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man has ideas clear and distinct in his thoughts, nor that he observes the agreement or disagreement of some of them; but he must think in train, and observe the dependence of his thoughts and reasonings upon one another. And to express well such methodical and rational thoughts, he must have words to show what connexion, restriction, distinction, opposition, emphasis, &c. he gives to each respective part of his discourse. To mistake in any of these, is to puzzle, instead of informing his hearer; and therefore it is that those words which are not truly by themselves the names of any ideas, are of such constant and indispensable use in language, and do much contribute to men's well expressing themselves.
§ 3. This part of grammar has been perThey show what rela- haps as much neglected, as some others tion the over-diligently cultivated. It is easy for men mind gives to write, one after another, of cases and to its own thoughts.
genders, moods and tenses, gerunds and su
pines : in these, and the like, there has been great diligence used; and particles themselves, in some languages, have been, with great show of exactness, ranked into their several orders. But though prepositions and conjunctions, &c. are names well known in grammar, and the particles contained under them carefully ranked into their distinct subdivisions; yet he who would show the right use of particles, and what significancy and force they have, must take a little more pains, enter into his own thoughts, and observe nicely the several postures of his mind in discoursing.
4. Neither is it enough, for the explaining of these words, to render them, as is usual in dictionaries, by words of another tongue which come nearest to their signification ; for what is meant by them is commonly as hard to be understood in one, as another language. They are all marks of some action, or intimation of the mind; and therefore to understand them rightly, the several views, postures, stands, turns, limitations, and exceptions, and several other thoughts of the mind, for which we have either none, or very deficient names, are diligently to be studied. Of these there is a great va
riety, much exceeding the number of particles that most languages have to express them by; and therefore it is not to be wondered that most of these particles have divers, and sometimes almost opposite significations. In the Hebrew tongue there is a particle consisting of but one single letter, of which there are reckoned up, as I remember, seventy, I am sure above fifty several significations. 5. But is a particle, none more fa
Instance in miliar in our language; and he that says it
But. is a discretive conjunction, and that it answers sed in Latin, or mais in French, thinks he has sufficiently explained it. But it seems to me to inti. mate several relations the mind gives to the several propositions or parts of them, which it joins by this monosyllable.
First, “ but to say no more:” here it intimates a stop of the mind in the course it was going, before it came quite to the end of it.
Secondly, “I saw but two plants :" here it shows, that the mind limits the sense to what is expressed, with a negation of all other.
Thirdly, “ you pray ; but it is not that God would bring you to the true religion.' Fourthly, “but that he would confirm
your The first of these Buts intimates a supposition in the mind of something otherwise than it should be; the latter shows, that the mind makes a direct opposition between that, and what goes before it. Fifthly, “
“ all animals have sense ; but a dog is an animal :” here it signifies little more, but that the latter proposition is joined to the former, as the minor of a syllogism. 6. To these, I doubt not, might be
This matter added a great many other significations of but lightly this particle, if it were my business to ex- touched mine it in its full latitude, and consider it here. in all the places it is to be found: which if one should do, I doubt, whether in all those manners it is made use of, it would deserve the title of discretive, which grammarians give to it. But I intend not here a full
explication of this sort of signs. The instances I have given in this one, may give occasion to reflect on their use and force in language, and lead us into the contemplation of several actions of our minds in discoursing, which it has found a way to intimate to others by these particles; some whereof constantly, and others in certain constructions, have the sense of a whole sentence contained in them.
Of Abstract and Concrete Terms.
$1. THE ordinary words of language, Abstract
and our common use of them, would have predicable given, us light into the nature of our ideas, one of an
if they had been but considered with attenother, and
tion. The mind, as has been shown, has a why.
power to abstract its ideas, and so they become essences, general essences, whereby the sorts of things are distinguished. Now each abstract idea being distinct, so that of any two the one can never be the other, the mind will, by its intuitive knowledge, perceive their difference; and therefore in
propositions no two whole ideas can ever be affirmed one of another. This we see in the common use of language, which permits not any two abstract words, or names of abstract ideas, to be affirmed one of another. For how near of kin soever they may seem to be, and how certain soever it is, that man is an animal, or rational, or white, yet every one at first hearing perceives the falsehood of · these propositions; humanity is animality, or rationality, or whiteness : and this is as evident, as any of the most allowed maxims. All our affirmations then are only inconcrete, which is the affirming, not one abstract idea to be another, but one abstract idea to be joined to another; which abstract ideas, in substances, may be of any sort; in all the rest, are little else but of relations ;
and in substances, the most frequent are of powers; v.g. “a man is white,” signifies, that the thing that has the essence of a man, has also in it the essence of whiteness, which is nothing but a power to produce the idea of whiteness in one, whose eyes can discover ordinary objects: or “a man is rational,” signifies that the same thing that hath the essence of a man, hath also in it the essence of rationality, i. e. a power of reasoning.
§ 2. This distinction of names shows us They show also the difference of our ideas : for if we the differobserve them, we shall find that our simple ence of our ideas have all abstract, as well as concrete
ideas. names; the one whereof is (to speak the language of grammarians) a substantive, the other an adjective; as whiteness, white, sweetness, sweet. The like also holds in our ideas of modes and relations; as justice, just; equality, equal ; only with this difference, that some of the concrete names of relations, amongst men chiefly, are substantives; as paternitas, pater ; whereof it were easy to render a reason. But as to our ideas of substances, we have very few oi no abstract names at all. For though the schools have introduced animalitas, humanitas, corporietas, and some others; yet they hold no proportion with that infinite number of names of substances, to which they never were ridiculous enough to attempt the coining of abstract ones: and those few that the schools forged, and put into the mouths of their scholars, could never yet get admittance into common use, or obtain the licence of public approbation. Which seems to me at least to intimate the confession of all mankind, that they have no ideas of the real essences of substances, since they have not names for such ideas : which no doubt they would have had, had not their consciousness to themselves of their ignorance of them kept them from so idle an attempt. And therefore though they had ideas enough to distinguish gold from a stone, and metal from wood; yet they but timorously ventured on such terms, as aurietas and saxietas, metallietas and lignietas, or the like names, which should pretend to signify the real essences of those substances, whereof they knew they had no ideas, And indeed it was only the doctrine of substantial forms, and the confidence of mistaken pretenders to a knowledge that they had not, which first coined, and then introduced ani. malitas, and humanitas, and the like; which yet went very little farther than their own schools, and could never get to be current amongst understanding men. Indeed, humanitas was a word familiar amongst the Romans, but in a far different sense, and stood not for the abstract essence of any substance; but was the abstracted name of a mode, and its concrete humanus, not homo.
§ 1. FROM what has been said in the used for re- foregoing chapters, it is easy to perceive cording and what imperfection there is in language, and communi
how the very nature of words makes it alcating our thoughts.
most unavoidable for many of them to be
doubtful and uncertain in their significations. To examine the perfection or imperfection of words, it is necessary first to consider their use and end : for as they are more or less fitted to attain that, so they are more or less perfect. We have, in the former part of this discourse, often upon occasion mentioned a double use of words.
First, one for the recording of our own thoughts.
Secondly, the other for the communicating of our thoughts to others.
Ñ 2. As to the first of these, for the reAny words will serve for cording our own thoughts for the help of recording
our own memories, whereby, as it were, we
talk to ourselves, any words will serve the turn. For since sounds are voluntary and indifferent signs of any ideas, a man may use what words he pleases, to signify his own ideas to himself: and there will be no imperfection in them, if he constantly use the same