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CHAPTER VI.: ANALYTICAL VIEW OF THE MATTER OF THOUGHT AND INTERNAL ACTION; CORRESPONDENT VIEW OF THE MATTER OF LANGUAGE. - 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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ANALYTICAL VIEW OF THE MATTER OF THOUGHT AND INTERNAL ACTION; CORRESPONDENT VIEW OF THE MATTER OF LANGUAGE.
Thought the Basis of Language.
Of language, the primary and only original use is the communication of thought, the conveyance of thought from mind to mind, from the mind of a speaker to the mind of a hearer.
All thought belongs either to the intellectual or to the volitional department of the mind—to the understanding or the will.
A portion of the matter of language is frequently termed a discourse.*
By every portion of discourse, communication is endeavoured to be given of the state which, in some respect or other, one or the other of the above departments of the speaker’s mind is in.
Acts of the intellectual department or faculty are, 1. Simple perceptions;† 2. Sensations, i. e. perceptions attended with pain or pleasure; and 3. Judgments or Opinions. Remembrance is but the work of a particular species of perception. Of the general faculty of sensation, a particular impression is the exercise or exemplification of the memory, the correspondent idea, i. e. the copy of that same impression as taken by and preserved in the mind.
Of judgment, the subjects are, 1. Points of similitude between object and object. 2. Points of dissimilitude between object and object. 3. Existence or non-existence of the relation of cause and effect as between object and object.
Simple perception is not capable of erring, no, nor sensation neither. But judgment is, on the part of every person, and on almost every occasion exposed to error.
A state or act of the mind in which judgment is continually included, is apt to be considered as an exemplification of perception alone, or sensation alone. Such is the case with all instances of the exercise of the organs of sight and hearing. I see a hill, i. e. what appears to me a hill; but oftentimes when what a man sees is believed by him to be a hill, it is in reality a cloud. I hear the rain, but oftentimes when a man thinks he hears the rain falling, the cause of his perception is not rain, but the wind whistling through certain trees.
When as above, desire, (the state or act of the will,) and simple perception or sensation, (the state or act of the understanding,) are excepted, all that the mind of man is capable of containing is an act of the judicial faculty—an opinion, a judgment: an opinion entertained by himself, entertained in his own mind. This is the only immediate subject of any communication which, concerning the state of that faculty, can be made. Of no matter of fact, external to, of no matter other than that which passes in his own mind, can any immediate communication be made by language. Opinion, an opinion entertained by the speaker, this is all of which, in any instance, communication can be made. Of an opinion thus expressed, any imaginable matter of fact, real or supposed, may have been taken for the object. But that to which expression is given, that of which communication is made, is always the man’s opinion, i. e. that which, in so far as the expression answers its intended purpose, that which he wishes should be taken for his opinion in relation to the subject in question, nor anything more.*
Be this as it may, the strictly logical consequences are the only ones that belong to the present purpose.
One is,—that, in every portion of discourse which is not the expression of a desire, a simple sensation, or a perception; in every portion of discourse, for example, by which the existence of a matter of fact exterior to the person of the speaker is asserted,—is included a communication made of the state of the judicial department of the speaker’s mind, an opinion entertained in relation to that same matter of fact.
This being the case, a certain degree of complexity attaches to every proposition, the simplest imaginable not excepted, which has for its subject a matter of fact at large.
Eurybiades struck Themistocles. By a proposition in these words, what is it that I assert? It is this: It is my opinion that Eurybiades struck Themistocles. This is what I can be sure of, and it is all that, in relation to the supposed matter of fact, it is in my power to be assured of.
This pen exists,—meaning the pen employed in the tracing of these characters. This pen exists, i. e. my opinion is that this pen exists. Such is very decidedly and firmly my own opinion. But of no pen with which he ever wrote would any such opinion have been entertained by Bishop Berkeley.
Thus it is, that, in respect of this complexity—this constant and unavoidable complexity,—the expression of the mode of being of the intellectual department agrees with the expression of the volitional department of a speaker’s mind.
Come hither. By this discourse, as every man will acknowledge, at the very first hint, what is expressed is, that it is my desire that the person to whom I speak should so do.
He is there. By this discourse, in like manner, what is expressed is, my opinion that he (the person spoken of) is in the place alluded to by the word there.
The consequence is, that in saying,—He is there,—the proposition, simple as it is in appearance, is, in its import, complex; and if it be considered as designating, expressing, communicating, the whole of the object of which it is employed as the sign, viz. the mode of being of my mind, it is elliptical. That to which it gives expression is the supposed matter of fact which (supposing me to speak truly) was the object of my thought;—that of which it does not contain the expression, is that thought itself; the only matter of fact of which the discourse in question is strictly and immediately the assertion, is left to be inferred from the context, from such words as are actually uttered.†
In all ordinary discourse propositions come entire, it is only on the occasion of some science or art, that, unless where employed instead of a proposition, and by ellipsis or abridgment, containing in it the import of an entire proposition, any term is presented by itself. Every man who speaks, speaks in propositions, the rudest savage, not less than the most polished orator,—terms taken by themselves are the work of abstraction, the produce of a refined analysis:—ages after ages must have elapsed before any such analysis was ever made.
Of the above observations, another logical consequence is this, viz. that for the giving expression and conveyance to any thought that ever was entertained, so far as concerns import and not discourse, nothing less than the import of an entire proposition, and that, as above, a complex one, ever was, or ever could be made to serve.
Not but that in many instances for the making communication of thought, even a single word is made to serve. But then it is by means of other words, which, according to the occasion, the single word in question may have the effect of suggesting as effectually as by this same single word, the ideas constantly associated with it are suggested.
Looking at my son, whose name is John,—I say to him, John,—he hears me,—what is it that he understands by this? The import, the full import, belonging to one or other of these two phrases. My desire is that you attend, (viz. to what more I am about to say,) or, my desire is that you come, i. e. come near to the place at which I am sitting.
And thus it is by bringing to view other words, in the character of words of which, though not pronounced, the import was meant to be conveyed by the word which was pronounced, that a single word may be made to have the effect, and thus, as it were, comprise the import, of an indefinite number of other words,—of a discourse of an indefinite length.
This being the case, if nothing less than the import of an entire proposition be sufficient for the giving full expression to any the most simple thought, it follows that no word, being anything more than a fragment of a proposition, no word is of itself the complete sign of any thought.
It was in the form of entire propositions that when first uttered, discourse was uttered. Of these integers, words were but so many fragments, as afterwards in written discourse letters were of words. Words may be considered as the result of a sort of analysis,—a chemico-logical process, for which, till at a comparatively much later period than that which gave birth to propositions, the powers of the mind were not ripe.
With a view, however, to save the words which would be required to point out this complexity, such propositions as are only in this way complex, may, for some purposes, and on some occasions, be considered and spoken of as simple.
Upon this field of observation the logic of Aristotle and his followers did not penetrate. The subjects it began with were terms, i. e. words of a certain description, and beginning with the consideration of these terms, it went on to the consideration of propositions in the character of compounds capable of being composed out of these elements.
Antecedently to all particular inquiry, in an inquiry the subject of which was confined to the signs of thought—in an inquiry in which no attempt was made to look into the thoughts signified, in the conception entertained in relation to the nature of thought, and of the diversification of which it is susceptible, much clearness, correctness, or advance to completeness, could not naturally be expected.
These terms are accordingly spoken of as possessing of themselves an original and independent signification, as having existence before anything of the nature of a proposition came to be in existence;—as if finding these terms endowed, each of them, somehow or other, with a signification of its own, at a subsequent period some ingenious persons took them in hand, and formed them into propositions.*
But the truth is, that in the first place came propositions, and that out of these propositions, by abstraction and analysis, terms possessed, each of them, of an independent import, were framed.†
Condillac—for the purpose of elucidating Locke’s doctrine that all ideas grow out of sensations, and but for such sensations could not have existence—imagined to himself the idea of a statue, and enduing it successively with the five senses, and such combination of them as promised to afford instruction with reference to this, his purpose, exhibited to view the furniture of the different orders of minds with which the statue would, in this way, be provided.
Proceeding thus, was proceeding in the way of synthesis:—synthesis means putting together. Proceeding thus, he took in hand, in the first place, as a basis for the rest, the most simple element he could find, and adding to this one, other elements one after another, exhibited, in this gradual way, the contents of all the several compounds capable of being made, and which, accordingly, are the most compounded of those in experience found to be made out of those elements.
Equally well adapted has this same method appeared to be for exhibiting to view, in the order of simplicity or complexity, (it may be denominated in either way,) the results that have been produced by putting together the several ideas respectively denoted by the several sorts of words of which language is composed.‡
Of language in its origin, the parts could not have existed in a degree of simplicity, equal to that of the most simple of those at present in use. The first words must, in their import, have been equivalent to whole sentences, to sentences expressive, for example, of suffering, of enjoyment, of desire, of aversion.
Of this original language, the parts of speech called interjections are examples.
Of this nature is, and seems destined for ever to continue, the language of quadrupeds and other inferior animals.
To form the words of which language is at present composed has been the work of analysis. The original sentences were, as it were, broken down into words, these words into syllables, and these syllables, by the help of written and visible signs, into letters.
