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On Interpratation   

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,

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