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Logic book I chapter 3 question - Please help

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    Logic book I chapter 3 question - Please help

    I am having trouble with the concept of signification. Are we classifying terms absolutely or relative to the passages within which the terms occurs? The question arises in my mind because the supposition of a term is always determined relative to the context of the term. Terms are never classified absolutely with respect to their supposition.

    For instance, (from the book), the term "jar" could be absolutely classified as an equivocal term (as it is called in the book). But, within the context of a particular argument, if one uses "jar" twice in exactly the same sense, wouldn't it make sense to speak of the term "jar" being used univocally within the argument?

    Perhaps we need to teach our students to think in both absolute and relative ways. Part of my trouble is that the book doesn't bring up the issue and so it makes me think that I'm not understanding something.

    #2
    Is signification determined absolutely or relatively?

    Weatherhogge,

    I agree with you in one respect, but disagree with you in another. In one sense, the signification of a term is relative, in another it is absolute.

    Remember that signification and supposition are properties of terms, not concepts. In light of this, I would say that both of these classifications--signification and supposition--are absolute in regard to their status as terms, and relative in regard to their role in signifying a concept.

    The fact that we can say that they have a certain type of signification or supposition relies on the fact that the same term can indicate a different concept. The fact that the same term can signify different concepts is the principle of division upon which we can make the distinction between univocal, equivocal, and analogous terms, and between material, logical, and real supposition.

    I think I would disagree with your statement that the classification depends upon the passage within which the term occurs. I think the passage does help you identify whether the term has a different kid of signification or supposition, but it is not necessary, and doesn't determine it.

    The point you make in your example of 'jar' is correct. It does make sense to say that a term is being used univocally within an argument. But this is different from saying that the passage determines the signification. The same argument with the same term (say, 'jar') can be considered univocal or equivocal, depending on the intention of the speaker, etc.

    I have not mentioned all of this in the text because I think it would do more to confuse students than anything else. There is a lot in the book which could do with more explanation and background, but that is for older, more advanced students (or teachers)--such as yourself. It would only confuse the younger ones.

    Thanks for the question, though. It's a good one. I'm always interested in discussing this material more in depth.

    Martin

    Originally posted by weatherhogge
    I am having trouble with the concept of signification. Are we classifying terms absolutely or relative to the passages within which the terms occurs? The question arises in my mind because the supposition of a term is always determined relative to the context of the term. Terms are never classified absolutely with respect to their supposition.

    For instance, (from the book), the term "jar" could be absolutely classified as an equivocal term (as it is called in the book). But, within the context of a particular argument, if one uses "jar" twice in exactly the same sense, wouldn't it make sense to speak of the term "jar" being used univocally within the argument?

    Perhaps we need to teach our students to think in both absolute and relative ways. Part of my trouble is that the book doesn't bring up the issue and so it makes me think that I'm not understanding something.

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      #3
      Martin,

      Again, thank you for answering this with your usual thoroughness and helpfulness.

      I'll have to think about what you've said in order to digest it.

      Scott

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