Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER VII.: CLEARNESS IN DISCOURSE, HOW TO PRODUCE IT? AND HENCE OF EXPOSITION. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs)
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CHAPTER VII.: CLEARNESS IN DISCOURSE, HOW TO PRODUCE IT? AND HENCE OF EXPOSITION. - 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.
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CLEARNESS IN DISCOURSE, HOW TO PRODUCE IT? AND HENCE OF EXPOSITION.
Seats of unclearness,—the Words or their connexion,—Exposition what?
A sentence, in the grammatical sense of the word sentence, consists either of a single proposition, in the logical sense of the word proposition, or of a number of such propositions; if of one only, it may be termed a simple sentence,—if of more than one, a compound sentence.
A proposition is clear, in proportion as it is clear—that is, free—at the same time from ambiguity and obscurity.
Clearness is, on every occasion, relative;—relation being had to the person considered in the character of hearer or reader.
There exists not, nor ever will exist, any proposition that is perfectly clear to every hearer and reader. There exist but too many that neither will be, nor ever have been to any one;—not so much as to those by whom they were respectively framed.
Instances are not, however, uncommon where ideas, which in the mind of him, by whom the discourse meant for the communication of them, was uttered, were perfectly clear, are expressed in such a manner as not to be clear to any one else. Clear in the conception—clear in the expression—clear in neither,—clear in the conception alone, not in the expression; if in the conception a set of ideas were not clear, it is not natural that they should be clear in the expression, yet by accident it may happen to them so to be.
Where unclearness (why not unclearness as well as uncleanness) has place in a discourse, the seat of it will be either in the words or in the syntax:—in some one word, or number of words, each taken singly, i. e. without regard to the mode of their connexion, or in that mode itself; in the state of their mutual relations with reference to the import of each other.
In so far as the seat of the unclearness is in the words taken singly,—clearness has for its instrument, exposition. Exposition is a name which may, with propriety, be applied to the designation of every operation which has for its object, or end in view, the exclusion or expulsion of unclearness in any shape;—to the operation, and thereby (for such, on the present occasion, is the poverty, and thence the ambiguity of language) to the portion of discourse by which the end is endeavoured to be accomplished, and by which the operation of accomplishing it is considered as performed.
Subjects to which Exposition is applicable.
Be the exposition itself what it may, a subject it cannot but have;—a subject to which it is applicable.
This subject,—what may it be? What are the diversifications of which it is susceptible? Questions to which, in the first place, an answer must be provided. Why? because, on the nature of the subject will depend the nature of the mode of exposition of which it is susceptible.
In relation to the subject of this instrument of clearness, two observations require to be brought to view in the first place.
1. The subject of exposition, viz., the immediate, and only immediate, subject, is, in every case, a word.
2. That word is, in every case, a name: i.e. a word considered in the character of a name.
Exposition supposes thought.—A word is a sign of thought. How imperfectly soever,—in a manner how deficient soever in respect of clearness,—thought, it is true, may be expressed by signs other than words,—by inarticulate sounds,—by gestures,—by deportment. But as often as any object has been considered in the character of a subject, of or for exposition, that object has been a word;* —the immediate subject of exposition has been a word:—whatsoever else may have been brought to view, the signification of a word—of the word in question, has been brought to view:—the word is not only a subject, but the only physically sensible subject, upon and in relation to which the operation called exposition has been performed.
Of the two cases which follow, for the purpose of this inquiry, convenience seems to require that the first place should be allotted to the case where the exposition takes for its subject, an object proposed to be expounded, as well as the word with the assistance of which, in the character of its sign, the object is proposed to be expounded;—the second place to the case, where, without reference to any particular object or class of objects, the exposition takes for its subject a word considered in the character of a sign, which, for the designation of some object, or class of objects, is wont to be employed.
Mode of Exposition where the Thing which is the Subject is an Individual—Individuation—Individual and Generic.
Thus much being premised, the word in question is either the name of an individual object, or the name of a species or sort of objects.
If it be the name of an individual object, individuation is the general name by which the only mode of exposition, of which (regard being had at the same time to the subject) the name of an individual object is susceptible.
Individual individualization, or say, individuation,—generic, or specific individuation,—by these two denominations may be distinguished two modes of individuation, which, for practical purposes, may require to be distinguished.
Individual individuation is, where, in relation to an individual object, an indication is endeavoured to be given, whereby, or by the help of which, an individual object may be distinguished from any or all other individual obects wherewith it is regarded as being liable to be confounded.
Take, for instance, on the surface of the earth, the designation of the several distinguishable portions which it contains; and into which, physically or psychically speaking, it is capable of being divided. In so far as the portion in question is considered as relatively large, geography is the portion of art and science, to which, with the help of astronomy, the individuation of the object is considered as appertaining:—Topography, in so far as it is considered as relatively small. From geography will be sought, on the surface of the terraqueous globe, the portion distinguished by the name of Europe; from geography, again, in Europe, England,—in England, London, and Westminster; [from topography] in London and Westminster, Queen’s Square Westminster, and Queen’s Square Place.
Generic, or Specific Individuation.—By this appellative may be distinguished the operation which has place in the case where, regard being had to a genus of objects, as distinguished by a generic name, instructions are given, having for their object the causing men to be agreed in determining within what limits or bounds an individual, when designated by and under that name, shall be considered as limited, so as to be distinguished from all objects which are regarded as liable to be confounded with it,—or in relation to any individual aggregate, likely to be considered as designated by that name, of what elements that aggregate shall be considered as composed.
The field of law is the field in which the demand for this mode of individuation, for this mode of exposition, is most copious and most urgent, and the use of it most conspicuous and incontestable.
