

vii. EXPECT. This word is liable to an ambiguity, 
which may sometimes lead, in conjunction with other 
causes, to a practical bad effect. It is sometimes used 
in the sense of " anticipate" "calculate on," $<?. 
(IXirtZw) in short, " consider as probable ;" sometimes for 
" require., or demand as reasonable," " consider as 
right" (atw.) 

Thus, I may fairly "expect" (ato>) that one who has 
received kindness from me, should protect me in distress ; 
yet I may have reason to expect (IA7n'av) that he will not. 
" England expects every man to do his duty ;" but it would 
be chimerical to expect, i. e. anticipate, a universal perfor- 
mance of duty. Hence, when men of great revenues, 
whether civil or ecclesiastical, live in the splendor and 
sensuality of Sardanapalus, they are apt to plead that this 
is expected of them ; which is true, in the sense that such 
conduct is anticipated as probable; not true, as implying 
that it is required or approved. Thus also, because it 
would be romantic to expect (i. e. calculate upon) in public 
men a primary attention to the public good, or in men in 
general an adherence to the rule of doing as you would be 
done by, many are apt to flatter themselves that they cannot 
reasonably be expected (i. e. fairly called upon) to act on 
such principles. What may reasonably be expected (in one 
sense of the word) must be, precisely the practice of the 
majority ; since it is the majority of instances that constitutes 
probability : what may reasonably be expected (in the 
other sense) is something much beyond the practice of 


the generality ; as long at least as it shall be true that 
" narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there 
he that find it." 

viii. EXPERIENCE. This word, in its strict sense, 
applies to what has occurred within a person's own know- 
ledge. Experience, in this sense, of course, relates to the 
past alone. Thus it is that a man knows by experience 
what sufferings he has undergone in some disease, or what 
height the tide reached at a certain time and place. 

More frequently the word is used to denote that Judg- 
ment which is derived from experience in the primary 
sense, by reasoning from that, in combination with other 
data. Thus, a man may assert, on the ground of Expe- 
rience, that he was cured of a disorder by such a medi- 
cine that that medicine is, generally, beneficial in that 
disorder; that the tide may always be expected, under 
such circumstances, to rise to such a height. Strictly 
speaking, none of these can be known by Experience, but 
are conclusions derived from Experience. It is in this 
sense only that Experience can be applied to the future, or, 
which comes to the same thing, to any general fact; as 
e. g. when it is said that we know by Experience that water 
exposed to a certain temperature will freeze. 

" Men are so formed as (often unconsciously) to reason, 
whether well or ill, on the phenomena they observe, and to 
mix up their inferences with their statements of those 
phenomena, so as in fact to theorize (however scantily and 
crudely) without knowing it. If you will be at the pains 
carefully to analyze the simplest descriptions you hear of 
any transaction or state of things, you will find, that the 
process which almost invariably takes place is, in logical 
language, this ; that each individual has in his mind certain 
major-premises or principles, relative to the subject in 


question; that observation of what actually presents itself 
to the senses, supplies minor-premises; and that the state- 
ment given (and which is reported as a thing experienced) 
consists in fact of the conclusions drawn from the combina- 
tions of those premises. 

" Hence it is that several different men, who have all had 
equal, or even the very same, experience, i. e. have been wit- 
nesses or agents in the same transactions, will often be found 
to resemble so many different men looking at the same book : 
one perhaps, though he distinctly sees black marks on white 
paper, has never learned his letters ; another can read, but 
is a stranger to the language in which the book is written ; 
another has an acquaintance with the language, but under- 
stands it imperfectly ; another is familiar with the language, 
but is a stranger to the subject of the book, and wants 
power, or previous instruction, to enable him fully to take in 
the author's drift ; while another again perfectly comprehends 
the whole. 

" The object that strikes the eye is to all of these persons 
the same ; the difference of the impressions produced on 
the mind of each is referable to the differences in their 

" And this explains the fact, that we find so much dis- 
crepancy in the results of what are called Experience and 
Common-sense, as contra-distinguished from theory. In 
former times men knew by experience, that the earth stands 
still, and the sun rises and sets. Common-sense taught 
them that there could be no antipodes, since men could not 
stand with their heads downwards, like flies on the ceiling. 
Experience taught the King of Bantam that water could not 
become solid. And (to come to the consideration of human 
affairs) the experience and common-sense of one of the most 
observant and intelligent of historians, Tacitus, convinced 
him, that for a mixed government to be so framed, as to 


combine the elements of Royalty, Aristocracy, and De- 
mocracy, must be next to impossible, and that if such a 
one could be framed, it must inevitably be very speedily 

There are again two different applications of the word 
(see Book III. 10), which, when not carefully distin- 
guished, lead in practice to the same confusion as the 
employment of it in two senses ; viz. we sometimes under- 
stand our own personal Experience ; sometimes, general 
Experience. Hume has availed himself of this (practical) 
ambiguity, in his Essay on Miracles ; in which he observes, 
that we have experience of the frequent falsity of Testimony, 
but that the occurrence of a miracle is contrary to our 
Experience, and is consequently what no testimony ought 
to be allowed to establish. Now had he explained whose 
Experience he meant, the argument would have come to 
nothing : if he means, the Experience of mankind univer- 
sally, i. e. that a Miracle has never come under the Expe- 
rience of any one, this is palpably begging the question : 
if he means the Experience of each individual who has 
never himself witnessed a Miracle, this would establish a 
rule (viz. that we are to believe nothing of which we have 
not ourselves experienced the like) which it would argue 
insanity to act upon. Not only was the King of Bantam 
justified (as Hume himself admits) in listening to no evi- 
dence for the existence of Ice, but no one would be autho- 
rized on this principle to expect his own death. His 
Experience informs him, directly, only that others have 
died. Every disease under which he himself may have 
laboured, his Experience must have told him has not ter- 
minated fatally; if he is to judge strictly of the future by 
the past, according to this rule, what should hinder him 
from expecting the like of all future diseases? 

* Pol. Econ. Lect. III. 


Some have never been struck with this consequence of 
Hume's principles; and some have even failed to perceive 
it when pointed out: but if the reader thinks it worth his 
while to consult the author, he will see that his principles, 
according to his own account of them, are such as I have 

Perhaps however he meant, if indeed he had any distinct 
meaning, something intermediate between universal, and 
individual experience; viz. the Experience of the gene- 
rality, as to what is common and of ordinary occurrence ; 
in which sense the maxim will only amount to this, that 
false Testimony is a thing of common occurrence, and that 
Miracles are not. An obvious truth, indeed ; but too general 
to authorize, of itself, a conclusion in any particular case. 
In any other individual question, as to the admissibility of 
evidence, it would be reckoned absurd to consider merely 
the average chances for the truth of Testimony in the 
abstract, without inquiring what the Testimony is, in the 
particular instance before us. \ As if e.g. any one had 
maintained that no testimony could establish Columbus's 
account of the discovery of America, because it is more 
common for travellers to lie, than for new Continents to be 
discovered.* Such a procedure involves a manifest ignoratio 
elenchi ; the two propositions brought forward as opposed, 
being by no means incompatible : Experience tells us that 
" a destructive hurricane is not a common occurrence ;" 
certain persons tell us that "a destructive hurricane oc- 
curred in the West Indies, at such a time;" there is (as 
Campbell has pointed out) no opposition between these two 

It is to be observed by the way, that there is yet an 
additional ambiguity in the entire phrase "contrary to 
experience;" in one sense, a miracle, or any other event, 
* See " Historic Doubts relative to Napoleon Buonaparte." 


may be called contrary to the experience of any one who 
has never witnessed the like ; as the freezing of water was 
to that of the King of Bantam ; in another and stricter 
sense, that only is contrary to a man's experience, which he 
knows by experience not to be true ; as if one should be 
told of an infallible remedy for some disorder, he having 
seen it administered without effect. No testimony can 
establish what is, in this latter sense, contrary to experience. 
We need not wonder that ordinary minds should be be- 
wildered by a sophistical employment of such a mass of 

Such reasonings as these are accounted ingenious and 
profound, on account of the subject on which they are 
employed ; if applied to the ordinary affairs of life, they 
would be deemed unworthy of serious notice. 

The reader is not to suppose that the refutation of 
Hume's Essay on Miracles was my object in this Article. 
That might have been sufficiently accomplished, in the way 
of a " reductio ad absurdum," by mere reference to the 
case of the King of Bantam adduced by the author him- 
self. But this celebrated Essay, though it has often per- 
haps contributed to the amusement of an anti-christian 
sophist at the expense of those unable to expose its fallacy, 
never probably made one convert. The author himself 
seems plainly to have meant it as a specimen of his inge- 
nuity in arguing on a given hypothesis : for he disputes 
against miracles as contrary to the Course of Nature; 
whereas, according to him, there is no such thing as a Course 
of Nature ; his scepticism extends to the whole external 
world; to everything, except the ideas or impressions on 
the mind of the individual ; so that a miracle which is 
believed, has, in that circumstance alone, on his principles, 
as much reality as anything can have. 

But my object has been to point out, by the use of this 


example, the fallacies and blunders which may result from 
inattention to the ambiguity of the word Experience : and 
this cannot be done by a mere indirect argument; which 
refutes indeed, but does not explain, an error. 


ix. GOSPEL. This is instanced as one of the words 
which is practically ambiguous, from its different appli- 
cations, even though not employed (as it sometimes is) in 
different senses. 

Conformably to its etymological meaning of " Good- 
tidings," it is used to signify (and that especially and 
exclusively) the welcome intelligence of Salvation to man, 
as preached by our Lord and his followers. But it was 
afterwards transitively applied to each of the four histories 
of our Lord's life, published by those who are called the 
Evangelists. And the term is often used to express collec- 
tively the Gospel-doctrines; i. e. the instructions given men 
how to avail themselves of the offer of salvation : and 
preaching the Gospel, is accordingly often used to include 
not only the proclaiming of the good tidings, but the 
teaching of what is to be believed and done, in consequence. 
This ambiguity is one source of some important theological 
errors : many supposing that Gospel truth is to be found 
exclusively, or chiefly in the Gospels; to the neglect of the 
other Sacred Writings. 

Again, since Jesus is said to have preached the " Gospel," 
and the same is said of the Apostles, the conclusion is often 
hence drawn, that the discourses of our Lord and the 
Apostolic Epistles must exactly coincide ; and that in case 
of any apparent difference, the former must be the standard, 
and the latter must be taken to bear no other sense than 
what is implied by the other ; a notion which leads 


inevitably and immediately to the neglect of the Apostolic 
Epistles, when every thing they contain must be limited and 
modified into a complete coincidence with our Lord's Dis- 
courses. Whereas it is very conceivable, that though both 
might be in a certain sense " good tidings," yet, one may 
contain a much more full development of the Christian 
scheme than the other. Which is confirmed by the con- 
sideration, that the principal events on which the Religion 
is founded (the atoning sacrifice and resurrection of Christ) 
had not taken place, nor could be clearly declared by our 
Lord, when He preached, saying, " the Kingdom of 
Heaven is at hand ;" not that it was actually established; 
as it was, when his Apostles were sent forth to preach 
to all nations. See Essays on the Difficulties, &c, 
Essay II. 

HENCE. See " REASON " and " WHY." 
IDENTICAL. See " ONE " and " SAME. 

x. IMPOSSIBILITY. According to the definition we 
may choose to give of this word, it may be said either that 
there are three Species of it, or that it may be used in three 
different senses. 1st. What may be called a mathematical 
impossibility, is that which involves an absurdity and self- 
contradiction ; e. g. that two straight lines should enclose a 
space, is not only impossible but inconceivable, as it would 
be at variance with the definition of a straight line. And it 
should be observed, that inability to accomplish anything 
which is, in this sense, impossible, implies no limitation of 
power, and is compatible, even with omnipotence, in the 
fullest sense of the word. If it be proposed, e. g. to con- 
struct a triangle having one of its sides equal to the other 
two, or to find two numbers having the same ratio to each 

A A 


other as the side of a square and its diameter, it is not from 
a defect of power that we are precluded from solving such 
a problem as these ; since in fact the problem is in itself 
unmeaning and absurd : it is, in reality, nothing, that is 
required to be done. 

2dly. What may be called a Physical Impossibility is 
something at variance with the existing Laws of Nature, 
and which consequently no Being, subject to those Laws, 
(as we are) can surmount ; but we can easily conceive a 
Being capable of bringing about what in the ordinary course 
of Nature is impossible. E. G. to multiply five loaves into 
food for a multitude, or to walk on the surface of the waves, 
are things physically impossible, but imply no contradiction ; 
on the contrary, we cannot but suppose that the Being, if 
there be such an one, who created the Universe, is able 
to alter at will the properties of any of the substances it 

And an occurrence of this character, we call, miraculous. 
Not but that one person may perform without supernatural 
power what is, to another, physically impossible ; as, e. g. 
a man may lift a great weight, which it would be physically 
impossible for a child to raise ; because it is contrary to the 
Laws of Nature that a muscle of this degree of strength 
should overcome a resistance which one of that degree is 
equal to. But if any one perform what is beyond his own 
natural powers, or the natural powers of Man universally, he 
has performed a miracle. 

Much Sophistry has been founded on the neglect of the 
distinction between these two senses. It has even been 
contended, that no evidence ought to induce a man of sense 
to admit that a miracle has taken place, on the ground that 
it is a thing impossible ; in other words, that it is a miracle 

* See an able disquisition on Miracles, subjoined to the Life of Apol- 
lonius Tyanaeus, in the Encyclopedia Metropolitana. 


for if it were not a thing impossible to man, there would be 
no miracle in the case : so that such an argument is palpably 
begging the question ; but it has often probably been 
admitted from an indistinct notion being suggested of 
Impossibility in the first sense ; in which sense (viz. that 
of self-contradiction) it is admitted that no evidence would 
justify belief. 

3dly. Moral Impossibility signifies only that high degree 
of improbability which leaves no room for doubt. In this 
sense we often call a thing impossible, which implies no 
contradiction, or any violation of the Laws of Nature, but 
which yet we are rationally convinced will never occur, 
merely from the multitude of chances against it ; as, e. g. 
that unloaded dice should turn up the same faces one 
hundred times successively.* And in this sense, we cannot 
accurately draw the line, so as to determine at what point 
the improbability amounts to an Impossibility; and hence 
we often have occasion to speak of this or that as almost 
impossible, though not quite, fyc. The other impossi- 
bilities do not admit of degrees of approach. That a 
certain throw should recur two or three times successively, 
we should not call very improbable; the improbability is 
increased at each successive step ; but we cannot say exactly 
when it becomes impossible ; though no one would scruple 
to call one hundred such recurrences impossible. 

In the same sense we often call things impossible which 
are completely within the power of known agents to bring 
about, but which we are convinced they never will bring 
about. Thus, e. g. that all the civilized people in the world 
should with one accord forsake their habitations and wander 
about the world as savages, every one would call an impos- 
sibility ; though it is plain they have the power to do so, 

* And yet why should they not ? since the chances are the very same 
against any given 100 throws. See Rhet. Part I. Ch. ii. 4. 

A A 2 


and that it depends on their choice which they will do ; and 
moreover that there even have been instances of some few 
persons doing so. In like manner, if we were told of a man's 
having disgracefully fled from his post, whom we knew to 
be possessed of the most undaunted courage, we should 
without scruple (and with good reason, supposing the idea 
formed of his character to be a just one) pronounce this an 
Impossibility ; meaning, that there is sufficient ground for 
being fully convinced that the thing could never take place ; 
not from any idea of his not having power and liberty to 
fly if he would ; for our certainty is built on the very cir- 
cumstance of his being free to act as he will, together with 
his being of such a disposition as never to have the will 
to act disgracefully. If, again, a man were bound hand 
and foot, it would be, in the other sense, impossible for him 
to fly ; viz. out of his power. (t Capable " has a cor- 
responding ambiguity. 

The performance of anything that is morally impossible 
to a mere man, is to be reckoned a miracle, as much as if 
the impossibility were physical. E. G. It is morally im- 
possible for poor Jewish fishermen to have framed such a 
scheme of ethical and religious doctrine as the Gospel 
exhibits. It is morally impossible for a man to foretell 
distant and improbable future events with the exactitude of 
many of the prophecies in Scripture. 

Much of the confusion of thought which has pervaded, 
and has interminably protracted, the discussions respecting 
the long agitated question of human freedom, has arisen 
from inattention to the ambiguity which has been here 
noticed. If the Deity, it is said, " foresees exactly what I 
shall do on any occasion, it must be impossible for me to 
act otherwise ;" and thence it is inferred that man's actions 
cannot be free. The middle term employed in such an 
argument as this is " impossible," or " impossibility" em- 


ployed in two senses. He to whom it is, in one sense, 
impossible, (viz, physically) to act otherwise than he does, 
(i. e. who has it not in his power} is not a free agent ; 
correct foreknowledge implies impossibility (in another sense, 
viz. moral impossibility ; the absence of all room for 
doubt :) and the perplexity is aggravated by resorting, for 
the purpose of explanation, to such words as " may," " can," 
" possible," " must," Sfc., all of which are effected by a cor- 
responding ambiguity. * 

It should be observed, that many things which are not 
usually termed " mathematically " necessary or impossible, 
will at once appear such, when stated, not abstractedly, 
but with all their actual circumstances : e. g. that (t Brutus 
stabbed Caesar," is a fact, the denial of which, though a 
falsehood, would not be regarded as self-contradictory 
(like the denial of the equality of two right angles ;) 
because, abstractedly, we can conceive Brutus acting 
otherwise : but if we insert the circumstances (which of 
course really existed) of his having complete power, liberty, 
and also a predominant will, to do so, then, the denial of 
the action amounts to a " mathematical " impossibility, or 
self-contradiction ; for to act voluntarily against the dictates 
of a predominant will, implies an effect without a cause. 

