chapter
18 Pages

Introduction

The necessity that we should begin logic with linguistic discussions has often been acknowledged from the standpoint of a logical technology. ‘Language’, we read in Mill, ‘is evidently one of the principal instruments or helps of thought; and any imperfection in the instrument, or in the mode of employing it, is confessedly liable, still more than in almost any other art, to confuse and impede the process, and destroy all ground of confidence in the result. For a mind not previously versed in the meaning and right use of the various kinds of words, to attempt the study of methods of philosophizing, would be as if some one should attempt to become an astronomical observer, having never learnt to adjust the focal distance of his optical instruments so as to see distinctly.’1 A deeper ground for this necessity of beginning logic with linguistic analysis is, however, seen by Mill in the fact that it would not otherwise be possible to investigate the meaning of propositions, a matter which stands ‘at the threshold’ of logical science itself.