Imágenes de páginas

actual effects, (and of course it embraces these, since it embraces every possible effect,) that it is employed by Edwards. It would be true in mathematics, that every circle must possess certain properties, though no circle were in existence; yet it would be strange to imagine, that we could not reason from such a definition to any actually existent circle, when we have already admitted that it applies to every possible circle. It is as a fact, that Edwards submits his great postulate to his opponents; a fact which, if they deny, they must deny at the peril of being driven to concessions far more appalling than the admission of the doctrine of philosophical necessity. Now such propositions, being intended to apply to actual existence, and not merely affirmed to be hypothetically true, (although they are hypothetically true,) may certainly be conjoined with propositions respecting mere matter of fact, (as for instance facts connected with the physiology of the mind,) and the deductive processes of reasonings founded on such propositions, be in no degree vitiated by such conjunction.

• This charge of unsound reasoning, therefore, cannot for a moment be sustained by the mere fact, which is all upon which the Essayist has thought proper to rest it ; that Edwards employs “abstract propositions,” and “ facts connected with the physiology of the mind," as conjoint elements of his ratiocination. This charge cannot be sustained, because Edwards never employs any “abstract principles," in the absurd way the Essayist imputes to him, but always with a reference to actual existences. By saying, therefore, that there is such a conjunction of different propositions, (which is all he does say,) the Essayist proves no reasoning of Edwards's to be unsound: his duty clearly was, to have pointed out the particular instances in which such propositions are fallaciously conjoined.' pp. xxxviii-xxxix.

We have now laid before our readers, as impartially as we could, the whole case between the Author of the - Natural History of Enthusiasm ”, in his Introductory Essay to the Freedom of the Will, and the Writer of the present Essay on the Genius and Writings of Edwards. It will not be expected that we should pronounce a judgement, for the reason already assigned. But we are quite sure that those readers who take an interest in such discussions, will be not a little pleased with the acute and chivalrous effort made by the Author of the present Essay to rescue the logical reputation of Edwards from the hand of a writer who has attained no mean eminence with the better informed and better disciplined of the reading public. We must be allowed, however, to express our surprise and regret that Mr. Rogers should have been betrayed into the occasional use of certain phrases which savour of contempt and scorn,—feelings neither justifiable nor creditable in reference to an author of so high and well-earned a celebrity: we mean such as the following,

elaborate obscurity', 'rabid fury', 'absurdity', &c. These phrases, however, we are happy to say, are exceptions to the ordinary phraseology of the Author, which is not other than fair and respectful. They no doubt escaped his pen in the haste and VOL. XII.N.S.


[ocr errors]

heat of composition, and subsequently eluded that revision to which they ought to have been subjected.

Having now endeavoured to discharge the more delicate part of our duty, in respect to that portion of Mr. Rogers's Essay in which he appears to be at issue both with ourselves and with the Author of the “Natural History of Enthusiasm", it only remains for us to say, that his further remarks upon the writings of Edwards are highly valuable. We could wish that those upon Edwards's Dissertation on the Nature of Virtue had been considerably extended. Right views upon that subject are, we hope, beginning to prevail; but it is encumbered with much confusion and verbiage, and greatly requires the vigour and distinctness of our ablest metaphysicians and divines to place it in a just and clear light. Upon the whole, Mr. R. has done admirably; and the value of this edition of Edwards's works is considerably enhanced by his Essay.

Art. II. An Essay towards an Easy and Useful System of Logic.

