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facilitate the acquisition of the demonstrations! Had he pursued an opposite course, by expanding each demonstration into a series of syllogisms, where could he have found room for the remaining elementary books of his author?
In one place, Mr. Stewart observes that syllogistic reasoning leads the mind into a direction opposite to that in which its judgments are formed;' and in another place, he confesses that every process of demonstrative reasoning may be resolved into a series of syllogisms. Between these two passages the Quarterly Reviewers think they perceive a miraculous inconsistency, and victoriously ask,-- Does Mr. Stewart then mean to say, that every process of demonstrative reasoning · leads the mind in a direction opposite to that in which its judgments are formed'?' Here it is attempted to add plausibility to an argument by taking advantage of an ambiguity in the word judgment, and by confounding two things together, which it is radically important should be kept separate. When Mr. Stewart remarked that syllogistic reasoning leads the mind in a direction opposite to that in which its judgments are formed, he was speaking of this method of investigation as an organ for the discovery of physical truth; -and in this department of science, who does not know that the mind ascends from individual facts to universal conclusions, instead of descending, by the way of syllogism, from general propositions to particular cases?* On the other hand, when we reason from the hypothetical assumptions of pure mathematics,-since what we must call our judgments are presupposed to have been formed,—the consecutive steps of any demonstration can easily be resolved into a series of syllogisms. Mr. Stewart was, therefore, perfectly consistent in making the two remarks under consideration; and to us it is surprising how the Quarterly Reviewers, (who are always accusing others of inaccurate reasoning,) should have run into the egregious mistake of supposing him in both cases to be speaking of the same science. Indeed, there seems to be a strange propensity in the writer of the article before us, to confound distinctions where there is plainly a difference, and to institute divisions where there is nothing but identity.
* After a judgment has been formed,-or, in other words, after we have established a general proposition,--the mind does, indeed, descend to particular facts; pot, however, by syllogistic reasoning.
To this propensity must be attributed the inaccuracy of which he is guilty, in supposing that judgment is synonymous with the certainty which always accompanies a process of demonstrative reasoning. This error is the less excusable, because the reviewer could hardly have been ignorant of the pains taken by Locke to prevent such a misapplication of words;—devoting a whole chapter to the adjustment of the distinction between the certain knowledge which we attain by demonstration, and the fallible information which is the result of judgment,-a power, he remarks, whereby the mind takes its ideas to agree or disagree; or, which is the same, any proposition to be true or false, without perceiving a demonstrative evidence in the proofs.' Thus we see a wide distinction between demonstration and judgment; the object of the former being absolute certainty,—that of the latter, mere verisimilitude. We are aware that Mr. Stewart has made objections to this . division of Locke's; and we fully agree with him that it supposes an unnecessary multiplication of our intellectual faculties. In so far, however, as the distinction is concerned between judgment and demonstration, the question, whether the former be an act, or a power of the mind, is comparatively unimportant. We think it will not be departing from logical accuracy, or from the diction of our purest writers, to say that judgment differs from demonstration as a part differs from the whole; the former being an individual act of the mind, -as when it deduces a single inference from any proposition,and the latter being a succession of such acts--as when it deduces a series of those inferences.
The Quarterly Reviewers arraign the opinion of Dr. Reid, Mr. Stewart, and others of the same sect, relative to our instinctive belief in the continuance of the laws of nature.'
Hume, after showing the impossibility of our perceiving a necessary connexion between cause and effect, carries what he calls his “sifting humour a little farther, and inquires, By what principle of belief we are led to expect from like causes similar effects; unanswerably proving, too, as we believe, that this expectation is neither the result of reason nor of experience. It is not obtained by reason; for such a process would involve the perception of the necessary efficiency of causes:-it cannot be obtained by experience; for experience, without the intermediation of some other foundation of belief, can only show us how things were in time past,—but can throw no light whatever upon what will be their situation in time to come. Logicians were driven, therefore, to the alternative, either of acquiescing in his sceptical conclusions, or of acknowledging the authority of some instinctive principles of belief overlooked in Locke's essay. This concession, however, is, according to the Quarterly Reviewers, throwing upon Mr. Hume the whole onus probandi of one of the strangest and most untenable paradoxes that ever was started.' To prove this very confident asseveration, they have resort to a passage in Mr. Stewart's first volume, chap. 1, sect. 2;-a passage which they quote in order to convict this philosopher of uttering a silly truism; and which we shall quote for the purpose of showing howan author's meaning may be perverted by considering single passages of his writings segregated from the context.
