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definition reciprocal with the thing defined, which is a scholastic way of fpeaking, to fignify that the definition may be used in any sentence in the place of the thing defined, or they may be mutually affirmed concerning each other, or substituted in the room of each other. "The juice of the grape is wine, or wine is the juice of the grape. And wherefoever the word wine is used, you may put the juice of the grape instead of it, except when you consider wine rather as a word than a thing, or when it is mentioned in such logical rules. » · Rule Ill. A definition ought to be clear and plain for the design of it is to lead us into the knowledge of the thing defined. .. . .
Hence it will follow, that the words used in definia tidn ought not to be doubtful, and equivocal, and obe fcure, but as plain and easy as the language will afford; and indeed it is a general rule concerning the defini, tion both of names and things, that no word should be uled in either of them, which has any darkness or difficulty in it, unless, it has been before explained or defined. .
. Hence it will follow also that there are many things which cannot well be defined either as to the name of the thing, unless it be by synonymous words, or by a negation of the contrary idea, c. for learned men know not how to make them more evident or more intelligible than the ideas which every man has gained by the vulgar methods of teaching. Such are the ideas. of extension, duration, thought, consciousness, and most of our simple ideas, and particularly sensible qualities, as white, blue, red, cold, heat, sweet, bitter, four, &c.
We can say of duration that it is a continuance in being, or a not ceasing to be ; we can say of consciousa ness, that it is, as it were a feeling within ourselves; we may say, hear is that which is not cold; or four is. that which is like vinegar, or we may point to the clear fky, and saythat is blue. These are the vulgar methods, of teaching the definitions of names, or meaning of words. But there are some philosophers, whose attempts, to define these things. learnedly, have wrapt up their ideas in greater darkness, and exposed themselves to ridicule and contempti as when they define heat, they
fay, it is qualitas congregans homogenea & fegregans heteroa. genea, that is, a quality gathering together things of the same kind, and separating things of a different kind. So they define white, a colour arising from the prevalence of brightness : but every child knows hot and. white better without thefe definitions. • There are many other definitions given by the periapatetic philosophers, which are very faulty by reason of their obfcurity; as motion is defined by them the act: of a being in power, fo far forth as it is in power: Time is the measure or number of motion according to past, present and future. The foul is the act of an organical natural body, having life in power; and several others of the same stamp.
Rule IV. It is also commonly prescribed among the rules of definition, that it should be fort, so that it must have no tautology in it, nor any words fuperfluous. I confefs definitions ought to be expressed in as few words, as is consistent with a clear and just explication of the nature of the thing defined, and a distinction of it from: all other things belide ; but it is of much more impor-tance, and far better, that a definition should explain clearly the subject we treat of, though the words be: many, than to leave obfcurities in the sentence, by confining it within too narrow limits. So in the defi-nition which we have given of logic, that it is the art of using reason.well in the search after truth, and the: communication of it to others; it: has indeed many." words in it, but it could not well be fhorter. Art is, the genus wherein it agrees with rhetoris, poesy, arith-metic, wrestling, failing, building, &c. for ałl these are: arts also : but the difference or special nature of it is drawn from its object, reason; from the act using it: well, and from its two great ends or designs, viz. the: search of truth, and the communication of it, nor can. it be justly deforibed and explained in fewer ideas.
V. If we add a fifth rule, it must be, that neither the thing defined, nor a mere synonymous name, fhould make any part of the definition, for this would be no explication of the nature of the thing; and a synonymous word at best could only be a definition of the name,
SECT: VI... Observations concerning the Definition of Things. '. TREFORE I part with this subject, I must propofe. D several observations, which relate to the definition of things.
If Obferv. There is no need that in definitions we should be confined to one single attribute or property, in order to express the difference of the thing defined; or sometimes the effential difference consists in two or three ideas or attributes. So a grocer is a man who buys and sells sugar and plumbs and spices for gain A clock is an engine with weights and wheels, that: Thews the hour of the day both by pointing and strik. ing: and if I were to define a repeating clock, I must add another property, viz. that it also repeats the hour. So that the true and primary essential difference of fome complex ideas, consisting in several diftinct pro.. perties, cannot be well: expreffed without conjunctive particles of speech. : 2d Obferv. There is no need that definitions should always be positive, for some things differ from others. merely by a defect of what others have ; as if a chair be defined a feat for a single person with a back belong. ing to it, then a stool is a seat for a single person without a back ;, and a. form is a seat for several persons, without a back: these are negative differences. So sin is a want of conformity to the law of God ; blindness. is a want of sight; a vagabond is a person without a home. Some ideas are negative, and their definitions, ought to be so too.