In the individuation of moveable physical objects, the instruments are conjunct portions of time and space.—Axiom. No two portions of matter can exist at the same portion of time in the same portion of space.
Mode of Exposition where the Teacher and Learner have no common Language.
1.Representation.—If all words were significative of real entities, and if these were all objects which might at all times be brought within the reach of the perception both of the learner and the teacher, exposition would be easy and consist in the pointing to the object in question, and pronouncing at the same time the word which it is wished to attach to it as its name. This is exposition by signs, and may be termed representation. Among persons who have no common language by which they can communicate their ideas, this is at first the only practicable method, and we see it continually exemplified when a child is taught to speak, or a foreigner who understands no words with which we are acquainted, or who cannot make use of dictionaries or any other written explanations of our words, is instructed in our language.
Next to these names of real entities, perceptible and present, those which are the most readily expounded by representation, are names of collective fictitious entities. By representing successively a number of objects comprehended in the collective fictitious entities,—book, plant, &c., we may easily succeed in attaching to those words in the learner’s mind, a general idea of the sense we attach to them, and which, though at first very vague and imperfect, will, at any rate, serve as the groundwork of the discourse by which a clearer and more correct exposition may subsequently be given.
A generic idea once formed, the meaning of words indicative of specific differences, may be deduced from it; still, by mere representation, not perhaps the substantive names of that class of fictitious entities called relations, but those abbreviate words called adjectives, which designate at once the relation or property, and the fact of its being attributed to the object represented. A great book, a little book, a yellow flower, a red flower, &c., may be thus expounded, whilst the explanation of the words greatness and smallness, colour, &c., may require one or other of the species of discourse which are comprehended among the other modes of exposition.
As yet, however, we have but substantives and adjectives, and without verbs, no discourse can be held,—no farther exposition given, and consequently, no clear ideas communicated: we must again have recourse to representation, but in a manner far more complicated. Taking verbs expressive of operations as the most simple, it will be necessary to repeat the operation in question, within the reach of the senses of the learner, a number of times more or less considerable, according to his intellectual powers, before we can have any security for his attaching to the word the idea we wish to convey.
Thus, by taking successively a variety of things, and alternately putting them in motion, and pointing to them, whilst at rest, and pronouncing on each occasion either the words I move, (naming the thing whatever it may be,) or the name of the thing with the words at rest, the constant repetition of the same word will soon cause the mind of the learner to attach to it the idea required. A phenomenon, which appears to depend particularly on that passive property of the mind, which may be designated by the name of habit. It is evident, however, that great mistakes may frequently occur in the learner’s mind in these cases,—if, for instance, all the things represented as being in motion happen to be red, and all these which are spoken of as being at rest are white, he may just as well attach to the words I move, the meaning red, and to these at rest, the meaning white, as the signification intended to be conveyed.
The exposition by representation of the substantive verbs to be and to have, and of prepositions and other expletives necessary in the composition of discourse, must then be undertaken. But it will, in most cases, be still more complicated, and consequently, still more liable to misconception. As soon, however, as any tolerable degree of certainty is obtained of the having conveyed a sufficiently adequate idea of the signification of these several classes of words, extensive enough to form a connected discourse, a more exact exposition may then be undertaken in that one of the other modes which may be found most suited to the object in question.
Modes of Exposition, by Comparison with Words, intelligible to both Teacher and Learner.
The two modes comprehended under this head are Translation and Etymologization.
1.Translation.—Exposition by translation is performed by mentioning a word already known to and understood by the learner, and by giving it as expressive of the same idea or image of the one represented by the word to be expounded. The proposition man is what you, a Spaniard, call hombre; Oxide of hyrodgen is what you, in ordinary conversation, call water; are expositions by translation of the words man and oxide of hydrogen.
This operation supposes the ideas represented by the word in question to be equally well-known to both learner and teacher; and in that case only will this mode suffice. If the idea entertained by the learner with reference to the words hombre or water be not exactly the same as that of the teacher, (as will frequently be the case,) a further exposition is necessary by some other mode.
From the two examples given above, it may be inferred, that exposition by translation may be usefully employed for two distinct purposes: 1st, for teaching words in the same language more convenient for particular purposes, because they are those made use of by this author, or that practitioner, with whom it is the learner’s interest to become conversant; or, 2dly, because the word is more convenient for use than the one the learner is already acquainted with.
Sets of words thus translated for the use of particular classes of learners, and arranged in an order convenient for reference, are compiled under the name of Dictionaries of Languages,*Dictionaries of Technical Terms, Dictionaries of Synonyms; and may furnish examples of the very extensive use of the mode of exposition. In the case of the two latter dictionaries, however, very few expositions are, by mere explanation, particularly in the case of synonyms, this name having been unfortunately given sometimes to words which have exactly the same meaning, sometimes to those which have nearly the same meaning, an inconvenience which I shall more fully expose under the head of synonymation.
In physical sciences, where the use of exact exposition has been so much felt of late, the word synonym has retained its correct signification, and the name of synonomy is given to a collection of results of translation, and may serve as an excellent example of this mode of exposition, applied to the second of its two above-mentioned purposes. A similar synonomy or translation of the leading words of many ethical, noological, or pathological works, would throw a singular light upon many subjects of controversy between authors hitherto irreconcileable.
2.Etymologization.—By etymologization I do not mean to indicate that long and uncertain investigation of the various changes and transformations of sense and sound which a word has undergone in the course of time,—that search after etymology which leads into so many blunders, and which, though sometimes productive of a certain degree of advantage to the study of some sciences, is more frequently of no other use than mere momentary amusement. The operation I have now in view is the exposition of inflected words and conjugates by the exhibition of the root from which they are derived.
