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John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume VII - A System of Logic Ratiocinative and Inductive Part I [1843]

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John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume VII - A System of Logic Ratiocinative and Inductive, Being a Connected View of the Principles of Evidence and the Methods of Scientific Investigation (Books I-III), ed. John M. Robson, Introduction by R.F. McRae (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1974).

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About this Title:

Vol. 7 of the 33 vol. Collected Works contains Part 1 of Mill’s System of Logic. It contains chapters on reasoning, induction, the laws of nature, causation, and disbelief.

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The online edition of the Collected Works is published under licence from the copyright holder, The University of Toronto Press. ©2006 The University of Toronto Press. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or medium without the permission of The University of Toronto Press.

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Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]
volume vii
Edition: current; Page: [ii]

The Collected Edition of the works of John Stuart Mill has been planned and is being directed by an editorial committee appointed from the Faculty of Arts and Science of the University of Toronto and from the University of Toronto Press. The primary aim of the edition is to present fully collated texts of those works which exist in a number of versions, both printed and manuscript, and to provide accurate texts of works previously unpublished or which have become relatively inaccessible.

Editorial Committee

j.m. robson, General Editor

v.w. bladen, harald bohne, alexander brady,

j.c. cairns, j.b. conacher, d.p. dryer,

francess halpenny, samuel hollander,

jean houston,

marsh jeanneret, r.f. mcrae, f.e.l. priestley

Edition: current; Page: [iii]
A System of Logic Ratiocinative and Inductive
Being a Connected View of the Principles of Evidence and the Methods of Scientific Investigation
Editor of the Text J. M. Robson Professor of English and Principal Victoria College, University of Toronto
Introduction by R. F. McRae Professor of Philosophy University of Toronto
Edition: current; Page: [iv]

© University of Toronto Press 1974

Toronto Buffalo

Reprinted 1978, 1981

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN 0-8020-1875-0

LC 73-78926

London: Routledge & Kegan Paul

ISBN 0-7100-7503-0

This volume has been published with the assistance of a grant from the Canada Council

Edition: current; Page: [v]


  • Introduction, by R. F. McRae xxi
  • Textual Introduction, by J. M. Robson xlix
  • prefaces cix
  • introduction 3
    • § 1. A definition at the commencement of a subject must be provisional, 3
    • 2. Is logic the art and science of reasoning? 4
    • 3. Or the art and science of the pursuit of truth? 5
    • 4. Logic is concerned with inferences, not with intuitive truths, 6
    • 5. Relation of logic to the other sciences, 9
    • 6. Its utility, how shown, 11
    • 7. Definition of logic stated and illustrated, 12
    • book i: of names and propositions
      • chapter i. Of the Necessity of commencing with an Analysis of Language 19
        • § 1. Theory of names, why a necessary part of logic, 19
        • 2. First step in the analysis of Propositions, 20
        • 3. Names must be studied before Things, 22
      • chapter ii. Of Names 24
        • § 1. Names are names of things, not of our ideas, 24
        • 2. Words which are not names, but parts of names, 25
        • 3. General and Singular names, 27
        • 4. Concrete and Abstract, 29
        • 5. Connotative and Non-connotative, 30
        • 6. Positive and Negative, 41
        • 7. Relative and Absolute, 42
        • 8. Univocal and Æquivocal, 44
      • chapter iii. Of the Things denoted by Names 46
        • § 1. Necessity of an enumeration of Nameable Things. The Categories of Aristotle, 46
        • 2. Ambiguity of the most general names, 48
        • 3. Feelings, or states of consciousness, 51 Edition: current; Page: [vi]
        • 4. Feelings must be distinguished from their physical antecedents. Perceptions, what, 52
        • 5. Volitions, and Actions, what, 54
        • 6. Substance and Attribute, 55
        • 7. Body, 56
        • 8. Mind, 63
        • 9. Qualities, 65
        • 10. Relations, 67
        • 11. Resemblance, 70
        • 12. Quantity, 73
        • 13. All attributes of bodies are grounded on states of consciouness, 74
        • 14. So also all attributes of minds, 74
        • 15. Recapitulation, 75
      • chapter iv. Of Propositions 78
        • § 1. Nature and office of the copula, 78
        • 2. Affirmative and Negative propositions, 80
        • 3. Simple and Complex, 81
        • 4. Universal, Particular, and Singular, 84
      • chapter v. Of the Import of Propositions 87
        • § 1. Doctrine that a proposition is the expression of a relation between two ideas, 87
        • 2. Doctrine that it is the expression of a relation between the meanings of two names, 90
        • 3. Doctrine that it consists in referring something to, or excluding something from, a class, 93
        • 4. What it really is, 97
        • 5. It asserts (or denies) a sequence, a coexistence, a simple existence, a causation, 99
        • 6. —or a resemblance, 102
        • 7. Propositions of which the terms are abstract, 105
      • chapter vi. Of Propositions merely Verbal 109
        • § 1. Essential and Accidental propositions, 109
        • 2. All essential propositions are identical propositions, 110
        • 3. Individuals have no essences, 114
        • 4. Real propositions, how distinguished from verbal, 115
        • 5. Two modes of arepresentinga the import of a Real proposition, 116
      • chapter vii. Of the Nature of Classification, and the Five Predicables 118
        • § 1. Classification, how connected with Naming, 118
        • 2. The Predicables, what, 119
        • 3. Genus and Species, 120
        • 4. Kinds have a real existence in nature, 122
        • 5. Differentia, 126 Edition: current; Page: [vii]
        • 6. Differentiæ for general purposes, and differentiæ for special or technical purposes, 128
        • 7. Proprium, 130
        • 8. Accidens, 132
      • chapter viii. Of Definition 133
        • b§ 1. A definition, what, 133
        • 2. Every name can be defined, whose meaning is susceptible of analysis, 134
        • 3. Complete, how distinguished from incomplete definitions, 136
        • 4. —and from descriptions, 137
        • 5. What are called definitions of Things, are definitions of Names with an implied assumption of the existence of Things corresponding to them, 142
        • 6. —even when such things do not in reality exist, 148
        • 7. Definitions, though of names only, must be grounded on knowledge of the corresponding things, 150
    • book ii: of reasoning
      • chapter i. Of Inference, or Reasoning, in general 157
        • § 1. Retrospect of the preceding book, 157
        • 2. Inferences improperly so called, 158
        • 3. Inferences proper, distinguished into inductions and ratiocinations, 162
      • chapter ii. Of Ratiocination, or Syllogism 164
        • § 1. Analysis of the Syllogism, 164
        • 2. The dictum de omni not the foundation of reasoning, but a mere identical proposition, 174
        • 3. What is the really fundamental axiom of Ratiocination, 176
        • 4. The other form of the axiom, 180
      • chapter iii. Of the Functions, and Logical Value of the Syllogism 183
        • § 1. Is the syllogism a petitio principii? 183
        • 2. Insufficiency of the common theory, 184
        • 3. All inference is from particulars to particulars, 186
        • 4. General propositions are a record of such inferences, and the rules of the syllogism are rules for the interpretation of the record, 193
        • 5. The syllogism not the type of reasoning, but a test of it, 196
        • 6. The true type, what, 199
        • 7. Relation between Induction and Deduction, 202
        • c8. Objections answeredc, 203
        • d9. Of Formal Logic, and its relation to the Logic of Truthd, 206
        Edition: current; Page: [viii]
      • chapter iv. Of Trains of Reasoning, and Deductive Sciences 209
        • § 1. For what purpose trains of reasoning exist, 209
        • 2. A train of reasoning is a series of inductive inferences, 209
        • 3. —from particulars to particulars through marks of marks, 212
        • 4. Why there are deductive sciences, 214
        • 5. eWhye other sciences still remain experimental, 218
        • 6. Experimental sciences may become deductive by the progress of experiment, 219
        • 7. In what manner this usually takes place, 221
      • chapter v. Of Demonstration, and Necessary Truths 224
        • § 1. The Theorems of geometry are fnecessary truths onlyf in the sense of necessarily following from hypotheses, 224
        • 2. Those hypotheses are real facts with some of their circumstances gexaggerated org omitted, 227
        • 3. Some of the first principles of geometry are axioms, and these are not hypothetical, 229
        • 4. —but are experimental truths, 231
        • 5. An objection answered, 233
        • 6. Dr. Whewell’s opinions on axioms examined, 236
      • chapter vi. The same Subject continued 252
        • § 1. All deductive sciences are inductive, 252
        • 2. The propositions of the science of number are not verbal, but generalizations from experiences, 253
        • 3. In what sense hypothetical, 258
        • 4. The characteristic property of demonstrative science is to be hypothetical, 259
        • 5. Definition of demonstrative evidenceh, 260
      • chapter vii. Examination of some Opinions opposed to the preceding doctrines 262
        • § 1. Doctrine of the Universal Postulate, 262
        • 2. The test of inconceivability does not represent the aggregate of past experience, 264
        • 3. —nor is implied in every process of thought, 266
        • j4. Objections answeredj, 273
        • k5.k Sir W. Hamilton’s opinion on the Principles of Contradiction and Excluded Middlei, 276
    • book iii: of induction
      • chapter i. Preliminary Observations on Induction in general 283
        • § 1. Importance of an Inductive Logic, 283
        • 2. The logic of science is also that of business and life, 284 Edition: current; Page: [ix]
      • chapter ii. Of Inductions improperly so called 288
        • § 1. Inductions distinguished from verbal transformations, 288
        • 2. —from inductions, falsely so called, in mathematics, 290
        • 3. —and from descriptions, 292
        • 4. Examination of Dr. Whewell’s theory of Induction, 294
        • l5. Further illustration of the preceding remarksl, 303
      • chapter iii. On the Ground of Induction 306
        • § 1. Axiom of the uniformity of the course of nature, 306
        • 2. Not true in every sense. Induction per enumerationem simplicem, 311
        • 3. The question of Inductive Logic stated, 313
      • chapter iv. Of Laws of Nature 315
        • § 1. The general regularity in nature is a tissue of partial regularities, called laws, 315
        • 2. Scientific induction must be grounded on previous spontaneous inductions, 318
        • 3. Are there any inductions fitted to be a test of all others? 320
      • chapter v. Of the Law of Universal Causation 323
        • § 1. The universal law of successive phenomena is the Law of Causation, 323
        • 2.i.e. the law that every consequent has an invariable antecedent, 326
        • 3. The cause of a phenomenon is the assemblage of its conditions, 327
        • 4. The distinction of agent and patient illusory, 334
        • m5. Case in which the effect consists in giving a property to an objectm, 336
        • n6.n The cause is not the invariable antecedent, but the unconditional invariable antecedent, 338
        • o7.o Can a cause be simultaneous with its effect? 342
        • p8.p Idea of a Permanent Cause, or original natural agent, 344
        • q9.q Uniformities of co-existence between effects of different permanent causes, are not laws, 348
        • rs10. Theory of the Conservation of Forces, 348
        • tu11.u Doctrine that volition is an efficient cause, examinedt, 353
      • chapter vi. Of the Composition of Causes 370
        • § 1. Two modes of the conjunct action of causes, the mechanical and the chemical, 370
        • 2. The composition of causes the general rule; the other case exceptional, 373
        • 3. Are effects proportional to their causes? 376
        Edition: current; Page: [x]
      • chapter vii. Of Observation and Experiment 379
        • § 1. The first step of inductive inquiry is a mental analysis of complex phenomena into their elements, 379
        • 2. The next is an actual separation of those elements, 381
        • 3. Advantages of experiment over observation, 382
        • 4. Advantages of observation over experiment, 384
      • chapter viii. Of the Four Methods of Experimental Inquiry 388
        • § 1. Method of Agreement, 388
        • 2. Method of Difference, 391
        • 3. Mutual relation of these two methods, 392
        • 4. Joint Method of Agreement and Difference, 394
        • 5. Method of Residues, 397
        • 6. Method of Concomitant Variations, 398
        • 7. Limitations of this last method, 403
      • chapter ix. Miscellaneous Examples of the Four Methods 407
        • § 1. Liebig’s theory of metallic poisons, 407
        • vw2.w Theory of induced electricityx, 410
        • y3.y Dr. Wells’ theory of dew, 414
        • z4. Dr. Brown-Séquard’s theory of cadaveric rigidityz, 421
        • a5.a Examples of the Method of Residues, 426
        • bc6.c Dr. Whewell’s objections to the Four Methodsb, 429
      • chapter x. Of Plurality of Causes; and of the Intermixture of Effects 434
        • § 1. One effect may have several causes, 434
        • 2. —which is the source of a characteristic imperfection of the Method of Agreement, 435
        • 3. Plurality of Causes, how ascertained, 438
        • 4. Concurrence of Causes which do not compound their effects, 440
        • 5. Difficulties of the investigation, when causes compound their effects, 442
        • 6. Three modes of investigating the laws of complex effects, 446
        • 7. The method of simple observation inapplicable, 447
        • 8. The purely experimental method inapplicable, 449
      • chapter xi. Of the Deductive Method 454
        • § 1. First stage; ascertainment of the laws of the separate causes by direct induction, 454
        • 2. Second stage; ratiocination from the simple laws dofd the complex cases, 458
        • 3. Third stage; verification by specific experience, 460
        Edition: current; Page: [xi]
      • chapter xii. Of the Explanation of Laws of Nature 464
        • § 1. Explanation defined, 464
        • 2. First mode of explanation, by resolving the law of a complex effect into the laws of the concurrent causes and the fact of their coexistence, 464
        • 3. Second mode; by the detection of an intermediate link in the sequence, 465
        • 4. Laws are always resolved into laws more general than themselves, 466
        • 5. Third mode; the subsumption of less general laws under a more general one, 469
        • 6. What the explanation of a law of nature amounts to, 471
      • chapter xiii. Miscellaneous Examples of the Explanation of Laws of Nature 473
      • chapter xiv. iOfi the Limits to the Explanation of Laws of Nature; and of Hypotheses 484
        • § 1. Can all the sequences in nature be resolvable into one law? 484
        • 2. Ultimate laws cannot be less numerous than the distinguishable feelings of our nature, 485
        • 3. In what sense ultimate facts can be explained, 488
        • 4. The proper use of scientific hypotheses, 490
        • 5. Their indispensableness, 496
        • 6. jThe two degrees of legitimacy in hypothesesj, 498
        • 7. Some inquiries apparently hypothetical are really inductive, 505
      • chapter xv. Of Progressive Effects; and of the Continued Action of Causes 509
        • § 1. How a progressive effect results from the simple continuance of the cause, 509 Edition: current; Page: [xii]
        • 2. —and from the progressiveness of the cause, 512
        • 3. Derivative laws generated from a single ultimate law, 514
      • chapter xvi. Of Empirical Laws 516
        • § 1. Definition of an empirical law, 516
        • 2. Derivative laws commonly depend on collocations, 517
        • 3. The collocations of the permanent causes are not reducible to any law, 518
        • 4. kHencek empirical laws cannot be relied on beyond the limits of actual experience, 519
        • 5. Generalizations which rest only on the Method of Agreement can only be received as empirical laws, 520
        • 6. Signs from which an observed uniformity of sequence may be presumed to be resolvable, 521
        • lm7.m Two kinds of empirical laws, 524
      • chapter xvii. Of Chance, and its Elimination 525
        • § 1. The proof of empirical laws depends on the theory of chance, 525
        • 2. Chance defined and characterized, 526
        • 3. The elimination of chance, 530
        • 4. Discovery of residual phenomena by eliminating chance, 531
        • 5. The doctrine of chances, 533
      • chapter xviii. Of the Calculation of Chances 534
        • § 1. nFoundationn of the doctrine of chances, as taught by omathematicso, 534
        • p2. The doctrine tenablep, 535
        • q3. On what foundation it really restsq, 537
        • r4. Its ultimate dependence on causationr, 540
        • s5.s Theorem of the doctrine of chances which relates to the cause of a given event, 543
        • tu6.u How applicable to the elimination of chance, 546
      • chapter xix. Of the Extension of Derivative Laws to Adjacent Cases 548
        • § 1. Derivative laws, when not causal, are almost always contingent on collocations, 548
        • 2. On what grounds they can be extended to cases beyond the bounds of actual experience, 549
        • 3. Those cases must be adjacent cases, 551
        Edition: current; Page: [xiii]
      • chapter xx. Of Analogy 554
        • § 1. Various senses of the word analogy, 554
        • 2. Nature of analogical evidence, 555
        • 3. On what circumstances its value depends, 559
      • chapter xxi. Of the Evidence of the Law of Universal Causation 562
      • chapter xxii. Of Uniformities of Coexistence not dependent on Causation 578
        • § 1. bUniformitiesb of coexistence which result from laws of sequence, 578
        • 2. The properties of Kinds are uniformities of coexistence, 579
        • 3. Some are derivative, others ultimate, 581
        • 4. No universal axiom of coexistence, 582
        • 5. The evidence of uniformities of coexistence, how measured, 583
        • 6. When derivative, their evidence is that of empirical laws, 584
        • 7. So also when ultimate, 585
        • 8. The evidence stronger in proportion as the law is more general, 586
        • 9. Every distinct Kind must be examined, 587
      • chapter xxiii. Of Approximate Generalizations, and Probable Evidence 591
        • § 1. The inferences called probable, rest on approximate generalizations, 591
        • 2. Approximate generalizations less useful in science than in life, 591
        • 3. In what cases they cmayc be resorted to, 593
        • 4. In what manner proved, 594
        • 5. With what precautions employed, 596
        • 6. The two modes of combining probabilities, 597
        • 7. How approximate generalizations may be converted into accurate generalizations equivalent to them, 602
      • chapter xxiv. Of the Remaining Laws of Nature 604
        • § 1. Propositions which assert mere existence, 604
        • 2. Resemblance, considered as a subject of science, 605 Edition: current; Page: [xiv]
        • 3. The axioms and theorems of mathematics comprise the principal laws of resemblance, 607
        • 4. —and those of order in place, and rest on induction by simple enumeration, 608
        • 5. The propositions of arithmetic affirm the modes of formation of some given number, 610
        • 6. Those of algebra affirm the equivalence of different modes of formation of numbers generally, 613
        • 7. The propositions of geometry are laws of outward nature, 616
        • 8. Why geometry is almost entirely deductive, 618
        • 9. Function of mathematical truths in the other sciences, and limits of that function, 620
      • chapter xxv. Of the Grounds of Disbelief 622
        • § 1. Improbability and impossibility, 622
        • 2. Examination of Hume’s doctrine of miracles, 622
        • 3. The degrees of improbability correspond to differences in the nature of the generalization with which an assertion conflicts, 626
        • 4. A fact is not incredible because the chances are against it, 630
        • d5. Are coincidences less credible than other facts?d, 632
        • e6.e An opinion of Laplace examined, 634
    • book iv: of operations subsidiary to induction
      • chapter i. Of Observation and Description 641
        • § 1. Observation, how far a subject of logic, 641
        • 2. A great part of what seems observation is really inference, 641
        • 3. The description of an observation affirms more than is contained in the observation, 644
        • 4. —namely, an agreement among phenomena; and fthef comparison of phenomena to ascertain such agreements is a preliminary to induction, 647
      • chapter ii. Of Abstraction, or the Formation of Conceptions 649
        • § 1. The comparison which is a preliminary to induction implies general conceptions, 649
        • 2. —but these need not be pre-existent, 650
        • 3. A general conception, originally the result of a comparison, becomes itself the type of comparison, 653
        • 4. What is meant by appropriate conceptions, 656
        • 5. —and by clear conceptions, 658
        • 6. gFurther illustration of the subjectg, 659 Edition: current; Page: [xv]
        • chapter iii. Of Naming, as subsidiary to Induction 663
          • § 1. The fundamental property of names as an instrument of thought, 663
          • 2. Names are not indispensable to induction, 664
          • 3. In what manner subservient to it, 665
          • 4. General names not a mere contrivance to economize the use of language, 666
        • chapter iv. Of the Requisites of a Philosophical Language, and the Principles of Definition 668
          • § 1. First requisite of philosophical language, a steady and determinate meaning for every general name, 668
          • 2. Names in common use have often a loose connotation, 668
          • 3. —which the logician should fix, with as little alteration as possible, 670
          • 4. Why definition is often a question not of words but of things, 672
          • 5. How the logician should deal with the transitive applications of words, 675
          • 6. Evil consequences of casting off any portion of the customary connotation of words, 679
        • chapter v. hOnh the Natural History of the Variations in the Meaning of Terms 686
          • § 1. How circumstances originally accidental become incorporated into the meaning of words, 686
          • 2. —and sometimes become the whole meaning, 688
          • 3. Tendency of words to become generalized, 689
          • 4. —and to become specialized, 693
        • chapter vi. The Principles of a Philosophical Language further considered 698
          • § 1. Second requisite of philosophical language, a name for every important meaning, 698
          • 2. —viz. first, an accurate descriptive terminology, 698
          • 3. —secondly, a name for each of the more important results of scientific abstraction, 701
          • 4. —thirdly, a nomenclature, or system of the names of Kinds, 703
          • 5. Peculiar nature of the connotation of names which belong to a nomenclature, 705
          • 6. In what cases language may, and may not, be used mechanically, 707
        • chapter vii. Of Classification, as subsidiary to Induction 712
          • § 1. Classification as here treated of, wherein different from the classification implied in naming, 712
          • 2. Theory of natural groups, 713
          • 3. Are natural groups given by type, or by definition? 717 Edition: current; Page: [xvi]
          • 4. Kinds are natural groups, 718
          • 5. How the names of Kinds should be constructed, 723
        • chapter viii. Of Classification by Series 726
          • § 1. Natural groups should be arranged in a natural series, 726
          • 2. The arrangement should follow the degrees of the main phenomenon, 727
          • 3. —which implies the assumption of a type-species, 728
          • 4. How the divisions of the series should be determined, 729
          • 5. Zoology affords the completest type of scientific classification, 731
      • book v: on fallacies
        • chapter i. Of Fallacies in General 735
          • § 1. Theory of fallacies a necessary part of logic, 735
          • 2. Casual mistakes are not fallacies, 736
          • 3. The moral sources of erroneous opinion, how related to the intellectual, 737
        • chapter ii. Classification of Fallacies 740
          • § 1. On what criteria a classification of fallacies should be grounded, 740
          • 2. The five classes of fallacies, 741
          • 3. The reference of a fallacy to one or ianotheri class is sometimes arbitrary, 744
        • chapter iii. Fallacies of Simple Inspection, or à priori Fallacies 746
          • § 1. Character of this class of Fallacies, 746
          • 2. Natural prejudice of mistaking subjective laws for objective, exemplified in popular superstitions, 747
          • 3. Natural prejudices, that things which we think of together must exist together, and that what is inconceivable must be false, 750
          • 4. Natural prejudice, of ascribing objective existence to abstractions, 756
          • 5. Fallacy of the Sufficient Reason, 757
          • 6. Natural prejudice, that the differences in nature correspond to the distinctions in language, 760
          • 7. Prejudice, that a phenomenon cannot have more than one cause, 763
          • 8. Prejudice, that the conditions of a phenomenon must resemble the phenomenon, 765
        • chapter iv. Fallacies of Observation 773
          • § 1. Non-observation, and Mal-observation, 773
          • 2. Non-observation of instances, and non-observation of circumstances, 773 Edition: current; Page: [xvii]
          • 3. Examples of the former, 774
          • 4. —and of the latter, 778
          • 5. Mal-observation characterized and exemplified, 782
        • chapter v. Fallacies of Generalization 785
          • § 1. Character of the class, 785
          • 2. Certain kinds of generalization jmust always be groundless, 785
          • 3. Attempts to resolve kphenomena radically differentk into the same, 786
          • 4. Fallacy of mistaking empirical for causal laws, 788
          • 5. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc; and the deductive fallacy corresponding to it, 792
          • 6. Fallacy of False Analogies, 794
          • 7. Function of metaphors in reasoning, 799
          • 8. How fallacies of generalization grow out of bad classification, 801
        • chapter vi. Fallacies of Ratiocination 803
          • § 1. Introductory Remarks, 803
          • 2. Fallacies in the conversion and æquipollency of propositions, 803
          • 3. Fallacies in the syllogistic process, 804
          • 4. Fallacy of changing the premises, 805
        • chapter vii. Fallacies of Confusion 809
          • § 1. Fallacy of Ambiguous Terms, 809
          • 2. Fallacy of Petitio Principii, 819
          • 3. Fallacy of Ignoratio Elenchi, 827
      • book vi: on the logic of the moral sciences
        • chapter i. Introductory Remarks 833
          • § 1. The backward state of the Moral Sciences can only be remedied by applying to them the methods of Physical Science, duly extended and generalized, 833
          • 2. How far this can be attempted in the present work, 834
        • chapter ii. Of Liberty and Necessity 836
          • § 1. Are human actions subject to the law of causality? 836
          • 2. The doctrine commonly called Philosophical Necessity, in what sense true, 836
          • 3. Inappropriateness and pernicious effect of the term Necessity, 839
          • 4. A motive not always the anticipation of a pleasure or a pain, 842
          Edition: current; Page: [xviii]
        • chapter iii. That there is, or may be, a Science of Human Nature 844
          • § 1. There may be sciences which are not exact sciences, 844
          • 2. To what scientific type the Science of Human Nature corresponds, 846
        • chapter iv. Of the Laws of Mind 849
          • § 1. What is meant by Laws of Mind, 849
          • 2. Is there a science of Psychology? 849
          • 3. The principal investigations of Psychology characterized, 852
          • 4. Relation of mental facts to physical conditions, 856
        • chapter v. Of Ethology, or the Science of the Formation of Character 861
          • § 1. The Empirical Laws of Human Nature, 861
          • 2. —are merely approximate generalizations. The universal laws are those of the formation of character, 863
          • 3. The laws of the formation of character cannot be ascertained by observation and experiment, 865
          • 4. —but must be studied deductively, 868
          • 5. The principles of Ethology are the axiomata media of mental science, 870
          • 6. Ethology characterized, 872
        • chapter vi. General Considerations on the Social Science 875
          • § 1. Are Social Phenomena a subject of Science? 875
          • 2. Of what nature the Social Science must be, 877
        • chapter vii. Of the Chemical, or Experimental, Method in the Social Science 879
          • § 1. Characters of the mode of thinking which deduces political doctrines from specific experience, 879
          • 2. In the Social Science experiments are impossible, 881
          • 3. —the Method of Difference inapplicable, 881
          • 4. —and the Methods of Agreement, and of Concomitant Variations, inconclusive, 883
          • 5. The Method of Residues lalso inconclusive, andl presupposes Deduction, 884
        • chapter viii. Of the Geometrical, or Abstract Method 887
          • § 1. Characters of this mode of thinking, 887
          • 2. Examples of the Geometrical Method, 888
          • 3. The interest-philosophy of the Bentham School, 889
        • chapter ix. Of the Physical, or Concrete Deductive Method 895
          • § 1. The Direct and Inverse Deductive Methods, 895
          • 2. Difficulties of the Direct Deductive Method in the Social Science, 898 Edition: current; Page: [xix]
          • 3. To what extent the different branches of sociological speculation can be studied apart. Political Economy characterized, 900
          • 4. Political Ethology, or the science of national character, 904
          • 5. The Empirical Laws of the Social Science, 907
          • 6. The Verification of the Social Science, 908
        • chapter x. Of the Inverse Deductive, or Historical Method 911
          • § 1. Distinction between the general Science of Society, and special sociological inquiries, 911
          • 2. What is meant by a State of Society? 911
          • 3. The Progressiveness of Man and Society, 913
          • 4. The laws of the succession of states of society can only be ascertained by the Inverse-Deductive Method, 915
          • 5. Social Statics, or the science of the Coexistences of Social Phenomena, 917
          • 6. Social Dynamics, or the science of the Successions of Social Phenomena, 924
          • 7. Outlines of the Historical Method, 925
          • 8. Future prospects of Sociological Inquiry, 928
        • mchapter xi. Additional Elucidations of the Science of History 931
          • § 1. The subjection of historical facts to uniform laws is verified by statistics, 931
          • 2. —does not imply the insignificance of moral causes, 934
          • 3. —nor the inefficacy of the characters of individuals and of the acts of governments, 936
          • 4. The historical importance of eminent men and of the policy of governments illustratedm, 939
        • chapter nxii.n Of the Logic of Practice, or Art; including Morality and Policy 943
      Edition: current; Page: [xx]
    • Appendices
      • appendix a. The Early Draft of the Logic 955
        • Introductory Matter, 961
        • Statement of the Problem, 969
        • Of Names, 974
        • Classification of Things, 989
        • Of Predication, 1005
        • Of the Predicables or Universals, 1030
        • Of Definition, 1040
        • Of Inference, or Reasoning, 1053
        • Of Ratiocination, or Syllogism, 1057
        • Of Trains of Reasoning, 1079
        • Of Deductive Sciences, 1083
        • Of Demonstration; and Necessary Truths, 1088
        • Of Induction in General, 1099
        • Of the Various Grounds of Induction, 1103
        • Of the Uniformity in the Course of Nature, 1106
      • appendix b. Supplementary Note to Book II, Chapter iii, 4th edition, with variant notes to the 3rd and 5th to 8th editions. 1111
      • appendix c. Book III, Chapter v, § 9, 2nd edition, with variant notes to the MS and 1st editions. 1118
      • appendix d. Book III, Chapter x, § 4, variant h, 7th edition, with variant notes to the 4th to 6th editions. 1120
      • appendix e. Book III, Chapter xiii, §§ 1-3, 5th edition, with variant notes to the MS and 1st to 4th editions. 1132
      • appendix f. Book III, Chapter xviii, 1st edition, with variant notes to the MS. 1140
      • appendix g. Book III, Chapter xxv, § 5, 1st edition, with variant notes to the MS 1151
      • appendix h. Book VI, Chapter xi, § 6, 2nd edition, with variant notes to the MS and 1st edition. 1154
      • appendix i. Typographical errors in the 8th edition. 1156
      • appendix j. Description of the Press-copy Manuscript. 1161
      • appendix k. Bibliographic Index of persons and works cited in the Logic, with variants and notes. 1170
    • index 1243
    • facsimiles facing pages lxxii, 17, 978, 1169
Edition: current; Page: [xxi]


john stuart mill’s System of Logic is his principal philosophical work. Its subject matters cost him more effort and time to think through than those of his other writings, including the Political Economy, which, though of comparable scope, was, he says, far more rapidly executed. He believed that the System of Logic was destined to survive longer than anything else he had written, than even, perhaps, the essay On Liberty. In so far as it introduces technical material, it has contributed the Four Experimental Methods—though usually criticised in one way or another—to almost every later textbook on logic which treats of induction. Mill would appear, therefore, to have succeeded in his intention of doing for inductive arguments what Aristotle, in originating the rules of syllogism, did for ratiocination or deduction. The survival of Mill’s System of Logic as a philosophical work is a consequence of other features. It was conceived in controversy, and on many subjects it still remains pertinent to controversy because of the classic formulation it gives to one of a set of alternative theses, whether at the very beginning of the book in the theory of meaning, or at the end in the idea of a social science. It consequently has a survival value greatly extending beyond any that can be estimated by the number of adherents to its doctrines. The System of Logic has survived also in a third, and ghostly, fashion under the labels “empiricism” and “psychologism,” with the varying connotations which these have. Mill himself was not in the least averse to labels. He saw himself as protagonist in a conflict of “schools.” If, however, some general, undistorted, view is to be taken of his System of Logic, it becomes necessary to give precision to the applicability of these two labels, often interconnected as they are, as, for example, in a recent description of it as an “attempt to expound a psychological system of logic within empiricist principles.”1

R. P. Anschutz has forcefully drawn attention to the fact that Mill did not regard himself as an empiricist but as in fundamental opposition to empiricism.2 Edition: current; Page: [xxii] By empiricism Mill meant “bad generalization” and “unscientific surmise.” His own position he identified with “the School of Experience.” It may have been natural enough for Mill to have retained the term “empiricism” in its ordinary, as well as in its older philosophical use, and in any case, it aptly covered the type of political theory associated with Mackintosh and Macaulay. The latter’s attack on his father’s Essay on Government caused Mill to see that Macaulay “stood up for the empirical mode of treating political phenomena, against the philosophical; that even in physical science, his notion of philosophizing . . . would have excluded Newton and Laplace.”3 However, the members of what Mill called “the School of Experience” are today more generally called the British empiricists, and he is counted among them. To speak of Mill’s empiricism is to speak of his adherence to what he described as “the prevailing theory in the eighteenth century,” a theory which had its starting point, as he believed every system of philosophy should, with two questions, one about the sources of human knowledge, and the other about the objects which the mind is capable of knowing. With regard to the first question, the answer of this school was that “all knowledge consists of generalizations from experience. . . . There is no knowledge à priori; no truths cognizable by the mind’s inward light, and grounded on intuitive evidence. Sensation, and the mind’s consciousness of its own acts, are not only the exclusive sources, but the sole materials of our knowledge.” With regard to the second question their answer was, “Of nature, or anything whatever external to ourselves, we know . . . nothing, except the facts which present themselves to our senses, and such other facts as may, by analogy, be inferred from these.”4 This means that the “nature and laws of Things in themselves, or of the hidden causes of the phenomena which are the objects of experience,” are “radically inaccessible to the human faculties.” Nothing “can be the object of our knowledge except our experience, and what can be inferred from our experience by the analogies of experience itself. . . .”5

In general, the term “experience” refers in the System of Logic to observation that something is the case and to experimentation as an adjunct of such observation. When Mill states the empirical thesis that “all knowledge consists in generalization from experience,” he is using the term in this sense. For example, he asks about the proposition, All men are mortal, “whence do we derive our knowledge of that general truth? Of course from observation. Now all that man can observe are individual cases. From these all general truths are drawn, and into these they may again be resolved.” But Mill also uses “experience” to refer to the undergoing of sensations and feelings, or Edition: current; Page: [xxiii] having what he calls collectively “states of consciousness.” It is this sense of “experience” which is indicated when he says that “sensation and the mind’s consciousness of its own acts are . . . the sole materials of our knowledge.” This too is a familiar empirical thesis, but by virtue of the kind of experience to which it refers, it is different from the first thesis, and it constitutes the basis of Mill’s phenomenalism. Both senses of the term “experience” are common and philosophically neutral, but the first of them, observation that something is the case, ceases to be taken in neutral fashion when it is reduced to, or considered to mean the same in the end as the second, namely, having sensations. While acknowledging in the System of Logic that he is here on disputed philosophical territory, Mill does perform this reduction, as in the following example which he gives of something which can be observed to be the case.

Let us take, then, as our example, one of what are termed the sensible qualities of objects, and let the example be whiteness. When we ascribe whiteness to any substance, as, for instance, snow; when we say that snow has the quality whiteness, what do we really assert? Simply, that when snow is present to our organs, we have a particular sensation, which we are accustomed to call the sensation of white. But how do I know that snow is present? Obviously from the sensations which I derive from it, and not otherwise. I infer that the object is present, because it gives me a certain assemblage or series of sensations. And when I ascribe to it the attribute whiteness, my meaning is only, that, of the sensations composing this group or series, that which I call the sensation of white colour is one.6

We must then distinguish two levels of empiricism in Mill, one in which “experience” refers to observation of what is the case and to experimentation as related to it, and the other more radical level, that of his phenomenalism, in which all experience is reduced to one kind, namely, undergoing sensations, feelings, and other “states of consciousness.” On which of these levels of empiricism are Mill’s logical doctrines constructed?

On the relation of logic to experience Mill appears to take two contradictory positions, one in his Autobiography and the other in the Introduction to the System of Logic. In the Autobiography he says, “The German, or à priori view of human knowledge, and of the knowing faculties, is likely for some time longer (though it may be hoped in a diminishing degree) to predominate among those who occupy themselves with such inquiries, both here and on the Continent. But the ‘System of Logic’ supplies what was much wanted, a text-book of the opposite doctrine—that which derives all knowledge from experience, and all moral and intellectual qualities principally from the direction given to the associations.”7 In the Introduction to the Edition: current; Page: [xxiv] System of Logic, however, Mill proclaims the philosophical neutrality of logic. “Logic is common ground on which the partisans of Hartley and of Reid, of Locke and Kant, may meet and join hands. Particular and detached opinions of all these thinkers will no doubt occasionally be controverted, since all of them were logicians as well as metaphysicians; but the field on which their principal battles have been fought, lies beyond the boundaries of our science”(14). Mill concludes the Introduction with this remark: “. . . I can conscientiously affirm that no one proposition laid down in this work has been adopted for the sake of establishing, or with any reference to its fitness for being employed in establishing, preconceived opinions in any department of knowledge or of inquiry on which the speculative world is still undecided” (14-15).

Mill’s claim for the neutrality of logic derives from a distinction which he makes between two ways in which truths may be known. Some are known directly, that is, by intuition; some are known by means of other truths, that is, are inferred. Logic has no concern with the former kind of truths, nor with the question whether they are part of the original furniture of the mind or given through the senses. It is concerned only with inferred truths. Moreover, while there is much in our knowledge which may seem to be intuited, but which may actually be inferred, the decision as to what part of our knowledge is intuitive and what inferential is something which also falls outside the scope of logic. It belongs to what Mill calls Metaphysics, a term he uses in such a way as to include psychology and theory of knowledge. It is clear from his description of metaphysics in the Introduction that it is this science, not logic, which decides the issue which separates “the German, or à priori view of human knowledge” from that which “derives all knowledge from experience.” In the Autobiography, however, Mill looked to his Logic to settle the issue.

The notion that truths external to the mind may be known by intuition or consciousness, independently of observation and experience, is, I am persuaded, in these times, the great intellectual support of false doctrines and bad institutions. . . . And the chief strength of this false philosophy in morals, politics, and religion, lies in the appeal which it is accustomed to make to the evidence of mathematics and of the cognate branches of physical science. To expel it from these, is to drive it from its stronghold. . . . In attempting to clear up the real nature of the evidence of mathematical and physical truths, the “System of Logic” met the intuitive philosophers on ground on which they had previously been deemed unassailable. . . .8

The apparent contradiction dissolves, however, as the course of Mill’s argument reveals that it rests on no assumptions about the nature of direct knowledge, and reaches a conclusion which, if valid, would subvert the à Edition: current; Page: [xxv] priori school. The argument also reveals the nature and extent of Mill’s empiricism.

Because twentieth-century empiricists, with their predominantly Viennese background, express their doctrine in the language, not of the British empiricists, but of Leibniz and Kant, it will be useful to state Mill’s argument in this latter, more familiar language. Leibniz distinguished between two kinds of propositions, truths of reason and truths of fact. Truths of reason are necessary and their opposites are impossible, that is, contain a contradiction. A necessary truth can be shown to be so by a mere analysis of its terms; the analysis will reveal the concept of the predicate to be contained within the concept of the subject. A truth of fact, on the other hand, is not necessary but contingent. By this Leibniz means, not that the predicate is not contained within the concept of the subject, but that no finite analysis, however far it is pursued, can ever show the concept of the predicate to be contained within that of the subject, for the required analysis is infinite. Only by experience can it be known that the subject and predicate are connected. Kant modified Leibniz’s division in an important way by introducing a further distinction, one between analytic and synthetic judgments. Analytic judgments, like Leibniz’s truths of reason, are those in which the concept of the predicate is contained within that of the subject. Synthetic judgments, a type not recognized by Leibniz, are, on the other hand, those in which the concept of the predicate is not contained within that of the subject. No analysis of the concept of the subject can extract it. Where an analytic judgment is merely explicative of the concept of the subject, a synthetic judgment is ampliative; it extends our knowledge of the subject. Kant now enlarged Leibniz’s class of necessary truths so that it should include not only propositions which were analytical, but also some which were synthetic, that is, some whose negation did not contain a contradiction. These synthetic propositions, being necessary, could only be known to be true independently of sense experience. Modern empiricists have adopted the Kantian distinction between the analytic and the synthetic as so basic that it has been labelled one of the “dogmas of empiricism.”9 But while accepting Kant’s distinction, they of course rule out the possibility of the class of synthetic propositions which are necessary. Like Leibniz they hold that all necessary truths are analytical.

Mill makes a distinction which, he says, corresponds to “that which is drawn by Kant and other metaphysicians between what they term analytic, and synthetic, judgments; the former being those which can be evolved from the meaning of the terms used” (116n). Mill’s distinction is between propositions which are merely verbal or relate to the meaning of terms, and propositions which assert matters of fact. Verbal propositions, those “(. . . in Edition: current; Page: [xxvi] which the predicate connotes the whole or part of what the subject connotes, but nothing besides) answer no purpose but that of unfolding the whole or some part of the meaning of the name, to those who did not previously know it” (113). Every man is a corporeal being, or Every man is rational, would be examples. Real propositions, on the other hand, “predicate of a thing some fact not involved in the signification of the name by which the proposition speaks of it. . . . Such are . . . all general or particular propositions in which the predicate connotes any attribute not connoted by the subject. All these, if true, add to our knowledge: they convey information, not already involved in the names employed” (115-16).

But while Mill accepts the distinction between analytic and synthetic propositions, this is not for him one between two kinds of truths. Verbal propositions are “not, strictly speaking, susceptible of truth or falsity, but only of conformity or disconformity to usage or convention; and all the proof they are capable of, is proof of usage . . .” (109). Analytic propositions are not, then, as they are for Leibniz, Kant, and modern empiricists, necessary truths, for they are not truths at all. Some examples of what Mill considered to be true propositions, that is, propositions asserting matters of fact, would be: All men are mortal, Two straight lines cannot enclose a space, Two and one is equal to three, Every fact which has a beginning has a cause, The same proposition cannot at the same time be false and true. All these assert something about what is the case in this world. They do not assert what would be, in the language of Leibniz, true in all possible worlds. In the case of two of these propositions, the arithmetical one and the principle of contradiction, Mill considered, and rejected, the possibility that they were not assertions of matters of fact, and therefore neither true nor false, but were merely verbal or analytical. Indeed, he acknowledged great plausibility in the view that the “proposition, Two and one is equal to three . . . is not a truth, is not the assertion of a really existing fact, but a definition of the word three; a statement that mankind have agreed to use the name three as a sign exactly equivalent to two and one; to call by the former name whatever is called by the other more clumsy phrase” (253). Mill did not, however, consider the possibility of looking at geometry in this way; “that science cannot be supposed to be conversant about non-entities” (225). Geometrical theorems add to our knowledge of the world. Consequently he thought it fatal to the view that the science of numbers is merely a succession of changes in terminology, that it is impossible to explain by it how, when a new geometrical theorem is demonstrated by algebra, the series of translations brings out new facts. Mill takes note also—again with some degree of sympathy—of those who regard the principle of contradiction as “an identical proposition; an assertion involved in the meaning of terms; a mode of defining Negation, and the word Not” (277), and indeed he is willing to go part way with this. “If the Edition: current; Page: [xxvii] negative is true the affirmative is false,” is merely an identical proposition, for what the negative means is only the falsity of the affirmative. But the statement that the same proposition cannot at the same time be false and true, is not a merely verbal one but a generalization about facts in the world. The principle of contradiction states a truth.

The distinction between verbal, or analytic, and real, or synthetic, propositions has an important bearing on Mill’s conception of the nature of logic. For him logic is primarily concerned with real propositions, that is, assertions of matters of fact, or propositions which are either true or false. It is, in his words, a “logic of truth.” But there are two ways in which truths are known. Some are known directly, some are known by inference from other truths. Logic is concerned only with the second of these two ways. This means that Mill’s logic is concerned with the way in which we infer from some truths other truths which are quite distinct from them. Such inference Mill calls “real,” in order to contrast it with merely “apparent” inference. The latter kind occurs in instances of equivalence or implication, for in these the conclusion asserts no new truth, but only what is already asserted in the premises: “the conclusion is either the very same fact, or part of the fact asserted in the original proposition.” Moreover, the logic of truth requires an interpretation of the syllogism different from any it has traditionally received. Mill finds it unanimously admitted that a syllogism is invalid if there is anything in the conclusion which is not contained in the premises. This being so, syllogism cannot, then, be inference at all, though it may perform some important function in relation to inference. This function Mill sought to determine. In short, formal logic, which some have taken to be the whole of logic, is not concerned with inference, and must be sharply contrasted with the logic of truth. Its sole aim is consistency. As a logic of consistency it performs a subordinate, but indispensable, role in relation to the logic of truth, for consistency is a condition for truth.

If thought be anything more than a sportive exercise of the mind, its purpose is to enable us to know what can be known respecting the facts of the universe: its judgments and conclusions express, or are intended to express, some of those facts: and the connexion which Formal Logic, by its analysis of the reasoning process, points out between one proposition and another, exists only because there is a connexion between one objective truth and another, which makes it possible for us to know objective truths which have never been observed, in virtue of others which have. This possibility is an eternal mystery and stumbling-block to Formal Logic. The bare idea that any new truth can be brought out of a Concept—that analysis can ever find in it anything which synthesis has not first put in—is absurd on the face of it: yet this is all the explanation that Formal Logic, as viewed by Sir W. Hamilton, is able to give of the phænomenon; and Mr. Mansel expressly limits the province of Logic to analytic judgments—to such as are merely identical. But what the Logic of mere consistency cannot do, the Logic of the ascertainment of truth, the Philosophy of Evidence in its larger acceptation, Edition: current; Page: [xxviii] can. It can explain the function of the Ratiocinative process as an instrument of the human intellect in the discovery of truth, and can place it in its true correlation with the other instruments.10

But Mill’s logic is not only a logic of truth; it is intended to be a “logic of experience,” and as such to subvert the doctrines of the German or à priori school.11 Its single most important thesis, that on which the whole conception of the logic of experience rests, is that all inference is from particulars to particulars. This is by no means advanced by Mill as a dogma. It is given as the conclusion of an argument in which he examines the nature of the syllogism. It is to be observed that in doing so, Mill adopts as his example of the syllogism, one in which the major premise, All men are mortal, is obviously a generalization from observation. The minor premise asserts that the Duke of Wellington is a man, and the conclusion is drawn that the Duke, who was alive at the time, is mortal. Mill points out that the conclusion is not inferred from the generalization stated in the major premise, for it is already included in that generalization. The evidence for the mortality of the Duke of Wellington is the same as that for all men, namely John and Thomas and other known individual cases. It is on the basis of this instance of the syllogism that Mill maintains his general principle that all inference is from particulars to particulars. But what the argument presupposes is that all universal propositions are empirical generalizations, as in his example, All men are mortal. This, however, is just the issue which separated Mill from the German or à priori school. The latter maintained that there are some propositions which are necessary, and that necessary propositions cannot be got by empirical generalization. They must therefore be à priori. Of the five examples which were cited earlier of propositions which Mill regarded as truly asserting matters of fact, four would have been regarded by Kant as necessary, namely, the arithmetical and geometrical propositions, the causal axiom, and the principle of contradiction, although he would not, as Mill did, have considered this last to be an assertion of fact.12 As necessary, they cannot be derived from experience. But Mill is not only opposing the German or à priori school. In the case of mathematics he felt that he was opposing almost everyone. “Why,” he asks, “are mathematics by almost all philosophers, and (by some) even those branches of natural philosophy which, through the medium of mathematics, have been converted into deductive Edition: current; Page: [xxix] sciences, considered to be independent of the evidence of experience and observation, and characterized as systems of Necessary Truth?” (224.)

Because it is the deductive sciences which give rise to the illusion that there are systems of necessary truth, an important part of Mill’s defence of the main thesis of his logic of experience is to consider the nature of deduction and of the deductive sciences, in order to get rid altogether of the distinction between induction and deduction as two opposed types of inference. There is only one kind of inference. Mill’s account of deduction is clear in spite of the fact that his key word in the account, “reasoning,” is sometimes used in a broad sense, sometimes in a more narrow and technical sense, without notice of change from one to the other being given. In what Mill calls “the most extensive sense of the term,” reasoning is a synonym of inference, and he frequently couples the words “reasoning or inference.” In its narrower sense it is the process which is exemplified in the syllogism, and is alternatively called by him ratiocination or deduction. But syllogism or ratiocination or deduction is not inference; it is rather what in theology and law is called interpretation. “All inference is from particulars to particulars: General propositions are merely registers of such inferences already made, and short formulae for making more: The major premise of a syllogism, consequently, is a formula of this description: and the conclusion is not an inference drawn from the formula, but an inference drawn according to the formula: the real logical antecedent, or premise, being the particular facts from which the general proposition was collected by induction” (193). Just as in a case of law or of theological dogma, the

only point to be determined is, whether the authority which declared the general proposition, intended to include this case in it; and whether the legislator intended his command to apply to the present case among others, or not. This is ascertained by examining whether the case possesses the marks by which, as those authorities have signified, the cases which they meant to certify or to influence may be known. The object of the inquiry is to make out the witness’s or the legislator’s intention, through the indication given by their words. This is a question, as the Germans express it, of hermeneutics. The operation is not a process of inference, but a process of interpretation.

In this last phrase we have obtained an expression which appears to me to characterize, more aptly than any other, the functions of the syllogism in all cases.


The term induction applies equally to inference from particulars to a general proposition or formula, and to inference from particulars to particulars according to the formula. Usage, however, tends to limit the term induction to the former, and to call the interpretation of the formula deduction. Hence, Mill will speak of an inference to an unobserved case as consisting of “an Induction followed by a Deduction; because, although the process needs not necessarily be carried on in this form, it is always susceptible of the form, Edition: current; Page: [xxx] and must be thrown into it when assurance of scientific accuracy is needed and desired” (203).

The task of determining whether Socrates or the Duke of Wellington have the marks which justify bringing them under the general formula, All men are mortal, is easily accomplished by observation, and the result stated in the minor premise. But not all cases are so simple. The minor premise may by itself have to be established by an induction followed by a deduction or interpretation, that is, by a syllogism. The succession of deductions or interpretations may, as required, be extended indefinitely, and this is pre-eminently the case in the mathematical sciences, where the inductions themselves may be obvious, while yet it may be far from obvious whether particular cases come under these inductions. Geometry rests on a very few simple inductions, the formulae of which are expressed in the axioms and a few of the so-called definitions.

The remainder of the science is made up of the processes employed for bringing unforeseen cases within these inductions; or (in syllogistic language) for proving the minors necessary to complete the syllogisms; the majors being the definitions and axioms. In those definitions and axioms are laid down the whole of the marks, by an artful combination of which it has been found possible to discover and prove all that is proved in geometry. The marks being so few, and the inductions which furnish them being so obvious and familiar; the connecting of several of them together, which constitutes Deductions, or Trains of Reasoning, forms the whole difficulty of the science, and with a trifling exception, its whole bulk; and hence Geometry is a Deductive Science.


Every science aspires to the condition of mathematics, that is, to be a deductive science, resting on a small number of inductions of the highest generality.13 A science begins as almost wholly observational and experimental, each of its generalizations resting on its own special set of observations and experiments. Some sciences, however, by being rendered mathematical, have already advanced to the stage of becoming almost entirely “sciences of pure reasoning; whereby multitudes of truths, already known by induction from as many different sets of experiments, have come to be exhibited as deductions or corollaries from inductive propositions of a simpler and more universal character” (218). But they are not, says Mill, to be regarded as less inductive by virtue of having become more deductive.

A deductive science is, then, one which is distinguished from an experimental science, not as being independent of observation and experiment, Edition: current; Page: [xxxi] thereby constituting a system of necessary truth, but one whose conclusions are arrived at by successive interpretations of inductions of great generality, instead of resting directly on observation and experiment. Whewell, who was for Mill the chief spokesman for the à priori school in matters of science, found him to be much too optimistic—in the light of the history of the sciences—about the efficacy of deduction in their progress. Whewell was, however, prepared to accept Mill’s account of the nature of deduction as being the interpretation of the formula contained in the major premise.

I say then that Mr. Mill appears to me especially instructive in his discussion of the nature of the proof which is conveyed by the syllogism; and that his doctrine, that the force of the syllogism consists in an inductive assertion, with an interpretation added to it, solves very happily the difficulties which baffle other theories of this subject. I think that this doctrine of his is made still more instructive, by his excepting from it the cases of Scriptural Theology and of Positive Law, as cases in which general propositions, not particular facts, are our original data.14

Thus, while the main thesis of Mill’s logic of experience, that all inference is from particulars to particulars, is derived from an analysis of the syllogism, that analysis is inconclusive for Mill’s purpose; Whewell is quite happy to accept the analysis, since it allows that the general proposition expressed in the major premise may be an original datum not derivative from particular facts. In this class Whewell would put the axioms of geometry, which he would say are necessary truths and hence incapable of being inductively arrived at. To complete the case for his main thesis Mill must dispose of the doctrine that there are necessary truths, such as, Two straight lines cannot enclose a space. Because we cannot, according to Mill, look at any two straight lines which intersect without seeing that they continue to diverge, he asks what reason there is for maintaining that our knowledge of the axiom is grounded in any other way than through that evidence of the senses by which we know other things. This experiential evidence is quite sufficient. “The burden of proof lies on the advocates of the contrary opinion: it is for them to point out some fact, inconsistent with the supposition that this part of our knowledge of nature is derived from the same sources as every other part” (232). Mill finds that the à priori case is made to rest on two arguments, both of which he takes from Whewell.

The first argument is that we are able to perceive in intuition that two straight lines cannot enclose a space. Whewell calls it “imaginary looking,” and maintains that by means of it alone, and without any real looking, that is independently of, and prior to, visual perception, we can “see” that the two straight lines cannot enclose a space. But for Mill this is easily explainable by the abundantly experienced fact that spatial forms in the imagination can exactly resemble those given to visual perception. Hence it is possible to conduct Edition: current; Page: [xxxii] experiments with lines and angles in the imagination, and to know that the conclusions hold for observable lines and angles in the external world. Whether we work with mental diagrams or real figures, the conclusions are inductions.15 Mill must be counted among those philosophers who believe that geometry rests on intuition, if we include under this heading what he calls “inspection” or “contemplation,” whether in imagination or visually. He sees no reason for maintaining that such intuition has any à priori form. Against such a position as Kant’s, who maintains that there must be à priori forms of intuition if the necessity which characterizes mathematical propositions is to be accounted for, Mill would simply deny that there is any necessity in the mathematical propositions to be accounted for.

This brings us to the second argument for the apriority of certain truths, namely that they are necessary, and must, therefore, be know independently of experience. Whatever force this argument has depends on what is meant by the term “necessary,” and in particular what meaning it has for those who use it to qualify the term “truth.”

Mill recognized that in popular usage there were two kinds of necessity which were referred to, logical necessity and causal necessity. The latter he variously calls philosophical or metaphysical or physical necessity. He remarks in one of his letters, “You are probably, however, right in thinking that the notion of physical necessity is partly indebted for the particular shape it assumes in our minds to an assimilation of it with logical necessity.”16 In his Autobiography Mill writes:

during the later returns of my dejection, the doctrine of what is called Philosophical Necessity weighed on my existence like an incubus. I felt as if I was scientifically proved to be the helpless slave of antecedent circumstances; as if my character and that of all others had been formed for us by agencies beyond our control, and was wholly out of our own power. . . . I pondered painfully on the subject, till gradually I saw light through it. I perceived, that the word Necessity, as a name for the doctrine of Cause and Effect applied to human action, carried with it a misleading association; and that this association was the operative force in the depressing and paralysing influence which I had experienced.17

Thereafter, Mill says, he discarded altogether “the misleading word Necessity.” The theory which released him from his dilemma is contained in the chapter of the Logic entitled “Of Liberty and Necessity,” and which he described Edition: current; Page: [xxxiii] to de Tocqueville as “the most important chapter” in that work. There he writes, “The application of so improper a term as Necessity to the doctrine of cause and effect in the matter of human character, seems to me one of the most signal instances in philosophy of the abuse of terms, and its practical consequences one of the most striking examples of the power of language over our associations. The subject will never be generally understood, until that objectionable term is dropped.” (841.)

Hume had maintained that necessity, or necessary connection, is an essential part of our idea of cause and effect. He claimed to have shown just what our idea of necessity is, or what we mean when we use the term. Mill does not at all agree with Hume as to what the term means, but he agrees that the term is used with meaning.18 He himself, however, uses an expression which he regards as less objectionable. He points out that when we define the cause of a thing as the antecedent which the thing invariably follows, we do not mean that which the thing invariably has followed in our past experience, but that which it invariably will follow. Thus we would not call night the cause of day. The sun could cease to rise without, for all we know, any violation of the laws of nature. “Invariable sequence . . . is not synonymous with causation, unless the sequence, besides being invariable, is unconditional.” “This is what writers mean when they say that the notion of cause involves the idea of necessity. If there be any meaning which confessedly belongs to the term necessity, it is unconditionalness. That which is necessary, that which must be, means that which will be, whatever supposition we may make in regard to all other things.” (339.)

Thus the word necessity is eliminated from the treatment of causation, and a synonym will also be found for the word when used in its logical sense, namely certainty.19 The conclusions of a deductive science are said to be necessary as following certainly or correctly or legitimately from the axioms and definitions of the science, whether these latter, either as inductions or as assumptions, are true or false. But the à priori school refers to the axioms or principles of a science themselves as necessary truths. In what sense are they said to be necessary? For this sense Mill turns to Whewell as representative of the school. According to Whewell the necessity of a necessary truth lies Edition: current; Page: [xxxiv] in the impossibility of conceiving the reverse. “Now I cannot but wonder,” says Mill, “that so much stress should be laid on the circumstance of inconceivableness, when there is such ample experience to show, that our capacity or incapacity of conceiving a thing has very little to do with the possibility of the thing in itself; but is in truth very much an affair of accident, and depends on the past history and habits of our own minds” (238). Psychological impossibilities are contingent facts with a fluctuating history, and Mill points out that the history of science has abounded with “inconceivabilities” which have become actualities.

It has been noted that Mill denies that there are two kinds of inference, inductive and deductive. All inference is inductive. In this regard he stands in direct contrast with those who hold that all inference is deductive, an inference being valid by virtue of the relation of implication which holds between propositions. If the latter view of the nature of inference is taken, then according to some, Hume included, induction could be justified only if every induction could be put in deductive form with one supreme premise, such as the principle of the uniformity of nature or the causal axiom. Only then would inductive conclusions be implied, and hence logically valid.

It is sometimes said that not only did Mill share this view as to what is required to make inductions valid, but he also undertook to justify the one supreme premise by induction. To assert that the principle which justifies induction is itself an induction from experience is, of course, to argue in a circle. Hume’s conclusion was, therefore, that inductive inference cannot be justified, that is to say, converted into a deductive inference. But Mill, it is widely thought, happily committed himself to the circle. Let us consider, then, Mill’s position in relation to what is variously called the problem of induction, or Hume’s problem, or the justification of induction. Mill says:

the proposition that the course of nature is uniform, is the fundamental principle, or general axiom, of Induction. . . . I hold it to be itself an instance of induction. . . . Far from being the first induction we make, it is one of the last, or at all events one of those which are latest in attaining strict philosophical accuracy. . . . The truth is, that this great generalization is itself founded on prior generalizations. The obscurer laws of nature were discovered by means of it, but the more obvious ones must have been understood and assented to as general truths before it was ever heard of. . . . In what sense, then, can a principle, which is so far from being our earliest induction, be regarded as our warrant for all the others? In the only sense, in which . . . the general propositions which we place at the head of our reasonings when we throw them into syllogisms, ever really contribute to their validity. As Archbishop Whately remarks, every induction is a syllogism with the major premise suppressed; or (as I prefer expressing it) every induction may be thrown into the form of a syllogism, by supplying a major premise. If this be actually done, the principle which we are now considering, that of the uniformity of the course of nature, will appear as the ultimate major premise of all inductions, and will, therefore, stand to all inductions in the relation in which . . . the major Edition: current; Page: [xxxv] proposition of a syllogism always stands to the conclusion; not contributing at all to prove it, but being a necessary condition of its being proved; since no conclusion is proved, for which there cannot be found a true major premise.


This makes it clear that Mill is not seeking to solve Hume’s problem, for the latter rests on the assumption that inductive inference is justified only if it can be shown to be a deductive inference. But since for Mill there is no such thing as deductive inference, and since the major premise of the syllogism into which any induction can be formulated, forms no part of the proof for the inductive conclusion, he cannot be considered to mean by “the warrant” for induction, what those who have concerned themselves with Hume’s problem have called the “justification” of induction. The formulation of an induction syllogistically or deductively does not, for Mill, relate an inference to the evidence for it. It is rather the interpretation of an induction, in which the major premise, as we have seen, is a formula, not from which the conclusion is inferred, but in accordance with which the conclusion is inferred. It is, in Mill’s language, a warrant or authorization for inferring the conclusion from the particulars which constitute the evidence for it. It warrants the inference because it states in, for example, the proposition, All men are mortal, that having the attributes of a man is satisfactory evidence for the inference to the attribute mortality. The function of the minor premise in turn is to state that in the particular case in question, that of the Duke of Wellington, this evidence does exist for the inference that he will die. According to this account of the syllogism it is not necessary that inductions or inferences in order to be sound should be warranted. It is the evidence from the particular facts alone, and not they together with a general warrant, which makes an induction or inference valid, and this will be no less true for the induction to the principle of the uniformity of nature than for any other induction. Of course, as the ultimate warrant for all other inductions, the principle cannot itself as an induction be warranted by a formula. But its validity, like that of other inductions, is independent of any general warrant. Contrary to a common misunderstanding there is no circle in Mill’s account of “the ground of induction.”

