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fore not in the least perplexed to account for the offence which he has given to the writer in the Quarterly Review. That Aristotle's works (to use the language of Mr. Stewart himself) have of late fallen into general neglect, is a common subject of complaint among his idolaters.'—And is it to be wondered at, indeed, if men are stirred up to some sort of resistance, when those principles which have, from early education, struck deep into all their habits of thinking, are torn up by the very roots? If any thing should be a legitimate source of wonder, it is, that the logical writings of Aristotle should have so long retained mankind in intellectual bondage.
That the logic of Aristotle, considered merely as an object of literary curiosity, is properly introduced into the routine of academical studies, we have no disposition to deny; and indeed Mr. Stewart has, more than once, observed that a cursory acquaintance with the syllogistic art is rightly considered as a necessary accomplishment in a liberal education. , On this point, therefore, we fully agree with the Quarterly Reviewers. But that the object of syllogistic reasoning is “precisely analogous to that which any other science proposes,' and that the study of all sciences is barely an object of curiosity,' we can by no means admit. The practical inutility of syllogizing has been so often proved, that a repetition of the reasoning employed for the purpose would be altogether superfluous; and the only excuse we can possibly assign for making a knowledge of the art a part of liberal education, is, that it has so long predominated over the intellects of some of our most subtle philosophers, and has so completely incorporated itself with our best systems of education;-the same reason which, with a little variation, is to be given for the avidity with which we read descriptions of the labyrinth of Crete, or of the pyramids of Egypt.-Far different, however, is the case with respect to the other sciences. The specific uses to which these are respectively subservient, it would be idle to enumerate here;—and is it, indeed, to be disputed, at this stage of scientific improvement, whether the sciences are,
or are not, a subject of curiosity merely? If the question is, to be discussed, we will leave it to those who may entertain doubts on the subject.
The comparison which the Quarterty Reviewers institute between the visionary extravagances of the alchymists and the futile logic of the school-men, is, in our opinion, very unhappily introduced; inasmuch as it militates against the very position they wish to establish, and is, indeed, the best analogy which could be employed against the study of the Aristotelian system. For if the dreams of the alchymists are now universally abandoned for the substantial pursuits of modern chymistry,-how much more necessary is it, to quit the occupation of disputatious syllogizers, and betake ourselves to the legitimate employment of the human mind, the inductive logic of lord Bacon! The truth is, the very object of that class of writers to which Mr. Stewart belongs, is to effect, as far as possible, in the philosophy of the human mind, what has already been effected in the department of chymistry.
But the Quarterly Reviewers have not rested the importance of studying the syllogistic science (as they would have us call it) upon the analogy which it bears to chymistry only. Natural philosophy and taste are, according to them, on precisely the same footing as the logical system of Aristotle. The analogy which they suppose to subsist be:ween the art of syllogizing ar:d the science of natural philosophy, is expressed, without qualification, in the following sentence:-" To argue that the science (silicet, of syllogism) is itself a mockery and an imposture, merely because it may be possible to reason as well without a knowledge of it, as with it, (admitting the fact), presupposes a principle against which Mr. Stewart's own pursuits are by no means secure, and which in other respects seems to be just about as reasonable, as to underrate the discovery which Newton made of the laws of gravitation, because, whether we know these laws, or know them not, bodies will continue just as certainly to fall, and the planets just as regularly to describe their appointed orbits.” In this passage the
writer has taken for granted the very point about which there can be much dispute, to wit, that the mind in all its reasoning does actually proceed in the way of syllogism, through all its variations of mode and figure, just as uniformly as a stone falls to the ground, or a planet revolves in its orbit;-a petitio principii of very extraordinary compass; embracing not only the certainty of the art to which it refers, but placing it, in point of importance, upon a level with the sublime, and expansive study of natural philosophy.–We grant the possibility of resolving any demonstration (of Euclid's, for example) into a series of syllogisms of one kind or another; but that the mind, in prosecuting a demonstration, ever did perform the resolution in question, we cannot admit. To assert that the mind, in such a case goes through this circuitous reasoning, is about equivalent to saying, that in walking to a certain distance we absolutely step on every inch of the ground we pass over. The very reason, we apprehend, which led to the application of the word step to the successive stages of the inductive process, was an anxiety to represent the real manner in which the mind is employed, -not as touching upon every minute point which might lie in its way,--but as proceeding from one important footstep to another, without regarding the intermediate ground. Our meaning will, perhaps, be better expressed in the language of Virgil:
-longæ Ambages; sed summa sequar fastigia rerum. If the foregoing observations be just, they completely destroy the analogy which the Quarterly Reviewers pretend to have discovered between the natural philosophy of Newton and the syllogistic SCIENCE' of Aristotle.-But waving the consideration of analogies, (which, as Mr. Stewart somewhere justly remarks, are better calculated to confute each other, than to evince the truth), let us see how the Quarterly Re. viewers have invalidated the objections against the efficacy of syllogism considered as an organ of discovery in the various departments of science.
