But if it claims to be admitted as that complete definitio or boundary-line, which results from a thorough exploring of the whole extent of the subject, and is intended to mark the exact place of Political Economy among the sciences, its pretension cannot be allowed. "The science of the laws which regulate the production, distribution, and consumption of wealth."
The soul, quoth I. 'Nay then, said he, 'you answer not like a scholar. Hereupon I endeavoured to prove that it was scholarlike, nay, in such disputes as this, usual and necessary to run in circulum, partly because definitio rei was primum et immediatum principium, and seeing primo non est Prius, a man must of necessity come backward, and partly because definitio and definitum be naturae reciprocae, the one convertible, answering unto the question made upon the other.
Undoubtedly, this is a case which calls for imitation of the wise reserve of moralists and jurists, who warn us against carrying things to extremes, and who advise us to suspect every definition; because there is not one, they say, which cannot be utterly destroyed by developing its disastrous results Omnis definitio in jure civili periculosa est: parum est enim ut non subverti possit.