· The natural bias of the mind,' says Mr. Stewart, is surely to conceive physical events as somehow linked together, and natural substances as possessed of certain powers and virtues which fit them to produce particular effects. That we have no reason to believe this to be the case, has been shown in a very particular manner by Mr. Hume, and by other writers; and must indeed appear evident to every person on a moment's reflection.'
• We certainly agree so far with our author,' say the Quarterly Reviewers, as to admit there is no doubt “a natural
bias in the mind to conceive material substances as possessed of certain powers which fit them to produce particular effects;" that is, to suppose fire as possessing power to burn, and bread to nourish; and truly, were it any other person than Mr. Stewart who is speaking, we should have supposed that he must be facetious, when he tells us that it must appear evident to every person on a moment's reflection' that we have no reason whatever to believe in what would seem to be, at first sight, so very undoubted a fact.'
There can be no greater illiberality of criticism, than that which draws disparaging inferences from a misquotation of language,-no easier way to appear witty, than by misrepresenting another's meaning. When Mr. Stewart observed that there was a natural bias in the mind to conceive physical events as somehow linked together; -in other words, that there is a necessary, indissoluble affinity between cause and effect,-between fire, for instance, and its power to burn, --what is easier than to represent him as simply saying, 'fire will burn, and bread will nourish?! Again, would any person appear facetious,' who should say that there is no reason to believe such a necessary connexion to exist, as must be evident to every person on a moment's reflection? Does it appear evident to every person without any reflection at all? Then indeed every man believes that which, without a moment's consideration, he knows to be untrue! We shall leave it for our readers to decide; who appears the most facetious' in this case, -Mr. Stewart, or his Quarterly critic.
Passing over their verbal criticism upon the word custom, let us see with what success the Quarterly Reviewers have attacked the opinion of Mr. Stewart concerning our instinctive reliance on the permanency of the laws of nature.
. The question as to the foundation of our belief in matters of fact,' say they, 'may be considered under two heads, which, however intimately connected in their principles, are yet distinguishable in themselves: these are why we conclude that the things which now exist will continue to exist in future;* and continuing to exist, why we suppose that they will retain the same properties. Both these questions may be very briefly, and we think very satisfactorily answered. With respect to the first, we may observe that the maxim de nihilo nihil fit, is one which it plainly involves a speculative absurdity to deny. Accordingly, Dr. Reid enumerates among what he calls “the first principles of necessary truths that every thing which had a beginning must have had a cause.' p. 311.
It is however perfectly obvious, that to suppose any thing to be annihilated without a cause, is just as impossible as to conceive its being produced without one; and consequently no such cause being perceived or apprehended, our reason necessarily infers, upon the principles of Dr. Reid himself, that whatever now exists will continue to exist, in some shape or other, until the same Almighty hand that called it into being shall be pleased in like manner to recall it from existence.' Id. p.
To us this does not appear to be a very satisfactory refutation of Mr. Stewart's principles; inasmuch as, being more fully stated, it will be found to contain the very opinion which this philosopher was anxious to establish. For the sake of perspicuity, we will repeat the sentence last quoted in the same words as are used by the Quarterly Reviewers; only inserting in some places enunciations of the same proposition in different forms of phraseology. “It is however perfectly obvious, that to suppose any thing to become annihilated without a cause, is just as impossible as to conceive its being produced without one; and consequently no such cause being perceived or apprehended,'—that is, since we cannot perceive any annihilating cause,ếor, in other words, since we rely upon the continuance of the laws of nature,- our reason necessarily infers, that whatever now exists will continue to exist, in some shape or other, until the same Almighty hand that called it into being shall be pleased in like manner to
• The language here used involves a petitio principii; for to conclude that things will continue to exist, supposes a process of reasoning,--the very point in question.