Single Idea 17239

[catalogued under 2. Reason / D. Definition / 5. Genus and Differentia]

Full Idea

The definition is nothing but a resolution of the name into its most universal parts; ...definitions of this kind always consist of genus and difference; the former names being all, till the last, general; and the last of all, difference.

Gist of Idea

Definition is resolution of names into successive genera, and finally the difference


Thomas Hobbes (De Corpore (Elements, First Section) [1655], 1.6.14)

Book Reference

Hobbes,Thomas: 'Metaphysical Writings', ed/tr. Calkins,Mary Whiton [Open Court 1905], p.34

A Reaction

This is basically the scholastic Aristotelian view of definition. Note that Hobbes explicitly denies that the last step of the definition is general in character.