The distinction between inflection and conjugation will be more fully given when we come to the analysis of language. In the meantime, for the understanding of the above definition, I shall only mention that I comprehend under the terms inflected words and conjugates all such words as are modified in part so as to change their signification, corresponding modifications being applicable, with the same effect, to a number of other words. The original words thus to be modified go under the name of roots. Thus from the root rego are derived the several inflected words and conjugates rexi, rectum, regnans, regnum, inter-regnum, rex, regalis, &c. &c.
In all cases where each inflection has a particular name, which, as well as the root, is equally well understood by both learner and teacher, exposition by etymologization will suffice, and should be preferred to any of the succeeding ones as being next in simplicity to translation. Thus the expression rexi is the first person singular, perfect tense, and indicative mood of the verb rego. Children’s is the genitive case, plural number, of the substantive child—Reader is the name of the operator that relates to the operation to read—will immediately give a clear and correct idea of their meaning to one who understands already the names of the classes of inflection, first person, plural number, perfect tense, indicative mood, genitive case, operator relating to an operation, and of the roots rego, child, to read.
Whenever this is not the case, etymologization will not suffice; but even then, whenever an inflected word occurs, it is almost always more advantageous to reduce it to its root, to expound that root, and to explain the class to which the inflection belongs. As a general rule, we may say, that exposition by etymologization, as well as by translation, should be given, whenever the case admits of it, either alone or in conjunction with any of the other modes.
Modes of Exposition where the Subject is a Class.
1. Definition, meaning the sort of operation and correspondent work ordinarily understood by that name. 2. Operations and works incidentally employed as preliminary and preparatory to that of definition, say preparatory operations. 3. Operations incidentally employed as subsequential and supplementary to that of definition, say supplementary operations. 4. Operations which, in certain cases in which the purpose cannot be accomplished by definition—understand by definition in that same form, require to be performed in lieu of it,—say succedaneous operations. By one or other of these subordinate appellations may the operation of exposition, in every shape of which it is susceptible, it is believed, be designated.
To define a word is to give indication of some aggregate in which the object of which it is the sign is comprehended, together with an indication of some quality or property which is possessed by that same object, but is not possessed by any other object included in that same aggregate.
Elliptically, but more familiarly, to define a word is to expound it by indication of the genus and the difference—per genus et differentiam, say the Aristotelians.
In this account of the matter, two things, it may be observed, are, howsoever inexplicitly, assumed, viz. 1. That the object in question belongs to some nest of aggregates.* 2. That it is not itself the highest, the most capacious, the all-comprehending aggregate of the nest: in other terms, that the word is not of the number of those the import of which is not included in the import of any other of the words employed in giving names to aggregates; that it belongs to some nest of aggregates, and that it is not itself the most comprehensive and all-comprehensive aggregate of the nest.
The genus represented by a word which is the name of that aggregate, in which all the other aggregates of the nest to which it belongs are contained and included, has no genus which is superior to it: it is, therefore, in its nature incapable of receiving a definition; meaning always that mode of exposition which, in modern practice, seems to be universally understood by that name.†
Meantime the class of words which are in this sense of the word incapable of receiving exposition in that shape are among those, in the instance of which the demand for exposition is the most imperious. For these then that mode of exposition is necessary to which, by the description of succedaneous modes of exposition, reference has just been made, and of which an account will presently be endeavoured to be rendered.*
Yet of these words which are all of them incapable of receiving a definition, in effect definitions are very generally, not to say universally wont to be given with a degree of unconcern and confidence, not inferior to that with which the operation is attended, when the subject upon which it is performed, is with the strictest propriety susceptible of operation in that mode.
Of Exposition by Paraphrasis, with its Subsidiary Operations, viz. Phraseoplerosis and Archetypation.
Explanation of these Modes of Exposition, and of the Case in which they are necessary.
Paraphrasis is that mode of exposition which is the only instructive mode, where the thing expressed being the name of a fictitious entity, has not any superior in the scale of logical subalternation.
Connected, and that necessarily, with paraphrasis, is an operation, for the designation of which the word Phraseoplerosis (i. e. the filling up of the phrase,) may be employed.
By the word paraphrasis may be designated that sort of exposition which may be afforded by transmuting into a proposition, having for its subject some real entity, a proposition which has not for its subject any other than a fictitious entity.
Nothing has no properties. A fictitious entity being, as this its name imports, being, by the very supposition, a mere nothing, cannot of itself have any properties: no proposition by which any property is ascribed to it can, therefore, be in itself, and of itself, a true one, nor, therefore, an instructive one. Whatsoever of truth is capable of belonging to it cannot belong to it in any other character than that of the representative—of the intended and supposed equivalent and adequate succedaneum, of some proposition having for its subject some real entity.
Of any such fictitious entity, or fictitious entities, the real entity with which the import of their respective appellatives is connected, and on the import of which their import depends, may be termed the real source, efficient cause, or connecting principle.
In every proposition by which a property or affection of any kind is ascribed to an entity of any kind, real or fictitious, three parts or members are necessarily either expressly or virtually included, viz. 1. A subject being the name of the real or fictitious entity in question.—2. A predicate by which is designated the property or affection attributed or ascribed to that subject; and 3. The Copula, or sign of the act of the mind, by which the attribution or ascription is performed.