This throws some light on the way in which Mill conceived the nature of scientific explanation. Although in the deductively ordered sciences major premises state general matters of fact (either the uniformities of coexistence in the case of the axioms of mathematics, or of succession in the case of the laws of physical science), they nevertheless function as formulae or rules for making inferences from particular facts to particular facts, as well as providing security that the inferences have been correctly made. To explain a particular fact is, for Mill, to show that the way in which it came about is an instance of a causal law. The fact is explained when its mode of production is deduced from a law or laws. To explain a law is in turn to deduce it from Edition: current; Page: [xxxvi] another law or laws more general than itself, and the ultimate goal of the sciences is to find “the fewest general propositions from which all the uniformities existing in nature could be deduced” (472). Viewed in terms of the directional function for inference which Mill assigns to major premises in deductions, this means that scientific explanation consists not in dispelling the mysteries of nature, but in bringing the formulae for inferring particulars from particulars under the fewest and most general formulae for inferring. So far as laws are viewed in their character as statements of general matters of fact, Mill says, “What is called explaining one law of nature by another, is but substituting one mystery for another; and does nothing to render the general course of nature other than mysterious; we can no more assign a why for the more extensive laws than for the partial ones” (471).

The case against the à priori school is for Mill complete when he has established that all inference is from particulars to particulars. It is this which makes his logic a logic of experience, for he could consider himself to be on philosophically neutral ground in asserting that particular facts, not known inferentially, can be known only by observation. The empiricism of Mill’s logic is solely of that kind in which “experience” refers to observation that something is the case. So far as the more radical type of empiricism is concerned, in which “experience” refers to feelings and states of consciousness, and on which his phenomenalism is built, Mill scrupulously seeks to avoid resting his logical theory on it, in order that the partisans of Hartley and of Reid, of Locke and of Kant, can meet on common ground. However conspicuous the appearance of Mill’s phenomenalism in the System of Logic, it is never used for grounding his logical theory, nor on the other hand is it in any respect the outcome of his argument. When Mill introduces phenomenalist doctrines they are accompanied by expressions of the following sort:

here the question merges in the fundamental problem of metaphysics properly so called: to which science we leave it (59).

For the purposes of logic it is not of material importance which of these opinions we adopt (65).

But, as the difficulties which may be felt in adopting this view of the subject cannot be removed without discussions transcending the bounds of our science, I content myself with a passing indication, and shall, for the purposes of logic, adopt a language compatible with either view of the nature of qualities


Among nameable things are:

. . . Bodies, or external objects which excite certain of those feelings, together with the powers or properties whereby they excite them; these latter (at least) being included rather in compliance with common opinion, and because their existence is taken for granted in the common language from which I cannot prudently Edition: current; Page: [xxxvii] deviate, than because the recognition of such powers or properties as real existences appears to be warranted by a sound philosophy


As a logic of truth whose concern is with propositions asserting observable matters of fact in a world of things denoted by names, Mill’s logic rests on a certain ontology which is reflected in “common language,” and which as such provides neutral ground for metaphysicians of different schools. For Mill as a phenomenalist metaphysician the only constituents of matters of fact are individual sensations and permanent groups of possible individual sensations, some of which on occasion become actual. However, common language, he observes, allows for no designation of sensations other than by circumlocution. It cannot designate them by attribute-words. On the other hand for Mill, author of the logic of experience, the constituents of the observed matters of fact from which inferences are made are of quite a different nature, and they are of two kinds, either substances or the attributes by which substances are designated. The substances are individuals, and the attributes are universals. While a sensation is always individual, “a quality, indeed, in the custom of the language, does not admit of individuality; it is supposed to be one thing common to many.”

In his various discussions of universals Mills rejects each of realism, conceptualism, and nominalism. Of realism he has this to say,

Modern philosophers have not been sparing in their contempt for the scholastic dogma that genera and species are a peculiar kind of substances, which general substances being the only permanent things, while the individual substances comprehended under them are in a perpetual flux, knowledge, which necessarily imports stability, can only have relation to those general substances or universals, and not to the facts or particulars included under them. Yet, though nominally rejected, this very doctrine . . . has never ceased to poison philosophy.


It is, however, important to take note of the kind of realism which Mill was rejecting. In order to do so we must look first at his distinction between general names and individual or singular names, and also at his distinction between concrete and abstract names. A general name is one which can be affirmed of an indefinite number of things because they possess the attributes expressed by that name; an individual name is one which can be truly affirmed, in the same sense, of only one thing. A concrete name is one which stands for a thing or things. Thus “white” is a concrete name, for it is the name of all things which are white. “Whiteness” on the other hand is an abstract name, for it is the name of the attribute possessed by those things. By realism Mill means the doctrine according to which “concrete general terms were supposed to be, not names of indefinite numbers of individual substances, but names of a peculiar kind of entities termed Universal Substances” (757). But, while Mill’s concrete general names do not refer to real Edition: current; Page: [xxxviii] universals, but only to individual things, the attributes to which his abstract names refer perform the functions of real universals in his theory of inference. He warns the reader that in using the term “abstract name” he is not following the unfortunate practice initiated by Locke of applying it to names which are the result of abstraction or generalization. He is retaining the sounder scholastic usage, according to which an abstract name refers to an attribute as opposed to a thing or object. A concrete general name denotes many different objects, but in the case of an abstract name, “though it denotes an attribute of many different objects, the attribute itself is always conceived as one, not many” (30). And so it is in Mill’s account of the import of propositions and of the syllogism:

Every proposition which conveys real information asserts a matter of fact. . . . It asserts that a given object does or does not possess a given attribute; or it asserts that two attributes, or sets of attribues, do or do not (constantly or occasionally) co-exist. . . .

Applying this view of propositions to the two premises of a syllogism, we obtain the following results. The major premise, which . . . is always universal, asserts, that all things which have a certain attribute (or attributes) have or have not along with it, a certain other attribute (or attributes). The minor premise asserts that the thing or set of things which are the subject of that premise, have the first-mentioned attribute; and the conclusion is, that they have (or that they have not), the second.


The realism involved in this did not escape Herbert Spencer. Mill’s reply to his criticism is instructive:

Mr. Herbert Spencer . . . maintains, that we ought not to say that Socrates possesses the same attributes which are connoted by the word Man, but only that he possesses attributes exactly like them. . . .

The question between Mr. Spencer and me is merely one of language; for neither of us . . . believes an attribute to be a real thing, possessed of objective existence; we believe it to be a particular mode of naming our sensations, or our expectations of sensation, when looked at in their relation to an external object which excites them.


But Mill says that he has chosen to use the phraseology “commonly used by philosophers” because it seems best. As he goes on, however, he indicates the unavoidability of regarding attributes as real universals if there is to be any such thing as language at all:

Mr. Spencer is of opinion that because Socrates and Alcibiades are not the same man, the attribute which constitutes them men should not be called the same attribute; that because the humanity of one man and that of another express themselves to our senses not by the same individual sensations but by sensations exactly alike, humanity ought to be regarded as a different attribute in every different man. But on this showing, the humanity even of any one man should be Edition: current; Page: [xxxix] considered as different attributes now and half-an-hour hence; for the sensations by which it will then manifest itself to my organs will not be a continuation of my present sensations, but a repetition of them; fresh sensations, not identical with, but only exactly like the present. If every general conception, instead of being “the One in the Many,” were considered to be as many different conceptions as there are things to which it is applicable, there would be no such thing as general language. A name would have no general meaning if man connoted one thing when predicated of John, and another, though closely resembling, thing when predicated of William.


Thus language prohibits Mill from basing his theory of inference on phenomenalism.

The principal characteristics of Mill’s empiricism, so far as it is related to his logical doctrines, can be summed up. It is observational, not sensational as in his phenomenalism. It is metaphysically neutral, in the sense of being based on an ontology embedded in “common language,” even though the terms it uses, like attributes, powers, states, are for Mill, as a phenomenalist, “not real things existing in objects” but “logical fictions.”20 Mill’s empiricism differs from that of Hume and modern empiricists in general in that in his all inference is inductive, while in theirs all valid inference is deductive. It is more radical than theirs in that it includes mathematics within its scope, and that on the ground, which they reject, that mathematical propositions assert matters of fact. They prefer to regard them as necessary, or, in Mill’s language, as merely “verbal.” Finally, it is an empiricism in which the ideal of any science is to become deductive instead of directly experimental, or “empirical” in the old sense of the term. It achieves this ideal to the extent that less general warrants to infer (or major premises) can be brought under more general warrants.

We come now to the second way in which Mill’s logic has been characterized. It has been said, for example, that “Mill is the one great logician of the Edition: current; Page: [xl] school which, following Hume, tried to rest logic upon psychology.”21 Mill’s own often quoted words appear to give ample justification for taking this view. He says of logic, “It is not a Science distinct from, and coordinate with, Psychology. So far as it is a science at all, it is a part, or branch, of Psychology; differing from it, on the one hand as a part differs from the whole, and on the other, as an Art differs from a Science. Its theoretic grounds are wholly borrowed from Psychology, and include as much of that science as is required to justify the rules of the art.”22

There are four distinct views which are, or might be, taken as to the sense in which Mill’s logic is grounded in psychology. First, we may consider a statement by Ernest Nagel: “What is characteristic of Mill is his conception of what the basic facts are to which beliefs should be subjected for testing, and what are the essential requirements for the process of testing them. The theoretical grounds of logic, he explicitly argued, are ‘wholly borrowed from Psychology’; and it is the psychological assumptions of sensationalistic empiricism that are made to support the principles of evidence which emerge in the Logic.23 Mill’s sensationalistic empiricism is given in the important chapter of The System of Logic, “Of the Things denoted by Names,” which incorporated much of what he was later to say in “The Psychological Theory of the Belief in an External World.”24 It is a chapter which is decisive for his account of the import of propositions and for his theory of syllogism. But while “the psychological theory” is incorporated in the chapter, it does not exhaust it. Moreover, as we have already observed, not only does Mill maintain that “for the purposes of logic it is not of material importance” whether we adopt the psychological theory or not, but his logic is also, in fact, entirely independent of the psychological theory. The basic facts to which beliefs should be subjected for testing are those of an observational, not a sensationalistic, empiricism.

Secondly, we can consider Husserl’s reference to “the misled followers of British empiricism,” according to whose point of view “concepts, judgments, arguments, proofs, theories, would be psychic occurrences; and logic would be, as John Stuart Mill said it is, a ‘part or branch of psychology.’ This highly plausible conception is logical psychologism.25 But does this cover Mill’s own case? It would at first appear so. “Our object,” he says, “will be, to attempt a correct analysis of the intellectual process called Reasoning or Inference, Edition: current; Page: [xli] and of such other mental operations as are intended to facilitate this. . . .” (12). In turning to the subject of inference in Book II, Mill says, “The proper subject, however, of Logic is Proof” (157). To understand what proof is, it is necessary first to understand the nature of what is proved, namely, propositions, for it is propositions which are believed or disbelieved, affirmed or denied, as true or false. In inquiring into the nature of propositions we must, says Mill, distinguish, as all language recognizes, between “the state of mind called Belief” and “what is believed”; between “an opinion” and “the fact of entertaining the opinion”; between “assent” and “what is assented to”:

Logic . . . has no concern with the nature of the act of judging or believing; the consideration of that act, as a phenomenon of the mind, belongs to another science. Philosophers, however, from Descartes downward, and especially from the era of Leibnitz and Locke, have by no means observed this distinction and would have treated with great disrespect any attempt to analyse the import of Propositions, unless founded on an analysis of the act of Judgment. A proposition, they would have said, is but the expression in words of a Judgment. The thing expressed, not the mere verbal expression, is the important matter. When the mind assents to a proposition, it judges. Let us find out what the mind does when it judges, and we shall know what propositions mean, and not otherwise.


Mill observed that almost every writer on logic in the two previous centuries had treated the proposition as a judgment in which one idea or conception is affirmed or denied of another, as a comparison of two ideas, or, in the language of Locke, as perception of the agreement or disagreement of ideas. But, Mill points out, an account of the process occurring in the mind is irrelevant to determining the nature of propositions, for propositions are not about our ideas but about things. “The notion that what is of primary importance to the logician in a proposition, is the relation between the two ideas corresponding to the subject and predicate, (instead of the relation between the two phenomena which they respectively express), seems to me one of the most fatal errors ever introduced into the philosophy of Logic; and the principal cause why the theory of the science has made such inconsiderable progress during the last two centuries” (89).

Mill has said that to understand the nature of proof it is necessary to understand the nature of propositions, for it is these which are proved. But, in turn, to understand the nature of propositions, or the meaning of what is asserted, it is necessary to consider the nature of the meanings of names, for in every proposition one name is asserted of another name, the predicate of the proposition being the name which denotes what is affirmed or denied, and the subject being the name which denotes the person or thing of which something is affirmed or denied. It is because the import of propositions is determined by the import of names that the consideration of the latter becomes Edition: current; Page: [xlii] the starting point for the analysis of reasoning or inference. In treating of the import of names one of Mill’s principal intentions is to depsychologize the theory of meaning in radical fashion. A meaning of a name is not an idea in the mind; it is not a mental phenomenon. This forms the basis of his attack on conceptualism. Mill says, “. . . I consider it nothing less than a misfortune, that the words Concept, General Notion, or any other phrase to express the supposed mental modification corresponding to a class name, should ever have been invented. Above all, I hold that nothing but confusion ever results from introducing the term Concept into Logic, and that instead of the Concept of a class, we should always speak of the signification of a class name.”26 Nor is the meaning of a name the thing or things denoted by the name. Its meaning is what the name connotes—that attribute or set of attributes by the possession of which things can be said to be denoted by that name. A meaning is a real universal. So far as concepts and judgments are concerned, Mill’s logic is not an exemplification of what Husserl calls psychologism, but, rather, a forceful condemnation of it.27

Thirdly, it has been said of Mill that “In his view logical and mathematical necessity is psychological; we are unable to conceive any other possibilities than those which logical and mathematical propositions assert.”28 Mill denied that logical principles (the so-called laws of thought) and mathematical axioms possessed necessity. It was those whom he opposed who attributed necessity to them, and the necessity which they attributed was, according to Mill, nothing but the psychological inability to conceive their negation. Such psychological inability could be fully accounted for by the laws of association, and it had no bearing on the truth or falsehood of the logical or mathematical propositions asserted. These are true only as they Edition: current; Page: [xliii] are generalizations from the facts of experience. When Sir William Hamilton says of the laws of identity, contradiction, and excluded middle, “To deny the universal application of the three laws is, in fact, to subvert the reality of thought; and as this subversion is itself an act of thought, it in fact annihilates itself. When, for example, I say that A is, and then say that A is not, by the second assertion I sublate or take away what, by the first assertion, I posited or laid down; thought, in the one case, undoing by negation what, in the other, it had by affirmation done,” Mill simply comments, “This proves only that a contradiction is unthinkable, not that it is impossible in point of fact.”29 This third version of psychologism attributed to Mill’s conception of logic is repudiated by him in his criticisms of Spencer in Book II, Chapter vii. In Book V, “On Fallacies” it appears among the first in the five classes of fallacies.

Fourthly, it might be said that Mill’s statement that logic is a branch of psychology confuses questions of validity with questions of fact. This is perhaps what is most often meant by the term psychologism as applied to a theory of logic. Mill’s statement occurs in his analysis of Sir William Hamilton’s conception of logic as a science, and it is important to consider it within that context. Hamilton had said that logic is both a science and an art, without, however, in Mill’s view finding any satisfactory basis for distinguishing between the science and the art. As science its subject matter is stated to be “the laws of thought as thought.” Mill finds that by this Hamilton means that the laws are “the conditions subject to which by the constitution of our nature we cannot but think.” But it soon turns out that this is “an entire mistake”; that they are not laws which by its nature the mind cannot violate, but laws which it ought not to violate if it is to think validly. Laws now mean precepts or rules.

So that, after all, the real theory of Thought—the laws, in the scientific sense of the term, of Thought as Thought—do not belong to Logic, but to Psychology: and it is only the validity of thought which Logic takes cognisance of. It is not with Thought as Thought, but only as Valid thought, that Logic is concerned. There is nothing to prevent us thinking contrary to the laws of Logic: only, if we do, we shall not think rightly, or well, or conformably to the ends of thinking, but falsely, or inconsistently, or confusedly. This doctrine is at complete variance with the saying of our author in his controversy with Whately, that Logic is, and never could have been doubted to be, in Whately’s sense of the terms, both a Science and an Art. For the present definition reduces it to the narrowest conception of an Art—that of a mere system of rules. It leaves Science to Psychology, and represents Logic as merely offering to thinkers a collection of precepts, which they are enjoined to observe, not in order that they may think, but that they may think correctly, or validly.30

Edition: current; Page: [xliv]

Nevertheless Mill thinks that with this Hamilton is nearer the mark. Logic is not the theory of thought as thought, but the theory of valid thought, not of thinking, but of valid thinking. At the same time he does not agree with Hamilton’s final position, or that into which Mill drives him, in so far as it implies that logic is merely an art. The art, the set of rules, does have theoretical grounds, and these belong to psychology, though constituting a very limited part of it; that is, it “includes as much of that science as is required to justify the rules of art.” Here Mill is using the term psychology in the broadest sense, to include everything that comes under the heading of thinking; it includes not only what, by the definition of psychology given in the System of Logic, would be an inquiry into the laws or uniformities according to which one mental phenomenon succeeds another; it also includes “a scientific investigation into the requisites of valid thinking,” or the conditions for distinguishing between good and bad thinking. The first kind of inquiry, concerned as it is with what is common to all thinking, good or bad, valid or invalid, “is irrelevant to logic, unless by the light it indirectly throws on something besides itself.” Logic for Mill borrows nothing from it. Logic is concerned only with the second kind of inquiry. If Mill calls this latter a branch of psychology, it is solely because “the investigation into the requisites of valid thinking” is theory of valid thinking, a type of theory which is essential for the grounding of rules, or of logic as an art. Not only does Mill’s statement that logic is “a part or branch of Psychology” not imply a confusion of questions of justification or validity with questions of fact, the statement occurs within a discussion dominated by the great importance which he attaches to keeping separate the two kinds of questions.

For Mill there were in logic two sets of rules: the rules of the syllogism for deduction, and the four experimental methods for induction. The former he considered to be available in “the common manuals of logic.” The latter he considered himself to be formulating explicitly for the first time. The question as to how these rules of art can be viewed as grounded in the science of valid thinking must be brought under the larger question as to how rules of art in general are grounded in science. For Mill, the way in which they are grounded is universally the same for all arts in which there are rules. He distinguishes two kinds of practical reasoning. One is typified in the reasoning of a judge, the other in that of a legislator. The judge’s problem is to interpret the law, or to determine whether the particular case before him comes under the intention of the legislator who made the law. Thus the reasoning of the judge is syllogistic, for syllogism or deduction consists in the interpretation of a formula. The legislator’s problem, on the other hand, is to find rules. This depends on determining the best means of achieving certain desired ends. It is science alone which can determine these means, for the relation between means and ends is the relation between causes and effects. Edition: current; Page: [xlv] In this second kind of practical reasoning, art prescribes the end, science provides the theorem which shows how it is to be brought about, and art then converts the theorem into a rule. In this way propositions which assert only what ought to be, or should be done, are grounded on propositions which assert only matters of fact.

The task of finding the rules of logic, whether of deduction or of induction, is of the same type as the legislator’s. Knowledge of what ought to be done, as expressed in the rules of art, must be grounded on knowledge of what is the case, as expressed in the theorems of science. The rules of the syllogism are the rules for interpreting an induction; the rules of induction are the rules for “discovering and proving general propositions.” What then are the theoretical foundations of these two classes of rules? So far as the rules for interpreting inductions are concerned Mill has nothing to say, for he is not concerned with the task of finding them. They exist already in the manuals of logic as the rules of the syllogism. But he sees himself as confronted with the task of stating in “precise” terms or, “systematically and accurately,” the rules or canons of induction for the first time, and the problem of their derivation does concern him, for he had both to find them and to justify them.31 In accordance with his own account of the logic of practice Mill looks to matter of fact to ground his rules for “discovering and proving general propositions.” “Principles of Evidence and Theories of Method are not to be constructed à priori. The laws of our rational faculty, like those of every other natural agency, are only learnt by seeing the agent at work.” (833.) In the Preface to the 1st edition, in which he describes what he had undertaken to do in the System of Logic, Mill says, “On the subject of Induction, Edition: current; Page: [xlvi] the task to be performed was that of generalizing the modes of investigating truth and estimating evidence, by which so many important and recondite laws of nature have, in the various sciences, been aggregated to the stock of human knowledge” (cxii). He found that what metaphysicians had written on the subject of logic had suffered from want of sufficient acquaintance with the processes by which science had actually succeeded in establishing general truths, and even when correct they had not been specific enough to provide rules. On the other hand scientists, who had only to generalize the methods which they themselves use to get at the theoretical basis for the rules, had not thought it worthwhile to reflect on their procedures.

This suggests that Mill considered that the rules of induction are to be got by generalizing or reconstructing the procedures which the history of science reveals scientists actually to have used. It would appear as though Mill shared exactly Whewell’s conception of how we arrive at a theory of scientific method. Whewell says:

We may best hope to understand the nature and conditions of real knowledge by studying the nature and conditions of the most certain and stable portions of knowledge which we already possess: and we are most likely to learn the best methods of discovering truth, by examining how truths, now universally recognized, have really been discovered. Now there do exist among us doctrines of solid and acknowledged certainty, and truths of which the discovery has been received with universal applause. These constitute what we commonly term Sciences and of these bodies of exact and enduring knowledge, we have within our reach so large and varied a collection, that we may examine them, and the history of their formation, with a good prospect of deriving from their study such instruction as we seek.32

Whewell criticized Mill’s four experimental methods on the ground that they were not derived from the actual procedures of scientists as revealed in the history of science. “Who will tell us,” he asks, “which of the methods of inquiry those historically real and successful inquiries exemplify? Who will carry these formulæ through the history of the sciences, as they have really grown up; and show us that these four methods have been operative in their formation; or that any light is thrown upon the steps of their progress by reference to these formulæ?” (Quoted by Mill, 430.)

If Mill found his canons of induction by generalizing and reconstructing the procedures successfully followed by natural scientists, their derivation from this source does not appear in the System of Logic itself. Illustrations are given, but it is evidently not on these that the generalizations are based, for the illustrations were sought after the canons were formulated. When his publisher’s referee had suggested that more of these be added to the text, Mill replied, “I fear I am nearly at the end of my stock of apt illustrations. I Edition: current; Page: [xlvii] had to read a great deal for those I have given. . . .”33 His debt to Bain for producing examples was considerable.34 How Mill actually arrived at his rules indicates, however, that he means by “generalization” something other than Whewell’s induction from the history of science. The groundwork for Mill’s rules is to be found in the chapters on causation which precede the enunciation of the rules, for he says, “The notion of Cause being the root of the whole theory of Induction, it is indispensable that this idea should, at the very outset of our inquiry be, with the utmost practicable degree of precision, fixed and determined” (326).

In the means-end relation, with which the rules of induction are concerned, the desired end is the solution of a problem—“the discovering and proving general propositions”—the means consists in the way in which the problem is solved. The generalizing which Mill performs lies not in generalizing the means used by scientists, but in generalizing and reconstructing what he considered to be the nature of their problem, or of reducing their inquiries to one fundamental type. The problem in its full generality having in his view been ascertained, Mill then proceeds to solve it. Indeed the very statement of the problem dictates the solution; there is no need to consult the history of science for its solution. The method of solution once found can then be formulated in canons; or in the language of Mill’s logic of practice, “Art . . . converts the theorem into a rule or precept.”35 In so far as the “Four Methods” can be said to be a generalization of scientists’ actual modes of investigation, it is not because Mill has taken those modes of investigation themselves as his data, but because the scientist must, in successfully solving his problem as subsumed under the general form given by Mill, have used the method of solution dictated by that general problem. Nor is Mill’s generalization of the problem of scientific investigation in any direct sense an induction from the history of science, but rests on a conception of the whole course of nature as one in which the general uniformity is made up out of separate threads of uniformity holding between single phenomena. The course of nature is a web composed of separate fibres, a “collective order . . . made up of particular sequences, obtaining invariably among the separate parts” (327). These separate threads are the laws of nature or the laws of causation. The task of the scientist, and the main business of induction, is to discover these separate threads, or “to resolve this complex uniformity Edition: current; Page: [xlviii] into the simpler uniformities which compose it, and assign to each portion of the vast antecedent the portion of the consequent which is attendant on it” (379). The antecedents in the complex having been discriminated from one another, and the consequents also, it remains to be determined which antecedents and consequents are invariably connected. That being the nature of the problem, it is solved by methods of elimination, which are described by Mill as “the successive exclusion of the various circumstances which are found to accompany a phenomenon in a given instance, in order to ascertain what are those among them which can be absent consistently with the existence of the phenomenon. . . . [W]hatever can be eliminated, is not connected with the phenomenon by any law. . . . [W]hatever cannot be eliminated, is connected with the phenomenon by a law.” (392.)

To return now to the definition of logic as the science as well as the art of reasoning, in which the science consists of an analysis of the mental process which takes place when we reason, and the art consists of the rules grounded on that science, it can be said that in the case of induction the mental process consists in the solving of a problem stated in its full generality. Mill discovers what this mental process is by directly solving the problem himself. The account of this process constitutes the theoretical part of the logic of induction and is found in the chapters on causation; it reveals the means-end relation which provides the foundation for the rules of discovering the solution for any particular problem which can be subsumed under the general problem of induction. In basing the rules of art on the theoretical relation between means and end no more confusion arises here between questions of validity and questions of fact than in any other sphere of practice concerned with the means to a desired end.

In conclusion it may be remarked that any logic which deals with inference, as well as any which deals with scientific method, is concerned with a psychological process. Only persons with mental capacities infer or are governed by methods. In so far as Mill considered the principal subject matter of logic to be inference, and not implication, he was quite correct in asserting it to be a branch of psychology. This, and no more, constitutes the psychologism of his System of Logic. But Mill, in taking inference to be his subject, is in so numerous a company—one, moreover, composed of such varied types of logical theorists—that one wonders why he should have been so singled out in this regard, if not for merely having called a spade a spade.

Edition: current; Page: [xlix]

Textual Introduction


in 1831, when he was twenty-five years old, John Stuart Mill made a significant analysis of his intellectual and active powers in a letter to his friend John Sterling:

the only thing that I believe I am really fit for, is the investigation of abstract truth, & the more abstract the better. If there is any science which I am capable of promoting, I think it is the science of science itself, the science of investigation—of method. I once heard Maurice say . . . that almost all differences of opinion when analysed, were differences of method. But if so, he who can throw most light upon the subject of method, will do most to forward that alliance among the most advanced intellects & characters of the age, which is the only definite object I ever have in literature or philosophy so far as I have any general object at all. Argal, I have put down upon paper a great many of my ideas on logic, & shall in time bring forth a treatise: but whether it will see the light until the Treaty of Westphalia is signed at the close of another cycle of reformation & antagonism, no one can tell except Messrs. Drummond, M’Niel, Irving, & others, who possess the hidden key to the Interpretation of the Prophecies.1

Though the “cycle of reformation & antagonism” has not yet come to a close, the key of history is ours; the treatise did see the light, as A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive, in 1843, not quite twelve years after this letter.

As the obituaries of Mill demonstrate, his contemporaries judged the Logic to be his most important work. The significance he himself attached to it may be inferred from the lengthy discussions of its composition and content in his Autobiography. In particular, one may note his linking it with his best-loved work: “The ‘Liberty’ is likely to survive longer than anything else that I have written (with the possible exception of the ‘Logic’). . . .”2 As Professor McRae, also citing this passage, suggests in his Introduction above, Edition: current; Page: [l] the formal discipline of logic has altered vastly since Mill’s day, and so, although the Logic had a very long life as a textbook, it now is seen not as definitive, but as an important document in the history of logical speculation. It remains, moreover, central to an understanding of Mill’s thought, for the approaches and doctrines contained in it throw light on almost every aspect of his writings. Furthermore, as his first published book, it played a major role in determining the course of his career, for its wide reception gave him prominence and confidence. There is more than technical interest, then, in tracing the course of his logical studies, and the history of the composition of the Logic.3


Mill was first introduced to logic in 1818, when he was twelve, and of all his precocities, it was here, as Bain says, that he was “most markedly in advance of his years.”4 His own account deserves quotation:

. . . I began at once with the Organon, and read it to the Analytics inclusive, but profited little by the Posterior Analytics, which belong to a branch of speculation I was not yet ripe for. Contemporaneously with the Organon, my father made me read the whole or parts of several of the Latin treatises on the scholastic logic; giving each day to him, in our walks, a minute account of what I had read, and answering his numerous and searching questions. After this, I went, in a similar manner, through the “Computatio sive Logica” of Hobbes, a work of a much higher order of thought than the books of the school logicians, and which he estimated very highly; in my own opinion beyond its merits, great as these are. It was his invariable practice, whatever studies he exacted from me, to make me as far as possible understand and feel the utility of them: and this he deemed peculiarly fitting in the case of the syllogistic logic, the usefulness of which had been impugned by so many writers of authority. I well remember how, and in what particular walk, in the neighbourhood of Bagshot Heath (where we were on a visit to his old friend Mr. Wallace, then one of the Mathematical Professors at Sandhurst) he first attempted by questions to make me think on the subject, and frame some conception of what constituted the utility of the syllogistic logic, and when I had failed in this, to make me understand it by explanations. The explanations did not make the matter at all clear to me at the time; but they were not therefore useless; they remained as a nucleus for my observations and reflections Edition: current; Page: [li] to crystallize upon; the import of his general remarks being interpreted to me, by the particular instances which came under my notice afterwards. My own consciousness and experience ultimately led me to appreciate quite as highly as he did, the value of an early practical familiarity with the school logic. I know of nothing, in my education, to which I think myself more indebted for whatever capacity of thinking I have attained.

(Autobiography, 12-13.)

He goes on to mention the practice this gave him in dissecting arguments, and to outline his reading of the classical rhetoricians and Plato, which reinforced the practice.

At the same time he became interested in experimental science, the foundation of the inductive portion of his Logic. “I never remember being so wrapt up in any book,” he says, “as I was in Joyce’s Scientific Dialogues; and I was rather recalcitrant to my father’s criticisms of the bad reasoning respecting the first principles of physics which abounds in the early part of that work” (ibid., 12). He also “devoured” chemical treatises, especially Thomson’s System of Chemistry, which he first read in 1816, and again in 1818,5 and which provided an important clue in his later speculations. During the same visit to Sandhurst in which the utility of syllogistic logic was brought home to him, he attended chemistry lectures given to the cadets by Phillips, and won fame by his notes and general performance.6

The most important element in Mill’s logical training in these years was, of course, his father’s constant supervision of his studies. Though James Mill never wrote a treatise on logic, the analysis of meaning and the dissection of arguments were his great polemical instruments. Bain, who had a high opinion of his logical powers, notes, “a considerable portion” of his Analysis of the Phenomena of the Human Mind “should have gone to make up a treatise on Logic.”7 His direct influence on his son’s studies did not stop when, in 1819, James Mill began his career in the East India Company, nor even when in the following year, aged fourteen, John Mill went to France to live with the family of Sir Samuel Bentham, Jeremy’s younger brother.

In response to a letter from his father concerning the study of Political Economy and Logic, Mill wrote from France (11 July, 1820): “The best exercise in both these branches of knowledge would perhaps be to write treatises on particular subjects appertaining to both. This I have not yet Edition: current; Page: [lii] commenced doing, but I shall certainly do so.”8 In the next few days, he worked on classification tables for insects and chemicals, and began a “Treatise on Value” (in French), and a “treatise on the definition of political economy” (the latter at Lady Bentham’s suggestion). Having already been at work on Sanderson’s Logic, he notes on 24 August, “Je commençai à me faire des tables Logiques,” and on 24 October began his “court Traité de Logique.” In November he began to attend courses of lectures in the Faculty of Sciences of the Academy of Montpellier in Chemistry, Zoology, and Logic, the last offered by Joseph-Diez Gorgonne, Dean of the Faculty, “comme servant d’introduction à la Philosophie des Sciences.”9 His grasp of the material, as well as his diligence, is revealed in two extant documents, one containing Mill’s notes of the eighteenth through thirty-second of Gorgonne’s lectures, and the other the “Traité de Logique” started before the lectures began, but clearly incorporating material from them.10

On his return to England in the summer of 1821, Mill began his intensive reading of Bentham in Dumont’s French version. The most important result of this reading, as he indicates in an oft-cited passage in the Autobiography (42), was his adoption of utilitarianism as “in one among the best senses of the word, a religion,” but one should also note his delight in Bentham’s method of classification, which appealed to him not only because of his previous intellectual training, but also because of his new interest in botany, his life-long avocation.11

Edition: current; Page: [liii]

The next few years saw his first articles in newspapers and in the newly founded Westminster Review. His imitation of his father’s and Bentham’s methods may be seen in these published writings, and in his speeches in the London Debating Society; his continued interest in logic may be inferred from what little is known of his continuing education, which included John Austin’s tutoring and lectures in law. (He also began his professional career in these years, entering the East India Company as a clerk in the Examiner’s Office the day after his seventeenth birthday, on 23 May 1823.)12

In 1825 Mill joined several other young men in a “Society of Students of Mental Philosophy” that met in George Grote’s house in Threadneedle Street.13 Their discussions, which led to the writing of Mill’s first complete book, Essays on Some Unsettled Questions in Political Economy (written 1830-31, published 1844), and also to the Logic, were a very effective educational instrument, as Mill indicates in his Autobiography (72-3):

We chose some systematic treatise as our textbook. . . . One of us read aloud a chapter, or some smaller portion, of the book. The discussion was then opened, and any one who had an objection or other remark to make, made it. Our rule was to discuss thoroughly every point raised, whether great or small, prolonging the discussion until all who took part were satisfied with the conclusion they had individually arrived at; and to follow up every topic of collateral speculation which the chapter or the conversation suggested, never leaving it until we had untied every knot which we found. We repeatedly kept up the discussion of some one point for several weeks, thinking intently on it during the intervals of our meetings, and contriving solutions of the new difficulties which had risen up in the last morning’s discussion.

Edition: current; Page: [liv]

Having begun with political economy, they turned to scholastic logic in 1827.

Our first textbook was Aldrich [Artis logicæ compendium], but being disgusted with its superficiality, we reprinted [by subscription] one of the most finished among the many manuals of the school logic, which my father, a great collector of such books, possessed, the Manuductio ad Logicam of the Jesuit Du Trieu. After finishing this, we took up Whately’s Logic, then first republished from the Encyclopædia Metropolitana, and finally the “Computatio sive Logica” of Hobbes. These books, dealt with in our manner, afforded a wide range for original metaphysical speculation: and most of what has been done in the First Book of my System of Logic, to rationalize and correct the principles and distinctions of the school logicians, and to improve the theory of the Import of Propositions, had its origin in these discussions; Graham and I originating most of the novelties, while Grote and others furnished an excellent tribunal or test. From this time I formed the project of writing a book on Logic, though on a much humbler scale than the one I ultimately executed.14

Mill “always dated” his “own real inauguration as an original and independent thinker” from these meetings, which bore their first fruits in his review of Whately’s Logic, one of their texts. This important article, which includes discussion of the utility of logic, the analysis of arguments, the Predicables, the relation of Induction and Syllogism, and the problem of assenting to general propositions without knowing all that they contain, concludes with Mill’s assessment of what important tasks remained for Whately and other logicians in 1828:

A large portion of the philosophy of General Terms still remains undiscovered; the philosophical analysis of Predication, the explanation of what is the immediate object of belief when we assent to a proposition, is yet to be performed: and though the important assistance rendered by general language, not only in what are termed the exact sciences, but even in the discovery of physical facts, is known and admitted, the nature of the means by which it performs this service is a problem still to a great extent unsolved.15

The next important step in Mill’s logical speculations resulted from the attacks in 1829 by Macaulay on James Mill’s essay On Government and on utilitarianism in general.16 These shook his faith in his father’s methodology in political philosophy, without converting him to Macaulay’s position, Edition: current; Page: [lv] which he thought shallow. The source of James Mill’s and Macaulay’s errors “flashed” upon him “in the course of other [i.e., logical] studies” (Autobiography, 95). James Mill had appropriately chosen a deductive method in politics, but had wrongly used a geometrical model, while Macaulay had mistakenly advocated an experimental method, that of chemistry (ibid., 96).


The result of all these activities was the first step towards the composition of the Logic, as described by Mill in the Autobiography (95-7):

In the early part of 1830 I had begun to put on paper the ideas on Logic (chiefly on the distinctions among Terms, and the import of Propositions) which had been suggested and in part worked out in the morning conversations already spoken of. Having secured these thoughts from being lost, I pushed on into the other parts of the subject, to try whether I could do anything further towards clearing up the theory of Logic generally. I grappled at once with the problem of Induction, postponing that of Reasoning, on the ground that it is necessary to obtain premises before we can reason from them. Now, Induction is mainly a process for finding the causes of effects: and in attempting to fathom the mode of tracing causes and effects in physical science, I soon saw that in the more perfect of the sciences, we ascend, by generalization from particulars, to the tendencies of causes considered singly, and then reason downward from those separate tendencies, to the effect of the same causes when combined. I then asked myself, what is the ultimate analysis of this deductive process; the common theory of the syllogism evidently throwing no light upon it. My practice (learnt from Hobbes and my father) being to study abstract principles by means of the best concrete instances I could find, the Composition of Forces, in dynamics, occurred to me as the most complete example of the logical process I was investigating. On examining, accordingly, what the mind does when it applies the principle of the Composition of Forces, I found that it performs a simple act of addition. It adds the separate effect of the one force to the separate effect of the other, and puts down the sum of these separate effects as the joint effect. But is this a legitimate process? In dynamics, and in all the mathematical branches of physics, it is; but in some other cases, as in chemistry, it is not; and I then recollected that something not unlike this was pointed out as one of the distinctions between chemical and mechanical phenomena, in the introduction to that favorite of my boyhood, Thomson’s System of Chemistry. This distinction at once made my mind clear as to what was perplexing me in respect to the philosophy of politics. I now saw, that a science is either deductive or experimental, according as, in the province it deals with, the effects of causes when conjoined, are or are not the sums of the effects which the same causes produce when separate. It followed that politics must be a deductive science. . . . A foundation was thus laid in my thoughts for the principal chapters of what I afterwards published on the Logic of the Moral Sciences; and my new position in respect to my old political creed, now became perfectly definite.

Edition: current; Page: [lvi]

One cannot give an exact date to the speculations here described, but they evidently preceded by some months at least the letter to Sterling of 20-22 October, 1831. In the portion of that letter already quoted, Mill says he has put down upon paper a great many of his ideas on logic; these would seem to include not the speculations on method mentioned in the section of the Autobiography just quoted, which he says laid a “foundation” in his “thoughts” for what became Book VI of the Logic, but rather his “ideas . . . on the distinctions among Terms, and the import of Propositions,” which he dates in the early part of 1830. In any event, the letter to Sterling provides an instructive guide to his work in the following years, for it continues, after an account of his having finished his part of the work on political economy in which Graham was intending to collaborate,17 with the following sentence: “The next thing I shall do will be to complete my speculations on Logic: very likely I shall not get to the end of the subject yet, viewed as I understand it; but I shall at least gather in another harvest of ideas, & then let the ground lie fallow a while longer.”18

Once again the Autobiography provides a full and interesting account. In 1830 and 1831, he says, he resumed19 his logical inquiries, puzzling himself “with the great paradox of the discovery of new truths by general reasoning.” He continues:

As to the fact, there could be no doubt. As little could it be doubted, that all reasoning is resolvable into syllogisms, and that in every syllogism the conclusion is actually contained and implied in the premises. How, being so contained and implied, it could be new truth, and how the theorems of geometry, so different, in appearance, from the definitions and axioms, could be all contained in these, was a difficulty which no one, I thought, had sufficiently felt, and which at all events no one had succeeded in clearing up. The explanations offered by Whately and others, though they might give a temporary satisfaction, always, in my mind, left a mist still hanging over the subject. At last, when [sitting in the garden at Mickleham] reading a second or third time the chapters on Reasoning in the second volume of Dugald Stewart, interrogating myself on every point, and following out as far as I knew how, every topic of thought which the book suggested, I came upon an idea of his respecting the use of axioms in ratiocination, which I did not remember to have before noticed, but which now, in meditating on it, seemed to me not only true of axioms, but of all general propositions whatever, Edition: current; Page: [lvii] and to be the key of the whole perplexity. From this germ grew the theory of the Syllogism propounded in the second Book of the Logic; which I immediately fixed by writing it out. And now, with greatly increased hope of being able to produce a work on Logic, of some originality and value, I proceeded to write the First Book, from the rough and imperfect draft I had already made. What I now wrote became the basis of that part of the subsequent Treatise; except that it did not contain the Theory of Kinds, which was a later addition, suggested by otherwise inextricable difficulties which met me in my first attempt to work out the subject of some of the concluding chapters of the Third Book.20

What Mill began to put on paper at this time led to the manuscript henceforth referred to as the “Early Draft,” which is here printed for the first time in Appendix A. In the headnote to that Appendix, the manuscript is described, and the evidence about its dating is given. In reconstructing the process of composition, the following are the most significant facts: the manuscript is a scribal copy, in three different hands, with corrections, additions, and some footnotes in Mill’s hand. The paper is of various makes, and three different dates, 1833, 1834, and 1836. Mill collected his folios into “gatherings,” rough equivalents of printed signatures, normally of 20ff., which he lettered alphabetically, in the top right corner, A through P, with a second N for the final gathering. The most important external evidence is in a series of letters from Mill to John Pringle Nichol in 1834. In the first of these (17 January), he mentions that he would like to have Nichol’s comments not only on articles, but also on “a much more elaborate work on Logic” which he has “made some progress in.” On 14 October Edition: current; Page: [lviii] he asks whether he may send Nichol “as much as is written of my book on Logic; if book it can be called, which is but the raw material out of which I shall some time or other make a book.” And finally, on 26 November, he says: “I will send the Logic very soon. I anticipate the greatest help in it, both from your general powers of thought and from your peculiar acquaintance with the philosophy of algebra, in which I am myself far from profound, but yet have found the little I do know to be of the utmost possible use.”21 As a note by Nichol’s son in the Early Draft indicates, the manuscript was sent to Nichol, though we know not when.

This evidence does not permit an exact reconstruction of the process of composition, but the general pattern may be set out as follows. The manuscript reveals three stages of composition: the first consists of Gatherings A-F and K-M (K-M having been relettered over the original G-I), and contains the equivalent of what became, in the published version of 1843, the Introduction, Book I, Chapters i-vi, and Book II, Chapters i-iii. This material would appear to have been copied by a scribe in 1834 from the draft Mill wrote after his re-reading of Stewart (perhaps as early as the autumn of 1831).

The next stage consists of Gatherings G-J and the second Gathering N, and contains an expanded re-writing of the conclusion of Gathering F equivalent to the end of the final Book I, Chapter vi, plus material equivalent to the final Book I, Chapters vii and viii, and (in the second Gathering N) Mill’s first attempt to deal with Induction, in three chapters containing material that contributed to Chapters ii and iii of Book III. The second scribe, in copying this material, presumably not long after the first scribe had finished copying the material of the first stage (i.e., in 1834), relettered the original Gatherings G-I (the material of Book II, Chapters i-iii) as K-M, to follow on the new conclusion of Book I, and then a third scribe continued with N (i.e., what finally was the second Gathering N).22

Stage three consists of Gatherings N-P, and contains material equivalent to what became Book II, Chapters iv-vi of the published version. The third scribe, who also copied this material, did not reletter the old Gathering N, which should have become Q to accommodate the added material. Scribe C made his copy sometime after the beginning of 1836, as the watermarks Edition: current; Page: [lix] establish, and undoubtedly before Mill began, in 1837, the version of the Logic that appears in the Press-copy Manuscript.23

In view of the rewritings that occurred from 1837 to 1843, it is surprising to see how closely the Early Draft corresponds to the Introduction24 and Books I and II in the Press-copy Manuscript, and even to the subsequent editions through Mill’s lifetime. Table 1, which includes the tentative chapter headings of the Early Draft, gives the equivalents,25 and summarizes the three-stage composition.

Edition: current; Page: [lx]
Stage 1 A A “Introductory Matter” “Introduction,” §§1-7
B A “Statement of the Problem” Book I, “Of Names and Propositions,”Chap. i, “Of the Necessity of commencing with an Analysis of Language,” §§1-2
“Of Names” I, ii, “Of Names,” §§2-5
C A “(cont.) “(cont.), §§5-8
“Classification of Things” I, iii, “Of the Things denoted by Names,” §§1-2
D A “(cont.) “(cont.), §§2,6,7,9,10,14, plus some other parts
E A “(cont.) “(cont.), some isolated parts
“Of Predication” I, iv, “Of Propositions,” §§1-4, and
I, v, “Of the Import of Propositions,” §§1-3, and some isolated parts
F A “(cont.) “(cont.), §4, and some isolated parts; and
I, vi, “Of Propositions merely Verbal,” §§1-4 (the last part being cancelled, and replaced by the opening of Gathering G below)
K (formerly G) A “Of Inference, or Reasoning” Book II, “Of Reasoning,” i, “Of Inference, or Reasoning, in general,” §§1-3
“Of Ratiocination, or Syllogism” II, ii, “Of Ratiocination, or Syllogism,” §§1-3; and
II, iii, “Of the Functions and Logical Value of the Syllogism,” §1
L (formerly H) A “(cont.) “(cont.), §§1-5
M (formerly I) A “(cont.) “(cont.), §§5-7
Stage 2 G B “Of Predication” (cont. from Gathering F) I, vi (cont.), §4, and some isolated parts
“Of the Predicables or Universals” I, vii, “Of the Nature of Classification, and the Five Predicables,” §2-5
H B ” (cont.) ” (cont.), §§5-8
“Of Definition” I, viii, “Of Definition,” §§1-2
I B ” (cont.) ” (cont.), §§2-5, 7
J B ” (cont.) ” (cont.), §7
N (should be Q) C “Of Induction in General” Book III, no close chapter equivalence
“Of the Various Grounds of Induction” III, ii, “Of Inductions improperly so called,” §§1-2
“Of the Uniformity in the Course of Nature” iii, “On the Ground of Induction,” §§1, 3
Stage 3 N C “Of Trains of Reasoning” II, iv, “Of Trains of Reasoning, and Deductive Sciences,” §§ 1-3
“Of Deductive Sciences” ” (cont.), §§4-6
O C “Of Demonstration and Necessary Truths” v, “Of Demonstration, and Necessary Truths,” §§1-3, plus some isolated parts; and
vi, “The same Subject continued,” §§2-3
P C ” (cont.) ” (cont.), §§3-5
Edition: current; Page: [lxii]

As a guide to Mill’s rewriting between 1837 and 1843, when the Logic was published, the major differences between the Early Draft and the Press-copy Manuscript may be described as follows:

The most noticeable difference is the absence in the Early Draft of Books IV, V, and VI, and the embryonic form of Book III. As finally published, the Introduction and Books I and II follow quite closely the organization of the equivalent material in the Early Draft. In comparing the versions one finds the following:

The “Introductory Matter” is closest in wording to the final version, and has relatively few gaps when compared with the Press-copy Manuscript.

Book I is somewhat closer in bulk than Book II to the final version, but varies more, especially in two important places, in wording and organization. These two places, equivalent to parts of the final Book I, Chapters iii and vi, are significant for a study of the composition of the Logic, and also for its doctrine. The first of these reflects Mill’s problems in laying out the chapter on the Classification of Things. As indicated in the notes to the text of the Early Draft, §§1-2, and much of 6-10 are generally covered in the Early Draft, with the other sections being either absent, or so different in organization as to prevent direct collation. Mill’s dissatisfaction with the account may be inferred from his insertion, at the end of this chapter in the Early Draft, of the “Linea Prædicamentalis” (see 1004 below), which does not, as might appear, summarize the preceding account, but seems to indicate his second thoughts on the proper ordering of the argument. This chapter continued to give Mill trouble, for, as will be shown later, Alexander Bain found it difficult, and so Mill made changes in the final stages of revision of the Press-copy Manuscript to clarify the argument.

The second place in Book I where there is a major departure from the final version reflects, in part, Mill’s recasting of Chapter iii, and in part his development, after the Early Draft was completed, of the theory of Natural Kinds, which led to extensive changes in the conclusion of Chapter vi and in Chapter vii, as well as minor changes elsewhere.

The sections of the Early Draft that correspond to Book II are, as mentioned above, generally closer in wording and order to the final version than those corresponding to Book I. The equivalents of Chapters iv, v, and vi were in fact, as the preceding table indicates, the last part of the Early Draft to be composed. (Book II, Chapter vii, it should be noted, first appeared only in the 4th edition, 1856.) The most extensive rewriting between the Early Draft and the Press-copy Manuscript occurred in the discussion of the syllogism (the end of Chapter ii, and throughout Chapter iii), and in those parts of Chapters iv and v affected by Mill’s fuller development of the theory of induction after 1837.

Given all these differences, the Early Draft and the Press-copy Manuscript Edition: current; Page: [lxiii] provide a striking exemplification of Mill’s comment in the Autobiography (132-3) on his methods of composition. His books, he says,

were always written at least twice over; a first draft of the entire work was completed to the very end of the subject, then the whole begun again de novo; but incorporating, in the second writing, all sentences and parts of sentences of the old draft, which appeared as suitable to my purpose as anything which I could write in lieu of them. I have found great advantages in this system of double redaction. It combines, better than any other mode of composition, the freshness and vigour of the first conception, with the superior precision and completeness resulting from prolonged thought. In my own case, moreover, I have found that the patience necessary for a careful elaboration of the details of exposition and expression, costs much less effort after the entire subject has been once gone through, and the substance of all that I find to say has in some manner, however imperfect, been got upon paper. The only thing which I am careful, in the first draft, to make as perfect as I am able, is the arrangement. If that is bad, the whole thread on which the ideas string themselves becomes twisted; thoughts placed in a wrong connexion are not expounded in a manner that suits the right, and a first draft with this original vice is next to useless as a foundation for the final treatment.

This admirable method, it may be noted, while more coherently followed by Mill than by Bentham, from whom he may have borrowed it, still makes for great editorial problems in dating as well as in text.

His inability to resolve the difficulties in inductive theory, Mill says in the Autobiography (109), brought him to a halt, which lasted until 1837. “I had come to the end of my tether; I could make nothing satisfactory of Induction, at this time. I continued to read any book which seemed to promise light on the subject, and appropriated, as well as I could, the results; but for a long time I found nothing which seemed to open to me any very important vein of meditation.” Early in 1837, having become convinced that a “comprehensive and . . . accurate view of the whole circle of physical science,” which it would take him long to acquire, was necessary before he could continue with Induction, he read Whewell’s recently published History of the Inductive Sciences. Stimulated by this reading, he returned to Herschel’s Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy, which he had reviewed favourably in 1831 on its first appearance.26 Setting “vigorously to work out the subject” of Induction, he wrote, during two months of the summer of 1837, what he later estimated at about one-third, “the most difficult third,” of the whole work (what he had written earlier, i.e., the major part of the Early Draft, comprised another third).27 “What Edition: current; Page: [lxiv] I wrote at this time,” he says in the Autobiography (125), “consisted of the remainder of the doctrine of Reasoning (the theory of Trains of Reasoning, and Demonstrative Science), and the greater part of the Book on Induction.”28 If his memory is accurate, the third stage of the composition of the Early Draft (Gatherings N, O, and P) occurred in the summer of 1837 and, following one (though the less likely) hypothesis suggested above (see n23), he may have sent the Early Draft to Nichol at that time, keeping before him a holograph to which he then added “the greater part” of Book III.29

Noting that Mill considered the time necessary for this writing as having been “stolen from occupations more urgent” (Autobiography, 125), one is reminded that his major avocation during these years was the editing of the London and Westminster Review, and that he had become the head of the family after his father’s death in mid-1836. His role as teacher included initiating his youngest brother, Henry, into the mysteries of logic; he undoubtedly profitted himself from this instruction, for during 1837, when engaged in the writing just described, he “carried [Henry] through the Aristotelian logic,” and started him on Hobbes.30

Mill interrupted his work on logic to compose two articles for the London and Westminster,31 and then, after reading for the first time Volumes I and Edition: current; Page: [lxv] II of Comte’s Cours de philosophie positive,32 he wrote three more chapters of Book III in the autumn, and “did not return to the subject until the middle of the next year: the review engrossing all the time [he] could devote to authorship, or to thinking with authorship in view.”33

In July and August of 1838 he completed the first draft of Book III and, as a result, was led to “recognize Kinds as realities in nature,” and so to “modify and enlarge several chapters” of Book I (i.e., v and vi, and, in part, iii).34 On 2 October, while on holiday, he wrote to John Robertson that he had planned “the concluding portion” since leaving London (in the middle of September), had written a “large piece” of it, and hoped to do more before returning to London. During this holiday he read the third volume of Comte’s Cours.35 In the Autobiography (132) he identifies the work done that autumn as the “Book on Language and Classification [Book IV], and the chapter on the Classification of Fallacies [Book V, Chap. ii].” With so much done, he then hoped to finish, except for rewriting, during the winter of 1838-39.36 But a severe illness interrupted his plans, and he went to Italy on a six-month leave, returning to London in the early summer. Resuming work on the Logic on his return, he told Sterling that he could hardly fail to finish during the next year,37 and, after a month in Falmouth during which his brother Henry died, he completed the draft of the whole work during the summer and autumn of 1840.38

It seems safe to assume that what Mill had written up to this time was gathered in a holograph manuscript not now extant (except for a few folios that appear in the Press-copy Manuscript), consisting of the Early Draft, rewritten in parts, and its continuation through the rest of Book III, Books IV and V, and probably Book VI. He therefore felt himself near the end of his task, and so, though he had to rewrite the work completely, and Sterling had advised him to read the German logicians,39 he was looking forward to publication in 1841.

Edition: current; Page: [lxvi]


The rewriting of the Logic beginning in 1841 produced the Press-copy Manuscript and, finally, the 1st edition, published in March, 1843. The main pattern of composition in these years may be traced, before the details are discussed.

In April, 1841, Mill began the final draft, and worked steadily on the revision until the end of January, 1842,40 having finished Book I by 6 May, and “about half of it, & the most difficult half” towards the end of September.41 During the rewriting he read Whewell’s Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences,42 and introduced many references to the work. His intention was to finish the Logic in time for publication in April, 1842,43 and to that end submitted it (not complete) to John Murray on 20 December, 1841, sending what he thought was the final revision of the last three Books at the beginning of February, 1842. In early March, Murray, who had been ill in the interval, turned down the manuscript for reasons, now unknown, that in Mill’s opinion could have been given much sooner.44 Annoyed at what he thought an unreasonable delay45 (it will hardly seem so to modern authors), Mill sent the manuscript to John Parker—or rather, sent such portions as Edition: current; Page: [lxvii] Parker’s reader (William Cooke Taylor) wished to see, saying that he had to include “some other chapters or portions of chapters which from the manner in which the papers are stitched together [i.e., in Gatherings], cannot conveniently be separated from them.” He continues: “I fear some parts are by no means so legible as I could wish, owing to the number of interlineations & erasures. The portions moreover of the Third Book, will scarcely perhaps be intelligible without the chapters which are intended to precede them.”46

Parker accepted the manuscript early in April, suggesting an edition of 750 copies at his own risk, and half-profit; Mill was delighted:

I am very much indebted to your referee for so favorable an opinion, expressed in such complimentary terms, & am much gratified by the result. I will keep his observations in view in finally reading through the manuscript before it goes to press, but I fear I am nearly at the end of my stock of apt illustrations. I had to read a great deal for those I have given, & I believe that the chapters on Fallacies which preceded those that were submitted to your friend’s judgment, are considerably richer than those he has seen, in examples selected as he recommends from eminent writers.

With respect to your very handsome offer of half profit, my feeling is that if I were to take advantage of your liberality in any manner, the shape in which I should most like to do so would be by a certain latitude in giving away copies—chiefly to foreigners or persons who would not be likely to buy the book. . . . I have not in view any alarming number, some 25 or 30 copies being as far as I can now judge, the extreme limit.

In reference to the contingency of a future edition, it is I think very unlikely that I should be inclined to change my publisher, especially when he is as I believe you to be, the most desirable one in England for the kind of book.47

By this time it was too late to think of spring publication, and Parker suggested the end of the year, with printing to begin in July. But the rewriting was far from completed, even at this late stage, and though Mill was somewhat annoyed that printing did not begin until September, and had reached only Vol. I, p. 160 by 19 December,48 this delay enabled him to make significant revisions in the manuscript before the proof stage. (And, as will be shown, there were many changes in the proofs as well.) A major insight into these late revisions is given by comparing the final Table of Contents with the Table of Contents Mill enclosed in a letter to John Edition: current; Page: [lxviii] Austin on 7 July, 1842, the implications of which will be dealt with in the detailed discussion below.49

Two events were largely responsible for these late revisions. The first was Mill’s meeting Alexander Bain, with whom he had previously corresponded, in London in April, 1842. Impressed by Bain’s abilities, and in particular by his scientific knowledge, Mill asked him in the middle of July “to revise the MS. of his Logic, now nearly ready for the press.”50 Bain immediately set to work, especially looking for inductive examples. He remained in London for the purpose until 10 September (just at the time printing was beginning), and continued his work in Aberdeen, with the assistance of John Shier, the assistant to Thomas Clark, Professor of Natural History at Aberdeen. He finished what he could do in November; however, as he had contracted to write a review of the Logic for the Westminster Review, he immediately began to receive proof sheets as they were worked off,51 and there can be little doubt that some of the proof changes also resulted from his comments. Mill’s due appreciation is seen in the Autobiography (147n):

The only person from whom I received any direct assistance in the preparation of the “System of Logic” was Mr. Bain, since so justly celebrated for his philosophical writings. He went carefully through the manuscript before it was sent to press, and enriched it with a great number of additional examples and illustrations from science; many of which, as well as some detached remarks of his own in confirmation of my logical views, I inserted nearly in his own words.

The second event was the publication in 1842 of the sixth and final volume of Comte’s Cours, Le Complément de la philosophie sociale, et les conclusions générales. Mill, having in the interval read Comte’s fourth and fifth volumes, was immensely impressed by the sixth, which led him, in Edition: current; Page: [lxix] January, 1843, into a “remaniement complet” of the concluding chapters of Book VI.52

At last, however, though he was ill in the autumn of 1842 and again in December, and although he was greatly troubled by the American repudiations of that year, Mill managed to get the work through the press in about five months,53 and sent off a large number of complimentary copies on its publication in March, 1843.54

With the major pattern in mind, one may turn to important particular revisions in the period 1841-43, relying for the most part on internal evidence in the Press-copy Manuscript.55 In doing so, it should be remembered that the first full draft (that completed in 1840) is not now extant, except for a few intercalated folios in the Press-copy Manuscript, and so cannot be used for comparison.56 The account is based on the divisions into Books, rather than on the exact times of various revisions, which cannot be determined.

Book I. As mentioned above, Bain felt, on first reading the manuscript, that the chapter on “Things denoted by Names” (I, iii) was not fully intelligible; he also had doubts about its place in the total scheme, though he did not press this objection. “The result was that [Mill] revised the chapter, and introduced the subordinate headings, which very much lightened the burden of its natural abstruseness.”57 The manuscript evidence confirms this Edition: current; Page: [lxx] account. The grossest evidence is that while Mill’s normal “gatherings” (except for those concluding the Books) contain twenty folios, Gatherings D and E, which include all but the first two folios of Chap. iii, contain, respectively, 24 and 25 folios, and indications of revision are seen where both would have ended had they contained 20 folios: e.g., f.77, which would be the first folio of the original Gathering E, is a relatively clean copy, as is f.81, on which the final Gathering E begins; also, f.101 is headed “(Supplement to E)”, and ff.99-105 are clean copies. (Less obviously, the paper’s colour changes slightly between ff.80 and 81, and between ff.82 and 83, and f.82, like f.81, is a clean copy.) The insertion of the “subordinate headings” is also plainly indicated, as at f.62v, where, along with the concluding sentence of §2, the title, “I. Feelings, or States of Consciousness,” is added. Throughout the chapter there are cancellations, interlineations, and additions on the versos, all relevant to the changes prompted by Bain’s criticism.58

All the paper in Book I is watermarked 1839, and so, since Bain met Mill only in April 1842, it may be assumed that Mill was using 1839 paper as late as the autumn of 1842; this assumption leads to the conclusion that the latest paper in the manuscript, that of 1841, was used solely for very late revisions (all in Book VI).

