in mode and figure

09:12 Apr 23, 2005
This question was closed without grading. Reason: No acceptable answer

English to English translations [PRO]
Science - Philosophy / logic
English term or phrase: in mode and figure
They do not, for instance, intend for a moment to imply that there is even the shadow of a doubt that Great Britain is an island, but they think we ought to know, if we do not know, that there is no proof of the fact, ***in mode and figure,*** equal to the proof of a proposition of Euclid; and that in consequence they and we are all bound to suspend our judgment about such a fact, though it be in an infinitesimal degree, lest we should seem not to love truth for truth's sake.

The text is from Newman's "Grammar of Assent". I just could not understand the expression in asterisks.

Thank you.
Vassyl Trylis
Local time: 19:52

Summary of answers provided
4if the premises be/are true
Ali Beikian
3 +1a priori
1 +1An expansion of Dr. Rampone's answer (not for grading)
Robert Donahue (X)

Discussion entries: 4



1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
if the premises be/are true

if the premises be/are true

Ali Beikian
Local time: 20:22
Native speaker of: Native in Persian (Farsi)Persian (Farsi), Native in Farsi (Persian)Farsi (Persian)
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13 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 1/5Answerer confidence 1/5 peer agreement (net): +1
An expansion of Dr. Rampone's answer (not for grading)

First off, the definition of a syllogism;

syl·lo·gism n. 1. Logic. A form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion; for example, All human beings are mortal, the major premise, I am a human being, the minor premise, therefore, I am mortal, the conclusion. 2. Reasoning from the general to the specific; deduction. 3. A subtle or specious piece of reasoning.

Next, priori;

A priori is a Latin phrase meaning "from the former" or less literally "before experience". In much of the modern Western tradition, the term a priori is considered to mean propositional knowledge that can be had without, or "prior to", experience. It is usually contrasted with a posteriori knowledge meaning "after experience", which requires experience instead of propositions.

For those within the mainstream of the tradition, mathematics, logic and praxeology (the general science of human action, of which economics is the most-widely known branch) are generally considered a priori disciplines. Statements such as "2 + 2 = 4", for example, are considered to be "a priori", because they are thought to come out of reflection alone.

The natural and social sciences are usually considered a posteriori disciplines. Statements like "The sky is usually mostly blue", for instance, might be considered "a posteriori" knowledge.

A priori and a posteriori in terms of constructed languages are specific jargon: the latter means that a conlang is explicitly based in whole or in part upon existing languages (for instance, Esperanto), whereas the former indicates that it is completely invented and based only upon the desires of the creator (for instance, Klingon).

Note added at 13 hrs 27 mins (2005-04-23 22:39:21 GMT)

proof n. Abbr. prf. 1. The evidence or argument that compels the mind to accept an assertion as true.

Robert Donahue (X)
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  giogi: Unfortunately we are behind a keybord!!!!Thanks
9 hrs
  -> It's my pleasure.
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
a priori

typical of syllogism: the form of a syllogism with respect to the relative position of the middle term.
I think that here it means that "Great Britain is an island" it is not a kind of "a priori concept" that is demonstrable through Logics and its principles , but it depends on experience and therfore induction.

Note added at 22 hrs 53 mins (2005-04-24 08:05:48 GMT)

Maybe I can be more precise.
\"it is not possible to base the fact that Great Britain is an island on a logical argument\".
In logical arguments (ie. syllogism) we have premises that must necessarily be true for the whole argument to held.
Example :
\"There is no largest prime number. (Euclid)
Suppose there was a largest prime number; call it N. Then there are only finitely many prime numbers, because each has to be between 1 and N. Let\'s call those prime numbers a, b, c, ..., N. Then consider this number:
M = a * b * c * ... * N + 1
Is this new number M a prime number? We could check for divisibility:
M is not divisible by a, because M / a = b * c * ... * N + 1 / a
M is not divisible by b, because M / b = a * c * ... * N + 1 / b
M is not divisible by c, because M / c = a * b * ... * N + 1 / c
Hence, M is not divisible by a, b, c, ..., N. Since these are all possible prime numbers, M is not divisible by any prime number, and therefore M is not divisible by any number. That means that M is also a prime number. But clearly M > N, which is impossible, because N was supposed to be the largest possible prime number. Therefore, our assumption is wrong, and thus there is no largest prime number.\"
As you see in the demonstration there are premises and if these premises are not true...ooops the proof doesn\'t held.

So, again \"a priori\" means that you can\'t justify logically the fact that G.B. is an island (where are the logical premises?)
So you need to base your evidenceon an \"a posteriori\" reasoning that is...based on experience so inductive.

there is no proof of the fact, ***in mode and figure,*** ...
there is no *a priori* proof.
Have a nice weekend!

Note added at 23 hrs 33 mins (2005-04-24 08:45:54 GMT)

Talkin Turkey... \"a priori\"(deductive) is anything immutable and not perfectible,
\"a posteriori\" (inductive) is anything that, being based on experience, is mutable and perfectible.

Local time: 17:52
Native speaker of: Native in ItalianItalian

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Robert Donahue (X)
11 hrs
  -> thanks a lot!
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