By the sort of proposition here in question, viz., a proposition which has for its subject some fictitious entity, and for its predicate the name of an attribute attributed to that fictitious entity, some sort of image—the image of some real action or state of things, in every instance, is presented to the mind. This image may be termed the archetype, emblem, or archetypal image appertaining to the fictitious proposition, of which the name of the characteristic fictitious entity coustitutes a part.
In so far as of this emblematic image indication is given, the act or operation by which such indication is given, may by termed Archetypation.
To a considerable extent Archetypation, i. e. the origin of the psychological, in some physical idea, is often, in a manner, lost;—its physical marks, being more or less obliterated by the frequency of its use on psychological ground, while it is little, if at all, in use on the original physical ground.
Such psychological expressions, of which, as above, the physical origin is lost, are the most commodious for psychological use. Why?—Because in proportion as it is put out of sight, two psychological expressions, derived from two disparate and incongruous physical sources, are capable of being conjoined without bringing the incongruity to view.
When the expression applied to a psychological purpose is one of which the physical origin remains still prominent and conspicuous, it presents itself to view in the character of a figurative expression—for instance a metaphor. Carried for any considerable length through its connexions and dependencies, the metaphor becomes an allegory—a figure of speech, the unsuitableness of which, to serious and instructive discourse, is generally recognised. But the great inconvenience is, that it is seldom that for any considerable length of time, if any, the physical idea can be moulded and adapted to the psychological purpose.
In the case of a fictitious proposition which, for the exposition of it, requires a paraphrasis, having for its subject a real entity, (which paraphrasis, when exhibited, performs, in relation to the name of the fictitious subject, the same sort of office which, for the name of a real entity, is performed by a definition of the ordinary stamp, viz. a definition per genus et differentiam)—the name forms but a part of the fictitious proposition for the explanation of which, the sort of proposition having for its subject a real entity, is in the character of a paraphrastically-expository proposition required. To compose and constitute such a proposition as shall be ripe and qualified for the receiving for itself, and thereby for its subject, an exposition by paraphrasis, the addition of other matter is required, viz., besides the name of the subject, the name of the predicate, together with some sign performing the office of the copula;—the operation by which this completion of the phrase is performed, may be termed Phraseoplerosis.
Phraseoplerosis is thus another of the operations connected with, and subservient to, the main or principal operation, paraphrasis.
Exemplification in the Case of the fictitious Entity Obligation.
For exposition and explanation of Paraphrasis, and of the other modes connected with it, and subsidiary to it, that which presents itself as the most instructive of all examples, which the nature of the case affords, is that which is afforded by the group of ethical fictitious entities, viz. Obligations, rights, and the other advantages dependent on obligation.
The fictitious entities which compose this group have all of them, for their real source, one and the same sort of real entity, viz. sensation, the word being taken in that sense in which it is significative not merely of perception, but of perception considered as productive of pain alone, of pleasure alone, or of both.
Pain (it is here to be observed) may have for its equivalent, loss of pleasure; pleasure, again, may have for its equivalent, exemption from pain.
An obligation (viz. the obligation of conducting himself in a certain manner,) is incumbent on a man, (i. e. is spoken of as incumbent on a man) in so far as, in the event of his failing to conduct himself in that manner, pain, or loss of pleasure, is considered as about to be experienced by him.*
In this example,—
1. The exponend, or say the word to be expounded, is an obligation.
2. It being the name not of a real, but only of a fictitious entity, and that fictitious entity not having any superior genus, it is considered as not susceptible of a definition in the ordinary shape, per genus et differentiam, but only of an exposition in the way of paraphrasis.
3. To fit it for receiving exposition in this shape, it is in the character of the subject of a proposition, by the help of the requisite compliments made up into a fictitious proposition. These compliments are, 1, the predicate, incumbent on a man, 2, the copula is; and of these, when thus added to the name of the subject, viz. obligation, the fictitious proposition which requires to be expounded by paraphrasis, viz. the proposition—An obligation is incumbent on a man, is composed.
4. Taking the name of the subject for the basis, by the addition of this predicate, incumbent on a man, and the copula is, the phrase is completed, the operation called phraseoplerosis, i. e. completion of the phrase is performed.
5. The source of the explanation thus given by paraphrasis, is the idea of eventual sensation, as expressed by the names of the different and opposite modes of sensation, viz. pain and pleasure, with their respective equivalents, and the designation of the event, on the happening of which such sensation is considered as being about to take place.
6. For the formation of the variety of fictitious propositions, of which the fictitious entity in question, viz. obligation, or an obligation, is in use to constitute the subject, the emblematical, or archetypal image, is that of a man lying down, with a heavy body pressing upon him, to wit, in such sort as either to prevent him from acting at all, or so ordering matters that if so it be that he does act, it cannot be in any other direction or manner than the direction or manner in question,—the direction or manner requisite.
The several distinguishable sources from any or all of which the pain and pleasure constitutive of the obligation in question, may be expected to be received, viz. the several sanctions, distinguished by the names of the physical sanction, the popular, or moral, sanction, the political (including the legal) sanction, and the religious sanction;—these particulars belong to another part of the field, and have received explanation in another place.†
To that other place it also belongs to bring to view the causes by which the attention and perception of mankind have, to so great an extent, been kept averted from the only true and intelligible source of obligation—from the only true and intelligible explanation of its nature, as thus indicated.
On the exposition thus given of the term obligation, may be built those other expositions, of which it will form the basis, viz., of rights, quasi rights or advantages analagous to rights, and their respective modifications, as well as of the several modifications of which the fictitious entity, obligation, is itself susceptible.
Of Modes of Exposition subsidiary to Definition and Paraphrasis.
1. Synonymation—indication of some other word, or words, the import of which coincides, or agrees with the term to be expounded, more or less correctly.