Only one other slight change need be mentioned here, as again helping to date the revisions. In his letter to Austin of 7 July, 1842, Mill gives the title of Chapter vii as “Of the five Predicables, & the nature of Classification”; the final title reversed the elements, reading, “Of the Nature of Classification, & the Five Predicables.” This change, in conjunction with others cited below, enables one to date portions of the manuscript as pre-July, 1842, and many changes involving cancellations and interlineations as post-July, 1842. In other words, Mill, after rewriting the whole of the manuscript by February, 1842, went through it again, making not only the major changes prompted by Bain’s advice and his rereading of Comte, but also altering and tidying up throughout.

In addition, one may mention (treating the “Introduction” as similar to Book I in history) the unquestionably late addition of the reference to Mill’s review of Bailey on Berkeley’s theory of vision, which appeared in the Westminster for October 1842 (see 8 below).

Book II. There is comparatively little evidence of manuscript revision of Book II. Three gatherings, M, O, and P, are of anomalous length, O having an extra folio because Mill’s diagram on f.283 was cut out and pasted on Edition: current; Page: [lxxi] a separate sheet. The other two anomalies are more interesting. Bain remarks, in his John Stuart Mill (67): “I was so much struck with the view of Induction that regarded it as reasoning from particulars to particulars, that I suggested a farther exemplification of it in detail, and [Mill] inserted two pages of instances that I gave him.” These “pages” were added to Gathering M, which grew to 24 folios by the addition of ff.251-4, comprising paragraphs 7-9 of Chapter iii, §3, and including, among other examples, the anecdote about Lord Mansfield (190 below).

Gathering P has an extra folio because the long note that concludes Chapter v was added, running from f.320v to the bottom of f.321r (on which the text ends), and onto an extra part folio (f.322r, unnumbered by Mill). This note deals with Herschel’s review of Whewell in the Quarterly Review for June, 1841; in the note Mill says: “the whole of the present chapter was written before I had seen the article (the greater part indeed before it was published) . . .” (cf. 248 below). Since Bain refers to letters to and from Mill late in 1841, in which mention is made of Whewell and Herschel,59 one may reasonably assume that this note (plus another in Chapter vi, §2, later deleted)60 was added in the autumn of 1841.

One other addition merits mention, that of the reference to the Dutens edition of Leibniz, in Chapter v, §6. (The reference to Leibniz’s Oeuvres, 1842 ed., in Book V, Chapter iii, §3, is also added, apparently at the same time.)

Book III. Here the importance of Bain’s contributions is most clearly apparent.61 Being familiar with “the Experimental Physics, Chemistry and Edition: current; Page: [lxxii] Physiology of that day,”62 he saw, on first reading Mill’s manuscript, that the main defect was in the experimental examples, which were “too few and not unfrequently incorrect.” Therefore, with the help of Shier, who “went carefully over all the chemical examples with [Bain], and struck out various erroneous statements,” he gave Mill “a large stock of examples to choose from, as he revised the Third Book for press.”63

This aid is most markedly seen in the addition of Chapters ix and xiii after the letter to Austin of 7 July, 1842, in which these chapters are not mentioned. Both chapters contain inductive examples: Chapter ix is entitled “Miscellaneous Examples of the Four Methods,” and Chapter xiii, “Miscellaneous Examples of the Explanation of Laws of Nature.” The first folio of each of these chapters has a note in Mill’s hand, requesting duplicate proofs of the chapter; these were undoubtedly for Bain, who, though he was receiving proofs of the whole work for his review, probably marked up these duplicate sheets and returned them to Mill. As the variants in the text below show, there were important changes in the proof stage, probably resulting from Bain’s further reflection on these matters; he comments that he spent some time from November, 1842, to April, 1843, on “the final contribution of scientific examples to Mill. . . .”64

Chapters ix and xiii were evidently both added at the same time, as the numbers of the chapters from Chapter x on are altered by current cancellations

Edition: current; Page: [b]
The opening folio of Book III, Chapter ix, of the Press-copy Manuscript British Museum
Edition: current; Page: [lxxiii]

and additions, so that x-xiii are altered from ix-xii, and xiv-xxv from xii-xxiii.65 The other internal evidence confirms these conclusions.66


One interesting change in title occurred before the letter to Austin: in the MS, Chapter xvii was originally entitled “Of the Evidence of Empirical Laws”; this was changed (when it was still Chapter xv, i.e., before ix and xiii were added) to the final “Of Chance and its Elimination.”67

There are a few other noteworthy additions in Book III at this stage. The reference to Carpenter’s Physiology was almost certainly added to Chapter vi, §2: Mill’s notice of the 2nd edition appeared in the Westminster Review, XXXVII (Jan., 1842), 254. Bain, who met Carpenter in the summer of 1842, mentions that George Bentham Mill, John’s second youngest brother, was living at this time in Carpenter’s house as a pupil, and comments that John Mill was “very much impressed from the outset by [Carpenter’s] writings on Physiology.”68 A reference (deleted in a later edition) to Vol. VI of Comte’s Cours was added to Chapter xxiv, §6 (see 615g-g below), and the latter part of the note to Chapter xviii, §5 (543n below), concerning a quotation from Laplace, was also evidently added.

A light on the types of examples used by Mill in Book III is thrown by the text of Mill’s letter to Austin, where, evidently encouraging Austin to review the Logic for the Edinburgh, Mill admits that “the part relating to Induction is not ‘more occupied with the mental & social than with the Edition: current; Page: [lxxiv] mathematical & physical sciences’ because it was more convenient to illustrate inductive methods from those subjects on which the conclusions elicited by them are undisputed.”69 Bain’s comment may be compared: “For the Deductive Method, and the allied subjects of Explanation and Empirical and Derivative Laws, the examples that we found were abundant. When, however, I suggested his adopting some from Psychology, he steadily, and I believe wisely, resisted; and, if he took any of these it was in the Deductive department.”70

Book IV. This Book was little revised in 1841-43, as the regularity of the gatherings shows.71 There were two minor changes in chapter titles, one before the letter to Austin (the title of Chapter vii, “Of Classification, as subsidiary to Induction,” replaces the cancelled “Of the Principles of Classification”), and the other before and perhaps again after that letter (in the letter the title of Chapter v, “On the Natural History of the Variations in the Meaning of Terms,” is given without the first two words; originally in the MS the title was “On the Natural History of the Variations in Language”).

There are some brief additions, mainly on the versos, such as the reference to Chalmers (of whom Bain had a high opinion), coupled with a reference to electrical terminology (see 703f), and the quotations from Paris’s Pharmacologia (see 692k and 693-4); the first section of Chapter iii was also added. These additions, like similar ones in Book V, may reflect the desire of Parker’s reader for more examples (see lxvii above).72

Book V. One gathering, Ww, is anomalous in length, having 24 folios, but the internal evidence of revision is inconclusive, and there are no significant changes in chapter titles.73 The most interesting additions are the Edition: current; Page: [lxxv] references to Malebranche and to Coleridge’s borrowing from Spinoza (770-1), to Paris’s Pharmacologia (750, 766, 778-80, 783e, 793n, the last with some additional text), and the probable addition of §6 to Chapter v.

Book VI. The final Book of the Logic was the last and most heavily revised in this period. Bain says:

The first letter I had from Mill this year (19th January [1843]) was to the effect that he had recomposed nearly the whole of the Sixth Book of the Logic, thinking it the weakest part of the work, but [was] now satisfied that it was put on a level with the others.

Comte’s sixth volume, a very bulky one, had not been long out, and he had made a point of completing its perusal before giving the finishing touch to his treatment of the logic of politics.74

The internal evidence strongly establishes the outlines of the extensive late revision. None of the gatherings has 20ff.; in revision Mill adapted the gatherings to the lengths of the chapters, so that each gathering contains all of at least one chapter (Yy contains i and ii; Zz, iii and iv; 3A, v; 3B, vi, vii, and viii; 3C, ix; 3D, x; and 3E, xi). The major revisions are revealed by differences between the chapters as indicated in the letter to Austin and as they finally appear in the MS.

In the letter, the final Chapters ii and iii are listed in reverse order, with the final ii being entitled “Digression concerning Liberty & Necessity,” rather than “Of Liberty and Necessity” (the change is revealed, through cancellation and interlineation, in the MS). Chapter iv, “Of the Laws of Mind,” does not appear in the letter to Austin; consequently, all the subsequent equivalent chapters have altered numbers.75 Chapter ix, “Of the Physical, or Concrete Deductive Method,” appears in the letter as Chapter viii, “Of the Mathematico-Physical, or Analytic Method.” The letter has as Chapter ix “Of the Verification of the Social Science,” and as Chapter x “Of the Progressiveness of Human Nature in connexion with the Social Edition: current; Page: [lxxvi] Science; & of the new Historical Method founded thereupon”; in place of these the MS has only Chapter x, “Of the Inverse Deductive, or Historical Method.”

The evidence suggests the following line of argument. Unhappy about the placing of the chapter on Liberty and Necessity (as “Digression” indicates), Mill retitled and renumbered it, and then divided the original Chapter ii into Chapters iii and iv, adding material to both.76 The numbers of the succeeding chapters were then changed, so that Chapters v-ix became vi-x. Such evidence as cancellations at the bottom of folios that are not continued on the following folios, short folios, and paper dates (alternation between 1839 and 1841 papers begins with MS Vol. IV, f.218), indicates revisions and additions in Chapters v-x, evidently resulting in the main from Mill’s reading of Vol. VI of Comte’s Cours. The changes are most evident in Chapters ix and x where, as noted above, the titles in the letter to Austin are not matched in the MS. Apparently Mill first added Chapter x (“Of the Inverse Deductive, or Historical Method”), retaining both the original Chapter ix (“Of the Verification of the Social Science”) and Chapter x (“Of the Progressiveness of Human Nature in connexion with the Social Science; & of the modern Historical Method founded thereupon”), renumbering x and xi as xii and xiii (iv also having been added).77 He then amalgamated four chapters (ix-xii) into two, deleting the titles of ix and xi, and rewrote to produce the final MS form.78

The extent of the rewriting obscures some of the details, because the discarded sheets are not found in the MS. One may mention, however, that Chapter i, which was not completely rewritten, shows extensive revision, and an added reference to Vol. VI of Comte’s Cours shows in §6 of the final chapter (see 948i-i), which also was not completely rewritten in January, 1843.

Edition: current; Page: [lxxvii]


As will by now be amply evident, the Logic was the most carefully composed and revised of all Mill’s works. Comparison of the variants with those in his other major systematic work, the Principles of Political Economy, demonstrates, of course, the dependence of revisions on the subject matter. That is, Mill’s economic treatise, while containing a great deal of analysis, also involves much description and some normative comment, and so was more open to alterations of attitudes (towards socialism and labour, for example) than was his logical treatise. The passage of time (nearly thirty years between the final manuscript and the 8th edition of the Logic) did not introduce any new logical “facts,” and the major changes in logical analysis that have almost totally altered logic in the twentieth century were only beginning to be introduced towards the end of Mill’s life, and did not influence his thought in any marked degree. In the Logic, therefore, the most extensive changes reflecting the passage of time do not, as they often do in the Principles, reveal a shift in attitudes; rather, they typically consist of answers to opponents, or new illustrations of methods.

This is not to suggest that the Logic of 1872 is not different in important ways from the Press-copy Manuscript. Most obviously, the work increased in length. The number of pages of text (1st ed., 1204; 2nd ed., 1210; 3rd ed., 1029; 4th ed., 1059; 5th ed., 1086; 6th ed., 1096; 7th ed., 1096; 8th ed., 1120) is misleading, because the number of words per page was significantly increased in the 3rd edition, so that, taking the amount of material in the 1st edition as 1.00, the other editions contain approximately the following amounts: 2nd edition, 1.005; 3rd edition, 1.04; 4th edition, 1.07; 5th edition, 1.10; 6th edition, 1.11; 7th edition, 1.11; 8th edition, 1.13. This comparison partly indicates the extent of the revisions, although it disguises substitutions and deletions. In fact, there were over 4800 substantive alterations in the text,79 and many of these, singly or in groups, cast new light on various aspects of Mill’s thought and life, and on attitudes to logic and science in the nineteenth century. Because the Logic, unlike the Principles, is not complemented over a long period by many other of Edition: current; Page: [lxxviii] Mill’s writings (the Hamilton is of course important), his revisions have a special significance for an understanding of his speculative development.

The variants have until now received no critical attention beyond allusions to isolated changes, there being wide awareness only that complimentary references to Comte were excised at some point.80 Mill’s Prefaces have perhaps contributed to this neglect because, though they call attention to the fact of revision, and indicate many of the major changes, they do not indicate the scope and nature of the rewriting. The first seven paragraphs of the Preface to the 1st edition remained, with minor alterations, in all editions; the Preface to the 3rd edition, again with minor alterations, was retained, under a separate heading, in all subsequent editions; and in each edition a concluding paragraph or paragraphs (deleted or substantially altered in the next subsequent edition) described the current edition. (The exact changes are shown in the text below.)

Just how carefully Mill revised and reconsidered, and just how seriously he took the duties of an author to his public, are demonstrated clearly by a full collation, which yields the results seen in Table 2.

What immediately strikes the eye is the large number of changes—almost 40 per cent of the total—made in the 3rd edition. Almost equally striking to the twentieth-century author is the very considerable number of proof changes. While nineteenth-century authors had considerably more leeway than our contemporaries in running up printing costs, it should be remembered that Mill, while not unknown, was not an established author, this being his first published book. It will also be noted that, compared to the other editions, the final three, like the final two of Mill’s Principles, were lightly rewritten. But even in these editions his careful revision is evident: the pattern of changes in the various portions of the Logic is surprisingly similar in all editions, with the minor variants sufficiently outnumbering the major ones to give this consistency. The table shows that Book III was the most heavily revised (as will be demonstrated, it also contains many of the

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81Changes between the MS and the 1st ed., that is, proof changes.
184381 14 6 132 53 284 133 131 135 888
1846 3 1 30 39 196 70 52 74 465
1851 8 51 277 160 701 141 231 310 1879
1856 1 4 60 58 158 41 28 24 374
1862 2 16 70 67 156 60 35 40 446
1865 2 4 46 38 106 22 21 16 255
1868 1 2 34 31 75 21 28 45 237
1872 1 1 50 48 111 26 20 21 278
Total 32 85 699 494 1787 514 546 665 4822
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major variants); it should be remembered, however, that it is much the longest Book, and when the number of variants per page is calculated, the order of frequency of changes is seen to be: Introduction, Book V, Book VI, Book IV, Book I, Book III, Book II.82

Such calculations are of course less meaningful than a study of individual variants in context, not here practicable. Only as prolegomena to more detailed study, therefore, the following comments are offered, beginning with a discussion of the longer variants,83 and those of special interest, edition by edition, and then moving to an outline of the shorter variants of diverse kinds. As there are no long variants between the Press-copy Manuscript and the 1st edition, one may begin with the 2nd edition.

2nd Edition, 1846. In the Preface to the 2nd edition Mill says that the text has been “carefully revised, and all errors corrected which have been either discovered by the author himself, or pointed out by others.” He also calls attention to the “materially changed” chapter on the Calculation of Chances (III, xviii), and the revision of the latter part of that on the Grounds of Disbelief (III, xxv).84 The changes in these chapters are, indeed, the most significant in the edition. As Mill indicates in the Preface, his revised opinion was largely the result of Sir John Herschel’s objections in correspondence.85 On 10 July, 1845, replying to Mill’s thanks for the complimentary remarks he had made in his Presidential Address to the British Association, Herschel mentioned some problems in the treatment of physical science and mathematics in the Logic, and said he would, on request, specify particular passages that needed correction. In December, when he was beginning to prepare the 2nd edition, Mill wrote asking for specific objections, which Herschel supplied on 22 December, discussing at some length the treatment of Laplace in the chapters on probability. Edition: current; Page: [lxxxi] Other criticisms, Mill replied, had already convinced him that Laplace was not so wrong as he had accused him of being in Book III, Chapter xviii, and he would rectify the matter (see Appendix F); he was not yet convinced that Herschel’s comments on the treatment of probability in Book III, Chapter xxv, were justified. As the revision progressed, Mill wrote on 2 February, 1846, asking whether Herschel had found anything objectionable in the 1st volume. As a result of Herschel’s reply, Mill made further changes in Book III (see 456p-p, 469o-o, 469d-d, 501n). And finally, after a further exchange concerning Book III, Chapter xxv, Mill said, in April, 1846, that he was convinced that Herschel was right, and so had written a new conclusion to the chapter (see Appendix G).86

The changes in Book III, Chapters xviii and xxv led to a bibliographic rarity. Not foreseeing how much revision lay in the years ahead, Mill had the two chapters offprinted from the 2nd edition, probably with a view to sending copies to those who had received complimentary sets of the 1st edition.87

Although, in Bain’s word’s, the Logic was “about the best attacked book of the time,”88 it was not extensively reviewed on its first appearance. This fact is worthy of notice here because so many of the major revisions introduced in later editions contain Mill’s responses to his critics. Mill was understandably disappointed that prospective reviews in the Edinburgh Review by Austin and in the Quarterly Review by Herschel never materialized,89 and that Whewell did not reply at this time. He may have been later consoled by the comment of R. H. Hutton in the Prospective Review in Edition: current; Page: [lxxxii] 1850: “The prolonged silence with which his book has been received by English critics seems to imply a surrender without terms; and in fact the qualities of Mr. Mill’s mind are eminently calculated to impress and frighten our countrymen into silence, even when unconvinced.”90

The “prolonged silence” was not in fact total; two important reviews appeared, that of Bain in the Westminster Review,91 and that of W. G. Ward in the British Critic.92

Two other sets of changes that, though most of the individual variants are brief, are of cumulative significance, began in the 2nd edition. These are alterations in passages referring to Whewell and Comte. Even though Whewell’s first reply to Mill did not appear until 1849 in his On Induction, Mill removed twenty-eight references to him in the 2nd edition, three in the 3rd, and three more in the 5th.93

The alterations reflecting Mill’s revised view of Comte are even more extensive, and demonstrate, more than those concerning Whewell, extralogical considerations. Mill had an extensive correspondence with Comte from 1842, when he was engaged in the final revisions of the manuscript of the Logic, and the final volumes of Comte’s Cours were appearing, until 1845, when his reservations about Comte’s social and political views (and Edition: current; Page: [lxxxiii] financial affairs) resulted in a complete break. While a large number of quotations from and references to Comte remain in all editions, Mill’s disillusionment is adequately demonstrated in his revision or deletion in the 2nd edition, just after their correspondence ended, of nearly fifty generally laudatory references. In the 3rd edition of 1851, probably at the urging of Harriet Taylor, who took profound exception to Comte’s attitude to women, and who married Mill in that year, some ten similar changes were made, including the deletion of an epigraph to Book VI that had survived the cutting away of 1846. A few changes also appear in the 4th edition (1856), but one of these involves the deletion of a new criticism introduced in 1851. In the 5th edition (1862), presumably as a result of time’s balancing power and Comte’s death (though it should be noted that Harriet also had died in the interval), a few complimentary changes were made, and finally, in the 8th edition (1872), two of the deletions of 1846 were reinstated.94

3rd Edition, 1851. The 3rd edition of the Logic, like the 3rd edition of the Principles, which appeared in the next year, is the most heavily revised of all, introducing, as already mentioned, nearly 40 per cent of the total number of variants. In the Preface, noting the necessity of replying to criticisms, especially those of Whewell, Mill says he has “carefully reconsidered” all points on which he had been assailed, and “in general silently” corrected such “minor oversights” as were detected by himself and his critics, adding, “it is not to be inferred that I agree with the objections which have been made to a passage, in every instance in which I have altered or cancelled it.” This generalized statement covers nearly 1900 variants, including twenty-one long ones. Five of these are of considerable importance: four in Book III involve the addition of a whole section (ii, §5; v, §11; ix, §6 [in 51, 56, this appeared as a footnote]; and xviii, §4); the fifth, in the final chapter of Book VI, involved the significant rewriting and expansion of §§5-6 into §§5-7.

In addition to Whewell’s strictures (see, e.g., 287n, 300n), Mill replied to those of Francis Bowen in his Lowell Lectures, on the Application of Metaphysics and Ethical Science to the Evidences of Religion (see 354, 356n),95 and of R.H. Hutton in his “Mill and Whewell on the Logic of Induction” (see, e.g., 331n). He also incorporated references to De Morgan’s work on logic (see 170n),96 and received from Bain some suggestions for “alterations and additional examples,” of which Bain says in 1882, “I scarcely remember what they were.”97

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4th Edition, 1856. The sale of the Logic remaining steady, probably because of its use in “colleges & other places of education,”98 Mill was again called on for revisions, resulting, as he says in the Preface to the 4th edition, in “a considerable number of additions,” the “most important” relating to the “doctrine of Causation” (see, e.g., 340k-k, 363a-a) and to his controversy with Spencer (II, vii being added). This disagreement between two generally allied philosophers was sparked by criticisms of the Logic in Spencer’s “Universal Postulate” (first published 1853), and was continued through various works and editions by both.99

In addition to these long variants mentioned in the Preface, there are six others in the 4th edition, one of them being the deletion of a passage added in the 3rd edition (see 950c), and another the addition of a passage subsequently rewritten and then deleted in the 8th edition (see Appendix D).

5th Edition, 1862. In 1861, concurrently with his revision of the Principles for its 5th edition, Mill again went through the Logic, finishing early in 1862.100 Though this edition (like its companion edition of the Principles) is the most heavily revised after the 3rd, there are only six long variants,101 one being the addition of a section (II, iii, §8), and another the addition of a whole chapter (VI, xi); the latter, referred to in the Preface (along with “many minor improvements”) shows the influence on Mill of Buckle’s History of Civilization in England.102 Another interesting addition is the reference to Darwin (498n-499n), foreshadowed in his letter to Bain of 11 April, 1860.103

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6th Edition, 1865. Mill’s candidacy for Westminster in 1865 led to his “cheap volumes,” the People’s Editions, going off “like wildfire, while there was an increased demand for the Logic.104 So again Mill was faced with “an unusual amount of revision,”105 once more for both the Logic and the Principles, which also went into a sixth edition in 1865.

Four long variants were introduced into the Logic, three of them involving at least a full section (II, iii, §9; III, ix, §4; and III, xiii, §§1-3). The final two of these are covered by the Preface’s reference to “new and apt examples of inductive and deductive investigation,” for which Mill was again indebted to Bain, who comments: “I referred him to Brown Séquard’s interesting research on Cadaveric Rigidity, and induced him to read the same author’s volume of Researches on the Nervous System. I also obtained from Thomas Graham a complete set of his researches on Gases and Liquids; pointing his attention to what I thought most available.”106

Mill also mentions in the extensive Preface his introduction of material previously excluded, indicating that he supports the “experiential” epistemology in its battle with the “à priori or intuitional” school. This comment points to the first of the long variants mentioned above, and also to many other changes, none of them reaching a page in length, but all contributing to a different tone (certainly not a different opinion) concerning the relation between logic and epistemology. In fact the difference in tone would be more marked if Mill had not silently introduced similar qualifications and explanations into the 3rd and 4th editions.107 Perhaps the most noticeable changes in the 6th edition are found in the footnoted references, eleven in total, to the matter of Mill’s Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy, which was first published in 1865 after some years of preparatory study of Hamilton and his allies.108

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Another interesting change (further altered in the 8th edition) resulted from criticisms of the argument in Book III, Chapter xxiii, §6 by De Morgan and his son (599n).109

7th Edition, 1868. Mill’s parliamentary prominence, and the increasing use of the Logic as a textbook, quickly exhausted the 6th edition, and late in 1867 Longmans reported the need for a new edition.110 The wide sales of the People’s Editions of his other works suggested that the Logic should appear in a cheaper format, but Mill was by this time fully aware that the People’s Editions were cutting into the sales of the Library Editions (the Principles did not go into a seventh edition until 1871), and so refused the suggestion, as he did again in 1870, and the People’s Edition of the Logic (still very much in use in reprints) appeared only posthumously in 1884, with Helen Taylor’s agreement.111

Comparatively lightly revised, perhaps because of Mill’s very busy schedule at this time, the 7th edition was quickly prepared.112 The Preface refers unspecifically to “a few further corrections . . . , but no material additions,” and there is only one long variant, in Book I, Chapter vi, §2. This correction of the interpretation of Porphyry’s Isagoge has special interest as arising from a criticism by George Grote, Mill’s lifelong friend, who had a Edition: current; Page: [lxxxvii] very high opinion of the Logic.113 Grote wrote to Mill on 12 January, 1867 concerning this passage, enclosing a memorandum giving the authorities, and commenting that “So excellent a book ought to be cleared even from small reproaches of incurie.”114

De Morgan also contributed a correction, in this case not a mathematical but a literary one. In a letter of 3 September, 1868, referring to Book V, Chapter vii, §2 (822 below), he comments: “you say that a pedantic physician in Molière accounts for the fact that ‘l’opium endormit’ by the maxim ‘parcequ’il a une vertu soporifique.’ From whom do you get your quotation marks? Not from Molière.” And he goes on to quote the passage correctly. Mill replied, on 13 September, “I had marked the humourous doggrel from Molière to be quoted correctly, instead of incorrectly, as I had done on the authority of Whewell. The words I used in p. 71 [66 in this edition] were probably also quoted at secondhand from some writer who retained the pith of the satire without remembering its words.”115

John Venn, another important figure in the history of logic, also influenced the 7th edition, through his Logic of Chance (1866), a copy of which he sent to Mill. Though not accepting all Venn’s views, Mill made some alterations, and acknowledged his indebtedness in the concluding footnote to Book III, Chapter xviii.116

One other variant, the introduction of Bishop Butler’s name into the discussion of miracles in Book III, Chapter xxv, §4, though very slight, may Edition: current; Page: [lxxxviii] be cited as an example of private criticism leading to reconsideration over time, for the question was raised in a letter from Joseph Napier of 22 December, 1861, though the variant was not introduced until the 7th edition.117 It is also interesting because the passage as a whole relates to similar discussions in one of Mill’s earliest publications, his edition of Bentham’s Rationale of Judicial Evidence (1827), and in one of his latest writings, “Theism” (written 1868-70, published posthumously, 1874).118

8th Edition, 1872. The final edition of the Logic in Mill’s lifetime included several important revisions.119 There are nine long variants, the most significant being the addition of two sections (5 and 10) to Book III, Chapter v, “Of the Law of Universal Causation,” the deletion of part of Book III, Chapter x, §4, and the addition of §4 to Book II. Chapter vii in further response to Spencer.

It is fitting that Bain, the most important contemporary influence on Mill’s Logic, should be noticed in the Preface, although once again the extent of the revisions is disguised by the wording: “The additions and corrections in the present (eighth) edition, which are not very considerable, are chiefly such as have been suggested by Professor Bain’s Logic, a book of great merit and value.” Most of the direct debts are indicated not in the text, but in footnotes, twenty-eight of those added in this edition referring to Bain’s book.120 Furthermore, two of the long variants mentioned above, the deletion of part of Book III, Chapter x, §4, and (in effect) its replacement by Book III, Chapter v, §10, as is only hinted in the Preface, also show the importance of Bain’s views. These sections, dealing with the Conservation of Force, reveal more than almost any other parts of the Logic the growth of physical knowledge in the middle of the nineteenth century, and Mill’s hesitation about speculation in areas beyond his special competence. The complexities of the matter justify its separate Edition: current; Page: [lxxxix] treatment in Appendix D below, where, along with the excised passage and its variants, the relevant exchanges between Bain and Mill are printed.

Other Variants, 1843-72. After this outline of the long variants, all of which merit more detailed examination, one may return to a general description of the different types of substantive variants. Choosing Book IV as most typical,121 and categorizing the variants as (1) alterations in opinion or fact, including major amplifications and corrections of information; (2) alterations resulting from the time between writings, including changes in statement of fact resulting from the passage of time and new publications; (3) alterations which qualify, emphasize, or give technical clarity; and (4) alterations which are verbal, give semantic clarity, or result from changes in usage, one obtains the following results:

1843 1 0 30 102 133
1846 6 0 31 33 70
1851 12 2 56 71 141
1856 4 1 12 24 41
1862 9 3 16 32 60
1865 0 2 4 16 22
1868 0 2 8 11 21
1872 6 5 8 7 26
Total 38 15 165 296 514

Table 3 shows again that the more significant alterations (those in the first two categories) are most frequent in the 3rd, 5th, and 8th editions; it also demonstrates that the numerous proof alterations for the 1st edition were of a minor kind, and that minor changes play a comparatively small role in the 8th edition. (It can be argued, of course, that the relative infrequency of minor changes in the last three editions indicates not that Mill was less concerned with the revision but that he was more satisfied with the general texture of the work; this argument would support the contention that the revision for the 8th edition was especially important to Mill, for the number of long changes increased over those of the two previous editions.)

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Of the first type of variant, that reflecting an alteration in opinion or fact, the longest in Book IV is that at 659b-b, where five paragraphs on classification were added in 1862 to Chapter ii, §6, and a long concluding sentence referring to Whewell was deleted at the same time (662i), with a consequent change in section title (659a-a). An interesting deletion is found at 695o, where two long paragraphs deal with the tendency, “which grows as civilization advances,” to speak “of disagreeable things with the least possible suggestion of their disagreeable details, and of agreeable things with as little obtrusion as possible of the mere mechanism of their production. . . .” The passage contains an anecdote that may, in 1851, when it was deleted, have seemed to Mill to suggest too much for Victorian civilized taste. Indeed, it probably was the one referred to in Ward’s review of 1843, where, alluding to Mill’s “miserable moral and religious deficiencies” in the Logic, he says: “We cannot however conclude our notice of these [deficiencies], without severely condemning his utterly gratuitous introduction of a most objectionable anecdote. We trust he will be advised to omit it, should his work reach another edition.”122

One other passage (690-1) may be mentioned as involving a series of connected changes concerning examples of misapplication of terms through generalization; one of the changes (691n), an addition in the 4th edition, relates to a letter Mill wrote to the Times, printed on 7 April, 1847, on the spelling of “sanitary.”

The changes resulting from Mill’s altered attitude to Comte, mentioned above in connection with the 2nd edition, may be illustrated from Book IV.123 The deletions made in the 2nd edition are often of the sort found at 730e-e and h-h where Comte’s judgments are retained without his name, in a rather unfair manner. In the first of these, the reading in the manuscript and 1st edition is: “M. Comte, for example, blames Cuvier for having formed his natural groups with an undue degree of reference to the mode of alimentation . . .”; in the 2nd edition the sentence is altered to begin: “Cuvier, for example, has been justly criticised for having . . . .” An instance of a deletion for the 3rd edition may be seen at 713h, which involves also the deletion of a reference to Whewell. The reintroduction, in 1862, of deletions made in 1846 is instanced in one of the epigraphs to Book IV Edition: current; Page: [xci] (640b-b). And, finally, an alteration of 1846, further changed in 1872, is seen at 715i-i, where the earlier reading, “as M. Comte justly remarks”, was altered in 1846 to read, “as has been justly remarked”, and in 1872 to “as M. Comte remarks”. Here credit for the comment is finally restored, but without the laudatory adverb; a glance at other variants involving Comte shows that they often turn either on a deleted complimentary phrase if the reference is retained, or on a deleted reference if the complimentary phrase is retained. (The same observation is only slightly less applicable to the variants, mentioned above, involving Whewell.)

The second type of variant, that reflecting the passage of time, is seen most obviously in such footnotes as those at 649n, 650n, 676n, and 726n, where publications by Bailey, Mill himself (the Hamilton), Bain, and Whewell are cited. The first of these, added in 1862, also involved a change in the text, with Bailey’s authority being substituted for Dugald Stewart’s. In the same sentence another change of this type, found in several places in the Logic, was introduced in 1868, when Mill altered “Mr. Mill” to “Mr. James Mill” to make what was by then a necessary distinction between his father and himself. A minor example of Mill’s awareness of the growth of scientific knowledge is signalled at 673b-b, where until the final edition he had said that questions concerning definitions of Specific Heat, Latent Heat, Chemical Combination, and Solution, “are still open”; in 1872 the passage was altered (Bain’s influence may be assumed) to read, “were long open and are not yet completely closed”. (Cf. 716m-m, where the reference to “the secondary” and “tertiary” geological periods was altered to “the palæozoic, mesozoic, and tertiary” in 1872; and 721s-s, where the “azote” of earlier editions became “nitrogen” in 1862.) Changes directly revealing the passage of time between editions, more necessary and frequent in the Principles than here, but made vaguely and erratically in both, are illustrated at 679a-a, where “a few thinkers of the present generation” was altered in 1868 to “a few thinkers of the present century”.

Of the third type of variants, those that qualify, emphasize, or give technical clarity, one of the most interesting is indicated at 686b-b and d, where in the first case “necessarily” was changed to “certainly”, and in the second “necessarily” was deleted, both changes being made in 1868. In his Principles of Psychology (1st ed., 1855), Spencer had criticized Mill’s use of the term “necessity,” and in a note added to the Logic in 1856 (267n), Mill, without conceding his ground, says that he has “corrected the expressions” which led Spencer to misapprehend his meaning. The point is further discussed in a letter to W. G. Ward of 28 November, 1859. The kind of change referred to in the note of 1856 will be seen at 252c-c and d-d, 257t-t, 260a, and 261e, in the fourth of which Mill deleted, from the title of Book II, Chapter vi, §5, the words “and of logical necessity”; but Mill continued, Edition: current; Page: [xcii] as the cited variants in Book IV indicate, to make related changes in later editions.124

The most common variants of this third type involve qualification, as Mill typically tries to be as precise as his information and experience, and the vagaries of language, allow. See, for example, 722a-a, where “possibly” replaced “probably” in 1868, and in the next sentence (722b) where the manuscript reading “perhaps” was deleted in proof. Other examples are the change from “utterly lost” to “in danger of being totally lost” in 1851 (682o-o), and the deletion of “so far as I am aware” in 1856 (707h) and of “(what appears to be the truest opinion)” in 1872 (650f). Attempts to give philosophical clarity to phrases may be seen in the change in 1865 (within a passage added in 1862) of “predicated” to “affirmed” (660d-d), and, in a passage relating to perception, the change in 1851 from “seem to see” to “see what seems” (642d-d; cf. 642e-e). A change of a similar sort, perhaps reflecting a friend’s criticism, is seen at 688c-c, where the term “villain or villein” is applied to those subject to “the less onerous forms of feudal bondage”; until 1846 this read “the least onerous form of feudal bondage, those serfs who were adscripti glebæ”. And one further variant may be cited, to illustrate the difficulty of precisely accounting for some of these changes: in illustrating the folly of ignoring habitual associations when applying terms, Mill cites (671b-b) the imaginary case of calling “the higher classes in Europe savages”; until 1872 “France or England” appeared in the place of “Europe”.125

The fourth type of variant, that which is verbal, or gives semantic clarity, or reflects changing word usage, is the most common, and is not without importance, especially in cumulative effect. A few, of varying kinds, may be cited in illustration. A frequent change (see, e.g., 670l-l) is of “men” to “people” or “mankind” (and “a man” or “he” to “a person”) in 1851, Edition: current; Page: [xciii] a change also found in the 3rd edition of the Principles in the next year.126 A hint that the term “philosopher” was being more strictly applied by Mill, and perhaps generally, at mid-century, is seen in the frequent substitution of another term: in 1851 at 657e-e “philosophers” became “inquirers”, at 664a-a “thinkers”, at 709s-s “writers”, at 680d-d “metaphysicians”, and at 428f-f “astronomers”. There are many similar changes (not all in the 3rd edition): for example, at 666a-a “metaphysicians” became “thinkers” in 1868. The meaning of “scientific” is also involved, as “philosophic” became “scientific” inquirers, writers, or thinkers, in various places at various times.

Mill’s desire for semantic clarity, simply illustrated at 644k-k (the introduction of “that” in 1862), often, though not so often as in the Principles, led him into double and triple revision: on 655p-p, where the final reading is “This is the tentative process which Dr. Whewell speaks of; and which has not unnaturally suggested the theory . . .”, the manuscript reading of the second clause is “and this it is which suggests the theory . . .”; in the 1st edition it reads “and this it is which suggested the theory”; and in the 2nd edition the final version is introduced. Mill’s sharing of the common infirmities of mankind may be seen in his frequent uncertainty over verbal forms and agreement with collective nouns; see, e.g., 644i-i, where he cancelled the “s” on “remains” in the manuscript, and returned to the singular form in 1865; and 647d-d, where “corresponds” became “correspond” in 1846. Sometimes this verbal hesitation also led to multiple changes, as at 697q-q and r-r, where the manuscript reading of the passage is “mankind now see the meaning which before they only felt, and will . . .”; in the 1st and 2nd editions the reading is “mankind shall see the meaning which before they only felt, and shall . . .”; in the 3rd edition the first “shall” became “can”, but in the 4th “shall” was restored.127

As Table 3 shows, most of the changes between the manuscript and the 1st edition are of a minor kind. Two special types may be mentioned, as indicating the printers’ difficulty in reading Mill’s hand, and Mill’s return in later editions to a manuscript reading, sometimes to a cancelled reading. Both are seen at 646e-e, where the manuscript’s “those” was printed as “these” in 1843 and 1846, with “those” appearing again in 1851. (Cf. 670m-m.) The second type is seen at 664b-b, where in the manuscript “the Edition: current; Page: [xciv] sole” replaced the cancelled “the” which was, however, restored for the 1st edition, and at 689g-g, where in the manuscript Mill wrote “the two” and then cancelled “two”, “the” appearing in all editions until 1862, when it was replaced by “two”.

When one turns from the substantive variants to the accidentals, exceedingly complex problems emerge, without dominant patterns to guide interpretation or editorial practice.128 There are a bewildering number of changes in punctuation, the great majority being between the manuscript and the 1st edition. Again taking Book IV as typical, one finds some 940 changes, over 700 of them between the manuscript and the 1st edition. Most of these (696 overall; 528 in the 1st edition) involve the addition or deletion of a comma (or two enclosing commas), with the additions outnumbering the deletions about five to three. The most frequent changes apart from comma addition and deletion are the replacement of a comma with a semi-colon and the reverse, and a colon with a semi-colon and the reverse, in those orders. With the exception of the 1st edition, the frequency of punctuation changes approximates that of the substantive changes, with more occurring in the heavily revised 3rd edition, though there are, compared with substantive variants, relatively more in the 6th edition and relatively fewer in the 4th.129

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The largest number of changes in initial capitalization also was made in the proof revisions for the 1st edition, which is far less heavily capitalized than the manuscript, seventy-three single or linked words having their initial letters reduced in the Preface and Introduction alone. In subsequent editions there was a slight tendency to reduce capitals, most marked in the 3rd edition, where twenty-seven capitals are reduced, and ten introduced. No consistent practice is discernible, however, and in some cases (especially A/a, K/k, M/m)130 difficulty in reading Mill’s hand is probably responsible for some changes and some inconsistencies.

Similarly, a comparison of the manuscript with the 1st edition reveals the largest number of changes in word division and hyphenation, in the work as a whole 148 hyphens being added (of just over 200 added in all editions) and nine (of fifty-four) being removed. Nearly one-third of the total additions occur after the prefixes “co”, “pre”, and “re”; “to-day” and “to-morrow” become the standard forms in the 1st edition; and hyphens are introduced into numbers such as “ninety-nine” and fractions such as “one-half.” Here too, though printing-house practice was undoubtedly responsible for many, if not most, of the changes (in the 1st edition especially), there are many inconsistencies, and again Mill’s intentions in the manuscript are not always clear.

Like comments are appropriate on the spelling changes, which also are most frequent between the manuscript and the 1st edition. Some of these, however, are made with such regularity that they seem to reflect house practice: in 1843, changes from “enquire” to “inquire”, “shew” to “show”, “chuse” to “choose”; in 1856, “premiss” to “premise”.131 The most common (though not always consistent) alterations that suggest house practice are from “z” to “s” and the reverse (usually in participles): “analyse” becomes “analyze” in 1843, and “analyse” again in 1851; the manuscript “characterize” is spelled with an “s” in 1843, and returns to “z” in 1851; and “recognize” normally becomes “recognise” in 1843 and remains in that form. These of course reflect, as do most of the other changes, uncertainties and alterations in common nineteenth-century spelling, and the later and earlier forms of all these words appear in other Mill holographs.

Other less frequent and less consistent changes (with late forms sometimes Edition: current; Page: [xcvi] appearing as early as the manuscript, and early forms persisting in late editions) include “develope” to “develop”, “decypher” to “decipher”, “favor” and “honor” to “favour” and “honour” (all these usually made in 1843; the last example shows a tendency to consistency, for the usual manuscript form is “our”). While “mixt”, “dropt”, and “stopt” all took “ed” forms in 1843, “learnt” was not altered in 1843, though it was in five cases in later editions, but both “learnt” and “learned” are found in the manuscript and in all editions.132 A few changes have minor separate interest: “Houyhnhms” (which also appears in the Early Draft) was corrected to “Houyhnhnms” in 1851 and 1856; “Spinosa” altered to “Spinoza” in 1862 and 1868; “Majendie” to “Magendie” in 1865; and “schirrus” to “scirrhus” (both, surprisingly, acceptable) in 1862.

As a final comment on the accidentals, one may note the tendency to reduce italicization: there are over two hundred cases where roman replaced italic, as against a handful of reverse cases. Here the reduction is most marked in the 5th and 6th editions.


This lengthy treatment of the details, great and small, of the history of Mill’s Logic has perhaps obscured the main pattern. Table 4, which isolates the most salient points in that history, is an attempt to re-establish the broader perspective. As the account above indicates, the dates for the manuscripts are not certain, though the termini ad quos are generally reliable, and two manuscript versions are not now extant (Mill’s holograph of the Early Draft and the complete draft preceding the Press-copy Manuscript).


One matter not covered in Table 4 is the debt Mill owed to others. Kubitz, in his Development of John Stuart Mill’s System of Logic, gives an instructive, if somewhat outdated, account up to 1843, and the text of the Logic itself gives important evidence, which can here only be summarized. In his Preface, Mill characteristically remarks that the Logic is “an attempt not to supersede, but to embody and systematize, the best ideas . . . promulgated on its subject by speculative thinkers, or conformed to by accurate Edition: current; Page: [xcvii] thinkers in their scientific inquiries.” Somewhat more strongly, he goes on to say that the subject has never yet been “treated as a whole,” and his originality lies only in trying to “cement” and “harmonize.”

Whatever one’s view of the justice of these remarks, they point to the use Mill makes of other thinkers. As Appendix K, the Bibliographic Appendix, shows, this use was extensive: some 250 individuals and 200 works being referred to, and 125 quoted from. Most frequently cited are Whewell (nine works referred to, and six quoted from, often at length), Comte, Bain, Spencer and Whately.133 The British empiricists are often mentioned (Hume is slighted) but seldom quoted (except Bain); similarly with the Scottish Common-Sense school. There are quite a few references to, and a few quotations from, the Continental Rationalists, but the Idealists (five mentions of Kant, and three of Hegel) are really not used to any extent. Aristotle and (vaguely) the “scholastic logicians” or “Aristotelians” are quite widely cited, and (in Book III) a variety of scientific monographs is quoted or summarized. Mill refers to ten of his own writings, and quotes, at considerable length, from six of them.

Mill’s notes to his sources are typical of nineteenth-century practice, often too slight for immediate and precise identification; his quotations are fairly accurate (more so, on the whole, than in the Principles), but there is considerable departure from his originals in accidentals, and there are some errors in transcription.

Some of the points brought out by a study of Mill’s sources (which Appendix K is intended to facilitate) may be mentioned here. Evidence of the help given by Mill’s friends is seen, for example, in Grote’s marginal markings in his copies of Brandis’s Handbuch and Preller and Ritter’s Historia, of passages cited by Mill. Variant readings sometimes establish which form of a particular source Mill was using (see, for example, the entries under Whewell and Herschel).

Hints towards the interpretation of other of Mill’s writings may be drawn from some of the references: for example, his treatment of James Martineau’s “On the Life, Character, and Works of Dr. Priestley” points to the influence of that essay on Mill’s theory of poetry.134 The variants in his

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1830 Notes on Terms and Propositions (i-v) (see Book VI) Notes (?) on method of Political Philosophy (vii; related to II, iv-vi)
1830-32 Draft of theory of Syllogism (i-iii) Working out of doctrine of Liberty and Necessity (ii) (date indeterminate)
Draft of i-vi (?)
1834 Early Draft Early Draft (1st stage), i-vi Early Draft (1st stage), i-iii
Early Draft (2nd stage), vii-viii Early Draft (2nd stage), ii-iii (roughly)
1836-37 Early Draft (3rd stage), iv-vi
Draft of early chaps.
1837 autumn Draft of three chaps.
1838 summer Theory of Kinds, v-vi, and iii revised Complete Draft Complete Draft Draft of ii
1839-40 Complete draft Complete draft
1841 MS to Murray, December Press-copy MS Press-copy MS Press-copy MS Press-copy MS
1842 MS to Murray, February Press-copy MS Press-copy MS Final draft (see below)
MS to Parker, March
July-Dec Revision of Press-copy MS
iii revised ix and xiii added
January iv added, ix-x rewritten
January to March Proof revision
1846 xviii and latter part of xxv rewritten 2nd edition, revised
1851 Sectioning of viii altered Supplementary note to iii added ii, 5, v, 11 (as 9), and xviii, 4 added; v, 9 rewritten; note added to ix, 5; xxi partly rewritten and sectioning altered xi (became xii after 5th ed.), 5-6 rewritten as 5-7 3rd edition, revised
1856 vii added x, 4 rewritten 4th edition, revised
1862 iii, 8 added, and supplementary note to iii rewritten and redisposed note added to ix, 5 in 51 became ix, 6 xi added (former xi became xii) 5th edition, revised
1865 iii, 9 added ix, 4 added; and xiii, 1-3 revised 6th edition, revised
1868 7th edition, revised
1872 vii, 4 added v, 5 and 10 added; part of x, 4 deleted 8th edition, revised
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quotations from his “Coleridge” and Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy are useful in dating composition and revision, and a comparison of his quotation from his “On Miss Martineau’s Summary of Political Economy” with the original gives variant readings for that essay.

The revision of an example (that of the sentinel off his post, 331n-332n) is explained when one sees the full passage from Hutton’s “Mill and Whewell on the Logic of Induction,” from which Mill quotes only a part. Somewhat more complicated is the case of Mill’s citations from Prout’s Chemistry, Meteorology, and the Function of Digestion (identified by Mill simply as a “Bridgewater Treatise”): he twice quotes from it in exemplifying fallacies; Prout, in his 3rd edition (1845, after the publication of the Logic) rewrote the first passage (having already altered it in the 2nd edition before Mill’s work appeared), and deleted the second (also rewritten in the 2nd edition); in 1846, perhaps having looked at Prout’s 3rd edition, Mill deleted the second quotation.

Finally, a few examples of departures from the source readings may be mentioned: the printers’ difficulty in reading Mill’s hand is probably shown at 885b-b, where “whenever” appears rather than “wherever”; this may also be the case at 101.n10 where “concrete form” rather than “correcter form” appears. Some of these are treated below as typographical errors, when the sense requires the change, as in the last example, or when there is supporting evidence, as at 640.11 and 12, where “que ceux” rather than “que de ceux” appears in the final two editions, with the correct form earlier; and at 357.28, where the omission of closing quotation marks in the 5th and subsequent editions cloaks the omission of a paragraph from Reid’s Essay on the Active Powers of Man. And at 577.24, in a passage added in 1872, where Mill cites Bain as saying that induction involves a “leap in the dark,” Bain says “leap to the future” and “the leap, the hazard of Induction”: was Mill recalling Lord Derby’s famous reference to the Reform Bill of 1867?


the narrative and analytical complexities, and the bias inherent in any selective treatment of Mill’s revisions make apparent the value of a text giving full variant readings. In the text below, therefore, the 8th edition, Edition: current; Page: [ci] the last in Mill’s lifetime,135 is printed with the substantive textual changes found in a complete collation of the eight editions and the Press-copy Manuscript. “Substantive” here means all changes in text except spelling, capitalization, word division, punctuation, italicization, demonstrable typographical errors, alterations in footnote references and style, such printing-house concerns as type size and orthographic changes between the manuscript and the printed text (such as “&” for “and” and superscripts in abbreviations).136

A glance at any of the heavily revised pages in this edition will reveal the difficulties in providing variant readings without making the text difficult to follow. Mill’s own recognition of the desirability and the difficulty of recording variants is seen in a letter to De Morgan, where he says: “I have sometimes thought I ought to have some mark for alterations and additions. But one could scarcely give distinctive marks to all the successive strata of new matter, and a mere note of distinction from the edition immediately previous would not answer the [purposes of] those readers who only possess a still earlier one.”137 No one has yet done anything for the Edition: current; Page: [cii] unfortunate owners of “still earlier” editions (though they may of course own valuable first editions and so be comforted), but our hope is that the method here adopted will meet the needs of all other readers. It is intended to provide a text as little interrupted by editorial apparatus as possible, variant readings that allow reconstruction of the earlier texts without separate instructions for each variant, and the minimum number of levels of text on each page consistent with accuracy and the above objectives. The method is harder to describe than to apply, as testing a few examples will indicate; one may well bear in mind, however, the note found in some construction kits: if all else fails, follow the instructions.

On a typical page, there will be three levels of text: the text of the 8th edition; in slightly smaller type, Mill’s own footnotes; in smaller type again, footnotes containing the variant readings. In the text itself, the usual indicators (*, †, etc.) call attention to Mill’s footnotes; where editorial notes of reference are added, they (and the indicators) appear in square brackets; small italic superscript letters, in alphabetical sequence (beginning anew in each section) call attention to variant readings. These variants are of three kinds: addition of a word or words, substitution of a word or words, deletion of a word or words. Illustrative examples will be drawn mainly from the early pages of the text.

Addition of a word or words: see 11b-b. In the text, the words “consciously or unconsciously” appear as “bconsciously or unconsciouslyb”; the variant note reads “b-b+51, 56, 62, 65, 68, 72”. Here the plus sign indicates that the words “consciously or unconsciously” were added; the following numbers (51, 56, 62, 65, 68, 72) indicate the editions in which they appear. The editions are always indicated by the last two numbers of the year of publication, as follows: 43 = 1843 (1st edition) 46 = 1846 (2nd edition), 51 = 1851 (3rd edition), 56 = 1856 (4th edition). 62 = 1862 (5th edition), 65 = 1865 (6th edition), 68 = 1868 (7th edition), 72 = 1872 (8th edition). The Press-copy Manuscript is indicated by MS. If the variant occurs within a quotation, and the earlier version (i.e., that in the variant note) is the reading of the source from which Mill is quoting, the word “Source” precedes the manuscript and edition indicators in the variant note (see, e.g., 885b-b). (If the reading in the text, as opposed to that in the variant note, were the same as that of the source, “Source” would not appear.) If the text varies from the source, but not among editions, there is no variant note (the variant reading is given, however, in the Bibliographic Appendix; see, e.g., the entry for 250.19 under Herschel’s “Whewell on the Inductive Sciences”).

Placing the example (11b-b) in context, then, the interpretation is that from the manuscript through the 2nd edition, the reading is “every mind Edition: current; Page: [ciii] conforms”; in the 3rd edition (51) this was altered to “every mind consciously or unconsciously conforms”, and the reading of the 3rd edition was retained (as is clear in the text) in all subsequent editions through the 8th.

It should be noted that when the variant is a long one, the second enclosing superscript may appear on the next page, or even several pages after the first; when necessary, to make reference easier, the superscript notation in the footnote (which appears on the same page as the first superscript) will give the page number on which the variant passage concludes (see, e.g., 147w-w148).

Substitution of a word or words: see 12b-b. In the text the word “advancing” appears as “badvancingb”; the variant note reads “b-bMS, 43, 46, 51, 56 proceeding”. Here the word following the edition indicators is that for which “advancing” was substituted; again applying the rules and putting the variant in context, the interpretation is that from the manuscript through the 4th edition (56) the reading is “of proceeding from known truths”; in the 5th edition this was altered to “of advancing from known truths”, and the reading of the 5th edition was retained (as is clear in the text) through the 8th edition.

In a few places, to reduce the number of superscripts and to indicate linked changes, the procedure exemplified at 145l-l is followed. Here the passage in the text begins “lto which” and concludes “appealsl”; the note reads “l-lMS which . . . appeals to”. The interpretation is that in 1843 Mill moved “to” from the end of the sentence to before “which” without altering the rest of the passage, the unrecorded words being indicated in the note by the marks of ellipsis.

Deletion of a word or words: see 11e. In the text, a single superscript e appears centred between “often” and “correctly”; the variant note reads “eMS, 43, 46 very”. Here the word following the edition indicators is that deleted; applying the rules and putting the variant in context, the interpretation is that the reading through the 2nd edition (46) was “often very correctly”; the word “very” was deleted in the 3rd edition and the reading of the 3rd edition was retained (as is clear in the text) through the 8th.

Variants within variants. As mentioned above, Mill often altered a passage more than once. Such rewritings require different treatments. In most cases, the procedure exemplified at 28a-a is followed. Here the text reads “aGeorge, Marya”, and the variant note reads “a-aMS, 43, 46 Peter, George] 51 Peter, George, Mary”. The different readings are given in chronological order, separated by a square bracket; the interpretation is that in the manuscript and 1st and 2nd editions the reading was “truly affirmed of John, Peter, George, and other persons”; in the 3rd edition this was altered to “truly affirmed of John, Peter, George, Mary, and other Edition: current; Page: [civ] persons”; and the final reading, “truly affirmed of John, George, and Mary”, first appeared in the 4th edition.138

In longer variants of this sort, it seems unnecessary to repeat the whole passage, and so such variant notes as that at 25c-c appear, where the note reads “c-cMS but that the physical object, the sun himself, is the cause from which the outward phenomenon, day, follows as an effect] 43, 46 as MS . . . the sun itself . . . as MS”; the interpretation is that the 1st and 2nd editions have the same reading as the manuscript, except for the word “itself” which is substituted for “himself”, and that the final reading was reached in the 3rd edition.

A similar procedure is adopted for some contiguous variants, to reduce the number of superscripts. At 3c-c, for example, the note reads “c-cMS, 43, 46 There cannot be agreement about the definition of a thing] 51, 56 as 72 . . . of a thing”; this procedure avoids the placing of another pair of superscripts around the word “anything” in the text, “a thing” (the only retention in 51, 56 from the earlier reading) being the only departure in 51, 56 from the 72 text. In other words, the interpretation is that the final reading appeared in the 3rd and 4th editions, except for the final two words (“a thing”) in which they agree with the MS and 1st and 2nd editions; “anything” replaced “a thing” in the 5th edition and was retained through the 8th. (Cf. 5e-e for similar treatment of a slightly different kind of variant.)

In other places, for the reader’s convenience, especially where a substitution or deletion appears in the middle of an earlier and lengthy substitution, the variants within variants are indicated in the text by superscripts placed within other superscripts: see, e.g., 14n-n and o-o. Here the passage indicated by n-n was given its final form in the 3rd edition, except for the words indicated by o-o, which appeared only in the 7th and 8th editions.

In all cases, variants within variants conclude as indicated. For example, at 614g-g616 there is no footnote in 46, 51, 56, 62; and at 625q-q626 the version in 46 ends “Disbelief.”

Variants in Mill’s footnotes. These are treated in the same manner as other variants, the alphabetical superscripts (and consequently the placing Edition: current; Page: [cv] of the variant notes at the foot of the page) following the order dictated by a reading of Mill’s footnotes where they appear in the text. Again for convenience exceptional treatment is accorded footnotes added subsequent to the manuscript and retained throughout (sometimes with altered wording): here, in the footnote after the indicator, a square-bracketed edition indicator shows when the footnote first appeared. At 6n, for example, the note begins: “*[62] I use . . . ”, indicating that it was added in the 5th edition, and was retained in the 6th, 7th, and 8th. If no such indicator appears, the note is in the manuscript as well as all subsequent editions (see, e.g., 8n).

The same practice is used for the epigraphs to the several Books; see, e.g., 18.

Accidental variants. For reasons given earlier, these are not normally indicated in this edition. If, however, they occur within a variant, the earlier form is given (e.g., “&” appears in readings that occur only in manuscript), and the superscripts are placed exactly with reference to punctuation. Changes within variants, however, like changes in non-variant passages, are not indicated, so that if a reference is, say, to “MS, 43, 46”, the accidentals derive from the 2nd edition, the last cited.

Prefaces. To indicate clearly the special matters to which Mill wished to call attention in the successive editions, the additional prefatory matter in each edition is given in chronological order; variant notes indicate in the usual way changes in the material that appeared in all editions.

Other textual liberties. Typographical errors in the 8th edition have been silently corrected; a full list is given in Appendix I. (Where the authority for alternate readings is inconclusive, the final reading is retained, and the variant note concludes with “[printer’s error?]”.) Mill’s section titles in the Table of Contents have been introduced, in square brackets and italics, after each section number, so that the argumentative transitions can be followed without constant reference to the Table of Contents. (The wording of these titles has been slightly altered in a few cases to suit the different provenance.) Long quotations have been set in smaller type; this restyling leads to apparent anomalies between the variant notes and the text where, as at 761e, quotation marks appear in the variant, while restyling has removed them from the text. When necessary, Mill’s references to sources have been amplified and corrected,139 with all added information being Edition: current; Page: [cvi] placed in square brackets; internal references to the Logic have been altered to apply to the present edition. References to sources not identified by Mill have been added, with both indicators and footnotes in square brackets. Indications of ellipsis in quotations have been standardized to three dots plus, when required, terminal punctuation. A few trivial alterations in printing style have been made, such as the removal of periods after section titles and of dashes when combined with other punctuation as introducing quotations and references, and the restyling of chapter titles. The running heads have been modified to suit this edition’s format. Finally, in a few places where Mill removed italics from words used as examples, the italics have been returned for clarity.


Appendix A consists of the Early Draft of the Logic, with a headnote describing the manuscript, and setting out the editorial apparatus. The Early Draft has been printed in full, rather than in variant notes, because, though it closely parallels in many places the Press-copy Manuscript, there are more, and more complicated, variants than can intelligibly be accommodated in our method.

Appendices B-H contain variant passages of the Logic so lengthy or so heavily revised that they too require special treatment. Appendix B consists of the Supplementary Note to Book II, Chapter iii, in the 3rd and 4th editions, with the text taken from the 4th edition and variant notes giving the readings of the 3rd edition and those of later editions that incorporated parts of the Note. Appendix C consists of Book III, Chapter v, §9, in the MS, 1st and 2nd editions, with the text taken from the 2nd edition, and variant notes giving the readings of the MS and 1st edition. Appendix D consists Edition: current; Page: [cvii] of the complicated variant in Book III, Chapter x, §4 (at the end of the penultimate paragraph) in the 56, 62, 65, 68 versions, with the text taken from the 7th edition, and variant notes giving the readings of the 4th, 5th, and 6th; to this are added the papers written by Mill and Bain on the Conservation of Force, and supporting correspondence between them. Appendix E consists of Book III, Chapter xiii, §§1-3 in the MS, 43, 46, 51, 56, 62 versions, with the text taken from the 5th edition, and variant notes giving the readings of the MS, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th editions. Appendix F consists of Book III, Chapter xviii in the MS and 43 versions, with the text taken from the 1st edition, and variant notes giving the manuscript readings. Appendix G consists of Book III, Chapter xxv, §6, in the MS and 43 versions, with the text taken from the 1st edition, and variant notes giving the readings of the manuscript. Appendix H consists of Book VI, Chapter xii, §6, in the MS, 43, 46 versions, with the text taken from the 2nd edition, and variant notes giving the readings of the manuscript and 1st edition.

Appendix I lists the typographical errors in the 8th edition that are silently corrected in the text, and the manuscript slips of the pen that are not recorded in variant notes.

Appendix J gives an account of the Press-copy Manuscript, with examples of cancelled readings.