3d Obferu. Some things. may have two or more de. finitions, and each of them equally just and good; as a mile is the length of eight furlongs, or it is the third part of a league. Eternal is that which ever was and ever shall be; or it is, that which had no beginning and shall have no end. * Man is usual defined a. ra.
* The common definition of man, vizi a rational animal, is very kaulty: 1. Because the animal is not rational; the rationality of man ariles from the mind to which the animal is united. 2. Because if a
tional animal: but it may be much better to define him a spirit united to an animal of such a shape, or an. animal of such a peculiar shape united to a spirit, or a being composed of such an animal and a mind,
4th Observ. Where the essences of things are evident, and clearly distinct from each other, there we may be more exact and accurate in the definitions of them but where their effences approach near to each other, the definition is more difficult. A bird may be defined. a feathered animal with wings, a ship may be defined a large hollow building made to pass over the sea with fails : but if you ask me to define a batt which is bea tween a bird and a beast, or to define a barge and hoy, which are between a boat and a fhip, it is much harder. to define them, or to adjust the bounds of their essence. This is very evident in all monstrous births and irregu. Jar productions of nature, as well as in many works of art, which partake so much of one species and so much of another, that we cannot tell under which free cics to rank them, or how to determine their specific difference,
The several species of beings are feldom precisely. limited in the nature of things by any certain and unalterable bounds : the essences of many things do not conGft in indivisibili, or in one evident indivisible point, as some have imagined ; but by various degrees they approach nearer to, or differ, more from others that are of a kindred nature. So (as I have hinted before) in the very middle of each of the arches of a rainbow the colours of green, yellow, and red are sufficiently die ftinguished; but near the borders of the several arches. they run into one another, so that you hardly know how to limit the colours, nor whether to call it red or yellow, green or blue.
5th Obferu. As the highest or chief genus' viz. be. ing and not-being can never be defined, because there is no genus superior to them ; so neither can fingulas
Spirit should be united to a horse and make it a rational being, surely this would not be a man; it is evident therefore that the peculiar shape must enter into the definition of a man to render it just and perfect : "for want of a full description thereof all our definitions are defective.
ideas or individuals be well defined, because either they have no effential differences from other individuals, or their differences, are not known; and therefore individuals are only to be described by their particular cire cumstances : 10 King George is distinguished from all other men and other kings, by describing him as the furft King of Great Britain of the house of Brunswick; and Weltminiter Hall is described by its fituation and its use, Esc:
That individual bodies can hardly hare any effential difference, at least within the reach of our knowledge, may be made thus to appear; Methuselah, when he was nine hundred and fixty years old, and perhaps worn out with age and weakness, was the fame person as when he was in his full vigour of manhood, or when he was an infant newly born; but how far was his body the same? who can tell whether there was any fibre of his Aefh or his bones that continued the same
throughout his whole life? or who can determine - which were those fibres? the ship in which Sir Frances Drake failed round the world might be new built and refitted lo often, that few of the same timbers remaine ed; and who can say whether it must be called the same ship or no ? and what is its effential difference? how shall we define Sir Frances Drake's. fhip, or make a definition for Methuselah ?
To this head belongs that most difficult question, what is the principle of individuation? or what is it that makes any one thing the same as it was sometime: before?. this is too large and laborious an inquiry to dwell upon it in this place : yet I cannot forbear to mention this hint, viz. Since our own bodies mult rise at the last day for us to receive rewards or punishments in them, there may be perhaps. some original fibres of each human body, fome stamina vita, or primeval seed of life, which may remain unchanged through all the stages of life, death, and the grave, these may become the springs and principles of a resurrection, and sufficient to denominate it in the same body. But if there be any such constant and vital atoms which distinguish every human body, they are known to God only.