Of Future events, that Being, and no other, can have the 
same knowledge as of the past, who is acquainted with all 
the causes, remote or immediate, internal and external, on 
which each depends. 

xi. INDIFFERENCE, in its application in respect 
of the Will, and of the Judgment, is subject to an ambiguity 

* See Tucker's " Light of Nature," in the Chapters on Providence, on 
Free-will, and some others. I have endeavoured to condense and to 
simplify some of the most valuable parts of his reasonings in the Notes 
and Appendix to an edition of Archbishop King's Discourse on Predesti- 


which some of ray readers may perhaps think hardly worth 
noticing ; the distinction between unbiassed candour and 
impartiality, on the one side, and carelessness on the other, 
being so very obvious. But these two things nevertheless 
have been, from their bearing the same name, confounded 
together ; or at least represented as inseparably connected. 
I have known a person maintain, with some plausibility, 
the inexpediency, with a view to the attainment of truth, of 
educating people, or appointing teachers to instruct them, 
in any particular systems or theories, of astronomy, medi- 
cine, religion, politics, $c., on the ground, that a man must 
wish to believe and to find good reasons for believing, the 
system in which he has been trained, and which he has 
been engaged in teaching ; and this wish must prejudice his 
understanding in favour of it, and consequently render him 
an incompetent judge of truth.* 

Now let any one consider whether such a doctrine as 
this could have been even plausibly stated, but for the 
ambiguity of the word Indifference, and others connected 
with it. For it would follow, from such a principle, that no 
physician is to be trusted, who has been instructed in a 
certain mode of treating any disorder, because he must 
wish to think the theory correct which he has learned : nay, 
no physician should be trusted who is not utterly indifferent 
whether his patient recovers or dies ; since else, he must 
wish to find reasons for hoping favourably from the mode 
of treatment pursued. No plan for the benefit of the 
public, proposed by a philanthropist , should be listened 
to; since such a man cannot but wish it may be success- 
fill; #C. 

No doubt the judgment is often biassed by the inclina- 
tions but it is possible, and it should be our endeavour, to 

* See Essay I. Second Series, 


guard against this bias. If a scheme be proposed to any 
one for embarking his capital in some speculation which 
promises great wealth, he will doubtless wish to find that 
the expectations held out are well founded : but every one 
would call him very imprudent, if (as some do) he should 
suffer this wish to bias his judgment, and should believe, 
on insufficient grounds, the fair promises held out to him. 
But we should not think such imprudence an inevitable con- 
sequence of his desire to increase his property. His wishes, 
we should say, were both natural and wise ; but since they 
could not render the event more probable, it was most 
unwise to allow them to influence his decision. In like 
manner, a good man will indeed wish to find the evidence 
of the Christian religion satisfactory ; but a wise man does 
not for that reason take for granted that it is satisfactory ; 
but weighs the evidence the more carefully on account of 
the importance of the question. 

It is curious to observe how fully aware of the opera- 
tion of this bias, and how utterly blind to it, the same 
persons will be, in opposite cases. Such writers, e. g. as I 
have just alluded to, disparage the judgment of those who 
have been accustomed to study and to teach the Christian 
religion, and who derive hope and satisfaction from it ; on 
the ground that they must wish to find it true. And let it be 
admitted that their authority shall go for nothing ; and that 
the question shall be tried entirely by the reasons adduced, 
But then, on the same principle, how strong must be the 
testimony of the multitudes who admit the truth of Chris- 
tianity, though it is to them a source of uneasiness or of 
dismay; who have not adopted any antinomian system to 
quiet their conscience while leading an unchristian life ; but, 
when they hear of " righteousness, temperance, and judg- 
ment to come, tremble," and try to dismiss such thoughts 
till " a more convenient season." The case of these, who 


have every reason to wish Christianity untrue, is passed by, 
by the very same persons who are insisting on the influence 
of the opposite bias. According to the homely but ex- 
pressive proverb, they are " deaf on one ear." 

And it may be added, that it is utterly a mistake to sup- 
pose that the bias is always in favour of the conclusion 
wished for : it is often in the contrary direction. The pro- 
verbial expression of " too good news to be true," bears 
witness to the existence of this feeling. There is in some 
minds a tendency to unreasonable doubt in cases where their 
wishes are strong ; a morbid distrust of evidence which 
they are especially anxious to find conclusive : e. g. ground- 
less fears for the health or safety of an ardently-beloved 
child, will frequently distress anxious parents. 

Different temperaments (sometimes varying with the state 
of health of each individual) lead towards these opposite 
miscalculations, the over-estimate or under-estimate of the 
reasons for a conclusion, we earnestly wish to find true. 

Our aim should be to guard against both extremes, and 
to decide according to the evidence ; preserving the In- 
difference of the Judgment, even where the Will neither 
can, nor should be indifferent. 

xii. LAW is, etymologically, that which is "laid" 
down ; and is used, in the most appropriate sense, to signify 
some general injunction, command, or regulation, addressed 
to certain Persons, who are called upon to conform to it. 
It is in this sense that we speak of " the Law of Moses," 
" the Law of the Land," $c. 

It is also used in a transferred sense, to denote the state- 
ment of some general fact, the several individual instances 
of which exhibit a conformity to that statement, analogous 
to the conduct of persons in respect to a Law which they 
obey. It is in this sense that we speak of " the Laws of 


Nature :" when we say that " a seed in vegetating directs 
the radicle downwards and the plumule upwards, in com- 
pliance with a Law of Nature," we only mean that such is 
universally the fact ; and so, in other cases. 

It is evident therefore that, in this sense, the conformity 
of individual cases to the general rule is that which con- 
stitutes a Law of Nature. If water should henceforth never 
become solid, at any temperature, then the freezing of water 
would no longer be a Law of Nature : whereas in the other 
sense, a Law is not the more or the less a Law from the 
conformity or non-conformity of individuals to it : if an act 
of our legislature were to be disobeyed and utterly disre- 
garded by every one, it would not on that account be the 
less a Law. 

This distinction may appear so obvious when plainly 
stated, as hardly to need mention : yet writers of great note 
and ability have confounded these two senses together : I 
need only mention Hooker (in the opening of his great 
work) and Montesquieu : the latter of whom declaims on 
the much stricter observance in the Universe of the Laws of 
Nature, than in mankind, of the divine and human Laws 
laid down for their conduct : not considering that, in the 
former case, it is the observance that constitutes the Law. 

xiii. MAY, and likewise MUST, and CAN, (as well as 
CANNOT) are each used in two senses, which are very 
often confounded together. They relate sometimes to 
Power, sometimes to Contingency. 

When we say of one who has obtained a certain sum of 
money, " now he may purchase the field he was wishing 
for," we mean that it is in his power ; it is plain that he 
may, in the same sense, hoard up the money, or spend 
it on something else ; though perhaps we are quite sure, 
from our knowledge of his character and situation, that 


he will not. When again we say, " it may rain to-mor- 
row," or " the vessel may have arrived in port," the ex- 
pression does not at all relate to power, but merely to 
contingency : i. e. we mean, that though we are not sure 
such an event will happen or has happened, we are not 
sure of the reverse. 

When, again, we say, " this man, of so grateful a dis- 
position, must have eagerly embraced such an opportunity 
of requiting his benefactor," or " one who approves of 
the slave trade must be very hard-hearted," we only 
mean to imply the absence of all doubt on these points. 
The very notions of gratitude and of hard-heartedness 
exclude the idea of compulsion, and of yielding to irresis 
tible power. But when we say that " all men must die," 
or that " a man must go to prison who is dragged by 
force," we mean "whether they will or not" that there 
is no power to resist. So also, if we say that a Being 
of perfect goodness c< cannot " act wrong, we do not mean 
that it is out of his power ; since that would imply no 
goodness of character; but that there is sufficient reason 
for feeling sure that he will not. It is in a very different 
sense that we say of a man fettered in a prison, that he 
" cannot " escape : meaning, that though he has the willy 
he wants the ability. 

These words are commonly introduced, in questions 
connected with Fatalism and the Freedom of human actions, 
to explain the meaning of " necessary," " impossible," -c. ; 
and having themselves a corresponding ambiguity, they 
only tend to increase the perplexity. 

" Chaos umpire sits, 

And by deciding worse embroils the fray." 

MUST. See" MAY." 


xiv. NECESSARY. This word is used as the contrary 
to " impossible " in all its senses, and is of course liable to 
a corresponding ambiguity. Thus it is " mathematically 
Necessary " that two sides of a triangle should be greater 
than the third ; there is a " physical Necessity " for the 
fall of a stone; and a "moral necessity" that Beings of 
such and such a character should act, when left perfectly 
free, in such and such a manner ; i. e. we are sure they will, 
act so ; though of course it is in their power to act other- 
wise ; else there would be no moral agency.* This ambi- 
guity is employed sophistically to justify immoral conduct ; 
since no one is responsible for anything done under 
" necessity," i. e. " physical necessity ;" as when a man 
is dragged anywhere by external force, or falls down from 
being too weak to stand; and then the same excuse is 
fallaciously extended to " moral necessity " also. 

There are likewise numberless different applications of 
the word " necessity " (as well as of those derived from it) 
in which there is a practical ambiguity, from the diffe- 
rence of the things understood in conjunction with it : e. g. 
food is "necessary;" viz. to life: great wealth is "ne- 
cessary " to the gratification of a man of luxurious habits ; 
the violation of moral duty is in many cases " necessary" 
for the attainment of certain worldly objects ; the renuncia- 
tion of such objects, and subjugation of the desires, is " ne- 
cessary " to the attainment of the Gospel-promises, SfC. 
And thus it is that " necessity " has come to be " the 
tyrant's plea ;" for as no one is at all responsible for what 
is a matter of physical necessity, what he has no power 
to avoid, so, a degree of allowance is made for a man's 
doing what he has power to avoid, when it appears to be 
the less of two evils ; as e. g. when a man who is famishing 

* See the article u Impossibility ;" note. 


takes the first food he meets with, as " necessary " to 
support life, or throws over goods in a storm, when it is 
"necessary" in order to save the ship. But if the plea 
of necessity be admitted without inquiring for what the act 
in question is necessary, anything whatever may be thus 
vindicated ; since no one commits any crime which is not, 
in his view, " necessary " to the attainment of some sup- 
posed advantage or gratification. 

The confusion of thought is further increased by the 
employment on improper occasions of the phrase "abso- 
lutely necessary ;" which, strictly speaking, denotes a case 
in which there is no possible alternative. It is necessary 
for a man's safety, that he should remain in a house which 
he cannot quit without incurring danger : it is absolutely 
for simply J necessary that he should remain there, if he is 
closely imprisoned in it. 

I have treated more fully on this fruitful source of so- 
phistry in the Appendix (No I.) to King's " Discourse on 
Predestination." In the course of it, I suggested an ety- 
mology of the word, which I have reason to think is not 
correct ; but it should be observed, that this makes no 
difference in the reasoning, which is not in any degree 
founded on that etymology ; nor have I, as some have 
represented, attempted to introduce any new or unusual 
sense of the word, but have all along appealed to common 
use, the only right standard, and merely pointed out 
the senses in which each word has actually been employed. 
See the introduction to this Appendix. 

xv. OLD. This word, in its strict and primary sense, de- 
notes the length of time that any object has existed ; and 
many are not aware that they are accustomed to use it in 
any other. It is, however, very frequently employed 
instead of " Ancient," to denote distance of time. The 


same transition seems to have taken place, in Latin. Horace 
says of Lucilius, who was one of the most ancient Roman 
authors, but who did not live to be old 

" quo fit ut omnis 

Votiva pateat veluti descripta tabella 
Vita Senis." 

The present is a remarkable instance of the influence of an 
ambiguous word over the thoughts even of those who 
are not ignorant of the ambiguity, but are not carefully on 
the watch against its effects; the impressions and ideas 
associated by habit with the word when used in one sense, 
being always apt to obtrude themselves unawares when it 
is employed in another sense, and thus to affect, our rea- 
sonings. E. G. " Old times," " the Old World," $c. are 
expressions in frequent use, and which, oftener than not, 
produce imperceptibly the associated impression of the 
superior wisdom resulting from experience, which, as a 
general rule, we attribute to Old men. Yet no one is 
really ignorant that the world is older now than ever it 
was ; and that the instruction to be derived from observa- 
tions on the past (which is the advantage that Old persons 
possess) must be greater, supposing other things equal, to 
every successive generation ; and Bacon's remark to this 
purpose appears, as soon as distinctly stated, a mere truism : 
yet few, perhaps, that he made, are more important. There 
is always a tendency to appeal with the same kind of defe- 
rence, to the authority of " Old times," as of aged men. 

It should be kept in mind, however, that ancient customs, 
institutions, $c. when they still exist, may be literally 
called Old; and have this advantage attending them, that 
their effects may be estimated from long experience; 
whereas we cannot be sure, respecting any recently-esta- 
blished Law or System, whether it may not produce in 
time some effects which were not originally contemplated. 


xvi. ONE is sometimes employed to denote strict and 
proper numerical Unity ; sometimes, close Resemblance ; 
correspondence with one single description. See " SAME." 
" Facies non omnibus UNA, 

Nee diversa tamen ; qualem decet esse sororum." 
Ov. Metam. b. ii. 

It is in the secondary or improper, not the primary and 
proper sense of this word, that men are exhorted to " be 
of one mind ;" i. e. to agree in their faith, pursuits, mutual 
affections, &c. 

It is also in this sense that two guineas, e. g. struck from 
a wedge of uniform fineness, are said to be " of one and the 
same form and weight," and also, "of one and the same 
substance." In this secondary or improper sense also, a 
child is said to be " of one and the same (bodily) substance 
with its mother ;" or, simply " of the substance of its 
mother :" for these two pieces of money, and two human 
Beings, are numerically distinct. 

It is evidently most important to keep steadily in view, 
and to explain on proper occasions, these different uses of 
the word; lest men should insensibly slide into error on 
the most important of all subjects, by applying, in the 
secondary sense, expressions which ought to be understood 
in the primary and proper. See " PERSON." 

xvii. PAY. In the strict sense, a person is said to 
" pay," who transfers to another what was once his own : in 
another sense " P a y" is used to denote the mere act of 
handing over what never was one's own. In this latter 
sense a gentleman's steward or housekeeper is said to pay 
the tradesmen their bills ; in the other sense, it is the 
master who pays them. 

It is in the secondary or improper sense that an executor 
is said to pay legacies, a landowner or farmer to pay 


tithes, &c., since the money these hand over to another 
never was theirs. See " EviDENCE,"(in vol. of Tracts.) p. 339. 

xviii. PERSON,* in its ordinary use at present, inva- 
riably implies a numerically distinct substance. Each man 
is one Person, and can be but one. It has also a peculiar 
theological sense, in which we speak of the " three 
Persons" of the blessed Trinity. It was probably thus 
employed by our Divines as a literal, or perhaps etymo- 
logical, rendering of the Latin word " Persona." I am 
inclined to think, however, from the language of Wallis (the 
Mathematician and Logician) in the following extract, as 
well as from that of some other of our older writers, that 
the English word Person was formerly not so strictly con- 
fined as now, to the sense it bears in common conversation 
among us. 

" That which makes these expressions" (viz. respecting the 
Trinity) " seem harsh to some of these men, is because they have 
used themselves to fansie that notion only of the word Person, 
according to which three men are accounted to be three persons* 
and these three persons to be three men. But he may consider that 
there is another notion of the word Person, and in common use 
too, wherein the same man may be said to sustain divers persons, 
and those persons to be the same man : that is, the same man as 
sustaining divers capacities. As was said but now of Tully, 
Tres Personas Unus sustineo ; meam, adversarii, judicis. And 
then it will seem no more harsh to say, The three Persons, 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are One God, than to say, God 
the Creatour, God the Redeemer, and God the Sanctifier, are one 

God it is much the same thing whether of the two 

forms we use." Letters on the Trinity, p. 63. 

" The word Person ( persona) is originally a Latin word, and doth 
not properly signify a Man ; (so that another person must needs 
imply another man) for then the word Homo would have served, 

* Most of the following observations will apply to the word " Per- 


and they needed not have taken in the word Persona ; but rather, 
one so circumstantiated. And the same Man, if considered in 
other circumstances (considerably different) is reputed another per- 
son. And that this is the true notion of the word Person, appears 
by those noted phrases, personam induere, personam deponere, 
personam agere, and many the like, in approved Latin authours. 
Thus the same man may at once sustain the Person, of a King 
and a Father, if he be invested both with regal and paternal 
authority. Now because the King and the Father are for the 
most part not only different persons but different men also, (and 
the like in other cases) hence it comes to pass that another Person 
is sometimes supposed to imply another man ; but not always, 
nor is that the proper sense of the word. It is Englished in our 
dictionaries by the state, quality or condition whereby one man 
differs from another ; and so, as the condition alters, the Person 
alters, though the man be the same. 

" The hinge of the controversy, is, that notion concerning the 
three somewhats, which the Fathers (who first used it) did intend 
to design by the name Person ; so that we are not from the word 
Person to determine what was that Notion ; but from that Notion 
which they would express, to determine in what sense the word 
Person is here used," fyc. fyc. Letter V. in Answer to the Arian's 

What was precisely the notion which these Latin Fathers 
intended to convey, and how far it approached the classical 
signification of the word " Persona," it may not be easy to 

* Dr. Wallis's theological works, considering his general celebrity, 
are wonderfully little known. He seems to have been, in his day, one 
of the ablest Defenders of the Church's doctrine, against the Arians and 
Socinians of that period. Of course he incurred the censure, not only of 
them, but of all who, though not professedly Arian, gave such an expo- 
sition of their doctrine as amounts virtually to Tritheism. I beg to be 
understood however as not demanding an implicit deference for his, or 
for any other human authority, however eminent. We are taught to 
" call no man Master, on earth." But the reference to Dr. Wallis may 
serve both to show the use of the word in his days, and to correct the 
notion, should any have entertained it, that the views of the subject 
here taken are, in our Church, anything novel. 


determine. But we must presume that they did not intend 
to employ it in what is, now, the ordinary sense of the word 
Person; both because "Persona" never, I believe, bore 
that sense in pure Latinity, and also because it is evident 
that, in that sense, " three divine Persons " would have 
been exactly equivalent to " three Gods ; " a meaning 
which the orthodox always disavowed- 

It is probable that they had nearly the same view with 
which the Greek theologians adopted the word Hypostasis ; 
which seems calculated to express " that which stands under 
(i. e. is the Subject of) Attributes." They meant, it may be 
presumed, to guard against the suspicion of teaching, on the 
one hand, that there are three Gods, or three Parts of the one 
God; or, on the other hand, that Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost are no more than three names,* all, of the same 
signification ; and they employed accordingly a term which 
might serve to denote, that, (though divine Attributes 
belong to all and each of these, yet) there are Attributes 
of each, respectively, which are not so strictly applicable 
to either of the others, as such ; as when, for instance, 
the Son is called especially the " Redeemer," and the 
Holy Spirit, the "Comforter or Paraclete," &c. The 
notion thus conveyed is indeed very faint, and imperfect ; 
but is perhaps for that very reason, (considering what 
Man is, and what God is,) the less likely to lead to error. 
One may convey to a blind man, a notion of seeing, cor- 
rect as far as it goes, and instructive to him, though very 
imperfect : if he form a more full and distinct notion of 
it, his ideas will inevitably be incorrect. See Essay VII. 
5, Second Series.-}* 

* It is possible that some may have used this expression in the very 
sense attached by others to the word " Person ; " led, in a great degree, 
by the peculiar signification of " Name " in Scripture. For some very 
important remarks on that signification, see Hinds's History. 

f It is worth observing, as a striking instance of the little reliance to 

B B 


It is perhaps to be regretted that our Divines, in render- 
ing the Latin " Persona," used the word Person, whose 
ordinary sense, in the present day at least, differs in a most 
important point from the theological sense, and yet is not 
so remote from it as to preclude all mistake and perplexity. 
If " Hypostasis," or any other completely foreign term had 
been used instead, no idea at all would have been conveyed 
except that of the explanation given ; and thus the danger at 
least of being misled by a word, would have been avoided.* 

Our Reformers however did not introduce the word into 
their Catechism ; though it has been (I must think, inju- 
diciously) employed in some popular expositions of the 
Catechism, without any explanation, or even allusion to its 
being used in a peculiar sense. 

