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and blood, and bone. As the former tenet points to the corpuscular theories of modern times, so the latter may be considered as a dim glimpse of the idea of chemical analysis. The Stoics also, who were, especially at a later period, inclined to materialist views, had their technical modes of speaking on such subjects. They asserted that matter contained in itself tendencies or dispositions to certain forms, which dispositions they called lóyou otepuatikoi, seminal proportions, or seminal rea

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Whatever of sound view, or right direction, there might be in the notions which suggested these and other technical expressions, was, in all the schools of philosophy (so far as physics was 'concerned), quenched and overlaid by the predominance of trifling and barren speculations; and by the love of subtilizing and commenting upon the works of earlier writers, instead of attempting to interpret the book of nature. Hence these technical terms served to give fixity and permanence to the traditional dogmas of the sect, but led to no progress of knowledge.

The advances which were made in physical science proceeded, not from these schools of philosophy, (if we except, perhaps, the obligations of the science of Harmonics to the Pythagoreans,) but from reasoners who followed an independent path. The sequel of the ambitious hopes, the vast schemes, the confident undertakings of the philosophers of ancient Greece, was an entire failure in the physical knowledge of which it is our business to trace the history. Yet we are not, on that account, to think slightingly of these early speculators. They were men of extraordinary acuteness, invention, and range of thought; and above all, they had the merit of first completely unfolding the speculative faculty ;-of starting in that keen and vigorous chase of knowledge, out of which all the subsequent culture and improvement of man's intellectual stores have arisen. The sages of early Greece form the heroic age of science. Like the first navigators in their own mythology, they boldly ventured their untried bark in a distant and arduous voyage, urged on by the hopes of a supernatural success; and though they missed the imaginary golden prize which they sought, they unlocked the gates of distant regions, and opened the seas to the keels of the thousands of adventurers, who, in succeeding times, sailed to and fro, to the indefinite increase of the mental treasures of mankind.

But inasmuch as their attempts, in one sense, and at first, failed, we must proceed to offer some account of this failure, and of its nature and causes.





Sect. 1.- Result of the Greek School Philosophy.


HE methods and forms of philosophizing which

we have described as employed by the Greek Schools, failed altogether in their application to physics. No discovery of general laws, no explanation of special phenomena, rewarded the acuteness and boldness of these early students of nature. Astronomy, which made considerable progress during the existence of the sects of Greek philosophers, gained perhaps something by the authority with which Plato taught the supremacy and universality of mathematical rule and order; and the truths of Harmonics, which had probably given rise to the Pythagorean passion for numbers, were cultivated with much care by that school. But after these first impulses, the sciences owed nothing to the philosophical sects; and the vast and complex accumulations and apparatus of the Stagirite do not appear to have led to any theoretical physical truths.

This assertion hardly requires proof, since in the existing body of science there are no doctrines for

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which we are indebted to the Aristotelian School. Real truths, when once established, remain to the end of time a part of the mental treasure of man, and may be discerned through all the additions of later days. But we can point out no physical doctrine now received, of which we trace the anticipation in Aristotle, in the way in which we see the Copernican system anticipated by Aristarchus, the resolution of the heavenly appearances into circular motions suggested by Plato, and the numerical relations of musical intervals ascribed to Pythagoras. But it may be worth while to look at this matter more closely.

Among the works of Aristotle, are thirty-eight chapters of “Problems,” which may serve to exemplify the progress he had really made in the reduction of phenomena to laws and causes. Of these Problems, a large proportion are physiological, and these I here pass by, as not illustrative of the state of physical knowledge. But those which are properly physical are, for the most part, questions concerning such facts and difficulties as it is the peculiar business of theory to explain. Now it may be truly said, that in scarcely any one instance are the answers, which Aristotle gives to his questions, of any value. For the most part, indeed, he propounds his answer with a degree of hesitation or vacillation, which of itself shows the absence of all scientific distinctness of thought; and the opinions so offered never appear to involve any settled or general principle.

We may take, as examples of this, the problems of the simplest kind, where the principles lay nearest at hand,—the mechanical ones. “Why,” he asks', “ do small forces move great weights by means of a lever, when they have thus to move the lever added to the weight? Is it,” he suggests, “because a greater radius moves faster?” “Why does a small wedge split great weights? Is it because the wedge is composed of two opposite levers?" "Why:, when a man rises from a chair, does he bend his leg and his body to acute angles with his thigh? Is it because a right angle is connected with equality and rest ?” “Why can a man throw a stone further

? with a sling than with his hand ? Is it that when he throws with his hand he moves the stone from rest, but when he uses the sling he throws it already in motion ?" Why', if a circle be thrown on the ground, does it first describe a straight line and then a spiral, as it falls? Is it that the air first presses equally on the two sides and supports it, and afterwards presses on one side more?” “Why is it difficult to distinguish a musical note from the octave above? Is it that proportion stands in the place of equality?" It must be allowed that these are very vague and worthless surmises; for even if we were, as some commentators have done, to interpret some of them so as to agree with sound philosophy, we should still be unable to point out, in this author's 1 Mech. Prob. 4. 2 Ib. 18. Περι 'Αψυχα. 11.

Περι Αρμον. 14.



3 Ib. 31.

4 Ib. 13.



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