Of these elements, thus formed by analysis, those called words will now be to be put together in the way of synthesis.
The task here undertaken is to take up the several classes of words denominated by logicians, in consideration of the connexion between their respective imports with reference to one another, conjugates, and beginning with that one of which the import is most simple, not admitting of being analyzed into others more simple, to apply to it the several other classes of which the respective imports are more and more complex.
Of this theoretical labour, the practical use is this: by the observation of the compounds already made, and the conveniences with reference to the ends of language respectively derived from them, to show how the number of them may be made to receive increase, very considerable increase, and in respect of its several useful and desirable properties, the utility of the instrument called language may be made to receive increase.
Language has its logical and its chronological history: its logical history shows what must have been the order of formation among the elements of language—shows it from the nature of man, shows it from the circumstances in which all men are placed, shows it from circumstantial evidence. The chronological history of language shows what has actually been, &c.*
In language are to be considered, 1. The ideas designated; 2. The signs employed in the designation of those ideas.
As to the signs, they have been for the most part arbitrary, bearing no naturally characteristic analogy to the things respectively designated; when considered apart from the ideas, no very considerable instruction, comparatively speaking, is accordingly derived from the consideration of them.
Being arbitrary, they have accordingly been infinitely diversified; taking the human species in the aggregate, one and the same idea having found employment for signs to the number of some hundreds at least, not to say thousands, in the expression of it.
In a very different case are the ideas themselves. These being the furniture of the mind, and mind being, in fact, a property of the body—in the sort of fictitious language without which it cannot be spoken of—a sort of inmate of the body, the differences between minds, that is to say, the furniture of minds, are not greater than the differences between bodies.
Hence it is that, in the history of the formation of ideas, i. e. of the order in which the several ideas thus characterized by their several sets of signs have made their appearance, there must, throughout the whole human race, have been a considerable degree of sameness.
By grammarians, who may be considered as a tribe of logicians, operating in a particular quarter of the field of logic, the term conjugates, or, at any rate, the nearly allied terms, to conjugate, and conjugation, have been employed of old.
By logicians, to the import of these terms a considerable and very useful extension has been given.
By grammarians, the aggregate, or say cluster of connected words, called by them a verb, has been said to be conjugated when, in conjunction with the characteristic fundamental portion of it, the several modifications by which—the several varieties by which tense, mood, person, number, to which in some instances is preposterously added gender, i. e. sex stand expressed,—have been exhibited and recited; and the groups, in so far as for the expression of these modifications of the fundamental import, words more or less different in sound are employed, are said to belong to so many different conjugations.
With the same propriety and convenience as that with which the terms conjugation and to conjugate were applied to the cluster of intimately connected words called a verb, might they have been applied to the other cluster of intimately connected words called a noun, as diversified by the several modifications called cases, in addition to those by which the designation of the several varieties of which sex, person, (viz. with relation to the speaker, the hearer, and others,) and number are susceptible,—by which so many correspondent varieties, in respect of sex, person, and number, are expressed and brought to view.
As it happened, no such extension, however, was made. In the case of a noun, instead of conjugation and to conjugate, declension and to decline, were the words employed.
Applied to the cluster to which they were applied, viz. to the verb, the terms conjugation and to conjugate were apposite and expressive. Jugum is the Latin word for a yoke, an instrument by which a number of animals employed in draught are connected with each other and with the burthen which is to be drawn: connected with each other for that common purpose.
The cluster of words called a verb, presents to view a fundamental or radical import to which, throughout the whole cluster, expression is given by some letter, or combination of letters, which has place in every one of the component words, and by which, as by a bond of union, they are connected together, and made up into one whole.
Exactly of the same sort is the connexion, which, in the different parts or portions of the part of speech called a noun, has place.
In the instance of a noun, the several sources of modification, designated by the words person, gender, and number, are designated by the same names as in the instance of the verb.
The sources of diversification, in respect of which the noun differs from the verb, are, on the part of the verb, the moods and tenses, which the noun has not; on the part of the noun, the cases which the verb has not.
When, a noun being given, a man names the modifications called cases, together with those which regard person, number, and gender, he is not said to conjugate it,—he is said to decline it. Associated with the import of the word case, is, according to the grammarians, the import of the words declension, to decline.
But in the instance of declension, the emblem or archetypal image exhibits no marks of such felicity as have been seen exhibited in the case of conjugation. Case is from cado to fall; an image borrowed by the Latin grammarians from the Greek grammarians. A rod is conceived to fall. In the nominative case, the mode of its falling—the direction in which it falls is considered as direct—perpendicular to the horizon, and is accordingly called-rectus: in the other cases, it is considered as oblique, viz. with reference to the horizon: accordingly, all these several cases are, besides their peculiar names, expressed by one common name, and called oblique cases.
With indisputable propriety, and with no inconsiderable utility, if comprehensiveness of perception be of any use, have the logicians extended the application of these words, conjugation and to conjugate,—or at any rate, that other term so intimately connected with them, viz. conjugate, or conjugates, not only to the cluster of connected words called nouns, but to all words, the connexion of which is formed and evidenced by the circumstance of their containing in their structure the main portion, expressive of the principal and characteristic idea of the whole cluster.
In the combination of letters expressive of this characteristic idea, may be seen what may be termed the root of the cluster. In the whole word, whatever it be, which, if there were any difference in respect of time, presents itself as likely to have been the word first in use, we have the radical and primitive conjugate; in all the others, the several ramified branches, or collateral and derivative conjugates.*
On looking over the materials of which any language is composed, two distinguishable classes of words will be found: one which possess a sort of independent import, and suggest each of them an idea without the assistance of any other word; the other, which not suggesting each of them an idea of itself, serves no other purpose than that of modifying in some way or other, the idea suggested by those of the above-mentioned independent cast.
The former may be distinguished by the name of principal, the other by that of accessory words.
Taken together a principal when considered in connexion with one of these accessory words, may be termed a conjugate.
With each such principal term will be found connected accessory words in great number and variety; hence, in the case of each principal, as many different conjugates as there are accessory words found in connexion with it; and as among these accessory words, different classes will be found distinguishable, hence to each such principal, so many clusters of conjugates.
In some instances, the accessory term is found attached to the principal, forming but one word with it, in others not, hence the distinction,—accessory words attached,—accessory words detached; conjugates in the attached form,—conjugates in the detached form.
Where the accessory word is attached, in some instances it precedes the principal word, in others it follows it. Hence the distinction,—accessories prefixed, or in the way of prefixion; accessories suffixed; or where the word accessory is understood to be in question, leaving out that word, one may say for shortness, prefixes and suffixes.
Accessories, which in one language are attached, are in another not attached.
Accessories, which in one part of the same language are attached, are, in another part of the same language, not attached.
In this respect, taken in the aggregate, infinite are the diversities which language brings to view.
The greater the number, which in any language can be found, of those sorts of words called conjugates, the more manageable will the language be, and the fitter for all the purposes of language.
For the formation of these, the first and most obvious step will be, for a man to begin with the language in which he writes; to take stock, as they say in mercantile accounts, to form his inventory out of those articles which his own language furnishes, and then to see what, if any, enrichment it may be made to receive from other languages.
On this occasion, one subject of observation will be, the difference—the prodigious difference, between the degree, in which, in its present state, the language is stocked with this or that one sort of conjugate, and the degree in which it is stocked with this or that other sort of conjugate; in this or that one instance the number stretching to hundreds or even thousands, in this or that other, not going beyond units; when the same use, which is actually derived from the species of conjugate in those two or three instances, might, without inconvenience, be derived from it in the two or three hundred, or two or three thousand instances.
As a noun or a verb is a cluster of words, so a complete set of conjugates, formed upon the model of those already in use, and by analogy, each of them made complete, would include in it an aggregate cluster of all those clusters.
The different species of conjugates, in the logical sense of the word conjugate, are chiefly, if not exclusively, formed of either terminations or beginnings, (mostly terminations,) added to the principal part of the word, considered as standing in the relation of the root or basis; to that part of the word by which the principal part of the import of the compound is designated.
Take, for example, the cluster of conjugates, of which the Latin word locus, (the English, place,) forms the basis. Terminations or suffixes,—say, for example, locate, to locate, location, located, add locatedness and locatement. Beginnings or prefixes,—dislocate, add, upon the model of replace, relocate; add, upon the model of transfer and transfuse, translocate.
Of the import of all the several sorts of conjugates actually existing and imaginable, the basis is the import of the noun-substantive.
A noun-substantive is the name of some entity, real or fictitious.
By a real entity, understand a substance,—an object, the existence of which is made known to us by one or more of our five senses. A real entity is either a person or a thing, a substance rational, or a substance not rational.
By a fictitious entity, understand an object, the existence of which is feigned by the imagination,—feigned for the purpose of discourse, and which, when so formed, is spoken of as a real one.*
These sorts of fictitious entities may be classed in different ranks or orders, distinguished by their respective degrees of vicinity to the real one.
First comes motion,—fictitious entity of the first order. To speak of a motion, we are obliged to speak of it as if it were a substance. We say he or it is in motion; thus speaking, we speak of a motion as if it were a place, a portion of space, and the person or thing situated in that place.