By Robert Blakey. 12mo. pp. 170. London, 1834. THERE is a perverseness in human nature which is ever

leading it to extremes of error. When men once become prejudiced against each other's views and systems, there is no distance, within the given limits, to which they may not be found receding. Of this there are abundant examples in all those branches of human inquiry which have admitted the possibility of difference in opinion. Natural philosophy, medicine, che, mistry, and, occasionally, even pure mathematics, have exhibited these repellent qualities; but they have found the widest range in theology, morals, politics, and the whole philosophy of human nature. Witness Pelagianism, and Supra-lapsarian Calvinism; the self-determining power of the Libertarians, and the fatalism of the most exclusive school of the high Necessarians; despotic toryism, and destructive radicalism; the pride of ecclesiastical domination that towered above the thrones of princes, demanding their servile homage, and the low democracy that would pronounce a Christian minister the mere chairman of the Church, with no vote, and no utterance of his own. Incidit in Scyllam qui vult evitare Charybdim.

Philosophy was anciently divided into Logic, Ethics, and Physics. Among these, logic had the precedence, being regarded as the grand instrument of all science. Indeed, nothing could exceed the estimation in which it was held, till the revival of learning introduced an entire revolution among the various branches of human knowledge. During the middle ages, the youthful aspirant after learning had no sooner entered the schools, than he was taught to gird on the dialectic armour, and to be prepared, like the hero of Cervantes, to attack, indiscriminately, whatever opponent he might encounter. Victory, rather than truth, was the goal after which these logical knight-errants panted, with all the eagerness of the Roman charioteer. They went about from place to place, in quest of new fields on which to display their prowess: they challenged every body, on any subject, and on either side of the question. The celebrated controversy between the Nominalists and the Realists, was often carried on with so much violence as to interfere with the public peace. The Nominalist contended that there is nothing general but names, while the Realist maintained that the names of genera and species had real archetypes, distinct from all the individuals of the class. Both parties were undoubtedly wrong, as each overlooked the fact, that we give names to our ideas of the relations which objects bear to each other. To us, however, it appears ridiculous enough, that such a question should give rise to conflicts more serious than a mere war of words. Ludovicus Vives thus speaks of these disputes : 'I have seen the combatants, after 'having exhausted their stock of verbal abuse, proceed to blows; “nor was it uncommon, in these quarrels about metaphysical terms and ideas, which neither party understood, to witness the combatants first employing their fists, then their clubs, and

finally their swords; by which many were wounded and some • killed.'

Of these seraphic,'' redoubtable,' perspicuous,' and certainly most resolute' doctors, (so were they styled by their admiring disciples,) the chief instrument was Logic; until, being found, as seems often to have been the case, of too ethereal a nature to make a downright impression on flesh and blood, the more substantial and corporal weapons above alluded to were seized in its

No epithet of eulogy, no extravagance of praise was accounted too expressive to be bestowed on this universal engine of learning, this great Dagon of all the schools. The syllogism was said to be the noblest and most useful invention ever produced ' by man; the universal organ of science; the eye of intellect;

and, like the sun, the light of the world. One eulogist of the dialectic art was not content to compare it with the orb of day; he strenuously asserted its superiority to that glorious luminary !

Utque supra Æthereos Sol aureus emicat ignes,

Sic inter artes prominet hæc Logica :
Quid ? Logica superat Solem ; Sol namque diurno

Tempore dat lucem, nocte sed hancce negat.
At Logicæ Sidus nunquam occidit; istud in ipsis

Tum tenebris splendet, quam redeunte die.'
The utmost exaggerations of prose, as well as the figures of

[ocr errors]




[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

poetry, seem to have been exhausted, in order to dignify and recommend this grand and absorbing pursuit of the middle ages. It was said to be, ars artium, scientia scientiarum, organum organorum, instrumentum instrumentorum, ancilla, clavis, testa, murus philosophie, docendi discendique magistra, veri

falsique disceptatrix et judex.? Aristotle, the great patron of Dialectics, was extolled in language the most extravagant that was ever lavished on mortal man. Father Pardies avowed, · Que si, dans sa physique, il a parlé en homme, dans sa mo'rale il a parlé en Dieu ; qu'il y a sujet de douter si, dans ses morales, il tient plus du jurisconsulte que du prêtre; plus du prêtre, que du prophete; plus du prophete que de Dieu! And Averrois seriously informs us, that Nature was

not altogether complete till Aristotle was born'; and that in him she received the finishing stroke, and could advance no further'!!

