This will puzzle you a little, I expect. Evidently you must put a red counter SOMEWHERE in the x-half of the cupboard, since you know there are SOME new Cakes. But you must not put it into the LEFT-HAND compartment, since you do not know them to be NICE: nor may you put it into the RIGHT-HAND one, since you do not know them to be NOT-NICE.

What, then, are you to do? I think the best way out of the difficulty is to place the red counter ON THE DIVISION-LINE between the xy-compartment and the xy'-compartment. This I shall represent (as I always put '1' where you are to put a red counter) by the diagram


                      -----------
                     |     |     |
                     |    -1-    |
                     |     |     |
                      -----------

Our ingenious American cousins have invented a phrase to express the position of a man who wants to join one or the other of two parties--such as their two parties 'Democrats' and 'Republicans'--but can't make up his mind WHICH. Such a man is said to be "sitting on the fence." Now that is exactly the position of the red counter you have just placed on the division-line. He likes the look of No. 5, and he likes the look of No. 6, and he doesn't know WHICH to jump down into. So there he sits astride, silly fellow, dangling his legs, one on each side of the fence!

Now I am going to give you a much harder one to make out. What does this mean?


                      -----------
                     |     |     |
                     |  1  |  0  |
                     |     |     |
                      -----------

This is clearly a DOUBLE Proposition. It tells us not only that "some x are y," but also the "no x are NOT y." Hence the result is "ALL x are y," i.e. "all new Cakes are nice", which is the last of the three Propositions at the head of this Section.

We see, then, that the Universal Proposition

"All new Cakes are nice"

consists of TWO Propositions taken together, namely,

"Some new Cakes are nice," and "No new Cakes are not-nice."

In the same way


                      -----------
                     |     |     |
                     |  0  |  1  |
                     |     |     |
                      -----------

would mean "all x are y' ", that is,

"All new Cakes are not-nice."

Now what would you make of such a Proposition as "The Cake you have given me is nice"? Is it Particular or Universal?

"Particular, of course," you readily reply. "One single Cake is hardly worth calling 'some,' even."

No, my dear impulsive Reader, it is 'Universal'. Remember that, few as they are (and I grant you they couldn't well be fewer), they are (or rather 'it is') ALL that you have given me! Thus, if (leaving 'red' out of the question) I divide my Universe of Cakes into two classes--the Cakes you have given me (to which I assign the upper half of the cupboard), and those you HAVEN'T given me (which are to go below)--I find the lower half fairly full, and the upper one as nearly as possible empty. And then, when I am told to put an upright division into each half, keeping the NICE Cakes to the left, and the NOT-NICE ones to the right, I begin by carefully collecting ALL the Cakes you have given me (saying to myself, from time to time, "Generous creature! How shall I ever repay such kindness?"), and piling them up in the left-hand compartment. AND IT DOESN'T TAKE LONG TO DO IT!

Here is another Universal Proposition for you. "Barzillai Beckalegg is an honest man." That means "ALL the Barzillai Beckaleggs, that I am now considering, are honest men." (You think I invented that name, now don't you? But I didn't. It's on a carrier's cart, somewhere down in Cornwall.)

This kind of Universal Proposition (where the Subject is a single Thing) is called an 'INDIVIDUAL' Proposition.

Now let us take "NICE Cakes" as the Subject of Proposition: that is, let us fix our thoughts on the LEFT-HAND half of the cupboard, where all the Cakes have attribute y, that is, "nice."


                                            -----
  Suppose we find it marked like this:--   |     |
                                           |  1  |
  What would that tell us?                 |     |
                                            -----
                                           |     |
                                           |     |
                                           |     |
                                            -----

I hope that it is not necessary, after explaining the HORIZONTAL oblong so fully, to spend much time over the UPRIGHT one. I hope you will see, for yourself, that this means "some y are x", that is,

"Some nice Cakes are new."

"But," you will say, "we have had this case before. You put a red counter into No. 5, and you told us it meant 'some new Cakes are nice'; and NOW you tell us that it means 'some NICE Cakes are NEW'! Can it mean BOTH?"

The Game of Logic Page 05

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