The absence or negation of motion is rest; we say that person or thing is at rest:—speaking thus, we speak of rest as being a sort of substance; suppose a tree or a stone, and the person or the thing as being in a state of contiguity or relation to it.
Considered with reference to our senses, every particle of matter, perceived or perceptible at the time at which, or with reference to which it is considered, is either in a state of motion or in a state of rest.
The state of rest is the negation of the state of motion. With reference to the same object, no particle of matter can therefore be in motion and at rest at the same time. To say that it is or can be, would be a self-contradictory proposition, resolvable into a pair of mutually contradictory propositions.
But take any body composed of a number of particles of matter, then so it is that, of and in that same body, while part, i. e. some of those particles, are in a state of motion, other parts may at that time be in a state of rest.
When of any body it is said, that body has been in motion, what is meant is, that, at or in different portions of the field of time, that body has occupied different portions or positions in the field of space.
As atoms or minimum portions may be conceived as having place in the field of space, so may atoms or minimum portions in the field of time.
If speaking of any body, suppose the plaything called a peg-top. I say this body is now in motion; then, if by now I mean no more than a single atom or minimum portion of time, what I thus say cannot be exactly true, since, as above, for motion to have had place, or to have place, two atoms of time at the least are necessary.
But if, speaking as above, what I mean by now is a portion of the field of time, containing any number of atoms greater than one, then the proposition delivered by me in those same words may be true.
In general, the word now, when applied to motion, is understood as applicable with propriety. Why? Because, in the utterance of the proposition to that effect, atoms in great number are employed.†
Here, then, we have a division of the states of which things, i. e. portions of matter, are susceptible, and that division an exhaustive one; of states of things, and thence and therefore of the objects of thought, in so far as they come within that same denomination, viz. portions of matter.
States of things, when at rest, are their positions with reference to one another in the field of space.
States of things, when in motion, are motions.
Considered abstractedly from volition, a motion is termed an event; a simple motion, a simple event; a complex motion, a complex event.
Considered as the result of volition, a motion is termed an act, an action, an operation.
In the word position, we see already the name of one fictitious entity, and thereby, in so far as it can be said to be visible, one fictitious entity. In the word motion we see another.
Taking into consideration any body which we have been considering as having been in a state of motion, we thence take occasion to ascribe to it a quality, viz. mobility; the quality which consists in the capacity of being, or aptitude to be, put into, and thence to be in, a state of motion. Antecedent to our idea of this quality, mobility must have been our idea of the correspondent state, viz. a state of motion.
To substance we ascribe qualities; to motion also we ascribe qualities. It is by this circumstance, that of motion, the import is placed, as it were, nearer to that of substance than that of qualities. Substances have their qualities,—they are large, small, long, short, thick, thin, and so forth; motions have their qualities,—they are quick, slow, rising, falling, continued, discontinued, regular, irregular, and so on.
If, then, motion be termed a fictitious entity of the first order, viz. that which is nearest to reality, mobility, and so any other quality, may with reference to it be termed a fictitious entity of the second order.
Here, then, we have an additional class of fictitious entities,—of fictitious substances. We have largeness, smallness, length, shortness, thickness, thinness; we have, moreover, quickness, slowness. We might have as well as rising, risingness; as well as falling, fallingness; as well as continued, continuedness; as well as discontinued, discontinuedness; we have as well as regular, regularity; as well as irregular, irregularity; attributes as well of substances as of motions.
Already has been brought to view, though as yet without special notice, a different sort of conjugate, the noun-adjective,—large, small, long, short, thick, thin, and so forth.
This sort of conjugate, in what consists its difference from that which is the name of a quality? In this:—when we speak of largeness, there is largeness; we speak of the fictitious substance so denominated, without reference made to any other object. On the contrary, when we say large, we present the idea of that same quality, but accompanied with the intimation of some other substance which is endued with that quality,—some other object in which that quality has existence, and is to be found. We put the mind upon the look-out for that other object, without which it is satisfied that the expression is incomplete; that the idea presented by it is but, as it were, the fragment of an idea,—a fragment, to the completion of which the idea of some object in which the quality is to be found is necessary.
In a word, the substantival name of a quality presents the idea, in the character of a complete idea, conceivable of itself, the adjectival denomination of that same quality presents the idea in the character of an incomplete idea, requiring for the completion of it the idea of some object in which it may be seen to inhere.
In the order of invention, proper names come before common names. Common names are the result of generalization; every common name is the name of a general idea.
The pronoun I is a sort of common name, being applicable by any person as well as any other; the pronouns he, she, and it, more manifestly so. Languages, it is said, are in existence, in which there are no such pronominal names. Instead of I, the speaker employs his own name; instead of you, the name of the person spoken to; instead of he or she, that of the person spoken of. A different sign for the third person, when of a different sex, must have been a superior refinement; so likewise the difference between animals endued with the organs of sex, and other substances,—whence the distinction between masculine and feminine, on the one hand, and neuter on the other.
Among the articles, the definite article the must have come first into use. The use of the indefinite article a implies the existence of the habit of abstraction,—of generalization,—an advance made in the art of logic.
On the occasion in which the original sole part of speech, the interjection, began to be resolved into the eight which we distinguish at present, the noun-substantive was probably the first to make its appearance, and that in the nominative case and singular number.
Nouns-adjective, and verbs,—which came forth first? the adjective or the verb, it seems not at present very easy to determine. What is certain, is, that of the adjective the idea is altogether simple in comparison with that of the verb; but as above, simplicity, so far from being an evidence of priority, is rather an evidence to the contrary.
When once the verb-substantive was established, the greatest of all strides was made in the track of abstraction and generalization. Added to a correspondent set of adjectives, this one verb is capable of performing the office of all other verbs.
In the logical sense of the word conjugate every verb is a cluster or set of conjugates,—of conjugates bearing the same relation to each other. In the instance of every such aggregate, accordingly, to conjugate a verb, is, in the hitherto current language of grammarians, (for in this respect, in the language of logicians, there is a difference,)—to enumerate the several words which enter into the composition of the aggregate so denominated.
To see clearly into the nature of this aggregate, it will be necessary to take an inventory of the ideas, the signs of which enter into the composition of it.
Distinguish them, in the first place, into principal and accessory.*
Irregular Nouns and Verbs are amongst those which are of most frequent use—why?
At an early period in the history of language, a word or sound of one sort was employed as a basis for one of the relations which are expressed by inflection, a word of another sort for another.
Fragments of the mass of language in the shape which it wore while in that imperfect state, are still to be seen, and that, it is believed, in every at present cultivated language.
These fragments may be seen in the composition of all those nouns and verbs which are regarded as being in any respect irregular, and which, on that account, are exhibited by grammarians in the character of irregular nouns and verbs.
By any person who will be at the trouble of reviewing them, these irregular parts of speech will, in every language, be found among those, for the import of which the demand is most frequent in its occurrence, and which, consequently, are in most general use. In the track of time the stage at which they first came into use, was that at which the number of words in use was not as yet sufficiently great for the labour attached to it, to have drawn men into the expedient of cultivating it by employing the principle and scheme of connexion for a multitude of mutually-related words, and thus substracting from the inconvenient multitude of different forms, with the import of which they would otherwise have had to make themselves acquainted. Such was the state of society,—such the state of the demand for discourse at the time when they first came into use. The demand never having diminished, thus it is that the actual use of them remains undiminished.
Thus it is that, of the history of language, no inconsiderable part remains to this day written upon the face of it.
Necessity of Names of Material Objects for the Designation of Pneumatic or Immaterial Objects.
All our psychological ideas are derived from physical ones,—all mental from corporeal ones. When spoken of, mental ideas are spoken of as if they were corporeal ones. In no other manner can they be spoken of. But thus to speak of them is to give an erroneous, a false account of them, an account that agrees not with their nature,—it is to misrepresent them. But very different from what it is in most other cases, in this case misrepresentation is not matter of blame. By it no deception is intended; if, to a certain degree, for want of sufficient explanation, misconception be the result of it, unless by accident, it is not among the results intended by him by whom the misrepresentation is made,—the false account is delivered. From what there is of falsehood not only is pure good the result, but it is the work of invincible necessity,—on no other terms can discourse be carried on.
Every noun-substantive is a name, a name either of an individual object, or of a sort or aggregate of objects. The name of an individual has, by all grammarians, been termed a proper name,—the name of a sort or aggregate of objects, a common name; it being applied in common to each one of the individual objects which are regarded as belonging to that sort—as possessing certain properties supposed to belong in common to them all.
By this name an existence is ascribed to the individual object, or sort of object, of which it is the name. In the case where to the object thus spoken of, existence is actually an object of one of the five senses, and in particular of the sense of touch or feeling,—the only one without which man cannot exist, say, in a word, where the object is a tangible one; here there is no fiction,—as this man, this beast, this bird, this fish, this star;—or this sort of man, this sort of beast, this sort of bird, this sort of fish, this sort of star,—the object spoken of may be termed a real entity. On the other hand, in the case in which the object is not a tangible one, the object, the existence of which is thus asserted, not being a real existing one, the object, if it must be termed an entity, as on pain of universal and perpetual non-intercourse between man and man, it must be,—it may, for distinction’s sake, be termed a fictitious entity. Take, for example, this motion, this operation, this quality, this obligation, this right. Thus then we have two sorts of names, with two corresponding sorts of entities. Names of real entities,—names of fictitious entities.
