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are not always to be known and distinguished by the placing of the words in the sentence, but by reflecting duly on the sense of the words, and on the mind and design of the speaker or writer : as if I say, in Africa there are many lious, I mean many lions are existent in Africa ; many lions is the subject, and existent in Africa is the predicate. It is proper for a philosopher to understand geometry; here the word proper is the predicate, and all the rest is the subject, except is, the copula.
Note 4. The subject and predicate of a proposition ought always to be two different ideas, or two different terms; for where both the terms and ideas are the same, it is called an identical proposition, which is mere trifling, and cannot tend to promote knowledge; such as, a rule is a rule, or a good man is a good man.
But there are some propositions, wherein the terms of the subject and predicate seem to be the same; yet the ideas are not the same; nor can these be called purely identical, or trifling propositions ; such as home is home ; that is, home is a convenient or delightful place : Socrates is Socrates still; that is, the man Socrates is still a philosopher: the hero was not a hero; that is, the hero did not shew his courage: what I have written, I have written ; that is, what I wrote I still approve, and will not alter it: what is done is done; that is, it canbot be undone. It may be easily observed in these propositions the term is equivocal, for in the predicate it has a different idea from what it has in the subject.
There are also some propositions wherein the terms of the subject and predicate differ, but the ideas are the same; and these are not merely identical or trifing propositions ; as impudent is shameless ; a billow is a wave; or fluctus (in Latin) is a wave; a globe is a round body. In these propositions, either the words are explained by a definition of the name, or the ideas by a definition of the things, and therefore they are by no means useless when formed for any purpose.
CHAP. II. OF THE VARIOUS KINDS OF PROPOSITIONS. PROPOSITIONS may be distributed into various kinds, according to their subject, their copula, their predicate, their nature, or composition, their sense, and their evidence, which distributions will be explained in the following sections. Sect. I..Of universal, particular, indefinite, and sin
gular Propositions. Propositions may be divided according to their subject into universal and particular ; this is usually call. ed a divisiou arising from the quantity.
An universal proposition is when the subject is taken according to the whole of its extension ; so if the subject be a genus, or general nature, it includes all its species or kinds; if the subject be a species, it includes all its individuals. This universality is usually signified by these words, all, every, no, none, or the like; as all men must die ; no man is almighty; every creature had a beginning.
A particular proposition is when the subject is not taken according to its whole extension; that is, when the term is limited and restrained to some one or more of those species or individuals, whose general nature it expresses, but reaches not to all; and this is usually denoted by the words, some, many, a few, there are, which, &c. as, some birds can sing well : few men are truly wise : there are parrots which will talk a hundred things.
Under the general name of universal propositions, we may justly include those that are singular, and for the most part those that are indefinite also.
A singular proposition is when the subject is a sixgular or individual term or idea; as, Descartes was an ingenious philosopher : Sir Isaac Newton has far exceeded all his predecessors : the palace at Hampton Court is a pleasant dwelling: this day is very cold. The subject here must be taken according to the whole of its extension, because being aa indivi. dual it can extend only to one, and it must therefore be regulated by the laws of universal pri positions.
An indefinite proposition is when no note either of universality or particularity is prefixed to a subject, which is in its own nature general : as, a planet is ever changing its place: angels are noble creatures. Now this sort of proposition, especially when it de. scribes the nature of things, is usually counted universal also, and it supposes the subject to be taken in its whole extension : for if there were any planet which did not change its place, or any angel that were not a noble creature, these propositions would Dot be strictly true.
Yet in order to secure us against mistakes in judging of universal, particular, and indefinite propositions, it is necessary to make these following remarks.
1. Concerning universal propositions.
Note 1. Universal terms may either denote a metaphysical, a physical, or a moral universality.
A metaphysical or mathematical universality is when all the particulars contained under any general idea have the same predicate belonging to them without any exception whatsoever; or when the predicate is so essential to the universal subject, that it destroys the very nature of the subject to be without it; a3, all circles have a centre and circumference: all spirits in their own nature are immortal.
A physical or natural universality is when, accord; ing to the order and common course of nature, a predicate agrees to all the subjects of that kind, though there may be some accidental and preternatural exceptions; as, all men use words to express their thoughts, yet dumb persons are excepted, for they cannot speak. All beasts have four feet, yet there máy be some monsters with five; or maimed, who have but three.
A moral universality is when the predicate agrees to the greatest part of the particulars which are contained under the upiversal subject ; as, ali negroes are stupid creatures : all men are governed by affection rather than by reason : all the old Romans loved their country: and the Scripture uses this language when St. Paul tells us the Cretes are always liars.
Now it is evident, that a special or singular conclu. sion cannot be inferred from a moral universality, nor always and infallibly from a physical one, though it may be always inferred from an universality which is metaphysical, without any danger or possibility of a mistake.
Let it be observed also, that usually we make little or no distinction in common language, between a subject that is physically or metaphysically universal.
Note 2. An universal term is sometimes taken col. lectively for all its particular ideas united together, and sometimes distributively, meaning each of them single and alone.
Instances of a collective universal are such as these : all these apples will fill a bushel : all the hours of the night are sufficient for sleep: all the rules of grammar overload the memory. In these propositions it is evident that the predicate belongs not to the individuals separately, but to the whole collective idea; for we cannot affirm the same predicate, if we change the word all into one or every, we cannot say the apple or every apple will full a bushel, &c. Now such a collective idea, when it hecomes the subject of a proposition, ought to be esteemed as one single thing, and this renders the proposition singular or indefinite, as we shall shew immediately.
A distributive universal will allow the word all to be changed into every, or into one, and by this means is distinguished from a collective.
Instances of a distributive universal are the most common on every occasion; as, all men are mortal: every man is a sinner, &c. But in this sort of universal there is a distinction to be made, which follows in the next remark.
Note 3. When an universal term is taken distributively, sometimes it includes all the individuals con. tained in its inferior species ; as, when I say every sickness has a tendency to death; I mean every indi. vidual sickness, as well as every kind. But sometimes
it includes no more than merely each species or kind: as when the Evangelist says, Christ healed every disease, or every disease was bealed by Christ; that is, every kind of disease. The first of these logicians cali the distribution of an universal in singula generum, the last is a distribution in genera singulorum. But either of them joined to the subject render a proposition universal.
Note 4. The universality of a subject is often restrained by a part of the predicate; as when we say all men learn isdom by experience ; the universal subject, all men, is limited to signify only, all those men who learn wisdom. The scripture uses this sort of language when it speaks of all men being justified by the righteousness of one, Rom. v. 18. that is, all men who are justified obtain it this way.
Observe bere, that not only a metaphysical or natural, but a moral universality also is oftentimes to be restrained by a part of the predicate; as when we say, all the Dutch are good seamen : all the Italians are subtile politicians; that is, those among the Dutch that are seamen are good seamen ; and those among the Italians who are politicians are subtle politicians, i. e. they are generally so.
Note 5. The universality of a term is many times restrained by the particular time, place, circumstance, &c. or the design of the speaker ; as if we are in the city of London, and say, all the weavers went to present their petitions ; we mean only all the weavers who dwell in the city. So when it is said in the gos. pel, all men did marvel, Mark v. 20. it reaches only to all those men who heard the miracles of our Sa. viour.
Here also it should be observed, that a moral uni. versality is restrained by time, place, and other cir. cumstances, as well as a natural; so that by these means the word all sometimes does not extend to a tenth part of those who at first might seem to be included in that word.
One occasion of these difficulties and ambiguities, that belong to universal propositions, is the common