Notes on definition

Why seek definition?

1.) Definition is a statement of what a thing is. To the extent that our discourse about something is not grounded in definition, we literally don’t know what we are talking about.

2.) Definition is the first principle of demonstration. But if defintion is sought as a principle, it is sought in a sense for its fecundity since it gives birth to all that is known of a thing. In fact, definition contains all that is known of a thing.

3.) Defintion is at the summit of intellect, and intellect is the highest power in human knowing- higher and more pure than reason. Intellect simply knows without needing proof.

4.) Attention to definition knits us most closely to the wisdom of the ancients. Defintion is the main goal of the Socratic method, and the principle of Aristotle’s science.

5.) Confusions about the relations between arious sciences and arts: politics, modern science, theology, history, all involve confusions about how various subjects are defined. Until we define sciences correctly, we will not be able to mark off the limits of one from another, or the relations of one and another.

6.) Definition is indispensible to understanding divine science. It is proper to the divine scinces to use logic in a more direct way than any other science.

7.) What is outside of definition, is in some way outside of essence, so if we do not demonstrate from definition our arguments would seem to turn on the accidental.

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