Unfortunate it is, howsoever necessary and indispensable, that for speaking of fictitious entities, there is no other possible mode than that of speaking of them as if they were so many real entities. This blameless falsehood being universally uttered, and remaining universally uncontradicted, is, to a considerable extent, taken for truth. With every name employed, an entity stands associated in the minds of the hearers, as well as speakers, and that, entity, though in one half of the whole number of instances, no other than a fictitious one, is, in all of them, apt to be taken for a real one. To speak of an object by its name, its universally known name, is to ascribe existence to it,—out of this, error, misconception, obscurity, ambiguity, confusion, doubts, disagreement, angry passions, discord and hostility have, to no inconsiderable amount, had place. There is many a man who could not endure patiently to sit and hear contested the reality of those objects which he is in the habit of speaking of as being his rights. For the assertion of the existence of these fictitious objects, no small degree of merit has been ascribed, no small degree of praise has been given,—assertion has been taken for proof, and the stronger and more numerous the sets of words employed, the more complete and conclusive has that proof been esteemed.*
To such of the sources of perception as are of a material or corporeal nature, whether audible or visible, names are early attached;—by the presence of the object to both parties at once, the addresser and the addressee, i. e. party addressed, at the time that, by the addresser, the sign is presented to the sense of the addressee, the individuality of the object, the idea of which is, by that sign, presented to notice, is continually established. Bring hither that loaf;—behold that apple;—at the time when the sign is thus presented to sense, the thing signified,—the portion of matter thus denominated being at the same time presented to the senses of both parties, the import of the word loaf or apple is thus fixed, readily fixed, and beyond danger of mistake.
Objects of a corporeal nature may be designated and denominated in a direct way.
Not so in the case of an object of which the seat lies in the mind;—not so in the case of an immaterial being. For producing in any other mind any conception whatsoever of an object of this class, a man has absolutely but one means, and that is to speak of it as if it belonged to the other class,—to speak of it as if it were a material object,—to present to the party addressed some sign or other with the signification of which he is acquainted, in the character of a sign of some material object,—and upon the resemblance, or rather analogy, such as it is, which has place between the material object of which it was originally the sign, and the immaterial object of which it is now employed as a sign, to depend for the chance of the sign’s exciting in his mind the idea which, on the occasion, it is endeavoured to excite, viz. the idea of the immaterial object.
In saying, bring me that loaf, it lies in that pan;—if a pan, with a loaf in it, were accordingly existing in the presence of us both,—I should raise up in your mind two ideas, that of a pan and that of a loaf. Correspondent to the portion of discourse having matter for its subject, here then is a portion of discourse having mind for its subject. By what means, then, is it, that by words employed for that purpose, I have succeeded in my endeavour to present to your own mind, the general, in conjunction with the particular, idea of something which I have caused to have place in it?
It is by causing you to consider your own mind under the image or similitude of a receptacle, in which the idea has been made to have place, as in the material pan the material loaf is deposited. And here, after having officiated in the material sense, the preposition in, a preposition significative of place, officiates in the immaterial sense; and it is by its material sense, that it receives its explanation when employed in its immaterial sense, for from no other source could it receive its explanation.
Applied to the designation of any class of material objects, a sign is, or may be, the sign of a real entity, applied to the purpose of designating any object of the class of immaterial objects, a sign cannot, in that respect, be the sign of anything but a fictitious entity. The entity of which the sign in question is given as a sign,—your mind, as in the above example, shall in the character of an immaterial substance, have whatsoever reality it may be your pleasure to see ascribed to it. But in the phrase in question, in virtue of the preposition in, it is in the character of a material substance that it is spoken of, a receptacle in which an idea may have place, as a loaf may in a pan; and in so far as that is the character in which it is spoken of, fiction is employed. So far, therefore, the name given to your mind is the name of a fictitious entity, and your mind itself a fictitious entity. If in the instance of your mind it be in any way displeasing to you to make this acknowledgment, take for the fictitious entity the idea spoken of as being lodged in it;—or if that be not agreeable, let it be your understanding, your will, your conception, your imagination, considered in the character of so many separated existences, capable of having objects lodged in them.
Of the origin of the import of the sign in some instances the materiality is, it is true, no longer visible. Take for example, as above, the word mind itself, and the word will. But in by far the greater number of instances, it is plain enough. Take for example the words understanding, conception, and imagination, as above. Even in regard to mind, though of that word the root, in material ideas, is lost; in the French word, the import of which, though it coincide not with it, comes nearest to it, viz. esprit, the materiality is plain enough. Correspondent to, and derived from, that French word, or from the Latin word spiritus, is our word, spirit, and that spirit means originally breath, i. e. air discharged out of the lungs, is sufficiently notorious.
In so far as any origin at all can be found for it, it is in a material import that the origin of the import of every word possessing an immaterial import is to be found. Seeing that in the numerous instances in which both sorts of imports are attached to the same word, this rule is verified, we can do no otherwise than conclude that originally such was also the case in the instance of the comparatively small number of words, in and for which no material import can at present be found.
Throughout the whole field of language, parallel to the line of what may be termed the material language, and expressed by the same words, runs a line of what may be termed the immaterial language. Not that to every word that has a material import there belongs also an immaterial one; but that to every word that has an immaterial import there belongs, or at least did belong, a material one.
In a word, our ideas coming, all of them, from our senses, from what other source can the signs of them—from what other source can our language come?
Of one and the same thought, from mind to mind, by what means—through what channel can conveyance be made? To no other man’s is the mind of any man immediately present. Matter, this or that portion of matter external to both, in this may be seen the only channel, the only medium, which the nature of the case admits of. Yonder stands a certain portion of matter. By that portion of matter feelings of a certain sort are produced in your mind: by that same portion of matter feelings of a sort, if not exactly the same, at least, with reference to the purpose in question, near enough to being the same, are produced, at the same time, in my mind. Here, then, is the channel of communication, and the only one. Of that channel language takes possession and employs it.
Under you tree, in that hollow on the ground, lies an apple;—in that same spot, while I am saying this to you, pointing, at the same time, to the spot, you are observing that same apple. By this means, along with the signification of the words, lies, ground, hollow, &c., you and I learn the signification of the word in.
At and during the time we are thus conversing, the ideas of the apple, the ground, and the hollow, are in both our minds. In this way it is, that we learn the import of this same word in with reference to our two minds. In a word, with reference to mind in general, by no other means could we have learned it. In no other way could the word in, add, or any other word, have acquired a signification with reference to mind.
Unless it be the one expressed by the proposition of, taken as the sign of the possessive case, the material image, and thence the immaterial idea expressed by the preposition in, is the one the exemplification of which occurs with the greatest frequency.
By this example, the derivation of the immaterial idea from the material image, and the use thence made of the noun, considered as the name of the immaterial idea, from the use made of the same word in the character of the name of the material image, being once explained to any one to whom the explanation thus given is clear and satisfactory; of the two senses thus attached to as many propositions as the particular language, whatsoever it be, happens to furnish, the explanation may henceforward be despatched in a short formulary, and at the expense of a comparatively small number of words.
Subjects of Discourse, immediate and ulterior.
Language is the sign of thought, an instrument for the communication of thought from one mind to another.
Language is the sign of thought, of the thought which is in the mind of him by whom the discourse is uttered.
It may be the sign of other things and other objects in infinite variety, but of this object it is always a sign, and it is only through this that it becomes the sign of any other object.
On this occasion, and for this purpose, the whole of the mind of man may be considered as distinguishable into two parts,—the purely passive and the active. In the passive is included the intellectual; the active may also be styled the concupiscible. The passive, the seat of perception, memory, and judgment, in so far as it is capable (as in seeing) of being exercised without any consciousness of the intervention of the will the active the seat of desire, and thence of volition, and thence of external action.
The object for the designation of which a class of words, termed by grammarians a verb in the imperative mood, is employed, is one example out of several modifications, of the state of which the concupiscible part of the mind is susceptible.
A certain event presented by my imagination as being not yet realized, but as capable of being realized, becomes the object of my desire; if the event be regarded as capable of being brought into reality by my own agency alone, and my desire of seeing it realized, is strong enough, my will, my volitional faculty, and, at the same time, the appropriate branch of my externally active faculty are concerned in the production of it.
If it be regarded as capable of being brought into reality by the active agency of some other individual, and not otherwise, at the same time that it appears to me probable that, by the knowledge of the desire entertained in my mind a correspondent desire followed by corresponding action, will be produced in his, I address myself to him. I employ the faculty of language in making communication to him of such my desire accordingly.
In respect of power, regard being had to the particular occasion and purpose in question, what is his situation in life in relation and comparison to mine? Is it that, in my view of the matter, I have it in my power to exercise a greater influence on his wellbeing than he has on mine?—I am his superior. Is it that, on the one hand, the power which I have of exercising influence on his wellbeing, on the other hand, the power which he has of exercising influence on my wellbeing, are equal to one another?—He is my equal. Is it that the power which he has of exercising influence on my wellbeing is greater than that which I have of exercising influence on his wellbeing?—I am his inferior.
