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to the History than to the Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences. They look almost as if our author had forgotten, in his rapid exchange of one subject for another, that he had already done with his History. Thus, in his chapter on the Measures of 'the Secondary Qualities of Matter’ (though the whole of it is very interesting, and we feel, as it were, almost ungrateful in complaining of that which has afforded us so much pleasure), his details are often far beyond the necessities, and indeed the proper limits of his subject.* Lastly, we think that the revision of which we have so often spoken would have done much for the style—would have given it far greater vigor and elegance than it can now make any pretensions to.
It is often cumbrous - loaded with superfluous epithets and needless repetitions, and rendered in many places intolerably heavy (as well as sometimes with difficulty intelligible), by an excessive and almost ostentatious use of scientific terms. It is easy to say that it is impossible to write on a scientific subject without a considerable infusion of scientific technicalities. This of course we fully admit; but we contend that in works of a general nature, not exclusively scientific on some one branch of science, the less such terms are resorted to the better, and that though not to be entirely got rid of, several splendid instances serve to show that their use may be so moderate and subdued, as to occasion little inconvenience.+ We further know that even scientific readers (if we except works on the single branch of science to which they may have addicted themselves are always best pleased with the style which is least cumbered with technicalities. We should have said little on this point, were it not that Professor Whewell has given us in his Bridgewater Treatise (si sic omnia) sufficient proof of his possessing in a considerable degree that Paley-like quality (one of the highest and most brilliant attributes of original genius) of describing scientific facts and processes with precision in familiar and common language, or at all events in language far less tinged with science than many an author would at first sight deem possible.—We have dwelt the longer on these (as we conceive) failings in the execution of the work, because it can hardly fail in due time to pass into a second edition, and we are convinced that it is susceptible of many improvements. We now proceed to give our readers some idea of the multifarious contents of this voluminous work.
* See particularly his illustrations of the progressive improvements of the thermometer.
+ We are aware, indeed, that it is impossible to write on such a subject without assuming in the reader some considerable amount of scientific knowledge ; but while we admit this, we wish to know whether it is wise to assume such a degree of it on sciences by no means universally studied, and in departments of those sciences full of intrinsic difficulty and doubt, as shall enable the general reader to understand the very general and abstract language employed in the following paragraph. It occurs in the chapter entitled the Connexion of Polarities.'
' But since each class of Polar phenomena is thus referred to an ulterior cause, of which we know no more than that it has a polar character, it follows that different polarities may result from the same cause manifesting its polar character under different aspects. Taking, for example, the hypothesis of globular particles, if electricity result from an action dependent upon the poles of each globule, magnetism may depend upon an action in the equator of each globule ; or taking the supposition of transverse vibrations, if polarized light result directly from such vibrations, crystallization may have reference to the axes of the elasticity of the medium by which the vibrations are rendered transverse,—so far as the polar character only of the phenome
mena is to be accounted for. I say this may be so, in so far only as the polar character of the phenomena is concerned; for whether the relation of electricity to magnetism, or of crystalline forces to light, can really be explained by such hypotheses, remains to be determined by the facts themselves. But since the first necessary feature of the hypothesis is, that it shall give polarity, and since an hypothesis which does this may, by its mathematical relations, give polarities of different kinds and in different directions, any two co-existent kinds of polarity may result from the same cause, manifesting itself in various manners. — Vol. i. 344.