Appendix K, the Bibliographic Appendix, which lists all the persons and works quoted or referred to in the Logic, is designed to give a guide to logical writings and references in the nineteenth century, and also to Mill’s reading and to influences on him. Substantive variants between Mill’s quotations and his sources are given, both to correct misquotations and to provide contexts for partial quotations. Because this appendix includes all references to persons and books, it is in effect also an index of names and titles, which are therefore omitted from the Index proper.

The Index, a most essential doorway into a work so long and complicated as the Logic, has been prepared by R. F. McRae.

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For permission to publish manuscript material, we are greatly indebted to the National Provincial Bank (literary executors and residual legatees of Mary Taylor, Mill’s step-grand-daughter), to the Pierpont Morgan Library (the Early Draft), the British Museum (the Press-copy Manuscript), and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University (the Bain-Mill material in Appendix D). I should like to express my deep gratitude to the staffs of the British Museum Reading Room and Manuscript Room, the University of London Library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science, the Somerville College Library, and the University of Toronto Library. To Professors McRae and Priestley, and the other members of the Editorial Committee of the Collected Works, to the copy-editor of the Logic, Rosemary Shipton, and the editorial and printing staff of the University of Toronto Press, my warm gratitude for long-suffering and guidance. My debts to others, incurred over the long years while this edition was in preparation, are numerous and varied; omissions from the following list should be attributed not to ingratitude but to failing memory or embarrassment: Francis E. Mineka (first and affectionately foremost), Pauline Adams, Peter and Caroline Allen, J. H. Burns, Kathleen Coburn, Daniel de Montmollin, Walter Houghton, J. R. de J. Jackson, Patricia Kennedy, Elizabeth Korotash, Dennis Lee, Judith Le Goff, John McClelland, Anne McWhir, Penelope Nettlefold, Gordon N. Ray, Francis Sparshott, the late Adelaide Weinberg, Ian Willison, and Elizabeth Zymans. And to my wife, the only one who can understand why it took me as long to edit this work as it took Mill to write it, my loving thanks for material aid and shared experience.

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Edition: current; Page: [cx] Edition: current; Page: [cxi]

[To all editions]

this book makes no pretence of giving to the world a new theory of athea intellectual operations. Its claim to attention, if it possess any, is grounded on the fact that it is an attempt not to supersede, but to embody and systematize, the best ideas which have been either promulgated on its subject by speculative writers, or conformed to by accurate thinkers in their scientific inquiries.

To cement together the detached fragments of a subject, never yet treated as a whole; to harmonize the true portions of discordant theories, by supplying the links of thought necessary to connect them, and bbyb disentangling them from the errors with which they are always more or less interwoven; must necessarily require a considerable amount of original speculation. To other originality than this, the present work lays no claim. In the existing state of the cultivation of the sciences, there would be a very strong presumption against any one who should imagine cthat he hadc effected a revolution in the theory of the investigation of truth, or dadded any fundamentally new eprocesse to the practice of it. The improvement which remains to be effected in fthef methods of philosophizing (and the gauthor believes that they have much need of improvement) can only consist in performing, more systematically and accurately, operations with which, at least in their elementary form, the human intellect in some one or other of its employments is already familiar.

In the portion of the work which treats of Ratiocination, the author has not deemed it necessary to enter into technical details which may be obtained in so perfect a shape from the existing treatises on what is termed the Logic of the Schools. In the contempt entertained by many modern philosophers for the syllogistic art, it will be seen that he by no means participates; though the scientific theory on which its defence is usually rested appears to him Edition: current; Page: [cxii] erroneous: and the view which he has suggested of the nature and functions of the Syllogism may, perhaps, afford the means of conciliating the principles of the art with as much as is well grounded in the doctrines and objections of its assailants.

The same abstinence from details could not be observed in the First Book, on Names and Propositions; because many useful principles and distinctions which were contained in the old Logic, have been gradually omitted from the writings of its later teachers; and it appeared desirable both to revive these, and to reform and rationalize the philosophical foundation on which they stood. The earlier chapters of this preliminary Book will consequently appear, to some readers, needlessly elementary and scholastic. But those who know in what darkness the nature of our knowledge, and of the hprocesses by which it is obtainedh, is often involved by a confused apprehension of the import of the different classes of Words and Assertions, will not regard these discussions as either frivolous, or irrelevant to the topics considered in the later Books.

On the subject of Induction, the itaski to be performed was that of generalizing the modes of investigating truth and estimating evidence, by which so many important and recondite laws of nature have, in the various sciences, been aggregated to the stock of human knowledge. That this jisj not a task free from difficulty may be presumed from the fact, that even at a very recent period, eminent writers (among whom it is sufficient to name Archbishop Whately, and the author of a celebrated article on Bacon in the Edinburgh Review)[*] have not scrupled to pronounce it impossible.* The Edition: current; Page: [cxiii] author has endeavoured to combat their theory in the manner in which Diogenes confuted the sceptical reasonings against the possibility of motion; remembering that Diogenes’ argument would have been equally conclusive, though his individual perambulations might not have extended beyond the circuit of his own tub.

lWhatever may be the value of what the author hasl succeeded in effecting on this branch of his subject, it is a duty to acknowledge that for mmuch of itm he has been indebted to several important treatises, partly historical and partly philosophical, on the generalities and processes of physical science, which have been published within the last few years. To nthesen treatises, and to their authors, he has endeavoured to do ojustice in the body of the work. But as with one of these writers, pDr.p Whewell, he has occasion frequently to express differences of opinion, it is more particularly incumbent on him in this place to declare, that without the aid derived from the facts and ideas contained in that gentleman’s History of the Inductive Sciences,[*] the corresponding portion of this work would probably qnotq have been written.

The concluding Book is an attempt to contribute towards the solution of a question, which the decay of old opinions, and the agitation rthatr disturbs European society to its inmost depths, render as important in the present day to the practical interests of human life, as it must at all times be to the completeness of our speculative knowledge: viz. Whether moral and social phenomena are really exceptions to the general certainty and uniformity of the course of nature; and how far the methods, by which so many of the laws of the physical world have been numbered among truths irrevocably acquired and universally assented to, can be made instrumental to the sformation of a similar body of received doctrine in moral and political science.

[Additional paragraph in MS, 1st (1843), and 2nd (1846) editions only]

While the views promulgated in these volumes still await the verdict of competent judges, it would have been useless to attempt to make the exposition of them so elementary, as to be suited to readers wholly unacquainted with the subject. It can scarcely be hoped that the Second Book will be Edition: current; Page: [cxiv] throughout intelligible to any one who has not gone carefully through some one of the common treatises on Logic; tamong which that of Archbishop Whately is, on every account, to be preferred. And the Third Book presupposes some degree of acquaintance with the most general truths of mathematics, as well as of the principal branches of physical science, and with the evidence on which those doctrines rest. Among books professedly treating of the mental phenomena, a previous familiarity with the earlier portion of Dr. Brown’s Lectures or with his treatise on Cause and Effect,[*] would, though not indispensable, be advantageous; that philosopher having, in the author’s judgment, taken a more correct view than any other English writer on the subject, of the ultimate intellectual laws of scientific inquiry; while his unusual powers of popularly stating and felicitously illustrating whatever he understood, urender his works the best preparation which can be suggested, for speculations similar to those contained in this Treatise.

[Concluding paragraph in the 2nd edition (1846) only]

The present edition has been carefully revised, and all errors corrected which have been either discovered by the author himself, or pointed out by others. The only portions which have been materially changed are the chapter on the Calculation of Chances,[†] and the latter part of that on the Grounds of Disbelief;[‡] on both which topics the author has been indebted to Sir John Herschel, and to Mr. J. M. Macleod, for some important rectifications of his original conclusions.

[Additional Preface to the 3rd (1851) and subsequent editions[§]]

Several criticisms, of a more or less controversial character, on this work, have appeared since the publication of the second edition; and Dr. Whewell has lately published a reply to those parts of it in which some of his opinions were controverted.*

I have carefully reconsidered all the points on which my conclusions have been assailed. But I have not to announce a change of opinion on any matter Edition: current; Page: [cxv] of importance. Such minor oversights as have been detected, either by myself or by my critics, I have, in general silently, corrected: but it is not to be inferred that I agree with the objections which have been made to a passage, in every instance in which I have altered or cancelled it. I have often done so, merely that it might not remain a stumbling-block, when the amount of discussion necessary to place the matter in its true light would have exceeded what was suitable to the occasion.

To several of the arguments which have been urged against me, I have thought it useful to reply with some degree of minuteness; not from any taste for controversy, but because the opportunity was favourable for placing my own conclusions, and the grounds of them, more clearly and completely before the reader. Truth on these subjects is militant, and can only establish itself by means of conflict. The most opposite opinions can make a plausible show of evidence while each has the statement of its own case; and it is only possible to ascertain which of them is in the right, after hearing and comparing what each can say against the other, and what the other can urge in its defence.

Even the criticisms from which I most dissent have been of great service to me, by showing in what places the exposition most needed to be improved, or the vargumentv strengthened. And I should have been well pleased if the book had undergone a much greater amount of attack; as in that case I should probably have been enabled to improve it still more than I believe I have now done.

[Concluding paragraph in the 4th edition (1856) only]

The wish expressed in the preceding paragraph has subsequently been fulfilled, and a considerable number of additions have consequently been made in the present fourth edition. The most important of these relate to the doctrine of Causation, and to the incessantly renewed attempt to make human conceptions, and supposed incapacities of conception, the test of objective truth. On the latter subject I have thought it useful to discuss, in some detail, the opinions promulgated by a writer, the great value of some of whose contributions to analytic psychology makes me sincerely regret that the only part of his speculations which falls within the scope of the present treatise, is a part which I am compelled to controvert.

[Concluding paragraph in the 5th edition (1862) only]

In the present fifth edition, many minor improvements have been made, and an entire chapter[*] has been added to the concluding Book, for the purpose of further clearing up the idea of the Science of History, and removing some of the misconceptions by which it is obscured.

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[Concluding paragraphs in the 6th edition (1865) only]

In the present (sixth) edition a cause of complaint has been removed, which could hardly have arisen at a much earlier period. The main doctrines of this treatise are on the whole compatible with either of the conflicting theories respecting the ultimate structure of the human mind—the à priori or intuitional theory, and the experiential theory: though they may require from the former, or rather from certain forms of it, the sacrifice of some of its outworks. I had, therefore, as announced in the Introduction, abstained as much as possible from carrying the inquiry beyond the peculiar field of Logic, into the remoter metaphysical regions of thought, and have been content to express the doctrines and reasonings of Logic in terms which are the common property of both the contending schools of metaphysicians. This reserve was probably favourable, in the first instance, to the reception of the work; but a time came when some readers became impatient of it. Finding that the investigations continually stopped short because they could not have been carried further without entering on the higher metaphysics, some were disposed to conclude that the author had not himself ventured to pursue his speculations into that province, and that if he had done so he might probably have brought back from that region different conclusions from those arrived at in the work. The reader has now the means of satisfying himself whether this is the case or not. I have indeed maintained the same abstinence as in the former editions from the actual discussion of any but a few outlying questions of metaphysics, since no other plan seems to me appropriate to a treatise on Logic; but the place of such discussion has been supplied by references to a work recently published, An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy,[*] in which will be found the remainder of the investigations which have necessarily been cut short in these pages. In a few cases in which it appeared possible and appropriate, as in the concluding section of chap. iii of the Second Book, a place has been made for the substance of what has been set forth and explained with greater fulness in the separate work.

Of the numerous minor improvements in this edition, the only one which is worth special notice is the addition of some new and apt examples of inductive and deductive investigation, in the room of others which the progress of science has superseded, or failed to confirm.

[Concluding paragraph in the 7th edition (1868) only]

In the subsequent editions,[†] the attempt to improve the work by additions and corrections, suggested by criticism or by thought, has been continued. Edition: current; Page: [cxvii] In the present (seventh) edition, a few further corrections have been made, but no material additions.

[Concluding paragraphs in the 8th edition (1872) only]

In the subsequent editions,[*] the attempt to improve the work by additions and corrections, suggested by criticism or by thought, has been continued. The additions and corrections in the present (eighth) edition, which are not very considerable, are chiefly such as have been suggested by Professor Bain’s Logic,[†] a book of great merit and value. Mr. Bain’s view of the science is essentially the same with that taken in the present treatise, the differences of opinion being few and unimportant compared with the agreements; and he has not only enriched the exposition by many applications and illustrative details, but has appended to it a minute and very valuable discussion of the logical principles specially applicable to each of the sciences; a task for which the encyclopedical character of his knowledge peculiarly qualified him. I have in several instances made use of his exposition to improve my own, by adopting, and occasionally by controverting, matter contained in his treatise.

The longest of the additions belongs to the chapter on Causation, and is a discussion of the question, how far, if at all, the ordinary mode of stating the law of Cause and Effect requires modification to adapt it to the new doctrine of the Conservation of Force: a point still more fully and elaborately treated in Mr. Bain’s work.[‡]

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§ 1. [A definition at the commencement of a subject must be provisional] There is as great adiversity among authors in the modes which they have adopted of defining logic, as in their treatment of the details of it. This is what might naturally be expected on any subject on which writers have availed themselves of the same language as a means of delivering different ideas. Ethics and jurisprudence are liable to the remark in common with logic. Almost every bwriterb having taken a different view of some of the particulars which these branches of knowledge are usually understood to include; each has so framed his definition as to indicate beforehand his own peculiar tenets, and sometimes to beg the question in their favour.

This diversity is not so much an evil to be complained of, as an inevitable and in some degree a proper result of the imperfect state of those sciences. cIt is not to be expected that there should be agreement about the definition of anythingc, until there is agreement about the thing itself. To defined, is to select from among all the properties of a thing,d those which shall be understood to be designated and declared by its name; and the properties must be ewell known to us before we can be competent to determine which of them are fittest to be chosen for this purpose. Accordingly, in the case of so complex an aggregation of particulars as are comprehended in anything which can be called a science, the definition we set out with is seldom that which a more extensive knowledge of the subject shows to be the most appropriate. Until we know the particulars themselves, we cannot fix upon the most correct and compact mode of circumscribing them by a general description. It was not funtilf after an extensive and accurate acquaintance with the details of chemical phenomena, that it was found possible to frame a rational definition of chemistry; and the definition of the science of life and organization is still a matter of dispute. So long as the sciences are imperfect, the definitions must partake of their gimperfectiong; and if the former are progressive, the Edition: current; Page: [4] latter ought to be so too. As much, therefore, as is to be expected from a definition placed at the commencement of a subject, is that it should define the scope of our inquiries: and the definition which I am about to offer of the science of logic, pretends to nothing more, than to be a statement of the question which I have put to myself, and which this book is an attempt to resolve. The reader is at liberty to object to it as a definition of logic; but it is at all events a correct definition of the subject of these volumes.

§ 2. [Is logic the art and science of reasoning?] Logic has often been called the Art of Reasoning. A writer* who has done more than any other aperson to restore this study to the rank from which it had fallen in the estimation of the cultivated bclassb in our own country, has adopted the above definition with an amendment; he has defined Logic to be the Science, as well as the Art, of reasoning; meaning by the former term, the analysis of the mental process which takes place whenever we reason, and by the latter, the rules, grounded on that analysis, for conducting the process correctly. There can be no doubt as to the propriety of the emendation. A right understanding of the mental process itself, of the conditions it depends on, and the steps of which it consists, is the only basis on which a system of rules, fitted for the direction of the process, can possibly be founded. Art necessarily presupposes knowledge; art, in any but its infant state, presupposes scientific knowledge: and if every art does not bear the name of ca sciencec, it is only because several sciences are often necessary to form the groundwork of a single art. dSo complicated are the conditions which govern our practical agencyd, that to enable one thing to be done, it is often requisite to know the nature and properties of many things.

Logic, then, comprises the science of reasoning, as well as an art, founded on that science. But the word Reasoning, again, like most other scientific terms in popular use, abounds in ambiguities. In one of its acceptations, it means syllogizing; or the mode of inference which may be called (with sufficient accuracy for the present purpose) concluding from generals to particulars. In another of its senses, to reason is simply to infer any assertion, from assertions already admitted: and in this sense induction is as much entitled to be called reasoning as the demonstrations of geometry.

Writers on logic have generally preferred the former acceptation of the term: the latter, and more extensive signification is that in which I mean to use it. I do this by virtue of the right I claim for every author, to give whatever Edition: current; Page: [5] provisional definition he pleases of his own subject. But sufficient reasons will, I believe, unfold themselves as we advance, why this should be not only the provisional but the final definition. It involves, at all events, no arbitrary change in the meaning of the word; for, with the general usage of the English language, the wider signification, I believe, accords better than the more restricted one.

§ 3. [Or is logic the art and science of the pursuit of truth?] But Reasoning, even in the widest sense of which the word is susceptible, does not seem to acomprehenda all that is included, either in the best, or even in the most current, conception of the scope and province of our science. The employment of the word Logic to denote the theory of Argumentation, is derived from the Aristotelian, or, as they are commonly termed, the scholastic, logicians. Yet even with them, in their systematic treatises, Argumentation was the subject only of the third part: the two former treated of Terms, and of Propositions; under one or other of which heads were balsob included Definition and Division. cBy some, indeed, these previous topics were professedlyc introduced only on account of their connexion with reasoning, and as a preparation for the doctrine and rules of the syllogism. Yet they were treated with greater minuteness, and dwelt on at greater length, than was required for that purpose alone. More recent writers on logic have generally understood the term as it was employed by the able dauthord of the Port Royal Logic;[*] viz. as equivalent to the Art of Thinking. Nor is this acceptation confined to ebooks, and scientific inquiriese. Even in fordinaryf conversation, the ideas gconnected with the word Logic include at least precision of language, and accuracy of classification: and we perhaps oftener hear persons speak of a logical arrangement, or hofh expressions logically defined, than of conclusions logically deduced from premises. iAgain,i a man is often called a great logician, or a man of powerful logic, not for the accuracy of his deductions, but for the extent of his command over premises; because the general propositions required for explaining a difficulty or refuting a sophism, copiously and promptly occur to himj: because, in short, his knowledge, besides being Edition: current; Page: [6] ample, is well under his command for argumentative usej. Whether, therefore, we conform to the practice of those who have made the subject their particular study, or to that of popular writers and common discourse, the province of logic will include several operations of the intellect not usually considered to fall within the meaning of the terms Reasoning and Argumentation.

These various operations might be brought within the compass of the science, and the additional advantage be obtained of a very simple definition, if, by an extension of the term, sanctioned by high authorities, we were to define logic as the science which treats of the operations of the human understanding in the pursuit of truth. For to this ultimate end, naming, classification, definition, and all kother operations over which logic has ever claimed jurisdiction, are essentially subsidiary. They may all be regarded as contrivances for enabling a person to know the truths which are needful to him, and to know them at the precise moment at which they are needful. Other purposes, indeed, are also served by these operations; for instance, that of imparting our knowledge to others. But, viewed with regard to this purpose, they have never been considered as within the province of the logician. The sole object of Logic is the guidance of one’s own thoughts: the communication of those thoughts to others falls under the consideration of Rhetoric, in the large sense in which that art was conceived by the ancients; or of the still more extensive art of Education. Logic takes cognizance of lourl intellectual operations, only as they conduce to our own knowledge, and to our command over that knowledge for our own uses. If there were but one rational being in the universe, that being might be a perfect logician; and the science and art of logic would be the same for that one person as for the whole human race.

§ 4. [Logic is concerned with inferences, not with intuitive truths] But, if the definition which we formerly examined included too little, that which is now suggested has the opposite fault of including too much.

Truths are known to us in two ways: some are known directly, and of themselves; some through the medium of other truths. The former are the subject of Intuition, or Consciousness;* the latter, of Inference. The truths known by intuition are the original premises from which all others are inferred. Edition: current; Page: [7] Our assent to the conclusion being grounded on the truth of the premises, we never could arrive at any knowledge by reasoning, unless something could be known antecedently to all reasoning.

Examples of truths known to us by immediate consciousness, are our own bodily sensations and mental feelings. I know directly, and of my own knowledge, that I was avexeda yesterday, or that I am hungry to-day. Examples of truths which we know only by way of inference, are occurrences which took place while we were absent, the events recorded in history, or the theorems of mathematics. The two former we infer from the testimony adduced, or from the traces of those past occurrences which still bexist;b the latter, from the premises laid down in books of geometry, under the title of definitions and axioms. Whatever we are capable of knowing must belong to the one class or to the other; must be in the number of the primitive data, or of the conclusions which can be drawn cfrom thesec.

With the original data, or ultimate premises of our knowledge; with their number or nature, the mode in which they are obtained, or the tests by which they may be distinguished; logic, in a direct way at least, has, in the sense in which I conceive the science, nothing to do. These questions are partly not a subject of science at all, partly that of a very different science.

Whatever is known to us by consciousness, is known beyond possibility of question. What one sees or feels, whether bodily or mentally, one cannot but be sure that one sees or feels. No science is required for the purpose of establishing such truths; no rules of art can render our knowledge of them more certain than it is in itself. There is no logic for this portion of our knowledge.

But we may fancy that we see or feel what we in reality infer. dA truth, or supposed truth, which is really the result of a very rapid inference, may seem to be apprehended intuitively. It has long been agreed by ethinkerse of the most opposite schools, that this mistake is actually made in so familiar an instance as that of the eyesight. There is nothing fof which we appear to ourselves to be more directly consciousf, than the distance of an object from us. Yet it has long been ascertained, that what is perceived by the eye, is at most nothing more than a variously coloured surface; that when we fancy we see distance, all we really see is certain variations of apparent size, and gdegrees ofg faintness of colour; hthat our estimate of the object’s distance from us Edition: current; Page: [8] is the result ipartly of a rapid inference from the muscular sensations accompanying the adjustment of the focal distance of the eye to objects unequally remote from us, and partlyi of a comparison (made with so much rapidity that we are unconscious of making it) between the size and colour of the object as they appear at the time, and the size and colour of the same or of similar objects as they appeared when close at hand, or when their degree of remoteness was known by other evidence. The perception of distance by the eye, which seems so like intuition, is thus, in reality, an inference grounded on experience; an inference, too, which we learn to make; and which we make with more and more correctness as our experience increases; though in familiar cases it takes place so rapidly as to appear exactly on a par with those perceptions of sight which are really intuitive, our perceptions of colour.*

Of the science, therefore, which expounds the operations of the human understanding in the pursuit of truth, one essential part is the inquiry: What are the ofactso which are the objects of intuition or consciousness, and what are those which we merely infer? But this inquiry has never been considered a portion of logic. Its place is in another and a perfectly distinct department of science, pto which the name metaphysics more particularly belongs:p that portion of mental philosophy which attempts to determine what part of the furniture of the mind belongs to it originally, and what part is constructed qout of materials furnished to itq from without. To this science appertain the great and much debated questions of the existence of matter; rthe existence of spirit, and of a distinction between it and matter;r the reality of time and space, as things without the mind, and distinguishable from the objects which are said to exist in them. For in the present state of the discussion on these Edition: current; Page: [9] topics, it is salmosts universally allowed that the existence of matter or of spirit, of space or of time, is in its nature unsusceptible of being proved; and that tif anything is known of them, it must bet by immediate intuition. To the same science belong the inquiries into the nature of Conception, Perception, Memory, and Belief; all of which are operations of the understanding in the pursuit of truth; but with which, as phenomena of the mind, or with the possibility which may or may not exist of analysing any of them into simpler phenomena, the logician as such has no concern. To this science must also be referred the following, and all analogous questions: To what extent our intellectual faculties and our emotions are innate—to what extent the result of association: Whether God, and duty, are realities, the existence of which is manifest to us à priori by the constitution of our rational faculty; or whether our ideas of them are acquired notions, the origin of which we are able to trace and explain; and the reality of the objects themselves a question not of consciousness or intuition, but of evidence and reasoning.

The province of logic must be restricted to that portion of our knowledge which consists of inferences from truths previously known; whether those antecedent data be general propositions, or particular observations and perceptions. Logic is not the science of Belief, but the science of Proof, or Evidence. uIn so faru as belief professes to be founded on proof, the office of logic is to supply a test for ascertaining whether or not the belief is well grounded. With the claims which any proposition has to belief on vthe evidence of consciousnessv, that is, without evidence in the proper sense of the word, logic has nothing to do.

§ 5. [Relation of logic to the other sciences] aBy far the greatest portion of our knowledge, whether of general truths or of particular facts, beinga avowedly matter of inference, nearly the whole, not only of science, but of human conduct, is amenable to the authority of logic. To draw inferences has been said to be the great business of life. Every one has daily, hourly, and momentary need of ascertaining facts which he has not directly observed; not from any general purpose of adding to his stock of knowledge, but because the facts themselves are of importance to his interests or to his occupations. The business of the magistrate, of the military commander, of the navigator, of the physician, of the agriculturist, is merely to judge of evidence, and to act accordingly. They all have to ascertain certain facts, in order that they may afterwards apply certain rules, either devised by themselves, or prescribed for their guidance by others; and as they do this well or ill, so they Edition: current; Page: [10] discharge well or ill the duties of their several callings. It is the only occupation in which the mind never ceases to be engaged; and is the subject, not of logic, but of knowledge in general.

bLogic, however, is not the same thing with knowledge, though the field of logic is coextensive with the field of knowledge. Logic is the common judge and arbiter of all particular investigations. It does not undertake to find evidence, but to determine whether it has been found. Logic neither observes, nor invents, nor discovers; but judges. It is no part of the business of logic to inform the surgeon what appearances are found to accompanyb a violent death. This he must learn from his own experience and observation, or from that of others, his predecessors in his peculiar cpursuitc. But logic sits in judgment on the sufficiency of that observation and experience to justify his rules, and on the sufficiency of his rules to justify his conduct. It does not give him proofs, but teaches him what makes them proofs, and how he is to judge of them. dIt does not teach that any particular fact proves any other, but pointsd out to what conditions all facts must conform, in order that they may prove other facts. To decide whether any given fact fulfils these conditions, or whether facts can be found which fulfil them in eae given case, belongs exclusively to the particular art or science, or to our knowledge of the particular subject.

It is in this sense that logic is, what fit was so expressively called by the schoolmen and by Baconf, ars artium;[*] the science of science itself. All science consists of data and conclusions from those data, of proofs and what they prove: now logic points out what relations must subsist between data and whatever can be concluded from them, between proof and everything which it can prove. If there be any such indispensable relations, and if these can be precisely determined, every particular branch of science, as well as every individual in the guidance of his conduct, is bound to conform to those relations, under the penalty of making false inferences—of drawing conclusions Edition: current; Page: [11] which are not grounded in the realities of things. Whatever has at any time been concluded justly, whatever knowledge has been acquired otherwise than by immediate intuition, depended on the observance of the laws which it is the province of logic to investigate. If the conclusions are just, and the knowledge greal, those laws, whether known or not, haveg been observed.

a§ 6.a [The utility of logic, how shown] We need not, therefore, seek any farther for a solution of the question, so often agitated, respecting the utility of logic. If a science of logic exists, or is capable of existing, it must be useful. If there be rules to which every mind bconsciously or unconsciouslyb conforms in every instance in which it cinfersc rightly, there seems little necessity for discussing whether a person is more likely to observe those rules, when he knows the rules, than when he is unacquainted with them.

A science may undoubtedly be brought to a certain, not inconsiderable, stage of advancement, without the application of any other logic to it than what all persons, who are said to have a sound understanding, acquire empirically in the course of their studies. dMankindd judged of evidence, and often ecorrectly, before logic was a science, or they never could have made it one. And they executed great mechanical works before they understood the laws of mechanics. But there are limits both to what mechanicians can do without principles of mechanics, and to what thinkers can do without principles of logic. fA few individuals, gby extraordinary genius, or by the accidental acquisition of a good set of intellectual habits, may work without principles in the same way, hor nearly the same way,h in which they would have worked if they had been in possession of principles. Butg the bulk of mankind require either to understand the theory of what they are doing, or to have rules laid down for them by those who have understood the theory. Inf the progress of science from its easiest to its more difficult problems, ieach great step in advance has usuallyi had either as its precursor, or as its accompaniment and necessary condition, a corresponding improvement in the notions and principles of logic received among the most advanced Edition: current; Page: [12] thinkers. And if several of the more difficult sciences are still in so defective a state; if not only so little is proved, but disputation has not terminated even about the little which seemed to be so; the reason perhaps is, that men’s logical notions have not yet acquired the degree of extension, or of accuracy, requisite for the estimation of the evidence proper to those particular departments of knowledge.

a§ 7.a [Definition of logic stated and illustrated] Logic, then, is the science of the operations of the understanding which are subservient to the estimation of evidence: both the process itself of badvancingb from known truths to unknown, and all cother intellectual operations in so far asc auxiliary to this. It includes, therefore, the operation of Naming; for language is an instrument of thought, as well as a means of communicating our thoughts. It includes, also, Definition, and Classification. For, the use of these operations (putting all other minds than one’s own out of consideration) is to serve not only for keeping our evidences and the conclusions from them permanent and readily accessible in the memory, but for so marshalling the facts which we may at any time be engaged in investigating, as to enable us to perceive more clearly what evidence there is, and to judge with fewer chances of error whether it be sufficient. dThese, therefore, are operations specially instrumental to the estimation of evidence, and, as such, are within the province of Logic. There are other more elementary processes, concerned in all thinking, such as Conception, Memory, and the like; but of these it is not necessary that Logic should take any peculiar cognizance, since they have no special connexion with the problem of Evidence, further than that, like all other problems addressed to the understanding, it presupposes them.d

Our object, ethene, will be, to attempt a correct analysis of the intellectual process called Reasoning or Inference, and of such other mental operations as are intended to facilitate this: as well as, on the foundation of this analysis, and pari passu with it, to bring together or frame a set of rules or canons for testing the sufficiency of any given evidence to prove any given proposition.

With respect to the first part of this undertaking, I do not attempt to decompose the mental operations in question into their ultimate elements. It is enough if the analysis as far as it goes is correct, and if it goes far enough for the practical purposes of logic considered as an art. The separation of a complicated Edition: current; Page: [13] phenomenon into its component parts is not like a connected and interdependent chain of proof. If one link of an argument breaks, the whole drops to the ground; but one step towards an analysis holds good and has an independent value, though we should never be able to make a second. The results fwhich have been obtained byf analytical chemistry are not the less valuable, though it should be discovered that all which we now call simple substances are really compounds. All other things are at any rate compounded of those elements: whether the elements themselves admit of decomposition, is an important inquiry, but does not affect the certainty of the science up to that point.

gI shall, accordingly, attempt to analyse the process of inference, and the processes subordinate to inference, so far only as may be requisite for ascertaining the difference between a correct and an incorrect performance of those processes. The reason for thus limiting our design, is evident. It has been said by objectors to logic, that we do not learn to use our muscles by studying their anatomy.[*] The fact is not quite fairly stated; for if the action of any of our muscles were vitiated by local weakness, or other physical defect, a knowledge of their anatomy might be very necessary for effecting a cure. But we should be justly liable to the criticism involved in this objection, were we, in a treatise on logic, to carry the analysis of the reasoning process beyond the point at which any inaccuracy which may have crept into it must become visible. In learning bodily exercises (to carry on the same illustration) we do, and must, analyse the bodily motions so far as is necessary for distinguishing those which ought to be performed from those which ought not. To a similar extent, and no further, it is necessary that the logician should analysis the mental processes with which Logic is concerned. hLogic has no interest in carrying the analysis beyond the point at which it becomes apparent whether the operations have in any individual case been rightly or wrongly performed: in the same manner as the science of music teaches us to discriminate between musical notes, and to know the combinations of which they are susceptible, but not what number of vibrations in a second correspond to each; which, though useful to be known, is useful for totally different purposes. The extension of Logic as a Science is determined by its necessities as an Art: whatever it does not need for its practical ends, it leaves to the larger science which may be said to correspond, not to any particular Edition: current; Page: [14] art, but to art in general; the science which deals with the constitution of the human faculties; and to which, in the part of our mental nature which concerns Logic, as well as in all other parts, it belongs to decideh what are ultimate facts, and what are resolvable into other facts. And I believe it will be found that imost ofi the conclusions arrived at in this work have no necessary connexion with any particular views respecting the ulterior analysis. Logic is common ground on which the partisans of Hartley and of Reid, of Locke and of Kant, may meet and join hands. Particular and detached opinions of all these jthinkersj will no doubt occasionally be controverted, since all of them were logicians as well as metaphysicians; but the field on which their kprincipalk battles have been fought, lies beyond the boundaries of our sciencel.

It cannot, indeed, be pretended that logical principles can be altogether irrelevant to those more abstruse discussions; nor is it possible but that the view we are led to take of the problem which logic proposes, must have a tendency favourable to the adoption of some one opinion, on these controverted subjects, rather than another. mFor metaphysics, in endeavouring to solve its own peculiar problem, must employ means, the validity of which falls under the cognizance of logic. It proceeds, no doubt, as far as possible, merely by a closer and more attentive interrogation of our consciousness, or more properly speaking, of our memory; and so far is not amenable to logic. But wherever this method is insufficient to attain the end of its inquiries, it must proceed, like other sciences, by means of evidence. Now, the moment this science begins to draw inferences from evidence, logic becomes the sovereign judge whether its inferences are well grounded, or what other inferences would be so.

nThis, however, constitutes no nearer or other relation between logic and metaphysics, than that which exists between logic and oevery other scienceo. Andn I can conscientiously affirm, that no one proposition laid down in this work has been adopted for the sake of establishing, or with any reference to its fitness for being employed in establishing, preconceived opinions in any Edition: current; Page: [15] department of knowledge or of inquiry on which the speculative world is still undecided.*

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The opening folio of Book I, Chapter i, of the Press-copy Manuscript British Museum
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“La scolastique, qui produisit dans la logique, comme dans la morale, et dans une partie de la métaphysique, une subtilité, une précision d’idées, dont l’habitude inconnue aux anciens, a contribué plus qu’on ne croit au progrès de la bonne philosophie.” [Marie Jean Caritat, marquis de] Condorcet, Vie de Turgot [London: n.p., 1786, p. 9.]

[56] “To the schoolmen the vulgar languages are principally indebted for what precision and analytic subtlety they possess.” Sir William Hamilton, Discussions in Philosophy [2nd ed. London: Longman, 1853, p. 5n].

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CHAPTER I: Of the Necessity of Commencing with an Analysis of Language

§ 1. [Theory of names, why a necessary part of logic] It is so much the established practice of writers on logic to commence their treatises by a few general observations (in most cases, it is true, rather meagre) on Terms and their varieties, that it will, perhaps, scarcely be required from me in merely following the common usage, to be as particular in assigning my reasons, as it is usually expected that those should be who deviate from it.

The practice, indeed, is recommended by considerations far too obvious to require a formal justification. Logic is a portion of the Art of Thinking: Language is evidently, and by the admission of all philosophers, one of the principal instruments or helps of thought; and any imperfection in the instrument, or in the mode of employing it, is confessedly liable, still more than in almost any other art, to confuse and impede the process, and destroy all ground of confidence in the result. For a mind not previously versed in the meaning and right use of the various kinds of words, to attempt the study of methods of philosophizing, would be as if some one should attempt to abecomea an astronomical observer, having never learned to adjust the focal distance of his optical instruments so as to see distinctly.

Since Reasoning, or Inference, the principal subject of logic, is an operation which usually takes place by means of words, and in bcomplicated cases can take place in no other way; those who have not a thorough insight into the signification and purposes of words, will be under cchances, amounting almost to certainty,c of reasoning or inferring incorrectly. And logicians have generally felt that unless, in the very first stage, they removed this dsource of error; unless they taught their pupil to put away the glasses which distort the object, and to use those which are adapted to his purpose in such a manner as to assist, not perplex, his vision; he would not be in a condition to practise the remaining part of their discipline with any prospect of advantage. Therefore it is that an inquiry into language, so far as is needful to guard Edition: current; Page: [20] against the errors to which it gives rise, has at all times been deemed a necessary preliminary to the estudye of logic.

But there is another reason, of a still more fundamental nature, why the import of words should be the earliest subject of the logician’s consideration: because without it he cannot examine into the import of Propositions. Now this is a subject which stands on the very threshold of the science of logic.

The object of logic, as defined in the Introductory Chapter, is to ascertain how we come by that portion of our knowledge (much the greatest portion) which is not intuitive: and by what criterion we can, in matters not self-evident, distinguish between things proved and things not proved, between what is worthy and what is unworthy of belief. Of the various questions which fpresent themselves to our inquiring faculties, some receive an answer from direct consciousness, others, if resolved at all, can only be resolvedf by means of evidence. Logic is concerned with these last. gBut before inquiring into the mode of resolving questions, it is necessary to inquire what are hthose which offerh themselves; what questions are conceivable; what inquiries are there, to which imankindi have either obtained, or been able to imagine it possible that they should obtain, an answer. This point is best ascertained by a survey and analysis of Propositions.

§ 2. [First step in the analysis of Propositions] The answer to every question which it is possible to frame, amust bea contained in a Proposition, or Assertion. Whatever can be an object of belief, or even of disbelief, must, when put into words, assume the form of a proposition. All truth and all error lie in propositions. What, by a convenient misapplication of an abstract term, we call a Truth, bmeansb simply a True Proposition; and errors are false propositions. To know the import of all possible propositions, would be to know all questions which can be raised, all matters which are susceptible of being either believed or disbelieved. How many kinds of inquiries can be propounded; how many kinds of judgments can be cmadec; and how many kinds of propositions it is possible to frame with a meaning; are but different forms of one and the same question. Since, then, the objects of all Belief and of all Inquiry express themselves in propositions; a sufficient scrutiny of Propositions and of their varieties will apprize us what questions mankind have actually asked dofd themselves, and what, in the nature of answers to those questions, they have actually thought they had grounds to believe.

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Now the first glance at a proposition shows that it is formed by putting together two names. A proposition, according to the common simple definition, which is sufficient for our purpose, is, discourse, in which something is affirmed or denied of something. Thus, in the proposition, Gold is yellow, the quality yellow is affirmed of the substance gold. In the proposition, Franklin was not born in England, the fact expressed by the words born in England is denied of the man Franklin.

Every proposition consists of three parts: the Subject, the Predicate, and the Copula. The predicate is the name denoting that which is affirmed or denied. The subject is the name denoting the person or thing which something is affirmed or denied of. The copula is the sign denoting that there is an affirmation or denial; and thereby enabling the hearer or reader to distinguish a proposition from any other kind of discourse. Thus, in the proposition, The earth is round, the Predicate is the word round, which denotes the quality affirmed, or (as the phrase is) predicated: the earth, words denoting the object which that quality is affirmed of, compose the Subject; the word is, which serves as the connecting mark between the subject and predicate, to show that one of them is affirmed of the other, is called the Copula.

Dismissing, for the present, the copula, of which more will be said hereafter, every proposition, then, consists of at least two names; brings together two names, in a particular manner. This is already a first step towards what we are in quest of. It appears from this, that for an act of belief, one object is not sufficient; the simplest act of belief supposes, and has something to do with, two objects: two names, to say the least; and (since the names must be names of something) two nameable things. A large class of thinkers would cut the matter short by saying, two ideas. They would say, that the subject and predicate are both of them names of ideas; the idea of gold, for instance, and the idea of yellow; and that what takes place (or epart of what takes place) in the act of belief, consists in bringing (as it is often expressed) one of these ideas under the other. But this we are not yet in a condition to say: whether such be the correct mode of describing the phenomenon, is an after consideration. The result with which for the present we must be contented, is, that in every act of belief two objects are in some manner taken cognizance of; that there can be no belief claimed, or question propounded, which does not embrace two distinct (either material or intellectual) subjects of thought; each of them capable, or not, of being conceived by itself, but incapable of being believed by itself.

I may say, for instance, “the sun.” The word has a meaning, and suggests that meaning to the mind of any one who is listening to me. But suppose I ask him, Whether it is true: whether he believes it? He can give no answer. There is as yet nothing to believe, or to disbelieve. Now, however, let me make, of all possible assertions respecting the sun, the one which involves Edition: current; Page: [22] the least of reference to any object besides itself; let me say, “the sun exists.” Here, at once, is something which a person can say he believes. But here, instead of only one, we find two distinct objects of conception: the sun is one object; existence is another. Let it not be said that this second conception, existence, is involved in the first; for the sun may be conceived as no longer existing. “The sun” does not convey all the meaning that is conveyed by “the sun exists:” “my father” does not include all the meaning of “my father exists,” for he may be dead; “a round square” does not include the meaning of “a round square exists,” for it does not and cannot exist. When I say “the sun,” “my father,” or a “round square,” I fdo not call upon the hearer for anyf belief or disbelief, nor can either the one or the other be afforded me; but if I say, “the sun exists,” “my father exists,” or “a round square exists,” I call for belief; and should, in the first of the three instances, meet with it; in the second, with belief or disbelief, as the case might be; in the third, with disbelief.

§ 3. [Names must be studied before things] This first step in the analysis of the object of belief, which, though so obvious, will be found to be not unimportant, is the only one which we shall find it practicable to make without a preliminary survey of language. If we attempt to proceed further in the same path, that is, to analyse any further the import of Propositions; we find forced upon us, as a subject of previous consideration, the import of Names. For every proposition consists of two names; and every proposition affirms or denies one of these names, of the other. Now what we do, what passes in our mind, when we affirm or deny two names of one another, must depend on what they are names of; since it is with reference to that, and not to the mere names themselves, that we make the affirmation or denial. Here, therefore, we find a new reason why the signification of names, and the relation generally between names and the things signified by them, must occupy the preliminary stage of the inquiry we are engaged in.

It may be objected that the meaning of names can guide us at most only to the opinions, possibly the foolish and groundless opinions, which mankind have formed concerning things, and that as the object of philosophy is truth, not opinion, the philosopher should dismiss words and look into things themselves, to ascertain what questions can be asked and answered in regard to them. This advice (which ano one has it in his power to follow) is in reality an exhortation to discard the whole fruits of the labours of his predecessors, and bconductb himself as if he were the first person who had ever turned an inquiring eye upon nature. What does any one’s personal knowledge of Edition: current; Page: [23] Things amount to, after subtracting all which he has acquired by means of the words of other people? Even after he has learned as much as cpeoplec usually do learn from others, will the notions of things contained in his individual mind afford as sufficient a basis for a catalogue raisonné as the notions which are in the minds of all mankind?

dIn any enumeration and classification of Things, which does not set out from their names, no varieties of things will of course be comprehended but those recognised by the particular inquirer; and it will still remain eto be establishede, by a subsequent examination of names, that fthef enumeration has omitted nothing which ought to have been included. But if we begin with names, and use them as our clue to the things, we bring at once before us all the distinctions which have been recognised, not by a single inquirerg, but by all inquirers taken togetherg. It doubtless may, and I believe it will, be found, that mankind have multiplied the varieties unnecessarily, and have imagined distinctions among things, where there were only distinctions in the manner of naming them. But we are not entitled to assume this in the commencement. We must begin by recognising the distinctions made by ordinary language. If some of these appear, on a close examination, not to be fundamental, htheh enumeration of the different kinds of realities may be abridged accordingly. But to impose upon the facts in the first instance the yoke of a theory, while the grounds of the theory are reserved for discussion in a subsequent stage, is inot a course which a logician can reasonably adopt.

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§ 1. [Names are names of things, not of our ideas] “A name,” says Hobbes,* “is a word taken at pleasure to serve for a mark which may raise in our mind a thought like to some thought we had before, and which being pronounced to others, may be to them a sign of what thought the speaker had before in his mind.” This simple definition of a name, as a word (or set of words) serving the double purpose of a mark to recall to ourselves the likeness of a former thought, and a sign to make it known to others, appears unexceptionable. Names, indeed, do much more than this; but whatever else they do, grows out of, and is the result of this: as will appear in its proper place.

Are names more properly said to be the names of things, or of our ideas of things? The first is the expression in common use; the last is that of some ametaphysiciansa, who conceived that in adopting it they were introducing a highly important distinction. The eminent thinker, just quoted, seems to countenance the latter opinion. “But seeing,” he continues, “names ordered in speech (as is defined) are signs of our conceptions, it is manifest they are not signs of the things themselves; for that the sound of this word stone should be the sign of a stone, cannot be understood in any sense but this, that he that hears it collects that he that pronounces it thinks of a stone.”[*]

If it be merely meant that the conception alone, and not the thing itself, is recalled by the name, or imparted to the hearer, this of course cannot be denied. Nevertheless, there seems good reason for adhering to the common usage, and calling b(as indeed Hobbes himself does in other places)b the word sun the name of the sun, and not the name of our idea of the sun. For names are not intended only to make the hearer conceive what we conceive, but also to inform him what we believe. Now, when I use a name for the purpose of expressing a belief, it is a belief concerning the thing itself, not Edition: current; Page: [25] concerning my idea of it. When I say, “the sun is the cause of day,” I do not mean that my idea of the sun causes or excites in me the idea of day; cor in other words, that thinking of the sun makes me think of day. I mean, that a certain physical fact, which is called the sun’s presence (and which, in the ultimate analysis, resolves itself into sensations, not ideas) causes another physical fact, which is called dayc. It seems proper to consider a word as the name of that which we intend to be understood by it when we use it; of that which any fact that we assert of it is to be understood of; that, in short, concerning which, when we employ the word, we intend to give information. Names, therefore, shall always be spoken of in this work as the names of things themselves, and not merely of our ideas of things.

But the question now arises, of what things? and to answer this it is necessary to take into consideration the different kinds of names.

§ 2. [Words which are not names, but parts of names] It is usual, before examining the various classes into which names are commonly divided, to begin by distinguishing from names of aeverya description, those words which are not names, but only parts of names. Among such are reckoned particles, as of, to, truly, often; the inflected cases of nouns substantive, as me, him, John’s; band even adjectives, as large, heavy. These words do not express things of which anything can be affirmed or denied. We cannot say, Heavy fell, or A heavy fell; Truly, or A truly, was asserted; Of, or An of, was in the room. Unless, indeed, we are speaking of the mere words themselves, as when we say, Truly is an English word, or, Heavy is an adjective. In that case they are complete names, viz. names of those particular sounds, or of those particular collections of written characters. This employment of a word to denote the mere letters and syllables of which it is composed, was termed by the schoolmen the suppositio materialis of the word. In any other sense we cannot introduce one of these words into the subject of a proposition, unless in combination with other words; as, A heavy body fell, A truly important fact was asserted, A member of parliament was in the room.

An adjective, however, is capable of standing by itself as the predicate of a proposition; as when we say, Snow is white; and occasionally even as the subject, for we may say, White is an agreeable colour. The adjective is often said to be so used by a grammatical ellipsis: Snow is white, instead of Snow Edition: current; Page: [26] is a white object; White is an agreeable colour, instead of, A white colour, or, The colour cwhite, is agreeable. The Greeks and Romans were dallowedd, by the rules of their language, to employ this ellipsis universally in the subject as well as in the predicate of a proposition. In English this cannot, generally speaking, be done. We may say, The earth is round; but we cannot say, Round is easily moved; we must say, A round object. eThise distinction, however, is rather grammatical than logical. Since there is no difference of meaning between round, and a round object, it is only custom which prescribes that on any given occasion one shall be used, and not the other. We shall, therefore, without scruple, speak of adjectives as names, whether in their own right, or as representative of the more circuitous forms of expression above exemplified. The other classes of subsidiary words have no title whatever to be considered as names. An adverb, or an accusative case, cannot under any circumstances (except when their mere letters and syllables are spoken of) figure as one of the terms of a proposition.

Words which are not capable of being used as names, but only as parts of names, were called by some of the schoolmen Syncategorematic terms: from σὺν, with, and κατηγορέω, to predicate, because it was only with some other word that they could be predicated. A word which could be used either as the subject or predicate of a proposition without being accompanied by any other word, was termed by the same authorities a Categorematic term. A combination of one or more Categorematic, and one or more Syncategorematic words, as A heavy body, or A court of justice, they sometimes called a mixed term; but this seems a needless multiplication of technical expressions. A mixed term is, in the only useful sense of the word, Categorematic. It belongs to the class of what have been called many-worded names.

For, as one word is frequently not a name, but only part of a name, so a number of words often compose one single name, and no more. fThese words, “The place which the wisdom or policy of antiquity had destined for the residence of the Abyssinian princes,”f[*] form in the estimation of the logician only one name; one Categorematic gtermg. A mode of determining whether any set of words makes only one name, or more than one, is by Edition: current; Page: [27] predicating something of it, and observing whether, by this predication, we make only one assertion or several. Thus, when we say, John Nokes, who was the mayor of the town, died yesterday—by this predication we make but one assertion; whence it appears that “John Nokes, who was the mayor of the town,” is no more than one name. It is true that in this proposition, besides the assertion that John Nokes died yesterday, there is included another assertion, namely, that John Nokes was hmayor of the town. But this last assertion was already made: we did not make it by adding the predicate, “died yesterday.” Suppose, however, that the words had been, John Nokes and the mayor of the town, they would have formed two names instead of one. For when we say, John Nokes and the mayor of the town died yesterday, we make two assertions: one, that John Nokes died yesterday; the other, that the mayor of the town died yesterday.

It being needless to illustrate at any greater length the subject of many-worded names, we proceed to the distinctions which have been established among names, not according to the words they are composed of, but according to their signification.

§ 3. [General and Singular names] All names are names of something, real or imaginary; but all things have not names appropriated to them individually. For some individual objects we require, and consequently have, separate distinguishing names; there is a name for every person, and for every remarkable place. Other objects, of which we have not occasion to speak so frequently, we do not designate by a name of their own; but when the necessity arises for naming them, we do so by putting together several words, each of which, by itself, might be and is used for an indefinite number of other objects; as when I say, this stone: “this” and “stone” being, each of them, names that may be used of many other objects besides the particular one meant, though the only object of which they can both be used at the given moment, consistently with their signification, may be the one of which I wish to speak.

Were this the sole purpose for which names, that are common to more things than one, could be employed; if they only served, by mutually limiting each other, to afford a designation for such individual objects as have no names of their own: they could only be ranked among contrivances for economizing the use of language. But it is evident that this is not their sole function. It is by their means that we are enabled to assert general propositions; to affirm or deny any predicate of an indefinite number of things at once. The distinction, therefore, between general names, and individual or singular names, is fundamental; and may be considered as the first grand division of names.

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A general name is familiarly defined, a name which is capable of being truly affirmed, in the same sense, of each of an indefinite number of things. An individual or singular name is a name which is only capable of being truly affirmed, in the same sense, of one thing.

Thus, man is capable of being truly affirmed of John, aGeorge, Marya, and other persons without assignable blimitb; and it is affirmed of all of them in the same sense; for the word man expresses certain qualities, and when we predicate it of those persons, we assert that they all possess those qualities. But John is only capable of being truly affirmed of one single person, at least in the same sense. For, though there are many persons who bear that name, it is not conferred upon them to indicate any qualities, or anything which belongs to them in common; and cannot be said to be affirmed of them in any sense at all, consequently not in the same sense. c“The king who succeeded William the Conqueror,”c is also an individual name. For, that there dcannot be more than one persond of whom it can be truly affirmed, is implied in the meaning of the words. eEven “the king,” when the occasion or the context defines the individual of whom it is to be understood, may justly be regarded as an individual name.e

It is not unusual, by way of explaining what is meant by a general name, to say that it is the name of a class. But this, though a convenient mode of expression for some purposes, is objectionable as a definition, since it explains the clearer of two things by the more obscure. It would be more logical to reverse the proposition, and turn it into a definition of the word class: “A class is the indefinite multitude of individuals denoted by a general name.”

It is necessary to distinguish general from collective names. A general name is one which can be predicated of each individual of a multitude; a collective name cannot be predicated of each separately, but only of all taken together. “The 76th regiment of foot fin the British armyf,” which is a collective name, is not a general but an individual name; for though it can be predicated of a multitude of individual soldiers taken jointly, it cannot be predicated of them severally. We may say, Jones is a soldier, and Thompson is a soldier, and Smith is a soldier, but we cannot say, Jones is the 76th regiment, and Thompson is the 76th regiment, and Smith is the 76th regiment. We can only say, Jones, and Thompson, and Smith, and Brown, and so forth (enumerating all the soldiers), are the 76th regiment.

“The 76th regiment” is a collective name, but not a general one: “a Edition: current; Page: [29] regiment” is both a collective and a general name. General with respect to all individual regiments, of each of which separately it can be affirmed: collective with respect to the individual soldiers of whom any regiment is composed.

§ 4. [Concrete and Abstract names] The second general division of names is into concrete and abstract. A concrete name is a name which stands for a thing; an abstract name is a name which stands for an attribute of a thing. Thus John, the sea, this table, are names of things. White, also, is a name of a thing, or rather of things. Whiteness, again, is the name of a quality or attribute of those things. Man is a name of many things; humanity is a name of an attribute of those things. Old is a name of things; old age is a name of one of their attributes.

I have used the words concrete and abstract in the sense annexed to them by the schoolmen, who, notwithstanding the imperfections of their philosophy, were unrivalled in the construction of technical language, and whose definitions, in logic at least, though they never went more than a little way into the subject, have seldom, I think, been altered but to be spoiled. A practice, however, has grown up in more modern times, which, if not introduced by Locke, has gained currency chiefly from his example, of applying the expression “abstract name” to all names which are the result of abstraction or generalization, and consequently to all general names, instead of confining it to the names of attributes. The metaphysicians of the Condillac school,—whose admiration of Locke, passing over the profoundest speculations of that truly original genius, usually fastens with peculiar eagerness upon his weakest points,—have gone on imitating him in this abuse of language, until there is now some difficulty in restoring the word to its original signification. A more wanton alteration in the meaning of a word is rarely to be met with; for the expression general name, the exact equivalent of which exists in all languages I am acquainted with, was already available for the purpose to which abstract has been misappropriated, while the misappropriation leaves that important class of words, the names of attributes, without any compact distinctive appellation. The old acceptation, however, has not gone so completely out of use, as to deprive those who still adhere to it of all chance of being understood. By abstract, then, I shall aalways, in Logic proper, meana the opposite of concrete; by an abstract name, the name of an attribute; by a concrete name, the name of an object.

Do abstract names belong to the class of general, or to that of singular names? Some of them are certainly general. I mean those which are names not of one single and definite attribute, but of a class of attributes. Such is the word colour, which is a name common to whiteness, redness, &c. Such is Edition: current; Page: [30] even the word whiteness, in respect of the different shades of whiteness to which it is applied in common; the word magnitude, in respect of the various degrees of magnitude and the various dimensions of space; the word weight, in respect of the various degrees of weight. Such also is the word attribute itself, the common name of all particular attributes. But when only one attribute, neither variable in degree nor in kind, is designated by the name; as visibleness; tangibleness; equality; squareness; milkwhiteness; then the name can hardly be considered general; for though it denotes an attribute of many different objects, the attribute itself is always conceived as one, not many.* bTo avoid needless logomachies, the best course would probablyb be to consider these names as neither general nor individual, candc to place them in a class apart.

It may be objected to our definition of an abstract name, that not only the names which we have called abstract, but adjectives, which we have placed in the concrete class, are names of attributes; that white, for example, is as much the name of the colour as whiteness is. But (as before remarked) a word ought to be considered as the name of that which we intend to be understood by it when we put it to its principal use, that is, when we employ it in predication. When we say snow is white, milk is white, linen is white, we do not mean it to be understood that snow, or linen, or milk, is a colour. We mean that they are things having the colour. The reverse is the case with the word whiteness; what we affirm to be whiteness is not snow, but the colour of snow. Whiteness, therefore, is the name of the colour exclusively: white is a name of all things whatever having the colour; a name, not of the quality whiteness, but of every white object. It is true, this name was given to all those various objects on account of the quality; and we may therefore say, without impropriety, that the quality forms part of its signification; but a name can only be said to stand for, or to be a name of, the things of which it can be predicated. We shall presently see that all names which can be said to have any signification, dall namesd by applying which to an individual we give any information respecting that individual, may be said to imply an attribute of some sort; but they are not names of the attribute; it has its own proper abstract name.

§ 5. [Connotative and Non-connotative names] This leads ato the consideration of aa third great division of names, into connotative and non-connotative, Edition: current; Page: [31] the latter sometimes, but improperly, called absolute. This is one of the most important distinctions which we shall have occasion to point out, and one of those which go deepest into the nature of language.

A non-connotative term is one which signifies a subject only, or an attribute only. A connotative term is one which denotes a subject, and implies an attribute. By a subject is here meant anything which possesses attributes. Thus John, or London, or England, are names which signify a subject only. Whiteness, length, virtue, signify an attribute only. None of these names, therefore, are connotative. But white, long, virtuous, are connotative. The word white, denotes all white things, as snow, paper, the foam of the sea, &c., and implies, or bin the language ofb the schoolmen, connotes,* the attribute whiteness. The word white is not predicated of the attribute, but of the subjects, snow, &c.; but when we predicate it of them, we cconvey the meaningc that the attribute whiteness belongs to them. The same may be said of the other words above cited. Virtuous, for example, is the name of a class, which includes Socrates, Howard, the Man of Ross, and an dundefinabled number of other individuals, past, present, and to come. eThesee individuals, collectively and severally, can alone be said with propriety to be denoted by the word: of them alone can it properly be said to be a name. But it is a name applied to fall of themf in consequence of an attribute which they gare supposed tog possess in common, the attribute which hhas received the name ofh virtue. It is applied to all beings that are considered to possess this attribute; and to none which are not so considered.

All concrete general names are connotative. The word man, for example, denotes Peter, iJanei, John, and an indefinite number of other individuals, of whom, taken as a class, it is the name. But it is applied to them, because they possess, and to signify that they possess, certain attributes. These seem to be, corporeity, animal life, rationality, and a certain external form, which for distinction we call the human. Every existing thing, which possessed all these attributes, would be called a man; and anything which possessed none of them, or only one, or two, or even three of them without the fourth, would not be so called. For example, if in the interior of Africa there were to be discovered a race of animals possessing reason equal to that of human beings, Edition: current; Page: [32] but with the form of an elephant, they would not be called men. Swift’s Houyhnhnms[*] jwould not bej so called. Or if such newly-discovered beings possessed the form of man without any vestige of reason, it is probable that some other name than that of man would be found for them. How it happens that there can be any doubt about the matter, will appear hereafter. The word man, therefore, signifies all these attributes, and all subjects which possess these attributes. But it can be predicated only of the subjects. What we call men, are the subjects, the individual Stiles and Nokes; not the qualities by which their humanity is constituted. The name, therefore, is said to signify the subjects directly, the attributes indirectly; it denotes the subjects, and implies, or involves, or indicates, or as we shall say henceforth connotes, the attributes. It is a connotative name.

Connotative names have hence been also called denominative, because the subject which they denote is denominated by, or receives a name from the attribute which they connote. Snow, and other objects, receive the name white, because they possess the attribute which is called whiteness; kPeter, James, and othersk receive the name man because they possess the attributes which are considered to constitute humanity. The attribute, or attributes, may therefore be said to denominate those objects, or to give them a common name.*

It has been seen that all concrete general names are connotative. Even abstract names, though the names only of attributes, may in some instances be justly considered as connotative; for attributes themselves may have attributes ascribed to them; and a word which denotes attributes may connote an attribute of those attributes. mOf this description, for example, ism such a word as fault; equivalent to bad or hurtful quality. This word is a name common to many attributes, and connotes hurtfulness, an attribute of those various attributes. When, for example, we say that slowness, in a horse, is a fault, we do not mean that the slow movement, the actual change of place of the slow horse, nis a bad thingn, but that the property or peculiarity of the horse, from which it derives that name, the quality of being a slow mover, is an undesirable peculiarity.

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In regard to those concrete names which are not general but individual, a distinction must be made.

Proper names are not connotative: they denote the individuals who are called by them; but they do not indicate or imply any attributes as belonging to those individuals. When we name a child by the name oPaulo, or a dog by the name Cæsar, these names are simply marks used to enable those individuals to be made subjects of discourse. It may be said, indeed, that we must have had some reason for giving them those names rather than any others; and this is true; but the name, once given, pisp independent of the reason. A man may have been named John, because that was the name of his father; a town may have been named Dartmouth, because it is situated at the mouth of the Dart. But it is no part of the signification of the word John, that the father of the person so called bore the same name; nor even of the word Dartmouth, to be situated at the mouth of the Dart. If sand should choke up the mouth of the river, or an earthquake change its course, and remove it to a distance from the town, qthe name of the town would not necessarilyq be changed. That fact, therefore, can form no part of the signification of the word; for otherwise, when the fact rconfessedly ceased to be true, no one would any longer think of applying the namer. Proper names are attached to the objects themselves, and are not dependent on the continuance of any attribute of the object.