As it is, the danger of being not merely not understood, 
but misunderstood, should be guarded against most sedu- 
lously, by all who wish not only to keep clear of error, but 
to inculcate important truth ; by seldom or never employing 
this ambiguous word without some explanation or caution. 
For if we employ, without any such care, terms which we 
must be sensible are likely to mislead, at least the unlearned 
and the unthinking, we cannot stand acquitted on the plea 
of not having directly inculcated error. 

I am persuaded that much heresy, and some infidelity, may 
be traced in part to the neglect of this caution. It is not 
wonderful that some should be led to renounce a doctrine, 
which, through the ambiguity in question, may be represented 
to them as involving a self-contradiction, or as leading to 

be placed on etymology as a guide to the meaning of a word, that 
" Hypostasis," " Substantia," and " Understanding," so widely different 
in their sense, correspond in their etymology. 

* I wish it to be observed, that it is the ambiguity] of the word Person 
which renders it objectionable; not, its being nowhere employed in 
Scripture in the technical sense of theologians ; for this circumstance is 
rather an advantage. See Essay VI. (Second Series) 4, note. 


Tritheism ; that others should insensibly slide into this 
very error; or that many more (which I know to be no 
uncommon case) should, for fear of that error, deliberately, 
and on principle, keep the doctrine of the Trinity out of 
their thoughts, as a point of speculative belief, to which 
they have assented once for all, but which they find it dan- 
gerous to dwell on ; though it is in fact the very Faith into 
which,* by our Lord's appointment, we are baptized. 

Nor should those who do understand, or at least have 
once understood, the ambiguity in question, rest satisfied 
that they are thenceforward safe from all danger in that 
quarter. It should be remembered that the thoughts are 
habitually influenced, through the force of association, by 
the recurrence of the ordinary sense of any word to the 
mind of those who are not especially on their guard against 
it. See " Fallacies," 5. 

The correctness of a. formal and deliberate Confession of 
Faith, is not always, of itself, a sufficient safeguard against 
error in the habitual impressions on the mind. The 
Romanists flatter themselves that they are safe from Idolatry, 
because they distinctly acknowledge the truth, that " God 
only is to be served;" vi&. with " Latria ; " though they allow 
ADORATION, (" hyperdulia " and " dulia ") to the Virgin and 
other Saints, to Images, and to Relics : to which it has 
been justly replied, that supposing this distinction correct in 
itself, it would be, in practice, nugatory ; since the mass of 
the people must soon (as experience proves) lose sight of it 
entirely in their habitual devotions. 

Nor again is the habitual acknowledgment of One God, 
of itself a sufficient safeguard; since, from the additional 
ambiguities of " One " and " Unity," (noticed in the 
preceding Article) we may gradually fall into the notion of a 
merely figurative Unity; such as unity of substance merely, 

* els TO o/o/ia, "into the Name ; " not " in the Name." Matt, xxviii. 19. 

BB 2 


(see the preceding Article) Unity of purpose, concert of 
action, $c. such as is often denoted by the phrase " one 
mind." See " SAME," in this Appendix, and " Disser- 
tation," Book IV. Chap. v. 

When however I speak of the necessity of explanations, 
the reader is requested to keep in mind, that I mean, not 
explanations of the nature of the Deity, but, of our own use 
of words. On the one hand we must not content ourselves 
with merely saying that the whole subject is mysterious and 
must not be too nicely pried into; while we neglect to notice 
the distinction between divine revelations, and human expla- 
nations of them ; between inquiries into the mysteries of 
the Divine nature, and into the mysteries arising from the 
ambiguities of language, and of a language too, adopted by 
uninspired men. For, whatever Scripture declares, the 
Christian is bound to receive implicitly, however unable to 
understand it : but to claim an uninquiring assent to expres- 
sions of man's framing, (however judiciously framed) without 
even an attempt to ascertain their meaning, is to fall into one 
of the worst errors of the Romanists. 

On the other hand, to require explanations of what God 
is in Himself, is to attempt what is beyond the reach of the 
human faculties, and foreign from the apparent design of 
Scripture-revelation; which seems to be, chiefly if not 
wholly, to declare to us, (at least to insist on among the 
essential articles of faith) with a view to our practical benefit, 
and to the influencing of our feelings and conduct, not so 
much the intrinsic nature of the Deity, as, what He is rela- 
tively to us. Scripture teaches us (and our Church-Catechism 
directs our attention to these points) to " believe in God, 
who, as the Father, hath made us and all the World, as 
the Son, hath redeemed us and all mankind, as the Holy 
Ghost, sanctifieth us, and all the elect people of God."* 
* Hawkins's Manual, p. 12. 


And this distinction is, as I have said, pointed out in the 
very form of Baptism. Nothing indeed can be more de- 
cidedly established by Scripture, nothing more indistinctly 
explained (except as far as relates to us) than the doctrine 
of the Trinity ;f nor are we perhaps capable, with our 
present faculties, of comprehending it more fully. 

In these matters our inquiry, at least our first inquiry, 
should always be, what is revealed : nor if any one refuses 
to adopt as an article of faith, this or that exposition, should 
he be understood as necessarily maintaining its falsity. 
For we are sure that there must be many truths relative 
to the Deity, which we have no means of ascertaining : nor 
does it follow that even every truth which can be ascertained, 
must be a part of the essential faith of a Christian. 

And as it is wise to reserve for mature age, such in- 
structions as are unsuitable to a puerile understanding, so, it 
seems the part of a like wisdom, to abstain, during this our 
state of childhood, from curious speculations on subjects in 
which even the ablest of human minds can but " see by 
means of a glass, darkly." On these, the Learned can^have 
no advantage over others ; though we are apt to forget that 
any mysterious point inscrutable to Man, as Man, sur- 
passing the utmost reach of human intellect, must be such 
to the learned and to the ignorant, to the wise and to the 
simple alike; that in utter darkness, the strongest sight, 
and the weakest, are on a level. " Sir, in these matters," 
(said one of the most eminent of our Reformers, respecting 
another mysterious point,) " I am so fearful, that I dare speak 
no further, yea almost none otherwise, than as the Scripture 
doth as it were lead me by the hand" 

f- Compare together, for instance, such passages as the following; for 
it is by comparing Scripture with Scripture, not by dwelling on insulated 
texts, that the "Word of God is to be rightly understood: Luke i. 35, and 
John xiv. 9; John xiv. 16, 18, 26, Matt, xxviii. 19, 20; John xvi. 7, 
Coloss. ii. 9; Philip, i. 19, 1 Cor. vi. 19 ; Matt. x. 20, and John xiv. 23. 


And surely it is much better thus to consult Scripture, 
and take it for a guide, than to resort to it merely for confir- 
mations, contained in detached texts, of the several parts of 
some System of Theology, which the student fixes on as 
reputed orthodox, and which is in fact made the guide which 
he permits to "lead him by the hand;" while passages 
culled out from various parts of the Sacred Writings in 
subserviency to such system, are formed into what may 
be called an anagram of Scripture : and then, by reference 
to this system as a standard, each doctrine or discourse is 
readily pronounced Orthodox, or Socinian, or Arian, or 
Sabellian, or Nestorian, *c. ; and all this, on the ground 
that the theological scheme which the student has adopted, 
is supported by Scripture. The materials indeed are the 
stones of the Temple ; but the building constructed with 
them is a fabric of human contrivance. If instead of this, 
too common, procedure, students would fairly search the 
Scriptures with a view not merely to defend their opinions, 
but to form them, not merely for arguments, but for 
truth, keeping human expositions to their own proper 
purposes [See Essay VI. First Series,] and not allowing 
these to become, practically, a standard, if in short, they 
were as honestly desirous to be on the side of Scripture, as 
they naturally are to have Scripture on their side, how 
much sounder, as well as more charitable, would their 
conclusions often be ! 

With presumptuous speculations, such as I have alluded 
to, many theologians, even of those who lived near, and 
indeed during, the Apostolical times, seem to have been 
alike chargeable, widely as they differed in respect of the 
particular explanations adopted by each : 

"Unus utrique 
Error ; sed variis illudit partibus." 


And it is important to remember, what we are very 
liable to lose sight of the circumstance, that, not only there 
arose grievous errors during the time of the Apostles, and 
consequently such were likely to exist in the times imme- 
diately following, but also that when these inspired guides 
were removed, there was no longer the same infallible 
authority to decide what was error. In the absence of such 
a guide, some errors might be received as orthodox, and 
some sound doctrines be condemned as heterodox. 

The Gnostics* introduced a theory of -^Eons, or successive 
emanations from the divine "Pleroma" or Fulness; one 
of whom was Christ, end became incarnate in the man 
Jesus.f The Sabellians are reported to have described 
Christ as bearing the same relation to the Father, as the 
illuminating (^amcm/cov) quality, does to the Sun ; while the 
Holy Ghost corresponded to the warming quality : (Sa\7rov) 
or again, the Three as corresponding to the Body, Soul, and 
Spirit, of a man ; or again, to Substance, Thought or 
Reason, and Will or Action. The Arians again appear 
to have introduced in reality three Gods ; the Son and the 
Holy Spirit, created Beings, but with a certain imparted 
divinity. The Nestorians and Eutychians, gave opposite, 
but equally fanciful and equally presumptuous explanations 
of the Incarnation, $c. Sfc. 

Nor were those who were accounted orthodox, altogether 
exempt from the same fault of presumptuous speculation. 
"Who," says Chrysostom, "was he to whom God said, 
Let us make man ? who but he . . the Son of God ?" 

* Of these, and several other ancient heretics, we have no accounts but 
those of their opponents ; which however we may presume to contain 
more or less of approximation to what was really maintained. 

f These heretics appear to have split into many different sects, 
teaching various modifications of the same absurdities. See Burtons 
Hampton Lectures. 


And Epiphanius, on the same passage, says, " this is the 
language of God to his Word." Each of these writers, it 
may be observed, in representing God (under that title) as 
addressing Himself to the Son as to a distinct Being pre- 
viously to the birth of Jesus on earth, approaches very closely 
to the Arian tritheism. And Justin Martyr, in a similar 
tone, expressly speaks of God as " One, not in number, but 
in judgment or designs."* I will not say that such passages 
as these may not be so interpreted as to exclude both the 
Arian and every other form of tritheism ; but it is a dangerous 
thing, to use (and that, not in the heat of declamation, but in 
a professed exposition) language of such a nature that it is 
a mere chance whether it may not lead into the most un- 
scriptural errors. If the early writers had not been habitually 
very incautious in this point, that could hardly have taken 
place which is recorded respecting the council held at Rimini, 
(A.D. 360) in which a Confession of Faith was agreed upon, 
which the Arians soon after boasted of as sanctioning their 
doctrine, and " the Church," we are told, " was astonished 
to ; find itself unexpectedly become Arian."')' 

The .fact is, that numberless writers, both of those who 
were, and who were not, accounted heretics, being dis- 
pleased, and justly, with one another's explanations of the 
mode of existence of the Deity, instead of taking warning 
aright from the errors of their neighbours, sought, each, the 
remedy, in some other explanation instead, concerning 
matters unrevealed and inexplicable by man. They found 
nothing to satisfy a metaphysical curiosity in the brief and 
indistinct, though decisive, declarations of Scripture, that 
" God was in Christ, reconciling the World unto himself;" 
that " in Him dwelleth all the Fulness of the Godhead, 

* OVTOS yeypafjifjifvos Beds, crfpos etrrt TOV rd ndvra 

iroirfo-avTos Geov, dpiOpa Ae'yw, dXX' ov yv&pr) ; fyc. 
f See Essay VI. (Second Series) 2. Note b, 


bodily;" that "it is God that worketh in us both to will 
and to do of his good pleasure ;" that if we " keep Christ's 
saying, He dwelleth in us, and we, in Him;" that "if any 
man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his;" and 
that " the Lord is the Spirit," $c.* They wanted something 
more full, and more philosophical, than all this ; and their 
theology accordingly was " spoiled, through philosophy and 
vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of 
the World, and not after Christ." Hostile as they were to 
each other, the grand mistake in principle was common to . 
many of all parties. 

And in later ages the Schoolmen kept up the same Spirit, 
and even transmitted it to Protestants. " Theology teaches," 
(says a passage in a Protestant work) " that there is in God, 
one Essence, two Processions, three Persons, four Relations, 
five Notions, and the Circumincession, which the Greeks call 
Perichoresis." .... What follows is still more to my 
purpose ; but I cannot bring myself to transcribe any further. 
" Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without 
knowledge ?" 

But "the substance of great part of what I have been 
saying, has been expressed in better language than mine, 
in a late work which displays no ordinary ability, Mr. 
Douglas's Errors regarding Religion. 

" The radical mistake in all these systems, whether heretical 
or orthodox, which have embroiled mankind in so many scan- 
dalous disputes, and absurd and pernicious opinions, proceeds 
from the disposition so natural in man of being wise above what 
is written. They are not satisfied with believing a plain decla- 
ration of the Saviour, ' I and the Father are one.' They under- 
take with the utmost presumption and folly to explain in what 
manner the Father and the Son are one ; but man might as well 
attempt to take up the ocean in the hollow of his hand, as 

* Not, as in our version, " that Spirit;" C O 6> v Kvptos TO irvtv^d e 


endeavour by his narrow understanding, to comprehend the 
manner of the Divine existence." .... P. 50. 

"Heresies, however, are not confined to the heterodox. 
While the Arians and Semi-Arians were corrupting the truth 
by every subtilty of argument and ingenious perversion of terms, 
the orthodox all the while were dogmatizing about the Divine 
nature with a profusion of words which either had no meaning, 
or were gross mistakes, or inapplicable metaphors when applied 
to the infinite and spiritual existence of God. And not content 
with using such arguments against the heretics as generally 
produced a new heresy without refuting the former one, as 
soon as they obtained the power they expelled them from the 
Roman empire, and sent them with all the zeal which perse- 
cution confers, and which the orthodox, from their prosperity, 
had lost, to spread every variety of error amongst the nations of 
the barbarians. 

" Orthodoxy was become a very nice affair, from the rigour 
of its terms, and the perplexity of its creed, and very unlike the 
highway for the simple, which the Gospel presents. A slip in a 
single expression was enough to make a man a heretic. The 
use or omission of a single word occasioned a new rent in Chris- 
tianity. Every heresy produced a new creed, and every creed 

a new heresy Never does human folly and learned 

ignorance appear in a more disgusting point of view than in these 
disputes of Christians amongst themselves ; nor does any study 
appear so well calculated to foster infidelity as the history of 
Christian sects, unless the reader be guided by light from above, 
and carefully distinguish the doctrines of the Bible from the 
miserable disputes of pretended Christians." P. 53. 

To discuss this important subject more fully (or perhaps 
indeed as fully as it has been here treated of) is hardly 
suitable to a logical work : and yet the importance of 
attending to the ambiguity I have now been considering, 
cannot be duly appreciated, without offering some remarks 
on the subject-matter with which that ambiguity is con- 
nected ; and such remarks again, if scantily and imperfectly 
developed, are open to cavil or mistake. I must take the 


liberty therefore of referring the reader to such works, 
both my own, and those of others, as contain something 
of a fuller statement of the same views. See Essays (First 
Series), Essay II. 4, and Essays IV. and V. ; Second 
Series, Essay VI. 2, p. 199; VII. 3; and IX. 1.- 
Origin of Romish Errors, Chap. ii. 1. Archbishop 
Kings Sermon on Predestination, $c., and Encyclop. Me- 
tropol. History, Chap, xxvii. p. 589, and Chap, xxxiv. 
p. 740. 

xix. POSSIBLE. This word, like the others of 
kindred meaning, relates sometimes to contingency, some- 
times to power ; and these two senses are frequently con- 
founded. In the first sense we say, e.g. " it is possible this 
patient may recover," not meaning, that it depends on his 
choice ; but that we are not sure whether the event will not 
be such. In the other sense it is " possible " to the best 
man to violate every rule of morality ; since if it were out 
of his power to act so if he chose it, there would be no 
moral goodness in the case ; though we are quite sure that 
such never will be his choice. See " IMPOSSIBLE." 

Ch. iv. 2. 

Etymologically, the word answers to Presbyter, i. e. 
Elder, in the Christian Church, or Jewish Synagogue ;* and 
is often applied to the second order of Christian Ministers 
at the present day. But it is remarkable that it never occurs 
in this sense, in our translation of the Scriptures : the word 
irptafivTepoQ being always rendered by Elder ; and its deri- 
vative, Priest, always given as the translation of 'le/oeue. 
This latter is an office assigned to none under the Gospel- 
scheme, except the ONE great High Priest, of whom the 

* See Vitringa de Synag. 


Jewish Priests were types, and who offered a sacrifice 
(that being the most distinguishing office of a Priest in 
the sense of 'lepevg) which is the only one under the Gospel. 

It is incalculable how much confusion has arisen from 
confounding together the two senses of the word Priest, 
and thence, the two offices themselves. 

I have enlarged accordingly on this subject in a Sermon, 
preached before the University of Oxford, and subjoined to 
the last edition of the Bampton Lectures. See also Errors 
of Romanism, Chap. ii. 

xxi. REASON. This word is liable to many ambi- 
guities, of which I propose to notice only a few of the 
most important. Sometimes it is used to signify all the in- 
tellectual powers collectively ; in which sense it can hardly 
be said to be altogether denied to brutes ; since several 
of what we reckon intellectual processes in the human 
mind, are evidently such as some brutes are capable of. 

