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absurdity adjective affix alphabet appear applied arbitrary become called classical composition conjunction connected considered consonants contraction critics Crombie denote dialects difficult distinct double Dugald Stewart employed English established etymology evident excellence expression frequently give given grammar grammarians Greek gutturals hand head Hebrew hence Horne Tooke idea important indicate instances join kind language Latin laws learned letters light manner meaning merely metaphysical mind mode mouth nature necessary never nouns objects Observe origin past perceive person philological philosophic present principles pronounced pronunciation proper properly question reader reason remarks resolvable respecting rhetorical rules seems sense signifying simple sound speak speech spelling style sufficiently supposed taste tense termination theory thing thought tion true truth understanding usage variety verb vowels whole words writing
Page 241 - Seeing then that truth consisteth in the right ordering of names in our affirmations, a man that seeketh precise truth had need to remember what every name he uses stands for, and to place it accordingly, or else he will find himself entangled in words, as a bird in lime twigs, the more he struggles the more belimed.
Page 237 - But when, having passed over the original and composition of our ideas, I began to examine the extent and certainty of our knowledge, I found it had so near a connexion with words, that, unless their force and manner of signification were first well observed, there could be very little said clearly and pertinently concerning knowledge...
Page 237 - But I am apt to imagine, that were the imperfections of language, as the instrument of knowledge, more thoroughly weighed, a great many of the controversies that make such a noise in the world, would of themselves cease ; and the way to knowledge, and perhaps peace, too, lie a great deal opener than it does.
Page 242 - ... tenets: which make those men that take their instruction from the authority of books and not from their own meditation to be as much below the condition of ignorant men as men endued with true science are above it. For between true science and erroneous doctrines ignorance is in the middle.
Page 243 - For words are wise men's counters — they do but reckon by them — but they are the money of fools...
Page 242 - For the errors of definitions multiply themselves according as the reckoning proceeds, and lead men into absurdities, which at last they see, but cannot avoid, without reckoning anew from the beginning, in which lies the foundation of their errors.
Page 242 - ... at last, finding the error visible and not mistrusting their first grounds, know not which way to clear themselves, but spend time in fluttering over their books, as birds that, entering by the chimney and finding themselves inclosed in a chamber, flutter at the false light of a glass window, for want of wit to consider which way they came in.
Page 242 - ... books, as birds that entering by the chimney, and finding themselves enclosed in a chamber, flutter at the false light of a glass window, for want of wit to consider which way they came in. So that in the right definition of names, lies the first use of speech, which is the acquisition of science, and in wrong or no definitions lies the first abuse, from which proceed all false and senseless tenets...
Page 242 - By this it appears how necessary it is for any man that aspires to true knowledge to examine the definitions of former authors ; and either to correct them where they are negligently set down, or to make them himself.