What Say You

Hello, everyone,

The following is from Faith & Reason Edited by Paul Helm, Chapter 59: David Hume,  Analogies  and  Disanalogies 

1. "And what say you to the discoveries in anatomy, chemistry, botany?"

2. "Secondly, you have no reason, on your theory, for ascribing perfection to the Deity, even in his finite capacity; or for supposing him free from every error,
mistake, or incoherence, in his undertakings. "

I don't understand the structure of the text in bold face in '1'. Can someone please help me?

Why is there a comma after incoherence in '2'?

If '2' is a case of change of punctuation rules over time, then a 'yes' will do for an answer.

Thanks.

PS: I find the quotation related functionality a little less convincing than it was in the previous platform, and I think something should be done about it. Does anyone agree?  

 

 

Original Post

Hi, Ahmad: Both quotations are originally from David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, published in 1776.

ahmad posted:
2. "Secondly, you have no reason, on your theory, for ascribing perfection to the Deity, even in his finite capacity; or for supposing him free from every error,

mistake, or incoherence, in his undertakings. "

Like the authors of the amendment of the U.S. Constitution which we looked at recently, Hume was not following twenty-first century comma conventions. Today it would be incorrect to use the comma after "incoherence." But that doesn't mean David Hume mispunctuated the sentence. Again, three centuries ago, things were different.

ahmad posted:

1. "And what say you to the discoveries in anatomy, chemistry, botany?"

[. . .]

I don't understand the structure of the text in bold face in '1'. Can someone please help me?

Once upon a time, "do"-support was not used in forming questions in English. This was the case, for example, during the Old English period and much of the Middle English period. By the Early Modern English period, during which time Hume was writing, "do"-support was sometimes used, and sometimes not. In the King James Bible, we find Christ saying things like "Whom seek ye?" instead of "Whom do you seek?" Shakespeare often didn't use do-support, either. "What say you to this?" is simply "What do you say to this?" without "do"-support. "What say you?" is a question that is still used to this day by people who wish to affect an archaic tone. It has become something of a set phrase. People in today's world who say "What say you?" do not also say things like "Where went he?," "How do you?," etc.

ahmad posted:

PS: I find the quotation related functionality a little less convincing than it was in the previous platform, and I think something should be done about it. Does anyone agree? 

I have quoted you three times in this post. Do you find my quotations "less convincing" than they would have been on the previous platform?

 
I have quoted you three times in this post. Do you find my quotations "less convincing" than they would have been on the previous platform?
 

Thank you very much for the explanations. Replying with a quote is as fine as it was back in the day, but when a new post is started one must resort to options appearing under the"Format Dropdown Menu". And they surely are not as great as they were earlier.

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