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to universal laws,-from particular propositions to general ones, and from these to others still more general, with reference to which the former generalizations are particular,—is so far familiar to men's minds, that without here entering into further explanation, its nature will be understood sufficiently to prepare the reader to recognise the exemplifications of such a process, which he will find at every step of our advance.
Inductive Epochs; Preludes; Sequels.-In our history, it is the progress of knowledge only which we have to attend to. This is the main action of our drama; and all the events which do not bear upon this, though they may relate to the cultivation and the cultivators of philosophy, are not a necessary part of our theme. Our narrative will therefore consist mainly of successive steps of generalization, such as have just been mentioned. But among these, we shall find some of eminent and decisive importance, which have more peculiarly influenced the fortunes of physical philosophy, and to which we may consider the rest as subordinate and auxiliary. These primary movements, when the Inductive process, by which science is formed, has been exercised in a more energetic and powerful manner, may be distinguished as the Inductive Epochs of scientific history; and they deserve our more express and pointed notice. They are, for the most part, marked by the great discoveries and the great philosophical names which all civilized na
tions have agreed in admiring. But, when we examine more clearly the history of such discoveries, we find that these epochs have not occurred suddenly and without preparation. They have been preceded by a period, which we may call their Prelude, during which the ideas and facts on which they turned were called into action; were gradually evolved into clearness and connexion, permanency and certainty; till at last the discovery which marks the Epoch, seized and fixed for ever the truth which had till then been obscurely and doubtfully discerned. And again, when this step has been made by the principal discoverers, there may generally be observed another period, which we may call the Sequel of the Epoch, during which the discovery has acquired a more perfect certainty and a more complete developement among the leaders of the advance; has been diffused to the wider throng of the secondary cultivators of such knowledge, and traced into its distant consequences. This is a work, always of time and labour, often of difficulty and conflict. To distribute the History of science into such Epochs, with their Preludes and Sequels, if successfully attempted, must needs make the series and connexion of its occurrences more distinct and intelligible. Such periods form resting-places, where we pause till the dust of the confused march is laid, and the prospect of the path is clear.
Inductive Charts.-Since the advance of science
consists in collecting by induction true general laws from particular facts, and in combining several such laws into one higher generalization, in which they still retain their truth; we might form a Chart, or Table, of the progress of each science, by setting down the particular facts which have thus been combined, so as to form general truths, and by marking the further union of these general truths into others more comprehensive. The Table of the progress of any science would thus resemble the Map of a River, in which the waters from separate sources unite and make rivulets, which again meet with rivulets from other fountains, and thus go on forming by their junction trunks of a higher and higher order. The representation of the state of a science in this form, would necessarily exhibit all the principal doctrines of the science; for each general truth contains the particular truths from which it was derived, and may be followed backwards till we have these before us in their separate state. And the last and most advanced generalization would have, in such a scheme, its proper place and the evidence of its validity. Hence such an Inductive Table of each science would afford a criterion of the correctness of our distribution of the inductive Epochs, by its coincidence with the views of the best judges, as to the substantial contents of the science in question. By forming, therefore, such Inductive Tables of the principal sciences of which I have here to 'speak, and by regulating by these tables, my views
of the history of the sciences, I conceive that I have secured the distribution of my history from material error; for no merely arbitrary division of the events could satisfy such conditions. But though I have constructed such charts to direct the course of the present history, I shall not insert them in the work, reserving them for the illustration of the philosophy of the subject; for to this they more properly belong, being a part of the Logic of Induction.
Stationary Periods.-By the lines of such maps the real advance of science is depicted, and nothing else. But there are several occurrences of other kinds, too interesting and too instructive to be altogether omitted. In order to understand the conditions of the progress of knowledge, we must attend, in some measure, to the failures as well as the successes by which such attempts have been attended. When we reflect during how small a portion of the whole history of human speculations, science has really been, in any marked degree, progressive, we must needs feel some curiosity to know what was doing in these stationary periods; what field could be found which admitted of so wide a deviation, or at least so protracted a wandering. It is highly necessary to our purpose, to describe the baffled enterprises as well as the achievements of human speculation.
Deduction. During a great part of such stationary periods, we shall find that the process which we have spoken of as essential to the formation of
real science, the conjunction of clear ideas with distinct facts, was interrupted; and, in such cases, men dealt with ideas alone. They employed themselves in reasoning from principles, and they arranged, and classified, and analyzed their ideas, so as to make their reasonings satisfy the requisitions of our rational faculties. This process of drawing conclusions from our principles, by rigorous and unimpeachable trains of demonstration, is termed Deduction. In its due place, it is a highly important part of every science; but it has no value when the fundamental principles, on which the whole of the demonstration rests, have not first been obtained by the induction of facts, so as to supply the materials of substantial truth. Without such materials, a series of demonstrations resembles physical science only as a shadow resembles a real object. To give a real significance to our propositions, Induction must provide what Deduction cannot supply. From a pictured hook we can hang only a pictured chain.
Distinction of common Notions and Scientific Ideas. When the notions with which men are conversant in the common course of practical life, which give meaning to their familiar language, and employment to their hourly thoughts, are compared with the Ideas on which exact science is founded, we find that the two classes of intellectual operations have much that is common and much that is different. Without here attempting fully to explain