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having sensation; for sensation has to do with particulars.”

In another place, after stating that principles must be prior to, and better known than conclusions, he distinguishes such principles into absolutely prior, and prior relative to us; “The prior principles, relative to us, are those which are nearer to the sensation ; but the principles absolutely prior are those which are more remote from the sensation. The most general principles are the more remote, the more particular are nearer. neral principles which are necessary to knowledge are axioms." We

may add to these passages, that in which he gives an account of the way in which Leucippus was led to the doctrine of atoms. After describing the opinions of some earlier philosophers, he says!!;

Thus, proceeding in violation of sensation, and disregarding it, because, as they held, they must follow reason, some came to the conclusion that the universe was one, and infinite, and at rest. As it appeared, however, that though this ought to be by reasoning, it would go near to madness to hold such opinions in practice, (for no one was ever so mad as to think fire and ice to be one,) Leucippus, therefore, pursued a line of reasoning which was in accordance with sensation, and which was not irreconcileable with the production and decay, the motion and multitude of things.” It is obvious that the school to 13 Anal. Post. i. 2.

14 De Gen. et Cor. i. 8.

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which Leucippus belonged (the Eclectic) must have been, at least in its origin, strongly impressed with the necessity of bringing its theories into harmony with the observed course of nature.

2. Nor was this recognition of the fundamental value of experience a mere profession. The Greek philosophy did, in its beginning, proceed upon observation. Indeed it is obvious that the principles which it adopted were, in the first place, assumed in order to account for some classes of facts, however imperfectly they might answer their purpose. The principle of things seeking their own places, was invented in order to account for the falling and floating of bodies. Again, Aristotle says, that heat is that which brings together things of the same kind, cold is that which brings together things whether of the same or of different kinds: it is plain that in this instance he intended by his principle to explain some obvious facts, as the freezing of moist substances, and the separation of heterogeneous things by fusion; for, as he adds, if fire brings together things which are akin, it will separate those which are not akin. It would be easy to illustrate the remark further, but its truth is evident from the nature of the case; for no principles could be accepted for a moment, which were the result of an arbitrary caprice of the mind, and which were not in some measure plausible, and apparently confirmed by facts.

But the works of Aristotle show, in another way,

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how unjust it would be to accuse him of disregarding facts. Many large treatises of his consist almost entirely of collections of facts, as for instance, those “On Colours,” “On Sounds,” and the collection of Problems to which we have already referred; to say nothing of the numerous collection of facts bearing on natural history and physiology, which form a great portion of his works, and are even now treasuries of information. A moment's reflection will convince us that the physical sciences of our own times, for example, mechanics and hydrostatics, are founded almost entirely upon facts with which the ancients were as familiar as we are. The defect of their philosophy, therefore, wherever it may lie, exists neither in the speculative depreciation of the value of facts, nor in the practical neglect of their use.

3. Nor again, should we hit upon the truth, if we were to say that Aristotle and other ancient philosophers, did indeed collect facts; but that they took no steps in classifying and comparing them; and that thus they failed to obtain from them any general knowledge. For, in reality, the treatises of Aristotle which we have mentioned, are as remarkable for the power of classifying and systematizing which they exhibit, as for the industry shown in the accumulation. But it is not classification of facts merely which can lead us to knowledge, except we adopt that special arrangement, which, in each case, brings into view the principles of the subject. We may easily show how unprofitable an arbitrary or random classification is, however orderly and systematic it may be.

For instance, for a long period all unusual fiery appearances in the sky were classed together as meteors. Comets, shooting-stars, and globes of fire, and the aurora borealis in all its forms, were thus grouped together, and classifications of considerable extent and minuteness were proposed with reference to these objects. But this classification was of a mixed and arbitrary kind. Figure, colour, motion, duration, were all combined as characters, and the imagination lent its aid, transforming these striking appearances into fiery swords and spears, bears and dragons, armies and chariots. The facts so classified were, notwithstanding, worthless; and would not have been one jot the less so, had they and their classes been ten times as numerous as they were. No rule or law that would stand the test of observation was or could be thus discovered. Such classifications have, therefore, long been neglected and forgotten. Even the ancient descriptions of these objects of curiosity are unintelligible, or unworthy of trust, because the spectators had no steady conception of the usual order of such phenomena. For, however much we may fear to be misled by preconceived opinions, the caprices of imagination distort our impressions far more than the anticipations of reason. In this case men had, indeed we may say with regard to many of these meteors, they still have, no science: not for want of facts, nor even for

want of classification of facts; but because the classification was one in which no real principle was contained.

4. Since, as we have said before, two things are requisite to science,-Facts and Ideas; and since, as we have seen, Facts were not wanting in the physical speculations of the ancients, we are naturally led to ask, Were they then deficient in Ideas ? Was there a want among them of mental activity, and logical connexion of thought? But it is so obvious that the answer to this inquiry must be in the negative, that we need not dwell upon it. No one who knows anything of the history of the ancient Greek mind, can question, that in acuteness, in ingenuity, in the power of close and distinct reasoning, they have never been surpassed. The common opinion, which considers the defect of their philosophical character to reside rather in the exclusive activity of such qualities, than in the absence of them, is at least so far just.

5. We come back again, therefore, to the question, What was the radical and fatal defect in the physical speculations of the Greek philosophical schools?

To this I answer: The defect was, that though they had in their possession Facts and Ideas, the Ideas were not distinct and appropriate to the Facts (D).

The peculiar characteristics of scientific ideas, which I have endeavoured to express by speaking

G

VOL. I.

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