propositions as have in them either truth or falsity. Thus a prayer is
a sentence, but is neither true nor false.
Let us therefore dismiss all other types of sentence but the
proposition, for this last concerns our present inquiry, whereas the
investigation of the others belongs rather to the study of rhetoric or
The first class of simple propositions is the simple affirmation,
the next, the simple denial; all others are only one by conjunction.
Every proposition must contain a verb or the tense of a verb. The
phrase which defines the species 'man', if no verb in present, past,
or future time be added, is not a proposition. It may be asked how the
expression 'a footed animal with two feet' can be called single; for
it is not the circumstance that the words follow in unbroken
succession that effects the unity. This inquiry, however, finds its
place in an investigation foreign to that before us.
We call those propositions single which indicate a single fact, or
the conjunction of the parts of which results in unity: those
propositions, on the other hand, are separate and many in number,
which indicate many facts, or whose parts have no conjunction.
Let us, moreover, consent to call a noun or a verb an expression
only, and not a proposition, since it is not possible for a man to
speak in this way when he is expressing something, in such a way as to
make a statement, whether his utterance is an answer to a question
or an act of his own initiation.
To return: of propositions one kind is simple, i.e. that which
asserts or denies something of something, the other composite, i.e.
that which is compounded of simple propositions. A simple
proposition is a statement, with meaning, as to the presence of
something in a subject or its absence, in the present, past, or