The first remark which I have to offer,” says Mr. Stewart, “ upon Aristotle's demonstrations, is, that they proceed on the obviously false supposition of its being possible to add to the conclusiveness and authority of demonstrative evidence. To which the Quarterly Reviewers make the following reply. “ This objection Mr. Stewart expatiates upon at much length: it would, however, have been much more satisfactory, had our author exerted his ingenuity, rather in proving the fact which he states, than in demonstrating its absurdity. The former," (they proceed), “ which is every thing but certain, Mr. Stewart, however, is pleased to take for granted; while by an error exactly analagous to that of which he accuses Aristotle, he goes on to demonstrate, through we know not how many pages, an opinion which assuredly no person will contest with him." These remarks are closely followed up by others in the same strain. It is curious to observe the extravagances into which a writer may be led by starting from a misconception of fact. One would suppose, after reading this commentary on Mr. Stewart, that the Quarterly Reviewers not only knew not how many pages' he had written, but were strangely ignorant of their contents also. Does not Mr. Stewart inform us as plainly as our language will permit, that it is to the fact alone, and not to its falsity, thai his observations are directed?-Would he have laboured through we know not how many pages' to establish the absurdity of a proposition, which, in the very enunciation of his design, he pronounced to be "OBVIOUSLY FALSE'? He who reads Mr. Stewart's discussion on this subject with a moderate share of attention, and no candour at all, cannot but perceive, that he is not exerting his ingenuity to prove an incontestible proposition, but to establish as a matter of fact, that the demonstrations of Aristotle [do] proceed on the obviously false supposition,' &c.-Surely the Quarterly Reviewers have indulged themselves in a latitude of censure on this point, which, however it may accord with their code of criticism, has no manner of foundation in the conduct of Mr. Stewart.-That writer has indeed employed about three pages in some preparatory remarks on the nature of demonstrative evidence, as contradistinguished from that which is called probable; and in removing objections to his argument which some might suppose to be legitimately drawn from the divers methods which different mathematicians frequently employ to demonstrate the same theorem. No person, however, could be much fatigued with this discussion; and the number of pages through which it extends would not baffle the notation even of an Indian with the common compliment of fingers.
From a subsequent passage, we derive some corroborative evidence that the Quarterly Reviewers had not perused Mr. Stewart's book with sufficient attention. When we demonstrate any particular arithmetical truth,' say they, - by putting it into a general form, it is not that we mean to demonstrate the truth of a particular truth, but merely to show that it is a particular case of a general theorem.' We are not aware,' they continue, “that the demonstrations of Aristotle suppose any other design than this of algebra; if Mr. Stewart could show to the contrary, we must regret that he did not think proper to do so, either by general arguments, or by quoting from Aristotle,' &c.-In the analogy here introduced between the art of algebra and the art of syllogism, they have,--apparently without the least idea that Mr. Stewart had touched upon the subject,-fallen into a course of reasoning which had been before adopted by Dr. Gillies, and which is formally considered in one of the notes subjoined to this volume. Mr. Stewart there observes, that the analogy in question amounts to little more than this, that. in both cases, the alphabet happens to be employed as a substitute for common language.'—Considered in one point of view, the arts we are now speaking of, are placed in the most palpable contrast; inasmuch as Algebra is by all confessed to be only a method of contraction, and even the Quarterly Reviewers have told us that the office of syllogism is only that of • espansion.' When professor Playfair cast the propositions of the fisth book of Euclid into the algebraic form, how wonderfully did he abridge the operation, and