In the first case, if the mode in which I make communication of such my desire be such as to convey to him an intimation of the opinion I entertain of the position of such my own station in life with relation to his, the expression thus given to my desire is termed a command.
In Latin, impero means I command, imperation, commanding. Of the cluster of words, designated by grammarians by the name of a verb, one included cluster is termed as above, a verb in the imperative mood. By this name the intimation expressed is, that wherever a word of this form is employed, intimation of superiority is given, as above; that by it this sort of command is signified, and that commands are not signified by any other sort of word. But that neither of these propositions is correct will, in its place, be made manifest.
Thus far, then, are we advanced. The immediate subject of a communication made by language is always the state of the speaker’s mind, the state of the passive or receptive part of it, or the state of the active or concupiscible part.
Now, then, in the case where it is the state of the receptive part, what is, or may be, the ulterior subject of the communication thus made?
Answer. It will be, in some respect or other, the state (viz. meaning the supposed or alleged state) either of the corporeal part of the speaker’s frame or the state of some object other than, and exterior to, the speaker.
Of the corporeal part of the speaker’s frame. Examples:—I am weary, I am hungry, I am dry.
Of the state of some object other than and exterior to the speaker. Examples:—That apple is ripe, apples are sweet, apples are good.
In both these cases, an object other than the state of my own mind is the subject of the discourse held by me, but in neither of them is it the immediate subject.
In both of them the immediate subject is no other than the state of my own mind,—an opinion entertained by me in relation to the ulterior object or subject.
In the one case it is an opinion of which the subject is the state of my own body.
In the other it is an opinion concerning the state of a body exterior to my own body.
In the first case, the opinion, though it be but an opinion, is not, as the case is here put, much in danger of being erroneous. In respect of the actual state of my sensations, meaning the sensations themselves, I am scarcely liable to be in an error. But beyond that point no sooner do I advance but a single step, if I undertake to pronounce an opinion relative to the cause of any of those sensations, from that moment I am liable to fall. I here launch into the ocean of art and science. I here commence physician; and, in the field of the physician the dominion of error is but too severely felt.
Speaking of the state of my own body, am I thus exposed to error?—Much more so am I in speaking of the state of any other.*
The sort of infirmity just noticed being common to all discourse, in the composition of which an assertion of the state of the speaker’s mind intervenes, precedes, introduces, and weakens the ulterior assertion which lies beyond it, the consideration of the intervening assertion may, in every case but the present (in which, for the purpose of explanation, it has been necessary thus, for once, to bring it to view) be dropped, and the subject of the discourse may be stated as being, except in the particular case where it is the state of the speaker’s body, the state of some exterior entity or assemblage of entities.
But now already comes the stage at which it will become necessary to launch into the track of fiction, at which, by an irresistible voice, and on pain of leaving everything unexplained and misconceived, the land of fiction calls upon us to visit it.
That apple is ripe. Apples are sweet. Apples are good. An apple is a real entity; in saying that apple exists,—the existence of which, I express my opinion, is a real entity. But that apple is ripe; of what is it that, in addition to that of the apple, I express my opinion of the existence? It is of the existence of the quality of ripeness in the apple.
But the quality of ripeness, is it a real entity? Different from apples, and everything else that is susceptible of it, has this quality, or any quality, any separate existence? If there were no other apple in the world than that which I have in my hand, this apple would not the less be possessed of existence; but if there were nothing in the world that were susceptible of being ripe, where would be the quality of ripeness? Nowhere.
In saying this apple is ripe, what is it that I affirm? It is, that in this apple is the quality of ripeness. The two expressions are equivalent. But,—in this apple is the quality of ripeness, in the assertion thus made, what is the image that I bring to view? It is, that the apple is a receptacle; and that, in this receptacle, the quality of ripeness, the imaginary, the fictitious entity called a quality is lodged. For, of the preposition in this is the import. Witness the apple which I am supposing myself to have in my hand; witness the pen which, at this moment, I actually have in hand.
Thus it is that, in the use made of language, fiction, at the very first step that can be taken in the field of language, fiction, in the simplest, or almost the simplest case, in which language can be employed, becomes a necessary resource.
Coeval with the very first steps that can be taken in the endeavour to give a clear explanation of the nature of language, must be the intimation given of the distinction between real and fictitious entities, and the correspondent distinction between names of real and names of fictitious entities.
Though to the development, and thus to the explanation of the import of the word ripe, the word ripeness may thus be rendered subservient, it follows not that of the two the word ripeness was first in use. From the use which,—in and for the developing the texture of the import of the verb,—of the word quality, in the character of a generic name, and of the names of the several sorts of qualities distinguishable in the several sorts of substances in the character of so many specific names, may now be made, it follows not that words of this description were in use before the verb,—before that complex species of verb, in every individual of which the import of some species of quality may be found contained. On the contrary, the contrary course seems even by much the most natural and probable to have taken place.
In the earlier stages of society, all conceptions, and, consequently, all expressions, were generally indistinct; it is only by long-continued courses of attention that distinctness in conception and expression have been produced.
It seems probable that it was in the shape of entire propositions that the sounds of which audible language was composed, first presented themselves; witness those words which, under the name of interjections, are by grammarians numbered among the parts of speech, and which may be considered as so many fragments of language, as it showed itself in its earliest state.
As it was with the audible, so it appears to have been with the visible signs of language; and as words were formed by the decomposition of propositions, so were letters by the decomposition of words.
If all language be thus figurative, how then, (it may be asked,) how then is it that the character, and, in so important a class of instances the reproach, of figurativeness, is cast upon the use made of it in particular instances?
To this it may be answered,—The discourse that, in this particular sense, is not figurative, is the discourse in which, for the conveyance of the immaterial part of the stock of ideas conveyed, no other fictions,—no other figures are employed than what are absolutely necessary to, and which, consequently, are universally employed in, the conveyance of the import intended to be conveyed.
When a discourse is figurative, in lieu of those, or in addition to those, other images not necessary to, and thence not universally employed in the conveyance of the import in question, are employed.
In some instances, by the figures, by the images thus without necessity employed, it happens that, in the mind of the hearer or speaker, a sense of pleasure is produced: in this case, according to the nature of the subject, and according as the use of them is or is not conjoined with the use of metre, they constitute the matter of poetry or rhetoric, and are regarded as ornamental.
In other instances, the sensation of which they are productive, is that of disgust. The case in which this happens is where the resemblance between the material image employed as a sign, and the immaterial object meant to be signified, is too faint, the distance too wide, or where, in such a proportion as to be fatiguing for the designation of one and the same object, a multitude of images, one upon the back of another, are heaped up.
Not unfrequently when, for the designation of the immaterial idea meant to be designated, a man has chosen and employed a material image, not very closely analogous to it, that image brings to view and gives expression to a second, that second to a third, and so on, not one of them perhaps very closely analogous to the one by which it was immediately suggested. What adds to the confusion, a quality which belongs only to one of these images considered in the character of a subject, is inadvertently ascribed to another. In this way, perhaps, before the discourse is come to a close, the immaterial object, or state of things originally meant to be designated, has been forgotten, and is dropt out of sight; and thus the whole becomes a tissue of nonsense.
Of imperfection, in this shape, the most conspicuous examples may be found generally, not to say universally, in the works of oriental writers.
Relation as between Archetype and Type, with their respective Synonyms and Modifications.
When any two psychical real entities, any two ideas, whether perceptions, remembrances, or factitious mental images, have, either at the same instant, or at two contiguous, or nearly contiguous, instants, been present to the mind,—each of them, such is the effect of this conjunction, howsoever transient, acquires, in the event of its reappearance, a tendency to draw forth and introduce the other; and the more frequently the conjunct appearance is repeated, the more apt, cæteris paribus, is this tendency, or probability, to ripen into actuality.
This tendency is equal and mutual; and, forasmuch as when considered in this most simple point of view, the two objects thus associated present not any points of difference by which either can be distinguished from the other, they are not, while considered in this point of view and no other, susceptible of different names.
When, in respect of order of time, any difference between the two has place, in this difference may be found (it might be supposed) matter sufficient to serve as the ground for the formation of a difference in respect of name. But innumerable are the instances in which no difference in point of time can be found to have place; and even when a difference of this sort might, perhaps, be observable, to such a degree is it fugitive and questionable, as to be altogether incapable of affording any permanent and sufficient practical ground for a permanent difference in respect of name.
At the same time, so it is, that for the two ideas in a pair of ideas thus associated, two different names, and those employed throughout a large portion of the field of thought, have been provided.
To the possibility of putting to any kind of use this difference in respect of name, some difference in respect of nature was an indispensable requisite. Of this necessary difference, a source was found in the order of importance. For designating the object regarded as superior in the scale of importance, the word archetype, or thing signified, was employed; for the other, the words sign and type.
In so far as any importance is considered as belonging to both, and if to both, in so far as any difference is considered as having place in their respective degrees of relative importance, that to which the highest degree is ascribed will be considered and spoken of as the archetype, or thing signified; that to which no more than an inferior degree of importance, or what is, perhaps, more common, no importance at all is regarded as belonging, will be spoken of as the type or sign.