The use to be derived from the employment of synonymation, consists in maximizing the number of the persons by whom conception, clear of obscurity and ambiguity and incorrectness, may on each occasion, be collected from the several expressions.
It is not, however, without great danger of error, that any two words can be stated as synonymous.
2. Antithesis—indication of some other word, or words, the import of which is opposite to that of the word in question.
3. Illustration—bringing to view some word, or words, by which, in any one or more of the above ways, or in any other way or ways, light may be thrown upon the import of the word in question, i. e. the import of it may, in some way or other, be rendered clearer, i. e. more surely clear as well of obscurity as of ambiguity.
4. Exemplification—indication of some individual, or of some lesser aggregate, as being included in the name of the aggregate in question.
Without any difference, or, at any rate, without any difference worth remarking, all these subsidiary modes of exposition seem capable of being applied with equal propriety and utility, whether the main mode of exposition be in the form of a definition, or in the form of a paraphrasis.
5. Description is a detailed exposition of those properties, the exhibition of which is not necessary in order to distinguish the object in question from all such which are not designated by the same name. It may, accordingly, be more and more ample to an indefinite degree. A definition is a concise description, a description is an enlarged definition.
Description may be considered as referring to an individual, in which case it may be termed individual description, or as referring to the name of a collective entity, in which case it may be termed specific.
The differences, in use and importance, between individual and collective description are analogous to those which distinguish the corresponding operations of individuation and definition. Definition applies to an indefinite number of individuals, connected together only by those properties exhibited by that operation, and, therefore, by means of it, whensoever any individual is brought to view, a decision may be formed, whether it does or does not belong to the aggregate in question. The individual characterized by individuation is unique; being unique, every property described as belonging to him must have belonged to him at the time and place of his individuation; but the greater the number of properties enumerated, the less chance is there of their aggregate being possessed in common by other individuals, or of their not having undergone any change other than such as may be accounted for, and calculated upon, during the change from the time and place fixed by the individuation. Description, therefore, though itself uncertain as to answering the purpose intended, is the only mode of exposition which can efficiently be adopted in such cases.
6. Parallelism is the pointing out of certain particular properties of a thing, with a view to the showing the resemblance it has to some other thing. Its use is to resolve any doubts which may arise, either from imperfect conception or imperfect expression, whether the object in question does or does not belong to the class of objects expounded.
Comparison is an act by which Distinction and Parallelism may be indifferently carried on.
7. Enumeration is the exhibiting the nature of the class of things characterized by any name, by bringing to view the names of certain subordinate sorts of things, or even certain individual things which it is meant to signify. It may be complete, or incomplete.
Enumeration is arithmetical or systematical. Systematical enumeration is by division, or rather is accompanied with, and performed by division. It is the gathering up and naming of the parts which result from the division of the whole.
8. Ampliation is the declaring concerning any word, that it has been, or that it is intended that it should be understood to have a more extensive meaning than, on certain occasions, people, it is supposed, might be likely to attribute to it,—that is, to comprehend such and such objects over and above those objects which they, it is supposed, would be apt to understand it to comprehend.
9. Restriction is the declaring concerning any word that it has been, or that it is, intended, it should be understood not to have so extensive a meaning as, on certain occasions, people, it is supposed, might be likely to attribute to it,—that is, not to comprehend such and such objects of the number of these which they (it is supposed) would be apt to understand it to comprehend.
Distinction and Disambiguation what?—in what Cases employed.
Distinction, or real Antithesis, is the pointing out of certain particular properties of a thing, with the view of showing its dissimilarity to some other particular thing with which it is apprehended it may be confounded in such manner as to be deemed either the same with it, or more similar to it than it is in reality.
Distinction precedes division in the scale; distinction exhibits the relation of the object to the equally ample objects, its congeners; division breaks it down into its component species; distinction is a fragment of a supposed preceding division of an ampler term, bearing the ratio of a genus to that in question.
Disambiguation is distinction applied to words.
Such is the imperfection of language; instances are numerous in which the same words have the same audible with their attendant visible signs, and, in the same language, have been employed to designate objects that have nothing in common.
Be the word what it may, if so it be that it is wont to be employed in more senses than one, between or among which no coincidence, either total or partial, is perceptible, when, at the same time, while by one person it is received in one sense, by another person it is received in another different sense,—an operation, necessarily preliminary to definition, is distinction or disambiguation; in other words, when so it happens that the word in question has been employed in the character of a sign for the designation of several objects, insomuch that, without further explanation, it may happen to it to be taken as indicative of one object, when, by the author of the discourse, it was meant to be indicative, not of that, but of a different one, what for the exclusion of such misconception, may every now and then be necessary, is—an intimation, making known which of all these several objects the word is, in the case in question, meant to designate, and what other, or others, it is not meant to designate.*
Take, for example, the English word Church; this English word is uniformly considered and employed as the correct and complete representative of the Latin word Ecclesia, which, in other letters somewhat different in appearance, serves for the designation of the same sound as the correspondent Greek word; in French, Eglise.
1. Among the Greeks, in its original acceptation, Ecclesia was employed to signifiy an assembly of any kind; it was manifestly from the union of two words, εχ and ϰαλεω, which signified to call out, viz. for the purpose of a joint meeting, and more particularly of a joint meeting for a public, for a political purpose.
2. Thence, among such of the first Christians whose language was Greek, it came to signify, in particular, such assemblies as were held by these religionists, as such, whether for the purpose of devotion or conjunct economical management.