Reason is, however, frequently employed to denote those 
intellectual powers exclusively in which man differs from 
brutes ; though what these are no one has been able pre- 
cisely to define. The employment at will of the faculty of 
Abstraction seems to be the principal ; that being, at least, 
principally concerned in the use of Language. The Moral 
faculty, or power of distinguishing right from wrong, (which 
appears also to be closely connected with Abstraction,) is 
one of which brutes are destitute ; but then Dr. Paley and 
some other ethical writers deny it to man also. The de- 
scription given by that author of our discernment of good 
and bad conduct, (viz. as wholly dependent on expectation 
of reward and punishment,) would equally apply to many 
of the brute-creation, especially the more intelligent of 
domestic animals, as dogs and horses. It is in this sense, 
however, that some writers speak of " Reason " as enabling 


us to judge of virtue and vice ; not, as Dr. Campbell in his 
Philosophy of Rhetoric has understood them, in the sense 
of the power of argumentation. 

Reason, however, is often used for the faculty of carrying 
on the third operation of the mind ; viz. Reasoning. And 
it is from inattention to this ambiguity (which has been re- 
peatedly noticed in the course of the foregoing treatise,) that 
some have treated of Logic as the art of rightly employing 
the mental faculties in general. 

Reason is also employed to signify the Premiss or Pre- 
mises of an argument ; especially the minor Premiss ; and 
it is from Reason in this sense that the word " Reasoning " 
is derived. 

It is also very frequently used to signify a Cause; as 
when we say, in popular language, that the " Reason of an 
eclipse of the sun is, that the moon is interposed between it 
and the earth." This should be strictly called the cause. 
On the other hand, <f Because" (i. e. by Cause) is used to 
introduce either the Physical Cause or the Logical proof: 
and " Therefore," " Hence," " Since," " Follow," " Con- 
sequence," and many other kindred words, have a corre- 
sponding ambiguity : e. g. " the ground is wet, because it has 
rained ; " or " it has rained, and hence the ground is wet ; " 
this is the assignment of the Cause; again, " it has rained, 
because the ground is wet ; " " the ground is wet, and there- 
fore it has rained:" this is assigning the logical proof; the 
wetness of the ground is the cause, not of the rain having 
fallen, but of our knowing that it has fallen. And this pro- 
bably it is that has led to the ambiguous use in all languages 
of almost all the words relating to these two points. It is 
an ambiguity which has produced incalculable confusion of 
thought, and from which it is the harder to escape, on ac- 
count of its extending to those very forms of expression 
which are introduced in order to clear it up. 


What adds to the confusion is, that the Cause is often 
employed as a Proof of the effect :* as when we infer, from 
a great fall of rain, that there is, or will be, a flood ; which 
is at once the physical effect, and the logical conclusion. 
The case is just reversed, when from a flood we infer that 
the rain has fallen. 

The more attention any one bestows on this ambiguity, 
the more extensive and important its results will appear. 
See Analytical Outline, 2. 

xxii. REGENERATION. This word is employed by 
some Divines to signify the actual new life and character 
which ought to distinguish the Christian ; by others, a re- 
lease from a state of condemnation, a reconciliation to 
God, adoption as his children, *c.,f which is a necessary 
preliminary to the entrance on such a state; (but which, 
unhappily, is not invariably followed by it) : and these are, 
of course, as different things as a grain of seed sown, and 
" the full corn in the ear." 

Much controversy has taken place as to the time at 
which, and the circumstances under which, " Regeneration " 
takes place ; the greater part of which may be traced to this 

xxiii. SAME (as well as " One," " Identical," and other 
words derived from them) is used frequently in a sense very 
different from its primary one ; (as applicable to a single 
object); viz. it is employed to denote great similarity. 
When several objects are undistinguishably alike, One single 

* See Fallacies. "Non causa pro causa." Book III. 14. 

f " . . . . Baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child 
of God, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven." . ..." A death 
unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, Sec." .... " We being 
regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, tyc." 


description will apply equally to any of them ; and thence 
they are said to be all of one and the same nature, appear- 
ance, &c. : as e. g. when we say, " this house is built of the 
same stone with such another," we only mean that the stones 
are undistinguishable in their qualities ; not that the one 
building was pulled down, and the other constructed with 
the materials. Whereas Sameness, in the primary sense, 
does not even necessarily imply Similarity ; for if we say of 
any man that he is greatly altered since such a time, we 
understand, and indeed imply by the very expression, that 
he is One person, though different in several qualities ; else 
it would not be he. It is worth observing also that " Same," 
in the secondary sense, admits, according to popular usage, 
of degrees : we speak of two things being nearly the same, 
but not entirely ; personal identity does not admit of 

Nothing, perhaps, has contributed more to the error of 
Realism than inattention to this ambiguity. When several 
persons are said to have One and the Same opinion 
thought or idea, many men, overlooking the true simple 
statement of the case, which is, that they are all thinking 
alike, look for something more abstruse and mystical, and 
imagine there must be some One Thing, in the primary 
sense, though not an individual, which is present at once in 
the mind of each of these persons : and thence readily 
sprung Plato's theory of Ideas, each of which was, according 
to him, one real, eternal object, existing entire and complete 
in each of the individual objects that are known by one 
name. Hence, first in poetical mythology, and ultimately, 
perhaps, in popular belief, Fortune, Liberty, Prudence, 
(Minerva,) a Boundary, (Terminus,) and even the Mildew 
of Corn, (Rubigo,) $c., became personified, deified, and re- 
presented by Statues; somewhat according to the process 
which is described by Swift, in his humorous manner, in 


speaking of Zeal, (in the Tale of a Tub,) " how from a 
notion it became a word, and from thence, in a hot summe^ 
ripened into a tangible Substance." We find Seneca 
thinking it necessary gravely to combat the position of some 
of his Stoical predecessors, " that the Cardinal Virtues 
are Animals : while the Hindoos of the present day, from 
observing the similar symptoms which are known by the 
name of Small-pox, and the communication of the like from 
one patient to another, do not merely call it (as we do) one 
disease, but believe (if we may credit the accounts given) 
that the Small-pox is a Goddess, who becomes incarnate 
in each infected patient. All these absurdities are in fact 
but the extreme and ultimate point of Realism. See Dis- 
sertation, Book IV. Chap. v. 

xxiv. SIN, in its ordinary acceptation, means some actual 
transgression, in thought, word, or deed, of the moral law, 
or of a positive divine precept. It has also, what may 
be called, a theological sense, in which it is used for that 
sinfulness or frailty, that liability, or proneness, to trans- 
gression, which all men inherit from their first parents, 
and which is commonly denominated " original " Sin ; * in 
which sense we find such expressions as " in Sin hath my 
Mother conceived me." The word seems also to be still 
further transferred, to signify the state of condemnation 
itself, in which the children of Adam are, " by nature 
born," in consequence of this sinful tendency in them : (or, 
according to some divines, in consequence of the very guilt 

* Of the degree of this depravity of our nature, various accounts are 
given ; some representing it as amounting to a total loss of the moral 
faculty, or even, to a preference of evil for its own sake ; others making 
it to consist in a certain undue preponderance of the lower propensities 
over the nobler sentiments, &c. But these seem to be not differences as 
to the sense of the word, (with which alone we are here concerned) but as 
to the state of the/actf. 


of Adam's offence being actually imputed to each individual 
of his posterity.*) It must be in the sense of a " state of 
condemnation," that our Church, in her office for Infant 
Baptism, speaks of " remission of Sins," with reference to a 
child, which is no moral agent : " following the innocency 
of children," (i. e. of actual Sin) being mentioned within a 
few sentences. And as it is plain that actual Sin cannot, in 
the former place, be meant, so, neither can it be, in this 
place, man's proneness to Sin : since the baptismal office 
would not pray for, and hold out a promise of, " release" 
and "remission" of that ^/oovrj/ua crapKoe which, according 
to the Article, " remains even in the regenerate." 

Though all Theologians probably are aware of these 
distinctions, yet much confusion of thought has resulted 
from their not being always attended to. 

xxv. TENDENCY. "The doctrine, as mischievous 
as it is, I conceive, unfounded, that since there is a tendency 
in population to increase faster than the means of subsist- 
ence, hence, the pressure of population against subsistence 
may be expected to become greater and greater in each 
successive generation, (unless new and extraordinary reme- 
dies are resorted to,) and thus to produce a progressive 
diminution of human welfare ; this doctrine, which some 
maintain, in defiance of the fact that all civilized countries 
have a greater proportionate amount of wealth, now, than 
formerly, may be traced chiefly to an undetected ambiguity 
in the word ' tendency,' which forms a part of the middle 
term of the argument. By a ' tendency' towards a certain 
result is sometimes meant, ' the existence of a cause which, 

* I must again remind the reader that I am inquiring only into the 
senses in which each word has actually been used ; ot into the truth or 
falsity of each doctrine in question. On the present question, see Essays 
on the Difficulties in St. Paul's Writings, Essay VI. 

C C 


if operating unimpeded, would produce that result.' In 
this sense it may be said, with truth, that the earth, or any 
other body moving round a centre, has a tendency to fly off 
at a tangent ; i. e. the centrifugal force operates in that 
direction, though it is controlled by the centripetal ; or, 
again, that man has a greater tendency to fall prostrate than 
to stand erect ; i. e. the attraction of gravitation and the 
position of the centre of gravity, are such that the least 
breath of air would overset him, but for the voluntary 
exertion of muscular force : and, again, that population has 
a tendency to increase beyond subsistence ; i. e. there are in 
man propensities, which, if unrestrained, lead to that result. 
'' But sometimes, again, 'a tendency towards a certain 
result' is understood to mean ' the existence of such a state 
of things that that result may be expected to take place.' 
Now it is in these two senses that the word is used, in the 
two premises of the argument in question. But in this 
latter sense, the earth has a greater tendency to remain in 
its orbit than to fly off from it ; man has a greater tendency 
to stand erect than to fall prostrate ; and (as may be proved 
by comparing a more barbarous with a more civilized period 
in the history of any Country) in the progress of society, 
subsistence has a tendency to increase at a greater rate than 
population. In this Country, for instance, much as our 
population has increased within the last five centuries, it yet 
bears a far less ratio to subsistence (though still a much 
greater than could be wished) than it did five hundred years 

THEREFORE. &?<? " REASON," and "WHY." 

xxvi. TRUTH, in the strict logical sense, applies to 
Propositions, and to nothing else ; and consists in the con- 

* Pol. Econ. Lect. IX. p. 248250. 


formity of the declaration made to the actual state of the 
case ; agreeably to Aldrich's definition of a " true " pro- 
position vera est, quae quod res est dicit. 

It would be an advantage if the word Trueness or 
Verity could be introduced and employed in this sense, 
since the word Truth is so often used to denote the " true " 
Proposition itself. "What I tell you is the Truth; the 
Truth of what I say shall be proved :" the term is here used 
in these two senses. In like manner Falsehood is often 
opposed to truth in both these senses ; being commonly 
used to signify the quality of a false proposition. But as 
we have the word Falsity, which properly denotes this, I 
have thought it best, in a scientific treatise, always to 
employ it for that purpose. 

In its etymological sense, Truth signifies that which 
the speaker "trows," or believes to be the fact. The 
etymology of the word AAH0ES seems to be similar; de- 
noting non-concealment. In this sense it is opposed to a 
Lie: and may be called Moral, as the other may Logical, 
Truth. A witness therefore may comply with his oath to 
speak the Truth, though it so happen that he is mistaken 
in some particular of his evidence, provided he is fully 
convinced that the thing is as he states it. 

Truth is not unfrequently applied, in loose and in- 
accurate language, to arguments; where the proper ex* 
pression would be " correctness," " collusiveness," or 
" validity." 

Truth again, is often used in the sense of Reality, TO ON. 
People speak of the Truth or Falsity of facts; properly 
speaking, they are either real or fictitious : it is the state- 
ment that is " true " or " false." The " true " cause of 
any thing, is a common expression ; meaning " that which 
may with Truth be assigned as the cause." The senses of 
Falsehood correspond, 

c c2 


"Truth" in this sense, of "reality," is also opposed 
to shadows, types, pictures, $c. Thus, " the Law was 
given by Moses, but grace and ' truth ' came by Jesus 
Christ :" for the Law had only a " shadow of good things 
to come." 

The present is an ambiguity of which the Romanists have 
often availed themselves with great effect; the ambiguity 
of the word Church (which see) lending its aid to the 
fallacy. " Even the Protestants," they say, " dare not 
deny ours to be a TRUE CHURCH ; now there can be 
but ONE TRUE CHURCH ;" (which they support by 
those passages of Scripture which relate to the collective 
Body of Christians in all those several Societies which also 
are called in Scripture, Churches ;) " ours therefore must 
be the true Church; if you forsake us, you forsake the 
truth and the Church, and consequently shut yourself out 
from the promises of the Gospel." Those who are of a 
logical and accurate turn of mind will easily perceive that 
the sense in which the Romish Church is admitted by her 
opponents to be a true Church, is that of reality ; it is a 
real, not a pretended Church; it may be truly said to be 
a Church. The sense in which the Romanists seize the 
concession is, that of a Church teaching true doctrines ; 
which was never conceded to the Church of Rome by the 
Protestants ; who hold, that a Church may err without 
ceasing to be a Church. 

WHENCE See " WHY," and " REASON." 

xxvii. WHY? As an interrogative, this word is em- 
ployed in three senses : viz. "By what proof?" (or Reason) 
" From what Cause ? " " For what purpose ? " This last is 
commonly called the " final cause." E. G. " Why is this 
prisoner guilty of the crime ? " " Why does a stone fall 


to the earth?" " Why did you go to London?" Much 
confusion has arisen from not distinguishing these different 
inquiries. See REASON. 

N. B. As the words which follow are all of them con- 
nected together in their significations, and as the expla- 
nations of their ambiguities have been furnished by the 
kindness of the Professor of Political Economy, it seemed 
advisable to place them by themselves, and in the order 
in which they appeared to him most naturally to arrange 

The foundation of Political Economy being a few 
general propositions deduced from observation or from 
consciousness, and generally admitted as soon as stated, it 
might have been expected that there would be as little 
difference of opinion among Political-Economists as among 
Mathematicians ; that, being agreed in their premises, 
they could not differ in their conclusions, but through some 
error in reasoning, so palpable as to be readily detected. 
And if they had possessed a vocabulary of general terms 
as precisely defined as the mathematical, this would pro- 
bably have been the case. But as the terms of this Science 
are drawn from common discourse, and seldom carefully 
defined by the writers who employ them, hardly one of 
them has any settled and invariable meaning, and their 
ambiguities are perpetually overlooked. The principal 
terms are only seven : viz. VALUE, WEALTH, LABOUR, 

1. VALUE. As value is the only relation with which 
Political Economy is conversant, we might expect all 


Economists to be agreed as to its meaning. There is no 
subject as to which they are less agreed. 

The popular, and far the most convenient, use of the 
word, is to signify the capacity of being given and received 
in exchange. So defined it expresses a relation. The 
value of any one thing must consist in the several quantities 
of all other things which can be obtained in exchange for 
it, and never can remain fixed for an instant. Most writers 
admit the propriety of this definition at the outset, but they 
scarcely ever adhere to it, 

Adam Smith defines Value to mean either the utility of 
a particular object, or the power of purchasing other goods 
which the possession of that object conveys. The first he 
calls "Value in use," the second "Value in exchange." But 
he soon afterwards says, that equal quantities of labour at all 
times and places are of equal Value to the labourer, whatever 
may be the quantity of goods he receives in return for them ; 
and that labour never varies in its own Value. It is clear 
that he affixed, or thought he had affixed, some other 
meaning to the word ; as the first of these propositions 
is contradictory, and the second false ? whichever of his two 
definitions we adopt. 

Mr. Ricardo appears to set out by admitting Adam 
Smith's definition of Value in exchange. But in the greater 
part of his " Principles of Political Economy," he uses the 
word as synonymous with Cost : and by this one ambiguity 
has rendered his great work a long enigma. 

Mr. Malthus* defines Value to be the power of pur- 
chasing. In the very next page he distinguishes absolute 
from relative Value, a distinction contradictory to his defini- 
tion of the term, as expressive of a relation. 

Mr. M'Cullochf distinguishes between real and ex 

* " Measure of Value," p. 1. 

t " Principles of Political Economy," Part III. sect. I. 


changeable, or relative Value. And in his nomenclature, 
Ine exchangeable, or relative, Value of a commodity consists 
in its capacity of purchasing ; its real Value in the quantity 
of labour required for its production or appropriation. 

All these differences appear to arise from a confusion ol 
cause and effect. Having decided that commodities are 
Valuable in proportion to the labour they have respectively 
cost, it was natural to call that labour their Value. 

2. WEALTH. Lord Lauderdale has defined Wealth 
to be "all that man desires." Mr. Malthus,* "those 
material objects which are necessary, useful, or agreeable." 
Adam Smith confines the term to that portion of the results 
of land and labour which is capable of being accumulated. 
The French Economists, to the net product of land. Mr. 
M'Culloch-)" and M. Storch,J to those material products 
which have exchangeable value ; according to Colonel 
Torrens it consists of articles which possess utility, and 
are produced by some portion of voluntary effort. M. Say|| 
divides wealth into natural and social, and applies the latter 
term to whatever is susceptible of exchange. It will be 
observed that the principal difference between these defini- 
tions consists in the admission or rejection of the qualifi- 
cations " exchangeable," and, " material."^ 

It were well if the ambiguities of this word had done 

* " Principles of Political Economy," p. 28. 

f "Supplement to the Encyclopaedia Britannica," Vol. VI. p. 217. 

J " Cours d'Economie Politique," Tome I. p. 91. Paris edit. 

" Production of Wealth," p. 1. 

|| "Traite d'Economie Pol." Liv. II. Chap. 'ii. 

