§4. Indecomposable Elements 1)


294. I doubt not that readers have been fretting over the ridiculous-seeming phrase »indecomposable element,« which is as Hibernian as »necessary and sufficient condition« (as if »condition« meant no more than concomitant and as [if] needful were not the proper accompaniment of »sufficient"). But I have used it because I do not mean simply element. Logical analysis is not an analysis into existing elements. It is the tracing out of relations between concepts on the assumption that along with each given or found concept is given its negative, and every other relation resulting from a transposition of its correlates. The latter postulate amounts to merely identifying each correlate and distinguishing it from the others without recognizing any serial order among them. Thus to love and to be loved are regarded as the same concept, and not to love is also to be considered as the same concept. The combination of concepts is always by two at a time and consists in indefinitely identifying a subject of the one with a subject of the other, every correlate being regarded as a subject. Then if one concept can be accurately defined as a combination of others, and if these others are not of more complicated structure than the defined concept, then the defined concept is regarded as analyzed into these others. Thus A is grandparent of B, if and only if A is a parent of somebody who is a parent of B, therefore grandparent is analyzed into parent and parent. So stepparent, if taken as not excluding parentage, is analyzed into spouse and parent; and parent-in-law into parent and spouse.

295. These things being premised we may say in primo, there is no a priori reason why there should not be indecomposable elements of the phaneron which are what they are regardless of anything else, each complete in itself; provided, of course, that they be capable of composition. We will call these and all that particularly relates to them Priman. Indeed, it is almost inevitable that there should be such, since there will be compound concepts which do not refer to anything, and it will generally be possible to abstract from the internal construction that makes them compound, whereupon they become indecomposable elements.

296. In secundo, there is no a priori reason why there should not be indecomposable elements which are what they are relatively to a second but independently of any third. Such, for example, is the idea of otherness. We will call such ideas and all that is marked by them Secundan ( i.e., dependent on a second).

297. In tertio there is no a priori reason why there should not be indecomposable elements which are what they are relatively to a second and a third, regardless of any fourth. Such, for example, is the idea of composition. We will call everything marked by being a third or medium of connection, between a first and second anything, tertian.

298. It is a priori impossible that there should be an indecomposable element which is what it is relatively to a second, a third, and a fourth. The obvious reason is that that which combines two will by repetition combine any number.P1) Nothing could be simpler; nothing in philosophy is more important.

299. We find then a priori that there are three categories of undecomposable elements to be expected in the phaneron: those which are simply positive totals, those which involve dependence but not combination, those which involve combination.

Now let us turn to the phaneron and see what we find in fact.


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