But there is another kind of names, which, although they are individual names, that is, predicable only of one object, are really connotative. For, though we may give to an individual a name utterly unmeaning, which we call a proper name,—a word which answers the purpose of showing what thing it is we are talking about, but not of telling anything about it; yet a name peculiar to an individual is not necessarily of this description. It may be significant of some attribute, or some union of attributes, which, being possessed by no object but one, determines the name exclusively to that individual. “The sun” is a name of this description; “God,” when used by a smonotheists, is another. These, however, are scarcely examples of what we are now attempting to illustrate, being, in strictness of language, general, tnot individual names: for, however they may be in fact predicable only of one object, there is nothing in the meaning of the words themselves which implies this: and, accordingly, when we are imagining and not affirming, we may speak of many suns; and the majority of mankind have believed, and still believe, that there are many gods. But it is easy to produce words which Edition: current; Page: [34] are real instances of connotative individual names. It may be part of the meaning of the connotative name itself, that there ucan existu but one individual possessing the attribute which it connotes: as, for instance, “the only son of John Stiles;” “the first emperor of Rome.” Or the attribute connoted may be a connexion with some determinate event, and the connexion may be of such a kind as only one individual could have; or may at least be such as only one individual actually had; and this may be implied in the form of the expression. “The father of Socrates” is an example of the one kind (since Socrates could not have had two fathers); “the author of the Iliad,” “the murderer of Henri Quatre,” of the second. For, though it is conceivable that more persons than one might have participated in the authorship of the Iliad, or in the murder of Henri Quatre, the employment of the article the implies that, in fact, this was not the case. What is here done by the word the, is done in other cases by the context: thus, “Cæsar’s army” is an individual name, if it appears from the context that the army meant is that which Cæsar commanded in a particular battle. The still more general expressions, “the Roman army,” or “the Christian army,” may be individualized in a similar manner. Another case of frequent occurrence has already been noticed; it is the following. The name, being a many-worded one, may consist, in the first place, of a general name, capable therefore in itself of being affirmed of more things than one, but which is, in the second place, so limited by other words joined with it, that the entire expression can only be predicated of one object, consistently with the meaning of the general term. This is exemplified in such an instance as the following: “the present prime minister of England.” Prime Minister of England is a general name; the attributes which it connotes may be possessed by an indefinite number of persons: in succession however, not simultaneously; since the meaning of the vnamev itself imports (among other things) that there can be only one such person at a time. This being the case, and the application of the name being afterwards limited by wthe article andw the word present, to such individuals as possess the attributes at one indivisible point of time, it becomes applicable only to one individual. And as this appears from the meaning of the name, without any extrinsic proof, it is strictly an individual name.

From the preceding observations it will easily be collected, that whenever the names given to objects convey any information, that is, whenever they have properly any meaning, the meaning resides not in what they denote, but in what they connote. The only names of objects which connote nothing are proper names; and these have, strictly speaking, no signification.*

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If, like the robber in the Arabian Nights,[*] we make a mark with chalk on a house to enable us to know it again, the mark has a purpose, but it has not properly any meaning. The chalk does not declare anything about the house; it does not mean, This is such a person’s house, or This is a house which contains booty. The object of making the mark is merely distinction. I say to myself, All these houses are so nearly alike that if I lose sight of them I shall not again be able to distinguish that which I am now looking at, from any of the others; I must therefore contrive to make the appearance of this one house unlike that of the others, that I may hereafter know when I see the mark—not indeed any attribute of the house—but simply that it is the same house which I am now looking at. Morgiana chalked all the other houses in a similar manner, and defeated the scheme: how? simply by obliterating the difference of appearance between that house and the others. The chalk was still there, but it no longer served the purpose of a distinctive mark.

When we impose a proper name, we perform an operation in some degree analogous to what the robber intended in chalking the house. We put a mark, not indeed upon the object itself, but, xso tox speak, upon the idea of the object. A proper name is but an unmeaning mark which we connect in our minds with the idea of the object, in order that whenever the mark meets our eyes or occurs to our thoughts, we may think of that individual object. Not being attached to the thing itself, it does noty, like the chalk, enable usy to distinguish the object when we see it; but it enables us to distinguish it when it is spoken of, either in the records of our own experience, or in the discourse of others; to know that what we find asserted in any proposition of which it is the subject, is asserted of the individual thing with which we were previously acquainted.

When we predicate of anything its proper name; when we say, pointing to a man, this is Brown or Smith, or pointing to a city, that it is York, we do not, merely by so doing, convey to the hearer any information about them, Edition: current; Page: [36] except that those are their names. By enabling him to identify the individuals, we may connect them with information previously possessed by him; by saying, This is York, we may tell him that it contains the Minster. But this is in virtue of what he has previously heard concerning York; not by anything implied in the name. It is otherwise when objects are spoken of by connotative names. When we say, The town is built of marble, we give the hearer what may be entirely new information, and this merely by the signification of the many-worded connotative name, “built of marble.” Such names are not signs of the mere objects, invented because we have occasion to think and speak of those objects individually; but signs which accompany an attribute: a kind of livery in which the attribute clothes all objects which are recognised as possessing it. They are not mere marks, but more, that is to say, significant marks; and the connotation is what constitutes their significance.

As a proper name is said to be the name of the one individual which it is predicated of, so (as well from the importance of adhering to analogy, as for the other reasons formerly assigned) a connotative name ought to be considered a name of all the various individuals which it is predicable of, or in other words denotes, and not of what it connotes. But by learning what things it is a name of, we do not learn the meaning of the name: for to the same thing we may, with equal propriety, apply many names, not equivalent in meaning. Thus, I call a certain man by the name Sophroniscus: I call him by another name, The father of Socrates. Both these are names of the same individual, but their meaning is altogether different; they are applied to that individual for two different purposes: the one, merely to distinguish him from other persons who are spoken of; the other to indicate a fact relating to him, the fact that Socrates was his son. I further apply to him these other expressions: a man, a Greek, an Athenian, a sculptor, an old man, an honest man, a brave man. All these arez, or may be,z names of Sophroniscus, not indeed of him alone, but of him and each of an indefinite number of other human beings. Each of these names is applied to Sophroniscus for a different reason, and by each whoever understands its meaning is apprised of a distinct fact or number of facts concerning him; but those who knew nothing about the names except that they were applicable to Sophroniscus, would be altogether ignorant of their meaning. It is even apossiblea that I might know every single individual of whom a given name could be with truth affirmed, and yet could not be said to know the meaning of the name. A child knows who are its brothers and sisters, long before it has any definite conception of the nature of the facts which are involved in the signification of those words.

In some cases it is not easy to decide precisely how much a particular word does or does not connote; that is, we do not exactly know (the case not Edition: current; Page: [37] having arisen) what degree of difference in the object would occasion a difference in the name. Thus, it is clear that the word man, besides animal life and rationality, connotes also a certain external form; but it would be impossible to say precisely what form; that is, to decide how great a deviation from the form ordinarily found in the beings whom we are accustomed to call men, would suffice in a newly-discovered race to make us refuse them the name of man. Rationality, also, being a quality which admits of degrees, it has never been settled what is the lowest degree of that quality which would entitle any creature to be considered a human being. In all such cases, the meaning of the general name is so far unsettled and vague; mankind have not come to any positive agreement about the matter. When we come to treat of Classification, we shall have occasion to show under what conditions this vagueness may exist without practical inconvenience; and cases will appear in which the ends of language are better promoted by it than by complete precision; in order that, in natural history for instance, individuals or species of no very marked character may be ranged with those more strongly characterized individuals or species to which, in all their properties taken together, they bear the nearest resemblance.

But this partial uncertainty in the connotation of names can only be free from mischief when guarded by strict precautions. One of the chief sources, indeed, of lax habits of thought, is the custom of using connotative terms without a distinctly ascertained connotation, and bwith nob more precise notion of their meaning than can be loosely collected from observing what objects they are used to cdenotec. It is in this manner that we all acquire, and inevitably so, our first knowledge of our vernacular language. A child learns the meaning of the words man, or white, by hearing them applied to a variety of individual objects, and finding out, by a process of generalization and analysis dwhich he could not himself described, what those different objects have in common. In the case of these two words the process is so easy as to require no assistance from culture; the objects called human beings, and the objects called white, differing from all others by qualities of a peculiarly definite and obvious character. But in many other cases, objects bear a general resemblance to one another, which eleads to their being familiarly classed together under a common name, while, without more analytic habits than the generality of mankind possess, it is not immediately apparent what are the particular attributes, upon the possession of which in common by them all, their general resemblance depends. When this is the case, fpeoplef use the name without any recognised connotation, that is, without any precise Edition: current; Page: [38] meaning; they talk, and consequently think, vaguely, and remain contented to attach only the same degree of significance to their own words, which a child gthree years old attaches to the words brother and sister. The child at least is seldom puzzled by the starting up of new individuals, on whom he is ignorant whether or not to confer the title; because there is usually an authority close at hand competent to solve all doubts. But a similar resource does not exist in the generality of cases; and new objects are continually presenting themselves to men, women, and children, which they are called upon to class proprio motu. They, accordingly, do this on no other principle than that of superficial similarity, giving to each new object the name of that familiar object, the idea of which it most readily recalls, or which, on a cursory inspection, it seems to them most to resemble: as an unknown substance found in the ground will be called, according to its texture, earth, sand, or a stone. In this manner, names creep on from subject to subject, until all traces of a common meaning sometimes disappear, and the word comes to denote a number of things not only independently of any common attribute, but which have actually no attribute in common; or none but what is shared by other things to which the name is capriciously refused.* Even iscientific writersi have aided in this perversion of general language from its Edition: current; Page: [39] purpose; sometimes because, like the vulgar, they knew no better; and sometimes in deference to that aversion to admit new words, which induces mankind, on all subjects not considered technical, to attempt to make the original jstock of names serve with but little augmentation to express a constantly increasing number of objects and distinctions, and, consequently, to express them in a manner progressively more and more imperfect.

To what kak degree this loose mode of classing and denominating objects has rendered the vocabulary of mental and moral philosophy unfit for the purposes of accurate thinking, is best known to whoever has most lmeditatedl on the present condition of those branches of knowledge. Since, however, the introduction of a new technical language as the vehicle of speculations on msubjects belonging to the domain of daily discussion, is extremely difficult to effect, and would not be free from inconvenience even if effected,m the problem for the philosopher, and one of the most difficult which he has to resolve, is, in retaining the existing phraseology, how best to alleviate its imperfections. This can only be accomplished by giving to every general concrete name which nthere isn frequent occasion to predicate, a definite and fixed connotation; in order that it may be known what attributes, when we call an object by that name, we really mean to predicate of the object. And the question of most nicety is, how to give this fixed connotation to a name, with the least possible change in the objects which the name is habitually employed to odenoteo; with the least possible disarrangement, either by adding or subtraction, of the group of objects whichp, in however imperfect a manner, it servesp to circumscribe and hold together; and with the least vitiation of the truth of any propositions which are commonly received as true.

This desirable purpose, of giving a fixed connotation where it is wanting, is the end aimed at whenever any one attempts to give a definition of a general name already in use; every definition of a connotative name being an attempt either merely to declare, or to declare and analyse, the connotation of the name. And the fact, that no questions which have arisen in the moral sciences have been subjects of keener controversy than the definitions of almost all the leading expressions, is a proof how great an extent the evil to which we have adverted has attained.

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Names with indeterminate connotation are not to be confounded with names which have more than one connotation, that is to say, qambiguous words. A word may have several meanings, but all of them fixed and recognised ones; as the word post, for example, ror the word box,r the various senses of which it would be endless to enumerate. And the paucity of existing names, in comparison with the demand for them, may often render it advisable and even necessary to retain a name in this multiplicity of acceptations, distinguishing these so clearly as to prevent their being confounded with one another. Such a word may be considered as two or more names, accidentally written and spoken alike.*

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§ 6. [Positive and Negative names] The fourth principal division of names, is into positive and negative. Positive, as man, atreea, good; negative, as not-man, bnot-treeb, not-good. To every positive concrete name, a corresponding negative one might be framed. After giving a name to any one thing, or to any plurality of things, we might create a second name which should be a name of all things whatever, except that particular thing or things. These negative names are employed whenever we have occasion to speak collectively of all things other than some thing or class of things. When the positive name is connotative, the corresponding negative name is connotative likewise; but in a peculiar way, connoting not the presence but the absence of an attribute. Thus, not-white denotes all things whatever except white things; and connotes the attribute of not possessing whiteness. For the non-possession of any given attribute is also an attribute, and may receive a name as such; and thus negative concrete names may obtain negative abstract names to correspond to them.*

Names which are positive in form are often negative in reality, and others Edition: current; Page: [42] are really positive though their form is negative. The word inconvenient, for example, does not express the mere absence of convenience; it expresses a positive attribute, that of being the cause of discomfort or annoyance. So the word unpleasant, notwithstanding its negative form, does not connote the mere absence of pleasantness, but a less degree of what is signified by the word painful, which, it is hardly necessary to say, is positive. Idle, on the other hand, is a word which, though positive in form, expresses nothing but what would be signified either by the phrase not working, or by the phrase not disposed to work; and sober, either by not drunk or by not drunken.

There is a class of names called privative. A privative name is equivalent in its signification to a positive and a negative name taken together; being the name of something which has once had a particular attribute, or for some other reason might have been expected to have it, but which has it not. Such is the word blind, which is not equivalent to not seeing, or to not capable of seeing, for it would not, except by a poetical or rhetorical figure, be applied to stocks and stones. A thing is not usually said to be blind, unless the class to which it is most familiarly referred, or to which it is referred on the particular occasion, be chiefly composed of things which can see, as in the case of a blind man, or a blind horse; or unless it is supposed for any reason that it ought to see; as in saying of a man, that he rushed blindly into an abyss, or of philosophers or the clergy that the greater part of them are blind guides. The names called privative, therefore, connote two things; the absence of certain attributes, and the presence of others, from which the presence also of the former might naturally have been expected.

§ 7. [Relative and Absolute names] The fifth leading division of names is into relative and absolute, or let us rather say, relative and non-relative; for the word absolute is put upon much too hard duty in metaphysics, not to be willingly spared when its services can be dispensed with. It resembles the word civil in the language of jurisprudence, which stands for the opposite of criminal, the opposite of ecclesiastical, the opposite of military, the opposite of political—in short, the opposite of any positive word which wants a negative.

Relative names are such as father, son; ruler, subject; like; equal; unlike; unequal; longer, shorter; cause, effect. Their characteristic property is, that they are always given in pairs. Every relative name which is predicated of an object, supposes another object (or objects), of which we may predicate either that same name or another relative name which is said to be the correlative of the former. Thus, when we call any person a son, we suppose other persons who must be called parents. When we call any event a cause, we suppose another event which is an effect. When we say of any distance that it is longer, we suppose another distance which is shorter. When we say Edition: current; Page: [43] of any object that it is like, we mean that it is like some other object, which is also said to be like the first. In this alasta case both objects receive the same name; the relative term is its own correlative.

It is evident that these words, when concrete, are, like other concrete general names, connotative; they denote a subject, and connote an attribute; and each of them has or might have a corresponding abstract name, to denote the attribute connoted by the concrete. Thus the concrete like has its abstract likeness; the concretes, father and son, haveb, or might have,b the abstracts, paternity, and cfiliety, or sonshipc. The concrete name connotes an attribute, and the abstract name which answers to it denotes that attribute. But of what nature is the attribute? Wherein consists the peculiarity in the connotation of a relative name?

The attribute signified by a relative name, say some, is a relation; and this they give, if not as a sufficient explanation, at least as the only one attainable. If they are asked, What then is a relation? they do not profess to be able to tell. It is generally regarded as something peculiarly recondite and mysterious. I cannot, however, perceive in what respect it is more so than any other attribute; indeed, it appears to me to be so in a somewhat less degree. I conceive rather, that it is by examining into the signification of relative names, or, in other words, into the nature of the attribute which they connote, that a clear insight may best be obtained into the nature of all attributes: of all that is meant by an attribute.

It is obvious, in fact, that if we take any two correlative names, father and son for instance, though the objects denoted by the names are different, they both, in a certain sense, connote the same thing. They cannot, indeed, be said to connote the same attribute: to be a father, is not the same thing as to be a son. But when we call one man a father, another dad son, what we mean to affirm is a set of facts, which are exactly the same in both cases. To predicate of A that he is the father of B, and of B that he is the son of A, is to assert one and the same fact in different words. The two propositions are exactly equivalent: neither of them asserts more or asserts less than the other. The paternity of A and the efilietye of B are not two facts, but two modes of expressing the same fact. That fact, when analysed, consists of a series of physical events or phenomena, in which both A and B are parties concerned, and from which they both derive names. What those names really connote, is fthisf series of events: that is the meaning, and the whole meaning, which either of them is intended to convey. The series of events may be said to Edition: current; Page: [44] constitute the relation; the schoolmen called it the foundation of the relation, fundamentum relationis.

In this manner any fact, or series of facts, in which two different objects are implicated, and which is therefore predicable of both of them, may be either considered as constituting an attribute of the one, or an attribute of the other. According as we consider it in the former, or in the latter aspect, it is connoted by the one or the other of the two correlative names. Father connotes the fact, regarded as constituting an attribute of A; son connotes the same fact, as constituting an attribute of B. It may evidently be regarded with equal propriety in either light. And all that appears necessary to account for the existence of relative names, is, that whenever there is a fact in which two individuals are gconcerned, an attribute grounded on that fact may be ascribed to either of these individuals.

A name, therefore, is said to be relative, when, over and above the object which it denotes, it implies in its signification the existence of another object, also deriving a denomination from the same fact which is the ground of the first name. Or (to express the same meaning in other words) a name is relative, when, being the name of one thing, its signification cannot be explained but by mentioning another. Or we may state it thus—when the name cannot be employed in discourse so as to have a meaning, unless the name of some other thing than what it is itself the name of, be either expressed or understood. hThese definitionsh are all, at bottom, equivalent, being modes of variously expressing this one distinctive circumstance—that every other attribute of an object might, without any contradiction, be conceived still to exist if ino object besides that one had ever existedi;* but those of its attributes which are expressed by relative names, would on that supposition be swept away.

§ 8. [Univocal and Æquivocal names] Names have been further distinguished into univocal and æquivocal: these, however, are not two kinds of names, but two different modes of employing names. A name is univocal, or Edition: current; Page: [45] applied univocally, with respect to all things of which it can be predicated in the same sense; ait is æquivocal, or applied æquivocally, as respects those things of which it is predicated in different senses. It is scarcely necessary to give instances of a fact so familiar as the double meaning of a word. In reality, as has been already observed, an æquivocal or ambiguous word is not one name, but two names, accidentally coinciding in sound. File bmeaning a steelb instrument, and file cmeaningc a line of soldiers, have no more title to be considered one word, because written alike, than grease and Greece have, because they are pronounced alike. They are one sound, appropriated to form two different words.

An intermediate case is that of a name used analogically or metaphorically; that is, a name which is predicated of two things, not univocally, or exactly in the same signification, but in significations somewhat similar, and which being derived one from the other, one of them may be considered the primary, and the other a secondary signification. As when we speak of a brilliant light and a brilliant achievement. The word is not applied in the same sense to the light and to the achievement; but having been applied to the light in its original sense, that of brightness to the eye, it is transferred to the achievement in a derivative signification, supposed to be somewhat like the primitive one. The word, however, is just as properly two names instead of one, in this case, as in that of the most perfect ambiguity. And one of the commonest forms of fallacious reasoning arising from ambiguity, is that of arguing from a metaphorical expression as if it were literal; that is, as if a word, when applied metaphorically, were the same name as when taken in its original sense: which will be seen more particularly in its place.

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CHAPTER III: Of the Things Denoted by Names

§ 1. [Necessity of an enumeration of Nameable Things. The Categories of Aristotle] Looking back now to the commencement of our inquiry, let us attempt to measure how far it has advanced. Logic, we found, is the Theory of Proof. But proof supposes something provable, which must be a Proposition or Assertion; since nothing but a Proposition can be an object of belief, aora therefore of proof. A Proposition is, discourse which affirms or denies something of some other thing. This is one step: there must, it seems, be two things concerned in every act of belief. But what are these Things? They can be no other than those signified by the two names, which being joined together by a copula constitute the Proposition. If, therefore, we knew what all names signify, we should know everything whichb, in the existing state of human knowledge,b is capable either of being made a subject of affirmation or denial, or of being itself affirmed or denied of a subject. We have accordingly, in the preceding chapter, reviewed the various kinds of Names, in order to ascertain what is signified by each of them. And we have now carried this survey far enough to be able to take an account of its results, and to exhibit an enumeration of all ckinds of Things which are capable of being made predicates, or of having anything predicated of them: after which to determine the import of Predication, that is, of Propositions, can be no arduous task.

The necessity of an enumeration of Existences, as the basis of Logic, did not escape the attention of the schoolmen, and of their master Aristotle, the most comprehensive, if not dalsod the most sagacious, of the ancient philosophers.[*] The Categories, or Predicaments—the former a Greek word, the latter its literal translation in the Latin language—were ebelieved to bee an enumeration of all things capable of being named; an enumeration by the summa genera, i.e. the most extensive classes into which things could be distributed; which, therefore, were so many highest Predicates, one or other Edition: current; Page: [47] of which was supposed capable of being affirmed with truth of every nameable thing whatsoever. The following are the classes into which, according to this school of philosophy, Things in general might be reduced:

Οὐσία, Substantia.
Ποσόν, Quantitas.
Ποιόν, Qualitas.
Πρός τι, Relatio.
Ποιει̑ν, Actio.
Πάσχειν, Passio.
Που̑, Ubi.
Πότε, Quando.
Κει̑σθαι, Situs.
Ἔχειν, Habitus.

The imperfections of this classification are too obvious to require, and its merits are not sufficient to reward, a minute examination. It is a mere catalogue of the distinctions rudely marked out by the language of familiar life, with little or no attempt to penetrate, by philosophic analysis, to the rationale even of those common distinctions. Such an analysis, however superficially conducted, would have shown the enumeration to be both redundant and defective. Some objects are omitted, and others repeated several times under different heads. It is like a division of animals into men, quadrupeds, horses, asses, and ponies. That, for instance, could not be a very comprehensive view of the nature of Relation which could exclude action, passivity, and local situation from that category. The same observation applies to the categories Quando (or position in time), and Ubi (or position in space); while the distinction between the latter and Situs is merely verbal. The incongruity of erecting into a summum genus the class which forms the tenth category is manifest. On the other hand, the enumeration takes no notice of anything besides substances and attributes. In what category are we to place sensations, or any other feelings and states of mind; as hope, joy, fear; sound, smell, taste; pain, pleasure; thought, judgment, conception, and the like? Probably all these would have been placed by the Aristotelian school in the categories of actio and passio; and the relation of such of them as are active, to their objects, and of such of them as are passive, to their causes, would rightly be so placed; but the things themselves, the feelings or states of mind, wrongly. Feelings, or states of consciousness, are assuredly to be faccountedf among realities, but they cannot be reckoned either among substances or attributes.*

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§ 2. [Ambiguity of the most general names] Before recommencing, under better auspices, the attempt made with such imperfect success by the aearly logiciansa, we must take notice of an unfortunate ambiguity in all the concrete names which correspond to the most general of all abstract terms, the word Existence. When we have occasion for a name which shall be capable of denoting whatever exists, as contradistinguished from non-entity or Nothing, there is hardly a word applicable to the purpose which is not also, and even more familiarly, taken in a sense in which it denotes only substances. But substances are not all that bexistsb; attributes, if such things are to be spoken of, must be said to exist; feelings ccertainlyc exist. Yet when we speak of an object, or of a thing, we are almost always supposed to mean a substance. There seems a kind of contradiction in using such an expression as that one thing is merely an attribute of another thing. And the announcement of a Classification of Things would, I believe, prepare most readers for an enumeration like those in natural history, beginning with the great divisions of animal, vegetable, and mineral, and subdividing them into classes and Edition: current; Page: [49] orders. If, rejecting the word Thing, we endeavour to find another of a more general import, or at least more exclusively confined to that general import, a word denoting all that exists, and connoting only simple existence; no word might be presumed fitter for such a purpose than being: originally the present participle of a verb which in one of its meanings is exactly equivalent to the verb dexistsd; and therefore suitable, even by its grammatical formation, to be the concrete of the abstract existence. But this word, strange as the fact may appear, is still more completely spoiled for the purpose which it seemed expressly made for, than the word Thing. Being is, by custom, exactly synonymous with substance; except that it is free from a slight taint of a second ambiguity; being applied impartially to matter and to mind, while substance, though originally and in strictness applicable to both, is apt to suggest in preference the idea of matter. Attributes are never called Beings; nor are feelings. A Being is that which excites feelings, and which possesses attributes. The soul is called a Being; God and angels are called Beings; but if we were to say, extension, colour, wisdom, virtue, are beings, we should perhaps be suspected of thinking with some of the ancients, that the cardinal virtues are animals; or, at the least, of holding with the Platonic school the doctrine of self-existent Ideas, or with the followers of Epicurus that of Sensible Forms, which detach themselves in every direction from bodies, and by coming in contact with our organs, cause our perceptions. We should be supposed, in short, to believe that Attributes are Substances.

In consequence of this perversion of the word Being, philosophers looking about for something to supply its place, laid their hands upon the word Entity, a piece of barbarous Latin, invented by the schoolmen to be used as an abstract name, in which class its grammatical form would seem to place it; but being seized by logicians in distress to stop a leak in their terminology, it has ever since been used as a concrete name. The kindred word essence, born at the same time and of the same parents, scarcely underwent a more complete transformation when, from being the abstract of the verb to be, it came to denote something sufficiently concrete to be enclosed in a glass bottle. The word Entity, since it settled down into a concrete name, has retained its universality of signification somewhat less eimpairede than any of the names before mentioned. Yet the same gradual decay to which, after a certain age, all the language of psychology seems liable, has been at work even here. If you call virtue an entity, you are indeed somewhat less strongly suspected of believing it to be a substance than if you called it a being; but you are by no means free from the suspicion. Every word which was originally intended to connote mere existence, seems, after a ftime, to enlarge its connotation to separate existence, or existence freed from the condition of Edition: current; Page: [50] belonging to a substance; which condition being precisely what constitutes an attribute, attributes are gradually shut out; and along with them feelings, which in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred have no other name than that of the attribute which is grounded on them. Strange that when the greatest embarrassment gfelt byg all who have any considerable number of thoughts to express, is to find a sufficient variety of hpreciseh words ifittedi to express them, there should be no practice to which even jscientific thinkersj are more addicted than that of taking valuable words to express ideas which are sufficiently expressed by other words already appropriated to them.

When it is impossible to obtain good tools, the next best thing is to understand thoroughly the defects of those we have. I have therefore warned the reader of the ambiguity of the knames which, for want of better, I am necessitated to employ. It must now be the writer’s endeavour so to employ them as in no case to leave lthel meaning doubtful or obscure. No one of the above terms being altogether unambiguous, I shall not confine myself to any one, but shall employ on each occasion the word which seems least likely in the particular case to lead to mmisunderstandingm; nor do I pretend to use either these or any other words with a rigorous adherence to one single sense. To do so would often leave us without a word to express what is signified by a known word in some one or other of its senses: unless authors had an unlimited licence to coin new words, together with (what it would be more difficult to assume) unlimited power of making nreaders understandn them. Nor would it be wise in a writer, on a subject involving so much of abstraction, to deny himself the advantage derived from even an improper use of a term, when, by means of it, some familiar association is called up which brings the meaning home to the mind, as it were by a flash.

The difficulty both to the writer and reader, of the attempt which must be made to use vague words so as to convey a precise meaning, is not wholly a matter of regret. It is not unfitting that logical treatises should afford an example of that, to facilitate which is among the most important uses of logic. Philosophical language will for a long time, and popular language ostill longero, retain so much of vagueness and ambiguity, that logic would be of little value if it did not, among its other advantages, exercise the understanding in doing its work neatly and correctly with these imperfect tools.

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After this preamble it is time to proceed to our enumeration. We shall commence with Feelings, the simplest class of nameable things; the term Feeling being of course understood in its most enlarged sense.

I.: Feelings, or States of Consciousness

§ 3. [Feelings, or states of consciousness] A Feeling and a State of Consciousness are, in the language of philosophy, equivalent expressions: everything is a feeling of which the mind is conscious; everything which it feels, or, in other words, which forms a part of its own sentient existence. In popular language Feeling is not always synonymous with State of Consciousness; being often taken more peculiarly for those states which are conceived as belonging to the sensitive, or to the emotional, phasis of our nature, and sometimes, with a still narrower restriction, to the emotional alone, as distinguished from what are conceived as belonging to the percipient or ato thea intellectual phasis. But this is an admitted departure from correctness of language; just as, by a popular perversion the exact converse of this, the word Mind is withdrawn from its rightful generality of signification, and restricted to the intellect. The still greater perversion by which Feeling is sometimes confined not only to bodily sensations, but to the sensations of a single sense, that of touch, needs not be more particularly adverted to.

Feeling, in the proper sense of the term, is a genus, of which Sensation, Emotion, and Thought, are subordinate species. Under the word Thought is here to be included whatever we are internally conscious of when we are said to think; from the consciousness we have when we think of a red colour without having it before our eyes, to the most recondite thoughts of a philosopher or poet. Be it remembered, however, that by a thought is to be understood what passes in the mind itself, and not any object external to the mind, which the person is commonly said to be thinking of. He may be thinking of the sun, or of God, but the sun and God are not thoughts; his mental image, however, of the sun, and his idea of God, are thoughts; states of his mind, not of the objects themselves; and so also is his belief of the existence of the sun, or of God; or his disbelief, if the case be so. Even imaginary objects (which are said to exist only in our ideas) are to be distinguished from our ideas of them. I may think of a hobgoblin, as I may think of the loaf which was eaten yesterday, or of the flower which will bloom to-morrow. But the hobgoblin which never existed is not the same thing with my idea of a hobgoblin, any more than the loaf which once existed is the same thing with my idea of a loaf, or the flower which does not yet exist, but which will exist, is the same with my idea of a flower. They are all, not thoughts, but Edition: current; Page: [52] objects of thought; though at the present time all the objects are alike non-existent.

In like manner, a Sensation is to be carefully distinguished from the object which causes the sensation; our sensation of white from a white object: nor is it less to be distinguished from the attribute whiteness, which we ascribe to the object in consequence of its exciting the sensation. Unfortunately for clearness and due discrimination in considering these subjects, our sensations seldom receive separate names. We have a name for the objects which produce in us a certain sensation: the word white. We have a name for the quality in those objects, to which we ascribe the sensation: the name whiteness. But when we speak of the sensation itself (as we have not occasion to do this often except in our bscientificb speculations), language, which adapts itself for the most part only to the common uses of life, has provided us with no single-worded or immediate designation; we must employ a circumlocution, and say, The sensation of white, or The sensation of whiteness; we must denominate the sensation either from the object, or from the attribute, by which it is excited. Yet the sensation, though it never does, might very well be conceived to exist, without anything whatever to excite it. We can conceive it as arising spontaneously in the mind. But if it so arose, we should have no name to denote it which would not be a misnomer. In the case of our sensations of hearing we are better provided; we have the word Sound, and a whole vocabulary of words to denote the various kinds of sounds. For as we are often conscious of these sensations in the absence of any perceptible object, we can more easily conceive having them in the absence of any object whatever. We need only shut our eyes and listen to music, to have a conception of an universe with nothing in it except sounds, and ourselves hearing them: and what is easily conceived separately, easily obtains a separate name. But in general our names of sensations denote indiscriminately the sensation and the attribute. Thus, colour stands for the sensations of white, red, &c., but also for the quality in the coloured object. We talk of the colours of things as among their properties.

§ 4. [Feelings must be distinguished from their physical antecedents. Perceptions, what] In the case of sensations, another distinction has also to be kept in view, which is often confounded, and never without mischievous consequences. This is, the distinction between the sensation itself, and the state of the bodily organs which precedes the sensation, and which constitutes the physical agency by which it is produced. One of the sources of confusion on this subject is the division commonly made of feelings into Bodily and Mental. Philosophically speaking, there is no foundation at all for this distinction: even sensations are states of the sentient mind, not states of the Edition: current; Page: [53] body, as distinguished from it. What I am conscious of when I see the colour blue, is a feeling of blue colour, which is one thing; the picture on my retina, or the phenomenon of hitherto mysterious nature which takes place in my optic nerve or in my brain, is another thing, of which I am not at all conscious, and which scientific investigation alone could have apprised me of. These are states of my body; but the sensation of blue, which is the consequence of these states of body, is not a state of body: that which perceives and is conscious is called Mind. When sensations are called bodily feelings, it is only as being the class of feelings which are immediately occasioned by bodily states; whereas the other kinds of feelings, thoughts, for instance, or emotions, are immediately excited not by anything acting upon the bodily organs, but by sensations, or by previous thoughts. This, however, is a distinction not in our feelings, but in the agency which produces our feelings: all of them when actually produced are states of mind.

Besides the affection of our bodily organs from without, and the sensation thereby produced in our minds, many writers admit a third link in the chain of phenomena, which they acalla a Perception, and which consists in the recognition of an external object as the exciting cause of the sensation. This perception, they say, is an act of the mind, proceeding from its own spontaneous activity; while in bab sensation the mind is passive, being merely acted upon by the outward object. And according to some cmetaphysicians,c it is by an act of the mind, similar to perception, except in not being preceded by any sensation, that dthe existence of God, the soul, and other hyperphysical objects is recognisedd.

These acts of ewhat is termede perception, whatever be the conclusion ultimately come to respecting their nature, must, I conceive, take their place among the varieties of feelings or states of mind. In so classing them, I have not the smallest intention of declaring or insinuating any theory as to the law of mind in which these mental processes may be supposed to originate, or the conditions under which they may be legitimate or the reverse. Far less do I mean (as Dr. Whewell seems to suppose must be meant in an analogous case*) to indicate that as they are “merely states of mind,” it is superfluous to inquire into their distinguishing peculiarities. I abstain from the inquiry as irrelevant to the science of logic. In these so-called perceptions, or direct recognitions by the mind, of objects, whether physical or spiritual, which are external to itself, I can see only cases of belief; but of belief which claims to Edition: current; Page: [54] be intuitive, or independent of external evidence. When a stone lies before me, I am conscious of certain sensations which I receive from it; but fiff I say that these sensations come to me from an external object which I perceive, the meaning of these words is, that receiving the sensations, I intuitively believe that an external cause of those sensations exists. The laws of intuitive belief, and the conditions under which it is legitimate, are a subject which, as we have already so often remarked, belongs not to logic, but to the gscience of the ultimate laws of the human mindg.

hTo the same region of speculation belongs all that can be said respecting the distinction which the German metaphysicians and their French and English followers iso elaborately draw between the acts of the mind and its merely passive states; between what it receives from, and what it gives to, the crude materials of its experience. I am aware that with reference to the view which those writers take of the primary elements of thought and knowledge, this distinction is fundamental. But for jthe presentj purpose, which is to examine, not the original groundwork of our knowledge, but how we come by that portion of it which is not original; the difference between active and passive states of mind is of secondary importance. For us, they are all states of mind, they all are feelings; by which, let it be said once more, I mean to imply nothing of passivity, but simply that they are psychological facts, facts which take place in the mind, and karek to be carefully distinguished from the external or physical facts with which they may be connected either as effects or as causes.

a§ 5.a [Volitions, and Actions, what] Among active states of mind, there is, however, one species which merits particular attention, because it forms a principal part of the connotation of some important classes of names. I mean volitions, or acts of the will. When we speak of sentient beings by relative names, a large portion of the connotation of the name usually consists of the actions of those beings; actions past, present, and possible or probable future. Take, for instance, the words Sovereign and Subject. What meaning do these words convey, but that of innumerable actions, done or to be done by the sovereign and the subjects, to or in regard to one another reciprocally? So with the words physician and patient, leader and follower, btutor and pupilb. In many cases the words also connote actions which would be done under certain contingencies by persons other than those denoted: as the words mortgagor and mortgagee, obligor and obligee, and many other words expressive Edition: current; Page: [55] of legal relation, which connote what a court of justice would do to enforce the legal obligation if not fulfilled. There are also words which connote actions previously done by persons other than those denoted either by the name itself or by its correlative; as the word brother. From these instances, it may be seen how large a portion of the connotation of names consists of actions. Now what is an action? Not one thing, but a series of two things: the state of mind called a volition, followed by an effect. The volition or intention to produce the effect, is one thing; the effect produced in consequence of the intention, is another thing; the two together constitute the action. I form the purpose of instantly moving my arm; that is a state of my mind: my arm (not being tied corc paralytic) moves in obedience to my purpose; that is a physical fact, consequent on a state of mind. The intention, dfollowed by the fact, or (if we prefer the expression) the fact when preceded and caused by the intention, is called the action of moving my arm.

§ 6. [Substance and Attribute] Of the first leading division of nameable things, viz. Feelings or States of Consciousness, we began by recognising three sub-divisions; Sensations, Thoughts, and Emotions. The first two of these we have illustrated at considerable length; the third, Emotions, not being perplexed by similar ambiguities, does not require similar exemplification. And, finally, we have found it necessary to add to these three a fourth species, commonly known by the name Volitions. aWe shall bnowb proceed to the two remaining classes of nameable things; all things which are cregarded asc external to the mind being considered as belonging either to the class of Substances or to that of Attributes.

II.: Substances

Logicians have endeavoured to define Substance and Attribute; but their definitions are not so much attempts to draw a distinction between the things themselves, as instructions what difference it is customary to make in the grammatical structure of the sentence, according as dwed are speaking of substances or of attributes. Such definitions are rather lessons of English, or of Greek, Latin, or German, than of mental philosophy. An attribute, say the school logicians, must be the attribute of something; colour, for example, Edition: current; Page: [56] must be the colour of something; goodness must be the goodness of something: and if this something should cease to exist, or should cease to be connected with the attribute, the existence of the attribute would be at an end. A substance, on the contrary, is self-existent; in speaking about it, we need not put of after its name. A stone is not the stone of anything; the moon is not the moon of anything, but simply the moon. Unless, indeed, the name which we choose to give to the substance be a relative name; if so, it must be followed either by of, or by some other particle, implying, as that preposition does, a reference to something else: but then the other characteristic peculiarity of an attribute would fail; the something might be destroyed, and the substance might still subsist. Thus, a father must be the father of something, and so far resembles an attribute, in being referred to something besides himself: if there were no child, there would be no father: but this, when we look into the matter, only means that we should not call him father. The man called father might still exist though ethere were no child, as he existed before there was a child:e and there would be no contradiction in supposing him to exist, though the whole universe except himself were destroyed. But destroy all white substances, and where would be the attribute whiteness? Whiteness, without any white thing, is a contradiction in terms.

This is the nearest approach to a solution of the difficulty, that will be found in the common treatises on logic. It will scarcely be thought to be a satisfactory one. If an attribute is distinguished from a substance by being the attribute of something, it seems highly necessary to understand what is meant by of; a particle which needs explanation too much itself, to be placed in front of the explanation of anything else. And as for the self-existence of fsubstancef, it is very true that a substance may be conceived to exist without any other substance, but so also may an attribute without any other attribute: and we can no more imagine a substance without attributes than we can imagine attributes without a substance.

Metaphysicians, however, have probed the question deeper, and given an account of Substance considerably more satisfactory than this. Substances are usually distinguished as Bodies or Minds. Of geachg of these, philosophers have at length provided us with a definition which seems unexceptionable.

§ 7. [Body] A body, according to the received doctrine of modern metaphysicians, may be defined, the external cause to which we ascribe our sensations. When I see and touch a piece of gold, I am conscious of a sensation of yellow colour, and sensations of hardness and weight; and by varying the mode of handling, I may add to these sensations many others completely distinct from them. The sensations are all of which I am directly conscious; Edition: current; Page: [57] but I consider them as produced by something not only existing independently of my will, but external to my bodily organs and to my mind. This external something I call a body.

It may be asked, how come we to ascribe our sensations to any external cause? And is there sufficient ground for so ascribing them? It is known, that there are metaphysicians who have raised a controversy on the point; maintaining athat we are not warranted in referring our sensations to a cause such as we understand by the word Body, or to any bexternal cause whateverb. Though we have no concern here with this controversy, nor with the metaphysical niceties on which it turns, one of the best ways of showing what is meant by Substance is, to consider what position it is necessary to take up, in order to maintain its existence against opponents.

It is certain, then, that a part of our notion of a body consists of the notion of a number of sensations of our own, or of other sentient beings, habitually occurring simultaneously. My conception of the table at which I am writing is compounded of its visible form and size, which are complex sensations of sight; its tangible form and size, which are complex sensations of our corgansc of touch and of our muscles; its weight, which is also a sensation of touch and of the muscles; its colour, which is a sensation of sight; its hardness, which is a sensation of the muscles; its composition, which is another word for all the varieties of sensation which we receive under various circumstances from the wood of which it is made, and so forth. All or most of these various sensations frequently are, and, as we learn by experience, always might be, experienced simultaneously, or in many different orders of succession at our own choice: and hence the thought of any one of them makes us think of the others, and the whole dbecomesd mentally amalgamated into one mixed state of consciousness, which, in the language of the school of Locke and Hartley, is termed a Complex Idea.

Now, there are philosophers who have argued as follows. If we econceive an orangee to be divested of its natural colour without acquiring any new one; to lose its softness without becoming hard, its roundness without becoming square or pentagonal, or of any other regular or irregular figure whatever; to be deprived of size, of weight, of taste, of smell; to lose all its mechanical and all its chemical properties, and acquire no new ones; to become, in short, invisible, intangible, fimperceptible not only by all our senses, but by the senses of all other sentient beings, real or possible; nothing, Edition: current; Page: [58] say these gthinkersg, would remain. For of what nature, they ask, could be the residuum? and by what token could it manifest its presence? To the unreflecting its existence seems to rest on the evidence of the senses. But to the senses nothing is apparent except the sensations. We know, indeed, that these sensations are bound together by some law; they do not come together at random, but according to a systematic order, which is part of the order established in the universe. When we experience one of these sensations, we usually experience the others also, or know that we have it in our power to experience them. But a fixed law of connexion, making the sensations occur together, does not, say these philosophers, necessarily require what is called a substratum to support them. The conception of a substratum is but one of many possible forms in which that connexion presents itself to our imagination; a mode of, as it were, realizing the idea. If there be such a substratum, suppose it hath this instant imiraculously annihilatedi, and let the sensations continue to occur in the same order, and how would the substratum be missed? By what signs should we be able to discover that its existence had terminated? Should we not have as much reason to believe that it still existed as we now have? And if we should not then be warranted in believing it, how can we be so now? A body, therefore, according to these metaphysicians, is not anything intrinsically different from the sensations which the body is said to produce in us; it is, in short, a set of sensationsj, or rather, of possibilities of sensation,j joined together according to a fixed law.

kThe controversies to which these speculationsk have given rise, and the doctrines which have been developed in the attempt to find a conclusive answer to them, have been fruitful of important consequences to the Science of Mind. The sensations (it was answered) which we are conscious of, and which we receive, not at random, but joined together in a certain uniform manner, imply not only a law or laws of connexion, but a cause external to our mind, which cause, by its own laws, determines the laws according to which the sensations are connected and experienced. The schoolmen used to call this external cause by the name we have already employed, a substratum; and its attributes (as they expressed themselves) inhered, literally stuck, in it. To this substratum the name Matter is usually given in philosophical discussions. It was soon, however, acknowledged by all who reflected on the subject, that the existence of matter lcannotl be proved by extrinsic evidence. The answer, therefore, now usually made to Berkeley and his followers, is, Edition: current; Page: [59] that the belief is intuitive; that mankind, in all ages, have felt themselves compelled, by a necessity of their nature, to refer their sensations to an external cause: that even those who deny it in theory, yield to the necessity in practice, and both in speech, thought, and feeling, do, equally with the vulgar, acknowledge their sensations to be the effects of something external to them: this knowledge, therefore, mit is affirmed,m is as evidently intuitive as our knowledge of our sensations themselves is intuitive. And here the question merges in the fundamental problem of nmetaphysics properly so called:n to which science we leave it.

But although the extreme doctrine of the Idealist metaphysicians, that objects are nothing but our sensations and the laws which connect them, has onot been generally adopted by subsequent thinkers; the point of mosto real importance is one on which those metaphysicians are now very generally considered to have made out their case: viz., that all we know of objects is the sensations which they give us, and the order of the occurrence of those sensations. Kant himself, on this point, is as explicit as Berkeley or Locke. However firmly convinced that there exists an universe of “Things in themselves,” totally distinct from the universe of phenomena, or of things as they appear to our senses; and even when bringing into use pap technical expression (Noumenon) to denote what the thing is in itself, as contrasted with the representation of it in our minds; he allows that this representation (the matter of which, he says, consists of our sensations, though the form is given by the laws of the mind itself) is all we know of the object: and that the real nature of the Thing is, and by the constitution of our faculties ever must remain, at least in qthe present state ofq existence, an impenetrable mystery to us.

rOf things absolutely or in themselves, [says Sir William Hamilton,*] be they external, be they internal, we know nothing, or know them only as incognisable; and become aware of their incomprehensible existence, only as this is indirectly and accidentally revealed to us, through certain qualities related to our faculties of knowledge, and which qualities, again, we cannot think as unconditioned, irrelative, existent in and of themselves. All that we know is therefore phænomenal,—phænomenal of the unknown.

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The same doctrine is laid down in the clearest and strongest terms by M. Cousin, whose observations on the subject are the more worthy of attention, as, in consequence of the ultra-German and ontological character of his philosophy in other respects, they may be regarded as the admissions of an opponent.r*

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uThere is not the slightest reason for believing that what we call the sensible qualities of the object are a type of anything inherent in itself, or bear any affinity to its own nature. A cause does not, as such, resemble its effects; an east wind is not like the feeling of cold, nor vheat like the steam of boiling water. Why then should matter resemble our sensations? Why should the inmost nature of fire or water resemble the impressions made by wthosew objects upon our senses?* dOr on what principle are we authorized Edition: current; Page: [62] to deduce from the effects, anything concerning the cause, except that it is a cause adequate to produce those effects?d It may, therefore, safely be laid down as a truth both obvious in itself, and admitted by all whom it is at present necessary to take into consideration, that, of the outward world, we know and can know absolutely nothing, except the sensations which we experience from it.*f

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§ 8. [Mind] Body having now been defined the external cause, and (according to the more reasonable opinion) the aunknowna external cause, to which we refer our sensations; it remains to frame a definition of Mind. Nor, after the preceding observations, will this be difficult. For, as our conception of a body is that of an unknown exciting cause of sensations, so our conception of a mind is that of an unknown recipient, or percipient, of them; and not of them alone, but of all our other feelings. As body is bunderstood to beb the mysterious something which excites the mind to feel, so mind is the mysterious something which feels and thinks. It is unnecessary to give in the Edition: current; Page: [64] case of mind, as we gave in the case of matter, a particular statement of the sceptical system by which its existence as a Thing in itself, distinct from the series of what are denominated its states, is called in question. But it is necessary to remark, that on the inmost nature c(whatever be meant by inmost nature)c of the thinking principle, as well as on the inmost nature of matter, we are, and with our dfaculties must always remain, entirely in the dark. All which we are aware of, even in our own minds, is (in the words of eJamese Mill) a certain “thread of consciousness;”[*] a series of feelings, that is, of sensations, thoughts, emotions, and volitions, more or less numerous and complicated. There is a something I call Myself, or, by another form of expression, my mind, which I consider as distinct from these sensations, thoughts, &c.; a something which I conceive to be not the thoughts, but the being that has the thoughts, and which I can conceive as existing for ever in a state of quiescence, without any thoughts at all. But what this being is, though it is myself, I have no knowledge, fotherf than the series of its states of consciousness. As bodies manifest themselves to me only through the sensations of which I regard them as the causes, so the thinking principle, or mind, in my own nature, makes itself known to me only by the feelings of which it is conscious. I know nothing about myself, save my capacities of feeling or being conscious (including, of course, thinking and willing): and were I to learn anything new concerning gmy own natureg, I cannot with my present faculties conceive this new information to be anything else, than that I have some additional capacities, has yeth unknown to me, of feeling, thinking, or willing.

Thus, then, as body is the unsentient cause to which we are naturally prompted to refer a certain portion of our feelings, so mind may be described as the sentient subject (in the ischolastici sense of the term) of all feelings; that which has or feels them. But of the nature of either body or mind, further than the feelings which the former excites, and which the latter experiences, we do not, according to the best existing doctrine, know anything; and if anything, logic has nothing to do with it, or with the manner in which jthe knowledgej is acquired. With this result we may conclude this portion of our subject, and pass to the third and only remaining class or division of Nameable Things.

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III.: Attributes: and, first, Qualities

§ 9. [Qualities] From what has already been said of Substance, what is to be said of Attribute is easily deducible. For if we know not, and cannot know, anything of bodies but the sensations which they excite in us or aina others, those sensations must be all that we can, at bottom, mean by their attributes; and the distinction which we verbally make between the properties of things and the sensations we receive from them, must originate in the convenience of discourse rather than in the nature of what is bsignifiedb by the terms.

Attributes are usually distributed under the three heads of Quality, Quantity, and Relation. We shall come to the two latter presently: in cthe firstc place we shall confine ourselves to the former.

Let us take, then, as our example, one of what are termed the sensible qualities of objects, and let that example be whiteness. When we ascribe whiteness to any substance, as, for instance, snow; when we say that snow has the quality whiteness, what do we really assert? Simply, that when snow is present to our organs, we have a particular sensation, which we are accustomed to call the sensation of white. But how do I know that snow is present? Obviously by the sensations which I derive from it, and not otherwise. I infer that the object is present, because it gives me a certain assemblage or series of sensations. And when I ascribe to it the attribute whiteness, my meaning is only, that, of the sensations composing this group or series, that which I call the sensation of white colour is one.

This is one view which may be taken of the subject. But there is also another and a different view. It may be said, that it is true we know nothing of sensible objects, except the sensations they excite in us; that the fact of our receiving from snow the particular sensation which is called a sensation of white, is the ground on which we ascribe to that substance the quality whiteness; the sole proof of its possessing that quality. But because one thing may be the sole evidence of the existence of another thing, it does not follow that the two are one and the same. The attribute whiteness (it may be said) is not the fact of dreceiving the sensation, but something in the object itself; a power inherent in it; something in virtue of which the object produces the sensation. And when we affirm that snow possesses the attribute whiteness, we do not merely assert that the presence of snow produces in us that sensation, but that it does so through, and by reason of, that power or quality.

For the purposes of logic it is not of material importance which of these eopinionse we adopt. The full discussion of the subject belongs to the fother Edition: current; Page: [66] department of scientificf inquiry, so often alluded to under the name of gmetaphysics; but it may be said here, that for the doctrine of the existence of a peculiar species of entities called qualities, I can see no foundation except in a tendency of the human mind which is the cause of many delusions. I mean, the disposition, wherever we meet with two names which are not precisely synonymous, to suppose that they must be the names of two different things; whereas in reality they may be names of the same thing viewed in two different lights, horh under different suppositions as to surrounding circumstances. Because quality and sensation cannot be put indiscriminately one for the other, it is supposed that they cannot both signify the same thing, namely, the impression or feeling with which we are affected through our senses by the presence of an object; though there is at least no absurdity in supposing that this identical impression or feeling may be called a sensation when considered merely in itself, and a quality when ilooked at in relation toi any one of the numerous objects, the presence of which to our organs excites in our minds that among various other sensations or feelings. And if this be admissible as a supposition, it rests with those who contend for an entity per se called a quality, to show that their opinion is preferable, or is anything in fact but a lingering remnant of the joldj doctrine of occult causes; the very absurdity which Molière so happily ridiculed when he made one of his pedantic physicians account for the fact that kopium produces sleep by the maxim, Because it has a soporific virtue.k[*]

It is evident that when the physician stated that opium lhas a soporific virtue,l he did not account for, but merely asserted over again, the fact that it mproduces sleepm. In like manner, when we say that snow is white because it has the quality of whiteness, we are only re-asserting in more technical language the fact that it excites in us the sensation of white. If it be said that the sensation must have some cause, I answer, its cause is the presence of the nassemblage of phenomena which is termed then object. When we have asserted that as often as the object is present, and our organs in their normal state, the sensation takes place, we have stated all that we know about the matter. There is no need, after assigning a certain and intelligible cause, to suppose an occult cause besides, for the purpose of enabling the real cause Edition: current; Page: [67] to produce its effect. If I am asked, why does the presence of the object cause this sensation in me, I cannot tell: I can only say that such is my nature, and the nature of the object; othat the fact forms a part of the constitution of thingso. And to this we must at last come, even after interpolating the imaginary entity. Whatever number of links the chain of causes and effects may consist of, how any one link produces the one which is next to it, remains equally inexplicable to us. It is as easy to comprehend that the object should produce the sensation directly and at once, as that it should produce the same sensation by the aid of something else called the power of producing it.

But, as the difficulties which may be felt in adopting this view of the subject cannot be removed without discussions transcending the bounds of our science, I content myself with a passing indication, and shall, for the purposes of logic, adopt a language compatible with either view of the nature of qualities. I shall say,—what at least admits of no dispute,—that the quality of whiteness ascribed to the object snow, is grounded on its exciting in us the sensation of white; and adopting the language already used by the school logicians in the case of pthep kind of attributes called Relations, I shall term the sensation of white the foundation of the quality whiteness. For logical purposes the sensation is the only essential part of what is meant by the word; the only part which we ever can be concerned in proving. When that is proved, the quality is proved; if an object excites a sensation, it has, of course, the power of exciting it.

IV.: Relations

§ 10. [Relations] The qualities of a body, we have said, are the attributes grounded on the sensations which the presence of that particular body to our organs excites in our minds. But when we ascribe to any object the kind of attribute called a Relation, the foundation of the attribute must be something in which other objects are concerned besides itself and the percipient.

As there may with propriety be said to be a relation between any two things to which two correlative names are or may be given, we may expect to discover what constitutes a relation in general, if we enumerate the principal cases in which mankind have imposed correlative names, and observe what athese cases have in common.

What, then, is the character which is possessed in common by states of circumstances so heterogeneous and discordant as these: one thing like another; one thing unlike another; one thing near another; one thing far from another; one thing before, after, along with another; one thing greater, equal, Edition: current; Page: [68] less, than another; one thing the cause of another, the effect of another; one person the master, servant, child, parent, bdebtor, creditorb, sovereign, subject, attorney, client, of another, and so on?

Omitting, for the present, the case of Resemblance, (a relation which requires to be considered separately,) there seems to be one thing common to all these cases, and only one; that in each of them there exists or occurs, or has existed or occurred, cor may be expected to exist or occur,c some fact or phenomenon, into which the two things which are said to be related to each other, both enter as parties concerned. This fact, or phenomenon, is what the Aristotelian logicians called the fundamentum relationis. Thus in the relation of greater and less between two magnitudes, the fundamentum relationis is the fact that done of the two magnitudes could, under certain conditions, be included in, without entirely filling, the space occupied by the other magnituded. eIn the relation of master and servant, the fundamentum relationis is the fact that the one has undertaken, or is compelled, to perform certain services for the benefit and at the bidding of the other.e fExamples might be indefinitely multiplied; but it is already obvious that whenever two things are said to be related, there is some fact, or series of facts, into which they both enter; and that whenever any two things are involved in some one fact, or series of facts, we may ascribe to those two things a mutual relation grounded on the fact. Even if they have nothing in common but what is common to all things, that they are members of the universe, we call that a relation, and denominate them fellow-creatures, fellow-beings, or fellow-denizens of the universe. But in proportion as the fact into which the two objects enter as parts is of a more special and peculiar, or of a more complicated nature, so also is the relation grounded upon it. And there are as many conceivable relations as there are conceivable kinds of fact in which two things can be jointly concerned.

In the same manner, therefore, as a quality is an attribute grounded on the fact that a certain sensation or sensations are produced in us by the object, so an attribute grounded on some fact into which the object enters jointly with another object, is a relation between it and that other object. But the fact in the latter case consists of the very same kind of elements as the Edition: current; Page: [69] fact in the former; namely, states of consciousness. In the caseg, for example, of any legal relation, as debtor and creditor, principal and agent, guardian and ward,g the fundamentum relationis consists entirely of thoughts, hfeelingsh, and volitions (actual or contingent), either of the ipersons themselves or of other personsi concerned in the same series of transactions; as, for instance, the intentions which would be formed by a judge, in case a complaint were made to his tribunal of the infringement of any of the legal jobligations imposedj by kthe relationk; and the acts which the judge would perform in consequence; acts being (as we have already seen) another word for intentions followed by an effect, and that effect lbeing but another word for sensations, or some other feelings, occasioned either to mthe agent himselfm or to somebody else. There is no part nof what the names expressive of the relation imply, that is not resolvable into states of consciousness; outward objects being, no doubt, supposed throughout as the causes by which some of those states of consciousness are excited, and minds as the subjects by which all of them are experienced, but neither the external objects nor the minds making their existence known otherwise than by the states of consciousness.

Cases of relation are not always so complicated as othoseo to which we last alluded. The simplest of all cases of relation are those expressed by the words antecedent and consequent, pandp by the word simultaneous. If we say, for instance, that dawn preceded sunrise, the fact in which the two things, dawn and sunrise, were jointly concerned, consisted only of the two things themselves; no third thing entered into the fact or phenomenon at all. Unless, indeed, we choose to call the succession of the two objects a third thing; but their succession is not something added to the things themselves; it is something involved in them. Dawn and sunrise announce themselves to our consciousness by two successive sensations. Our consciousness of the succession of these sensations is not a third sensation or feeling added to them; we have not first the two feelings, and then a feeling of their succession. To have two feelings at all, implies having them either successively, or else simultaneously. Sensations, or other feelings, being given, succession and simultaneousness are the two conditions, to the alternative of which they are subjected by the nature of our faculties; and no one has been able, or needs expect, to analyse the matter any farther.

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§ 11. [Resemblance] In a somewhat similar position are two other sorts of arelationsa, Likeness and Unlikeness. I have two sensations; we will suppose them to be simple ones; two sensations of white, or one sensation of white and another of black. I call the first two sensations like; the last two unlike. What is the fact or phenomenon constituting the fundamentum of this relation? The two sensations first, and then what bweb call a feeling of resemblance, or cof want of resemblance. Let us confine ourselves to the former case. Resemblance is evidently a feeling; a state of the consciousness of the observer. Whether the feeling of the resemblance of the two colours be a third state of consciousness, which I have after having the two sensations of colour, or whether (like the feeling of their succession) it is involved in the sensations themselves, may be a matter of discussion. But in either case, these feelings of resemblance, and of its opposite dissimilarity, are parts of our nature; and parts so far from being capable of analysis, that they are presupposed in every attempt to analyse any of our other feelings. Likeness and unlikeness, therefore, as well as antecedence, sequence, and simultaneousness, must stand apart among relations, as things sui generis. They are attributes grounded on facts, that is, on states of consciousness, but on states which are peculiar, unresolvable, and inexplicable.

But, though likeness or unlikeness cannot be resolved into anything else, complex cases of likeness or unlikeness can be resolved into simpler ones. When we say of two things which consist of parts, that they are like one another, the likeness of the wholes does admit of analysis; it is compounded of likenesses between the various parts respectivelyd, and of likeness in their arrangementd Of how vast a variety of resemblances of parts must that resemblance be composed, which induces us to say that a portrait, or a landscape, is like its original. If one person mimics another with any success, of how many simple likenesses must the general or complex likeness be compounded: likeness in a succession of bodily postures; likeness in voice, or in the accents and intonations of the voice; likeness in the choice of words, and in the thoughts or sentiments expressed, whether by word, countenance, or gesture.

All likeness and unlikeness of which we have any cognizance, resolve themselves into likeness and unlikeness between states of our own, or some other, mind. When we say that one body is like another, (since we know nothing of bodies but the sensations which they excite,) we mean really that there is a resemblance between the sensations excited by the two bodies, or between some eportionse at least of fthosef sensations. If we say that two attributes are like one another, (since we know nothing of attributes except Edition: current; Page: [71] the sensations or states of feeling on which they are grounded,) we mean really that those sensations, or states of feeling, resemble each other. We may also say that two relations are alike. The fact of resemblance between relations is sometimes called analogy, forming one of the numerous meanings of that word. The relation in which Priam stood to Hector, namely, that of father and son, resembles the relation in which Philip stood to Alexander; resembles it so closely that they are called the same relation. The relation in which Cromwell stood to England resembles the relation in which Napoleon stood to France, though not so closely as to be called the same relation. The meaning in both these instances must be, that a resemblance existed between the facts which constituted the fundamentum relationis.