TJ" " In many cases, where an exchange really takes place, the fact is 
liable (till the attention is called to it) to he overlooked, in consequence of- 
our not seeing any actual transfer from hand to hand of a material object. 
For instance, when the copyright of a book is sold to a bookseller, the 
article transferred is not the mere paper covered with writing, but the ex- 


no more than puzzle pbilosophers. One of them gave 
birth to the mercantile system. In common language, to 
grow rich is to get money ; to diminish in fortune is to lose 
money: a rich man is said to have a great deal of money ; 
a poor man, very little : and the terms Wealth and Money 
are in short employed as synonymous. In consequence of 
these popular notions (to use the words of Adam Smith) 
all the different nations of Europe have studied every means 
of accumulating gold and silver in their respective countries. 
This they have attempted by prohibiting the exportation of 
money, and by giving bounties on the exportation, and im- 
posing restrictions on the importation, of other commodities, 
in the hope of producing what has been called a " favourable 
balance of trade ; " that is, a trade in which, the imports 
being always of less value than the exports, the difference is 
paid in money. A conduct as wise as that of a tradesman 
who should part with his goods only for money; and instead 
of employing their price in paying his workmen's wages, or 
replacing his stock, should keep it for ever in his till. The 
attempt to force such a trade has been as vain, as the trade, 
if it could have been obtained, would have been mischievous. 
But the results have been fraud, punishment, and poverty 
at home, and discord and war without. It has made na- 
tions consider the Wealth of their customers a source of loss 
instead of profit ; and an advantageous market a curse instead 
of a blessing. By inducing them to refuse to profit by the 
peculiar advantages in climate, soil, or industry, possessed 
by their neighbours, it has forced them in a great measure 
to give up their own. It has for centuries done more, 
and perhaps for centuries to come will do more, to retard 

elusive privilege of printing and publishing. It is plain, however, on a 
moment's thought, that the transaction is as real an exchange, as that 
which takes place between the bookseller and his customers who buy 
copies of the work." Introd. fo Pol. Econ. Lect. I. 


the improvement of Europe than all other causes put to- 

3. LABOUR. The word Labour signifies both the act 
of labouring, and the result of that act. It is used in the 
first sense when we talk of the wages of labour ; in the 
second when we talk of accumulated labour. When used 
to express the act of labouring, it may appear to have a 
precise sense, but it is still subject to some ambiguity. 
Say's definition* is "action suivie, dirigee vers un but;" 
Storch's,f "Faction des facultes humaines dirigee vers un 
but utile." These definitions include a walk taken for the 
purposes of health, and even the exertions of an agree- 
able converser. 

The great defect of Adam Smith, and of our own eco- 
nomists in general, is the want of definitions. There is, 
perhaps, no definition of Labour by any British Econo- 
mist. If Adam Smith had framed one, he would probably 
have struck out his celebrated distinction between " pro- 
ductive" and "unproductive" labourers; for it is difficult 
to conceive any definition of Labour which will admit the 
epithet " unproductive " to be applied to any of its sub- 
divisions, excepting that of misdirected labour. On the 
other hand, if Mr. M'Culloch or Mr. Mill had defined 
Labour they would scarcely have applied that term to the 
growth of a tree, or the improvement of wine in a cellar. 

4. CAPITAL. This word, as might have been expected, 
from the complexity of the notions which it implies, has 
been used in very different senses. 

It is, as usual, undefined by Adam Smith. The general 
meaning which he attached to it will however appear from 

* " Traite," &c. Tome II. p. 506. t " Cours," &c. Liv. 1. Chap. iv. 


his enumeration of its species. He divides it* into Fixed 
and Circulating: including in the first what the capitalist 
retains, in the second what he parts with. Fixed Capital 
he subdivides into 1. Machinery; 2. Shops and other 
buildings used for trade or manufacture ; 3. Improvements 
of land ; 4. Knowledge and skill. Circulating Capital he 
subdivides into 1. Money; 2. Provisions in the hands of 
the provision-venders ; 3. Unfinished materials of manu- 
facture; 4. Finished work in the hands of the merchant 
or manufacturer ; such as furniture in a cabinet-maker's 
shop, or trinkets in that of a jeweller. 

The following is a list of the definitions adopted by some 
of the most eminent subsequent economists : 

Ricardof " that part of the wealth of a^country which is 
employed in production ; consisting of food, clothing, tools, 
raw materials, machinery, <J-c., necessary to give effect to 

MalthusJ " that portion of the material possessions of 
a country which is destined to be employed with a view to 

Say " accumulation de valeurs soustraites a la con- 
somption improductive." Chap. iii. " Machinery, necessa- 
ries of the workman, materials." 

Storch|| "un fonds de richesses destine a la production 

M'Culloch^y " that portion of the produce of industry 
which can be made directly available to support human 
existence or facilitate production." 

* Book II. Chap. i. 

f "Principles of Political Economy," p. 89, 3rd edit. 

t " Principles," &c. p. 293. 

"Traite," &c. Tome II. p. 454. 

|| " Cours," &c. Liv. II. Chap. i. 

f "Principles," c. p. 92. 


Mill* " something produced, for the purpose of being 
employed as the mean towards a further production." 

Torrensf " those things on which labour has been 
bestowed, and which are destined, not for the immediate 
supply of our wants, but to aid us in obtaining other articles 
of utility." 

It is obvious that few of these definitions exactly coin- 
cide. Adam Smith's (as implied in his use of the term; 
for he gives no formal definition) excludes the necessaries of 
the labourer, when in his own possession ; all the rest (and 
perhaps with better reason) admit them. On the other 
hand, Adam Smith admits (and in that he seems to be 
right) those things which are incapable of productive con- 
sumption, provided they have not yet reached their con- 
sumers. All the other definitions, except perhaps that of 
Mr. Malthus, which is ambiguous, are subject to the incon- 
sistency of affirming that a diamond, and the gold in which 
it is to be set, are Capital while the jeweller keeps them 
separate, but cease to be so when he has formed them into 
a ring ; almost all of them, also, pointedly exclude know- 
ledge and skill. The most objectionable, perhaps, is that 
of Mr. M'Culloch, which, while it excludes all the finished 
contents of a jeweller's shop, would include a racing stud, 

Adam Smith, however, is far from being consistent in 
his use of the word ; thus, in the beginning of his second 
book he states, that all Capitals are destined for the main- 
tenance of productive labour only. It is difficult to see 
what labour is maintained by what is to be unproductively 

5. RENT. 6. WAGES. 7. PROFIT. 

Adam Smith first divided revenue into Rent, Wages, 

* " Elements," &c. p. 19, 3rd edit, 
f " Production of Wealth," p. 5. 


and Profit ; and his division has been generally followed. 
The following definitions will best show the degree of 
precision with which these three terras have been employed. 


1. Rent. What is paid for the licence to gather the 
produce of the land. Book I. Chap. vi. 

2. Wages. The price of labour. Book I. Chap. v. 

3. Profit. The revenue derived from stock by the person 
who manages or employs it. Book I. Chap. vi. 

SAY. (Traite d'Economie Politique.) 4eme Edit. 

1. Rent. Le profit resultant du service productif de la 
terre. Tome II. p. 169. 

2. Wages. Le prix de 1'achat d'un service productif 
industriel. Tome II. p. 503. 

3. Profit. La portion de la valeur produite, retiree par 
le capitaliste. Tome I. p. 71, subdivided intointeret, profit 
industriel, and profit capital. 

S TORCH. (Cours cT Economic Politique.) Paris, 1823. 

1. Rent. Le prix qu'on paye pour 1'usage d'un fonds 
de terre. Tome I. p. 354. 

2. Wages. Le prix du travail. p. 283. 

3. Profit. The returns to capital are considered by 
Storch, under the heads, rente de capital, and profit de 1'en- 
trepreneur. The first he divides into loyer, the hire of fixed 
capital, and interet, that of circulating capital. The second 
he considers as composed of, 1st, remuneration for the use 
of capital ; 2nd, assurance against risk ; 3rd, remuneration for 
trouble. Liv. III. Chap. ii. viii. xiii. 


SISMONDI. (Nouveau Pr incites , 

1. Rent. La part de la recolte annuelle du sol qui 
revient au proprietaire apres qu'il a acquitte les frais qui 
1'ont fait naitre ; and he analyzes rent into, 1st, la compen- 
sation du travail de la terre ; 2d, le prix de monopole ; 
3d, la mieux valeur que le proprietaire obtient par la com- 
paraison d'une terre de nature superieure a une terre 
inferieure ; 4th, le revenu des capitaux qu'il a fixes lui- 
meme sur la terre, et ne peut plus en retirer. Tome I. p. 280. 

2. Wages. Le prix du travail. p. 91. 

3. Profit. La valeur dont 1'ouvrage acheve surpasse 
les avances qui 1'ont fait faire. L'avantage qui re suite des 
travaux passes. Subdivided into intert and profit mer- 
cantile. p. 94, 359. 

MALTHUS. (Principles, $c.) 

1. Rent. That portion of the value of the whole pro- 
duce of land which remains to the owner after payment of 
all the outgoings of cultivation, including average profits 
on the capital employed. The excess of price above wages 
and profits. p. 134. 

2. Wages. The remuneration of the labourer for his 
personal exertions. p. 240. 

3. Profit. The difference between the value of the 
advances necessary to produce a commodity, and the value 
of the commodity when produced.- p. 293. 

MILL. (Elements, $c.) 3rd Ed. 

1. Rent. The difference between the return made to the 
most productive, and that which is made to the least produc- 
tive portion of capital employed on the land. p. 33. 


2. Wages. The price of the labourer's share of the 
commodity produced. p. 41. 

3. Profit. The share of the joint produce of labour and 
stock which is received by the owner of stock after replacing 
the capital consumed. The portion of the whole annual 
produce which remains after deducting rent and wages. 
Remuneration for hoarded labour. Chap. 2, 3. 

TORRENS. (Com Trade.) 3rd Ed. 

1 . Rent. That part of the produce which is given to the 
land-proprietor for the use of the soil. p. 130. 

2. Wages. The articles of wealth which the labourer 
receives in exchange for his labour. p. 83. 

3. Profit. The excess of value which the finished work 
possesses above the value of the material, implements, and 
subsistence expended. The surplus remaining after the 
cost of production has been replaced. Production of 
Wealth, p. 53. 

M'CuLLOCH. (Principles, &c.) 

1 . Rent. That portion of the produce of the earth which 
is paid by the farmer to the landlord for the use of the 
natural and inherent powers of the soil. p. 265. 

2. Wages. The compensation paid to labourers in return 
for their services. Essay on Rate of Wages, p. 1. 

3. Profit. The excess of the commodities produced by 
the expenditure of a given quantity of capital, over that 
quantity of capital. Principles -,' p. 366. 

RICARDO. (Principles, $0.) 3rd Ed* 
1 . Rent. That portion of the produce of the earth which 


is paid to the landlord for the use of the original and 
indestructible powers of the soil. p. 53. 

2. Wages. The labourer's proportion of the produce. 
Chap. v. 

3. Profit. The capitalist's proportion of the produce. 
Chap. vi. 

The first observation to be made on these definitions, is, 
that the Rent of land, which is only a species of an exten- 
sive genus, is used as a genus, and that its cognate species 
are either omitted, or included under genera to which they 
do not properly belong. Wages and Profits are of human 
creation : they imply a sacrifice of ease or immediate enjoy- 
ment, and bear a ratio to that sacrifice which is indicated 
by the common expressions of " the rate of wages," and the 
" rate of profits :" a ratio which has a strong tendency to 
uniformity. But there is another and a very large source 
of revenue which is not the creation of man, but of nature ; 
which owes its origin, not to the will of its possessor, but 
to accident ; which implies no sacrifice, has no tendency to 
uniformity, and to which the term " rate " is seldom applied. 
This revenue arises from the exclusive right to some in- 
strument of production, enabling the employment of a given 
amount of labour or capital to be more than usually produc- 
tive. The principal of these instruments is land ; but all 
extraordinary powers of body or mind, all processes in 
manufacture which are protected by secrecy or by law, all 
peculiar advantages from situation or connexion, in short, 
every instrument of production which is not universally 
accessible, affords a revenue distinct in its origin from 
Wages or Profits, and of which the Rent of land is only a 
species. In the classification of revenues, either Rent 
ought to have been omitted as a genus, and considered only 
as an anomalous interruption of the general uniformity of 


wages and profits, or all the accidental sources of revenue 
ought to have been included in one genus, of which the 
Rent of land would have formed the principal species. 

Another remark is, that almost all these definitions of 
Profit include the wages of the labour of the Capitalist. 
The continental Economists have in general been aware of 
this, and have pointed it out in their analyses of the com- 
ponent parts of Profit. The British Economists have 
seldom entered into this analysis, and the want of it has 
been a great cause of obscurity. 

On the other hand, much of what properly belongs to 
Profit and Rent is generally included under Wages. Al- 
most all Economists consider the members of the liberal 
professions under the class of labourers. The whole sub- 
sistence of such persons, observes Mr. M'Culloch,* is 
derived from Wages ; and they are as evidently labourers 
as if they handled the spade or the plough. But it should 
be considered, that those who are engaged in any occupa. 
tion requiring more skill than that of a common husband- 
man, must have expended capital, more or less, on the 
acquisition of their skill ; their education must have cost 
something in every case, from that of the handicraft-appren- 
tice, to that of the legal or medical student ; and a Profit on 
this outlay is of course looked for, as in other disbursements 
of capital ; and the higher profit, in proportion to the risk ; 
viz. the uncertainty of a man's success in his business. 
Part, therefore, and generally far the greater part, of what 
has been reckoned the wages of his labour, ought more 
properly to be reckoned profits on the capital expended in 
fitting him for that particular kind of labour. And again, 
all the excess of gains acquired by one possessing extraordi- 
nary talents, opportunities, or patronage (since these corre- 

* " Principles," &c. p. 228. 


spond to the possession of land, of a patent-right, or 
other monopoly, of a^secret, $c.) may be more properly 
regarded as Rent than as Wages. 

Another most fruitful source of ambiguity arises from the 
use of the word Wages, sometimes as expressing a quantity, 
sometimes as expressing a proportion. 

In ordinary language, Wages means the amount of some 
commodity, generally of silver, given to the labourer in 
return for a given exertion ; and they rise or fall, as that 
amount is increased or diminished. 

In the language of Mr. Ricardo, they usually mean the 
labourer's proportion of what is produced, supposing that 
produce to be divided between him and the Capitalist. In 
this sense they generally rise as the whole produce is dimi- 
nished ; though, if the word be used in the other sense, 
they generally fall. If Mr. Ricardo had constantly used 
the word " Wages," to express a proportion, the only 
inconvenience would have been the necessity of always 
translating this expression into common language. But 
he is not consistent. When he says,* that " whatever 
raises the Wages of labour lowers the Profits of stock," 
he considers Wages as a proportion. When he says,f 
that " high Wages encourage population ;" he considers 
wages as an amount. Even Mr. M'Culloch, who has 
clearly explained the ambiguity, has not escaped it. He 
has even suffered it to affect his reasonings. In his 
valuable essay, " On the Rate of Wages,"J he admits that 
" when Wages are high, the Capitalist has to pay a larger 
share of the produce of industry to his labourers." An 
admission utterly inconsistent with his general use of the 
word, as expressing the amount of what the labourer 

* " Principles," &c. p. 312. f Ibid. p. 83. J P. 161. 

D D 


receives, which, as he has himself observed,* may increase 
while his proportion diminishes. 

A few only have been noticed of the ambiguities which 
attach to the seven terms that have been selected ; and 
these terms have been fixed on, not as the most ambiguous, 
but as the most important, in the political nomenclature. 
" Supply and Demand," " Productive and Unproductive," 
" Overtrading," and very many others, both in political 
economy, and in other subjects, which are often used with- 
out any more explanation, or any more suspicion of their 
requiring it, than the words " triangle " or " twenty," 
are perhaps even more liable to ambiguities than those 
above treated of. But it is sufficient for the purpose of 
this Appendix to have noticed, by way of specimens, a 
few of the most remarkable terms in several different 
branches of knowledge, in order to show both the fre- 
quency of an ambiguous use of language, and the im- 
portance of clearing up such ambiguity. 

* " Principles of Political Economy," p. 365. 


No. II. 


N.B. In such of the following Examples as are not in a 
syllogistic form, it is intended that the student should 
practise the reduction of them into that form ; those of 
them, that is, in which the reasoning is in itself sound : 
vlss. where it is impossible to admit the Premises and 
deny the Conclusion. Of such as are apparent Syllo- 
gisms, the validity must be tried by logical rules, which 
it may be advisable to apply in the following order : 
1st. Observe whether the argument be Categorical or 
Hypothetical ; recollecting that an hypothetical Premiss 
does not necessarily imply an hypothetical Syllogism, 
unless the reasoning turns on the hypothesis. If this 
appear to be the case, the rules for hypothetical Syllo- 
gisms must be applied. 2dly. If the argument be cate- 
gorical, count the terms. Sdly. If only three, observe 
whether the Middle be distributed. 4thly. Observe 
whether the Premises are both negative ; (i. e. really, 
and not in appearance only,) and if one is, whether the 
Conclusion be negative also; or affirmative, if both 
Premises affirmative. 5thly. Observe what terms are 
Distributed in the conclusion, and whether the same are 
D D2 


distributed in the Premises. Gthly. If the Syllogism is 

not a Categorical in the first Figure, reduce it to that 

1. No one is free who is enslaved by his appetites: a 
sensualist is enslaved by his appetities: therefore a sen- 
sualist is not free. 

2. None but Whites are civilized : the ancient Germans 
were Whites : therefore they were civilized. 

3. None but Whites are bivilized : the Hindoos are not 
Whites : therefore they are not civilized. 

4. None but civilized people are Whites : the Gauls were 
Whites : therefore they were civilized. 

5 No one is rich who has not enough: no miser has 
enough : therefore no miser is rich. 

6. If penal laws against Papists were enforced, they 
would be aggrieved: but penal laws against them are not 
enforced : therefore the Papists are not aggrieved. 

7. If all testimony to miracles is to be admitted, the 
popish legends are to be believed : but the popish legends 
are not to be believed: therefore no testimony to miracles 
is to be admitted. 

8. If men are not likely to be influenced in the perform- 
ance of a known duty by taking an oath to perform it, the 
oaths commonly administered are superfluous : if they are 
likely to be so influenced, every one should be made to 
take an oath to behave rightly throughout his life ; but one 
or the other of these must be the case : therefore either the 
oaths commonly administered are superfluous, or every 
man should be made to take an oath to behave rightly 
throughout his life. 

9. The Scriptures must be admitted to be agreeable to 
truth ; and the Church of England is conformable to the 
Scriptures : A. B. is a divine of the Church of England ; 


and this opinion is in accordance with his sentiments : there- 
fore it must be presumed to be true. 

10. Enoch (according to the testimony of Scripture) 
pleased God ; but without faith it is impossible to please 
Him; (for he that cometh to God must believe that He 
is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek 
Him) : therefore $(?. 

1J. "If Abraham were justified by works, then had he 

whereof to glory [before God :] btlt not [any one can have whereof 

to glory] before God :" therefore Abraham was not justified 
by works. 

12. " He that is of God heareth my words ; ye therefore 
hear them not, because ye are not of God." 

13. Few treatises of science convey important truths, 
without any intermixture of error, in a perspicuous and 
interesting form: and therefore, though a treatise would 
deserve much attention which should possess such excel- 
lence, it is plain that few treatises of science do deserve 
much attention. 

14. We are bound to set apart one day in seven for 
religious duties, if the fourth commandment is obligatory 
on us : but we are bound to set apart one day in seven for 
religious duties ; and hence it appears that the fourth com- 
mandment is obligatory on us. 

