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which, for convenience of reference, is here repeated:
"In our treatment of the subject, the several fallacies will be illustrated almost exclusively by examples taken from current theories of Politics and Morality. Our examples will therefore consist, not of mere trivialities, such as are so commonly used in works on Logic, but of fallacies that, in perverting moral and political theory and in corrupting practice, have dominated, and still continue to dominate, the fortunes of the world. They come to us, therefore, as veterans in the army of what Hobbes calls the Kingdom of Darkness,' crowned with the laurels of victory" (§ 13).
Among these theories there are two fruitful, above all others, in examples of logical fallacy - namely, the modern doctrine of Absolute Sovereignty, and the Utilitarian Theory of Morality; the former of which may be expressed in the proposition that Sovereignty is, in its essential nature, an absolute power, and, as such, unsusceptible either of limitation or division"; the latter, in the proposition that "General Utility is the true and only standard of justice and injustice, and of right and wrong generally." Most of our examples will be taken from these theories; and these, and other current theories used for the same purpose, will be found not only to serve as the
most effective means of illustrating the nature of the several fallacies involved, but also to enable us to perceive the frequent use and formidable influence of fallacy upon political and moral speculation, and to realize how disastrously and commonly the most vital affairs of mankind are thus affected.
NON-SIGNIFICANCE, OR NONSENSE-FALLACY
8133. The nature of this fallacy is explained under Rule I. of the Rules of Logic. The fallacy is of two kinds; namely, (1) where a term is used that has an impossible or absurd meaning or no meaning at all-which constitutes the Fallacy of Nonsense in the narrower sense of the term; and (2) where an ambiguous term is used without definition-which is called the Fallacy of Confusion. But, logically, the two kinds are of essentially the same nature, and hence are classed together under the general head of Non-significance or Nonsense. For the purpose of illustrating their nature, they will, however, be considered separately.
1. The Fallacy of Nonsense'
134. In dealing with concrete matters, it is difficult to use nonsensical speech without 1 According to Hobbes (cited supra, § 128, n.), all fallacies, in their ultimate analysis, may be reduced to this head.
discovering it; and hence the kind of nonsense to which the term is colloquially applied is generally of an obvious and transparent character. But when we come to deal with abstract terms, or terms of second intention, such as are constantly used in Morality, Politics, and Metaphysics, the case is quite different. For here not only are we liable constantly to use nonsensical or non-significant terms, but it often requires the most searching and difficult analysis to discover that we have done so. the nonsense of which we are to discourse is something very different from the nonsense of colloquial speech; which is generally so obvious that only foolish people can fall into it, or, at least, persist in it. It is a kind of nonsense that constantly imposes itself upon the most eminent statesmen, jurists and philosophers, and even upon the most acute logicians. Το escape it altogether a man must be endowed with more than mortal sagacity, and hence the fallacy may be illustrated by examples from the writings of the most eminent men.
$135. SOVEREIGNTY.-The most striking example of this fallacy is presented by the modern doctrine of Absolute Sovereignty (8 132), a doctrine almost universally received by modern political writers, and which (with an
exception, to be touched upon under the next head) has contributed more than any other cause to the corruption of political philosophy and practice. This will require some explanation.
The term Sovereign, in its original and proper sense, denoted merely a single ruler or monarch, and Sovereignty, the power of this monarch. But in modern times the application of these terms has been much extended, and the latter term is now used in many different ways; of which four may be distinguished, namely: (1) Personal Sovereignty, or the power of an absolute monarch otherwise known as "the Divine Right of Kings"; (2) Corporate Sovereignty, or the Sovereignty of the government, whether monarchic, aristocratic, democratic, or mixed; (3) Popular Sovereignty, or the Sovereignty of the state or people; and (4) The Sovereignty of Right or the Law.' To which may be added as many other senses as abstractions can be imagined for the purpose-as, e. g., the Sovereignty of Reason, or, in a theocracy, the Sovereignty of God. All these different
1 This expression originated with Aristotle: "Moreover, he who bids the law to be supreme, makes God supreme; but he who trusts man with supreme power gives it to a wild beast, for such his appetites often make him; passion, too, influences those who are in power, even the very best of men; for which reason the law is intellect free from passion."-Politics, iii., xvi.