3. In an association of this kind there was commonly, at least, one member, whose occupation consisted in taking the lead in their common exercises of divine worship, and by the exposition of that book, or collection of books, which, by all of them, was recognized as constituting the standard of their faith and action, to administer instruction to the rest. The operations thus performed being considered as serviceable, with reference to the persons at whose desire they were performed, the persons by whom they were performed were, accordingly, sometimes designated, in consideration of such their services, ministers, the Latin word for servants; sometimes, in consideration of their age Presbyters, from πϱεσβυτεϱοι, which was the Greek word for Elders, i. e. for men of any description when advanced in age (from which word Presbyter, the French word Prestre, and the English word Priest,) sometimes in consideration of their acting as overseers or overlookers, overlooking and overseeing, in relation to deportment, the behaviour of their disciples, the members of the association at large, Επιςϰοποι, Episcopi, whence the English word Bishop.
In process of time, those members of the association whose occupation, originally with or without pay, consisted, on the occasion in question, in acting as the servants of all, came to act as rulers over the members at large, at first on this or that particular occasion, at length upon all occasions.
At this time, besides the other senses, of which mention will require to be made presently, the word Church came to signify, according to the purpose which, by those who were employing it it was designed to serve, three very different assemblages of persons: viz. 1. The whole body of the persons thus governed; 2. The whole body of the persons thus employed in the government of the rest; and, 3. The all-comprehensive body, or grand total, composed of governed and governors taken together.
When the persons in question were to be spoken of in the character of persons bound to pay obedience, then by the word Church was meant to be designated these subordinate subject-members of the association, in a word the subject many. When the persons in question were to be spoken of in the character of persons to whom the others were bound to pay obedience, then by the same word were designated the ruling few; when, for the purpose of securing in favour of both parties, and especially of the ruling few, the affections of respect and fear, then would the import of the word open itself, and to such an extent, as to include under one denomination the two parties whose situations and interests were thus opposite.
4. From designating, first, the act of calling together an assembly, then the assembly composed of all persons, and no other than all persons, actually assembled together at one and the same time in a particular place, and then all the persons who were regarded as entitled so to assemble at that place, it came also to be employed to designate the place itself at or in which such assembly was wont to be held: the place consisting of the soil, the portion of the earth’s surface, on which, for containing and protecting the assembly from the occasional injuries of the weather, a building was erected, and such building itself when erected.
Such as above being the purpose for which the sort of building in question was erected, viz. the paying homage to God, God, although present at all times in all places, was regarded as being in a more particular manner present at and in all places of this sort; attentive to whatsoever was passing at all other places, but still more attentive to whatsoever was passing in these places.
Being thus as it were the dwelling-places of God, these places became to the members of the association objects of particular awe and reverence, of a mixture of respect and terror—they became, in one word, holy; whereupon, by an easy and insensible transition, this mixture of respect and terror came to extend itself to, upon, and to the benefit of, the class of persons in whose hands was reposed the management of whatsoever was done in these holy places: holy functions made holy places, holy places and holy functions made holy persons.
On the score of beauty, admiration; on the score of kindness and tenderness, love; on the score of fitness for domestic management and rule, respect: these affections are in use to find their joint object in the character or relation designated by the word mother. Admiration, love, and respect, on the one part; all these are on the other part so many instruments of governance. The servants of the subject many had their assemblies for acting in such their capacity, and securing to themselves the faculty of continuing so to do. Of these assemblies, the members were some young, some middle-aged, some elderly men. Upon contemplating themselves altogether in the mirror of rhetoric, it was found that of all these males put together was composed one beautiful female, the worthy object of the associated affections of admiration, love, and respect—the Holy Mother Church.
Besides this, this holy female was seen to possess a still greater quantity of holiness, than could have entered into the composition of the aggregate mass of holiness composed of the separate holinesses of the several holy males of which she was composed, had they not, in the above-mentioned holy place been thus assembled and met together. By ordinances issued by this holy female, a greater and surer measure of admiration, respect, and consequent obedience, was obtained than would have been obtained by the assembly in its plain and original character of an assembly of males, notwithstanding all their holiness.
By this combination thus happily accomplished, an effect no less felicitous and convenient than it was holy, was produced; in the holy compound, while all the perfections of which both sexes are susceptible were found united, all imperfection, as if by chemical precipitation, were found to have been excluded. The holy men might, notwithstanding their holiness, have remained fallible; the Holy Mother was found to be infallible. Her title to implicit confidence, and its naturally inseparable consequence implicit obedience, became at once placed upon the firmest ground, and raised to the highest pitch.
Great is the scandal, great to all well-disposed eyes the offence, if to her own children, or any of them, a mother has been an object of contempt: proportioned to the enormity of the offence is the indignation of all well-disposed spectators, the magnitude of the punishment which they are content to see inflicted on the score of it, and the alacrity with which they are ready to concur in promoting the infliction of such punishment.
How much more intense that indignation, should any such indignity be offered to that holy character, should her servants or even her ordinances be violated. Flowing, from the maternity of this holy, this sanctified, this sacred character—to all these epithets the same venerated import belongs, they deserve the same respect: how convenient and useful the result!
When an edifice of the holy class has been erected and duly consecrated, proportioned to the holiness, the sanctity, the sacredness bestowed upon it in and by its consecration, is the enormity of any offence by which it has been profaned and its sanctity violated.
When, again, an edifice of the holy class has been erected and duly consecrated, the more sumptuous, the more magnificent, the more lofty, the more admirable, the more venerable the structure, the greater the calamity, the wider the ruin, the more intense the shock arising from its being subverted, the more intolerable the apprehension of the danger of its being subverted, the more intense and implacable the indignation excited towards and pointed against all persons regarded or considered as capable of being the authors or promoters of so shocking a catastrophe.