15. Abstinence from the eating of blood had reference 
to the divine institution of sacrifices : one of the precepts 
delivered to Noah was abstinence from the eating of blood ; 
therefore one of the precepts delivered to Noah contained 
the divine institution of sacrifices. 

16. If expiatory sacrifices were divinely appointed be- 
fore the Mosaic law, they must have been expiatory, not of 
ceremonial sin (which could not then exist), but of moral 
sin : if so, the Levitical sacrifices must have had no less 
efficacy ; and in that case, the atonements under the Mosaic 


law would have " made the comers thereunto perfect as 
pertaining to the conscience ;" but this was not the case : 

therefore, C. [Davison on Prophecy.] 

17. The adoration of images is forbidden to Christians, 
if we suppose the Mosaic law designed not for the Israel- 
ites alone, but for all men : it was designed, however, for 
the Israelites alone, and not for all men : therefore the ado- 
ration of images is not forbidden to Christians. 

18. A desire to gain by another's loss is a violation of 
the tenth commandment: all gaming, therefore, since it 
implies a desire to profit at the expense of another, involves 
a breach of the tenth commandment. 

19. All the fish that the net enclosed were an indiscri- 
minate mixture of various kinds : those that were set aside 
and saved as valuable, were fish that the net enclosed : 
therefore those that were set aside, and saved as valuable, 
were an indiscriminate mixture of various kinds. 

20. All the elect are finally saved : such persons as are 
arbitrarily separated from the rest of mankind by the 
divine decree are the elect : therefore such persons as are 
arbitrarily separated from the rest of mankind by the 
divine decree, are finally saved. [The opponents of this Conclusion 

generally deny the Minor Premiss and admit the Major ; the reverse would 
be the more sound and the more effectual objection.] 

21. No one who lives with another on terms of confi- 
dence is justified, on any pretence, in killing him : Brutus 
lived on terms of confidence with Caesar : therefore he was 
not justified, on the pretence he pleaded, in killing him. 

22. He that destroys a man who usurps despotic power 
in a free country deserves well of his countrymen : Brutus 
destroyed Caesar, who usurped despotic power in Rome: 
therefore he deserved well of the Romans. 

23. If virtue is voluntary, vice is voluntary : virtue is 
voluntary : therefore so is vice. [Aristh. Eth. B. Hi.] 


24. A wise lawgiver must either recognize the rewards 
and punishments of a future state, or must be able to 
appeal to an extraordinary Providence, dispensing them 
regularly in this life ; Moses did not do the former : there- 
fore he must have done the latter. [Warburton.] 

25. Nothing which is of less frequent occurrence than 
the falsity of testimony can be fairly established by testi- 
mony : any extraordinary and unusual fact is a thing of 
less frequent occurrence than the falsity of testimony 
(that being very common) : therefore no extraordinary 
and unusual fact can be fairly established by testi- 

26. Testimony is a kind of evidence which is very likely 
to be false : the evidence on which most men believe that 
there are pyramids in Egypt is testimony : therefore the 
evidence on which most men believe that there are pyra- 
mids in Egypt is very likely to be false. 

27. The religion of the ancient Greeks and Romans was 
a tissue of extravagant fables and groundless superstitions, 
credited by the vulgar and the weak, and maintained by 
the more enlightened, from selfish or political views : the 
same was clearly the case with the religion of the Egyp- 
tians : the same may be said of the Brahminical worship 
of India, and the religion of Fo, professed by the Chinese : 
the same, of the romantic mythological system of the Pe- 
ruvians, of the stern and bloody rites of the Mexicans, and 
those of the Britons and of the Saxons: hence we may 
conclude that all systems of religion, however varied in 
circumstances, agree in being superstitions kept up among 
the vulgar, from interested or political views in the more 

enlightened classes. [See Dissertation, Chap. i. 2. p. 234.] 

28. No man can possess power to perform impossibilities ; 
a miracle is an impossibility : therefore no man can possess 
power to perform a miracle. [See Appendix, p. 333.] 


29. A. B. and C. D. are each of. them equal to E. F. : 
therefore they are equal to each other. 

30. Protection from punishment is plainly due to the 
innocent : therefore, as you maintain that this person ought 
not to be punished, it appears that you are convinced of his 

31. All the most bitter persecutions have been religious 
persecutions : among the most bitter persecutions were 
those which occurred in France during the revolution : 
therefore they must have been religious persecutions. 

32. He who cannot possibly act otherwise than he does, 
has neither merit nor demerit in his action : a liberal and 
benevolent man cannot possibly act otherwise than he 
does in relieving the poor : therefore such a man has 
neither merit nor demerit in his action. [See Appendix, pp. 

350, 351.] 

33. What happens every day is not improbable : some 
things against which the chances are many thousands to 
one, happen every day : therefore some things against 
which the chances are many thousands to one, are not 

34. The early and general assignment of the Epistle to 
the Hebrews to Paul as its author, must have been either 
from its professing to be his, and containing his name, or 
from its really being his ; since, therefore, the former of 
these is not the fact, the Epistle must be Paul's. 

35. " With some of them God was not well pleased : for 
they were overthrown in the wilderness." 

36. A sensualist wishes to enjoy perpetual gratifications 
without satiety: it is impossible to enjoy perpetual grati- 
fications without satiety : therefore it is impossible for a 
sensualist to obtain his wish. 

37. If Paley's system is to be received, one who has no 
knowledge of a future state has no means of distinguishing 


virtue and vice : now one who has no means of distinguish- 
ing virtue and vice can commit no sin : therefore, if Paley's 
system is to be received, one who has no knowledge of a 
future state can commit no sin. 

38. The principles of justice are variable : the appoint- 
ments of nature are invariable : therefore the principles of 
justice are no appointment of nature. [Arist. Eth. B. v. ] 

39. Every one desires happiness : virtue is happiness : 
therefore every one desires virtue. [Arist. Eth. B. Hi.] 

40. A story is not to believed, the reporters of which 
give contradictory accounts of it ; the story of the life and 
exploits of Buonaparte is of this description : therefore it is 
not to be believed. (Tfe Elements, p. 28.] 

41. When the observance of the first day of the week as 
a religious festival in commemoration of Christ's resurrec- 
tion, was first introduced, it must have been a novelty: 
when it was a novelty, it must have attracted notice : when 
it attracted notice, it would lead to inquiry respecting the 
truth of the resurrection: when it led to this inquiry, it 
must have exposed the story as an imposture, supposing 
it not attested by living witnesses : therefore, when the ob- 
servance of the first day of the week, c. was first introduced, 
it must have exposed as an imposture the story of the re- 
surrection, supposing it not attested by living witnesses. 

42. All the miracles of Jesus would fill more books than 
the world could contain : the things related by the Evangelists 
are the miracles of Jesus : therefore the things related by 
the Evangelists would fill more books than the world could 

43. If the prophecies of the Old Testament had been 
written without knowledge of the events of the time of 
Christ, they could not correspond with them exactly ; and 
if they had been forged by Christians, they would not 
be preserved and acknowledged by the Jews : they are 


preserved and acknowledged by the Jews, and they corre- 
spond exactly with the events of the time of Christ : there- 
fore they were neither written without knowledge of those 
events, nor were forged by Christians. 

44. Of two evils the less is to be preferred : occasional 
turbulence, therefore, being a less evil than rigid despotism, 
is to be preferred to it. 

45. According to theologians, a man must possess faith 
in order to be acceptable to the Deity : now he who believes 
all the fables of the Hindoo mythology must possess faith : 
therefore such an one must, according to theologians, be 
acceptable to the Deity. 

46. If Abraham were justified, it must have been either 
by faith or by works : now he was not justified by faith, 
(according to James,) nor by works, (according to Paul): 
therefore Abraham was not justified. 

47. No evil should be allowed that good may come of it : 
all punishment is an evil : therefore no punishment should 
be allowed that good may come of it. 

48. Repentance is a good thing: wicked men abound in 
repentance [Arist. Eth. B. .] : therefore wicked men abound in 
what is good. 

49. A person infected with the plague will (probably) die 

[suppose three in five of the infected die] : this man is (probably) 

infected with the plague [suppose it an even chance] : therefore 

he will (probably) die. [Query. What is the amount of this proba- 
bility ? Again, suppose the probability of the major to be (instead of *) i, 
and of the minor, (instead of 2) to be ?, Query. What will be the probability 
of the conclusion ?] 

50. It must be admitted, indeed, that a man who has been 
accustomed to enjoy liberty cannot be happy in the condition 
of a slave : many of the negroes, however, may be happy in 
the condition of slaves, because they have never been accus- 
tomed to enjoy liberty. 

51. Whatever is dictated by Nature is allowable: de- 


votedness to the pursuit of pleasure in youth, and to that 
of gain in old age, are dictated by nature [Arist. Rhet. B. ii.] : 
therefore they are allowable. 

52. He is the greatest lover of any one who seeks that 
person's greatest good : a virtuous man seeks the greatest 
good for himself: therefore a virtuous man is the greatest 
lover of himself. [Arist. Eth. B. ix.] 

53. He who has a confirmed habit of any kind of action, 
exercises no self-denial in the practice of that action: a 
good man has a confirmed habit of Virtue : therefore he 
who exercises self-denial in the practice of Virtue is not a 
good man. [Arist. Eth. B. ii.] 

54. That man is independent of the caprices of Fortune 
who places his chief happiness in moral and intellectual 
excellence : a true philosopher is independent of the ca- 
prices of Fortune : therefore a true philosopher is one 
who places his chief happiness in moral and intellectual 

55. A system of government which extends to those ac- 
tions that are performed secretly, must be one which refers 
either to a regular divine providence in this life, or to the 
rewards and punishments of another world : every perfect 
system of government must extend to those actions which 
are performed secretly : no system of government therefore 
can be perfect, which does not refer either to a regular 
divine providence in this life, or to the rewards and punish- 
ments of another world. [Warburton's Divine Legation.] 

56. For those who are bent on cultivating their minds by 
diligent study, the incitement of academical honours is un- 
necessary ; and it is ineffectual, for the idle, and such as are 
indifferent to mental improvement : therefore the incitement 
of academical honours is either unnecessary or ineffectual. 

57. He who is properly called an actor, does not en- 
deavour to make his hearers believe that the sentiments he 


expresses and the feelings he exhibits, are really his own : 
a barrister does this : therefore he is not properly to be 
called an actor. 

58. He who bears arms at the command of the magis- 
trate does what is lawful for a Christian : the Swiss in the 
French service, and the British in the American service, 
bore arms at the command of the magistrate: therefore 
they did what was lawful for a Christian. 

59. If Lord Bacon is right, it is improper to stock a new 
colony with the refuse of Jails : but this we must allow not 
to be improper, if our method of colonizing New South 
Wales be a wise one : if this be wise, therefore, Lord 
Bacon is not right. 

60. Logic is indeed worthy of being cultivated, if Aris- 
totle is to be regarded as infallible : but he is not : Logic 
therefore is not worthy of being cultivated. 

61. All studies are useful which tend to advance a man in 
life, or to increase national and private wealth : but the 
course of studies pursued at Oxford has no such tendency : 
therefore it is not useful. 

62. If the exhibition of criminals, publicly executed, 
tends to heighten in others the dread of undergoing the 
same fate, it may be expected that those soldiers who have 
seen the most service, should have the most dread of death 
in battle : but the reverse of this is the case : therefore the 
former is not to be believed. 

63. If the everlasting favour of God is not bestowed at 
random, and on no principle at all, it must be bestowed 
either with respect to men's persons, or with respect to 
their conduct : but " God is no respecter of persons : " 
therefore his favour must be bestowed with respect to 

men's conduct. [Sumner's Apostolical Preaching.] 

64. If transportation is not felt as a severe punishment, 
it is in itself ill-suited to the prevention of crime : if it is so 


felt, much of its severity is wasted, from its taking place at 
too great a distance to affect the feelings, or even come to 
the knowledge, of most of those whom it is designed to 
deter ; but one or other of these must be the case : therefore 
transportation is not calculated to answer the purpose of 
preventing crime. 

65. War is productive of evil : therefore peace is likely to 
be productive of good. 

66. Some objects of great beauty answer no other per- 
ceptible purpose but to gratify the sight : many flowers have 
great beauty; and many of them accordingly answer no 
other purpose but to gratify the sight. 

67. A man who deliberately devotes himself to a life of 
sensuality is deserving of strong reprobation : but those do 
not deliberately devote themselves to a life of sensuality 
who are hurried into excess by the impulse of the pas- 
sions : such therefore as are hurried into excess by the 
impulse of the passions are not deserving of strong repro- 
bation. [Arist. Eth. B. vii.] 

68. It is a difficult task to restrain all inordinate desires : 
to conform to the precepts of Scripture implies a restraint 
of all inordinate desires : therefore it is a difficult task to 
conform to the precepts of Scripture. 

69. Any one who is candid will refrain from condemning 
a book without reading it : some Reviewers do not refrain 
from this : therefore some Reviewers are not candid. 

70. If any objection that can be urged would justify a 
change of established laws, no laws could reasonably be 
maintained : but some laws can reasonably be maintained : 
therefore no objection that can be urged will justify a 
change of established laws. 

71. If any complete theory could be framed, to explain 
the establishment of Christianity by human causes, such a 
theory would have been proposed before now ; but none 


such ever has been proposed : therefore no such theory can 
be framed. 

72. He who is content with what he has, is truly rich : 
a covetous man is not content with what he has : no covet- 
ous man therefore is truly rich. 

73. A true prophecy coincides precisely with all the cir- 
cumstances of such an event as could not be conjectured by 
natural reason : this is the case with the prophecies of the 
Messiah contained in the Old Testament : therefore these 
are true prophecies. 

74. The connexion of soul and body cannot be compre- 
hended or explained ; but it must be believed : therefore 
something must be believed which cannot be comprehended 
or explained. 

75. Lias lies above Red Sandstone ; Red Sandstone lies 
above Coal : therefore Lias lies above Coal. 

76. Cloven feet belonging universally to horned animals, 
we may conclude that this fossil animal, since it appears to 
have had cloven feet, was horned. 

77. All that glitters is not gold : tinsel glitters : therefore 
it is not gold. 

78. A negro is a man : therefore he who murders a negro 
murders a man. 

79. Meat and Drink are necessaries of life : the reve- 
nues of Vitellius were spent on Meat and Drink : therefore 
the revenues of Vitellius were spent on the necessaries of life. 

80. Nothing is heavier than Platina : feathers are heavier 
than nothing : therefore feathers are heavier than Platina. 

81. The child of Themistocles governed his mother: 
she governed her husband ; he governed Athens ; Athens, 
Greece ; and Greece, the world : therefore the child of 
Themistocles governed the world. 

82. He who calls you a man speaks truly : he who calls 
you a fool, calls you a man : therefore he who calls you a 
fool speaks truly. 


83. Warm countries alone produce wines : Spain is a 
warm country : therefore Spain produces wines. 

84. It is an intensely cold climate that is sufficient to 
freeze Quicksilver : the climate of Siberia is sufficient to 
freeze Quicksilver : therefore the climate of Siberia is 
intensely cold. 

85. Mistleto of the oak is a vegetable excrescence which 
is not a plant ; and every vegetable excrescence which is not 
a plant, is possessed of magical virtues : therefore Mistleto 
of the oak is possessed of magical virtues. 

86. If the hour-hand of a clock be any distance (suppose 
a foot) before the minute-hand, this last, though moving 
twelve times faster, can never overtake the other ; for while 
the minute-hand is moving over those twelve inches, the 
hour-hand will have moved over one inch ; so that they 
will then be an inch apart ; and while the minute-hand is 
moving over that one inch, the hour-hand will have moved 
over ^ inch, so that it will still be a-head ; and again, 
while the minute-hand is passing over that space of ^ inch 
which now divides them, the hour-hand will pass over ^ 
inch; so that it will still be a-head, though the distance 
between the two is diminished; fyc. $c. $c., and thus it is 
plain we may go on for ever : therefore the minute-hand can 
never overtake the hour-hand. [This is one of the sophistical 

puzzles noticed by Aldrich (the moving bodies being Achilles and a Tortoise ;) 
but he is not happy in his attempt at a solution. He proposes to remove the 
difficulty by demonstrating that, in a certain given time, Achilles would over- 
take the Tortoise : as if any one had ever doubted that. The very problem 
proposed is to surmount the difficulty of a seeming demonstration of a thing 
palpably impossible ; to show that it is palpably impossible, is no solution of 
the problem. 

I have heard the present example adduced as a proof that the pretensions 
of Logic are futile, since (it was said) the most perfect logical demonstration 
may lead from true premises to an absurd conclusion. The reverse is the 
truth ; the example before us furnishes a confirmation of the utility of an 
acquaintance with the syllogistic form ; in which form the pretended demon- 
stration in question cannot possibly be exhibited. An attempt to do so will 


evince the utter want of connexion between the premises and the con- 

87. Theft is a crime : theft was encouraged by the laws of 
Sparta : therefore the laws of Sparta encouraged crime. 

88. Every hen comes from an egg : every egg comes from 
a hen : therefore every egg comes from an egg. 

89. Jupiter was the son of Saturn : therefore the son of 
Jupiter was the grandson of Saturn. 

90. All cold is to be expelled by heat : this person's dis- 
order is a cold : therefore it is to be expelled by heat. 

91. Wine is a stimulant : therefore in a case where stimu- 
lants are hurtful, wine is hurtful. 

92. Opium is a poison: but physicians advise some of 
their patients to take opium : therefore physicians advise 
some of their patients to take poison. 

93. What we eat grew in the fields : loaves of bread are 
what we eat : therefore loaves of bread grew in the fields. 

94. Animal-food may be entirely dispensed with : (as is 
shewn by the practice of the Brahmins and of some monks ;) 
and vegetable-food may be entirely dispensed with (as is 
plain from the example of the Esquimaux and others ;) but 
all food consists of animal-food and vegetable-food : there- 
fore all food may be dispensed with. 

95. No trifling business will enrich those engaged in it : a 
mining speculation is no trifling business : therefore a mining 
speculation will enrich those engaged in it. 

96. He who is most hungry eats most; he who eats least 
is most hungry : therefore he who eats least eats most. 

[See Aldrich's Compendium : Fallaciae : where this is rightly solved.] 

97. Whatever body is in motion must move either in 
the place where it is, or in a place where it is not : neither 
of these is possible : therefore there is no such thing as 

motion. [In this instance, as well as in the one lately noticed, Aldrich 
mistakes the character of the difficulty ; which is, not to prove the truth of 
that which is self-evident, but to explain an apparent demonstration militat- 


ing against that which nevertheless no one ever doubted. He says in this 
case, "solvitur ambulando;" but (pace tanti viri) this is no solution at all, 
but is the very 'thing which constitutes the difficulty in question ; for it is 
precisely because we know the possibility of motion, that a seeming proof of 
its impossibility produces perplexity. See Introduction, p. 4.] 

