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You will begin then either with things or ideas : for it is impossible we should ever thoroughly understand the nature of the signs, unless we first properly consider and arrange the things fignified. Whose fystem of philosophy will you build upon?


What you say is true. And yet I shall not begin there. Hermes, you know, put out the eyes of Argus: and I suspect that he has likewise blinded philosophy : and if I had not imagined so, I should never have cast away a thought upon this fubject. If therefore Philosophy herself has been misled by Language, how shall The teach us to detect his tricks?


Begin then as you please. Only begin.



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You do not mention this, I hope, as something new, or wherein you differ from others ?


You are too hasty with me. No. But I mention it as that principle, which, being kept singly in contemplation, has misled all those who have reasoned on this subject.

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And yet the confining themselves to this true principle, upon which the whole matter rests, has mifled them!


Indeed I think so.


This is curious !


Yet I hope to convince you of it. For thus they reafoned__Words are the signs of things. There must therefore be as many sorts of words, or parts of speech, as there are sorts of things *. The earliest inquirers into language proceeded then to settle how many sorts there

* Distio rerum nota: pro rorum fpaciebus partes gao que fuas forlietur.

J. C. SCALIGER de Causis L. L.


were of things; and from thence how many sorts of words, or parts of speech. Whilst this method of search Nrictly prevailed, the parts of speech were very few in number: but two. At most three, or four,

But there

All things, said they, must have names *. are two forts of things :

I. Res que permanent. 2. Res qua fluunt.

There must therefore be two sorts of words or parts of Speech : viz.

1. Nota rerum quæ permanent.
2. Note rerum quæ fluunt.


Well; but surely there are words which are neither nota rerum permanentium, nor yet nota rerum fluentium. What will you do with them ?-We cannot tell: we can find but these two forts in rerum natura : call therefore those other words, if you will, for the present, particles t,


From this moment Grammar quits the day-light; and plunges into an abyss of utter darkness.

+ A good convenient name for all the words which we do not understand: for as the denomination means nothing in particular, and contains no de



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