If, while importance is considered as belonging to both, no difference of level is considered as having place between their respective situations in the scale of importance, either may be considered as possessing the character of archetype, or thing signified in relation to the other, which, in that case, will be considered as operating in the character of type,—performing the function of type or sign.
In so far as no degree of importance is regarded as belonging to either of them, no source of denomination can, in that case, be found for either of them,—neither of them presenting any pretension to the character of archetype, neither of them is capable of being designated by any such denomination as that of type.
The condition requisite to the establishment of this conjunction being so extremely simple, and such as in the nature of things, cannot but be of continually repeated occurrence, design, human design, cannot but have been necessary to the exemplification of it.
But if, even without design, i. e. an exertion of the will applying itself to that purpose, it be capable of taking place, much more is it with and by design.
Of the production of this effect by design, language, in all its various forms, is the most extensive exemplification,—within the field of its operation, almost all other exemplifications are included.
In the case of language taken in the aggregate, the aggregate, composed of ideas or other psychical entities, capable of being expressed by language, being considered as constituting the aggregate archetype or thing signified; the aggregate of the sounds employed for that purpose, constitute, with reference to it, the aggregate type or sign; this aggregate type or sign being considered as the archetype, the aggregate of the images which, under the name of letters, are employed for the designation of those sounds, constitutes with reference to the aggregate of those same sounds, the aggregate type or sign.
Symbol, index, indication, token, badge, the ideas attached respectively to these words, are so many modifications of the idea attached to the word sign.
Though in the nature of the case as above, no object of perception be incapable of being in the character of type or sign, made to serve for bringing to the mind’s view any other, yet, by reason of their natural permanence, or capacity for permanence, the signs most naturally and frequently applied to this purpose are of the visible class.
So extensive, and considered in its totality, so adequate to the purpose of designation, is the collection of signs of which language is composed, that any other sign or lesser aggregate of signs, to which, on any occasion it happens, to be applied to any part of the same purpose, is considered in no other light than that of a substitute to that supremely useful instrument.
Symbol, token, badge,—in these words may be seen so many names of signs of a particular description, employed on some particular occasion, with or without advantage in the character of substitutes to that universally and constantly fit and useful instrument.
Of the above three words, symbol and token are not incapable of being employed for the designation of any class of objects, considered as employed in the character of signs. Of the word badge, the applicability seems confined to such signs as consist of visible images.
Every word* to be made intelligible, must be represented as part of some assertion or proposition.
Every sentence is either an assertion, or a combination of assertions.
To be subservient to any use or purpose, every assignable portion of language must, on each occasion, be enunciative or suggestive of at least some proposition. This proposition will consist of one word only, or of divers words,—will be either monoepic or polyepic; when it is polyepic, the proposition has several words for its component elements.
A proposition is either simple or composite. Every composite proposition is resolvable into a number of simple ones.
Every monoepic proposition has, for its equivalent, a polyepic one, of which it is the abridged expression. Examples of monoepic propositions are the several conjugates, (the infinitive mood excepted,) which are usually contained in what is called a verb,—one and the same verb.
A simple proposition is either, 1. physical; 2. psychological; or, 3. compounded of the two.
Every psychological proposition has, for its archetype, a physical proposition; physical are therefore the propositions, the mention of which requires to precede that of the other.
By every single physical proposition, the subject of it is stated either as being in a state of rest, or in a state of motion.
In every simple physical proposition, if complete, are contained a word designative of the subject of the proposition, a word designative of the predicate of the proposition,† and a word designative of the copula,‡ or bond of connexion between the two, a word by which the operation called predication is performed.
This copula is either affirmative or negative; by the copula, if affirmative, the subject is averred to be in some state for the description of which the predicate is employed.
The portion of language employed for giving expression to a proposition may be either—1, exactly adequate or commensurate; 2, superabundant; or, 3, deficient.
It is exactly adequate, or commensurate, when, for the designation of each member, one word, and no more, is employed.
It is deficient in so far as the name of any one of the members being omitted, the import belonging to it is left to be inferred, viz. from the context, i. e. from such parts of the whole discourse of which the signs are inserted.
It is redundant, or superabundant, in proportion as, in lieu of the designation of any one or more of the members, words more than one are employed.§
Propositions may be distinguished, in the first place, into purely real, purely verbal, semi-real, or ambiguous.
A purely real proposition is either intellectual, i. e. state of the intellect expressing, or volitional, i. e. state of the will expressing.
In propositions of the intellectual cast or kind, the name of the subject may be the name either of a real entity or of a fictitious entity; so also the name of the attribute or predicate may be either the name of a real or the name of a fictitious entity.
Every simple proposition comes,—or without violence, and in respect of unity and simplicity, with considerable use, may be made to come, under this description, viz. a mass of discourse by which the assertion conveyed is to this effect, viz. that in the subject of which the name is contained or implied in it, a property, or quality,∥ of which the name is contained or implied in it, has had, has, or will absolutely or eventually have, existence.
Every proposition predicates the existence, past, present, or future, (i. e. future certain, or future contingent,) of some state of things, which is either motional or quiescent. A motional state of things is an event.
To predicate, for instance, the existence of a quality in a subject, is to predicate the existence, viz. past, present, or future, certain or contingent of the events which are the manifestations of that quality.
A proposition containing the name of a fictitious entity, predicates indirectly, (as if a real event were predicated of a real entity,) some event as if it were real, concerning the fictitious entity, at the same time the event being referred to an entity which is not real, cannot itself be real; and this is done by means of a distant and fanciful analogy which there is between the event typified and the real event made use of for typification.
Abstract entities can no otherwise be expressed than by fiction. Thus a billiard-ball is said to be in motion; or motion in a billiard-ball; or two billiard-balls in a situation.
Two objects, two billiard-balls considered in successive moments, have been either at different distances from one another or at the same distance: in the first case they are in motion, in the second case they are at rest.
Motion can no otherwise be defined than by diversity of distance: the portion of matter interposed between them being at one time of one length, at another time of another. Diversity of distances are judged of by a comparison which is simultaneous; one moment I can place no more than one piece of wood of an inch long between the two balls, the next moment I can place two such pieces.
Words cannot, in a direct manner, represent any other events than what are quiescent. Motion they cannot represent. It is with language in this respect as it is with painting.
In all propositions composed of or concerning fictitious and abstract entities, there are two events concerned, 1. The real event typified; 2. The fictitious event, which is the archetype.*
The proposition which announces the event typified may be termed the plain or unfigurative proposition, the other the figurative proposition.
A proposition is really significative, in so far as the import of the subject, and that of the attribute, not being precisely the same, the attribute is represented by the proposition as bearing this or that relation to the subject. Examples,—man is rational, apples are nourishing.
A proposition is no more than verbally significative, in so far as without relation had to the nature of the entity signified by the subject, this or that relation is represented as having place between their names. Examples: A wight is a man; a miser covets wealth; a rapier is a sword.
A proposition is both really and verbally significative in so far as by the names given to the subject, and the attribute, respectively, the nature of both or either of them, is meant to be brought to view. Example:—Wood anemonies are plants; sea anemonies are animals.
Of all propositions by which a minor genus is spoken of as being contained in a major genus, the import may be considered as being of this mixed kind.
In propositions of which the subject is a fictitious entity, the subject and predicate, the verb and noun which use has conjoined must be kept conjoined. A new combination appears an impropriety, at least a novelty, as much almost as the use of a new term. You may say strain a point, or stretch a point; you cannot say extend a point, nor strain nor stretch a line or a buckle.†
A complex proposition is that which has at least two subjects, with a predicate and copula to each of them, two subjects, and as many predicates and copulas. The general effect of it is to bring to view two entities, each of them real or fictitious, accompanied with an intimation that by one of them a change is produced in the state or condition of the other.
Considered in this point of view, a complex proposition may be termed a transition-expressing proposition. Examples:—1. Eurybiades struck Themistocles. 2. Themistocles was stricken by Eurybiades.
In both these instances the result expressed is one and the same; but in the one instance the verb employed is in what is called the active voice; in the other, in the passive.
In both instances a change in the state of a certain entity is represented as produced, and a motion is presented in the character of a cause of that change.
But in the first instance, the entity brought to view is the entity in which the motion is represented as having had its commencement, the entity which is represented as having been first in motion, and with that same entity the motion so produced by it. In the other instance it is the entity in which the motion is represented as having had its termination. Themistocles was struck, viz. by Eurybiades.
This motion may be considered as the manifestation of a correspondent quality on the subject, viz. an active quality, an active quality which is represented as having, on the occasion in question, at the moment in question, been resident in one of the two subjects in question, viz. Eurybiades.
In the other instance, the being struck may be considered as the manifestation of a correspondent quality of the passive kind, which is represented as having been on that same occasion, at that same moment, resident in the other of the two subjects in question, viz. Themistocles.‡
Of the Subject of a Proposition.
The name of the subject of a proposition is either singularly designative, or plurally designative: it is singularly designative when no more than one individual is meant to be designated; plurally when individuals more than one.
A singularly designative name is either determinately or indeterminately significative; determinately where the individual meant to be designated is distinguished from all others, as in the case of the proper name of a man, a field, a street, a lane, &c.; indefinite or indeterminate when the import of the pronoun adjective, some or any is considered as attached to it.
