asked for is true.
At the same time it is plain that a question of the form 'what is
it?' is not a dialectical question, for a dialectical questioner
must by the form of his question give his opponent the chance of
announcing one of two alternatives, whichever he wishes. He must
therefore put the question into a more definite form, and inquire,
e.g.. whether man has such and such a characteristic or not.
Some combinations of predicates are such that the separate
predicates unite to form a single predicate. Let us consider under
what conditions this is and is not possible. We may either state in
two separate propositions that man is an animal and that man is a
biped, or we may combine the two, and state that man is an animal with
two feet. Similarly we may use 'man' and 'white' as separate
predicates, or unite them into one. Yet if a man is a shoemaker and is
also good, we cannot construct a composite proposition and say that he
is a good shoemaker. For if, whenever two separate predicates truly
belong to a subject, it follows that the predicate resulting from
their combination also truly belongs to the subject, many absurd
results ensue. For instance, a man is man and white. Therefore, if
predicates may always be combined, he is a white man. Again, if the
predicate 'white' belongs to him, then the combination of that
predicate with the former composite predicate will be permissible.
Thus it will be right to say that he is a white man so on
indefinitely. Or, again, we may combine the predicates 'musical',
'white', and 'walking', and these may be combined many times.
Similarly we may say that Socrates is Socrates and a man, and that
therefore he is the man Socrates, or that Socrates is a man and a
biped, and that therefore he is a two-footed man. Thus it is
manifest that if man states unconditionally that predicates can always
be combined, many absurd consequences ensue.
We will now explain what ought to be laid down.
Those predicates, and terms forming the subject of predication,