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Of the nature and use of the scholastic art of syllogizing.

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expressing the conclusion; for he would conceive an animal no otherwise, than as a body endowed with sensation or feeling,

SoMETIMEs, indeed, there is not in the premises any position more generic, under which the conclusion can be comprised. In this case you always find that the same proposition is exhibited in different words; insomuch that the stress of the argument lies in a mere synonima, or something equivalent. The following is an example:

The almighty ought to be worshipped;
God is the Almighty;
Therefore God ought to be worshipped. ->

It would be superfluous to illustrate that this argument could have no greater influence on the Epicurean, than the first mentioned one would have on the Cartesian. To suppose the contrary, is to suppose the conviction effected by the charm of a sound, and not by the sense of what is advanced. Thus also, the middle term and the subject frequently correspond to each other ; as the definition, description, or circumlocution, and the name. Of this I shall give an example in Disamis, as in the technical dialect, the third mood of the third figure is denominated:

Some men are rapacious ;
All men are rational animals;

Therefore some rational animals are rapacious,

Of the nature and use of the scholastic art of syllogizing. --

Who does not perceive that rational animals is but a periphrasis for men 2

IT may be proper to subjoin one example at least in negative Syllogisms. The subsequent is one in Ce. larent, the second mood of the first figure: . . . . . Nothing violent is lasting; * * - L. ---But tyranny is violent; Therefore tyranny is not lasting.

Here a thing violent serves for the genus of which tyranny is a species: and nothing can be clearer than that it requires much less experience to discover, whether shortness of duration be justly attributed to tyrahny the species, than whether it be justly predicated of every violent thing. The application of what was said on the first example to that now given, is so obvious, that it would be losing time to attempt further to illustrate it. .

LocIcIANs have been at pains to discriminate the regular and consequential combinations of the three terms, as they are called, from the irregular and inconsequent. A combination of the latter kind, if the defect be in the form, is called a paralogism ; if in the sense, a sophism ; though sometimes these two appellations are confounded. Of the latter, one kind is denominated petitio principii, which is commonly rendered in English a begging of the question, and is defined, the proving of a thing by itself, whether expressed in the same or in different words; or, which

Of the nature and use of the scholastic art of syllogizing.

amounts to the same thing, assuming in the proof the very opinion or principle proposed to be proved. It is surprising that this should ever have been by those artists stiled a sophism, since it is in fact so essential to the art, that there is always some radical defect in a syllogism, which is not chargeable with this. The truth of what l now affirm, will appear to any one, on

the slightest review of what has been evinced in the

preceding part of this chapter.

The fourth and last observation I shall make on this topic, is, that the proper province of the syllogistical science, is rather the adjustment of our language, in expressing ourselves on subjects previously known, than the acquisition of knowledge in things themselves. According to M. du Marsais, “Reasoning consists in “ deducing, inferring, or drawing a judgment from o“ther judgments already known ; or, rather, in shew“ing that the judgment in question has been already “formed implicitly, insomuch that the only point is to “develope it, and show its identity with some ante“rior judgment *.” Now, I affirm that the former part of this definition suits all deductive reasoning, whether scientifical or moral, in which the principle deduced is distinct from, however closely related to, the principles from which the deduction is made.

* Le raisonnement consiste à déduire, a inférer, a tirer un jugement d'autres jugemens déja connus; ou plutót a faire voir que le jugement dont il s'agit, a déja été porté d'une manière implicite ; de sorte qu'il n'est plus question que de le déveloper, et d'en faire voir l'identité avec quelque jugement anterieur. Logique, Art 7.


Of the nature and use of the scholastic art of syllogizing.

The latter part of the definition, which begins with the words or rather, does not answer as an explication of the former, as the author seems to have intended ; but exactly hits the character of syllogistic reasoning, and indeed of all sorts of controversy merely verbal. If you regard only the thing signified, the argument conveys no instruction, nor does it forward us in the knowledge of things a single step. But if you regard principally the signs, it may serve to correct misapplications of them, through inadvertency or otherwise.

IN evincing the truth of this doctrine,—I shall be. gin with a simple illustration from what may happen to any one in studying a foreign tongue. I learn from an Italian and French dictionary, that the Italian word pecora corresponds to the French word brebir, and from a French and English dictionary, that the French brebir corresponds to the English sheep. Hence I form this argument, - -

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This, though not in mood and figure, is evidently conclusive. Nay more, if the words pecora, brebir, and sheep, under the notion of signs, be regarded as the terms, it has three different terms, and contains a direct and scientifical deduction from this axiom, “Things coincident with the same thing, are coin“cident with one another.” On the other hand, let the things signified be solely regarded, and there is

Of the nature and use of the scholastic art of syllogising.

but one term in the whole, namely the species of quadruped, denoted by the three names above mentioned. Nor is there, in this view of the matter, another judgment in all the three propositions, but this identical one, “A sheep is a sheep.” Nok let it be imagined, that the only right appli

cation can be in the acquisition of strange languages. Every tongue whatever gives scope to it, inasmuch as in every tongue the speaker labours under great inconveniences, especially on abstract questions, both from the paucity, obscurity, and ambiguity of the words, on the one hand; and from his own misapprehensions, and imperfect acquaintance with them, on the other. As a man may, therefore, by an artful and sophistical use of them, be brought to admit, in certain terms, what he would deny in others, this disputatious discipline may, under proper management, by setting in a stronger light the inconsistencies occasioned by such improprieties, be rendered instrumental in correcting them. It was remarked above *, that such propositions as these, “Twelve are a dozen.” “Twenty are a score,” unless considered as explications of the words dozen and score, are quite insignificant. This limitation, however, it was necessary to add ; for those positions which are identical when considered purely as relating to the things signified, are nowise identical when regarded purely as explanafory of the names. Suppose that, through the imper


* Chap. V. Sect. I. Part I.

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