This resemblance may exist in all conceivable gradations, from perfect undistinguishableness to something gextremely slightg. When we say, that a thought suggested to the mind of a person of genius is like a seed cast into the ground, because the former produces a multitude of other thoughts, and the latter a multitude of other seeds, this is saying that between the relation of an inventive mind to a thought contained in it, and the relation of a fertile soil to a seed contained in it, there exists a resemblance: the real resemblance being in the two fundamenta relationis, in each of which there occurs a germ, producing by its development a multitude of other things similar to itself. And as, whenever two objects are jointly concerned in a phenomenon, this constitutes a relation between those objects, so, if we suppose a second pair of objects concerned in a second phenomenon, the slightest resemblance between the two phenomena is sufficient to admit of its being said that the two relations resemble; provided, of course, the points of resemblance are found in those portions of the two phenomena respectively which are connoted by the relative names.

While speaking of resemblance, it is necessary to take notice of an ambiguity of language, against which scarcely any one is sufficiently on his guard. Resemblance, when it exists in the highest degree of all, amounting to undistinguishableness, is often called identity, and the two similar things are said to be the same. I say often, not always; for we do not say that two visible objects, two persons for instance, are the same, because they are so much alike that one might be mistaken for the other: but we constantly use this mode of expression when speaking of feelings; as when I say that the sight of any object gives me the same sensation or emotion to-day that it did yesterday, or the same which it gives to some other person. This is evidently an incorrect application of the word same; for the feeling which I had yesterday is gone, never to return; hwhat I have to-day is another feeling, exactly like the former perhaps, but distinct from it; and it is evident that two different Edition: current; Page: [72] persons cannot be experiencing the same feeling, in the sense in which we say that they are both sitting at the same table. By a similar ambiguity we say, that two persons are ill of the same disease; that two ipersonsi hold the same office; not in the sense in which we say that they are engaged in the same adventure, or sailing in the same ship, but in the sense that they fill offices exactly similar, though, perhaps, in distant places. Great confusion of ideas is often produced, and many fallacies engendered, in otherwise enlightened understandings, by not being sufficiently alive to the fact (in itself not always to be avoided), that they use the same name to express ideas so different as those of identity and undistinguishable resemblance. Among modern writers, Archbishop Whately stands almost alone in having drawn attention to this distinction, and to the ambiguity connected with it.j

Several relations, generally called by other names, are really cases of resemblance. As, for example, equality; which is but another word for kthe exact resemblancek commonly called identity, considered as subsisting between things in respect of their quantity. And this example forms a suitable transition to the third and last of the three heads under which, as already remarked, Attributes are commonly arranged.

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V.: Quantity

§ 12. [Quantity] Let us imagine two things, between which there is no difference (that is, no dissimilarity), except in quantity alone: for instance, a gallon of water, and more than a gallon of water. A gallon of water, like any other external object, makes its presence known to us by a set of sensations which it excites. Ten gallons of water are also an external object, making its presence known to us in a similar manner; and as we do not mistake ten gallons of water for a gallon of water, it is plain that the set of sensations is more or less different in the two cases. In like manner, a gallon of water, and a gallon of awinea, are two external objects, making their presence known by two sets of sensations, which sensations are different from each other. In the first case, however, we say that the difference is in quantity; in the last there is a difference in quality, while the quantity of the water and of the bwineb is the same. What is the real distinction between the two cases? It is not cwithinc the province of Logic to analyse it; nor to decide whether it is susceptible of analysis or not. For us the following considerations are sufficient. It is evident that the sensations I receive from the gallon of water, and those I receive from the gallon of dwined, are not the same, that is, not precisely alike; neither are they altogether unlike: they are partly similar, partly dissimilar; and that in which they resemble is precisely that in which alone the gallon of water and the ten gallons do not resemble. That in which the gallon of water and the gallon of wine are like each other, and in which the gallon and the ten gallons of water are unlike each other, is called their quantity. This likeness and unlikeness I do not pretend to explain, no more than any other kind of likeness or unlikeness. But my object is to show, that when we say of two things that they differ in quantity, just as when we say that they differ in quality, the assertion is always grounded on a difference in the sensations which they excite. Nobody, I presume, will say, that to see, or to lift, or to drink, ten gallons of water, does not include in itself a different set of sensations from those of seeing, lifting, or drinking one gallon; or that to see or handle a foot-rule, and to see or handle a yard-measure made exactly like it, are the same sensations. I do not undertake to say what the difference in the sensations is. Everybody knows, and nobody can tell; no more than any one could tell what white is to a person who had never had the sensation. But the difference, so far as cognizable by our faculties, lies in the sensations. Whatever difference we say there is in the things themselves, ise, in this as in all other cases, groundede, and grounded exclusively, on a difference in the sensations excited by them.

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VI.: Attributes Concluded

§ 13. [All attributes of bodies are grounded on states of consciousness] Thus, then, all the attributes of bodies which are classed under Quality or Quantity, are grounded on the sensations which we receive from those bodies, and may be defined, the powers which the bodies have of exciting those sensations. And the same general explanation has been found to apply to most of the attributes usually classed under the head of Relation. They, too, are grounded on some fact or phenomenon into which the related objects enter as parts; that fact or phenomenon having no meaning and no existence to us, except the series of sensations or other states of consciousness by which it makes itself known; and the relation being simply the power or capacity which the object possesses of taking part along with the correlated object in the production of that series of sensations or states of consciousness. We have been obliged, indeed, to recognise a somewhat different character in certain peculiar relations, those of succession and simultaneity, of likeness and unlikeness. These, not being grounded on any fact or phenomenon distinct from the related objects themselves, do not admit of the same kind of analysis. But these relations, though not, like other relations, grounded on states of consciousness, are themselves states of consciousness: resemblance is nothing but our feeling of resemblance; succession is nothing but our feeling of succession. Or, if this be disputed (and we cannot, without transgressing the bounds of our science, discuss it here), at least our knowledge of these relations, and even our possibility of knowledge, is confined to those which subsist between sensations, or other states of consciousness; for, though we ascribe resemblance, or succession, or simultaneity, to objects and to attributes, it is always in virtue of resemblance or succession or simultaneity in the sensations or states of consciousness which those objects excite, and on which those attributes are grounded.

§ 14. [So also are all attributes of minds grounded on states of consciousness] In the preceding investigation we have, for the sake of simplicity, considered bodies only, and omitted minds. But what we have said, is applicable, mutatis mutandis, to the latter. The attributes of minds, as well as those of bodies, are grounded on states of feeling or consciousness. But in the case of a mind, we have to consider its own states, as well as those which it produces in other minds. Every attribute of a mind consists either in being itself affected in a certain way, or affecting other minds in a certain way. Considered in itself, we can predicate nothing of it but the series of its own feelings. When we say of any mind, that it is devout, or superstitious, or meditative, or cheerful, we mean that the ideas, emotions, aora volitions implied in Edition: current; Page: [75] those words, from a frequently recurring part of the series of feelings, or states of consciousness, which fill up the sentient existence of that mind.

In addition, however, to those attributes of a mind which are grounded on its own states of feeling, attributes may also be ascribed to it, in the same manner as to a body, grounded on the feelings which it excites in other minds. A mind does not, indeed, like a body, excite sensations, but it may excite thoughts or emotions. The most important example of attributes ascribed on this ground, is the employment of terms expressive of approbation or blame. When, for example, we say of any character, or (in other words) of any mind, that it is admirable, we mean that the contemplation of it excites the sentiment of admiration; and indeed somewhat more, for the word implies that we not only feel admiration, but approve that sentiment in ourselves. In some cases, under the semblance of a single attribute, two are really predicated: one of them, a state of the mind itself; the other, a state with which other minds are affected by thinking of it. As when we say of any one that he is generous. The word generosity expresses a certain state of mind, but being a term of praise, it also expresses that this state of mind excites in us another mental state, called approbation. The assertion made, therefore, is twofold, and of the following purport: Certain feelings form habitually a part of this person’s sentient existence; and bthe idea of those feelings of his, excites the sentiment of approbation in ourselves or others.

As we thus ascribe attributes to minds on the ground of ideas and emotions, so may we to bodies on similar grounds, and not solely on the ground of sensations: as in speaking of the beauty of a statute; since this attribute is grounded on the peculiar feeling of pleasure which the statue produces in our minds; cwhich is not a sensation, but an emotion.

VII.: General aResultsa

§ 15. [Recapitulation] Our survey of the varieties of Things which have been, or which are capable of being, named—which have been, or are capable of being, either predicated of other Things, or bthemselves madeb the subject of predications—is now cconcludedc.

Our enumeration commenced with Feelings. These we scrupulously distinguished from the objects which excite them, and from the organs by which they are, or may be supposed to be, conveyed. Feelings are of four sorts: Sensations, Thoughts, Emotions, and Volitions. What are called Perceptions are merely a particular case of Belief, and belief is a kind of thought. Actions are merely volitions followed by an effect.d

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After Feelings we proceeded to Substances. These are either Bodies or Minds. Without entering into the grounds of the metaphysical doubts which have been raised concerning the existence of Matter and Mind as objective realities, we stated as sufficient for us the conclusion in which the best thinkers are now efor the most parte agreed, that all we can know of Matter is the sensations which it gives us, and the order of occurrence of those sensations; and that while the substance Body is the unknown cause of our sensations, the substance Mind is the unknown frecipientf.

The only remaining class of Nameable Things is Attributes; and these are of three kinds, Quality, Relation, and Quantity. Qualities, like substances, are known to us no otherwise than by the sensations or other states of consciousness which they excite: and while, in compliance with common usage, we have continued to speak of them as a distinct class of Things, we showed that in predicating them no one means to predicate anything but those sensations or states of consciousness, on which they may be said to be grounded, and by which alone they can be defined gor describedg. Relations, except the simple cases of likeness and unlikeness, succession and simultaneity, are similarly grounded on some fact or phenomenon, that is, on some series of sensations or states of consciousness, more or less complicated. The third species of Attribute, Quantity, is also manifestly grounded on something in our sensations or states of feeling, since there is an indubitable difference in the sensations excited by a larger and a smaller bulk, or by a greater or a less degree of intensity, in any object of sense or of consciousness. All attributes, therefore, are to us nothing but either our sensations and other states of feeling, or something inextricably involved therein; and to this even the peculiar and simple relations just adverted to are not exceptions. Those peculiar relations, however, are so important, and, even if they might in strictness be classed among hstates of consciousness, are so fundamentally distinct from any other of those states, that it would be a vain subtlety to ibring them under that common descriptioni, and it is necessary that they should be classed apart.*

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As the result, therefore, of our analysis, we obtain the following as an enumeration and classification of all Nameable Things:

1st. Feelings, or States of Consciousness.

2nd. The Minds which experience those feelings.

3rd. The jBodies, orj external objects which excite certain of those feelings, together with the powers or properties whereby they excite them; kthese latter (at least)k being included rather in compliance with common opinion, and because their existence is taken for granted in the common language from which I cannot prudently deviate, than because the recognition of such powers or properties as real existences appears to lbel warranted by a sound philosophy.

4th, and last. The Successions and Co-existences, the Likenesses and Unlikenesses, between feelings or states of consciousness. Those relations, when considered as subsisting between other things, mexistm in reality only between the states of consciousness which those things, if bodies, excite, if minds, either excite or experience.

This, until a better can be suggested, nmay serven as a substitute for the oCategories of Aristotle considered as a Classification of Existenceso. The practical application of it will appear when we commence the inquiry into the Import of Propositions; in other words, when we inquire what it is which the mind actually believes, when it gives what is called its assent to a proposition.

These four classes comprising, if the classification be correct, all Nameable Things, these or some of them must of course compose the signification of all names; and of these, or some of them, is made up whatever we call a fact.

For distinction’s sake, every fact which is solely composed of feelings or states of consciousness considered as such, is often called a Psychological or Subjective fact; while every fact which is composed, either wholly or in part, of something different from these, that is, of substances and attributes, is called an Objective fact. We may say, then, that every objective fact is grounded on a corresponding subjective one; and has no meaning to us, (apart from the subjective fact which corresponds to it,) except as a name for the unknown and inscrutable process by which that subjective or psychological fact is brought to pass.

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CHAPTER IV: Of Propositions

§ 1. [Nature and office of the copula] In treating of Propositions, as already in treating of Names, some considerations of a comparatively elementary nature respecting their form and varieties must be premised, before entering upon that analysis of the import conveyed by them, which is the real subject and purpose of this preliminary book.

A proposition, we have before said, is a portion of discourse in which a predicate is affirmed or denied of a subject. A predicate and a subject are all that is necessarily required to make up a proposition: but as we cannot conclude from merely seeing two names put together, that they are a predicate and a subject, that is, that one of them is intended to be affirmed or denied of the other, it is necessary that there should be some mode or form of indicating that such is the intention; some sign to distinguish a predication from any other kind of discourse. This is sometimes done by a slight alteration of one of the words, called an inflection; as when we say, Fire burns; the change of the second word from burn to burns showing that we mean to affirm the predicate burn of the subject fire. But this function is more commonly fulfilled by the word is, when an affirmation is intended, is not, when a negation; or by some other part of the verb to be. The word which thus serves the purpose of a sign of predication is called, as we formerly observed, the copula. It is aimportanta that there should be no indistinctness in our conception of the nature and office of the copula; for confused notions respecting it are among the causes which have spread mysticism over the field of logic, and perverted its speculations into logomachies.

It is apt to be supposed that the copula is bsomethingb more than a mere sign of predication; that it also signifies existence. In the proposition, Socrates is just, it may seem to be implied not only that the quality just can be affirmed of Socrates, but moreover that Socrates is, that is to say, exists. This, however, only shows that there is an ambiguity in the word is; a word which not only performs the function of the copula in affirmations, but has also a meaning of its own, in virtue of which it may itself be made the predicate of a proposition. That the employment of it as a copula does not necessarily Edition: current; Page: [79] include the affirmation of existence, appears from such a proposition as this, A centaur is a fiction of the poets; where it cannot possibly be implied that a centaur exists, since the proposition itself expressly asserts that the thing has no real existence.

Many volumes might be filled with the frivolous speculations concerning the nature of Being, (τὸ ὄν, οὐσία, Ens, Entitas, Essentia, and the like) which have arisen from overlooking this double meaning of the cwordc to be; from supposing that when it signifies to exist, and when it signifies to be some specified thing, as to be a man, to be Socrates, to be seen or spoken of, to be a phantom, even to be a nonentity, it must still, at bottom, answer to the same idea; and that a meaning must be found for it which shall suit all these cases. The fog which rose from this narrow spot diffused itself at an early period over the whole surface of metaphysics. Yet it becomes us not to triumph over the dgreatd intellects of Plato and Aristotle because we are now able to preserve ourselves from many errors into which they, perhaps inevitably, fell. The fire-teazer of a modern steam-engine produces by his exertions far greater effects than Milo of Crotona could, but he is not therefore a stronger man. The Greeks seldom knew any language but their own. This rendered it far more difficult for them than it is for us, to acquire a readiness in detecting ambiguities. One of the advantages of having eaccuratelye studied a plurality of languages, especially of those languages which feminent thinkersf have used as the vehicle of their thoughts, is the practical lesson we learn respecting the ambiguities of words, by finding that the same word in one language corresponds, on different occasions, to different words in another. When not thus exercised, even the strongest understandings find early period over the whole surface of metaphysics. Yet it becomes us not to some respect or other a common nature; and often expend much labour gvery unprofitablyg (as was frequently done by the two philosophers just mentioned) hinh vain attempts to discover in what this common nature consists. But, the habit once formed, intellects much inferior are capable of detecting even ambiguities which are common to many languages: and it is surprising that the one now under consideration, though it exists in the modern languages as well as in the ancient, should have been overlooked by almost all authors. The quantity of futile speculation which had been caused by a misapprehension of the nature of the copula, was hinted at by Hobbes;[*] Edition: current; Page: [80] but iMr. Jamesi Mill* was, I believe, the first who distinctly characterized the ambiguity, and pointed out how many errors in the received systems of philosophy it has had to answer for. It has indeed misled the moderns scarcely less than the ancients, though their mistakes, because our understandings are not yet so completely emancipated from their influence, do not appear equally jirrationalj.

We shall now briefly review the principal distinctions which exist among propositions, and the technical terms most commonly in use to express those distinctions.

§ 2. [Affirmative and Negative propositions] A proposition being a portion of discourse in which something is affirmed or denied of something, the first division of propositions is into affirmative and negative. An affirmative proposition is that in which the predicate is affirmed of the subject; as, Cæsar is dead. A negative proposition is that in which the predicate is denied of the subject; as, Cæsar is not dead. The copula, in this last species of proposition, consists of the words is not, which are the sign of negation; is being the sign of affirmation.

Some logicians, among whom may be mentioned Hobbes,[*] state this distinction differently; they recognise only one form of copula, is, and attach the negative sign to the predicate. “Cæsar is dead,” and “Cæsar is not dead,” according to these writers, are propositions agreeing not in the subject and predicate, but in the subject only. They do not consider “dead,” but “not dead,” to be the predicate of the second proposition, and they accordingly define a negative proposition to be one in which the predicate is a negative name. The point, though not of much practical moment, deserves notice as an example (not unfrequent in logic) where by means of an apparent simplification, but which is merely verbal, matters are made more complex than before. The anotiona of these writers was, that they could get rid of the distinction between affirming and denying, by treating every case of denying as the affirming bofb a negative name. But what is meant by a negative name? A name expressive of the absence of an attribute. So that when we affirm a negative name, what we are really predicating is absence and not presence; we are asserting not that anything is, but that something is not; to express which operation no word seems so proper as the word denying. The fundamental distinction is between a fact and the non-existence of that fact; between Edition: current; Page: [81] seeing something and not seeing it, between Cæsar’s being dead and his not being dead; and if this were a merely verbal distinction, the generalization which brings both within the same form of assertion would be a real simplification: the distinction, however, being real, and in the facts, it is the generalization confounding the distinction that is merely verbal; and tends to obscure the subject, by treating the difference between two kinds of ctruthsc as if it were only a difference between two kinds of words. To put things together, and to put them or keep them asunder, will remain different operations, whatever tricks we may play with language.

A remark of a similar nature may be applied to most of those distinctions among propositions which are said to have reference to their modality; as, difference of tense or time; the sun did rise, the sun is rising, the sun will rise. dThesed differences, like that between affirmation and negation, might be glossed over by considering the incident of time as a mere modification of the predicate: thus, The sun is an object having risen, The sun is an object now rising, The sun is an object to rise hereafter. But the simplification would be merely verbal. Past, present, eande future, do not constitute so many different kinds of rising; they are fdesignations belonging to the event asserted, to the sun’s rising to-day. They affect, not the predicate, but the applicability of the predicate to the particular subject. That which we affirm to be past, present, or future, is not what the subject signifies, nor what the predicate signifies, but specifically and expressly what the predication signifies; what is expressed only by the proposition as such, and not by either or both of the terms. Therefore the circumstance of time is properly considered as attaching to the copula, which is the sign of predication, and not to the predicate. If the same cannot be said of such modifications as these, Cæsar may be dead; Cæsar is perhaps dead; it is possible that Cæsar is dead; it is only because these fall altogether under another head, being properly assertions not of anything relating to the fact itself, but of the state of our own mind in regard to it; namely, our absence of disbelief of it. Thus “Cæsar may be dead” means “I am not sure that Cæsar is alive.”

§ 3. [Simple and Complex propositions] The next division of propositions is into Simple and Complexa; more aptly (by Professor Bain*) termed Compounda. A simple proposition is that in which one predicate is affirmed or denied of one subject. A bcompoundb proposition is that in which there is more than one predicate, or more than one subject, or both.

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At first sight this division has the air of an absurdity; a solemn distinction of things into one and more than one; as if we were to divide horses into single horses and teams of horses. And it is true that what is called a complex c(or compound)c proposition is often not a proposition at all, but several propositions, held together by a conjunction. Such, for example, is this: Cæsar is dead, and Brutus is alive: or even this, Cæsar is dead, but Brutus is alive. There are here two distinct assertions; and we might as well call a street a complex house, as these two propositions a complex proposition. It is true that the syncategorematic words and and but have a meaning; but that meaning is so far from making the two propositions one, that it adds a third proposition to them. All particles are abbreviations, and generally abbreviations of propositions; a kind of short-hand, whereby dsomethingd which, to be expressed fully, would have required a proposition or a series of propositions, is suggested to the mind at once. Thus the words, Cæsar is dead and Brutus is alive, are equivalent to these: Cæsar is dead; Brutus is alive; it is edesirede that the two preceding propositions should be thought of together. If the words were, Cæsar is dead, but Brutus is alive, the sense would be equivalent to the same three propositions together with a fourth; “between the two preceding propositions there exists a contrast:” viz. either between the two facts themselves, or between the feelings with which it is fdesiredf that they should be regarded.

In the instances cited the two propositions are kept visibly distinct, each subject having its separate predicate, and each predicate its separate subject. For brevity, however, and to avoid repetition, the propositions are often blended together: as in this, “Peter and James preached at Jerusalem and in Galilee,” which contains four propositions: Peter preached at Jerusalem, Peter preached in Galilee, James preached at Jerusalem, James preached in Galilee.

We have seen that when the two or more propositions gcomprised ing what is called a complex proposition are stated absolutely, and not under any condition or proviso, it is not a proposition at all, but a plurality of propositions; since what it expresses is not a single assertion, but several assertions, which, if true when joined, are true also when separated. But there is a kind of proposition which, though it contains a plurality of subjects and of predicates, and may be said in one sense of the hwordh to consist of several propositions, contains but one assertion; and its truth does not at all imply that of the simple propositions which compose it. An example of this is, when the simple propositions are connected by the particle or; as, either A is B or C is D; or by the particle if; as, A is B if C is D. In the former case, Edition: current; Page: [83] the proposition is called disjunctive, in the latter, conditional: the name hypothetical was originally common to both. As has been well remarked by Archbishop Whately[*] and others, the disjunctive form is resolvable into the conditional; every disjunctive proposition being equivalent to two or more conditional ones. “Either A is B or C is D,” means, “if A is not B, C is D; and if C is not D, A is B.” All hypothetical propositions, therefore, though disjunctive in form, are conditional in meaning; and the words hypothetical and conditional may be, as indeed they generally are, used synonymously. Propositions in which the assertion is not dependent on a condition, are said, in the language of logicians, to be categorical.

An hypothetical proposition is not, like the pretended complex propositions which we previously considered, a mere aggregation of simple propositions. The simple propositions which form part of the words in which it is couched, form no part of the assertion which it conveys. When we say, If the Koran comes from God, Mahomet is the prophet of God, we do not intend to affirm either that the Koran does come from God, or that Mahomet is really his prophet. Neither of these simple propositions may be true, and yet the truth of the hypothetical proposition may be indisputable. What is asserted is not the truth of either of the propositions, but the inferribility of the one from the other. What, then, is the subject, and what the predicate of the hypothetical proposition? “The Koran” is not the subject of it, nor is “Mahomet:” for nothing is affirmed or denied either of the Koran or of Mahomet. The real subject of the predication is the entire proposition, “Mahomet is the prophet of God;” and the affirmation is, that this is a legitimate inference from the proposition, “The Koran comes from God.” The subject and predicate, therefore, of an hypothetical proposition are names of propositions. The subject is some one proposition. The predicate is a general relative name applicable to propositions; of this form—“an inference from so and so.” A fresh instance is here afforded of the remark, that iparticles are abbreviations; since “If A is B, C is D,” is found to be an abbreviation of the following: “The proposition C is D, is a legitimate inference from the proposition A is B.”

The distinction, therefore, between hypothetical and categorical propositions, is not so great as it at first appears. In the conditional, as well as in the categorical form, one predicate is affirmed of one subject, and no more: but a conditional proposition is a proposition concerning a proposition; the subject of the assertion is itself an assertion. Nor is this a property peculiar to hypothetical propositions. There are other classes of assertions concerning propositions. Like other things, a proposition has attributes which may be Edition: current; Page: [84] predicated of it. The attribute predicated of it in an hypothetical proposition, is that of being an inference from a certain other proposition. But this is only one of many attributes that might be predicated. We may say, That the whole is greater than its part, is an axiom in mathematics: That the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father alone, is a tenet of the Greek Church: The doctrine of the divine right of kings was renounced by Parliament at the Revolution: The infallibility of the Pope has no countenance from Scripture. In all these cases the subject of the predication is an entire proposition. That which these different predicates are affirmed of, is the proposition, “the whole is greater than its part;” the proposition, “the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father alone;” the proposition, “kings have a divine right;” the proposition, “the Pope is infallible.”

Seeing, then, that there is much less difference between hypothetical propositions and any others, than one might be led to imagine from their form, we should be at a loss to account for the conspicuous position which they have been selected to fill in treatises on logic, if we did not remember that what they predicate of a proposition, namely, its being an inference from something else, is precisely that one of its attributes with which most of all a logician is concerned.

§4. [Universal, Particular, and Singular propositions] The next of the common divisions of Propositions is into Universal, Particular, Indefinite, and Singular: a distinction founded on the degree of generality in which the name, which is the subject of the proposition, is to be understood. The following are examples:

All men are mortal Universal.
Some men are mortal Particular.
Man is mortal Indefinite.
Julius Cæsar is mortal Singular.

The proposition is Singular, when the subject is an individual name. The individual name needs not be a proper name. “The Founder of Christianity was crucified,” is as much a singular proposition as “Christ was crucified.”

When the name which is the subject of the proposition is a general name, we may intend to affirm or deny the predicate, either of all the things that the subject denotes, or only of some. When the predicate is affirmed or denied of all and each of the things denoted by the subject, the proposition is universal; when of some aundefineda portion of them only, it is particular. Thus, All men are mortal; Every man is mortal; are universal propositions. No man is immortal, is also an universal proposition, since the predicate, immortal, is denied of each and every individual denoted by the term man; the negative proposition being exactly equivalent to the following, Every man Edition: current; Page: [85] is not-immortal. But “some men are wise,” “some men are not wise,” are particular propositions; the predicate wise being in the one case affirmed and in the other denied not of each and every individual denoted by the term man, but only of each and every one of some portion of those individuals, without specifying what portion; for if this were specified, the proposition would be changed either into a singular proposition, or into an universal proposition with a different subject; as, for instance, “all bproperlyb instructed men are wise.” There are other forms of particular propositions; cas,cMost men are dimperfectly educated:d” it being immaterial how large a portion of the subject the predicate is asserted of, as long as it is left uncertain how that portion is to be distinguished from the rest.*

When the form of the expression does not clearly show whether the general name which is the subject of the proposition is meant to stand for all the individuals denoted by it, or only for some of them, the proposition ise, by some logicians,e called Indefinite; but this, as Archbishop Whately observes, is a solecism, of the same nature as that committed by some grammarians when in their list of genders they enumerate the doubtful gender.[*] The speaker must mean to assert the proposition either as an universal or as a particular proposition, though he has failed to declare which: and it often happens that though the words do not show which of the two he intends, the context, or the custom of speech, supplies the deficiency. Thus, when it is affirmed that “Man is mortal,” nobody doubts that the assertion is intended of all human beings; and the word indicative of universality is commonly omitted, only because the meaning is evident without it. fIn the proposition, “Wine is good,” it is understood with equal readiness, though for somewhat different reasons, that the assertion is not intended to be universal, but Edition: current; Page: [86] particular.f* gAs is observed by Professor Bain, the chief examples of Indefinite propositions occur “with names of material, which are the subjects sometimes of universal, and at other times of particular predication. ‘Food is chemically constituted by carbon, oxygen, &c.,’ is a proposition of universal quantity; the meaning is all food—all kinds of food. ‘Food is necessary to animal life’ is a case of particular quantity; the meaning is some sort of food, not necessarily all sorts. ‘Metal is requisite in order to strength’ does not mean all kinds of metal. ‘Gold will make a way,’ means a portion of gold.”g

When a general name stands for each and every individual which it is a name of, or in other words, which it denotes, it is said by logicians to be distributed, or taken distributively. Thus, in the proposition, All men are mortal, the subject, Man, is distributed, because mortality is affirmed of each and every man. The predicate, Mortal, is not distributed, because the only mortals who are spoken of in the proposition are those who happen to be men; while the word may, for aught that appears, and in fact does, comprehend hwithinh it an indefinite number of objects besides men. In the proposition, Some men are mortal, both the predicate and the subject are undistributed. In the following, No men ihave wingsi, both the predicate and jthej subject are distributed. Not only kis the attribute of having wingsk denied of the entire class Man, but that class is severed and cast out from the whole of the class lWingedl, and not merely from some part of that class.

This phraseology, which is of great service in stating and demonstrating the rules of the syllogism, enables us to express very concisely the definitions of an universal and a particular proposition. An universal proposition is that of which the subject is distributed; a particular proposition is that of which the subject is undistributed.

There are many more distinctions among propositions than those we have here stated, some of them of considerable importance. But, for explaining and illustrating these, more suitable opportunities will occur in the sequel.

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CHAPTER V: Of the Import of Propositions

§ 1. [Doctrine that a proposition is the expression of a relation between two ideas] An inquiry into the nature of propositions must have one of two objects: to analyse the state of mind called Belief, or to analyse what is believed. All language recognises a difference between a doctrine or opinion, and the afacta of entertaining the opinion; between assent, and what is assented to.

Logic, according to the conception here formed of it, has no concern with the nature of the act of judging or believing; the consideration of that act, as a phenomenon of the mind, belongs to another science. Philosophers, however, from Descartes downwards, and especially from the era of Leibnitz and Locke, have by no means observed this distinction; and bwould have treated with great disrespect any attempt to analyse the import of Propositions, unless founded on an analysis of the act of Judgment. A proposition, they would have said, is but the expression in words of a Judgment. The thing expressed, not the mere verbal expression, is the important matter. When the mind assents to a proposition, it judges. Let us find out what the mind does when it judges, and we shall know what propositions mean, and not otherwise.

Conformably to these views, almost all the writers on Logic in the last two centuries, whether English, German, or French, have made their theory of Propositions, from one end to the other, a theory of Judgments. They considered a Proposition, or a Judgment, for they used the two words indiscriminately, to consist in affirming or denying one idea of another. To judge, was to put two ideas together, or to bring one idea under another, or to compare two ideas, or to perceive the agreement or disagreement between two ideas: and the whole doctrine of Propositions, together with the theory of Reasoning, (always necessarily founded on the theory of Propositions,) was stated as if Ideas, or Conceptions, or whatever other term the writer preferred as a name for mental representations generally, constituted essentially the subject matter and substance of those operations.

It is, of course, true, that in any case of judgment, as for instance when we judge that gold is yellow, a process takes place in our minds, of which some Edition: current; Page: [88] one or other of these theories is a partially correct account. We must have the idea of gold and the idea of yellow, and these two ideas must be brought together in our mind. But in the first place, it is evident that this is only a part of what takes place; for we may put two ideas together without any act of belief; as when we merely imagine something, such as a golden mountain; or when we actually disbelieve: for in order even to disbelieve that Mahomet was an apostle of God, we must put the idea of Mahomet and that of an apostle of God together. To determine what it is that happens in the case of assent or dissent besides putting two ideas together, is one of the most intricate of metaphysical problems. But whatever the solution may be, we may venture to assert that it can have nothing whatever to do with the import of propositions; for cthisc reason, that propositions (except dsometimes whend the mind itself is the subject treated of) are not assertions respecting our ideas of things, but assertions respecting the things themselves. In order to believe that gold is yellow, I must, indeed, have the idea of gold, and the idea of yellow, and something having reference to those ideas must take place in my mind; but my belief has not reference to the ideas, it has reference to the things. What I believe, is a fact relating to the outward thing, gold, and to the impression made by that outward thing upon the human organs; not a fact relating to my conception of gold, which would be a fact in my mental history, not a fact of external nature. It is true, that in order to believe this fact in external nature, another fact must take place in my mind, a process must be performed upon my ideas; but so it must in everything else that I do. I cannot dig the ground unless I have the idea of the ground, and of a spade, and of all the other things I am operating upon, and unless I put those ideas together.* But it would be a very ridiculous description of digging the ground to say that it is putting one idea into another. Digging is an operation which is performed upon the things themselves, though it cannot be performed unless I have in my mind the ideas of them. And fin like manner, believing is an act which has for its subject the facts themselves, though a previous mental conception of the facts is an indispensable condition. When I say that Edition: current; Page: [89] fire causes heat, do I mean that my idea of fire causes my idea of heat? No: I mean that the natural phenomenon, fire, causes the natural phenomenon, heat. When I mean to assert anything respecting the ideas, I give them their proper name, I call them ideas: as when I say, that a child’s idea of a battle is unlike the reality, or that the ideas entertained of the Deity have a great effect on the characters of mankind.

The notion that what is of primary importance to the logician in a proposition, is the relation between the two ideas corresponding to the subject and predicate, (instead of the relation between the two phenomena which they respectively express,) seems to me one of the most fatal errors ever introduced into the philosophy of Logic; and the principal cause why the theory of the science has made such inconsiderable progress during the last two centuries. The treatises on Logic, and on the branches of Mental Philosophy connected with Logic, which have been produced since the intrusion of this cardinal error, though sometimes written by men of extraordinary abilities and attainments, almost always tacitly imply a theory that the investigation of truth consists in contemplating and handling our ideas, or conceptions of things, instead of the things themselves: a gdoctrine tantamount to the assertion, that the only mode of acquiring knowledge of nature is to study it at second hand, as represented in our own mindsg. Meanwhile, inquiries into every kind of natural phenomena were incessantly establishing great and fruitful truths on hmost important subjects, by processes upon which these views of the nature of Judgment and Reasoning threw no light, and in which they afforded no assistance whatever. No wonder that those who knew by practical experience how truths are iarrivedi at, should deem a science futile, which consisted chiefly of such speculations. What has been done for the advancement of Logic since these doctrines came into vogue, has been done not by professed logicians, but by discoverers in the other sciences; in whose methods of investigation many jprinciples of logic, not previously thought of, have successively come forth into light, but who have generally committed the error of supposing that nothing whatever was known of the art of philosophizing by the old logicians, because their modern interpreters have written to so little purpose respecting it.

We have to inquire, then, on the present occasion, not into Judgment, but judgments; not into the act of believing, but into the thing believed. What is the immediate object of belief in a Proposition? What is the matter of fact signified by it? What is it to which, when I assert the proposition, I give my Edition: current; Page: [90] assent, and call upon others to give theirs? What is that which is expressed by the form of discourse called a Proposition, and the conformity of which to fact constitutes the truth of the proposition?

§ 2. [Doctrine that a proposition is the expression of a relation between the meaning of two names] One of the clearest and most consecutive thinkers whom this country or the world has produced, I mean Hobbes, has given the following answer to this question. In every proposition (says he)[*] what is signified is, the belief of the speaker that the predicate is a name of the same thing of which the subject is a name; and if it really is so, the proposition is true. Thus the proposition, All men are living beings (he would say) is true, because living being is a name of everything of which man is a name. All men are six feet high, is not true, because six feet high is not a name of everything (though it is of some things) of which man is a name.

What is stated ain this theorya as the definition of a true proposition, must be allowed to be a property which all true propositions possess. The subject and predicate being both of them names of things, if they were names of quite different things the one name could not, consistently with its signification, be predicated of the other. If it be true that some men are copper-coloured, it must be true—and the proposition does really assert—that among the individuals denoted by the name man, there are some who are also among those denoted by the name copper-coloured. If it be true that all oxen ruminate, it must be true that all the individuals denoted by the name ox are also among those denoted by the name ruminating; and whoever asserts that all oxen ruminate, undoubtedly does assert that this relation subsists between the two names.

The assertion, therefore, which, according to Hobbes, is the only one made in any proposition, really is made in every proposition: and his analysis has consequently one of the requisites for being the true one. We may go a step farther; it is the only analysis that is rigorously true of all propositions without exception. What he gives as the meaning of propositions, is part of the meaning of all propositions, and the whole meaning of some. This, however, only shows what an extremely minute fragment of meaning it is quite possible to include within the logical formula of a proposition. It does not show that no proposition means more. To warrant us in putting together two words with a copula between them, it is really enough that the thing or things denoted by one of the names should be capable, without violation of usage, of being called by the other name also. If, then, this be all the meaning necessarily implied in the form of discourse called a Proposition, why do bIb Edition: current; Page: [91] object to it as the scientific definition of what a proposition means? Because, though the mere collocation which makes the proposition a proposition, conveys no more cthan this scanty amount of meaningc, that same collocation combined with other circumstances, that form combined with other matter, does convey more, and dthe proposition in those other circumstances does assert more, than merely that relation between the two namesd.

The only propositions of which Hobbes’ principle is a sufficient account, are that limited and unimportant class in which both the predicate and the subject are proper names. For, as has already been remarked, proper names have strictly no meaning; they are mere marks for individual objects: and when a proper name is predicated of another proper name, all the signification conveyed is, that both the names are marks for the same object. But this is precisely what Hobbes produces as a theory of predication in general. His doctrine is a full explanation of such predications as these: Hyde was Clarendon, or, Tully is Cicero. It exhausts the meaning of those propositions. But it is a sadly inadequate theory of any others. That it should ever have been thought of as such, can be accounted for only by the fact, that Hobbes, in common with the other Nominalists, bestowed little or no attention upon the connotation of words; and sought for their meaning exclusively in what they edenotee: as if all names had been (what none but proper names really are) marks put upon individuals; and as if there were no difference between a proper and a general name, except that the first denotes only one individual, and the last a greater number.

It has been seen, however, that the meaning of all names, except proper names and that portion of the class of abstract names which are not connotative, resides in the connotation. When, therefore, we are analysing the meaning of any proposition in which the predicate and the subject, or either of them, are connotative names, it is to the connotation of those terms that we must exclusively look, and not to what they fdenotef, or in the language of Hobbes (language so far correct) are names of.

In asserting that the truth of a proposition depends on the conformity of gimport betweeng its terms, as, for instance, that the proposition, Socrates is wise, is a true proposition, because Socrates and wise are names happlicable to, or, as he expresses it, names of, the same personh; it is very remarkable that so powerful a thinker should not have asked himself the question, But how came they to be names of the same ipersoni?[*] Surely not because such Edition: current; Page: [92] was the intention of those who invented the words. When mankind fixed the meaning of the word wise, they were not thinking of Socrates, nor, when his parents gave him the name jofj Socrates, were they thinking of wisdom. The names happen to fit the same kpersonk because of a certain fact, which fact was not known, nor in being, when the names were invented. If we want to know what the fact is, we shall find the clue to it in the connotation of the names.

A bird, or a stone, a man, or a wise man, means simply, an object having such and such attributes. The real meaning of the word man, is those attributes, and not lSmith, Brown, and the remainder of the individualsl. The word mortal, in like manner connotes a certain attribute or attributes; and when we say, All men are mortal, the meaning of the proposition is, that all beings which possess the one set of attributes, possess also the other. If, in our experience, the attributes connoted by man are always accompanied by the attribute connoted by mortal, it will follow as a consequence, that the class man will be wholly included in the class mortal, and that mortal will be a name of all things of which man is a name: but why? Those objects are brought under the name, by possessing the attributes connoted by it: but their possession of the attributes is the real condition on which the truth of the proposition depends; not their being called by the name. Connotative names do not precede, but follow, the attributes which they connote. If one attribute happens to be always found in conjunction with another attribute, the concrete names which answer to those attributes will of course be predicable of the same subjects, and may be said, in Hobbes’ language, (in the propriety of which on this moccasionm I fully concur,) to be two names for the same things. But the possibility of a concurrent application of the two names, is a mere consequence of the conjunction between the two attributes, and was, in most cases, never thought of when the names were nintroducedn and their signification fixed. That the diamond is combustible, was a proposition certainly not dreamt of when the words Diamond and Combustible ofirst received theiro meaning; and could not have been discovered by the most ingenious and refined analysis of the signification of those words. It was found out by a very different process, namely, by exerting the psenses, and learning from them, that the attribute of combustibility existed in qtheq diamonds upon which the experiment was tried; rthe number sors character Edition: current; Page: [93] of the experiments beingr such, that what was true of those individuals might be concluded to be true of all substances “tcalled byt the name,” that is, of all substances possessing the attributes which the name connotes. The assertion, therefore, when analysed, is, that uwherever we find certain attributes, there will be found a certain other attribute: whichu is not a question of the signification of names, but of vlaws of nature; the order existing among phenomena.

§ 3. [Doctrine that a proposition consists in referring something to, or excluding something from, a class] Although Hobbes’ theory of Predication has not, in the terms in which he stated it, met with a very favourable reception from asubsequent thinkersa, a theory virtually identical with it, and not by any means so perspicuously expressed, may almost be said to have taken the rank of an established opinion. The most generally received notion of Predication decidedly is that it consists in referring something to a class, i.e., either placing an individual under a class, or placing one class under another class. Thus, the proposition, Man is mortal, asserts, according to this view of it, that the class man is included in the class mortal. “Plato is a philosopher,” asserts that the individual Plato is one of those who compose the class philosopher. If the proposition is negative, then instead of placing something in a class, it is said to exclude something from a class. Thus, if the following be the proposition, The elephant is not carnivorous; what is asserted (according to this theory) is, that the elephant is excluded from the class carnivorous, or is not numbered among the things comprising that class. There is no real difference, except in language, between this theory of Predication and the theory of Hobbes. For a class is absolutely nothing but an indefinite number of individuals denoted by a general name. The name given to them in common, is what makes them a class. To refer anything to a class, therefore, is to look upon it as one of the things which are to be called by that common name. To exclude it from a class, is to say that the common name is not applicable to it.

How widely these views of predication have prevailed, is evident from this, that they are the basis of the celebrated dictum de omni et nullo. When the syllogism is resolved, by all who treat of it, into an inference that what is true of a class is true of all things whatever that belong to the class; and when this is laid down by almost all professed logicians as the ultimate principle to which all reasoning owes its validity; it is clear that in the general estimation of logicians, the propositions of which reasonings are composed Edition: current; Page: [94] can be the expression of nothing but the process of dividing things into classes, and referring everything to its proper class.

This theory appears to me a signal example of a logical error very often committed in logic, that of ὕστερον πρότερον, or explaining a thing by something which presupposes it. When I say that snow is white, I may and ought to be thinking of snow as a class, because I am asserting a proposition as true of all snow: but I am certainly not thinking of white objects as a class; I am thinking of no white object whatever except snow, but only of that, and of the sensation of white which it gives me. When, indeed, I have judged, or assented to the propositions, that snow is white, and that several other things bare alsob white, I gradually begin to think of white objects as a class, including snow and those other things. But this is a conception which followed, not preceded, those judgments, and therefore cannot be given as an explanation of them. Instead of explaining the effect by the cause, this doctrine explains the cause by the effect, and is, I conceive, founded on a latent misconception of the nature of classification.

There is a sort of language very generally prevalent in these discussions, which seems to suppose that classification is an arrangement and grouping of definite and known individuals: that when names were imposed, mankind took into consideration all the individual objects in the universe, cdistributed themc into parcels or lists, and gave to the objects of each list a common name, repeating this operation toties quoties until they had invented all the general names of which language consists; which having been once done, if a question subsequently arises whether a certain general name can be truly predicated of a certain particular object, we have only (as it were) to read the roll of the objects upon which that name was conferred, and see whether the object about which the question arises is to be found among them. The framers of language (it would seem to be supposed) have predetermined all the objects that are to compose each class, and we have only to refer to the record of an antecedent decision.

So absurd a doctrine will be owned by nobody when thus nakedly stated; but if the commonly received explanations of classification and naming do not imply this theory, it requires to be shown how they admit of being reconciled with any other.

General names are not marks put upon definite objects; classes are not made by drawing a line round a given number of assignable individuals. The objects which compose any given class are perpetually fluctuating. We may frame a class without knowing the individuals, or even any of the individuals, of which it dmayd be composed; we may do so while believing that no such individuals exist. If by the meaning of a general name are to be understood Edition: current; Page: [95] the things which it is the name of, no general name, except by accident, has a fixed meaning at all, or ever long retains the same meaning. The only mode in which any general name has a definite meaning, is by being a name of an eindefinitee variety of things; namely, of all things, known or unknown, past, present, or future, which possess certain definite attributes. When, by studying not the meaning of words, but the phenomena of nature, we discover that fthesef attributes are possessed by some object not previously known to possess them, (as when chemists found that the diamond was combustible), we include this new object in the class; but it did not already belong to the class. We place the individual in the class because the proposition is true; the proposition is not true because the object is placed in the class.*

It will appear hereafter, in treating of reasoning, how much the theory of that intellectual process has been vitiated by the influence of these erroneous gnotionsg, and by the habit which they exemplify of assimilating all the operations of the human understanding which have truth for their object, to processes of mere classification and naming. Unfortunately, the minds which have been entangled in this net are precisely those which have escaped the other cardinal error commented upon in the beginning of the present chapter. Since the revolution which dislodged Aristotle from the schools, logicians may almost be divided into those who have looked upon reasoning as essentially an affair of Ideas, and those who have looked upon it as essentially an affair of Names.

hAlthough, however,h Hobbes’ theory of Predication, according to the well-known remark of Leibnitz, and the avowal of Hobbes himself, renders Edition: current; Page: [96] truth and falsity completely arbitrary, with no standard but the will of men, it must not be concluded that either Hobbes, or any of the other ithinkersi who have in the main agreed with him, did in fact consider the distinction between truth and error as less real, or attached jlessj importance to it, than other people. To suppose that they did so would argue total unacquaintance with their other speculations. But this shows how little hold their doctrine possessed over their own minds. No person, at bottom, ever imagined that there was nothing more in truth than propriety of expression; than using language in conformity to a previous convention. kWhen the inquiry was brought down from generals to a particular case, it has always been acknowledged that there is a distinction between verbal and real questions; that some false propositions are uttered from ignorance of the meaning of words, but that in others the source of the error is a misapprehension of things; that a person who has not the use of language at all may form propositions mentally, and that they may be untrue, that is, he may believe as matters of fact what are not really so. This last admission cannot be made in stronger terms than it is by Hobbes himself,* though he will not allow such erroneous belief to be called falsity, but only error. And lhe has himself laid down, in other places, doctrines in which the true theory of predication is by implication contained. He distinctly says that general names are given to things on account of their attributes, and that abstract names are the names of those attributes. “Abstract is that which in any subject denotes the cause of the concrete name. . . . And these causes of names are the same with the causes of our conceptions, namely, some power of action, or affection, of the thing conceived, which some call the manner by which anything works upon our Edition: current; Page: [97] senses, but by most men they are called accidents.* It is strange that having gone so far, he should not have gone one step mfartherm, and seen that what he calls the cause of the concrete name, is in reality the meaning of it; and that when we predicate of any subject a name which is given because of an attribute (or, as he calls it, an accident), our object is not to affirm the name, but, by means of the name, to affirm the attribute.

§ 4. [What a proposition really is] Let the predicate be, as we have said, a connotative term; and to take the simplest case first, let the subject be a proper name: “The summit of Chimborazo is white.” The word white connotes an attribute which is possessed by the individual object designated by the words “summit of Chimborazo;” which attribute consists in the physical fact, of its exciting in human beings the sensation which we call a sensation of white. It will be admitted that, by asserting the proposition, we wish to communicate information of that physical fact, and are not thinking of the names, except as the necessary means of making that communication. The meaning of the proposition, therefore, is, that the individual thing denoted by the subject, has the attributes connoted by the predicate.

If we now suppose the subject also to be a connotative name, the meaning expressed by the proposition has advanced a step farther in complication. Let us first suppose the proposition to be universal, as well as affirmative: “All men are mortal.” In this case, as in the last, what the proposition asserts (or expresses a belief aofa) is, of course, that the objects bdenotedb by the subject (man) possess the attributes connoted by the predicate (mortal). But the characteristic of this case is, that the objects are no longer individually designated. They are pointed out only by some of their attributes: they are the objects called men, that is, cpossessing the attributes connoted by the name man; and the only thing known of them may be those attributes: indeed, as the proposition is general, and the objects denoted by the subject are therefore indefinite in number, most of them are not known individually at all. The assertion, therefore, is not, as before, that the attributes which the predicate connotes are possessed by any given individual, or by any number of individuals previously known as John, Thomas, d&c., but that those attributes are possessed by each and every individual possessing certain other attributes; that whatever has the attributes connoted by the subject, has also those connoted by the predicate; that the latter set of attributes constantly Edition: current; Page: [98] accompany the former set. Whatever has the attributes of man has the attribute of mortality; mortality constantly accompanies the attributes of man.*

If it be remembered that every attribute is grounded on some fact or phenomenon, either of outward sense or of inward consciousness, and that to possess an attribute is another phrase for fbeing the cause of, or formingf part of, the fact or phenomenon upon which the attribute is grounded; we may add one more step to complete the analysis. The proposition which asserts that one attribute always accompanies another attribute, greally assertsg thereby no other thing than this, that one phenomenon always accompanies another phenomenon; insomuch that where we find the hlatter, we have assurance of the existence of the formerh. Thus, in the proposition, All men are mortal, the word man connotes the attributes which we ascribe to a certain kind of living creatures, on the ground of certain phenomena which they exhibit, and which are partly physical phenomena, namely the impressions made on our senses by their bodily form and structure, and partly mental phenomena, namely the sentient and intellectual life which they have of their own. All this is understood when we utter the word man, by any one to whom the meaning of the word is known. Now, when we say, Man is mortal, we mean that wherever these various physical and mental phenomena are all found, there we have assurance that the other physical and mental phenomenon, called death, will not fail to take place. The proposition does not affirm when; for the connotation of the word mortal goes no Edition: current; Page: [99] ifartheri than to the occurrence of the phenomenon at some time or other, leaving the jparticularj time undecided.

§ 5. [A proposition asserts (or denies) a sequence, a coexistence, a simple existence, a causation] We have already proceeded far enough, not only to demonstrate the error of Hobbes, but to ascertain the real import of by far the most numerous class of propositions. The object of belief in a proposition, when it asserts anything more than the meaning of words, is generally, as in the cases which we have examined, either the co-existence or the sequence of two phenomena. At the very commencement of our inquiry, we found that every act of belief implied two Things: we have now ascertained what, in the most frequent case, these two things are, namely two Phenomena, in other words, two states of consciousness; and what it is which the proposition affirms (or denies) to subsist between them, namely either succession or co-existence. And this case includes innumerable instances which no one, previous to reflection, would think of referring to it. Take the following example: A generous person is worthy of honour. Who would expect to recognise here a case of co-existence between phenomena? But so it is. The attribute which causes a person to be termed generous, is ascribed to him on the ground of states of his mind, and particulars of his conduct: both are phenomena: the former are facts of internal consciousness; the latter, so far as distinct from the former, are physical facts, or perceptions of the senses. Worthy of honour admits of a similar analysis. Honour, as here used, means a state of approving and admiring emotion, followed on occasion by corresponding outward acts. “Worthy of honour” connotes all this, together with our approval of the act of showing honour. All these are phenomena; states of internal consciousness, accompanied or followed by physical facts. When we say, A generous person is worthy of honour, we affirm co-existence between the two complicated phenomena connoted by the two terms respectively. We affirm, that wherever and whenever the inward feelings and outward facts implied in the word generosity have place, then and there the existence and manifestation of an inward feeling, honour, would be followed in our minds by another inward feeling, approval.

After the analysis, in a former chapter, of the import of names, many examples are not needed to illustrate the import of propositions. When there is any obscurity, or difficulty, it does not lie in the meaning of the proposition, but in the meaning of the names which compose it; in the aextremely complicateda connotation of many words; the immense multitude and prolonged series of facts which often constitute the phenomenon connoted by a name. Edition: current; Page: [100] But bwhereb it is seen what the phenomenon is, there is seldom any difficulty in seeing that the assertion conveyed by the proposition is, the co-existence of one such phenomenon with another; or the succession of one such phenomenon to another: cso that where the one is found, we may calculate on finding the other, though perhaps not converselyc.

This, however, though the most common, is not the only meaning which propositions are ever intended to convey. In the first place, sequences and co-existences are not only asserted respecting Phenomena; we make propositions also respecting those hidden causes of phenomena, which are named substances and attributes. A substance, however, being to us nothing but either that which causes, or that which is conscious of, phenomena; and the same being true, mutatis mutandis, of attributes; no assertion can be made, at least with a meaning, concerning these unknown and unknowable entities, dexcept in virtue of the Phenomena by which alone they manifest themselves to our faculties. When we say, Socrates was ecotemporarye with the Peloponnesian war, the foundation of this assertion, as of all assertions concerning substances, is an assertion concerning the phenomena which they exhibit,—namely, that the series of facts by which Socrates manifested himself to mankind, and the series of mental states which constituted his fsentientf existence, went on simultaneously with the series of facts known by the name of the Peloponnesian war. Still, the proposition gas commonly understoodg does not assert that alone; it asserts that the Thing in itself, the noumenon Socrates, was existing, and doing or experiencing those various facts during the same time. Co-existence and sequence, therefore, may be affirmed or denied not only between phenomena, but between noumena, or between a noumenon and phenomena. And hboth of noumena and of phenomena we may affirmh simple existence. But what is a noumenon? An unknown cause. In affirming, therefore, the existence of a noumenon, we affirm causation. Here, therefore, are two additional kinds of fact, capable of being asserted in a proposition. Besides the propositions which assert Sequence or Coexistence, there are some which assert simple Existence;* and others assert Causation, which, Edition: current; Page: [101] subject to the explanations which will follow in the Third Book, must be considered provisionally as a distinct and peculiar kind of assertion.

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§ 6. [Or it asserts (or denies) a resemblance] To these four kinds of matter-of-fact or assertion, must be added a fifth, Resemblance. This was a species of attribute which we found it impossible to analyse; for which no fundamentum, distinct from the objects themselves, could be assigned. aBesidesa propositions which assert a sequence or coexistence between two phenomena, there are therefore also propositions which assert resemblance between them; as, This colour is like that colour;—The heat of to-day is equal to the heat of yesterday. It is true that such an assertion might with some plausibility be brought within the description of an affirmation of sequence, by considering it as an assertion that the simultaneous contemplation of the two colours is followed by a specific feeling termed the feeling of resemblance. But there would be nothing gained by encumbering ourselves, especially in this place, with a generalization which may be looked upon as strained. Logic does not undertake to analyse bmental factsb into their ultimate elements. Resemblance between two phenomena is more intelligible in itself than any explanation could make it, and under any classification must remain specifically distinct from the ordinary cases of sequence and coexistence.

It is sometimes said, that all propositions whatever, of which the predicate is a general name, do, in point of fact, affirm or deny resemblance. All such propositions affirm that a thing belongs to a class; but things being classed together according to their resemblance, everything is of course classed with the things which it cis supposed to resemblec most; and thence, it may be said, when we affirm that Gold is a metal, or that Socrates is a man, the affirmation intended is, that gold resembles other metals, and Socrates other men, more nearly than they resemble the objects contained in any other of the classes co-ordinate with these.

There is some slight degree of foundation for this remark, but no more than a slight degree. The arrangement of things into classes, such as the class metal, or the class man, is grounded indeed on a resemblance among the things which are placed in the same class, but not on a mere general resemblance: the resemblance it is grounded on consists in the possession by all those things, of certain common peculiarities; and those peculiarities it is which the terms connote, and which the propositions consequently assert; not the resemblance. For though when I say, Gold is a metal, I say by implication that if there be any other metals it must resemble them, yet if there were no other metals I might still assert the proposition with the same meaning as at present, namely, that gold has the various properties implied in the word metal; just as it might be said, Christians are men, even if there were no Edition: current; Page: [103] men who were not Christiansd. Propositions, therefore, in which objects are referred to a class because they possess the attributes constituting the class, are so far from asserting nothing but resemblance, that they do not, properly speaking, assert resemblance at all.

But we remarked some time ago (and the reasons of the remark will be more fully entered into in a subsequent Book*) that there is sometimes a convenience in extending the boundaries of a class so as to include things which possess in a very inferior degree, if in any, esome ofe the characteristic properties of the class,—provided they resemble that class more than any other, insomuch that the general propositions which are true of the class, will be nearer to being true of those things than any other equally general propositions. fForf instance, there are substances called metals which have very few of the properties by which metals are commonly recognised; and almost every great family of plants or animals has a few anomalous ggenera org species on its borders, which are admitted into it by a sort of courtesy, and concerning which it has been matter of discussion to what family they properly belonged. Now when the class-name is predicated of any object of this description, we do, by so predicating it, affirm resemblance and nothing more. And in order to be scrupulously correct it ought to be said, that in every case in which we predicate a general name, we affirm, not absolutely that the object possesses the properties designated by the name, but that it either possesses those properties, or if it does not, at any rate resembles the things which do so, more than it resembles any other things. hIn most cases, however,h it is unnecessary to suppose any such alternative, the latter of the two grounds being very seldom that on which the assertion is made: and when it is, there is generally some slight difference in the form of the expression, as, This species (or genus) is considered, or may be ranked, as belonging to such and such a family: we should hardly say positively that it does belong to it, unless it possessed unequivocally the properties of which the class-name is scientifically significant.

There is still another exceptional case, in which, though the predicate is ithei name of a class, yet in predicating it we affirm nothing but resemblance, the class being founded not on resemblance in any jgiven particularj, but on general unanalysable resemblance. The classes in question are those into which our simple sensations, or other simple feelings, are divided. Sensations of white, for instance, are classed together, not because we can take them to pieces, and say they are alike in this, and not alike in that, but because we Edition: current; Page: [104] feel them to be alike altogether, though in different degrees. When, therefore, I say, The colour I saw yesterday was a white colour, kor,k The sensation I feel is one of tightness, in both lcases the attribute I affirm of the colour or of the other sensation is mere resemblance—simple likeness to sensations which I have had before, and which have had those names bestowed upon them. The names of feelings, like other concrete general names, are connotative; but they connote a mere resemblance. When predicated of any individual feeling, the information they convey is that of its likeness to the other feelings which we have been accustomed to call by the same name. mThus muchm may suffice in illustration of the kind of propositions in which the matter-of-fact asserted (or denied) is simple Resemblance.

Existence, Coexistence, Sequence, Causation, Resemblance: one or other of these is asserted (or denied) in every proposition nwhich is not merely verbaln. This five-fold division is an exhaustive classification of matters-of-fact; of all things that can be believed, or tendered for belief; of all questions that can be propounded, and all answers that can be returned to them.

oProfessor Bain* distinguishes two kinds of Propositions of Coexistence. “In the one kind, account is taken of Place; they may be described as propositions of Order in Place.” In the other kind, the coexistence which is predicated is termed by Mr. Bain Co-inherence of Attributes.

This is a distinct variety of Propositions of Coexistence. Instead of an arrangement in place with numerical intervals, we have the concurrence of two or more attributes or powers in the same part or locality. A mass of gold contains, in every atom, the concurring attributes that mark the substance—weight, hardness, colour, lustre, incorrosibility, &c. An animal, besides having parts situated in place, has co-inhering functions in the same parts, exerted by the very same masses and molecules of its substance. . . . The Mind, which affords no Propositions of Order in Place, has co-inhering functions. We affirm mind to contain Feeling, Will, and Thought, not in local separation, but in commingling exercise. The concurring properties of minerals, of plants, and of the bodily and the mental structure of animals, are united in affirmations of co-inherence.

The distinction is real and important. But, as has been seen, an Attribute, when it is anything but a simple unanalysable Resemblance between the subject and some other things, consists in causing impressions of some sort on consciousness. Consequently, the co-inherence of two attributes is but the coexistence of the two states of consciousness implied in their meaning: with the difference, however, that this coexistence is sometimes potential only, the attribute being considered as in existence though the fact on which it is Edition: current; Page: [105] grounded may not be actually, but only potentially present. Snow, for instance, is, with great convenience, said to be white even in a state of total darkness, because, though we are not now conscious of the colour, we shall be conscious of it as soon as morning breaks. Coinherence of attributes is therefore still a case, though a complex one, of coexistence of states of consciousness: a totally different thing, however, from Order in Place. Being a part of simultaneity, it belongs not to Place but to Time.o

pWe may therefore (and we shall sometimes find it a convenience) instead of Coexistence and Sequence,p say, for greater particularity, Order in Place and Order in Time: Order in Place being qa specific modeq of coexistence, not necessary to be more particularly analysed here; while the mere fact of coexistence, rwhether between actual sensations, or between the potentialities of causing them, known by the name of attributesr, may be classed, together with Sequence, under the head of Order in Time.