A plurally designative name is the name of an aggregate or number of individuals, considered as if collected together.
These individuals are either all determinate, all indeterminate, or some determinate, others indeterminate.
1. All determinate, for instance the members of one official board actually in existence.
2. All indeterminate, for instance the intended members of an official board, not in existence, but in contemplation to be established.
3. Some determinate, some indeterminate, of this sort, are the names of all species and genera of things; of aggregate objects which have, have had, or will have, a real existence; for in and by every such specific or generic name are designated, in the first place, all the individuals which are considered as being at the time in question endowed with the specific quality indicated by the name. In the next place, all that ever were. In the last place, all which ever will be, and by the supposition these last neither have nor ever have had existence.
A specific name partakes, therefore, at once, of the nature of the name of a real entity, and of a name of a fictitious entity. It is the name of a real entity considered as applied to any one of the individuals now or before now in existence, which were endowed with the specific property, or to the whole number of them, or to any part of the whole number of them put together. It is as yet the name of a fictitious entity, considered as applied to all or any one or more of those individuals, which, with that same specific character belonging to them, are considered as about to come into existence.
In this it differs from the name of a quality, for a quality is an object altogether fictitious, an object which, considered as distinct from the subject in which it is spoken of as inhering, neither has, nor has had, nor ever will have existence; for as often as it is spoken of as if it were in a body, i. e. a tangible substance, or in some other object which is spoken of as if it were a body, it is spoken of as if it were a substance, a tangible substance, which, by the supposition, it is not.
In the character of a subject, an entity, real or fictitious, being brought to view, if by any phrase, intimation is given, that in that subject a certain quality thereby designated has place, predication is performed: the quality, in respect of its being so asserted to have place in the subject, is styled the predicate; and the sign by which the assertion, the act of assertion to the effect in question is expressed, is termed the copula.
In this explanation a proposition implied is, that predication may, in every case, be reduced to this: an attribution of a quality to a subject; to the entity which is the subject of the proposition of which the predicate in question is the predicate. The import of the word quality being already explained as not to be confined to the case in which the existence of it is considered as permanent.
Property, relation, place, time, manners, by the one word quality can the import of all these terms be with propriety said to be included? Answer—yes.
1.Property.—This may be considered as being perfectly synonymous to the word quality, and therefore in any case in which the use of the word quality might on any account be less convenient, may without any difference of import, be employed as a substitute for it.
2.Relation. For explaining the import of divers parts of speech, this word will, of necessity, come to be employed. But the bearing this or that relation to this or that other object may, without impropriety, be numbered among the qualities or properties of any object.
3. Of the modification of which place, i. e. space, considered in a relative point of view, is susceptible, frequent occasion for making mention will present itself. But the having its existence in the place in question may, for so long as it continues, be, with as much propriety, in this instance as in any other, numbered among the properties or qualities of the object, whatsoever it may be.
4. So, in regard to time. Amongst the qualities attributed to this subject in question, may be the having its existence in a certain portion of the field of time.
Every object that exists, exists in some portion or other of the field of place or space.
Every object that exists, exists in some portion or other of the field of time.
In so far as it exists in the field of space, an object bears a certain relation to every other object considered as having its existence in that field.
In so far as it exists in the field of time, an object bears, in like manner, a certain relation to every other object considered as having its existence in that same field—the field of time.
And thus we have the relations of place and time, which, with the addition of quality, in the less extended sense of the word, (viz. that in which it is put for qualities other than those which consist in existence in certain portions of the field of place and time) constitute some of the principal classes of the objects, for the designation of which the different classes of words called parts of speech are employed.
As it requires an entire proposition to give complete expression—expression at length, to an intimation, that, to the subject in question, a certain property or quality belongs, so does it to give the like expression to an intimation, that, of the subject in question, the existence is confined to a certain portion of the field of space, or to a certain portion of the field of time.
In this way it will appear, that not only, in an adverb such as—here, there, now, then, the import of an entire proposition is contained; but even that in a mere preposition such as of, under, the import of an entire proposition is contained; and that, accordingly, whenever, over and above the preposition in, the import of which is included in every proposition, (or every form of words by which a quality is asserted to be in a subject,) any other preposition is included in the proposition, that proposition is a complete one, containing, in addition to whatsoever other simple propositions it may contain, one of which the preposition in question is the abridged equivalent and substitute.
Predication is either real or verbal;—real, when the design of the proposition is to convey information concerning the nature of the object signified,—when it declares the existence of some quality, in the subject named;—of real predication, nothing can be the object or matter but a quality:* verbal, when the design is merely to give intimation of the import of the word which, on the occasion in question, is employed in the character of a sign, as an oak is a plant, a dog is an animal.
Different as they are in themselves, that is, in the design in pursuance of which they are employed, these two modes of predication are very liable to be confounded.
When the predication is real, the purpose of it, the purpose of the proposition in which it has place, is always as above, to convey an intimation that, in the entity in question which, or the name of which, is the subject of the proposition in question, a certain quality to which expression is given in and by the Predicate, has existence.
When the predication is verbal, purely verbal, the design is not to give intimation of any quality as having existence in any subject, but merely to convey an intimation of a certain relation between the import of one word and the import of another, no such object as the nature of the quality designated by either, being on that occasion meant to be brought into view.†
The reason for holding up to view this distinction is, that sometimes, when the effect or design of the preposition is of one sort, it is liable to be misconceived, by being conceived to be of the other sort.
Of Collections of Signs, i. e. Propositions expressive of some State of the Perceptive Faculty, considered as having for the Source of the Perception a corporeal Object or Objects.
Correspondent to such as are the objects to be designated, such must be the signs by which they are designated.
Correspondent to the states, and such as are the modifications, of which corporeal objects are susceptible, such must be the modifications of the signs which, under the name of language or discourse, are employed in the designation of them.
Every proposition by which any portion of matter is brought to view—is presented to the mind, has for its subject either some material body, some portion of a body, or some collection of bodies, or portions of bodies.
The sign or portion of language by which any such modification or modifications of matter are presented to the mind, is termed a name, a denomination, an appellation, the appellative.
By any such name, what is designated is either a simple body, a part of a single body, or an aggregate of bodies, or of parts of single bodies.
If a part of a body be spoken of by itself, it is in so far considered as a whole.
If it be a single body, the mode in which that body is spoken of is either determinate or indeterminate; if determinate, the name is styled a proper name; if it be an aggregate of bodies, it is styled a common name.
If the individuals designated by such common name be all determinate, it is, or may be styled a collective name;—in so far as any of them are indeterminate, a general or specific name.
If, being a single body it be indeterminate, it has for its denomination a common name, whether collective or generic, being the name of the aggregate of which it is considered as an unit, coupled with a species of sign denominated a pronoun-adjective of which by and by.
During any given length of time every material object, capable of being taken for the subject of a proposition, in fact, has been either in motion or at rest. But when it is in motion it may be considered as capable of being at rest, and, when at rest, as capable of being in motion.
Every proposition has either one subject alone, or more than one; it being understood that under the description of one subject is here comprehended that which has for its sign a common name, whether collective or generic, (i. e. logically comprehensive,) or that of which a proper name is the appellative.
A proposition, if but one subject be designated in it, may be termed a single proposition; if two, double; if more than two, complex.
As everything which can happen to a corporeal subject is resolvable into this, viz. the having been, during the length of time in question, either in a state of motion or in a state of rest, so everything that can be said of, said to have happened to, that same corporeal subject, is resolvable either into this; viz. that during the length of time in question it has been, or has been capable of being in a state of motion; or into this, viz. that it has been, or has been capable of being in a state of rest.*
In either case, by what is said of the corporeal subject in question, a quality may be said to be ascribed to it, to be attributed to it, to be said to belong to it,—it may be said to be possessed of, endued, endowed with that same quality;—the quality is spoken of as being in that same subject, belonging to, appertaining to, inherent in that same subject.
If, in speaking of the quality as being in the subject, no more than a single point of time is brought to view, the quality thus attributed may be styled actual, or momentary, or transient;—if it be considered as either being, or capable of being, in the subject for an indeterminate length of time, the quality may be styled potential, habitual, or permanent.
When a quality is spoken of as appertaining to this or that subject, that which, on this occasion, is most frequently meant to be designated, and is, therefore, most apt to be brought to view, is an habitual or permanent quality.
In consideration of its being attributed to a subject, a quality is also frequently styled an attribute—an attribute of that same subject; and, in consideration of its belonging to a subject, it is also frequently styled a property—a property of, or belonging, or appertaining to, or inherent in, that same subject.
Suppose, then, a portion of the matter of language so constructed as to present to view a quality, whether actual or habitual, as appertaining to this or that given corporeal subject, let it be considered what are the objects of which this portion of the matter of language must have contained the signs.
These are, 1. The subject; 2. The quality. But to say that the quality in question is in the subject in question, is to affirm the existence of a certain relation between that subject and that quality, viz. the sort of relation of which the word in is the sign.
Thus, then, to the sign of the subject and the sign of the quality must be added the sign of the relation.
But what is thus said, what is thus affirmed, is, that in the subject in question the quality in question is; in other words, that between the subject and this quality there exists the relation in question.
