Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

infer, not only the particulars already inducted or brought in for examination, but others of which we had no previous knowledge*—to propound this procedure, with rules for conducting it aright, was the object designed and realized in the Novum Organum; and by which Bacon acquired, and so justly merited, the title of founder or Father of Experimental Philosophy.

In giving to this new method the name of Induction,'-an old scholastic term, well known to Plato and his pupil, Aristotle,Bacon was influenced, perhaps, by the consideration that it would induce a more ready reception of his plan; that if the badges of the ancient philosophy were retained, its errors would be sooner abandoned, and that the more readily because there would be no

* See Novum Organum, lib. 1, aph. 19, 82, 103, 104, 105, 106; and see, ante, p. 126,-All true und fruitful natural philosophy,' &c.

nominal change.* To avoid any ambiguity which might arise from the use of an old term in a new sense, Bacon, in various parts of his writings, cautiously distinguishes his Induction from that of Aristotle's; and yet some ardent admirers of the Stagirite, misled, perhaps, by the name, and eager to ascribe to their idol every kind of merit, have confidently asserted, that Bacon's induction is identical with the induction of Aristotle. A more erroneous opinion could not have been hazarded. • It is like confounding,' says Dugald Stewart, the Christian Graces with the Graces of Heathen Mythology.' †

· The induction,' observes Bacon, of which the logicians speak of, and which seemeth familiar with Plato, (whereby the principles of sciences may be pretended to be invented, and so the middle propositions

6

* See, however, Bacon's own observations on this subject.-Works, vol. 2, p. 132, and vol. 9, p. 163.

+ Dugald Stewart's Philosophy, vol. 2, p. 363.

by the derivation from the principles;) their form of induction, I say, is utterly vieious and incompetent: wberein their error is the fouler, because it is the duty of art to perfect and exalt nature; but they contrariwise have wronged, abused, and traduced nature. For to conclude upon an enumeration of particulars without instance contradictory, is no conclusion, but a conjecture; for who can assure,

in

many subjects, upon those particulars which appear of a side, that there are not others on the contrary side which appear not? As if Samuel should have rested upon those sons of Jesse which were brought before him, and failed of David, which was in field. And this form, to say truth, is so gross, as it had not been possible for wits so subtile as have managed these things to have offered it to the world, but that they hasted to their theories and dogmaticals, and were imperious and scornful towards particulars; which their manner was to use but as “ lictores et viatores,” for sarjeants and whifflerst,

"ad summovendam turbam," to make way and make room for their opinions, rather than in their true use and service. Certainly it is a thing,' he adds, 'may touch a man with a religious wonder, to see how the footsteps of seducement are the very same in divine and human truth; for as in divine truth man cannot endure to become as a child, so in human, they reputed the attending the inductions whereof we speak, as if it were a second infancy or childhood.'*

That Bacon has not, in the preceding extract, misrepresented the Induction of Aristotle, appears as well from the Stagi

* Advancement of Learning -Works, vol. 2, pp. 179, 180; and see Novum Organum, lib. 1, aph. 105. Dr. Hampden, in his learned and instructive account of Aristotle's Philosophy, (Ency. Brit., vol. 3, pp. 513, 514,) has attempted to vindicate Aristotle's Induction against the disparagement of it by Bacon, with what success the reader must judge. See Edinburgh Review for April, 1833, art. ix. For some valuable remarks on the inductive process, extracted from the reviewal referred to, see Note (D.)

rite's own words as those of some of his most learned expositors.*

Before we proceed to offer a short sketch of the Novum Organum, there is one remark which ought to be premised. Most arts,' says Dr Reid, have been reduced to rules after they had been brought to a considerable degree of perfection by the natural sagacity of artists, and the rules have been drawn from the best examples of the art that had been before exhibited; but the art of philosophical induction was delineated by lord Bacon in a very ample manner before the world had seen any tolerable example of it. This, although it adds greatly to the merit of the author, must have produced some obscurity in the work, and a defect of proper examples for illustration.'+

* See Dr. Wallis's Institutio Logica, lib. iii. cap. 15, and Dr. Gillies's Analysis of Aristotle's Works, vol. 1, p. 95, commented upon by Dugald Stewart in his Philosopby, vol. 2, pp. 365-370.

† Reid's Analysis of Aristotle's Logic, p. 142.

« ForrigeFortsæt »