Already has been seen the advantage derivable and derived by and to the rulers of the Church, themselves being that Church, by the creation of a Church capable of being violated.
Here may now be seen the advantage producible and produced by and to the same rulers of the Church from the creation of a Church, themselves being that Church, capable of being subverted.
By any unholy person is this holy will in any particular opposed, or threatened to be opposed,—that same sacrilegious, unholy, profane, unbelieving infidel, miscreant, reprobate person is already a violater, and, in intention, a subverter of the Church, worthy of all indignation, all horror, all punishment, all vengeance, which it is in the power of any dutiful and worthy son of the Church to contribute to pour down upon his devoted head.
In the above example may be seen an instance of that impracticability which is liable to have place,—the impracticability of exhibiting a definition of the term in question, where the import of the term is such, that, antecedently to any such operation, a division of the contents of such its import requires to be made, its imports being in such sort compound and diverse, that no one exposition, which shall at the same time be complete and correct, can be given of it.
In the particular instance here in question, although before any correct definition could be given, it was necessary that an apt division should be made, yet, when once such division has been made, the need of any ulterior exposition in the shape of a definition may, perhaps, be seen or supposed to be, pretty effectually superseded; other instances might, perhaps, be found in which such ulterior exposition might still be requisite.
Beard.—Do you mean the beard of a man? Beard!—do you mean the beard of a plant?—for example, barley or wheat? By these questions division is already made: and then for the instruction of any one to whom (he being acquainted with other sorts of wheat) it had not happened to him to have heard of the sort called bearded wheat, some sort of an exposition, in the shape of a definition, might be necessary.
In the above instance the imports, how widely and materially soever different, might, however, be seen to be connected with each other by a principle or chain of association. But the more important, especially in respect of practical purposes, the difference is, as also, the more liable the several senses are to be mistaken for each other, and that which, in one sense, is not true, however in another sense it may be true, to be understood in the sense in which it is not true, the more material is it that whatsoever distinction has place should be brought to light, and held up to view.
In all matters relative to the Church in so far as concerns the interests of the members of the Church, the good of the Church ought to be the object pursued in preference to any other. By each of two persons this proposition may, with perfect sincerity, have been subscribed. But according as to the word Church, the one or other of two very different, and in respect of practical consequences, opposite imports, has been annexed, their conduct may, on every occasion, be with perfect consistency exactly opposite; one meaning by the word church the subject many,—the other, by the same word, the ruling few.
At the same time, the number of pronounceable changes of which the letters of the alphabet are susceptible, being, how ample soever, not altogether unlimited, instances cannot but have place in which, to one and the same word, divers imports, altogether uninterconnected by any such bond of association may have happened to be attached.
Many, however, are the instances in which, of two or more in appearance, widely different imports, the connexion, though real, may not be generally perceptible.
In French, by one and the same word, worms and verses are designated. Between two objects so widely dissimilar in any mind would there have existed any principle of connexion?—Possibly not; in this instance possibly no such connexion has had place; but neither is the contrary impossible. The French vers is from the Latin versus, a verse; but, in Latin, vermes is the name of a worm; in the same language verto is, to turn: and, who can say but that of versus and vermes, this verb verto, may have been the common root. “Tread upon a worm and it will turn,” says an English proverb; and, in the construction of verses, how much of turning the stock of words of which the language is composed requires, is no secret to any person by whom a copy of verses has ever been made or read.
Modes of Exposition employed by the Aristotelians.
In the preceding sections we have seen what the species of discourse, called an exposition, is, and of what modifications it is susceptible. Of some of these no conception appears to have been entertained by the Aristotelians. Others, it will now be seen, have been noticed by them, and stand comprised under the head of definitio, definition.
Of these modes, by far the most important is the one, styled in the language of ancient Logic, definitio per genus et differentiam.
It consists in an indication given of a certain class of objects, to which the object in question is declared to belong, that class being designated by a denomination styled a generic name. But the case being such that the object in question is not the only object which belongs to that class, some mark is, at the same time, attached as indicative of some property which is possessed by the object in question, and not possessed by any other individual, or sub-class of objects included in that same class.*
Here, then, it may be seen already to what a degree the ancient Logic,—for these 2000 years the only Logic,—has in this by far the most useful track of it, the tactic branch, been all this while deficient. Its defectiveness of arrangement forms a sort of counterpart to its defectiveness in respect of argument, as exemplified in its list of Fallacies.†
To objects in general the system of division has never yet been applied, though, towards exhibiting the indefinite chain of divisions, one other advance, it is true, had been made by the ancient Logic. This advance consists in the use of the term genus generalissimum. By this term intimation, how obscure soever, was given of these links,—of the three highest links in this chain. By the term genus generalissimum was designated the first class; by the genus which was not the genus generalissimum, but of narrower extent, and comprised within it, the next class; and, by the term species, a class which was to the genus what the genus was to the genus generalissimum—a bi-sub-class.
Assigning the appropriate genus being one of the two operations included in the idea of a definition, according to this exclusively common acceptation of the word, the consequence was, that whatsoever names were of such sort that no genus, in the import of which the classes respectively indicated by them were contained, were afforded by the language in use, of the words so circumstanced no such exposition as a definition, properly so called, could be furnished.
Susceptible of receiving a definition in this usual, and, indeed, only sense of the word definition, a term cannot be, unless it belong to and form a step in some assignable scale of aggregates, related to each other in the way of logical subalternation.
