Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER IV.: OF ARISTOTLE'S PREDICAMENTS AND POSTPREDICAMENTS. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs)
Return to Title Page for The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
CHAPTER IV.: OF ARISTOTLE’S PREDICAMENTS AND POSTPREDICAMENTS. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). In 11 vols. Volume 8.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
OF ARISTOTLE’S PREDICAMENTS AND POSTPREDICAMENTS.
Of the Ten Predicaments.
Aristotle’s Ten Predicaments are all of them either names of real entities or names of fictitious entities.
1. Substance, the first upon the list, is a name of a real entity,—of a species of real entity,—the only species of real entity that is perceptible, that belongs to the class of perceptible ones.
The nine names of fictitious entities are distinguishable into two groups.
2. and 3. Group the first, quantity and quality. Both these are affections of substance, i. e. of substances of bodies,—of the bodies the existence of which is made known to us by our senses. According to the sort of fiction which, in these instances, is necessary to the purpose of discourse, quantity is, as it were, a smaller body, which is in the substance in question, or a larger body in which the substance in question is. Quality is also, as it were, a small body in which the substance in question is, or it is a sort of object of, i. e. from which the substance of which it is the affection is considered as issuing;—a man is said to be of a quality.
In neither of these two cases does any object necessarily come in question other than the substance or body, real or fictitious, of which they are respectively the affections.
4. In the instance of all the remaining predicaments, seven in number, the predicament is the name of a relation. In the fourth instance, relation is itself the name of the predicament, and this name is the generic name with reference to which all the remaining predicaments are specific ones. They are all of them so many species of relation.
Of a relation it is the essential character to suppose the existence of two objects, between which the relation is spoken of as subsisting. Of this sort is the image, the sort of fictitious picture which the mind presents to itself; two objects—two bodies, of any sort, A and B—between them, an interval of space. In that interval the fictitious body, the relation, is conceived as placed,—for such is the picture exhibited to the mind by the word between, as often as it is applied to two bodies—to two substances of any kind.
5. and 6. By the words actio and passio are brought to view two of these fictitious bodies, between which the particular species of relation respectively denominated by them are considered and represented as subsisting, or having place.
Passio, passion, cannot be conceived of without actio, action. Concerning actio, action, the truth of that proposition, if it be true, seems not quite so clear. Suppose a body moving along in space: true it is that it has no other body on which it acts; but it seems too much to say that it does not act. To move is it not to act? Every motion is it not a species of action?
7. and 9. By the word ubi may be considered as designated place, with the several modifications and relations of which it is susceptible.
By the word situs, site, position, is on other occasions designated the same object, place, or, at any rate, the mode of being of the body, or portion of matter in question, with reference to place, i. e. with reference to its distance from other bodies.
In Sanderson’s Compendium, a distich is inserted, in and by which exemplification of all these several predicaments is exhibited. In the explanation thus given, stabo, I shall stand, is given as the exemplification of the word situs. Standing, at any rate, upon the face of the exemplification as it stands in these two verses in question, is a posture of the body, of the human body. But a posture,—that of standing—what is it? It is the result of the position or situation of the situs of the several parts of the body in question with reference to each other.
Here, then, is a predicament, situs, which is but a modification of, and has, accordingly, already been brought to view by and under a former predicament, ubi.
8. Two other incongruities are, moreover, here observable.—
1. In the first place, in company and on a level with the eight other names of predicaments, which names are all of them, as it was fit they should be, so many names of objects,—nouns substantives, come a pair of adverbs, viz. ubi, where, and quando, when.
2. In the next place comes an instance of disorder. Between the two words here employed to designate place, viz. ubi and situs, comes the word quando, employed to designate time.
10. Habitus, vesture, human clothing, for such is the intimation given by the corresponding portion of the illustrative distich, nec tunicatus ero.*
But clothing, human clothing, is it not a substance? Here, then, we have given, in the character of the name of a predicament distinct from all the rest, an article included under one of them, viz. the first.
Clothing, a predicament distinct from substance? On equal ground might additional predicaments, in any number, be stated as having existence, as being entitled to a place upon the list, many of them, perhaps most, a better title.
A curious predicament, a predicament, the exemplification of which is mere matter of contingency, a predicament which, at one time, had no existence, which in one place has, in another place has not, existence at this present time.
Before eating of the fatal apple, neither Adam, nor Eve his wife, had any clothing,—had possession, or so much as any idea of any such predicament. In fact, it had not any exemplification or any existence. At the very instant of its being placed, the first fig leaf that was ever placed, gave birth to this predicament, gave birth to the first individual from which the species, such as it is, pregnant with all the individuals that ever belonged to it, took its rise.
Of Aristotle’s Post-Predicaments.
Taken together, Aristotle’s Ten Predicaments were to include everything whatsoever. Yet, after this list of predicaments, comes presently a list of five other articles under the name of Post-Predicaments.
These five, how come they to be separated from the ten? For the designation of them, how happened it that a separate and different plan has been adopted?
Look at them and you will see out of the five, one, viz. the last employed, to signify a mixture altogether incongruous, the other four present as good a title as any of the original ten to admittance into the learned language.
Motion, though in this appendixious list, it occupies a place no earlier than the fourth out of the five, has not merely as good a title to a place upon the principal list, as one of those original ones, which are the only ones to whom a share in this general appellative is allowed, but, as will be seen below, a better title to be there.
1.Oppositio, opposition. This is manifestly a species of relation.
Of opposition, the Aristotelians distinguish four different modes.
2.Prioritas, priority. This, again, is another species of relation.
3.Simultas, simultaneity;—another relation, viz. that which takes place between two objects which, with reference to each other, are contemporary, i. e. exist in or during the same point or length of time.
4.Motus, motion. In the field of thought and action, this is an object of the most important and most extensive use.
Of all the ten Predicaments there is not one, substantia excepted, whose title to a place upon the list seems so uncontrovertible as that of this article. It is, as well as substance, matter, body, among the objects of which quantity and quality are predicable. Like substance it ought to have preceded these predicaments.
Actio, action, the fifth of the predicaments is but a species of motion related to motion as a species to its superordinate.
For its non-admittance into the list of predicaments what possible reason can have presented itself?
5. Fifth and last of these Post-Predicaments, Habere, in English—To have.
The discourse has, at this period, fallen off into nonsense, or something very near of kin to it. In the instance of the Ten Predicaments; in the instance of the four first of these Post-Predicaments, determinate ideas, and not mere words, were brought to view. A word is now introduced in the character of the name of a Post-Predicament, and to the word no determinate idea is attached. In the way of specification, what is given is not the modification of an idea, but a multitude or number of significations or senses in which it has happened to this same word to have been employed. Eight in number are these specifications;—eight, according to a statement in a succeeding chapter, is the number of these its different significations. Two, and no more, were the different significations included in the Predicament termed habitus, habit. These two form two out of the eight significations ascribed to habere, to have, this last of the Post-Predicaments.
[* ] The eighth category of Aristotle, corresponding with the tenth of Sanderson, (ιχυν,) is generally translated habere, or possession; [Editor: illegible word] τυ ιχυν is likewise the title of the twelfth chapter of the categories, criticised in the following page in its position among the Post-Predicaments.—Ed.