§ 7. [Propositions of which the terms are abstract] In the foregoing inquiry into the import of Propositions, we have thought it necessary to analyse directly those alone, in which the terms of the proposition (or the predicate at least) are concrete terms. But, in doing so, we have indirectly analysed those in which the terms are abstract. The distinction between an abstract term and its corresponding concrete, adoes not turn upon anya difference in what they are appointed to signify; for the real signification of a concrete general name is, as we have so often said, its connotation; and what the concrete term connotes, forms the entire meaning of the abstract name. Since there is nothing in the import of an abstract name which is not in the import of the corresponding concrete, it is natural to suppose that neither can there be anything in the import of a proposition of which the terms are abstract, but what there is in some proposition which can be framed of concrete terms.

And this presumption a closer examination will confirm. An abstract name is the name of an attribute, or combination of attributes. The corresponding concrete is a name given to things, because of, and in order to express, their possessing that attribute, or that combination of attributes. When, therefore, we predicate of anything a concrete name, the attribute is what we in reality predicate of it. But bit has now beenb shown that in all propositions of which the predicate is a concrete name, what is really predicated is one of five things: Existence, Coexistence, Causation, Sequence, or Resemblance. An attribute, therefore, is necessarily either an existence, a coexistence, a causation, Edition: current; Page: [106] a sequence, or a resemblance. When a proposition consists of a subject and predicate which are abstract terms, it consists of terms which must necessarily signify one or other of these things. When we predicate of anything an abstract name, we affirm of the thing that it is one or other of these five things; that it is a case of Existence, or of Coexistence, or of Causation, or of Sequence, or of Resemblance.

It is impossible to imagine any proposition expressed in abstract terms, which cannot be transformed into a precisely equivalent proposition in which the terms are concrete; namely, either the concrete names which connote the attributes themselves, or the names of the fundamenta of those attributes; the facts or phenomena on which they are grounded. To illustrate the latter case, let us take this proposition, of which cthe subject only isc an abstract name, “Thoughtlessness is dangerous.” Thoughtlessness is an attribute, grounded on the facts which we call thoughtless actions; and the proposition is equivalent to this, Thoughtless actions are dangerous. In the next example the predicate as well as the subject are abstract names: “Whiteness is a colour;” or “The colour of snow is a whiteness.” These attributes being grounded on sensations, the equivalent propositions in the concrete would be, The sensation of white is one of the sensations called those of colour,—The sensation of sight, caused by looking at snow, is one of the sensations called sensations of white. In these propositions, as we have before seen, the matter-of-fact asserted is a Resemblance. In the following examples, the concrete terms are those dwhich directly correspondd to the abstract names; connoting the attribute which these denote. “Prudence is a virtue:” this may be rendered, “All prudent persons, in so far as prudent, are virtuous:” “Courage is deserving of honour,” thus, “All courageous persons are deserving of honour ein so fare as they are courageous:” which is equivalent to this—“All courageous persons deserve an addition to the honour, or a diminution of the disgrace, which would attach to them on other grounds.”

In order to throw still further light upon the import of propositions of which the terms are abstract, we will subject one of the examples given above to a minuter analysis. The proposition we shall select is the following: “Prudence is a virtue.” Let us substitute for the word virtue an equivalent but more definite expression, fsuchf as “a mental quality beneficial to society,” or “a mental quality pleasing to God,” or gwhatever else we adopt as the definition of virtueg. What the proposition asserts is a sequence, accompanied with causation; namely, that benefit to society, or that the approval of God, Edition: current; Page: [107] is consequent on, and caused by, prudence. Here is a sequence; but between what? We understand the consequent of the sequence, but we have yet to analyse the antecedent. Prudence is an attribute; and, in connexion with it, two things besides itself are to be considered; prudent persons, who are the subjects of the attribute, and prudential conduct, which may be called the foundation of it. Now is either of these the antecedent? and, first, is hit meant, that the approval of God, or benefit to society, ish attendant upon all prudent persons? No; except iin so fari as they are prudent; for prudent persons who are scoundrels can seldom on the whole be beneficial to society, jnor can they be acceptable to a good beingj. Is it upon prudential conduct, then, that divine approbation and benefit to mankind are ksupposed to bek invariably consequent? Neither is this the assertion meant, when lit is saidl that prudence is a virtue; except with the same reservation as before, and for the same reason, namely, that prudential conduct, although in so far as it is prudential it is beneficial to society, may yet, by reason of some other of its qualities, be productive of an injury outweighing the benefit, and mdeserve a displeasurem exceeding the approbation which would be due to the prudence. Neither the substance, therefore, (viz. the person,) nor the phenomenon, (nthe conduct,) is an antecedent on which the other term of the sequence is universally consequent. But the proposition, “Prudence is a virtue,” is an universal proposition. What is it, then, upon which the proposition affirms the effects in question to be universally consequent? Upon that in the person, and in the conduct, which causes them to be called prudent, and which is equally in them when the action, though prudent, is wicked; namely, a correct foresight of consequences, oao just estimation of their importance to the object in view, and repression of any unreflecting impulse at variance with the deliberate purpose. These, which are states of the person’s mind, are the real antecedent in the sequence, the real cause in the causation, passerted by the proposition. But these are also the real ground, or foundation, of the attribute Prudence; since wherever these states of mind exist we may predicate prudence, even before we know whether any conduct has followed. And in this manner every assertion respecting an attribute, may be transformed into an assertion exactly equivalent respecting the fact or phenomenon which Edition: current; Page: [108] is the ground of the attribute. And no case can be assigned, where that which is predicated of the fact or phenomenon, does not belong to one or other of the five species formerly enumerated: it is either simple Existence, or it is some Sequence, Coexistence, Causation, or Resemblance.

And as these five are the only things which can be affirmed, so are they the only things which can be denied. “No horses are web-footed” denies that the attributes of a horse ever co-exist with web-feet. It is scarcely necessary to apply the same analysis to Particular affirmations and negations. “Some birds are web-footed,” affirms that, with the attributes connoted by bird, the phenomenon web-feet is sometimes co-existent: “Some birds are not web-footed,” asserts that there are other instances in which this co-existence does not have place. Any qfurtherq explanation of a thing which, if the previous exposition has been assented to, is so obvious, may rherer be spared.

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CHAPTER VI: Of Propositions Merely Verbal

§ 1. [Essential and Accidental propositions] As a preparation for the inquiry which is the proper object of Logic, namely, in what manner propositions are to be proved, we have found it necessary to inquire what they contain which requires, or is susceptible of, proof; or (which is the same thing) what they assert. In the course of this preliminary investigation into the import of Propositions, we examined the opinion of the Conceptualists, that a proposition is the expression of a relation between two ideas; and the doctrine of the aextremea Nominalists, that it is the expression of an agreement or disagreement between the meanings of two names. We decided that, as general theories, both of these are erroneous; and that, though propositions may be made both respecting names and respecting ideas, neither the one nor the other are the subject-matter of Propositions considered generally. We then examined the different kinds of Propositions, and bfound that, with the exception of those which are merely verbal, they assert five different kinds of matters of fact, namely, Existence, Order in Place, Order in Time, Causation, and Resemblance; that in every proposition one of these five is either affirmed, or denied, of some fact or phenomenon, or of some object the unknown source of a fact or phenomenon.

In distinguishing, however, the different kinds of matters of fact asserted in propositions, we reserved one class of propositions, which do not relate to any matter of fact, in the proper sense of the term, at all, but to the meaning of names. Since names and their signification are entirely arbitrary, such propositions are not, strictly speaking, susceptible of truth or falsity, but only of conformity or disconformity to usage or convention; and all the proof they are capable of, is proof of usage; proof that the words have been employed by others in the acceptation in which the speaker or writer desires to use them. These propositions occupy, however, a conspicuous place in philosophy; and their nature and characteristics are of as much importance in logic, as those of any cof the otherc classes of propositions previously adverted to.

If all propositions respecting the signification of words were as simple and unimportant as those which served us for examples when examining Hobbes’ Edition: current; Page: [110] theory of predication, viz. those of which the subject and predicate are proper names, and which assert only that those names have, or that they have not, been conventionally assigned to the same individual, there would be little to attract to such propositions the attention of philosophers. But the class of merely verbal propositions embraces not only much more than these, but much more than any propositions which at first sight present themselves as verbal; comprehending a kind of assertions which have been regarded not only as relating to things, but as having actually a more intimate relation with them than any other propositions whatever. The student in philosophy will perceive that I allude to the distinction on which so much stress was laid by the schoolmen, and which has been retained either under the same or under other names by most metaphysicians to the present day, viz. between what were called essential, and what were called accidental, propositions, and between essential and accidental properties or attributes.

§ 2. [All essential propositions are identical propositions] Almost all metaphysicians prior to Locke, as well as many since his time, have made a great mystery of Essential Predication, and of predicates which aarea said to be of the essence of the subject. The essence of a thing, they said, was that without which the thing could neither be, nor be conceived to be. Thus, rationality was of the essence of man, because without rationality, man could not be conceived to exist. The different attributes which made up the essence of the thing were called its essential properties; and a proposition in which any of these were predicated of it was called an Essential Proposition, and was considered to go deeper into the nature of the thing, and to convey more important information respecting it, than any other proposition could do. All properties, not of the essence of the thing, were called its accidents; were supposed to have nothing at all, or nothing comparatively, to do with its inmost nature; and the propositions in which any of these were predicated of it were called Accidental Propositions. A connexion may be traced between this distinction, which originated with the schoolmen, and the well-known dogmas of substantiæ secundæ or general substances, and substantial forms, doctrines which under varieties of language pervaded alike the Aristotelian and the Platonic schools, and of which more of the spirit has come down to modern times than might be conjectured from the disuse of the phraseology. The false views of the nature of classification and generalization which prevailed among the schoolmen, and of which these dogmas were the technical expression, afford the only explanation which can be given of their having misunderstood the real nature of those Essences which held so conspicuous a place in their philosophy. They said, truly, that man cannot be conceived Edition: current; Page: [111] without rationality. But though man cannot, a being may be conceived exactly like a man in all points except that one quality, and those others which are the conditions or consequences of it. All therefore which is really true in the assertion that man cannot be conceived without rationality, is only, that if he had not rationality, he would not be reputed a man. There is no impossibility in conceiving the thing, nor, for aught we know, in its existing: the impossibility is in the conventions of language, which will not allow the thing, even if it exist, to be called by the name which is reserved for rational beings. Rationality, in short, is involved in the meaning of the word man: bis one of the attributes connoted by the name. The essence of man, simply means the whole of the attributes connoted by the word; and any one of those attributes taken singly, is an essential property of man.

cBut these reflections, so easy to us, would have been difficult to persons who thought, as most of the dlaterd Aristotelians did, that objects were made what they were called, that egold (for instance) was made golde, not by the possession of certain properties to which mankind have chosen to attach that name, but by participation in the nature of a certain general substance, called fgoldf in general, which substance, together with all the properties that belonged Edition: current; Page: [112] to it, inhered in every individual piece of ggoldg.* As they did not consider these universal substances to be attached to all general names, but only to some, they thought that an object borrowed only a part of its properties from an universal substance, and that the rest belonged to it individually: the former they called its essence, and the latter its accidents. The scholastic doctrine of essences long survived the theory on which it rested, that of the existence of real entities corresponding to general terms; and it was reserved for Locke at the end of the seventeenth century, to convince philosophers that the supposed essences of classes were merely the signification of their names; nor, among the signal services which hhis writingsh rendered to philosophy, was there one more needful or more valuable.i

Now, as the most familiar of the general names jby which an object is designatedj usually connotes not one only, but several attributes of the object, each of which attributes separately forms also the bond of union of some class, and the meaning of some general name; we may predicate of a name which connotes a variety of attributes, another name which connotes only one of these attributes, or some smaller number of them than all. In such cases, the universal affirmative proposition will be true; since whatever possesses Edition: current; Page: [113] the whole of any set of attributes, must possess any part of that same set. A proposition of this sort, however, conveys no information to any one who previously understood the whole meaning of the terms. The propositions, Every man is a corporeal being, Every man is a living creature, Every man is rational, convey no knowledge to any one who was already aware of the entire meaning of the word man, for the meaning of the word includes all this: and that every man has the attributes connoted by all these predicates, is already asserted when he is called a man. Now, of this nature are all the propositions which have been called essential. They are, in fact, identical propositions.

It is true that a proposition which predicates any attribute, even though it be one implied in the name, is in most cases understood to involve a tacit assertion that there exists a thing corresponding to the name, and possessing the attributes connoted by it; and this implied assertion may convey information, even to those who understood the meaning of the name. But all information of this sort, conveyed by all the essential propositions of which man can be made the subject, is included in the assertion, Men exist. And this assumption of real existence is, after all, kthe result of an imperfection of language. It arises from the ambiguity of the copula, which, in addition to its proper office of a mark to show that an assertion is made, is also, as lformerly remarked, a concrete word connoting existence. The actual existence of the subject of the proposition is therefore only apparently, not really, implied in the predication, if an essential one: we may say, A ghost is a disembodied spirit, without believing in ghosts. But an accidental, or non-essential, affirmation, does imply the real existence of the subject, because in the case of a non-existent subject there is nothing for the proposition to assert. Such a proposition as, The ghost of a murdered person haunts the couch of the murderer, can only have a meaning if understood as implying a belief in ghosts; for since the signification of the word ghost implies nothing of the kind, the speaker either means nothing, or means to assert a thing which he wishes to be believed mto have reallym taken place.

It will be hereafter seen that when any important consequences seem to follow, as in mathematics, from an essential proposition, or, in other words, from a proposition involved in the meaning of a name, what they really flow from is the tacit assumption of the real existence of the nobjectsn so named. Apart from this assumption of real existence, the class of propositions in which the predicate is of the essence of the subject (that is, in which the predicate connotes the whole or part of what the subject connotes, but nothing besides) answer no purpose but that of unfolding the whole or some part of the meaning of the name, to those who did not previously know it. Accordingly, Edition: current; Page: [114] the most useful, and in strictness the only useful kind of essential propositions, are Definitions: which, to be complete, should unfold the whole of what is involved in the meaning of the word defined; that is, (when it is a connotative word,) the whole of what it connotes. In defining a name, however, it is not usual to specify its entire connotation, but so much only as is sufficient to mark out the objects usually denoted by it from all other known objects. And sometimes a merely accidental property, not involved in the meaning of the name, answers this purpose equally well. The various kinds of definition which these distinctions give rise to, and the purposes to which they are respectively subservient, will be minutely considered in the proper place.

§ 3. [Individuals have no essences] According to the above view of essential propositions, no proposition can be reckoned such which relates to an individual by name, that is, in which the subject is a proper name. Individuals have no essences. When the schoolmen talked of the essence of an individual, they did not mean the properties implied in its name, for the names of individuals imply no properties. They regarded as of the essence of an individual, whatever was of the essence of the species in which they were accustomed to place that individual; i.e. of the class to which it was most familiarly referred, and to which, therefore, they conceived that it by nature belonged. Thus, because the proposition Man is a rational being, was an essential proposition, they affirmed the same thing of the proposition, Julius Cæsar is a rational being. This followed very naturally if genera and species were to be considered as entities, distinct from, but inhering in, the individuals composing them. If man was a substance inhering in each individual man, the essence of man (whatever that might mean) was naturally supposed to accompany it; to inhere in John Thompson, and atoa form the common essence of Thompson and Julius Cæsar. It might then be fairly said, that rationality, being of the essence of Man, was of the essence also of Thompson. But if Man altogether be only the individual men and a name bestowed upon them in consequence of certain common properties, what becomes of John Thompson’s essence?

A fundamental error is seldom expelled from philosophy by a single victory. It retreats slowly, defends every inch of ground, and oftenb, after it has been driven from the open country, retains a footing in some remote fastnessb. The essences of individuals were an unmeaning figment arising from a misapprehension of the essences of classes, yet even Locke, when he extirpated the parent error, could not shake himself free from that which was its fruit. Edition: current; Page: [115] He distinguished two sorts of essences, Real and Nominal. His nominal essences were the essences of classes, explained nearly as we have now explained them. Nor is anything wanting to render the third book of Locke’s Essay[*] a nearly cunexceptionablec treatise on the connotation of names, except to free its language from the assumption of what are called Abstract Ideas, which unfortunately is involved in the phraseology, though not necessarily connected with the thoughts contained in that immortal Third Book.* But besides nominal essences, he admitted real essences, or essences of individual objects, which he supposed to be the causes of the sensible properties of those objects. We know not (said he) what these are; (and this acknowledgment rendered the fiction comparatively innocuous;) but if we did, we could, from them alone, demonstrate the sensible properties of the object, as the properties of the triangle are demonstrated from the definition of the triangle. gIg shall have occasion to revert to this theory in treating of Demonstration, and of the conditions under which one property of a thing admits of being demonstrated from another property. It is enough here to remark that, according to this definition, the real essence of an object has, in the progress of physics, come to be conceived as nearly equivalent, in the case of bodies, to their corpuscular structure: what it is now supposed to mean in the case of any other entities, I would not take upon myself to define.

§ 4. [Real propositions, how distinguished from verbal] An essential proposition, then, is one which is purely verbal; which asserts of a thing under a particular name, only what is asserted of it in the fact of calling it by that name; and which therefore either gives no information, or gives it respecting the name, not the thing. Non-essential, or accidental propositions, on the contrary, may be called Real Propositions, in opposition to Verbal. They predicate of a thing some fact not involved in the signification of the name by Edition: current; Page: [116] which the proposition speaks of it; some attribute not connoted by that name. Such are all propositions concerning things individually designated, and all general or particular propositions in which the predicate connotes any attribute not connoted by the subject. All these, if true, add to our knowledge: they convey information, not already involved in the names employed. When I am told that all, or even that some objects, which have certain qualities, or which stand in certain relations, have also certain other qualities, or stand in certain other relations, I learn from this proposition a new fact; a fact not included in my knowledge of the meaning of the words, nor even of the existence of Things answering to the signification of those words. It is this class of propositions only which are in themselves instructive, or from which any instructive propositions can be inferred.*

Nothing has probably contributed more to the opinion so alonga prevalent of the futility of the school logic, than the circumstance that almost all the examples used in the common school books to illustrate the bdoctrineb of predication and cthatc of the syllogism, consist of essential propositions. They were usually taken either from the branches or from the main trunk of the Predicamental Tree, which included nothing but what was of the essence of the species: Omne corpus est substantia, Omne animal est corpus, Omnis homo est corpus, Omnis homo est animal, Omnis homo est rationalis, and so forth. It is far from wonderful that the syllogistic art should have been thought to be of no use in assisting correct reasoning, when almost the only propositions which, in the hands of its professed teachers, it was employed to prove, were such as every one assented to without proof the moment he comprehended the meaning of the words; and stood exactly on a level, in point of evidence, with the premises from which they were drawn. I have, therefore, throughout this work, davoided the employment of essential propositions as examples, except where the nature of the principle to be illustrated specifically required them.

§ 5. [Two modes of arepresentinga the import of a Real proposition] With respect to propositions which do convey information—which assert something of a Thing, under a name that does not already presuppose what is about to be asserted; there are two different aspects in which these, or rather such of them as are general propositions, may be considered: we may either look at them as portions of speculative truth, or as memoranda for practical Edition: current; Page: [117] use. According as we consider propositions in one or the other of these lights, their import may be conveniently expressed in one or in the other of two formulas.

According to the formula which we have hitherto employed, and which is best adapted to express the import of the proposition as a portion of our theoretical knowledge, All men are mortal, means that the attributes of man are always accompanied by the attribute mortality: No men are gods, means that the attributes of man are never accompanied by the attributes, or at least never by all the attributes, bsignified by the wordb god. But when the proposition is considered as a memorandum for practical use, we shall find a different mode of expressing the same meaning better adapted to indicate the office which the proposition performs. The practical use of a proposition is, to apprise or remind us what we have to expect, in any individual case which comes within the assertion contained in the proposition. In reference to this purpose, the proposition, All men are mortal, means that the attributes of man are evidence of, are a mark of, mortality; an indication by which the presence of that attribute is made manifest. No men are gods, means that the attributes of man are a mark or evidence that some or all of the attributes cunderstood to belong toc a god are not there; that where the former are, we need not expect to find the latter.

dThesed two forms of expression are at bottom equivalent; but the one points the attention more directly to what a proposition means, the latter to the manner in which it is to be used.

Now it is to be observed that Reasoning (the subject to which we are next to proceed) is a process into which propositions enter not as ultimate results, but as means to the establishment of other propositions. We may expect, therefore, that the mode of exhibiting the import of a general proposition which shows it in its application to practical use, will best express the function which propositions performs in Reasoning. And accordingly, in the theory of Reasoning, the mode of viewing the subject which considers a Proposition as asserting ethat one fact or phenomenon ise a mark or evidence of another fact or phenomenon, will be found almost indispensable. For the purposes of that Theory, the best mode of defining the import of a proposition is not the mode which shows fmost clearly what it is in itself, but that which most distinctly suggests the manner in which it may be made available for advancing from it to other propositions.

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CHAPTER VII: Of the Nature of Classification, and the Five Predicables

§ 1. [Classification, how connected with Naming] In examining into the nature of general propositions, we have adverted much less than is usual with logicians to the ideas of a Class, and Classification; ideas which, since the Realist doctrine of General Substances went out of vogue, have formed the basis of almost every attempt at a philosophical theory of general terms and general propositions. We have considered general names as having a meaning, quite independently of their being the names of classes. That circumstance is in truth accidental, it being wholly immaterial to the signification of the name whether there are many objects, or only one, to which it happens to be applicable, or whether there be any at all. God is as much a general term to the Christian or aJew as to the Polytheist; and dragon, hippogriff, chimera, mermaid, ghost, are as much so as if real objects existed, corresponding to those names. Every name the signification of which is constituted by attributes, is potentially a name of an indefinite number of objects; but it needs not be actually the name of any; and if of any, it may be the name of only one. As soon as we employ a name to connote attributes, the things, be they more or fewer, which happen to possess those attributes, are constituted ipso facto a class. But in predicating the name we predicate only the attributes; and the fact of belonging to a class does not, in bmanyb cases, come into view at all.

Although, however, Predication does not presuppose Classification, and though the theory of Names and of Propositions is not cleared up, but only encumbered, by intruding the idea of classification into it, there is nevertheless a close connexion between Classification and the employment of General Names. By every general name which we introduce, we create a class, if there be any cthings, real or imaginary,c to compose it; that is, any Things corresponding to the signification of the name. Classes, therefore, mostly owe their existence to general language. But general language, also, though that is not the most common case, sometimes owes its existence to classes. A general, which is as much as to say a significant, name, is indeed mostly Edition: current; Page: [119] introduced because we have a signification to express by it; because we need a word by means of which to predicate the attributes which it connotes. But it is also true that a name is sometimes introduced because we have found it convenient to create a class; because we have thought it useful for the regulation of our mental operations, that a certain group of objects should be thought of together. A naturalist, for purposes connected with his particular science, sees reason to distribute the animal or vegetable creation into certain groups rather than into any others, and he requires a name to bind, as it were, each of his groups together. It must not however be supposed that such names, when introduced, differ in any respect, as to their mode of signification, from other connotative names. The classes which they denote are, as much as any other classes, constituted by certain common attributes, and their names are significant of those attributes, and of nothing else. The names of Cuvier’s classes and orders, Plantigrades, Digitigrades, &c., are as much the expression of attributes as if those names had preceded, instead of dgrownd out of, his classification of animals. The only peculiarity of the case is, that the convenience of classification was here the primary motive for introducing the names; while in other cases the name is introduced as a means of predication, and the formation of a class denoted by it is only an indirect consequence.

The principles which ought to regulate Classification as a logical process subservient to the investigation of truth, cannot be discussed to any purpose until a much later stage of our inquiry. But, of Classification as resulting from, and implied in, the fact of employing general language, we cannot forbear to treat here, without leaving the theory of general names, and of their employment in predication, mutilated and formless.

§ 2. [The Predicables, what] This portion of the theory of general language is the subject of what is termed the doctrine of the Predicables; a set of distinctions handed down from Aristotle, and his follower Porphyry, many of which have taken a firm root in scientific, and some of them even in popular, phraseology. The predicables are a five-fold division of General Names, not grounded as usual on a difference in their meaning, that is, in the attribute which they connote, but on a difference in the kind of class which they adenotea. We may predicate of a thing five different varieties of class-name:

A genus of the thing (γένος).
A species ἰ̑δος).
A differentia (διαϕορά).
A proprium (ἴδιον).
An accidens (συμβεβηκός).
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It is to be remarked of these distinctions, that they express, not what the predicate is in its own meaning, but what relation it bears to the subject of which it happens on the particular occasion to be predicated. There are not some names which are exclusively genera, and others which are exclusively species, or differentiæ; but the same name is referred to one or another predicable, according to the subject of which it is predicated on the particular occasion. Animal, for instance, is a genus with respect to man, or John; a species with respect to Substance, or Being. Rectangular is one of the Differentiæ of a geometrical square; it is merely one of the Accidentia of the table batb which I am writing. The words genus, species, &c. are therefore relative terms; they are names applied to certain predicates, to express the relation between them and some given subject: a relation grounded, as we shall see, not on what the predicate connotes, but on the class which it cdenotesc, and on the place which, in some given classification, that class occupies relatively to the particular subject.

§ 3. [Genus and Species] Of these five names, two, Genus and Species, are not only used by naturalists in a technical acceptation not precisely agreeing with their philosophical meaning, but have also acquired a popular acceptation, much more general than either. In this popular sense any two classes, one of which includes the whole of the other and more, may be called a Genus and a Species. Such, for instance, are Animal and Man; Man and Mathematician. Animal is a Genus; Man and Brute are its two species; or we may divide it into a greater number of species, as man, horse, dog, &c. Biped, or two-footed animal, may also be considered a genus, of which man and bird are two species. Taste is a genus, of which sweet taste, sour taste, salt taste, &c. are species. Virtue is a genus; justice, prudence, courage, fortitude, generosity, &c. are its species.

The same class which is a genus with reference to the sub-classes or species included in it, may be itself a species with reference to a more comprehensive, or, as it is often called, a superior genus. Man is a species with reference to animal, but a genus with reference to the species Mathematician. Animal is a genus, divided into two species, man and brute; but animal is also a species, which, with another species, vegetable, makes up the genus, organized being. Biped is a genus with reference to man and bird, but a species with respect to the superior genus, animal. Taste is a genus divided into species, but also a species of the genus sensation. Virtue, a genus with reference to justice, temperance, &c., is one of the species of the genus, mental quality.

In this popular sense the words Genus and Species have passed into common discourse. And it should be observed that in ordinary parlance, not the Edition: current; Page: [121] name of the class, but the class itself, is said to be the genus or species; not, of course, the class in the sense of each individual of athea class, but the individuals collectively, considered as an aggregate whole; the name by which the class is designated being then called not the genus or species, but the generic or specific name. And this is an admissible form of expression; nor is it of any importance which of the two modes of speaking we adopt, provided the rest of our language is consistent with it; but, if we call the class itself the genus, we must not talk of predicating the genus. We predicate of man the name mortal; and by predicating the name, we may be said, in an intelligible sense, to predicate what the name expresses, the attribute mortality; but in no allowable sense of the word predication do we predicate of man the class mortal. We predicate of him the fact of belonging to the class.

By the Aristotelian logicians, the terms genus and species were used in a more restricted sense. They did not admit every class which could be divided into other classes to be a genus, or every class which could be included in a larger class to be a species. Animal was by them considered a genus; bman and brute co-ordinate species under that genus: bipedc, however,c would not have been admitted to be a genus with reference to man, but a proprium or accidens only. It was requisite, according to their theory, that genus and species should be of the essence of the subject. Animal was of the essence of man; biped was not. And in every classification they considered some one class as the lowest or infima species. Man, for instance, was a lowest species. Any further divisions into which the class might be capable of being broken down, as man into white, black, and red man, or into priest and layman, they did not admit to be species.

It has been seen, however, in the preceding chapter, that the distinction between the essence of a class, and the attributes or properties which are not of its essence—a distinction which has given occasion to so much abstruse speculation, and to which so mysterious a character was formerly, and by many writers is still, attached,—amounts to nothing more than the difference between those attributes of the class which are, and those which are not, involved in the signification of the class-name. As applied to individuals, the word Essence, we found, has no meaning, except in connexion with the exploded tenets of the Realists; and what the schoolmen chose to call the essence of an individual, was simply the essence of the class to which that individual was most familiarly referred.

Is there no difference, then, dsaved this merely verbal one, between the classes which the schoolmen admitted to be genera or species, and those to which they refused the title? Is it an error to regard some of the differences which exist among objects as differences in kind (genere or specie), and Edition: current; Page: [122] others only as differences in the accidents? Were the schoolmen right or wrong in giving to some of the classes into which things may be divided, the name of kinds, and considering others as secondary divisions, grounded on differences of a comparatively superficial nature? Examination will show that the Aristotelians did mean something by this distinction, and something important; but which, being but indistinctly conceived, was inadequately expressed by the phraseology of essences, and ethe various other modes of speech to which they had recourse.

§ 4. [Kinds have a real existence in nature] It is a fundamental principle in logic, that the power of framing classes is unlimited, as long as there is any (even the smallest) difference to found a distinction upon. Take any attribute whatever, and if some things have it, and others have anot, we may ground on the attribute a division of all things into two classes; and we actually do so, the moment we create a name which connotes the attribute. The number of possible classes, therefore, is boundless; and there are as many actual classes (either of real or of imaginary things) as there are bgeneral names, positive and negative together.

But if we contemplate any one of the classes so formed, such as the class animal or plant, or the class sulphur or phosphorus, or the class white or red, and consider in what particulars the individuals included in the class differ from those which do not come within it, we find a very remarkable diversity in this respect between some classes and others. There are some classes, the things contained in which differ from other things only in certain particulars which may be numbered, while others differ in more than can be numbered, more even than we need ever expect to know. Some classes have little or nothing in common to characterize them by, except precisely what is connoted by the name: white things, for example, are not distinguished by any common properties except whiteness; or if they are, it is only by such as are in some way dependent on, or connected with, whiteness. But a hundred generations have not exhausted the common properties of animals or of plants, of sulphur or of phosphorus; nor do we suppose them to be exhaustible, but proceed to new observations and experiments, in the full confidence of discovering new properties which were by no means implied in those we previously knew. While, if any one were to propose for investigation the common properties of all things which are of the same colour, the same shape, or the same specific gravity, the absurdity would be palpable. We have no ground to believe that any such common properties exist, except such as may be shown to be involved in the supposition itself, or to be derivable from it by some law of causation. It appears, therefore, that the Edition: current; Page: [123] properties, on which we ground our classes, sometimes exhaust all that the class has in common, or contain it all by some mode of implication; but in other instances we make a selection of a few properties from among not only a greater number, but a number inexhaustible by us, and to which as we know no bounds, they may, so far as we are concerned, be regarded as infinite.

There is no impropriety in saying that, of these two classifications, the one answers to a much more radical distinction in the things themselves, than the other does. And if any one even chooses to say that the one classification is made by nature, the other by us for our convenience, he will be right; provided he means no more than this: cWherec a certain apparent difference between things (though perhaps in itself of little moment) answers to we know not what number of other differences, pervading not only their known properties, but properties yet undiscovered, it is not optional but imperative to recognise this difference as the foundation of a specific distinction; while, on the contrary, differences that are merely finite and determinate, like those designated by the words white, black, or red, may be disregarded if the purpose for which the classification is made does not require attention to those particular properties. The differences, however, are made by nature, in both cases; while the recognition of those differences as grounds of classification and of naming, is, equally in both cases, the act of man: only in the one case, the ends of language and of classification would be subverted if no notice were taken of the difference, while in the other case, the necessity of taking notice of it depends on the importance or unimportance of the particular qualities in which the difference happens to consist.

Now, these classes, distinguished by unknown multitudes of properties, and not solely by a few determinate onesd—which are parted off from one another by an unfathomable chasm, instead of a mere ordinary ditch with a visible bottom—dare the only classes which, by the Aristotelian logicians, were considered as genera or species. Differences which extended eonlye to a certain property or properties, and there terminated, they considered as differences only in the accidents of things; but where any class differed from other things by an infinite series of differences, known and unknown, they considered the distinction as one of kind, and spoke of it as being an essential difference, which is also one of the fcurrentf meanings of that vague expression at the present day.

Conceiving the schoolmen to have been justified in drawing a broad line of separation between these two kinds of classes and of class-distinctions, I shall not only retain the division itself, but continue to express it in their language. According to that language, the proximate (or lowest) Kind to Edition: current; Page: [124] which any individual is referrible, is called its species. Conformably to this, gIsaac Newton would be said to be of the species man. There are indeed numerous sub-classes included in the class man, to which hNewton also belongs; ifor example, Christian, and Englishman, and Mathematician. But these, though distinct classes, are not, in our sense of the term, distinct Kinds of men. A Christian, for example, differs from other human beings; but he differs only in the attribute which the word expresses, namely, belief in Christianity, and whatever else that implies, either as involved in the fact itself, or connected with it through some law of cause and effect. We should never think of inquiring what properties, unconnected with Christianity, jeither as cause or effect,j are common to all Christians and peculiar to them; while in regard to all Men, physiologists are perpetually carrying on such an inquiry; nor is the answer ever likely to be completed. Man, therefore, we may kcall a species; Christian, or Mathematician, we cannot.

Note here, that it is by no means intended to imply that there may not be different Kinds, or logical species, of man. The various races and temperaments, the two sexes, and even the various ages, may be differences of kind, within our meaning of the term. lI do not say that they are so.l For in the progress of physiology it may malmost be said to be made out, that the differences which really exist between different races, sexes, &c.m, follow as consequences, under laws of nature, from na small number ofn primary differences which can be precisely determined, and which, as the phrase is, account for all the rest. If this be so, these are not distinctions in kind; no more than Christian, Jew, Mussulman, and Pagan, a difference which also carries many consequences along with it. And in this way classes are often mistaken for real Kinds, which are afterwards proved not to be so. But if it oturned out that the differences were not capable of being thuso accounted for, then pCaucasian, Mongolian,p Negro, &c. qwould beq really different Kinds of human beings, and entitled to be ranked as species by the logician; though not by the naturalist. For (as already rnoticedr) the word species is used in a sdifferent signification in logic and in natural history. By the naturalist, Edition: current; Page: [125] organized beings are tnot usuallyt said to be of different species, if it is supposed that they uhave descended from the same stock. That, however, is a sense artificially given to the word, for the technical purposes of a particular science. To the logician, if a negro and a white man differ in the same manner (however less in degree) as a horse and a camel do, that is, if their differences are inexhaustible, and not referrible to any common cause, they are different species, whether they are vdescended from common ancestorsv or not. But if their differences can all be traced to climate and habits, wor to some one xor a few special differencesx in structure,w they are not, in the logician’s view, yspecificallyy distinct.

When the infima species, or proximate Kind, to which an individual belongs, has been ascertained, the properties common to that Kind include necessarily the whole of the common properties of every other real Kind to which the individual can be referrible. Let the individual, for example, be Socrates, and the proximate Kind, man. Animal, or living creature, is also a real Kind, and includes Socrates; but, since it likewise includes man, or in other words, since all men are animals, the properties common to animals form a portion of the common properties of the sub-class, man. And if there be any class which includes Socrates without including man, that class is not a real Kind. Let the class, for example, be flat-nosed; that being a class which includes Socrates, without including all men. To determine whether it is a real Kind, we must ask ourselves this question: Have all flat-nosed animals, in addition to whatever is implied in their flat noses, any common properties, other than those which are common to all animals whatever? If they had; if a flat nose were a mark or index to an indefinite number of other peculiarities, not deducible from the former by zanz ascertainable law, then out of the class man we might cut another class, flat-nosed man, which according to our definition, would be a Kind. But if we could do this, man would not be, as it was assumed to be, the proximate Kind. Therefore, the properties of the proximate Kind do comprehend those (whether known or unknown) of all other Kinds to which the individual belongs; which was the point we undertook to prove. And hence, every other Kind which is predicable of the individual, will be to the proximate Kind in the relation of a genus, according to even the popular acceptation of the terms genus and species; that is, it will be a larger class, including it and more.

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We are now able to fix athe logical meaning of btheseb terms. Every class which is a real Kind, that is, which is distinguished from all other classes by an indeterminate multitude of properties not derivable from conec another, is either a genus or a species. A Kind which is not divisible into other Kinds, cannot be a genus, because it has no species under it; but it is itself a species, both with reference to the individuals below and to the genera above (Species Prædicabilis and Species Subjicibilis.) But every Kind which admits of division into real Kinds (as animal into dmammal, bird, fish, &c., or bird into various species of birdsd) is a genus to all below it, a species to all genera in which it is itself included. And here we may close this part of the discussion, and pass to the three remaining predicables, Differentia, Proprium, and Accidens.

§ 5. [Differentia] To begin with Differentia. This word is correlative with the words genus and species, and as all aadmita, it signifies the attribute which distinguishes a given species from every other species of the same genus. This is so far clear: but bwe may still ask, which of the distinguishing attributes it signifies.b For we have seen that every Kind (and a species must be a Kind) is distinguished from other Kinds, not by any one attribute, but by an indefinite number. Man, for instance, is a species of the genus animal: Rational (or rationality, for it is of no consequence cherec whether we use the concrete or the abstract form) is generally assigned by logicians as the Differentia; and doubtless this attribute serves the purpose of distinction: but it has also been remarked of man, that he is a cooking animal; the only animal that dresses its food. This, therefore, is another of the attributes by which the species man is distinguished from other species of the same genus: would this attribute serve equally well for a differentia? The Aristotelians say No; having laid it down that the differentia must, like the genus and species, be of the essence of the subject.

And here we lose even that vestige of a meaning grounded in the nature of the things themselves, which may be supposed to be attached to the word essence when it is said that genus and species must be of the essence of the thing. There can be no doubt that when the schoolmen talked of the essences of things as opposed to their accidents, they had confusedly in view the distinction between differences of kind, and the differences which are not of Edition: current; Page: [127] kind; they meant to intimate that genera and species must be Kinds. Their notion of the essence of a thing was a vague notion of a something which makes it what it is, i.e. which makes it the Kind of thing that it is—which causes it to have all that variety of properties which distinguish its Kind. But when the matter came to be looked at more closely, nobody could discover what caused the thing to have all those properties, nor even that there was anything which caused it to have them. Logicians, however, not liking to admit this, and being unable to detect what made the thing to be what it was, satisfied themselves with what made it to be what it was called. Of the innumerable properties, known and unknown, that are common to the class man, a portion only, and of course a very small portion, are connoted by its name; these few, however, will naturally have been thus distinguished from the rest either for their greater obviousness, or for greater supposed importance. These properties, then, which were connoted by the name, logicians seized upon, and called them the essence of the species; and not stopping there, they affirmed them, in the case of the infima species, to be the essence of the individual too; for it was their maxim, that the species contained the “whole essence” of the thing. Metaphysics, that fertile field of delusion propagated by language, does not afford a more signal instance of such delusion. On this account it was that rationality, being connoted by the name man, was allowed to be a differentia of the class; but the peculiarity of cooking their food, not being connoted, was relegated to the class of accidental properties.

The distinction, therefore, between Differentia, Proprium, and Accidens, is not dgroundedd in the nature of things, but in the connotation of names; and we must seek it there, if we wish to find what it is.

From the fact that the genus includes the species, in other words denotes more than the species, or is predicable of a greater number of individuals, it follows that the species must connote more than the genus. It must connote all the attributes which the genus connotes, or there would be nothing to prevent it from denoting individuals not included in the genus. And it must connote something besides, otherwise it would include the whole genus. Animal denotes all the individuals denoted by man, and many more. Man, therefore, must connote all that animal connotes, otherwise there might be men who earee not animals; and it must connote something more than animal connotes, otherwise all animals would be men. This surplus of connotation—this which the species connotes over and above the connotation of the genus—is the Differentia, or specific difference; or, to state the same proposition in other words, the Differentia is that which must be added to the connotation of the genus, to complete the connotation of the species.

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The word man, for instance, exclusively of what it connotes in common with animal, also connotes rationality, and at least some approximation to that external form which we all know, but which as we have no name for it considered in itself, we are content to call the human. The Differentia, or specific difference, therefore, of man, as referred to the genus animal, is that outward form and the possession of reason. The Aristotelians said, the possession of reason, without the outward form. But if they adhered to this, they would have been obliged to call the Houyhnhnms men. The question never arose, and they were never called upon to decide how such a case would have affected their notion of essentiality. fHowever this may be, theyf were satisfied with taking such a portion of the differentia as sufficed to distinguish the species from all other existing things, though by so doing they might not exhaust the connotation of the name.

§ 6. [Differentia for general purposes, and differentia for special or technical purposes] And here, to prevent the notion of differentia from being restricted within too narrow limits, it is necessary to remark, that a species, even as referred to the same genus, will not always have the same differentia, but a different one, according to the principle and purpose which apresidea over the particular classification. For example, a naturalist surveys the various kinds of animals, and looks out for the classification of them most in accordance with the order in which, for zoological purposes, bhe considers it desirable that we should think of themb. With this view he finds it advisable that one of his fundamental divisions should be into warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals; or into animals which breathe with lungs and those which breathe with gills; or into carnivorous, and frugivorous or graminivorous; or into those which walk on the flat part and those which walk on the extremity of the foot, a distinction on which ctwoc of Cuvier’s families are founded. In doing this, the naturalist creates dasd many new classes; which are by no means those to which the individual animal is familiarly and spontaneously referred; nor should we ever think of assigning to them so prominent a position in our arrangement of the animal kingdom, unless for a epreconceivede purpose of scientific convenience. And to the liberty of doing this there is no limit. In the examples we have given, fmost of thef classes are real Edition: current; Page: [129] Kinds, since each of the peculiarities is an index to a multitude of properties belonging to the class which it characterizes: but even if the case were otherwise—if the other properties of those classes could all be derived, by any process known to us, from the one peculiarity on which the class is founded—even then, if gtheseg derivative properties were of primary importance for the purposes of the naturalist, he would be warranted in founding his primary hdivisionsh on them.

If, however, practical convenience is a sufficient warrant for making the main demarcations in our arrangement of objects run in lines not coinciding with any distinction of Kind, and so creating genera and species in the popular sense which are not genera or species in the rigorous sense at all; à fortiori must we be warranted, when our genera and species are real genera and species, in marking the distinction between them by those of their properties which considerations of practical convenience most strongly recommend. If we cut a species out of a given genus—the species man, for instance, out of the genus animal—with an intention on our part that the peculiarity by which we are to be guided in the application of the name man should be rationality, then rationality is the differentia of the species man. Suppose, however, that being naturalists, we, for the purposes of our particular study, cut out of the genus animal the same species man, but with an intention that the distinction between man and all other species of animal should be, not rationality, but the possession of “four incisors in each jaw, tusks solitary, and erect posture.” It is evident that the word man, when used by us as naturalists, no longer connotes rationality, but connotes the three other properties specified; for that which we have expressly in view when we impose a name, assuredly forms part of the meaning of that name. We may, therefore, lay it down as a maxim, that wherever there is a Genus, and a Species marked out from that genus by an assignable differentia, the name of the species must be connotative, and must connote the differentia; but the connotation may be special—not involved in the signification of the term as ordinarily used, but given to it when employed as a term of art or science. The word Man in common use, connotes rationality and a certain form, but does not connote the number or character of the teeth; in the Linnæan system it connotes the number of incisor and canine teeth, but does not connote rationality nor any particular form. The word man has, therefore, two different meanings; though not commonly considered as ambiguous, because it happens in both cases to denote the same individual objects. But a case is conceivable in which the ambiguity would become evident: we have only to imagine that some new kind of animal were discovered, having Linnæus’s three characteristics of humanity, but not rational, or not of the human form. Edition: current; Page: [130] In ordinary parlance, these animals would not be called men; but in natural history they must still be called so by those, if any there ishouldi be, who adhere to the Linnæan classification; and the question would arise, whether the word should continue to be used in two senses, or the classification be given up, and the technical sense of the term be abandoned along with it.

Words not otherwise connotative may, in the mode just adverted to, acquire a special or technical connotation. Thus the word whiteness, as we have so often remarked, connotes nothing; it merely jdenotesj the attribute corresponding to a certain sensation: but if we are making a classification of colours, and desire to justify, or even merely to point out, the particular place assigned to whiteness in our arrangement, we may define it “the colour produced by the mixture of all the simple rays;” and this fact, though by no means implied in the meaning of the word whiteness as ordinarily used, but only known by subsequent scientific investigation, kisk part of its meaning in the particular essay or treatise, and becomes the differentia of the species.*

The differentia, therefore, of a species may be defined to be, that part of the connotation of the specific name, whether ordinary or special and technical, which distinguishes the species in question from all other species of the genus to which on the particular occasion we are referring it.

§ 7. [Proprium] Having disposed of Genus, Species, and Differentia, we shall not find much difficulty in attaining a clear conception of the distinction between the other two predicablesa, as well as between them and the first threea.

In the Aristotelian phraseology, Genus and Differentia are of the essence of the subject; by which, as we have seen, is really meant that the properties signified by the genus and those signified by the differentia, form part of the connotation of the name denoting the species. Proprium and Accidens, on the other hand, form no part of the essence, but are predicated of the species only accidentally. Both are Accidents, in the wider sense in which the accidents of a thing are opposed to its essence; though, in the doctrine of the Predicables, Accidens is used for one sort of accident only, Proprium being another sort. Proprium, continue the schoolmen, is predicated accidentally, indeed, but necessarily; or, as they further explain it, signifies an attribute which is not indeed part of the essence, but which flows from, or is a consequence of, Edition: current; Page: [131] the essence, and is, therefore, inseparably attached to the species; e.g. the various properties of a triangle, which, though no part of its definition, must necessarily be possessed by whatever comes under that definition. Accidens, on the contrary, has no connexion whatever with the essence, but may come and go, and the species still remain what it was before. If a species could exist without its Propria, it must be capable of existing without that on which its Propria are necessarily consequent, and therefore without its essence, without that which constitutes it a species. But an Accidens, whether separable or inseparable from the species in actual experience, may be supposed separated, without the necessity of supposing any other alteration; or at least, without supposing any of the essential properties of the species bto beb altered, since with them an Accidens has no connexion.

A Proprium, therefore, of the species, may be defined, any attribute which belongs to all the individuals included in the species, and which, though not connoted by the specific name, c(either ordinarily if the classification we are considering be for ordinary purposes, or specially if it be for a special purpose,)c yet follows from some attribute which the name either ordinarily or specially connotes.

One attribute may follow from another in two ways; and there are consequently two kinds of Proprium. It may follow as a conclusion follows premises, or it may follow as an effect follows a cause. Thus, the attribute of having the opposite sides equal, which is not one of those connoted by the word Parallelogram, nevertheless follows from those connoted by it, namely, from having the opposite sides straight lines and parallel, and the number of sides four. The attribute, therefore, of having the opposite sides equal, is a Proprium of the class parallelogram; and a Proprium of the first kind, which follows from the connoted attributes by way of demonstration. The attribute of being capable of understanding language, is a Proprium of the species man, since without being connoted by the word, it follows from an attribute which the word does connote, viz., from the attribute of rationality. But this is a Proprium of the second kind, which follows by way of causation. How it is that one property of a thing follows, or can be inferred, from another; under what conditions this is possible, and what is the exact meaning of the phrase; are among the questions which will occupy us in the two succeeding Books. At present it needs only be said, that whether a Proprium follows by demonstration or by causation, it follows necessarily; that is to say, dits not following would be inconsistentd with some law which we regard as a part of the constitution either of our thinking faculty or of the universe.

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§ 8. [Accidens] Under the remaining predicable, Accidens, are included all attributes of a thing which are neither involved in the signification of the name (whether ordinarily or as a term of art), nor have, so far as we know, any necessary connexion with attributes which are so involved. They are commonly divided into Separable and Inseparable Accidents. Inseparable accidents are those which—although we know of no connexion between them and the attributes constitutive of the species, and although, therefore, so far as we are aware, they might be absent without making the name inapplicable and the species a different species—are yet never in fact known to be absent. A concise mode of expressing the same meaning is, that inseparable accidents are properties which are universal to the species, but not necessary to it. Thus, blackness is an attribute of a crow, and, as far as we know, an universal one. But if we were to discover a race of white birds, in other respects resembling crows, we should not say, These are not crows; we should say, These are white crows. Crow, therefore, does not connote blackness; nor, from any of the attributes which it does connote, whether as a word in popular use or as a term of art, could blackness be inferred. Not only, therefore, can we conceive a white crow, but we know of no reason why such an animal should not exist. Since, however, none but black crows are known to exist, blackness, in the present state of our knowledge, ranks as an accident, but an inseparable accident, of the species crow.

Separable Accidents are those which are found, in point of fact, to be sometimes absent from the species; which are not only not necessary, but not even universal. They are such as do not belong to every individual of the species, but only to some individuals; or if to all, not at all times. Thus the colour of an European is one of the separable accidents of the species man, because it is not an attribute of all human creatures. Being born, is also a(speaking in the logical sense)a a separable accident of the species man, because, though an attribute of all human beings, it is so only at one particular time. A fortiori those attributes which are not constant even in the same individual, as, to be in one or in another place, to be hot or cold, sitting or walking, must be ranked as separable accidents.

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CHAPTER VIII: Of Definition

§ 1. a[A definition, what]a One necessary part of the theory of Names and of Propositions remains to be treated of in this place: the theory of Definitions. As being the most important of the class of propositions which we have characterized as purely verbal, they have already received some notice in the chapter preceding the last. But their fuller treatment was at that time postponed, because definition is so closely connected with classification, that, until the nature of the latter process is in some measure understood, the former cannot be discussed to much purpose.

bThe simplest and most correct notion of a Definition is, a proposition declaratory of the meaning of a word; namely, either the meaning which it bears in common acceptation, or that which the speaker or writer, for the particular purposes of his discourse, intends to annex to it.

The definition of a word being the proposition which enunciates its meaning, words which have no meaning are unsusceptible of definition. Proper names, therefore, cannot be defined. A proper name being a mere mark put upon an individual, and of which it is the characteristic property to be destitute of meaning, its meaning cannot of course be declared; though we may indicate by language, as we might indicate still more conveniently by pointing with the finger, upon what individual that particular mark has been, or is intended to be, put. It is no definition of “John Thomson” to say he is “the son of General Thomson;” for the name John Thomson does not express this. Neither is it any definition of “John Thomson” to say he is “the man now crossing the street.” These propositions may serve to make known who is the particular man to whom the name belongs, but that may be done still more unambiguously by pointing to him, which, however, has not cbeen esteemed one of the modes of definition.

In the case of connotative names, the meaning, as has been so often observed, is the connotation; and the definition of a connotative name, is dthed proposition which declares its connotation. This emighte be done either directly or indirectly. The direct mode would be by a proposition in this Edition: current; Page: [134] form: “Man” (or whatsoever the word may be) “is a name connoting such and such attributes,” or “is a name which, when predicated of anything, signifies the possession of such and such attributes by that thing.” Or thus: Man is everything which possesses such and such attributes: Man is everything which possesses corporeity, organization, life, rationality, and fcertain peculiarities of external formf.

This form of definition is the most precise and least equivocal of any; but it is not brief enough, and is besides too technical gfor common discourse. The more usual mode of declaring the connotation of a name, is to predicate of it another name or names of known signification, which connote the same aggregation of attributes. This may be done either by predicating of the name intended to be defined, another connotative name exactly synonymous, as, “Man is a human being,” which is not commonly accounted a definition at all; or by predicating two or more connotative names, which make up among them the whole connotation of the name to be defined. In this last case, again, we may either compose our definition of as many connotative names as there are attributes, each attribute being connoted by one, as, Man is a corporeal, organized, animated, rational being, shaped so and so; or we may employ names which connote several of the attributes at once, as, Man is a rational animal, shaped so and so.

The definition of a name, according to this view of it, is the sum total of all the essential propositions which can be framed with that name for their subject. All propositions the truth of which is implied in the name, all hthoseh which we are made aware of by merely hearing the name, are included in the definition, if complete, and may be evolved from it without the aid of any other premises; whether the definition expresses them in two or three words, or in a larger number. It is, therefore, not without reason that Condillac and other writers have affirmed a definition to be an analysis.[*] To resolve any complex whole into the elements of which it is compounded, is the meaning of analysis: and this we do when we replace one word which connotes a set of attributes collectively, by two or more which connote the same attributes singly, or in smaller groups.

a§ 2.a [Every name can be defined, whose meaning is susceptible of analysis] From this, however, the question naturally arises, in what manner are we to define a name which connotes only a single attribute: for instance, Edition: current; Page: [135] “white,” which connotes nothing but whiteness; “rational,” which connotes nothing but the possession of reason. It might seem that the meaning of such names could only be declared in two ways; by a synonymous term, if any such can be found; or in the direct way already alluded to: “White is a name connoting the attribute whiteness.” Let us see, however, whether the analysis of the meaning of the name, that is, the breaking down of that meaning into bseveralb parts, admits of being carried farther. Without at present deciding this question as to the word white, it is obvious that in the case of rational some further explanation may be given of its meaning than is contained in the proposition, “Rational is that which possesses the attribute of reason;” since the attribute reason itself admits of being defined. And here we must turn our attention to the definitions of attributes, or rather of the names of attributes, that is, of abstract names.

In regard to such names of attributes as are connotative, and express attributes of those attributes, there is no difficulty: like other connotative names they are defined by declaring their connotation. Thus the word fault may be defined, “a quality productive of evil or inconvenience.” Sometimes, again, the attribute to be defined is not one attribute, but an union of several: we have only, therefore, to put together the names of all the attributes taken separately, and we obtain the definition of the cname which belongsc to them all taken together; a definition which will correspond exactly to that of the corresponding concrete name. For, as we define a concrete name by enumerating the attributes which it connotes, and as the attributes connoted by a concrete name form the entire signification of the corresponding abstract dnamed, the same enumeration will serve for the definition of both. Thus, if the definition of a human being be this, “a being, corporeal, animated, rational, eshaped so and so,” the definition of humanity will be corporeity and animal life, combined with rationality, and with such and such a shape.

When, on the other hand, the abstract name does not express a complication of attributes, but a single attribute, we must remember that every attribute is grounded on some fact or phenomenon, from which, and which alone, it derives its meaning. To that fact or phenomenon, called in a former chapter the foundation of the attribute, we must, therefore, have recourse for its definition. Now, the foundation of the attribute may be a phenomenon of any degree of complexity, consisting of many different parts, either coexistent or in succession. To obtain a definition of the attribute, we must analyse the phenomenon into these parts. Eloquence, for example, is the name of one attribute only; but this attribute is grounded on external effects of a complicated Edition: current; Page: [136] nature, flowing from acts of the person to whom we ascribe the attribute; and by resolving this phenomenon of causation into its two parts, the cause and the effect, we obtain a definition of eloquence, viz. the power of influencing the ffeelings byf speech or writing.

A name, therefore, whether concrete or abstract, admits of definition, provided we are able to analyse, that is, to distinguish into parts, the attribute or set of attributes which constitute the meaning both of the concrete name and of the corresponding abstract: if a set of attributes, by enumerating them; if a single attribute, by dissecting the fact or phenomenon (whether of perception or of internal consciousness) which is the foundation of the attribute. But, further, even when the fact is one of our simple feelings or states of consciousness, and therefore unsusceptible of analysis, the names both of the object and of the attribute still admit of definition: or rather, would do so if all our simple feelings had names. Whiteness may be defined, the property or power of exciting the sensation of white. A white object may be defined, an object which excites the sensation of white. The only names which are unsusceptible of definition, because their meaning is unsusceptible of analysis, are the names of the simple feelings themselves. These are in the same condition as proper names. They are not indeed, like proper names, unmeaning; for the words sensation of white signify, that the sensation which I so denominate resembles other sensations which I remember to have had before, and to have called by that name. But as we have no words by which to recal those former sensations, except the very word which we seek to define, or some other which, being exactly synonymous with it, requires definition as much, words cannot unfold the signification of this class of names; and we are obliged to make a direct appeal to the personal experience of the individual whom we address.

a§ 3.a [Complete, how distinguished from incomplete definitions] Having stated what seems to be the true idea of a Definition, bIb proceed to examine some opinions of philosophers, and some popular conceptions on the subject, which conflict more or less with cthat ideac.

The only adequate definition of a name is, as already remarked, one which declares the facts, and the whole of the facts, which the name involves in its signification. But with most persons the object of a definition does not embrace so much; they look for nothing more, in a definition, than a guide to the correct use of the term—a protection against applying it in a manner inconsistent with custom and convention. Anything, therefore, is to them a Edition: current; Page: [137] sufficient definition of a term, which will serve as a correct index to what the term denotes; though not embracing the whole, and sometimes, perhaps, not even any part, of what it connotes. This gives rise to two sorts of imperfect, or unscientific definition; dEssential but incomplete Definitions, and Accidental Definitions, or Descriptions. In the former, a connotative name is defined by a part only of its connotation; in the latter, by something which forms no part of the connotation at all.

An example of the first kind of imperfect definitions is the following:—Man is a rational animal. It is impossible to consider this as a complete definition of the word Man, since (as before remarked) if we adhered to it we should be obliged to call the Houyhnhnms men; but as there happen to be no Houyhnhnms, this imperfect definition is sufficient to mark out and distinguish from all other things, the objects at present edenotede by “man;” all the beings actually known to exist, of whom the name is predicable. Though the word is defined by some only among the attributes which it connotes, not by all, it happens that all known objects which possess the enumerated attributes, possess also those which are omitted; so that the field of predication which the word covers, and the employment of it which is conformable to usage, are as well indicated by the inadequate definition as by an adequate one. Such definitions, however, are always liable to be overthrown by the discovery of new objects in nature.

Definitions of this kind are what logicians have had in view, when they laid down the rule, that the definition of a species should be per genus et differentiam. Differentia being seldom taken to mean the whole of the peculiarities constitutive of the species, but some one of those peculiarities only, a complete definition would be per genus et differentias, rather than differentiam. It would include, with the name of the superior genus, not merely some attribute which distinguishes the species intended to be defined from all other species of the same genus, but all the attributes implied in the name of the species, which the name of the superior genus has not already implied. The assertion, however, that a definition must of necessity consist of a genus and differentiæ, is not tenable. It was early remarked by logicians, that the summum genus in any classification, having no genus superior to itself, could not be defined in this manner. Yet we have seen that all names, except those of our elementary feelings, are susceptible of definition in the strictest sense; by setting forth in words the constituent parts of the fact or phenomenon, of which the connotation of every word is ultimately composed.

a§ 4.a [And how complete definitions are distinguished from descriptions] Although the first kind of imperfect definition, (which defines a connotative Edition: current; Page: [138] term by a part only of what it connotes, but a part sufficient to mark out correctly the boundaries of its denotation,) has been considered by the ancients, and by logicians in general, as a complete definition; it has always been deemed necessary that the attributes employed should really form part of the connotation; for the rule was that the definition must be drawn from the essence of the class; and this would not have been the case if it had been in any degree made up of attributes not connoted by the name. The second kind of imperfect definition, therefore, in which the name of a class is defined by any of its accidents,—that is, by attributes which are not included in its connotation,—has been rejected from the rank of genuine Definition by all blogiciansb, and has been termed Description.

This kind of imperfect definition, however, takes its rise from the same cause as the other, namely, the willingness to accept as a definition anything which, whether it expounds the meaning of the name or not, enables us to discriminate the things denoted by the name from all other things, and consequently to employ the term in predication without deviating from established usage. This purpose is duly answered by stating any (no matter what) of the attributes which are common to the whole of the class, and peculiar to it; or any combination of attributes which chappensc to be peculiar to it, though separately each of those attributes may be common to it with some other things. It is only necessary that the definition (or description) thus formed, should be convertible with the name which it professes to define; that is, should be exactly co-extensive with it, being predicable of everything of which it is predicable, and of nothing of which it is not predicable; though the attributes specified may have no connexion with those which dmankindd had in view when they formed or recognised the class, and gave it a name. The following are correct definitions of Man, according to this test: Man is a mammiferous animal, having (by nature) two hands (for the human species answers to this description, and no other animal does): Man is an animal who cooks his food: Man is a featherless biped.