98. All vegetables grow most in the increase of the 
moon : hair is a vegetable : therefore hair grows most in 
the increase of the moon. 

99. Most of the studies pursued at Oxford conduce to 
the improvement of the mind : all the works of the most 
celebrated ancients are among the studies pursued at Ox- 
ford : therefore some of the works of the most celebrated 
ancients conduce to the improvement of the mind. 

100. Some poisons are vegetable: no poisons are useful 
drugs : therefore some useful drugs are not vegetable. 

101. A theory will speedily be exploded, if false, which 
appeals to the evidence of observation and experiment : 
Craniology appeals to this evidence : therefore, if Cranio- 
logy be a false theory, it will speedily be exploded. [Let the 

probability of one of these premises be I; and of the other -: Query. 
What is the probability of the conclusion, and which are the terms ?] 

102. Wilkes was a favourite with the populace ; he who 
is a favourite with the populace must understand how to 
manage them : he who understands how to manage them, 
must be well acquainted with their character : he who 
is well acquainted with their character, must hold them in 
contempt : therefore Wilkes must have held the populace in 

103. To discover whether man has any moral sense, he 
should be viewed in that state in which all his faculties 
are most fully developed ; the civilized state is that in which 
all man's faculties are most fully developed : therefore, to 
discover whether man has any moral sense, he should be 
viewed in a civilized state. 

104. Revenge, Robbery, Adultery, Infanticide, $c. have 
been countenanced by public opinion in several countries : 

E E 


all the crimes we know of are Revenge, Robbery, 
Adultery, Infanticide, $c. : therefore, all the crimes we 
know of have been countenanced by public opinion in 

several Countries. [Paley's Moral Philosophy.] 

105. No soldiers should be brought into the field who 
are not well qualified to perform their part. None but 
veterans are well qualified to perform their part. None but 
veterans should be brought into the field. 

106. A monopoly of the sugar-refining business is bene- 
ficial to sugar- refiners : and of the corn-trade to corn- 
growers : and of the silk-manufacture to silk-weavers, 
$c. $c. ; and thus each class of men are benefited by some 
restrictions. Now all these classes of men make up the 
whole community: therefore a system of restrictions is 
beneficial to the community. [See Chap. iii. n.] 

107. There are two kinds of things which we ought 
not to fret about : what we can help, and what we cannot. 

[To be stated as a Dilemma.] 

108. He who believes himself to be always in the right 
in his opinion, lays claim to infallibility : you always believe 
yourself to be in the right in your opinion : therefore you 
lay claim to infallibility. 

109. No part of mankind can ever have received divine 
instruction in any of the arts of life ; because the Israelites, 
who are said to have had a revelation made to them of religion, 
did not know in the times of Solomon, that the circum- 
ference of a Circle differs from the treble of the Diameter. 

110. The Epistle attributed to Barnabas is not to be 
reckoned among the writings of the Apostolic Fathers ; 
because, if genuine it is a part of Scripture, and, if 
spurious, it is the work of some forger of a later age. 

111. If the original civilization of Mankind was not the 
work of a divine Instructor, some instance may be found 
of a nation of savages having civilized themselves. [Pol. Econ. 

Lect. V.] 


112. The Law of Moses prohibited theft, murder, $c. 
But that Law is abolished : therefore theft, murder, 8fc. 
are not prohibited. 

113. Agriculture might have been invented by man, 
without a superhuman instructor : and so might the 
working of metals ; and so might medicine ; and so might 
navigation, &c. and in short there is no art of civilized life 
that can be pointed out, which might not have been in- 
vented by the natural faculties of man. Therefore the arts 
of civilized life might have been invented by man without any 
superhuman instructor.* 

* See Polit. Econ. Lect. V. p. 123. 



No. III. 


SOME have expressed much contempt for the mode in 
which Logic is usually taught, and in which students are 
examined in it, as comprising no more than a mere enu- 
meration of technical rules, and perhaps an application of 
them to the simplest examples, exhibited in a form already 
syllogistic, or nearly so, That such a description, if in- 
tended to be universal, is not correct, I am perfectly certain ; 
though, hitherto, the indiscriminate requisition of Logic 
from all candidates for a Degree, has confined both lectures 
and examinations, in a greater degree than is desirable, to 
this elementary character. But the student who wishes to 
acquire, and to show that he has acquired, not only the 
elementary rules, but a facility of applying them in prac- 
tice, should proceed from the study of such examples as 
the foregoing, to exercise himself in analysing logically, 
according to the rules here given, and somewhat in the 
manner of the subjoined specimen, some of Euclid's de- 
monstrations, various portions of Aristotle's Works, the 
opening of Warburton's " Divine Legation," (which ex- 
hibits the arguments in a form very nearly syllogistic) 
several parts of Chillingworth's Defence of Protestantism, 
the concluding part of Paley's Horse Paulinas, Leslie's 
Method with the Deists, various portions of A. Smith's 
Wealth of Nations, and other argumentative Works on 
the most dissimilar subjects. The latter part of 1. 
Chap. V. of the Dissertation on the Province of Reason- 
ing, will furnish a convenient subject of a short analysis. 


A. student who should prepare himself, in this manner, 
in one or more such books, and present himself for this 
kind of examination in them, would furnish a good test 
for ascertaining his proficiency in practical Logic. 

As the rules of Logic apply to arguments only after they 
have been exhibited at full length in the bare elementary 
form, it may be useful to subjoin some remarks on the 
mode of analysing and reducing to that form, any train of 
argument that may be presented to us : since this must in 
general be the first step taken in an attempt to apply logical 

First then, of whatever length the reasoning may be, 
whether treatise, chapter, or paragraph, begin with the 
concluding assertion ; not necessarily the last sentence 
expressed, but the last point established ; and this, whe- 
ther it be formally enunciated, or left to be understood. 
Then, tracing the reasoning backwards, observe on what 
ground that assertion is made. The assertion will be 
your Conclusion ; the ground on which it rests, your Pre- 
mises. The whole Syllogism thus obtained may be tried 
by the rules of Logic. 

If no incorrectness appear in this syllogism, proceed to 
take the premises separately, and pursue with each the same 
plan as with the conclusion you first stated. A premiss 
must have been used as such, either because it required no 
proof, or because it had been proved. If it have not been 
proved, consider whether it be so self-evident as to have 
needed no proof. If it have been proved, you must regard 
it as a conclusion derived from other assertions which are 
premises to it: so that the process with which you set 

* These directions are, in substance, and nearly, in words, extracted 
from the Preface to Hinds's abridged introduction to Logic. 


out will be repeated ; 2??'*. to observe on what grounds the 
assertion rests, to state these as premises, and to apply 
the proper rules to the syllogism thus obtained. Having 
satisfied yourself of the correctness of this, proceed, as 
before, to state its premises, if needful, as conclusions de- 
rived from other assertions. And thus the analysis will 
go on (if the whole chain of argument be correct) till you 
arrive at the premises with which the whole commences; 
which of course should be assertions requiring no proof; 
or, if the chain be any where faulty, the analysis will pro- 
ceed till you come to some proposition, either assumed as 
self-evident, though requiring proof, or incorrectly deduced 
from other assertions.* 

It will often happen that the same assertion will have 
been proved by many different arguments ; and then, the 
inquiry into the truth of the premises will branch out ac- 
cordingly. In mathematical or other demonstrative rea- 
soning, this will of course never take place, since absolute 
certainty admits of no increase: and if, as is often the 

Many students probably will find it a very clear and convenient 
mode of exhibiting the logical analysis of a course of argument, to draw 
it out in the form of a Tree, or Logical Division ; thus, 

[Ultimate Conclusion. 1 

proved by 

IY is x, 



Zis Y? 
proved by 

' A is Y, Z is A, ~ 
[suppose proved by 
admitted.] &c, 

^the argument that and by the 1 
| argument that 

Tfi is X. Y is B, 1 

&c. &c. 

fC is X, 




case, the same truth admits of several different demonstra- 
tions, we select the simplest and clearest, and discard the 
rest. But in probable reasoning there is often a Cumula- 
tion of arguments, each proving the same conclusion ; i. e. 
each proving it to be probable. In such cases therefore 
you will have first to try each argument separately ; and 
should each of them establish the conclusion as in some 
degree probable, you will then have to calculate the aggre- 
gate probability. 

In this calculation Logic only so far assists as it enables 
us to place the several items of probability in the most 
convenient form. As the degree of probability of each 
proposition that is assumed, is a point to be determined 
by the reasoner's own sagacity and experience as to the 
matter in hand, so, the degree of probability of each con- 
clusion, (given, that of each of its premises,)* and also 
the collective probability resulting from several different 
arguments all tending to the same conclusion, is an arith- 
metical question. But the assistance afforded by logical 
rules in clearly stating the several items so as to prepare 
the way for the other operations, will not be thought lightly 
of by any who have observed the confusion of thought and 
the fallacy, which have often been introduced through the 
want of such a statement. 

Example of Analysis applied to the first part of Paleys 

The ultimate Conclusion, that " The Christian Religion 
came from God " is made to rest (as far as " the direct 
historical evidence " is concerned) on these two premises ; 
That "A Religion attested by Miracles is from God;" 
and that " The Christian Religion is so attested." 

* See Fallacies, 14, near the end. 


Of these two premises, it should be remarked, the Minor 
seems to have been admitted, while the Major was denied, 
by the unbelievers of old: whereas at present the case 
is reversed.* 

Paley's argument therefore goes to establish the Minor 
premiss, about which alone, in these days, there is likely 
to be any question. 

He states with this view, two propositions : viz. 

PROP. I. " That there is satisfactory evidence, that many, pro- 
fessing to be original witnesses of the Christian miracles, passed 
their lives in labours, dangers, and sufferings, voluntarily under- 
gone in attestation of the accounts which they delivered, and solely 
in consequence of their belief of those accounts ; and that they 
also submitted, from the same motives, to new rules of conduct." 

PROP. II. " That there is NOT satisfactory evidence, that 
persons pretending to be original witnesses of any other similar 
miracles, have acted in the same manner, in attestation of the 
accounts which they delivered, and solely in consequence of 
their belief of the truth of those accounts." 

Of these two propositions, the latter, it will easily be 
perceived, is the Major premiss, stated as the converse by 
Negation (Book II. Chap. ii. 4) of a universal affirmative: 
the former proposition is the Minor. 

* It is clear from the fragments remaining of the ancient arguments 
against Christianity, and the allusions to them in Christian writers, and 
also from the Jewish accounts of the life of Jesus which are still extant, 
that the original opponents of Christianity admitted that miracles were 
wrought, but denied that they proved the divine origin of the religion, 
and attributed them to Magic. This concession, in persons living so 
much nearer to the times assigned to the miracles, should be noticed as 
an important evidence ; for, credulous as men were in those days respect- 
ing magic, they would hardly have resorted to this explanation, unless 
some, at least plausible, evidence for the miracles had been adduced. 
And they could not but be sensible that to prove (had that been possible) 
the pretended miracles to be impostures, would have been the most deci~ 
jive course ; since that would at once have disproved the religion. 


As a Syllogism in Barbara therefore, the whole will stand 
thus : 

" All miracles attested by such and such evidence, are worthy 
of credit :" (by conversion, " none which are not worthy of credit 
are so attested.") 

" The Christian miracles are attested by such and such evi- 
dence :" Therefore " they are worthy of credit." 

The Minor premiss is first proved by being taken as 
several distinct ones, each of which is separately esta- 
blished.^ Book II. Chap. iv. 1. 

I. It is proved that the first propagators of Christianity 
suffered ; by showing, 

1st. A priori, from the nature of the case, that they were 
likely to suffer : [because they were preachers of a 
religion unexpected and unwelcome: 1. to the Jews; 
and 2. to Gentiles.*] 
2d. From profane testimony. 

3d. From the testimony of Christian Writings. [And 
here comes in the proof of one of the premises of 
this last argument ; viz. the proof of the credibility, 
as to this point at least, of the Christian Writings.] 
These arguments are cumulative ; i. e. each separately 
goes to establish the probability of the one common conclu- 
sion, that " the first propagators of Christianity suffered" 

By similar arguments it is shown that their sufferings 
were such as they voluntarily exposed themselves to. 

II. It is proved that "What they suffered for was a 

miraculous story :" by 

1st. The nature of the case ; They could have had nothing 
but miracles on which to rest the claims of the new 

* As Paul expresses it, " to the Jews, a stumUing-block ; and to the 
Greeks, foolishness" 


2d. By allusions to miracles, particularly to the Resur- 
rection, both in Christian and in Profane Writers, as 
the evidence on which the religion rested. 
The same course of argument goes to show that the 
miracles in attestation of which they suffered were such as 
they professed to have witnessed. 

These arguments again are cumulative. 

III. It is proved that "The miracles thus attested are what 

we call the Christian miracles ; " in other words, that the 

story was, in the main, that which we have now in the 

Christian Scriptures ; by 

1st. The nature of the case; vi%. that it is improbable 
the original story should have completely died away, 
and a substantially new one have occupied its place ; 

2d. by The incidental allusions of ancient writers, both 
Christian and profane, to accounts agreeing with those 
of our Scriptures, as the ones then received ; 

3d. by The credibility of our Historical Scriptures: This 
is established by several distinct arguments, each sepa- 
rately tending to show that these books were, from the 
earliest ages of Christianity, well known and carefully 
preserved among Christians : viz. 

i. They were quoted by ancient Christian writers, 

ii. with peculiar respect. 

iii. Collected into a distinct volume, and 

iv. distinguished by appropriate names and titles of 

v. Publicly read and expounded, and 

vi. had commentaries) tyc. written on them : 

vii. Were received by Christians of different sects ; 
S;c. Sfc* 

* For some important remarks respecting the different ways in which 
this part of the argument is presented to different persons, See " Hinds 
on Inspiration," pp. 30 46. 


The latter part of the first main proposition, branches off 
into two; viz. 1st, that the early Christians submitted to 
new rules of conduct ; 2d, that they did so, in consequence 
of their belief in miracles wrought before them. 

Each of these is established in various parts of the above 
course of argument, and by similar premises; viz. the 
nature of the case, the accounts of heathen writers, and 
the testimony of the Christian Scriptures, $c. 

The Major premiss, that " Miracles thus attested are 
worthy of credit," (which must be combined with the former, 
in order to establish the conclusion, that " the Christian 
miracles are worthy of credit,") is next to be established. 

Previously to his entering on the second main propo- 
sition, (which I have stated to be the Converse by nega- 
tion of this Major premiss,) he draws his conclusion (Ch. x, 
Part I.) from the Minor premiss, in combination with the 
Major, resting that Major on 

1st. The d priori improbability that a false story 
should have been thus attested : viz. 

" If it be so, the religion must be true.* These men could not 
be deceivers. By only not bearing testimony, they might have 
avoided all these sufferings, and have lived quietly. Would men 
in such circumstances pretend to have seen what they never saw ; 
assert facts which they had no knowledge of ; go about lying, to 
teach virtue ; and, though not only convinced of Christ's being 
an impostor, but having seen the success of his imposture in his 
crucifixion, yet persist in carrying it on; and so persist, as to 
bring upon themselves, for nothing, and with a full knowledge of 
the consequence, enmity, and hatred, danger and death ?" 

2d. That no false story of Miracles is likely to be so 

* This is the ultimate conclusion deduced from the premiss, that " it 
is attested by real Miracles ; " which, in the present day, conies to the 
same thing : since those for whom he is writing, are ready at once to 
admit the truth of the religion, if convinced of the reality of the miracles. 
The ancient Jews were not. 


attested, is again proved, from the premiss that " no 
false story of miracles ever has been so attested ; " and 
this premiss again is proved in the form of a propo- 
sition which includes it ; viz. that " No other mira- 
culous story whatever is so attested." 
This assertion again, bifurcates; m%. it is proved 
respecting the several stories that are likely to be, or 
that have been adduced, as parallel to the Christian, 
that either 

1 . They are not so attested; or 

2 . They are not properly miraculous ; i. e. that admit- 
ting the veracity of the narrator, it does not follow 
that any miracle took place ; as in cases that may be 
explained \>y false perceptions, accidents, $c. 

In this way the learner may proceed to analyze the rest 
of the work, and to fill up the details of those parts of the 
argument which I have but slightly touched upon.* 

* When the Student considers that this is only one out of many 
branches of evidence, all tending to the same point, and yet that there 
have been intelligent men who have held out against them all, he may 
be apt to suspect either that there must be some flaw in these arguments 
which he is unable to detect, or else, that there must be much stronger 
arguments on the other side than he has ever met with. 

To enter into a discussion of the various causes leading to infidelity 
would be unsuitable to this occasion ; but I will notice one as being more 
especially connected with the subject of this work, and as being very 
generally overlooked. " In no other instance perhaps" (says Dr. Haw- 
kins, in his valuable Essay on Tradition) " besides that of Religion, do 
men commit the very illogical mistake, of first canvassing all the objections 
against any particular system whose pretensions to truth they would ex- 
amine, before they consider the direct arguments in its favour" (p. 82.) 
But why, it may be asked, do they make such a mistake in this case 
An answer, which I think would apply to a large proportion of such 
persons, is this : because a man having been brought up in a Christian 
country, has lived perhaps among such as have been accustomed from 
their infancy to take for granted the truth of their religion, and even to 
regard an uninquiring assent as a mark of commendable faith ; and 


It will be observed that to avoid unnecessary prolixity, 
I have in most of the above syllogisms suppressed one 
premiss, which the learner will be able easily to supply 

hence he has probably never even thought of proposing to himself the 
question, Why should I receive Christianity as a divine revelation ? 
Christianity being nothing new to him, and the presumption being in 
favour of it, while the burden of proof lies on its opponents, he is not 
stimulated to seek reasons for believing it, till he finds it controverted. 
And when it is controverted, when an opponent urges How do you 
reconcile this, and that, and the other, with the idea of a divine revelation ? 
these objections strike by their novelty, by their being opposed to what is 
generally received. He is thus excited to inquiry ; which he sets about, 
naturally enough, but very unwisely, by seeking for answers to all these 
objections : and fancies that unless they can all be satisfactorily solved, 
he ought not to receive the religion. " As if," (says the Author already 
cited) " there could not be truth, and truth supported by irrefragable 
arguments, and yet at the same time obnoxious to objections, numerous, 
plausible, and by no means easy of solution. There are objections (said 
Dr. Johnson) against a plenum and objections against a vacuum; but 
one of them must be true." He adds, that "sensible men, really de- 
sirous of discovering the truth, will perceive that reason directs them to 
examine first the argument in favour of that side of the question, where 
the first presumption of truth appears. And the presumption is mani- 
festly in favour of that religious creed already adopted by the country. . . . 
Their very earliest inquiry therefore must be into the direct arguments for 
the authority of that book on which their country rests its religion." 