We may premise that it necessarily involves the discussion of some of the most interesting subjects of speculation which can engage the human mind. The origin and sources of human knowledge—how far and in what sense it is derived from sense or from intellect, or from the conjoint influence of both,—what are those intellectual processes which are involved in the formation and establishment of every just theory, in other words, what is the
Philosophy of Induction, these-not to mention other inquiries similar to them, must be confessed to be both important and difficult. Not a few, however, both of mathematicians and of physical philosophers would, we apprehend, deride them at once as profitless metaphysics-a name which, in these times at least, is sufficient almost to ruin any study to which it is applied. It is sufficient to discredit such inquiries in the estimation of utilitarians of a certain school, to know that the process of induction, for example, has often been very well performed by those who never had any adequate ideas of the scientific analysis of the process; or that the principle of association is exemplified just as perfectly by the clown as by the philosopher. Nay, we have been told by a writer of our own day of extraordinary power and brilliancy, that even Bacon's exposition of induction itself was of little direct use, inasmuch as it only told men what all had been doing, either consciously or unconsciously, ever since the first day of creation; and this too we are told in spite of Bacon's own protestation that men had not been so doing in the most important instances, but had been almost uniformly doing the contrary, an assertion which the whole melancholy history of physical science up to his time abundantly confirms. For our own part, we shall never cease to think that any intellectual processes, which can be performed with varying degrees of accuracy and precision, as for example those of reasoning or induction, or those involved in education, will be better performed, especially by those who still have to form new habits of mind, in proportion as the LAWS OP MIND, the inevitable conditions on which we must acquire or extend our knowledge, and the limits which nature has imposed upon the exercise of our faculties, are thoroughly understood. And even if it were otherwise, is there not sufficient of intrinsic dignity and interest in the inquiries themselves to vindicate them from contempt and to rescue them from neglect, to say nothing of the fact, that if pursued at a proper age, they constitute one of the most strenuous species of discipline to which the intellect can possibly be subjected, and are in this respect in no way inferior to the study of mathematics themselves ? Seeing that we prosecute the study of so many things from which we expect to reap no immediate practical benefit, impelled solely by that love of knowledge which is one of the noblest and most characteristic prerogatives of a rational nature, may we not most worthily speculate on the operations of mind, and on the sources and foundation of our knowledge itself? What pursuits can be considered sufficiently dignified to stimulate our curiosity and employ our diligence, if these are not?
We think the answer to the question with which we have introduced this citation may be facilitated by Professor Whewell's admission in a subsequent portion of the same chapter. While,' says he,ʻthe ultimate and exact theory to which previous incomplete and transitory theories tended is still so new and so unfamiliar, it must needs be a matter of difficulty and responsibility for a common reader to describe the steps by which truth has advanced from point to point.' Truly if a man of Professor Whewell's scientific knowledge could make this admission, we think the general reader was entitled either to be spared this chapter altogether, or to receive a much fuller explication of the matters of which it treats. Surely it cannot be pretended that the Induc:ive Sciences do not furnish sufficient illustrations of the Philosophy' on which they are all based, without it. Similar remarks apply to other portions of our author's work.
For these reasons we are glad to see Professor Whewell lending his powerful intellect to demolish, and his not less powerful authority to discountenance, those ridiculous and shallow sophistries which would decry the pursuit of such subjects of speculation under the name of unprofitable subtleties. The following passage is so much to the purpose that we cannot refrain from citing it.
• There is one reflection very pointedly suggested by what has been said. The manner in which our scientific ideas acquire their distinct
and ultimate form being such as has been described, -always involving some abstract reasoning and analysis of our own conceptions, often much opposite argumentation and debate ;-how unphilosophical is it to speak of abstraction and analysis, of dispute and controversy, as frivolous and unprofitable processes, by which true science can never be benefited ; and to put such employments in antithesis with the study of facts!
• Yet some writers are accustomed to talk with contempt of all past controversies, and to wonder at the blindness of those who did not at first take the view which was established at last. Such persons forget that it was precisely the controversy which established among speculative men that final doctrine which they themselves have quietly accepted. It is true, they have had no difficulty in adopting the truth; but that has occurred because all dissentient doctrines have been suppressed and forgotten ; and because systems, and books, and language itself, have been accommodated peculiarly to the expression of the accepted truth. To despise those who have, by their mental struggles and conflicts, brought the subject into a condition in which error is almost out of our reach, is to be ungrateful exactly in proportion to the amount of the benefit received. It is as if a child, when its teacher had with many trials and much trouble prepared a telescope so that the vision through it was distinct, should wonder at his stupidity in pushing the tube of the eye-glass out and in so often.