What would otherwise be a mere description, may be raised to the rank of a real definition by the peculiar purpose which the speaker or writer has in view. As was seen in the preceding chapter, it may, for the ends of a particular art or science, or for the more convenient statement of an author’s particular edoctrinese, be advisable to give to some general name, without altering its denotation, a special connotation, different from its ordinary one. When this is done, a definition of the name by means of the attributes which make up the special connotation, though in general a mere accidental definition or description, becomes on the particular occasion and for the particular purpose a complete and genuine definition. This actually occurs with respect Edition: current; Page: [139] to one of the preceding examples, “Man is a mammiferous animal having two hands,” which is the scientific definition of man, considered as one of the species in Cuvier’s distribution of the animal kingdom.[*]

In cases of this sort, though the definition is still a declaration of the meaning which in the particular instance the name is appointed to convey, it cannot be said that to state the meaning of the word is the purpose of the definition. The purpose is not to expound a name, but fa classification. The special meaning which Cuvier assigned to the word Man, (quite foreign to its ordinary meaning, though involving no change in the gdenotationg of the word,) was incidental to a plan of arranging animals into classes on a certain principle, that is, according to a certain set of distinctions. And since the definition of Man according to the ordinary connotation of the word, though it would have answered every other purpose of a definition, would not have pointed out the place which the species ought to occupy in that particular classification; he gave the word a special connotation, that he might be able to define it by the kind of attributes on which, for reasons of scientific convenience, he had resolved to found his division of animated nature.

Scientific definitions, whether they are definitions of scientific terms, or of common terms used in a scientific sense, are almost always of the kind last spoken of: their main purpose is to serve as the landmarks of scientific classification. And since the classifications in any science are continually modified as scientific knowledge advances, the definitions in the sciences are also constantly varying. A striking instance is afforded by the words Acid and Alkali, especially the former. As experimental discovery advanced, the substances classed with acids have been constantly multiplying, and by a natural consequence the attributes connoted by the word have receded and become fewer. At first it connoted the attributes, of combining with an alkali to form a neutral substance (called a salt); being compounded of a base and oxygen; causticity to the taste and touch; fluidity, &c. The true analysis of muriatic acid, into chlorine and hydrogen, caused the second property, composition from a base and oxygen, to be excluded from the connotation. The same discovery fixed the attention of chemists upon hydrogen as an important element in acids; and more recent discoveries having led to the recognition of its presence in sulphuric, nitric, and many other acids, where its existence was not previously suspected, there is now a tendency to include the presence of this element in the connotation of the word. But carbonic acid, silica, sulphurous acid, have no hydrogen in their composition; that property cannot therefore be connoted by the term, unless those substances Edition: current; Page: [140] are no longer to be considered acids. Causticity and fluidity have long since been excluded from the characteristics of the class, by the inclusion of silica and many other substances in it; and the formation of neutral bodies by combination with alkalis, together with such electro-chemical peculiarities as this is supposed to imply, are now the only differentiæ which form the fixed connotation of the word Acid, as a term of chemical science.h

What is true of the definition of any term of science, is of course true of the definition of a science itself; and accordingly, i(as observed in the Introductory Chapter of this work,)i the definition of a science must necessarily be progressive and provisionalj. Anyj extension of knowledge or alteration in the current opinions respecting the subject matter, may lead to a change more or less extensive in the particulars included in the science; and its composition being thus altered, it may easily happen that a different set of characteristics will be kfoundk better adapted as differentiæ for defining its name.

In the same manner in which la special or technical definition has for its object to expound the artificial classification out of which it grows; the Aristotelian logicians seem to have imagined that it mwasm also the business of ordinary definition to expound the ordinary, and what they deemed the natural, classification of things, namely, the division of them into Kinds; and to show the place which each Kind occupies, as superior, collateral, or subordinate, among other Kinds. This notion would account for the rule that all definition must necessarily be per genus et differentiam, and would also explain why na singlen differentia was deemed sufficient. But to expound, or express in words, a distinction of Kind, has already been shown to be an Edition: current; Page: [141] impossibility: the very meaning of a Kind is, that the properties which distinguish it do not grow out of one another, and cannot therefore be set forth in words, even by implication, otherwise than by enumerating them all: and all are not known, nor oare ever likely to be soo. It is idle, therefore, to look to this as one of the purposes of a definition: while, if it be only required that the definition of a Kind should indicate what kinds include it or are included by it, any definitions which expound the connotation of the names will do this: for the name of each class must pnecessarilyp connote enough of its properties to fix the boundaries of the class. If the definition, therefore, be a full statement of the connotation, it is all that a definition can be required to be.*

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a§ 5.a [What are called definitions of Things, are definitions of Names with an implied assumption of the existence of Things corresponding to them] Of the two incomplete band popular modesb of definition, and in what they differ from the complete or cphilosophical modec, enough has now been said. We shall next examine an ancient doctrine, once generally prevalent and still by no means exploded, which I regard as the source of a great part of the obscurity hanging over some of the most important processes of the understanding in the pursuit of truth. According to this, the definitions of which we have now treated are only one of two sorts into which definitions may be divided, viz. definitions of names, and definitions of things. The former are intended to explain the meaning of a term; the latter, the nature of a thing; the last being incomparably the most important.

This opinion was held by the ancient philosophers, and by their followers, with the exception of the Nominalists; but as the spirit of modern metaphysics, until a recent period, has been on the whole a Nominalist spirit, the notion of definitions of things has been to a certain extent in abeyance, still continuing, however, to breed confusion in logic, by its consequences indeed rather than by itself. Yet the doctrine in its own proper form now and then breaks out, and has appeared (among other places) where it was scarcely to be expected, in a djustly admiredd work, Archbishop Whately’s Logic.* In a Edition: current; Page: [143] review of that work published by me in the Westminster Review for January 1828,[*] and containing some opinions which I no longer entertain, I find the following observations on the question now before us; observations with which my present eview of that question ise still sufficiently in accordance.

The distinction between nominal and real definitions, between definitions of words and what are called definitions of things, though conformable to the ideas of most of the Aristotelian logicians, cannot, as it appears to us, be maintained. We apprehend that no definition is ever intended to ‘explain and unfold the nature of faf thing.’ It is some confirmation of our opinion, that none of those writers who have thought that there were definitions of things, have ever succeeded in discovering any criterion by which the definition of a thing can be distinguished from any other proposition relating to the thing. The definition, they say, unfolds the nature of the thing: but no definition can unfold its whole nature; and every proposition in which any quality whatever is predicated of the thing, unfolds some part of its nature. The true state of the case we take to be this. All definitions are of names, and of names only; but, in some definitions, it is clearly apparent, that nothing is intended except to explain the meaning of the word; while in others, besides explaining the meaning of the word, it is intended to be implied that there exists a thing, corresponding to the word. Whether this be or be not implied in any given case, cannot be collected from the mere form of the expression. ‘A centaur is an animal with the upper parts of a man and the lower parts of a horse,’ and ‘A triangle is a rectilineal figure with three sides,’ are, in form, expressions precisely similar; although in the former it is not implied that any thing, conformable to the term, really exists, while in the latter it is; as may be seen by substituting, in both definitions, the word means for is. In the first expression, ‘A centaur means an animal,’ &c., the sense would remain unchanged: in the second, ‘A triangle means,’ &c., the meaning would be altered, since it would be obviously impossible to deduce any of the truths of geometry from a Edition: current; Page: [144] proposition expressive only of the manner in which we intend to employ a particular sign.

There are, therefore, expressions, commonly passing for definitions, which include in themselves more than the mere explanation of the meaning of a term. But it is not correct to call an expression of this sort a peculiar kind of definition. Its difference from the other kind consists in this, that it is not a definition, but a definition and something more. The definition above given of a triangle, obviously comprises not one, but two propositions, perfectly distinguishable. The one is, ‘There may exist a figure, bounded by three straight lines;’ the other, ‘And this figure may be termed a triangle.’ The former of these propositions is not a definition at all: the latter is a mere nominal definition, or explanation of the use and application of a term. The first is susceptible of truth or falsehood, and may therefore be made the foundation of a train of reasoning. The latter can neither be true nor false; the only character it is susceptible of is that of conformity or discomformity to the ordinary usage of language.

There is a real distinction, then, between definitions of names, and what are erroneously called definitions of things; but it is, that the latter, along with the meaning of a name, covertly gassertsg a matter of fact. This covert assertion is not a definition, but a postulate. The definition is a mere identical proposition, which gives information only about the use of language, and from which no conclusions affecting matters of fact can possibly be drawn. The accompanying postulate on the other hand, affirms a fact, which may lead to consequences of every degree of importance. It affirms the hactual or possibleh existence of Things possessing the combination of attributes set forth in the definition; and thisi, if true, may bei foundation sufficient on which to build a whole fabric of scientific truth.

We have already made, and shall often have to repeat, the remark, that the philosophers who overthrew Realism by no means got rid of the consequences of Realism, but retained long afterwards, in their own philosophy, numerous propositions which could only have a rational meaning as part of a Realistic system. It had been handed down from Aristotle, and probably from earlier times, as an obvious truth, that the science of Geometry is deduced from definitions. This, so long as a definition was considered to be a proposition “unfolding the nature of the thing,” did well enough. But Hobbes jfollowedj, and rejected utterly the notion that a definition declares the nature of the thing, or does anything but state the meaning of a name; yet he continued to affirm as broadly as any of his predecessors, that the ἀρχαὶ, principia, or original premises of mathematics, and even of all science, are definitions;[*] producing the singular paradox, that systems of scientific truth, nay, all truths whatever at which we arrive by reasoning, are deduced Edition: current; Page: [145] from the arbitrary conventions of mankind concerning the signification of words.

To save the credit of the doctrine that definitions are the premises of scientific knowledge, the proviso is sometimes added, that they are so only under a certain condition, namely, that they be framed conformably to the phenomena of nature; that is, that they ascribe such meanings to terms as shall suit objects actually existing. But this is only an instance of the attempt ksok often made, to escape from the necessity of abandoning old language after the ideas which it expresses have been exchanged for contrary ones. From the meaning of a name (we are told) it is possible to infer physical facts, provided the name has corresponding to it an existing thing. But if this proviso be necessary, from which of the two is the inference really drawn? From the existence of a thing having the properties, or from the existence of a name meaning them?

Take, for instance, any of the definitions laid down as premises in Euclid’s Elements; the definition, let us say, of a circle. This, being analysed, consists of two propositions; the one an assumption with respect to a matter of fact, the other a genuine definition. “A figure may exist, having all the points in the line which bounds it equally distant from a single point within it:” “Any figure possessing this property is called a circle.”[*] Let us look at one of the demonstrations which are said to depend on this definition, and observe lto which of the two propositions contained in it the demonstration really appealsl. “About the centre A, describe the circle B C D.”[†] Here is an assumption that a figure, such as the definition expresses, may be described; which is no other than the postulate, or covert assumption, involved in the so-called definition. But whether that figure be called a circle or not is quite immaterial. The purpose would be as well answered, in all respects except brevity, were we to say, “Through the point B, draw a line returning into itself, of which every point shall be at an equal distance from the point A.” By this the definition of a circle would be got rid of, and rendered needless; but not the postulate implied in it; without that the demonstration could not stand. The circle being now described, let us proceed to the consequence. “Since B C D is a circle, the radius B A is equal to the radius C A.” B A is equal to C A, not because B C D is a circle, but because B C D is a figure with the radii equal. Our warrant for assuming that such a figure about the centre A, with the radius B A, may be made to exist, is the postulate. Edition: current; Page: [146] mWhether the admissibility of these postulates rests on intuition, or on proof, may be a matter of disputem; but in either case they are the premises on which the ntheorems dependn; and while these are retained it would make no difference in the certainty of geometrical truths, though every definition in Euclid, and every technical term therein defined, were laid aside.

It is, perhaps, superfluous to dwell at so much length on what is so nearly self-evident; but when a distinction, obvious as it may appear, has been confounded, and by opowerful intellectso, it is better to say too much than too little for the purpose of rendering such mistakes impossible in future. pI will, therefore, detain the reader while Ip point out one of the absurd consequences flowing from the supposition that definitions, as such, are the premises in any of our reasonings, except such as relate to words only. If this supposition were true, we might argue correctly from true premises, and arrive at a false conclusion. We should only have to assume as a premise the definition of a nonentity; or rather of a name which has no entity corresponding to it. Let this, for instance, be our definition:

A dragon is a serpent breathing flame.

This proposition, considered only as a definition, is indisputably correct. A dragon is a serpent breathing flame: the word means that. The tacit assumption, indeed, (if there were any such understood assertion), of the existence of an object with properties corresponding to the definition, would, in the present instance, be false. Out of this definition we may carve the premises of the following syllogism:

A dragon is a thing which breathes flame:

qAq dragon is a serpent:

From which the conclusion is,

Therefore some serpent or serpents breathe flame:

an unexceptionable syllogism in the first mode of the third figure, in which both premises are true and yet the conclusion false; which every logician knows to be an absurdity. The conclusion being false and the syllogism correct, the premises cannot be true. But the premises, considered as parts of a definition, are truer. Therefore, the premises considered as parts of a definition cannot be the real ones. The real premises must be—

A dragon is a really existing thing which breathes flame:

A dragon is a really existing serpent:

which implied premises being false, the falsity of the conclusion presents no absurdity.

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sIf we would determine what conclusion follows from the same ostensible premises when the tacit assumption of real existence is left out, let us, according to the recommendation in ta previous paget, substitute means for is.[*] We then have—

uDragonu is a word meaning a thing which breathes flame:

vDragonv is a word meaning a serpent:

From which the conclusion is,

Some word or words which mean a serpent, also mean a thing which breathes flame:

where the conclusion (as well as the premises) is true, and is the only kind of conclusion which can ever follow from a definition, namely, a proposition relating to the meaning of words.

wThere is still another shape into which we may transform this syllogism. We may suppose the middle term to be the designation neither of a thing nor of a name, but of an idea. We then have—

The idea of a dragon is an idea of a thing which breathes flame:

The idea of a dragon is an idea of a serpent:

Therefore, there is an idea of a serpent, which is an idea of a thing breathing flame.

Here the conclusion is true, and also the premises; but the premises are not definitions. They are propositions affirming that an idea existing in the mind, includes certain ideal elements. The truth of the conclusion follows from the existence of the psychological phenomenon called the idea of a dragon; and therefore still from the tacit assumption of a matter of fact.*

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When, as in this last syllogism, the conclusion is a proposition respecting an idea, the assumption on which it depends may be merely that of the existence of an idea. But when the conclusion is a proposition concerning a Thing, the postulate involved in the definition which stands as the apparent premise, is the existence of a thing conformable to the definition, and not merely of an idea conformable to it. This assumption of real existence xwex always convey the impression that we intend to makew, when we profess to define any name which is already known to be a name of really existing objects. On this account it is, that the assumption was not necessarily implied in the definition of a dragon, while there was no doubt of its being included in the definition of a circle.

a§ 6.a [What are called definitions of Things are definitions of Names even when such Things do not in reality exist] One of the circumstances which have contributed to keep up the notion, that demonstrative truths follow from definitions rather than from the postulates implied in those definitions, is, that the postulates, even in those sciences which are considered to surpass all others in demonstrative certainty, are not always exactly true. It is not true that a circle exists, or can be described, which has all its radii exactly equal. Such accuracy is ideal only; it is not found in nature, still less can it be realized by art. People had a difficulty, therefore, in conceiving that the most certain of all conclusions could rest on premises which, instead of being certainly true, are certainly not true to the bfullb extent asserted. This apparent paradox will be examined when we come to treat of Demonstration; where we shall be able to show that as much of the postulate is true, as is required to support as much as is true of the conclusion. Philosophers, however, Edition: current; Page: [149] to whom this view had not occurred, or whom it did not satisfy, have thought it indispensable that there should be found in definitions something more certain, or at least more accurately true, than the implied postulate of the real existence of a corresponding object. And this something they flattered themselves they had found, when they laid it down that a definition is a statement and analysis not of the mere meaning of a word, nor yet of the nature of a thing, but of an idea. Thus, the proposition, “A circle is a plane figure bounded by a line all the points of which are at an equal distance from a given point within it,” was considered by them, not as an assertion that any real circle has that property, (which would not be exactly true,) but that we conceive a circle as having it; that our abstract idea of a circle is an idea of a figure with its radii exactly equal.

Conformably to this it is said, that the subject-matter of mathematics, and of every other demonstrative science, is not things as they really exist, but abstractions of the mind. A geometrical line is a line without breadth; but no such line exists in nature; it is a cnotion merely suggested to the mind by its experience ofc nature. The definition (it is said) is a definition of this mental line, not of any actual line: and it is only of the mental line, not of any line existing in nature, that the theorems of geometry are accurately true.

Allowing this doctrine respecting the nature of demonstrative truth to be correct (which, in a subsequent place, I shall endeavour to prove that it is not;) even on that supposition, the conclusions which seem to follow from a definition, do not follow from the definition as such, but from an implied postulate. Even if it be true that there is no object in nature answering to the definition of a line, and that the geometrical properties of lines are not true of any lines in nature, but only of the idea of a line; the definition, at all events, postulates the real existence of such an idea: it assumes that the mind can frame, or rather has framed, the notion of length without breadth, and without any other sensible property whatever. dTo me, indeed, it appears thatd the mind cannot form any such notion; it cannot conceive length without breadth; it can only, in contemplating objects, attend to their length, exclusively of their other sensible qualities, and so determine what properties may be predicated of them in virtue of their length alone. If this be true, the postulate involved in the geometrical definition of a line, is the real existence, not of length without breadth, but merely of length, that is, of long objects. This is quite enough to support all the truths of geometry, since every property of a geometrical line is really a property of all physical objects ein so far ase possessing length. But even what I hold to be the false doctrine on Edition: current; Page: [150] the subject, leaves the conclusion that our reasonings are grounded on the matters of fact postulated in definitions, and not on the definitions themselves, entirely unaffected; and accordingly fthis conclusion is one which I have in common with Dr. Whewell, in hisf Philosophy of the Inductive gSciences: though, ong the nature of demonstrative truth, Dr. Whewell’s opinions are greatly at variance with mineh. And here, as in many other instances, iI gladly acknowledge thati his writings are eminently serviceable in clearing from confusion the initial steps in the analysis of the mental processes, even where his views respecting the ultimate analysis jare such as (though with unfeigned respect) I cannot but regard as fundamentally erroneous.

a§ 7.a [Definitions, though of names only, must be grounded on knowledge of the corresponding things] Although, according to the bopinionb here presented, Definitions are properly of names only, and not of things, it does not follow cfrom this that definitions are arbitraryc. How to define a name, may not only be an inquiry of considerable difficulty and intricacy, but may dinvolved considerations going deep into the nature of the things which are denoted by the name. Such, for instance, are the inquiries which form the subjects of the most important of Plato’s Dialogues; as, “What is rhetoric?” the topic of the “Gorgias,” or “What is justice?” that of the “Republic.” Such, also, is the question scornfully asked by Pilate, “What is truth?”[*] and the fundamental question with speculative moralists in all ages, “What is virtue?”

It would be a mistake to represent these difficult and noble inquiries as having nothing in view beyond ascertaining the conventional meaning of a name. They are inquiries not so much to determine what is, as what should be, the meaning of a name; which, like other practical questions of terminology, requires for its solution that we should enter, and sometimes enter very deeply, into the properties not merely of names but of the things named.

Although the meaning of every concrete general name resides in the attributes Edition: current; Page: [151] which it connotes, the objects were named before the attributes; as appears from the fact that in all languages, abstract names are mostly compounds or eothere derivatives of the concrete names which correspond to them. Connotative names, therefore, were, after proper names, the first which were used: and in the simpler cases, no doubt, a distinct connotation was present to the minds of those who first used the name, and was distinctly intended by them to be conveyed by it. The first person who used the word white, as applied to snow or to any other object, knew, no doubt, very well what quality he intended to predicate, and had a perfectly distinct conception in his mind of the attribute signified by the name.

But where the resemblances and differences on which our classifications are founded are not of this palpable and easily determinable kind; especially where they consist not in any one quality but in a number of qualities, the effects of which, being blended together, are not very easily discriminated, and referred each to its true source; it often happens that names are applied to nameable objects, with no distinct connotation present to the minds of those who apply them. They are only influenced by a general resemblance between the new object and all or some of the old familiar objects which they have been accustomed to call by that name. This, as we have seen, is the law which even the mind of the philosopher must follow, in giving names to the simple elementary feelings of our nature: but, where the things to be named are complex wholes, a philosopher is not content with noticing a general resemblance; he examines what the resemblance consists in: and he only gives the same name to things which resemble one another in the same definite particulars. The philosopher, therefore, habitually employs his general names with a definite connotation. But language was not made, and can only in some small degree be mended, by philosophers. In the minds of the real arbiters of language, general names, especially where the classes they denote cannot be brought before the tribunal of the outward senses to be identified and discriminated, connote little more than a vague gross resemblance to the things which they were earliest, or have been most, accustomed to call by those names. When, for instance, ordinary persons predicate the words just or unjust of any action, fnoble or meanf of any sentiment, expression, or demeanour, statesman or charlatan of any personage figuring in politics, do they mean to affirm of those various subjects any determinate attributes, of whatever kind? No: they merely recognise, as they think, some likeness, more or less vague and loose, between gtheseg and some other things which they have been accustomed to denominate or to hear denominated by those appellations.

Language, as Sir James Mackintosh used to say of governments, “is not Edition: current; Page: [152] made, but grows.”[*] A name is not imposed at once and by previous purpose upon a class of objects, but is first applied to one thing, and then extended by a series of transitions to another and another. By this process (as has been remarked by several writers, and illustrated with great force and clearness by Dugald Stewart in his Philosophical Essays)[†] a name not unfrequently passes by successive links of resemblance from one object to another, until it becomes applied to things having nothing in common with the first things to which the name was given; which, however, do not, for that reason, drop the name; so that it at last denotes a confused huddle of objects, having nothing whatever in common; and connotes nothing, not even a vague and general resemblance. When a name has fallen into this state, in which by predicating it of any object we assert literally nothing about the object, it has become unfit for the purposes either of thought or of the communication of thought; and can only be made serviceable by stripping it of some part of its multifarious denotation, and confining it to objects possessed of some attributes in common, which it may be made to connote. Such are the inconveniences of a language which “is not made, but grows.” Like hthe governments which are in a similar case, it may be compared toh a road which is not made but has made itself: it requires continual mending in order to be passable.

From this it is already evident, why the question respecting the definition of an abstract name is often one of so much difficulty. The question, What is justice? is, in other words, What is the attribute which mankind mean to predicate when they call an action just? To which the first answer is, that having come to no precise agreement on the point, they do not mean to predicate distinctly any attribute at all. Nevertheless, all believe that there is some common attribute belonging to all the actions which they are in the habit of calling just. The question then must be, whether there is any such common attribute? and, in the first place, whether mankind agree sufficiently with one another as to the particular actions which they do or do not call just, to render the inquiry, what quality those actions have in common, a possible one: if so, whether the actions really have any quality in common; and if they have, what it is. Of these three, the first alone is an inquiry into usage and convention; the other two are inquiries into matters of fact. And if the second question (whether the actions form a class at all) has been answered negatively, there remains a fourth, often more arduous than all the rest, namely, how best to form a class artificially, which the name may denote.

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And here it is fitting to remark, that the study of the spontaneous growth of languages is of the utmost importance to ithosei who would logically remodel them. The classifications rudely made by established language, when retouched, as they almost jallj require to be, by the hands of the logician, are often in themselves excellently suited to khis purposes. lAsl compared with the classifications of a philosopher, they are like the customary law of a country, which has grown up as it were spontaneously, compared with laws methodized and digested into a code: the former are a far less perfect instrument than the latter; but being the result of a long, though unscientific, course of experience, they contain ma mass of materials which may be made very usefully available in the formation of the systematic body of written lawm. In like manner, the established grouping of objects under a common name, neven whenn founded only on a gross and general resemblance, is evidence, in the first place, that the resemblance is obvious, and therefore considerable; and, in the next place, that it is a resemblance which has struck great numbers of persons during a series of years and ages. Even when a name, by successive extensions, has come to be applied to things among which there does not exist othiso gross resemblance common to them all, still at every step in its progress we shall find such a resemblance. And these transitions of the meaning of words are often an index to real connexions between the things denoted by them, which might otherwise escape the notice pof thinkersp; of those at least who, from using a different language, or from any difference in their habitual associations, have fixed their attention in preference on some other aspect of the things. The history of philosophy abounds in examples of such oversights, qcommitted for want of perceivingq the hidden link that connected together the seemingly disparate meanings of some ambiguous word.*

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Whenever the inquiry into the definition of the name of any real object consists of anything else than a mere comparison of authorities, we tacitly assume that a meaning must be found for the name, compatible with its continuing to denote, if possible all, but at any rate the greater or the more important part, of the things of which it is commonly predicated. The inquiry, therefore, into the definition, is an inquiry into the resemblances and differences among those things: whether there be any resemblance running through them all; if not, through what portion of them such a general resemblance can be traced: and finally, what are the common attributes, the possession of which gives to them all, or to that portion of them, the character of resemblance which has led to their being classed together. When these common attributes have been ascertained and specified, the name which belongs in common to the resembling objects acquires a distinct instead of a vague connotation; and by possessing this distinct connotation, becomes susceptible of definition.

In giving a distinct connotation to the general name, the philosopher will endeavour to fix upon such attributes as, while they are common to all the things usually denoted by the name, are also of greatest importance in themselves; either directly, or from the number, the conspicuousness, or the interesting character, of the consequences to which they lead. He will select, as far as possible, such differentiæ as lead to the greatest number of interesting propria. For these, rather than the more obscure and recondite qualities on which they often depend, give that general character and aspect to a set of objects, which determine the groups into which they naturally fall. But to rpenetrater to the more hidden agreement on which these obvious and superficial agreements depend, is often one of the most difficult of scientific problems. As it is among the most difficult, so it seldom fails to be among the most important. And since upon the result of this inquiry respecting the causes of the properties of a class of things, there incidentally depends the question what shall be the meaning of a word; some of the most profound and most valuable investigations which philosophy presents to us, have been introduced by, and have offered themselves under the guise of, inquiries into the definition of a name.

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Διωρισμένων δὲ τούτων λέγωμεν ἤδη, διὰ τίνων, καὶ πότε, καὶ πω̑ς γίνεται πα̑ς συλλογισμός· ὔστερον δὲ λεκτέον περὶ ἀποδείξεως. πρότερον γὰρ περὶ συλλογισμου̑ λεκτέον, ἢ περὶ ἀποδείξεως. διὰ τὸ καθόλου μα̑λλον εἰναὶ τὸν συλλογισμόν. ὴ μὲν γὰρ ἀπόδειξις συλλογισμός τις· ὸ συλλογισμός δὲ οὐ πα̑ς, ἀπόδειξις.

Aristotle, Analytica Priora, Bk. I, Chap. iv [(25b26-31). In Organon, p. 208].
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CHAPTER I: Of Inference, or Reasoning, in General

§ 1. [Retrospect of the preceding book] In the preceding Book, we have been occupied not with the nature of Proof, but with the nature of Assertion: the import conveyed by a Proposition, whether that Proposition be true or false; not the means by which to discriminate true from false Propositions. The proper subject, however, of Logic is Proof. Before we could understand what Proof is, it was necessary to understand what that is to which proof is applicable; what that is which can be a subject of belief or disbelief, of affirmation or denial; what, in short, the different kinds of Propositions assert.

This preliminary inquiry we have prosecuted to a definite result. Assertion, in the first place, relates either to the meaning of words, or to some property of the things which words signify. Assertions respecting the meaning of words, among which definitions are the most important, hold a place, and an indispensable one, in philosophy; but as the meaning of words is essentially arbitrary, this class of assertions are not susceptible of truth or falsity, nor therefore of proof or disproof. Assertions respecting Things, or what may be called Real Propositions, in contradistinction to verbal ones, are of various sorts. We have analysed the import of each sort, and have ascertained the nature of the things they relate to, and the nature of what they severally assert respecting those things. We found that whatever be the form of the proposition, and whatever its nominal subject or predicate, the real subject of every proposition is some one or more facts or phenomena of consciousness, or some one or more of the hidden causes or powers to which we ascribe those facts; and that what is predicated or asserted, either in the affirmative or negative, of those phenomena or athosea powers, is always either Existence, Order in Place, Order in Time, Causation, or Resemblance. This, then, is the theory of the Import of Propositions, reduced to its ultimate elements: but there is another and a less abstruse expression for it, which, though stopping short in an earlier stage of the analysis, is sufficiently scientific Edition: current; Page: [158] for many of the purposes for which such a general expression is required. This expression recognises the commonly received distinction between Subject and Attribute, and gives the following as the analysis of the meaning of propositions:—Every Proposition asserts, that some given subject does or does not possess some attribute; or that some attribute is or is not (either in ballb or in some portion of the subjects in which it is met with) conjoined with some other attribute.

We shall now for the present take our leave of this portion of our inquiry, and proceed to the peculiar problem of the Science of Logic, namely, how the assertions, of which we have analysed the import, are proved or disproved; such of them, at least, as, not being amenable to direct consciousness or intuition, are appropriate subjects of proof.

We say of a fact or statement, that it is proved, when we believe its truth by reason of some other fact or statement from which it is said to follow. Most of the propositions, whether affirmative or negative, universal, particular, or singular, which we believe, are not believed on their own evidence, but on the ground of something previously assented to, cfrom which they are said to be inferred. To infer a proposition from a previous proposition or propositions; to give credence to it, or claim credence for it, as a conclusion from something else; is to reason, in the most extensive sense of the term. There is a narrower sense, in which the name reasoning is confined to the form of inference which is termed ratiocination, and of which the syllogism is the general type. The reasons for not conforming to this restricted use of the term were stated in an dearlierd stage of our inquiry, and additional motives will be suggested by the considerations on which we are now about to enter.

§ 2. [Inferences improperly so called] In proceeding to take into consideration the cases in which inferences can legitimately be drawn, we shall first mention some cases in which the inference is apparent, not real; and which require notice chiefly that they may not be confounded with cases of inference properly so called. This occurs when the proposition ostensibly inferred from another, appears on analysis to be merely a repetition of the same, or part of the same, assertion, which was contained in the first. All the cases mentioned in books of Logic as examples of æquipollency or equivalence of propositions, are of this nature. Thus, if we were to argue, No man is incapable of reason, for every man is rational; or, All men are mortal, for no man is exempt from death; it would be plain that we were not proving the proposition, but only appealing to another mode of wording it, which may or Edition: current; Page: [159] may not be more readily comprehensible by the hearer, or better adapted to suggest the real proof, but which contains in itself no shadow of proof.

Another case is where, from an universal proposition, we affect to infer another which differs from it only in being particular: as All A is B, therefore Some A is B: No A is B, therefore Some A is not B. This, too, is not to conclude one proposition from another, but to repeat a second time something which had been asserted at first; with the difference, that we do not here repeat the whole of the previous assertion, but only an indefinite part of it.

A third case is where, the antecedent having affirmed a predicate of a given subject, the consequent affirms of the same subject something already connoted by the former predicate: as, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is a living creature; where all that is connoted by living creature was affirmed of Socrates when he was asserted to be a man. If the propositions are negative, we must invert their order, thus: Socrates is not a living creature, therefore he is not a man; for if we deny the less, the greater, which includes it, is already denied by implication. These, therefore, are not really cases of inference; and yet the trivial examples by which, in manuals of Logic, the rules of the syllogism are illustrated, are often of this ill-chosen kind; aformal demonstrationsa of conclusions to which whoever understands the terms used in the statement of the data, has already, and consciously, assented.*

The most complex case of this sort of apparent inference is what is called the Conversion of propositions; which consists in bturning the predicate into a subject, and the subject intob a predicate, and framing out of the same terms thus reversed, another proposition, which must be true if the former is true. Thus, from the particular affirmative proposition, Some A is B, we may infer that Some B is A. From the universal negative, No A is B, we may conclude that No B is A. From the universal affirmative proposition, All A is B, it cannot be inferred that All B is A; though all water is liquid, it is not implied that all liquid is water; but it is implied that some liquid is so; and hence the proposition, All A is B, is legitimately convertible into Some B is A. This process, which converts an universal proposition into a particular, is termed conversion per accidens. From the proposition, Some A is not B, we cannot even infer that some B is not A; though some men are not Englishmen, it does not follow that some Englishmen are not men. The only cmode usually Edition: current; Page: [160] recognised of convertingc a particular negative proposition, is in the form, Some A is not B, therefore, something which is not B is A; and this is termed conversion by contraposition. In this case, however, the predicate and subject are not merely reversed, but one of them is dchangedd. Instead of [A] and [B], the terms of the new proposition are [a thing which is not B], and [A]. The original proposition, Some A is not B, is first changed into a proposition æquipollent with it, Some A is “a thing which is not B;” and the proposition, being now no longer a particular negative, but a particular affirmative, admits of conversion in the first mode, or as it is called, simple conversion.*

In all these cases there is not really any inference; there is in the conclusion no new truth, nothing but what was already asserted in the premises, and obvious to whoever apprehends them. The fact asserted in the conclusion is either the very same fact, or part of the fact, asserted in the original proposition. This follows from our previous analysis of the Import of Propositions. When we say, for example, that some lawful sovereigns are tyrants, what is the meaning of the assertion? That the attributes connoted by the term “lawful sovereign,” and the attributes connoted by the term “tyrant,” sometimes coexist in the same individual. Now this is also precisely what we mean, when we say that some tyrants are lawful sovereigns; which, therefore, is not a second proposition inferred from the first, any more than the English translation of Euclid’s Elements is a collection of theorems different from, and consequences of, those contained in the Greek original. Again, if we assert that no great general is a erash mane, we mean that the attributes connoted by “great general,” and those connoted by “frashf,” never coexist in the same subject; which is also the exact meaning which gwould be expressed by saying, that no rash mang is a great general. When we say that all quadrupeds are warm-blooded, we assert, not only that the attributes connoted by “quadruped” and those connoted by “warm-blooded” sometimes coexist, but that the former never exist without the latter: now the proposition, Some warm-blooded creatures are quadrupeds, expresses the first half of this meaning, dropping the latter half; and therefore has been already affirmed in the antecedent proposition, All quadrupeds are warm-blooded. But that all warm-blooded creatures are quadrupeds, or, in other words, that the hattributes connoted by “warm-blooded” never existh without those connoted by “quadruped,” has not been asserted, and cannot be inferred. In order to reassert, Edition: current; Page: [161] in an inverted form, the whole of what was affirmed in the proposition, All quadrupeds are warm-blooded, we must convert it by contraposition, thus, Nothing which is not warm-blooded is a quadruped. This proposition, and the one from which it is derived, are exactly equivalent, and either of them may be substituted for the other; for, to say that when the attributes of a quadruped are present, those of a warm-blooded creature are present, is to say that when the latter are absent the former are absent.

In a manual for young students, it would be proper to dwell at greater length on the conversion and æquipollency of propositions. For though that cannot be called reasoning or inference which is a mere reassertion in different words of what had been asserted before, there is no more important intellectual habit, nor any the cultivation of which falls more strictly within the province of the art of logic, than that of discerning rapidly and surely the identity of an assertion when disguised under diversity of language. That important chapter in logical treatises which relates to the Opposition of Propositions, and the excellent technical language which logic provides for distinguishing the different kinds or modes of opposition, are of use chiefly for this purpose. Such considerations as these, that contrary propositions may both be false, but cannot both be true; that subcontrary propositions may both be true, but cannot both be false; that of two contradictory propositions one must be true and the other false; that of two subalternate propositions the truth of the universal proves the truth of the particular, and the falsity of the particular proves the falsity of the universal, but not vice versâ;* are apt to appear, at first sight, very technical and mysterious, but when explained, seem almost too obvious to require so formal a statement, since the same amount of explanation which is necessary to make the principles intelligible, would enable the truths which they convey to be apprehended in any particular case which can occur. In this respect, however, these axioms of logic are on a level with those of mathematics. That things which are equal to the same thing are equal to one another, is as obvious in any particular case as it is in the general statement: and if no such general maxim had ever been laid down, the demonstrations in Euclid would never have halted for any difficulty in stepping across the gap which this axiom at present Edition: current; Page: [162] serves to bridge over. Yet no one has ever censured iwritersi on geometry, for placing a list of these elementary generalizations at the head of jtheir treatisesj, as a first exercise to the learner of the faculty which will be required in him at every step, that of apprehending a general truth. And the student of logic, in the discussion even of such truths as we have cited above, acquires habits of circumspect interpretation of words, and of exactly measuring the length and breadth of his assertions, which are among the most indispensable conditions of any considerable kmental attainmentk, and which it is one of the primary objects of logical discipline to cultivate.

§ 3. [Inferences proper, distinguished into inductions and ratiocinations] Having noticed, in order to exclude from the province of Reasoning or Inference properly so called, the cases in which the aprogressiona from one truth to another is only apparent, the logical consequent being a mere repetition of the logical antecedent; we now pass to those which are cases of inference in the proper acceptation of the term, those in which we set out from known truths, to arrive at others really distinct from them.

Reasoning, in the extended sense in which I use the term, and in which it is synonymous with Inference, is popularly said to be of two kinds: reasoning from particulars to generals, and reasoning from generals to particulars; the former being called Induction, the latter Ratiocination or Syllogism. It will presently be shown that there is a third species of reasoning, which falls under neither of these descriptions, and which, nevertheless, is not only valid, but bisb the foundation of both the others.

cItc is necessary to observe, that the expressions, reasoning from particulars to generals, and reasoning from generals to particulars, are recommended by brevity rather than by precision, and do not adequately mark, without the aid of a commentary, the distinction between Induction d(in the sense now adverted to)d and Ratiocination. The meaning intended by these expressions is, that Induction is inferring a proposition from propositions less general than itself, and Ratiocination is inferring a proposition from propositions equally or more general. When, from the observation of a number of individual instances, we ascend to a general proposition, or when, by combining a number of general propositions, we conclude from them eanother proposition still more general, the process, which is substantially the same in both instances, is called Induction. When from a general proposition, not alone (for from a single proposition nothing can be concluded which is not involved in the terms), but by combining it with other propositions, we Edition: current; Page: [163] infer a proposition of the same degree of generality with itself, or a less general proposition, or a proposition merely individual, the process is Ratiocination. When, in short, the conclusion is more general than the largest of the premises, the argument is fcommonly calledf Induction; when less general, or equally general, it is Ratiocination.

As all experience begins with individual cases, and proceeds from them to generals, it might seem most conformable to the natural order of thought that Induction should be treated of before we touch upon Ratiocination. It will, however, be advantageous, in a science which aims at tracing our acquired knowledge to its sources, that the inquirer should commence with the glatterg rather than with the earlier stages of the process of constructing our knowledge; and should trace derivative truths backward to the truths from which they are deduced, and on which they depend for their evidence, before attempting to point out the original spring from which both ultimately take their rise. The advantages of this order of proceeding in the present instance will manifest themselves as we advance, in a manner superseding the necessity of any further justification or explanation.

Of Induction, therefore, we shall say no more at present, than that it at least is, without doubt, a process of real inference. The conclusion in an induction embraces more than is contained in the premises. The principle or law collected from particular instances, the general proposition in which we embody the result of our experience, covers a much larger extent of ground than the individual experiments which hform its basis. A principle ascertained by experience, is more than a mere summing up of what ihas been specifically observed in the individual cases which have beeni examined; it is a generalization grounded on those cases, and expressive of our belief, that what we there found true is true in an indefinite number of cases which we have not examined, and are never likely to examine. The nature and grounds of this inference, and the conditions necessary to make it legitimate, will be the subject of discussion in the Third Book: but that such inference really takes place is not susceptible of question. In every induction we proceed from truths which we knew, to truths which we did not know; from facts certified by observation, to facts which we have not observed, and even to facts not capable of being now observed; future facts, for example; but which we do not hesitate to believe on the sole evidence of the induction itself.

Induction, then, is a real process of Reasoning or Inference. Whether, and in what sense, jasj much can be said of the Syllogism, remains to be determined by the examination into which we are about to enter.

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CHAPTER II: Of Ratiocination, or Syllogism

§ 1. [Analysis of the Syllogism] The analysis of the Syllogism has been so accurately and fully performed in the common manuals of Logic, that in the present work, which is not designed as a manual, it is sufficient to recapitulate, memoriæ causâ, the leading results of that analysis, as a foundation for the remarks to be afterwards made on the functions of the Syllogism, and the place which it holds in asciencea.

To a legitimate syllogism it is essential that there should be three, and no more than three, propositions, namely, the conclusion, or proposition to be proved, and two other propositions which together prove it, and which are called the premises. It is essential that there should be three, and no more than three, terms, namely, the subject and predicate of the conclusion, and another called the middleterm, which must be found in both premises, since it is by means of it that the other two terms are to be connected together. The predicate of the conclusion is called the major term of the syllogism; the subject of the conclusion is called the minor term. As there can be but three terms, the major and minor terms must each be found in one, and only one, of the premises, together with the middleterm which is in them both. The premise which contains the middleterm and the major term is called the major premise; that which contains the middleterm and the minor term is called the minor premiseb.

Syllogisms are divided by some logicians into three figures, by others into four, according to the position of the middleterm, which may either be the subject in both premises, the predicate in both, or the subject in one and the predicate in the other. The most common case is that in which the middleterm is the subject of the major premise and the predicate of the minor. This is reckoned as the first figure. When the middleterm is the predicate in both premises, the syllogism belongs to the second figure; when it is the subject in both, to the third. In the fourth figure the middleterm is the subject of the minor premise and the predicate of the major. Those writers who reckon no more than three figures, include this case in the first.

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Each figure is cdividedc into dmoodsd, according to what are called the quantity and quality of the propositions, that is, according as they are universal or particular, affirmative or negative. The following are examples of all the legitimate moods, that is, all those in which the conclusion correctly follows from the premises. A is the minor term, C the major, B the middle-term.

All B is C No B is C All B is C No B is C
All A is B All A is B Some A is B Some A is B
therefore therefore therefore therefore
All A is C No A is C Some A is C Some A is not C
No C is B All C is B No C is B All C is B
All A is B No A is B Some A is B Some A is not B
therefore therefore therefore therefore
No A is C No A is C Some A is not C Some A is not C
All B is C No B is C Some B is C All B is C Some B is not C No B is C
All B is A All B is A All B is A Some B is A All B is A Some B is A
therefore therefore therefore therefore therefore therefore
Some A is C Some A is not C Some A is C Some A is C Some A is not C Some A is not C
enote+46, 51, 56, 62, 65, 68, 72
All C is B All C is B Some C is B No C is B No C is B
All B is A No B is A All B is A All B is A Some B is A
therefore therefore therefore therefore therefore
Some A is C Some A is enote C Some A is C Some A is not C Some A is not C

In these exemplars, or blank forms for making syllogisms, no place is assigned to singular propositions; not, of course, because such propositions are not used in ratiocination, but because, their predicate being affirmed or denied of the whole of the subject, they are ranked, for the purposes of the syllogism, with universal propositions. Thus, these two syllogisms—

All men are mortal, All men are mortal,
All kings are men, Socrates is a man,
therefore therefore
All kings are mortal, Socrates is mortal,
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are arguments precisely similar, and are both ranked in the first mood of the first figure.*

The reasons why syllogisms in any of the above forms are legitimate, that is, why, if the premises faref true, the conclusion must ginevitablyg be so, and why this is not the case in any other possible mood, (that is, in any other combination of universal and particular, affirmative and negative propositions,) any person taking interest in these inquiries may be presumed to have either learned from the common school books of the syllogistic logic, or to be capable of hdiscoveringh for himself. The reader may, however, be referred, for every needful explanation, to Archbishop Whately’s Elements of Logic, where he will find stated with philosophical precision, and explained with iremarkablei perspicuity, the whole of the common doctrine of the syllogism.

All valid ratiocination; all reasoning by which, from general propositions previously admitted, other propositions equally or less general are inferred; may be exhibited in some of the above forms. The whole of Euclid, for example, might be thrown without difficulty into a series of syllogisms, regular in mood and figure.

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Though a syllogism framed according to any of these formulæ is a valid argument, all correct ratiocination admits of being stated in syllogisms of the first figure alone. The rules for throwing an argument in any of the other figures into the first figure, are called rules for the reduction of syllogisms. It is done by the conversion of one or other, or both, of the premises. Thus an argument in the first mood of the second figure, as—

  • No C is B
  • All A is B
  • therefore
  • No A is C,
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may be reduced as follows. The proposition, No C is B, being an universal negative, admits of simple conversion, and may be changed into No B is C, which, as we showed, is the very same assertion in other words—the same fact differently expressed. This transformation having been effected, the argument assumes the following form:

  • No B is C
  • All A is B
  • therefore
  • No A is C,

which is a good syllogism in the second mood of the first figure. Again, an argument in the first mood of the third figure must resemble the following:

  • All B is C
  • All B is A
  • therefore
  • Some A is C,

where the minor premise, All B is A, conformably to what was laid down in the last chapter respecting universal affirmatives, does not admit of simple conversion, but may be converted per accidens, thus, Some A is B; which, though it does not express the whole of what is asserted in the proposition All B is A, expresses, as was formerly shown, part of it, and must therefore be true if the whole is true. We have, then, as the result of the reduction, the following syllogism in the third mood of the first figure:

  • All B is C
  • Some A is B,

from which it obviously follows, that

  • Some A is C.

In the same manner, or in a manner on which after these examples it is not necessary to enlarge, every mood of the second, third, and fourth figures may be reduced to some one of the four moods of the first. In other words, every conclusion which can be proved in any of the last three figures, may be proved in the first figure from the same premises, with a slight alteration in the mere manner of expressing them. Every valid ratiocination, therefore, may be stated in the first figure, that is, in one of the following forms:

Every B is C No B is C
All A } is B, All A } is B,
Some A } Some A }
therefore therefore
All A } is C. No A is } C.
Some A } Some A is not }

Or if more significant symbols are preferred:

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To prove an affirmative, the argument must admit of being stated in this form:

All animals are mortal;
All men } are animals;
Some men }
Socrates }
All men } are mortal.
Some men }
Socrates }

To prove a negative, the argument must be capable of being expressed in this form:

No one who is capable of self-control is necessarily vicious;
All negroes } are capable of self-control;
Some negroes }
Mr. A’s negro }
No negroes are } necessarily vicious.
Some negroes are not }
Mr. A’s negro is not }

Though all ratiocination admits of being thrown into one or the other of these forms, and sometimes gains considerably by the transformation, both in clearness and in the obviousness of its consequence; there are, no doubt, cases in which the argument falls more naturally into one of the other three figures, and in which its conclusiveness is more apparent at the first glance in those figures, than when reduced jtoj the first. Thus, if the proposition were that pagans may be virtuous, and the evidence to prove it were the example of Aristides; a syllogism in the third figure,

  • Aristides was virtuous,
  • Aristides was a pagan,
  • therefore
  • Some pagan was virtuous,

would be a more natural mode of stating the argument, and would carry conviction more instantly home, than the same ratiocination strained into the first figure, thus—

  • Aristides was virtuous,
  • Some pagan was Aristides,
  • therefore
  • Some pagan was virtuous.
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A German philosopher, Lambert, whose Neues Organon (published in the year 1764) contains among other things kone of the most elaborate and complete expositions lwhich had ever beenl made of the syllogistic doctrinek, has expressly examined what msortm of arguments fall most naturally and suitably into each of the four figures; and his ninvestigationn is characterized by great ingenuity and clearness of thought.* The argument, however, is one and the same, in whichever figure it is expressed; since, as we have already seen, the premises of a syllogism in the second, third, or fourth figure, and those of the syllogism in the first figure to which it may be reduced, are the Edition: current; Page: [171] same premises in everything except language, or, at least, as much of them as contributes to the proof of the conclusion is the same. We are therefore at liberty, in conformity with the general opinion of logicians, to consider the two elementary forms of the first figure as the universal types of all correct ratiocination; the one, when the conclusion to be proved is affirmative, the other, when it is negative; even though certain arguments may have a tendency to clothe themselves in the forms of the second, third, and fourth figures; which, however, cannot possibly happen with the only class of arguments which are of first-rate scientific importance, those in which the conclusion is an universal affirmative, such conclusions being susceptible of proof in the first figure alone.*

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§ 2. [The dictum de omni not the foundation of reasoning, but a mere identical proposition] On examining, then, these two general formulæ, we Edition: current; Page: [173] find that in both of them, one premise, the major, is an universal proposition; and according as this is affirmative or negative, the conclusion is so too. All Edition: current; Page: [174] ratiocination, therefore, starts from a general proposition, principle, or assumption: a proposition in which a predicate is affirmed or denied of an entire class; that is, in which some attribute, or the negation of some attribute, is asserted of an indefinite number of objects distinguished by a common characteristic, and designated in consequence, by a common name.

The other premise is always affirmative, and asserts that something (which may be either an individual, a class, or part of a class) belongs to, or is included in, the class respecting which something was affirmed or denied in the major premise. It follows that the attribute affirmed or denied of the entire class may (if athat affirmation or denial was correcta) be affirmed or denied of the object or objects alleged to be included in the class: and this is precisely the assertion made in the conclusion.

Whether or not the foregoing is an adequate account of the constituent parts of the syllogism, will be presently considered; but as far as it goes it is a true account. It has accordingly been generalized, and erected into a logical maxim, on which all ratiocination is said to be founded, insomuch that to reason, and to apply the maxim, are supposed to be one and the same thing. The maxim is, That whatever can be affirmed (or denied) of a class, may be affirmed (or denied) of everything included in the class. This axiom, supposed to be the basis of the syllogistic theory, is termed by logicians the dictum de omni et nullo.

This maxim, however, when considered as a principle of reasoning, appears suited to a system of metaphysics once indeed generally received, but which for the last two centuries has been considered as finally abandoned, though there have not been wanting in our own day attempts at its revival. So long as what bareb termed Universals were regarded as a peculiar kind of substances, having an objective existence distinct from the individual objects classed under them, the dictum de omni conveyed an important meaning; because it expressed the intercommunity of nature, which it was necessary on that theory that we should suppose to exist between those general substances and the particular substances which were subordinated to them. That everything predicable of the universal was predicable of the various individuals contained under it, was then no identical proposition, but a statement of what was conceived as a fundamental law of the universe. The assertion that the entire nature and properties of the substantia secunda formed part of the cnature andc properties of each of the individual substances called by the same name; that the properties of Man, for example, were properties of all men; was a proposition of real significance when man did not mean all men, but something inherent in men, and vastly superior to them in dignity. Now, Edition: current; Page: [175] however, when it is known that a class, an universal, a genus or species, is not an entity per se, but neither more nor less than the individual substances themselves which are placed in the class, and that there is nothing real in the matter except those objects, a common name given to them, and common attributes indicated by the name; what, I should be glad to know, do we learn by being told, that whatever can be affirmed of a class, may be affirmed of every object contained in the class? The class is nothing but the objects contained in it: and the dictum de omni merely amounts to the identical proposition, that whatever is true of certain objects, is true of each of those objects. If all ratiocination were no more than the application of this maxim to particular cases, the syllogism would indeed be, what it has so often been declared to be, solemn trifling. The dictum de omni is on a par with another truth, which in its time was also reckoned of great importance, “Whatever is, dis.”d To give any real meaning to the dictum de omni, we must consider it not as an axiom, but as a definition; we must look upon it as intended to explain, in a circuitous and paraphrastic manner, the meaning of the word class.

An error which seemed finally refuted and dislodged from ethoughte, often needs only put on a new suit of phrases, to be welcomed back to its old quarters, and allowed to repose unquestioned for another cycle of ages. Modern philosophers have not been sparing in their contempt for the scholastic dogma that genera and species are a peculiar kind of substances, which general substances being the only permanent things, while the individual substances comprehended under them are in a perpetual flux, knowledge, which necessarily imports stability, can only have relation to those general substances or universals, and not to the facts or particulars included under them. Yet, though nominally rejected, this very doctrine, whether disguised under the Abstract Ideas of Locke (whose speculations, however, it has less vitiated than those of perhaps any other writer who has been infected with it), under the ultra-nominalism of Hobbes and Condillac, or the ontology of the later fGerman schoolsf, has never ceased to poison philosophy. Once accustomed to consider scientific investigation as essentially consisting in the study of universals, men did not drop this habit of thought when they ceased to regard universals as possessing an independent existence: and even those who went the length of considering them as mere names, could not free themselves from the notion that the investigation of Edition: current; Page: [176] truth consisted entirely or partly in some kind of conjuration or juggle with those names. When a philosopher adopted fully the Nominalist view of the signification of general language, retaining along with it the dictum de omni as the foundation of all reasoning, two such premises fairly put together were likely, if he was a consistent thinker, to land him in rather startling conclusions. Accordingly it has been seriously held, by writers of deserved celebrity, that the process of arriving at new truths by reasoning consists in the mere substitution of one set of arbitrary signs for another; a doctrine which they gsupposeg to derive irresistible confirmation from the example of algebra. If there were any process in sorcery or necromancy more preternatural than this, I should be much surprised. The culminating point of this philosophy is the noted aphorism of Condillac, that a science is nothing, or scarcely anything, but une langue bien faite;[*] in other words that the one sufficient rule for discovering the nature and properties of objects is to name them properly: as if the reverse were not the truth, that it is impossible to name them properly except in proportion as we are already acquainted with their nature and properties. Can it be necessary to say, that none, not even the most trivial knowledge with respect to Things, ever was or could be originally got at by any conceivable manipulation of mere namesh, as suchh; and that what can be learned from names, is only what somebody who used the names knew before? Philosophical analysis confirms the indication of common sense, that the function of names is but that of enabling us to remember and to communicate our thoughts. That they also strengthen, even to an incalculable extent, the power of thought itself, is most true: but they do this by no intrinsic and peculiar virtue; they do it by the power inherent in an artificial memory, an instrument of which few have adequately considered the immense potency. As an artificial memory, language truly is, what it has so often been called, an instrument of thought; but it is one thing to be the instrument, and another to be the exclusive subject upon which the instrument is exercised. We think, indeed, to a considerable extent, by means of names, but what we think of, are the things called by those names; and there cannot be a greater error than to imagine that thought can be carried on with nothing in our mind but names, or that we can make the names think for us.

§ 3. [What is the really fundamental axiom of Ratiocination] Those who considered the dictum de omni as the foundation of the syllogism, looked upon arguments in a manner corresponding to the erroneous view which Hobbes took of propositions. Because there are some propositions which are Edition: current; Page: [177] merely verbal, Hobbes, in order apparently that his definition might be rigorously universal, defined a proposition as if no propositions declared anything except the meaning of words.[*] If Hobbes was right; if no further account than this could be given of the import of propositions; no theory could be given but the commonly received one, of the combination of propositions in a syllogism. If the minor premise asserted nothing more than that something belongs to a class, and if athe major premise asserted nothing of that class except that it is included in another class, the conclusion would only be that what was included in the lower class is included in the higher, and the result, therefore, nothing except that the classification is consistent with itself. But we have seen that it is no sufficient account of the meaning of a proposition, to say that it refers something to, or excludes something from, a class. Every proposition which conveys real information asserts a matter of fact, dependent on the laws of nature, and not on bclassification. It asserts that a given object does or does not possess a given attribute; or it asserts that two attributes, or sets of attributes, do or do not (constantly or occasionally) coexist. Since such is the purport of all propositions which convey any real knowledge, and since ratiocination is a mode of acquiring real knowledge, any theory of ratiocination which does not recognise this import of propositions, cannot, we may be sure, be the true one.

Applying this view of propositions to the two premises of a syllogism, we obtain the following results. The major premise, which, as already remarked, is always universal, asserts, that all things which have a certain attribute (or attributes) have or have not along with it, a certain other attribute (or attributes). The minor premise asserts that the thing or set of things which are the subject of that premise, have the first-mentioned attribute; and the conclusion is, that they have (or that they have not), the second. Thus in our former example,

  • All men are mortal,
  • Socrates is a man,
  • therefore
  • Socrates is mortal,

the subject and predicate of the major premise are connotative terms, denoting objects and connoting attributes. The assertion in the major premise is, that along with one of the two sets of attributes, we always find the other: that the attributes connoted by “man” never exist unless conjoined with the attribute called mortality. The assertion in the minor premise is that the Edition: current; Page: [178] individual named Socrates possesses the former attributes; and it is concluded that he possesses also the attribute mortality. Or if both the premises are general propositions, as

  • All men are mortal,
  • All kings are men,
  • therefore
  • All kings are mortal,

the minor premise asserts that the attributes denoted by kingship only exist in conjunction with those signified by the word man. The major asserts as before, that the last-mentioned attributes are never found without the attribute of mortality. The conclusion is, that wherever the attributes of kingship are found, that of mortality cisc found also.

If the major premise were negative, as, No men are domnipotentd, it would assert, not that the attributes connoted by “man” never exist without, but that they never exist with, those connoted by “eomnipotente:” from which, together with the minor premise, it is concluded, that the same incompatibility exists between the fattribute omnipotencef and those constituting a king. In a similar manner we might analyse any other example of the syllogism.

If we generalize this process, and look out for the principle or law involved in every such inference, and presupposed in every syllogism, the propositions of which are anything more than merely verbal; we find, not the unmeaning dictum de omni et nullo, but a fundamental principle, or rather two principles, strikingly resembling the axioms of mathematics. The first, which is the principle of affirmative syllogisms, is, that things which coexist with the same thing, coexist with one anotherg: or (still more precisely) a thing which coexists with another thing, which other coexists with a third thing, also coexists with that third thingg. The second is the principle of negative syllogisms, and is to this effect: that a thing which coexists with another thing, with which other a third thing does not coexist, is not coexistent with that third thing. These axioms manifestly relate to facts, and not to conventions; and one or other of them is the ground of the legitimacy of every argument in which facts and not conventions are the matter treated of.*

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§ 4. [The other form of the fundamental axiom] It aremains to translate this exposition of the syllogism from the one into the other of the two Edition: current; Page: [180] languages in which we formerly remarked* that all propositions, and of course therefore all combinations of propositions, might be expressed. We observed that a proposition might be considered in two different lights; as a portion of our knowledge of nature, or as a memorandum for our guidance. Under the former, or speculative aspect, an affirmative general proposition is an assertion of a speculative truth, viz. that whatever has a certain attribute has a certain other attribute. Under the other aspect, it is to be regarded not as a part of our knowledge, but as an aid for our practical exigencies, by enabling us, when we see or learn that an object possesses one of the two attributes, to infer that it possesses the other; thus employing the first attribute as a mark or evidence of the second. Thus regarded, every syllogism comes within the following general formula:

  • Attribute A is a mark of attribute B,
  • bTheb given object has the mark A,
  • therefore
  • The given object has the attribute B.

cReferred to this type, the arguments which we have lately cited as specimens of the syllogism, will express themselves in the following manner:

  • The attributes of man are a mark of the attribute mortality,
  • Socrates has the attributes of man,
  • therefore
  • Socrates has the attribute mortality.
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dAnd again,

  • The attributes of man are a mark of the attribute mortality,
  • The attributes of a king are a mark of the attributes of man,
  • therefore
  • The attributes of a king are a mark of the attribute mortality.

eAnd, lastly,

To correspond with this alteration in the form of the syllogisms, the axioms on which the syllogistic process is founded must undergo a corresponding transformation. In this altered phraseology, both those axioms may be brought under one general expression; namely, that whatever ihas any mark, hasi that which it is a mark of. Or, when the minor premise as well as the major is universal, we may state it thus: Whatever is a mark of any mark, is a mark of that which this last is a mark of. To trace the identity of these axioms with those previously laid down, may be jleft to the intelligent reader. We shall find, as we proceed, the great convenience of the phraseology into which we have last thrown them, and which is better adapted than any I am acquainted with, to express with precision and force what is aimed at, and actually accomplished, in every case of the ascertainment of a truth by ratiocination.*

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CHAPTER III: Of the Functions and Logical Value of the Syllogism

§ 1. [Is the syllogism a petitio principii?] We have shown what is the real nature of the truths with which the Syllogism is conversant, in contradistinction to the more superficial manner in which their import is conceived in the common theory; and what are the fundamental axioms on which its probative force or conclusiveness depends. We have now to inquire, whether the syllogistic process, that of reasoning from generals to particulars, is, or is not, a process of inference; a progress from the known to the unknown: a means of coming to a knowledge of something which we did not know before.

Logicians have been remarkably unanimous in their mode of answering this question. It is universally allowed that a syllogism is vicious if there be anything more in the conclusion than was assumed in the premises. But this is, in fact, to say, that nothing ever was, or can be, proved by syllogism, which was not known, or aassumeda to be known, before. Is ratiocination, then, not a process of inference? And is the syllogism, to which the word reasoning has so often been represented to be exclusively appropriate, not really entitled to be called reasoning at all? This seems an inevitable consequence of the doctrine, admitted by all writers on the subject, that a syllogism can prove no more than is involved in the premises. Yet the acknowledgment so explicitly made, has not prevented one set of writers from continuing to represent the syllogism as the correct analysis of what the mind actually performs in discovering and proving the larger half of the truths, whether of science or of daily life, which we believe; while those who have avoided this inconsistency, and followed out the general theorem respecting the logical value of the syllogism to its legitimate corollary, have been led to impute uselessness and frivolity to the syllogistic theory itself, on the ground of the petitio principii which they allege to be inherent in