But reasonable as such a procedure is, there is, as I have said, a strong 
temptation, and one which should be carefully guarded against, to adopt 
the opposite course ; to attend first to the objections which are brought 
against what is established, and which, for that very reason, rouse the 
mind from a state of apathy. 

When Christianity was first preached, the state of things was reversed. 
The presumption was against it, as being a novelty. " Seeing that 
all these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet," was 
a sentiment which favoured an indolent acquiescence in the old pagan 
worship. The stimulus of novelty was all on the side of those who 
came to overthrow this, by a new religion. The first inquiry of any 
one who at all attended to the subject, must have been, not, " What 
are the objections to Christianity ?" but, " On what grounds do these 
men call on me to receive them as divine messengers?" And the 
same appears to be the case with the Polynesians among whom our 
Missionaries are labouring : they begin by inquiring, " Why should we 
receive this religion ?" and those of them accordingly who have embraced 


for himself. E. G. In the early part of this analysis it will 
easily be seen, that the first of the series of cumulative 
arguments to prove that the propagators of Christianity 
did suffer, would at full length stand thus ; 

" Whoever propagated a religion unwelcome to the Jews and to 

the Gentiles, was likely to suffer ; 
The Apostles did this ; 
Therefore they were likely to suffer," $c. $c. 

It is also to be observed, that the same proposition used 
in different syllogisms may require to be differently ex- 
pressed by a substitution of some equivalent, in order to 
render the argument, in each, formally correct. This of 
course is always allowable, provided the exact meaning be 
preserved : e. g. if the proposition be, " The persons who 
attested the Christian miracles underwent sufferings in attes- 
tation of them," I am authorized to state the same assertion 
in a different form, thus, " The Christian miracles are attested 
by men who suffered in attestation of their reality," fyc. 

Great care however should be used to avoid being mis- 
led by the substitution of one proposition for another, when 
the two are not (though perhaps they sound so) really equi- 
valent, so that the one warrants the assumption of the other. 

Lastly, the learner is referred to the Supplement to 
Chap. iii. 1, p. 102, where I have treated of the statement 
of a proposition as several distinct ones, each implying all 
the rest, but differing in the division of the Predicate from 
the Subject. Of this procedure the above analysis affords 
an instance. 

it, appear to be Christians on much more rational and deliberate conviction 
than many among us, even of those who in general maturity of intellect 
and civilization, are advanced considerably beyond those Islanders. 

I am not depreciating the inestimable advantages of a religious educa- 
tion; but, pointing out the peculiar temptations which accompany it. 
The Jews and Pagans had, in their early prejudices, greater difficulties 
to surmount, than ours ; but they were difficulties of a different kind. See 
Rhet. Part I. ch. iii. & 1. 



Absolute terms, b. ii. ch. v. 1. 

Abstraction. The act of " drawing off" in thought, and attend- 
ing to separately, some portion of an object presented to 
the mind, b. ii. ch. v. 2. 

Abstract terms, b. ii. ch. v. 1. 

Accident. In its widest technical sense, anything that is attri- 
buted to another, and can only be conceived as belonging 
to some substance (in which sense it is opposed to " Sub- 
stance ;") in its narrower and more properly logical sense, 
a Predicable which may be present or absent, the essence 
of the Species remaining the same, b. ii. ch. v. 4. 

Accidental Definition. A definition which assigns the Proper- 
ties of a Species, or the Accidents of an Individual ; it is 
otherwise called a Description, b.ii. ch. v. 6. 

Affirmative denotes the quality of a Proposition which asserts 
the agreement of the Predicate with the subject, b. ii. ch. ii. 1 . 

Amphibolia a kind of ambiguity of sentence, b. iii. 10. 

Analogous. A term is so called whose single signification 
applies with unequal propriety to more than one object, 
b. ii. ch. v. 1, and b. iii. 10. 

Antecedent. That part of. a Conditional Proposition on which 
the other depends, b. ii. ch. iv. 6. 

Apprehension (simple.) The operation of the mind by which 
we mentally perceive or form a notion of some object, b. ii. 
ch. i. 1. 

432 INDEX. 

Argument. An expression in which, from something laid down 
as granted, something else is deduced, b. ii. ch. iii. 1. 

Categories, b. iv. ch. ii. 1. 

Categorematic. A word is so called which may by itself be 
employed as a Term, b. ii. ch. i. 3. 

Categorical Proposition is one which affirms or denies a Pre- 
dicate of a Subject, absolutely, and without any hypothesis, 
b. ii. ch. ii. 4. 

Common term is one which is applicable in the same sense to 
more than one individual object, b. i. 6 ; b. ii. ch. i. 3, 
and b. ii. ch. iv. 6. 

Compatible terms, b. ii. ch. v. 1. 

Composition Fallacy of, b. iii. 11. 

Conclusion. That Proposition which is inferred from the Pre- 
mises of an Argument, b. ii. 2, and b.ii. ch. iii. 1. 

Concrete term, b. ii. ch. v. 1. 

-Conditional Proposition is one which asserts the dependence 
of one categorical Proposition on another. A conditional 
Syllogism is one in which the reasoning depends on such a 
Proposition, b. ii. ch, iv. 6. 

Consequent. That part of a conditional Proposition which 
depends on the other. (Consequens), b.ii. ch. iv. 6, Note. 

Consequence. The connexion between the Antecedent and Con- 
sequent of a conditional Proposition. (Consequentia), b. ii. 
ch. iv. 6, Note. 

Contingent. The matter of a Proposition is so called when the 
terms of it in part agree, and in part disagree, b. ii. ch. ii. 2. 

Contradictory Propositions are those which, having the same 
terms, differ both in Quantity and Quality, b. ii. ch/iii. 5. 

Contrary Propositions are two universals, affirmative and 
negative, with the same terms, b. ii. ch. ii. 3. 

Contrary terms, b. ii. ch. v. 1. 

Converse, b. ii. ch. ii. 4. 

Conversion of a Proposition is the transposition of the terms, so 
that the subject is made the Predicate, and vice versa, b. ii. 
ch.ii. 4. 

INDEX. 433 

Copula. That part of a Proposition which affirms or denies the 
Predicate of the Subject : viz. is, or is not, expressed or 
implied, b. ii. ch. i. 2. 

Definite terms, b. ii. ch. v. 1. 

Definition. An expression explanatory of that which is defined, 
i. e. separated, as by a boundary, from everything else, b. ii. 
ch. v. 6 ; b. iii. 10, and b. iv. ch. ii. 3. 

Description. An accidental Definition, b. ii. ch. v. 6. 

Difference (Differentia.) The formal or distinguishing part of 
the essence of a Species, b. ii. ch. v. 4. 

Dilemma. A complex kind of conditional syllogism, having 
more than one Antecedent in the Major Premiss, and a 
disjunctive Minor, b. ii. ch. iv. 5. 

Discovery of Truth two kinds of, b. iv. ch. ii. 1. 

Discourse. The third operation of the mind, Reasoning, b. ii. 
ch.i. 1. 

Disjunctive Proposition is one which consists of two or more 
categoricals, so stated as to imply that some one of them 
must be true. A syllogism is called disjunctive, the rea- 
soning of which turns on such a proposition, b.ii. ch. iv. 4. 

Distributed is applied to a Term that is employed in its full 
extent, so as to comprehend all its significates, every- 
thing to which it is applicable, b. i. 5, and b. ii. ch. iii. 2. 

Division, logical is the distinct enumeration of several things 
signified by a common name ; and it is so called metapho- 
rically, from its being analogous to the (real and properly- 
called) division of a whole into its parts, b. ii. ch. v. 5. 

Division. Fallacy of, b. iii. 11. 

Enthymeme. An argument having one Premiss expressed, and 
the other understood, b. ii. ch. iv. 7. 

Equivocal. A Term is defined to be equivocal whose different 
significations apply equally to several objects. Strictly 
speaking, there is hardly a word in any language which 
may not be regarded, as in this sense, equivocal ; but the 
title is usually applied only in any case where a word 
is employed equivocally ; e. g. where the middle term is 
F F 

434 INDEX. 

used in different senses in the two Premises ; or where a Pro- 
position is liable to be understood in various senses, accord- 
ing to the various meanings of one of its terms, b. iii. 10. 

Essential Definition is one which assigns, not the Properties or 
Accidents of the thing defined, but what are regarded as its 
essential parts, whether physical or logical, b.ii. ch. v. 6. 

Extreme. The Subject and Predicate of a Proposition are 
called its Extremes or Terms, being, as it were, the two 
boundaries, having the copula (in regular order) placed 
between them. In speaking of a syllogism, the word is 
often understood to imply the extremes of the Conclusion, 
b. ii. ch. i. 2. 

Fallacy. Any argument, or apparent argument, which professes 
to be decisive of the matter at issue, while in reality it is 
not, b. ii. ch. v. 4. 

False in its strict sense, denotes the quality of a Proposition 
which states something not as it is, b. ii. ch. ii. 1, and p. 386. 

Figure of a Syllogism denotes a certain situation of its middle 
term in' reference to the Extremes of the Conclusion The 
Major and Minor terms, b. ii. ch. iii. 4. 

Generalization. The act of comprehending under a common 
name several objects agreeing in some point which we 
abstract from each of them, and which that common name 
serves to indicate, b. ii. ch. v. ^2. 

Genus. A Predicable which is considered as the material part 
of the Species of which it is affirmed, b. ii. ch. v. 3. 

Hypothetical Proposition is one which asserts not absolutely, 
but under an hypothesis, indicated by a conjunction. An 
hypothetical Syllogism is one of which the reasoning depends 
on such a proposition, b. ii. ch. iv. 2. 

Illative Conversion is that in which the truth of the Converse 
follows from the truth of the Exposita, or Proposition 
given, b. ii, ch. ii. 4. 

Impossible. The Matter of a Proposition is so called when the 
extremes altogether disagree, b. ii. ch. ii. 1 . Ambiguity of, 
p. 353. 

INDEX. 435 

Indefinite Proposition is one which has for its Subject a Com- 
mon term without any sign to indicate distribution or 
non-distribution, b. ii. ch. ii. 2. 

Indefinite Terms, b. ii. ch. v. 1 . 

Individual. An object which is, in the strict and primary sense, 
one, and consequently cannot be logically divided ; whence 
the name, b.ii. ch. v. 5. 

Induction. A kind of argument which infers, respecting a whole 
class, what has been ascertained respecting one or more 
individuals of that class, b. iv. ch. i. 1. 

Infer. To draw a conclusion from granted premises, b. iv. ch. iii. 
1. See Prove. 

Infima Species is that which is not subdivided, except into 
individuals, b. ii. ch. v. 4. 

Inseparable accident is that which cannot be separated from 
the individual it belongs to, though it may from the 
Species, b. ii. ch. v. 4. 

Judgment. The second operation of the mind, wherein we pro- 
nounce mentally on the agreement and disagreement of two 
of the notions obtained by simple Apprehension, b. ii. ch. i. 


Knowledge. b. iv. ch. ii. 2. Note. 

Logical definition is that which assigns the Genus and Difference 
of the Species defined, b. ii. ch. v. 6. 

Major term of a Syllogism is the Predicate of the conclusion. 
The Major Premiss is the one which contains the Major 
term. In Hypothetical Syllogisms, the Hypothetical Pre- 
miss is called the Major, b. ii. ch. iii. 2, and b. ii. ch, iv. 2. 

Middle term of a categorical Syllogism is that with which the 
two extremes of the conclusion are separately compared, 
b. ii. ch.iii. 2, and b.ii. ch. iii. 4. 

Minor term of a categorical Syllogism is the subject of th e 
conclusion. The Minor Premiss is that which contains the 
Minor term. In Hypothetical Syllogisms, the Categorical 
Premiss is called the Minor, b. ii, ch, iii. 2, and b. ii. ch. iv. 

436 INDEX. 

Modal categorical proposition is one which asserts that the 
Predicate exists in the Subject in a certain mode or manner, 
b.ii. ch. ii. 1, and b. ii. ch. iv. 1. 

Mood of a categorical Syllogism is the designation of its three 
propositions, in the order in which they stand, according to 
their quantity and quality, b. ii. ch. iii. 4. 

Necessary matter of a proposition is the essential or invariable 
agreement of its terms, b. ii. ch.ii. 3. Necessary, ambi- 
guity of, p. 363. 

Negation conversion by (otherwise called conversion by contra- 
position), b. ii. ch. ii. 4. 

Negative categorical proposition is one which asserts the dis- 
agreement of its extremes, b. ii. ch. ii. 1. 

Negative terms, b. ii. ch. v. 1. 

New Truths of two kinds, b. iv. ch. ii. 1. 

Nominal Definition is one which explains only the meaning of the 
term defined, and nothing more of the nature of the thing 
signified by that Term than is implied by the Term itself to 
every one who understands the meaning of it, b. ii. ch. v. 6, 
and b. iv. ch. ii. 3. 

Opposed. Two propositions are said to be opposed to each 
other, when, having the same Subject and Predicate, they 
differ either in quantity or quality, or both, b. ii. ch. ii. 3. 

Opposition of terms, b. ii. ch. v. 1. 

Part logically, Species are called Parts of the Genus they come 
under, and individuals, parts of the Species ; realty, the 
Genus is a Part of the Species, and the Species, of the 
Individual, b. ii. ch. v. 5. 

Particular Proposition is one in which the Predicate is affirmed 
or denied of some part only of the subject, b.ii. ch. ii. 1. 

Per Accidens. Conversion of a proposition is so called when the 
Quantity is changed, b. ii. ch. ii. 4. 

Physical definition is that which assigns the parts into which the 
thing defined can be actually divided, b. ii. ch. v. 6. 

Positive terms, b. ii. ch. v. 1 . 

Predicaments, b. iv. ch. ii. 1. 

INDEX. 437 

Predicate of a Proposition is that Term which is affirmed or 
denied of the other, b. ii. ch. i. 2. 

PredicaUe. A Term which can be affirmatively predicated of 
several others, b. ii. ch. v. 2. 

Premiss. A proposition employed to establish a certain conclu- 
sion, b. ii. ch. iii. 1, 

Privative terms, b. ii. ch. v. 1. 

Probable arguments, b. ii. ch. iv. 1, and b. iv. ch. i, 2. 

Property. A Predicable which denotes something essentially 
conjoined to the essence of the Species, b. ii. ch. v. 3. 

Proposition. A sentence which asserts, i.e. affirms or denies, 
b. ii. ch. ii. 1. 

Prove. To adduce Premises which establish the truth of a 
certain conclusion, b. iv. ch. iii. 1. 

Proximum Genus of any Species is the nearest or least remote 
to which it can be referred, b. ii. ch. v. 4. 

Pure categorical proposition is one which asserts simply that the 
Predicate is, or is not, "contained in the Subject, b. ii. ch. ii. 
1, and b. ii. ch. iv. 1. 

Quality of a Proposition is its affirming or denying. This is 
the Quality of the expression, which is, in Logic, the essen- 
tial circumstance. The Quality of the matter is, its being 
true or false ; which is, in Logic, accidental, being essential 
only in respect of the subject-matter treated of, b. ii. ch. ii. 


Quantity of a Proposition is the extent in which its subject is 
taken ; viz. to stand for the whole, or for a part only of its 
Significates, b. ii. ch. ii. 1. 

Question. That which is to be established as a Conclusion stated 
in an interrogative form, b. ii. ch. ii. 4. 

Real definition is one which explains the nature of the thing 
defined, viz. either the whole nature of it (as in Mathema- 
tics), or else something beyond what is necessarily under- 
stood by the Term, b. ii. ch. v. 6, and b. iv. ch. ii. 3. 

References fallacy of, b. iii. 14. 

Relative terms, b. ii. ch. v. 1. 

438 INDEX. 

Same. Secondary use of the word, b. iv. ch. v. 1, and p. 382. 

Second intention of a term, b. iii. 10. 

Separable accident is one which may be separated from the 
individual, b. iii. Introd. 

Significate. The several things signified by a common Term are 
its significates (Significata), b. ii. ch. ii. 1 . 

Singular term is one which stands for one individual. A Sin- 
gular proposition is one which has for its Subject either a 
Singular term, or a common term limited to one individual 
by a singular sign, eg. " This," b. ii. ch.i. 3 ; b. ii. ch. ii. 
2, and b. ii. ch. v. 1 . 

Sorites. An abridged form of stating a series of Syllogisms, of 
which the Conclusion of each is a Premiss of the succeed- 
ing, b. ii. ch. iv. 7. 

Species. A predicate which is considered as expressing the 
whole essence of the individuals of which it is affirmed, b. ii. 
ch. v. 3, peculiar sense of, in Natural History, b. iv. ch. v. 1. 

Subaltern Species and Genus is that which is both a Species of 
some higher Genus, and a Genus in respect of the Species 
into which it is divided. Subaltern opposition, is between 
a Universal and a Particular of the same Quality. Of these, 
the Universal is the Subalternant, and the Particular the 
Subalternate, b. ii. ch. ii. 3, and b. ii. ch. v. 4. 

Subcontrary opposition is between two particulars, the affir- 
mative and the negative, b. ii. ch. ii. 3. 

Subject of a proposition is that term of which the other is 
affirmed or denied, b. ii. ch. i. 2. 

Summum Genus is that which is not considered as a Species of 
any higher Genus, b. ii. ch. v. 4. 

Syllogism. An argument expressed in strict logical form ; viz. 
so that its conclusiveness is manifest from the structure of 
the expression alone, without any regard to the meaning of 
the Terms, b. ii. ch. iii. 1. 

Syncategorematic words are such as cannot singly express a 
Term, but only a part of a Term, b. i. 3. 

The Subject or Predicate of a Proposition, b. ii. ch. i. 2. 

INDEX. 439 

Tendency ambiguity of, p. 385. 

Thaumatrope, b. iii. 11. 

True Proposition is one which states what really is, b. ii. ch. ii. 


Truth new two kinds of, b. iv. ch. ii. 2. 

Universal Proposition is one whose Predicate is affirmed or 
denied of the whole of the Subject, b. ii. ch. ii. 1. 

Univocal. A Common term is called Univocal in respect of 
those things to which it is applicable in the same signifi- 
cation, b. ii. ch. v. 1.