. Again, some persons condemn all that we have here spoken of as the discussion of ideas, terming it metaphysical : and in this spirit, one writer * has spoken of the 'metaphysical period of each science, as preceding the period of positive knowledge. But as we have seen, that process which is here termed metaphysical,'—the analysis of our conceptions and the exposure of their inconsistencies (accompanied with the study of facts),--has always gone on most actively in the most prosperous periods of each science. There is in Galileo, Kepler, Gassendi, and the other fathers of mechanical philosophy, as much of metaphysics as in their adversaries. The main difference is, that the metaphysics is of a better kind ; it is more conformable to metaphysical truth. And the same is the case in other sciences. Nor can it be otherwise. For all truth, before it can be consistent with facts, must be consistent with itself: and although this rule is of undeniable authority, its application is far from easy. The perplexities and ambiguities which arise from our having the same idea presented to us under different aspects, are often difficult to disentangle: and no common acuteness and steadiness of thought must be expended on the task. It would be easy to adduce, from the works of all great discoverers, passages more profoundly metaphysical than any which are to be found in the pages of barren à priori reasoners.'
-Vol. ii. pp. 524-526. Equally to the purpose is Professor Whewell's distinct ac
* M. Auguste Comte, Cours de Philosophie Positive.
knowledgment of his obligations to the metaphysicians of the modern Scotch school, whose writings he has evidently read with considerable attention, and with whose latest and most solid conclusions on a great variety of most important points he evidently coincides. The terms in which he has spoken of them are equally honorable both to himself and to them, and we trust will go far to discredit that unworthy spirit of depreciation with which their writings have too commonly been spoken of by the learned of the English universities. The passage is so gratifying that we shall make no apology for presenting it entire to the reader.
• The necessity of refuting Hume's inferences from the mere-sensation system led other writers to limit, in various ways, their assent to Locke. Especially was this the case with a number of intelligent metaphysicians in Scotland, as Reid, Beattie, Dugald Stewart, and Thomas Brown. Thus Reid asserts,* "that the account which Mr. Locke himself gives of the idea of power cannot be reconciled to his favorite doctrine, that all our simple ideas have their origin from sensation or reflection.' Reid remarks, that our memory and our reason. ing power come in for a share in the origin of this idea : and in speaking of reasoning, he obviously assumes the axiom that every event must have a cause. By succeeding writers of this school, the assumption of the fundamental principles, to which our nature in such cases irresistibly directs us, is more clearly pointed out. Thus Stewart defends the form of expression used by Price. A variety of intuitive judgments might be mentioned, involving simple ideas, which it is impossible to trace to any origin but to the power which enables us to form these judgments. Thus it is surely an intuitive truth that the sensations of which I am conscious, and all those I remember, belong to one and the same being, which I call myself. Here is an intuitive judgment involving the simple idea of identity. In like manner, the changes which I perceive in the universe impress me with a conviction that some cause must have operated to produce them.
Here is an intuitive judgment involving the simple idea of causation. When we consider the adjacent angles made by a straight line standing upon another, and perceive that their sum is equal to two right angles, the judgment we form involves a simple idea of equality. To say, therefore, that the reason or the understanding is a source of new ideas, is not so exceptionable a mode of speaking as has been sometimes supposed. According to Locke, sense furnishes our ideas, and reason pero ceives their agreements and disagreements. But the truth is, that these agreements and disagreements are, in many instances, simple ideas, of which no analysis can be given ; and of which the origin must therefore be referred to reason, according to Locke's own doc
Essays on the Powers of the Human Mind, I. 31.
ť Outlines of Moral Philosophy, p. 138.