Thus, then, to complete the texture of the proposition, to the sign of the subject, the sign of the quality, and the sign of the relation, must be added the sign of existence,—the sign by which existence is brought to view—the sign by which existence is asserted to have, or to have had place, viz. the existence of the relation between the subject and the attribute.
For the present, viz. to aid conception, and to afford a mark of distinction whereby this minimum proposition, and a proposition of larger dimensions and a greater number of parts, may be distinguished, let the following examples serve:—
Apples, say, are sweet, or, to keep clear of certain causes of complication, say, rather, sugar is sweet.
The number of words employed is here no more than three; but, in the form of expression, an abbreviation may be observed. Sweetness (the quality of sweetness) is in sugar. Sugar, the name of the subject—a corporeal subject: sweetness, the name of the quality; the quality consisting in the aptitude, in consequence of the necessary actions to produce in the sensorium of men the perception termed by the same name.
Aristotelian Logicians—Imperfection of their Conceptions in relation to Propositions.
For the formation of a proposition it has been seen that no fewer than four objects require to be brought to view,—objects all of them distinct, and, for the designation of each of them, a distinct sign capable of being, and in use to be employed.
What has, moreover, been seen is, that, for the formation of a complete proposition, though it be but a single proposition, the number of objects brought to view cannot be smaller than as above.
True it is, that, for the bringing to view this number of distinct and altogether different objects, a smaller number of words, and, in truth, even a single word, may be, and often has been, made to serve and to suffice. But how? Only because, in virtue of certain established associations, by this one word, the whole number of the above-mentioned distinct and different objects have been brought to view.
Not so the Aristotelians. Constituent parts of a proposition, according to Aristotle himself, no more than two,* viz. the subject and the predicate: name of the subject a noun—name of the predicate a verb.
Seeing that out of the two, and no more than two, distinguishable parts no proposition could be formed, no attribute spoken of, as belonging to any subject, the followers of Aristotle one and all, added a third, viz. the sign of existence to which they gave the name of a copula, though in this, according to Sanderson, they departed from the truth of the case. Why? Because they departed from the conceptions expressed, from the language used, by Aristotle.
But the relation between the subject and the attribute, the relation of which the existence between this subject and the attribute was to be affirmed, even after the above addition, what name had they found for it?—what observation had they made of it? Answer: None.
As in Anatomy so in Logic, by a continued and varied course of attention bestowed by a succession of observers, new organs have, from time to time, been discovered.
For the formation of a proposition, taken too in its least dimensions, according to Aristotle, no more than two, according to his observers, no more than three, parts, necessary; whereas, this minimum number, it has been seen, is no less than four. And, in their view of the matter, this number sufficient for another sort of proposition, which remains to be brought to view, and which, when analyzed, will be found to contain twice the number of parts contained in the only sort of proposition as yet brought to view.†
Term, it must be acknowledged, is the Latin-sprung word corresponding to the word employed by Aristotle. Terms—no more than two; and so, by his followers, terms no more than three. But, by terms, he and they must have meant component or constituent parts; for that was the thing which required to be brought to view. If, by the name of term, there were any parts that were not designated, then, by some other name such other parts should have been brought to view.
According to Sanderson, the copula, says Aristotle, is neither a term nor so much as a part of a proposition;—it is no more than a syncategorema. And what, according to him, is a syncategorema? It is a part of the predicate which, according to him, is itself a part of a proposition, the subject being the other. A part of that which is a part of the whole, and yet not a part of the whole! What self-contradiction!—what confusion!—what trifling!—what torment to the student! who, by the law of authority, stands bound to find it all true and incomprehensible!
FRAGMENTS ON UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR; NOW FIRST PUBLISHED, FROM THE MANUSCRIPTS OF JEREMY BENTHAM.
*∗* With reference to the MSS. from which these Fragments are edited, see the Editorial Notices to the works on Logic and Language, pp. 214, 294.
[* ] This word is necessary, for if instead of a discourse you were to say a language, the import expressed would be quite different from that which is here intended.
[† ] For the distinction between impressions and ideas we are, it is believed, indebted to David Hume.
[* ] From this observation various practical inferences of the moral class may be seen to follow:
1. All reliance on the opinion as supposed of others, is in fact reliance upon a man’s own opinion; viz. upon his opinion concerning the credit due to the opinion which in the instance in question is attributed to those others.
2. That in other words all bigotry is grounded in, includes in it self-conceit.
[† ] It might thus be shown that these propositions which are given by the Aristotelians as simple and entirely expressed propositions, are complex and imperfectly expressed.
[* ] By the synthetic method, as syllables now form words, and letters form syllables.
[† ] Brutes have no terms,—their language is all in propositions; their faculties enable them not to break them down into words.
[‡ ] A warning which on this occasion and in this place it seems necessary to give, is, that the order which in the endeavour to give a clear, correct, and comprehensive view of the matter of language, considered in its most extensive portions and diversifications, those styled grammatical included, it has been deemed necessary to pursue, is not the same with, but very different from, the order in which in the progress of society they were developed.
By the distinctions pointed out by the different aggregates of words, termed by grammarians the parts of speech, the process of methodization has been applied to, and carried through the whole multitude of these numerous signs. But for the carrying on of the sort of mental process styled methodization, in which is included a high degree of abstraction, a comparatively mature state of the human intellect was requisite; and not only at the time of the first commencement, whenever that was, but long after that time, the stage occupied by the human intellect in the scale of maturity must, in comparison with that stage, have been extremely low.
[* ] This last sentence of the paragraph seems to be a mere notandum, or the proposed commencement of a definition of the chronological history.—Ed.
[* ] Among those things which it is desirable should be done, is to class those conjugates logically. Among the uses that may be made of such classification, would be the improvement of language, by the completion of the several forms of conjugates.
[* ] For a fuller explanation of this division of entities into real and fictitious, with the subdivisions, see the Tract on Ontology, supra, p. 195.
[† ] In the above distinction in regard to existence, and thence thought, may be seen the necessary basis of the distinction of qualities into active and passive, and of verbs into transitive and intransitive.
[* ] At this point the MSS. break off abruptly.—Ed.
[* ] See a more minute exemplification in the author’s criticism on the French Declaration of Rights, in vol. ii. p. 496, et seq.—Ed.
[* ] From these speculative observations practical inferences of no small importance might be deduced.
1. Avoid dogmativeness. 2. Still more avoid intolerance. In both cases never cease to bear in mind how slippery and hollow the ground on which your opinion, and consequently the utmost value of any expression which you can give to it, rests.
[* ] Words are the signs of ideas. To render a word understood, is to point out the idea of which it is a sign. Combinations of words form assertions.
[† ] The predicate is always the name,—may at least be considered in every case as the name of a quality.
[‡ ] So called, in as much as it operates as a bond of connexion to such other parts of speech as it may happen to the other parts of the proposition to contain.
[§ ] In this case the redundancy is but relative; relation being had to the least number necessary and sufficient for the formation of a proposition in any case, since in many instances for the giving expression to the import meant to be expressed, words in considerable numbers beyond those in question just mentioned, will, in many, and indeed most, instances commonly be necessary.
[∥ ] A quality is a fictitious entity, i.e. every name of a quality is the name of a fictitious entity. The quality thus expressed, may be either momentary or permanent,—momentary, i. e. not meant to be represented as having existence in the subject in question for any portion of time, other than the individual portion which the other words are employed to designate; permanent, when the property is considered as habitually resident in the subject in question, no length of time being marked out as that beyond which, on the occasion in question, the quality is not considered as residing in that same subject.
[* ] See sect. v., p. 330.
[† ] Strain a point seems to have taken rise when breeches were trussed and untrussed by points.
[‡ ] Here may be seen the origin and explanation of two species of verb. The verb active and the verb passive, or (to speak in the language of the past and present race of grammarians, by whom an ample cluster of words are spoken of as if they were all together but one word, to which real aggregate and supposed, imaginary unit, they give the name of a verb, i.e. one verb) the active voice and the passive voice of the verb.
A verb active is a verb, i. e. an aggregate of words in and by which to the import of the copula or verb-substantive is added that of an active quality, as having been manifested by the subject in question. In this case the subject in question is the subject in which the motion is considered as having had its commencement.
A verb passive is a verb in which to the import of the same copula or verb-substantive, is added that of the correspondent passive quality, as having been manifested by the subject in question. In this case the subject in question is the subject in which the motion in question is considered as having received its termination.
[* ] A quality being but a fictitious entity, the predicate, if the predication be real, can never be anything but the name of a fictitious entity.
[† ] See this distinction exemplified above, p. 334.—Ed.
[* ] Sight, hearing, smell, present no exceptions. In case of sight, the object said to be seen, may be at rest, but the light, but for which it would not have been seen, has been in motion; and so in the instances of hearing and smell; in hearing, the air,—in smell, the odoriferous particles.
[* ] Sanderson, lib. ii. cap. i. p. 55.
[† ] Here, and at the commencement of p. 337, there are references to which no corresponding elucidations have been found. From these and other pretty obvious irregularities, it will easily be perceived that the author had left this portion of his MSS. in a fragmentary state.—Ed.