1

We distinguish in order to separate or keep things apart which might otherwise be confounded**.We discriminate with the further view of showing where in their differences consist.** Hence discrimination must always be nice, particular, and exact, dissecting, as it were the things discriminated. distinction maybe exact or not, minute or tough, broad or nice.

I cannot really get what these explanations mean-- I am wondering what the bold parts mean.. Would anyone possibly show me their meaning, especially by some example?

Any help would be appreciated.

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    Please add a source if you can; this sounds kind of dated to my ear, and the period (and context!) might help to clarify what the author is trying to say. – Tiercelet Sep 19 '14 at 16:03
  • I have just extracted it from webester dictionary. That's it. I have no other more information. – nima Sep 19 '14 at 16:49
  • possible duplicate of how to distinguish or discriminate? – snailcar Sep 20 '14 at 11:54
  • Usage note The semantic history of nice is quite varied, as the etymology and the obsolete senses attest, and any attempt to insist on only one of its present senses as correct will not be in keeping with the facts of actual usage. If any criticism is valid, it might be that the word is used too often and has become a cliché lacking the qualities of precision and intensity that are embodied in many of its synonyms. Nevertheless, I personally would say nice = minute, fine, or subtle is "dated", and rarely used today. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 25 '15 at 16:48
1

Nice in this context is senses 3 and 4, which relate to accuracy. The base meaning for these usages is "small" or "fine", so it means "precise" or "able to make precise observations."

We distinguish in order to separate or keep things apart which might otherwise be confounded

This means, We distinguish--i.e. make distinctions (probably with the implication of putting them into words)--in order to avoid mixing up things that could seem similar. Confounded, sense 1.

We discriminate with the further view of showing where in their differences consist.

Where you have "where in" I am assuming you meant "wherein."

"Discriminate" is used in sense 2, "to observe the differences between, distinguish accurately."

"With the further view of" = with the additional goal of

So the whole sentence means "Additionally, we observe the differences between things with the goal of showing precisely where they are different."

minute or tough

"Minute" here is pronounced "my-NEWT", with the emphasis on the second syllable. It's a different word from "minute" (as in 60 seconds). You want sense 3 of the linked definition, which means "small." The contrast is with "tough" which isn't a very exact opposite, though. I would have used "rough" instead.

Either way, the full sentence:

Distinction may be exact or not, minute or tough, broad or nice.

Can be paraphrased as: The distinctions that we describe may be precise or vague, small differences or very large ones, in the broad outlines or in the fine details.

Hope this helps.

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