The Berean Expositor
Volume 23 - Page 193 of 207
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The fact "noun" and "name", "life" and "vital" are essentially identical is sufficient to
render the definitions valueless:--
"A definition must not be negative where it can be affirmative" (Jevons).
The importance of all this to the student of Scripture, the teacher and preacher,
requires, we trust, no further emphasis. Before any article of our faith can be clearly
believed by ourselves, or made known to others, it must be thrown into the form of a
proposition that either affirms or denies some attribute of the subject. How can we affirm
or deny if we use our terms loosely? What an incentive, therefore, to go to the Scriptures
and seek true definitions that shall be neither too wide or too narrow; that shall be
reciprocal, grammatical and unambiguous. Surely every reader will feel a desire to be
able thus to complete the following affirmations: God is . . . . . Faith is . . . . . Sin is . . . . .
Justification is . . . . . Sanctification is . . . . ., etc. To do so is to have taken a great step
toward that understanding which Scripture itself places so highly.
pp. 88 - 90
We have now run over the chief elements that go to compose a proposition. Logic,
strictly speaking, is occupied with proof, not assertion, but in these articles we are free to
consider any and all aspects of the question as to what constitutes a valid argument.
Many a time the error does not lie in the mode of reasoning, but in the proposition itself
and, therefore, before proceeding to give some idea of the syllogism, and its use in
arriving at a "proof", we will bring together in this article one or two somewhat axiomatic
notes concerning assertions or propositions.
An assertion has reference to facts contained in a proposition. A proof discriminates
between true and false propositions. Assertion, moreover, cannot be separated from the
kindred study of the meaning of words, definitions, and the like:--
"Every proposition asserts that some given subject does or does not possess some
attribute, or that some attribute is or is not (either in all, or in some portion, of the subject
in which it is met with) conjoined with some other attribute."
Let us now review the four different kinds of propositions. The first form is called the
"contrary". Its formula is one of the following. Either "All A is B" or "No A is B". It is
obvious that the two propositions cannot both be true, and we therefore would do well to
remember the axiom.
Contrary propositions may both be false. They cannot both be true. While the first
item, "contrary propositions may be false", is obvious, it is necessary to be on one's
guard, for a false reasoning sometimes assumes that while contrary propositions