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extension is the spreading out; intention, the bending to; explication, the unfolding; application, the folding to; conception, the taking up together; relation, the carrying back; experience is the thoroughly going through a thing; difference is the carrying apart; deliberation, the weighing out; interruption, the breaking between; proposition, the placing before; intuition, the seeing into; and the list might be almost indefinitely extended. Our English name for reason, the understanding, obviously contains some physical metaphor which has not been fully explained; with the Latin intellect there is also a metaphor.
Every sense gives rise to words of refined meaning; sapience, taste, insipidity, goût, are derived from the sense of taste; sagacity, from the dog's extraordinary power of smell; but as the sense of sight is by far the most acute and intellectual, it gives rise to the larger part of language; clearness, lucidity, obscurity, haziness, perspicuity, and innumerable other expressions, are derived from this
It is truly astonishing to notice the power which language possesses by the processes of generalization, specialization, and metaphor, to create many words from one single root. Prof. Max Müller has given a remarkable instance of this in the case of the root spec, which means sight, and appears in the Aryan languages, as in the Sanscrit spas, the Greek okértoual, with transposition of consonants, in the Latin specio, and even in the English spy. The following is an incomplete list of the words developed from this one root; species, special, especial, specimen, spice, spicy, specious, speciality, specific, specialization, specie (gold, or silver), spectre, specification, spectacle, spectator, spectral, spectrum, speculum, specular, speculation. The same root also enters into composition with various prefixes; and we thus obtain a series of words, suspect, aspect, circumspect, expect, inspect,
prospect, respect, retrospect, introspection, conspicuous,
History of the Variations in the Meanings of Terms.'
LEIBNITZ ON KNOWLEDGE.
In treating of terms it is necessary that we should clearly understand what a perfect notion of the meaning of a term requires. When a name such as monarch, or civilization, or autonomy is used, it refers the mind to some thing or some idea, and we ought if possible to obtain a perfect knowledge of the thing or idea before we use the word, In what does this perfect knowledge consist ? What are its necessary characters? This is a question which the celebrated mathematician and philosopher Leibnitz attempted to answer in a small treatise or tract first published in the year 1684. This tract has been the basis of what is given on the subject in several recent works on Logic, and a complete translation of the tract
has been appended by Mr Baynes to his translation of the Port Royal Logic. As the remarks of Leibnitz himself are not always easy to understand, I will not confine myself to his exact words, but will endeavour to give the simplest possible statement of his views, according as they have been interpreted by Dr Thomson or Sir W. Hamilton.
Knowledge is either obscure or clear; either confused or distinct; either adequate or inadequate; and lastly either symbolical or intuitive. Perfect knowledge must be clear, distinct, adequate and intuitive; if it fails in any one of these respects it is more or less imperfect. We inay, therefore, classify knowledge as in the following scheme:
Perfect. A notion, that is to say our knowledge of a thing, is obscure when it does not enable us to recognize the thing again and discriminate it from all other things. We have a clear notion of a rose and of most common flowers because we can recognise them with certainty, and do not confuse them with each other. Also we have a clear notion of any of our intimate friends or persons whom we habitually meet, because we recognise them whenever we see them with the utmost certainty and without hesitation. It is said that a shepherd acquires by practice a clear notion of each sheep of his flock, so as to enable him to single out any one separately, and a keeper of
hounds learns the name and character of each hound, while other persons have only an obscure idea of the hounds generally, and could not discriminate one from the other. But the geologist cannot give a clear idea of what sandstone, conglomerate, or schist, or slate, or trap rock consists, because different rocks vary infinitely in degree and character, and it is often barely possible to say whether a rock is sandstone or conglomerate, schist or slate, and so on. In the lower forms of life the naturalist hardly has à clear notion of animal life, as distinguished from vegetable life; it is often difficult to decide whether a protophyte should be classed with animals or plants.
Clear knowledge, again, is confused, when we cannot distinguish the parts and qualities of the thing known, and can only recognise it as a whole. Though any one instantly knows a friend, and could discriminate him from all other persons, yet he would generally find it impossible to say how he knows him, or by what marks. He could not describe his figure or features, but in the very roughest manner. A person unpractised in drawing, who attempts to delineate even such a familiar object as a horse or cow, soon finds that he has but a confused notion of its form, while an artist has a distinct idea of the form of every limb. The chemist has a distinct as well as a clear notion of gold and silver, for he can not only tell with certainty whether any metal is really gold or silver, but he can specify and describe exactly the qualities by which he knows it; and could, if necessary, mention a great many other qualities as well. We have a very distinct notion of a chess-board, because we know it consists of 64 square spaces; and all our ideas of geometrical figures, such as triangles, circles, parallelograms, squares, pentagons, hexagons, &c. are or ought to be perfectly distinct. But when we talk of a constitutional government,
or a civilized nation, we have only the vaguest idea of what we mean. We cannot say exactly what is requisite to make a Government constitutional, without including also Governments which we do not intend to include; and so of civilized nations; these terms have neither distinct nor clear meanings.
It is to be remarked that no simple idea, such as that of red colour, can be distinct in the meaning here intended, because nobody can analyse red colour, or describe to another person what it is. A person who has been blind from birth cannot be made to conceive it; and it is only by bringing an actual red object before the eye that we can define its character. The same is generally true of all simple sensations, whether tastes, smells, colours, or sounds; these then may be clearly known, but not distinctly, in the meaning which Leibnitz gives to this word.
To explain the difference which Leibnitz intended to denote by the names adequate and inadequate, is not easy. He says, “When everything which enters into a distinct notion is distinctly known, or when the last analysis is reached, the knowledge is adequate, of which I scarcely know whether a perfect example can be offered --the knowledge of numbers, however, approaches near
To have adequate knowledge of things, then, we must not only distinguish the parts which make up our notion of a thing, but the parts which make up those parts. For instance, we might be said to have an adequate notion of a chess-board, because we know it to be made up of 64 squares, and we know each of those squares distinctly, because each is made up of 4 equal right lines, joined at right angles. Nevertheless, we cannot be said to have a distinct notion of a straight line, because we cannot well define it, or resolve it into anything simpler. To be com