This word definition has, in many cases, been used as the collective designation for all modes of exposition. Sanderson does not, however, appear to have fallen into this error, he always using definitio alone as the name of the genus and definitio per genus et differentiam, as the name of the particular species. In the foregoing chapter his example in this respect has not been followed, both on account of the difficulty there would be in finding a more appropriate single-worded denomination for the species, and, on account of the more expressive nature of the word exposition as the name of the genus.
The Bishop has certainly not succeeded so well in the very first exposition he had occasion to give. In his chapter on the subject of the very word definition,‡ —Definitio, he says, est definiti explicatio. And what, we may ask, is explicatio? The answer might, with equal clearness, be Explicatio est explicati definitio. The words employed are synonymous; and the one as easy to be understood as the other. Not one of the rules of exposition laid down in the next page are followed in this case; in fact, no new idea is at all conveyed. If any tolerably correct conception can be formed of what he meant by definitio, it must be gathered up from the subsequent enumeration of its species, and not from this exposition.
His first division of the subject nearly coincides with its division into the exposition of words alone, and of objects connected with words; but he falls into an error by giving to the results of this division the designations of definitio nominis and definitio rei; every exposition being the exposition of a name, the difference consisting in this,—that in one case we consider the name alone, in the other, the object in conjunction with that name, without which we cannot speak, nor perhaps think, of any fictitious entity, or of any real one, which is not present to our perception.
No mention is made of exposition by representation,—the only mode that can be employed where the parties in question have no common language.
The division of definitio nominis would appear to comprehend the modes of translation and etymologization, whilst definitio rei may have been intended to mark the distinction made above into necessary and subsidiary modes of exposition; by the first, such properties only being exhibited as are necessary for exact exposition; by the latter, other properties being presented to view for the purpose of facilitating comprehension. Exposition by paraphrasis, for want of a due conception of its nature, is put into the latter class; the genera generalissima, and those fictitious entities to which that mode applies, being designated as things not susceptible of a perfect exposition. Of definition they certainly are not susceptible; but the exposition of them by paraphrasis may be quite as perfectly applied as definition to real entities.
Of modes of description, the enumeration, or rather exemplification, is very imperfect. The first and last examples are alone applicable. Frui est uti cum voluptate, is a definition; Sol est mundi oculus, belongs to archetypation; Frigus est absentia caloris, is mere translation.
The four canones definitionis correspond with the four properties desirable in discourse:—1. Definitio verbis propriis, perspicuis, usitatis, et ab omni ambiguitate liberis, exprimatur, refers to clearness of expression; Nihil contineatsuperflui, to conciseness; Nihil desit, to completeness; Sit adequata definitio, to correctness. How far the author has himself followed these rules, has already appeared in an instance derived from this chapter.
The modus investigandi rerum definitiones, detailed in the fifth paragraph, are sources of classification, and belong to that head. His division of Definitio, lib. iii., cap. 16., refers also to that subject.
[* ] On this subject, for the purpose of exposition, i. e. for the purpose of ensuring clearness, the Aristotelians have given us a distinction which may be seen to be itself a source of unclearness,—viz. of that sort which is termed obscurity. For the purpose of exposition, one of the instruments or operations they employ is definition, to which again they apply another instrument, viz. division. A definition (say they) is either a definition of the name, or a definition of the thing, meaning, evidently, of the thing—of the object, of which the word is employed as a name. Now, in the account thus given of the matter, a proposition is implied which is not true; viz. that where the definition is a definition of a thing, it never is the definition of the name; whereas in truth it always is.
Of the distinction which they had in view, the form they should have employed seems to be this: a definition is either a definition of the word alone, or a definition of the thing by means of the word. A definition of the thing signified,—meant to be expressed by it.
[* ]Dictionaries of languages, that is, where the words of one language are expounded by giving the corresponding words of another. Dictionaries in a single language generally comprehend almost every species of exposition.
[* ] See chap. ix. sec. viii.
[† ] An excellent illustration of definition, in contradistinction to other modes of exposition, is afforded by the characteristic phrases of writers on the physical sciences, in which those characters alone are given which are necessary to distinguish the species from all others in the same genus; or, in other words, which constitute the species. All other properties, the knowledge of which may assist the learner in the formation of the idea he is intended to receive, being referred to description of which I shall speak farther on.
A great light would be thrown on the pneumatological branches of science, were the like exactness to be given to the definition of words in use, wherever definition may be employed with advantage. In the case of all terms of very general import, it will be found much more useful to consider them as genera generalissima, and expound them by other means, but when once the import of these genera is fixed, definition should be applied to, and persevered in to the greatest extent possible. The advantage of this will appear in a clearer light when I speak of methodization, an operation with which definition is intimately connected.
[* ] See section viii.
[* ] It is, however, only in so far as a man is aware of the probability, that in the event in question the unpleasant consequence in question will befal him, that the obligation can possess any probability of proving an effective one.
[† ] See Principles of Morals and Legislation, chapter iii. vol. i. p. 14.
[* ] Multisensual, by accident and without analogy. Multisensual, by reason of analogy; under one or other of these heads, may all the cases in which it can happen to a word to stand in need of distinction be comprised.
[* ] Here, by the by, we have two sub-classes, formed by the division of any one class; of the one class in question, whatever it be. But as this class is divisible into two classes, say, sub-classes; so may each of these sub-classes be divided each into two bi-sub-classes,—each bi-sub-class into tri-sub-classes, and so on without end.
[† ] See Book of Fallacies, Introduction, section 2, vol. ii. p. 379.
[‡ ] Book i. chap. 17. De Definitione. [Sanderson says, “Definitio est Definiti (sive nominis sive rei) explicatio.—Ed.]