Many of the subjects that formed the materials on which the art of logic was exercised, were as extraordinary as the praises that were so freely bestowed on the science itself, and on its teachers and masters. It was gravely disputed, ' whether angels could see in the dark; whether they could pass from one place to another without passing through the intermediate space'; ' how many angels could hang on the point of a needle'; not to mention a variety of other theses equally learned and edifying.

It is no wonder that the deserved ridicule which an improved state of human knowledge, and a more accurate estimate of the limits of human inquiry, poured upon these absurd and useless vagaries, should, by a re-action not uncommon in the operations of the mind, be somewhat hastily transferred to every thing connected with them; and that the abuse of the syllogistic art should at once become identified with its very existence. Laborious thought and close discrimination are not palatable occupations to the multitude, even of writers on philosophy; and it is a far easier task to sweep away a profound and intricate system, at one blow, along with the rubbish that had for ages incrusted and pervaded it, than to engage in the pains-taking, and sometimes not very popular, labour of separating the precious from the vile.

Many of the modern decriers of Logic have evidently attached exceedingly vague notions even to the meaning of the term. It has usually been confounded with the general philosophy of the human mind, and has been supposed to lay a kind of claim to the whole domain of the mental faculties. Logic, however, is, in strictness, but one branch of the philosophy of mind, and has an immediate and exclusive reference to the process of reasoning. It is nothing more nor less than the analysis of nature, -an in

[ocr errors]

is none.

vestigation of what really takes place in every instance of correct ratiocination. As an art, it furnishes rules to which all correct reasoning may be ultimately reduced. The idea which is entertained by some writers, that there are essentially different kinds of reasoning, is absurd. The only difference is in the topics: in the connection between the premises and the conclusion, there

The process is precisely the same, whether the materials of the reasoning be mathematical, or theological, or physiological, or of any other kind. To suppose that logical reasoning differs from other reasoning, is a vulgar error. The rudest peasant may reason logically without knowing it, and always does so when he reasons correctly ; just as he must speak according to the rules of grammar, when he speaks correctly, though he may never have formally learned the English tongue. To say that logic is futile, is to say that nature is futile, for it is the analysis of the process of nature, of which mind and its attributes are a part. To say that it is useless, is to say that the investigation of truth is useless; and to say that men may and often do reason well without logic, and therefore that it does not require to be studied, is the same thing as saying, that men may and do sometimes speak well without having learned grammar and studied composition.

Whoever wishes to see the whole question relating to the nature and claims of Logic, its use and abuse, the arguments of its impugners, and its practical bearing, fully discussed, will do well to peruse carefully the excellent work of Archbishop Whately, which has just reached the fifth edition. Not that we mean to attach our unqualified assent to every part of that meritorious production. We think Dr. Whately has succeeded less on “Terms and Propositions” than on other subjects. In his account of the “ Predicables," he has deviated from the most celebrated treatises on the Aristotelian logic, and we cannot felicitate him on the alteration. Our remarks apply chiefly to the last three predicables, differentia, proprium, and accidens, of which we think a much clearer and more consistent account may be found in Du Trieu, Crackanthorp, Bugerdicius, and others, than is given by Dr. Whately. His book, however, as a whole, is excellent. His Analytical Outline” of the science, contained in the former part of his volume, clearly upholds the universal element of all reasoning, denominated by Aristotle, to nata Tavtos n undevos naTnyogelobal, and is a very happy attempt to facilitate the learner's progress, by pointing out to him in what manner the system must have arisen in the mind of its author, thus preparing the learner for the synthetical compendium which follows. The remaining parts of Whately's book are equally deserving of attention.

But we must now address ourselves to Mr. Blakey's book,

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »