chapter  2
24 Pages

The Analysis of Language

He was not developing an independent subject for its own sake. He wrote Book I as a preliminary to the arguments and theses which are developed in subsequent Books of the System. In its first chapter, he explains ‘the Necessity of commencing with an analysis of language’. He gives a conventional reason for doing so-logic is ‘a portion of the Art of Thinking’, language the main instrument of thought, so it is sensible to begin with an examination of the instrument and its mode of operation. But he thinks there is another, ‘still more fundamental’ reason ‘why the import of words should be the earliest subject of the logician’s consideration: because without it he cannot examine into the import of propositions’ (VII 20). Later on he remarks that ‘the analysis of the import conveyed’ by propositions ‘is the real subject and purpose of this preliminary book’ (VII 78).