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Francis Garden - 1878 - Table of contents

Diccionario filosófico
Complete edition

Diccionario de Filosofía
Brief definition of the most important concepts of philosophy.


A Dictionary of English Philosophical Terms Francis Garden

Vocabulary of Philosophy, Psychological, Ethical, Metaphysical
William Fleming

Biografías y semblanzas Biographical references and lives of philosophers

Brief introduction to the thought of Ortega y Gasset

History of Philosophy Summaries

Historia de la Filosofía
Explanation of the thought of the great philosophers; summaries, exercises...

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Jaime Balmes

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Zeferino González

Vidas, opiniones y sentencias de los filósofos más ilustres
Complete digital edition of the work of Diogenes Laertius

Compendio de las vidas de los filósofos antiguos

A brief history of Greek Philosophy
B. C. Burt


A Short History of Philosophy




Subject, Subjective

Subject, Subjective. The word subject, from the Latin subjaceo, is the exact translation of the Greek ὑποκείμενον, and denotes in logic the same thing, that in a proposition of which something else is predicated. It is obvious that there can be no predicate without a subject. I can affirm or deny nothing, except of something.


From subject comes the adjective subjective, which was employed from an early date by the Latin logicians, and gave rise, though apparently not till some time after, to its counterpart objective. I have already stated that these words, so much bandied about in the present day, have had their original and scholastic meaning quite transposed.

With the schoolmen and such divines as Bishop Morton and Mode, in the seventeenth century, subjective meant of or belonging to the subject of a proposition, objective that which is presented to the mind and thought upon. Hence that is subjective which exists in anything outside the mind, objective when thought upon by the mind; and hence an objective presence in the Eucharist was conceded in the controversy with Rome, a subjective presence denied, which is exactly the reverse use of the words as now employed in the same controversy.

The later philosophies of Germany, however, viewing the individual mind as the only subject, have naturally used the word subjective for what has its seat there, and objective for that which is presented to it, or conceived to be so, from without, and by subjective and objective people nowadays respectively mean inward and mental, or external and perceived.(1)

Whichever meanings we prefer, it will be well, I think, to confine our use of these words to philosophical reasoning. In such they are convenient, if not indispensable. When we are discoursing on subjects and objects as such, we may well avail ourselves of the paronyms subjective and objective. But outside the schools they are unnecessary, and to my mind ugly, words; and as used at present serve no purpose that could not just as well be achieved by mental and external.


(1) Neither Sir W. Hamilton nor his editor Dean Mansel seem to have observed this. The former speaks of the use of subject for the subject of a proposition, an ὑποκέιμενον in external things, as a departure from scholastic usage (Metaph. vol. I. p. 162). Nor did either Trendelenburg or Prantl, though known to him, lead his editor to notice the error.



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