I am still in the early pages, where Newman lays out the forms of propositions, interrogative, conditional, and categorical, corresponding to the ways or modes of holding them: doubt, inference, and assent. On the second page appears the paragraph
No one is likely to deny that a question is distinct both from a conclusion and from an assertion; and an assertion will be found to be equally distinct from a conclusion. For, if we rest our affirmation on arguments, this shows that we are not asserting; and when we assert, we do not argue. An assertion is a distinct from a conclusion, as a word of command is from a persuasion or recommendation. Command and assertion, as such, both of them, in their different ways, dispense with, discard, ignore antecedents of any kind, though antecedents may have been a sine qua non condition of their being elicited. They both carry with them the pretension of being personal acts.The passage recalled a paragraph from Herbert Simon's memoirs, Models of My Life, from his early years teaching at Carnegie Tech (as it then was):
Once when I was auditing [Elliot Dunlap Smith's] class (for a time he hoped that I would understudy him, but ultimately let me go my own way), he made a particularly sweeping statement, then turned to me and asked, "Isn't that so, Professor Simon?" My father had carefully taught me, "Never sign in the presence of the salesman," and I had learned that valuable lesson well, to the point of reflexive response. Recovering from my momentary shock, I quickly replied, "On the whole, it seems reasonable." Smith turned to the class and, his voice dripping with sarcasm, said, "Professor Simon says on the whole it seems reasonable. I tell you it's so."There I think is a good illustration of the difference between the categorical and conditional proposition, and of the personal nature both of assertion and command.