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Part II, Lesson 2

Elementary Logic Fil. 207 PCUPR Prof. Kathleen Sauder Divisions of the Proposition

Divisions of the Proposition


There are at least five ways to divide the proposition according to types. Some are mentioned here, but will not be studied until later.

According to their Unity


Our minds can conceive different types of unity that can be expressed in the formation of a proposition. This unity can be absolute or relative. A proposition has absolute unity when it signifies that the mind says one thing of another without qualification. Since in this example we are signifying one act of predication, the resulting proposition has absolute unity. What matters is not the complexity of the subject or predicate, but whether one act of predication is intended.

This simple type of proposition is known as the categorical proposition. A proposition has relative unity if it express the union of two or more categorical propositions by means of certain characteristic connective expressions. This type of proposition is known as the compound or hypothetical proposition. It has different parts than the categorical proposition, whose parts are subject, predicate and copula. The parts of the compound proposition are two categorical propositions united by some type of connection. The categorical proposition uses a verb to signify the union of predicate and subject. The hypothetical proposition uses a non-verbal copula. Other examples are if then, either or, and, etc.

According to Quality
This manner of dividing propositions applies only to categorical propositions. This division of propositions gives us affirmative and negative propositions.

A proposition is affirmative if it expresses union of predicate with subject. An affirmative proposition is a sign of the intellectual act of composition. A proposition is negative if it expresses the separation of the predicate from the subject. Yet it isnt quite as simple as looking at the verb to decide whether a proposition is negative, because there are alternate ways to express separation between subject and predicate. In this case, although the no appears with the subject instead of with the verb, its function is to express a denial. To decide whether a proposition is affirmative or negative, then, we need to ask whether the predicate is being affirmed or denied of the subject. It must also be remembered that this consideration of the affirmative or negative quality of a proposition only applies in the case of categorical propositions, since all compound propositions will necessarily be affirmative. The categorical propositions of which they are formed may be negative, but the copulas of compound propositions are always connective. Also, there may be more than one verb even in a categorical proposition, but only one of them can function as the copula.

People who are not friendly are unsociable.


Non-citizens are ineligible to vote.

According to Quantity
The quantity of a proposition refers to the quantity of its subject. The quantity the subject has is the quantity of the proposition as a whole. In Part One, we distinguished between singular and universal. What is singular is not predicable of many.

So a singular proposition is one whose subject is singular, of which we affirm or deny some predicate. When the subject of a proposition is universal, there are three ways we can predicate something of this universal: Negative propositions can also be universal. In this case, we wish to express that a predicate can be denied of the universal nature and also of all its singular members.

2. We can also predicate something of a universal subject particularly. The predicate is said of the subject, but is meant to be limited to only some of the singulars. 3. Finally, we can predicate something of a universal subject without indicating anything about its quantity, that is, indefinitely. Words such as all, none, no, some, this, every, half of, most, any, etc., serve to indicate the quantity of the subject, and thus the quantity of the proposition. To sum up, there are four possible quantities a proposition may have: Universal Particular Indefinite Singular We can analyze all categorical propositions according to both quantity and quality. What happens if we add a not to this proposition? The analysis of propositions requires careful attention to exactly what is being said. This cannot be a merely mechanical or overly hasty examination.

One form that causes difficulties is the sort:

Tips for determining the quantity of propositions

According to their Matter


The Predicables can help us understand the division of propositions according to their matter. If a predicate is said of a subject as a genus, species, specific difference, or property, then this predicate has necessary matter with relation to this subject, because it expresses something that has to do with its essence. Example: When the predicate is an accident of the subject, the proposition has contingent matter. If we attempt to use a predicate that is not a predicable with regard to that subject, the proposition has impossible matter.

5. According to their Mode


A proposition can be simple or modal. In a course on Elementary Logic, we will limit ourselves to simple propositions, only mentioning the existence of modal propositions.

A modal proposition contains some sort of modifier that indicates in what mode the predicate belongs to the subject. There are four modes: necessary, impossible, possible, and contingent. A modal proposition consists of a categorical proposition with the addition of an indicator of its mode. For example, It is necessary that man have a sense of humor. The simple proposition man has a sense of humor has been modified to indicate its mode. The indicators of the other modes are phrases such as it is possible that . . ., it is impossible that . . . or it is contingent that . . .