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On Interpratation   




An affirmation is the statement of a fact with regard to a

subject, and this subject is either a noun or that which has no

name; the subject and predicate in an affirmation must each denote a

single thing. I have already explained' what is meant by a noun and by

that which has no name; for I stated that the expression 'not-man' was

not a noun, in the proper sense of the word, but an indefinite noun,

denoting as it does in a certain sense a single thing. Similarly the

expression 'does not enjoy health' is not a verb proper, but an

indefinite verb. Every affirmation, then, and every denial, will

consist of a noun and a verb, either definite or indefinite.

There can be no affirmation or denial without a verb; for the

expressions 'is', 'will be', 'was', 'is coming to be', and the like

are verbs according to our definition, since besides their specific

meaning they convey the notion of time. Thus the primary affirmation

and denial are 'as follows: 'man is', 'man is not'. Next to these,

there are the propositions: 'not-man is', 'not-man is not'. Again we

have the propositions: 'every man is, 'every man is not', 'all that is

not-man is', 'all that is not-man is not'. The same classification

holds good with regard to such periods of time as lie outside the

present.

When the verb 'is' is used as a third element in the sentence, there

can be positive and negative propositions of two sorts. Thus in the

sentence 'man is just' the verb 'is' is used as a third element,

call it verb or noun, which you will. Four propositions, therefore,

instead of two can be formed with these materials. Two of the four, as

regards their affirmation and denial, correspond in their logical

sequence with the propositions which deal with a condition of

privation; the other two do not correspond with these.

I mean that the verb 'is' is added either to the term 'just' or to

the term 'not-just', and two negative propositions are formed in the

same way. Thus we have the four propositions. Reference to the

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