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that wise and cautious prudence in the application to particular phenomena, of general formulas of reasoning, which are so perceptible in the works of the master, were very soon neglected by the disciples, who, finding themselves in possession of a mode of research which seemed to them to promise an infallible correctness in the results obtained, were led, by their very admiration for the genius of Aristotle, to leave out of sight his prudent reserve in the employment of his method. The synthetic mode of reasoning flatters the pride of human intellect by causing the truths discovered to appear the conquest made by its unassisted powers; and the great part played in the investigation by those powers renders the method peculiarly susceptible of that kind of corruption which arises from over-subtlety and the vain employment of words. Nor must we leave out of account the deteriorating influence of the various nations and epochs through which the ancient deductive philosophy had been handed down from the time of Aristotle himself till the days of Bacon, when its uselessness for the attainment of truth had become so apparent that a great reform was inevitable — had been indeed inevitable from a much more remote period. The acute, disputatious spirit of the Greek character had already from the very first commenced that tendency towards vain word-catching which was still further accelerated in the schools of the Lower Empire. It was from the schools of the Lower Empire that the Orientals received the philosophical system already corrupted, and the mystical and over-subtle genius of the Jewish and Arabian speculators added new elements of decay. It was in this state that the doctrines were received among the monastic speculators of the Middle Ages, and to the additional errors arising from the abstract and excessive refinements of the cloister were added those proceeding from the unfortunate alliance between the philosophical system of the Schools and the authority of the Church. The solidarity established between the orthodoxy of the Vatican and the methods of philosophy was indirectly as fatal to the authority of the one as ruinous to the value of the other. In this unhallowed union between physical science and dogmatic theology, the Church, by its arrogation to itself of the character of infallibility, put it out of its own power ever to recognize as false any opinion that it had once recognized as true; and theology being in its essence a stationary science, while philosophy is as inevitably a progressive one, the discordance between the two ill-matched members of the union speedily struck the one with impotence and destroyed the influence of the other. Independently, too, of the sources of corruption which I have been endeavoring to point out, the Aristotelian method of investigation, even in its pure and normal state, had been always obnoxious to the charge of infertility, and of being essentially stationary and unprogressive. The ultimate aim and object of its speculations were, by the attainment of abstract truth, to exercise, purify, and elevate the human faculties, and to carry the mind higher and higher towards a contemplation of the Supreme Good and the Supreme Beauty: the investigation of nature was merely a means to this end. Practical utility was regarded as a result which
might or might not be attained in this process of raising the mind to a certain ideal height of wisdom; but an end which, whether attained or not, was below the dignity of the true sage. Now, the aim proposed by the modern philosophy is totally different; and it follows that the methods by which that end is pursued should be as different. Since the time of Bacon all the powers of human reason, and all the energies of invention and researc have been concentrated on the object improving the happiness of human life – of diminishing the sufferings and increasing the enjoyments of our imperfect existence here belowof extending the empire of man over the realms of nature in short, of making our earthly state, both physical and moral, more happy. This is an aim less ambitious than that ideal virtue and that impossible wisdom which were the aspiration of the older philosophy; but it has the advantage of being attainable, while the experience of twenty centuries had sufficiently proved that the lofty pretensions of the former system had been followed by no corresponding results; nay, that the incessant disputations of the most acute and powerful intellects, during so many generations, not only had left the greatest and most vital questions where they had found them at first, but had degraded philosophy to the level of an ignoble legerdemain.
§ 8. Many attempts had been made, by vigorous and independent minds, long before the appearance of Bacon, to throw off the yoke of the scholastic philosophy; but that yoke was so riveted with the shackles of Catholic orthodoxy, that the efforts, being made in countries and at epochs when the Church was all-powerful, could not possibly be successful: all they could do was to shake the foundations of an intellectual tyranny which had so long weighed upon mankind, and to prepare the way for its final overthrow. The Reformation, breaking up the hard-bound soil, opened and softened it so that the seeds of true science and philosophy, instead of falling upon a rock, brought forth fruit a hundred fold. Long and splendid is the list of the great and liberal minds who had revolted against the tyranny of the schools before the appearance of the New Philosophy. In the writings of that wonderful monk, the anticipator of his great namesake – in the controversy between the Nominalists and Realists — in the disputes which preceded the Reformation — the standard of revolt against the tyranny of the ancient system had been raised by a succession of brave and vigorous hands; and though many of these champions had fallen in their contest against an enemy intrenched in the fortifications of religious orthodoxy, and though the stake and the dungeon had apparently silenced them forever, nevertheless the tradition of their exploits had formed a still-increasing treasury of arguments against orthodox tyranny. England, in the reign of Elizabeth and James I., was precisely the country, and a country precisely in the particular state, in which the great revolution in philosophy was possible; and it was a most providential combination of circumstances and qualities that was concentrated in Francis Bacon so as to make him, and perhaps him alone, the apostle of the new philosophical faith.
$ 9. The great object which Bacon proposed to himself, in proclaiming the advantages of the Inductive Method, was fruit: the improvement of the condition of mankind; and his object being different from that of the elder philosophers, the mode by which it was to be attained was different likewise. From an early age he had been struck with the defects, with the stationary and unproductive character, of the Deductive Method; and during the whole of his brilliant, agitated, and, alas! too often ignominious career, he had constantly and patiently labored, adding stone after stone to that splendid edifice which will enshrine his name when his crimes and weaknesses, his ambition and servility, shall be forgotten. His philosophical system is contained in the great work, or rather series of works, to which he intended to give the general title of Instauratio Magna, or Great Institution of True Philosophy. The whole of this neither was nor ever could have been executed by one man or by the labors of one age; for every new addition to the stock of human knowledge, would, as Bacon plainly saw, modify the conclusions, though it would not affect otherwise than by confirming the soundness, of the philosophical method he propounded. The Instauratio was to consist of six separate parts or books, of which the following is a short synoptical arrangement:I. Partitiones Scientiarum : a summary or classification of all
knowledge, with indications of those branches which had been
more or less imperfectly treated. II. Novum Organum : the New Instrument, an exposition of the
methods to be adopted in the investigation of truth, with indications of the principal sources of human error, and the reme
dies against that error in future. III. Phænomena Universi, sive Historia Naturalis et Experimentalis
ad condendam Philosophiam: a complete body of well-observed facts and experiments in all branches of human knowledge, to furnish the raw material upon which the new method
was to be applied, in order to obtain results of truth. IV. Scala Intellectus, sive Filum Labyrinthi: rules for the gradual
ascent of the mind from particular instances or phenomena, to principles continually more and more abstract; and warnings against the danger of advancing otherwise than grad
ually and cautiously. V. Prodromi, sive Anticipationes Philosophiæ Secundæ; anticipa
tions or forestallings of the New Philosophy, i. e. such truths as could be, so to say, provisionally established, to be after
wards tested by the application of the New Method. VI. Philosophia Secunda, sive Scientia activa; the result of the just,
careful, and complete application of the methods previously laid down to the vast body of facts to be accumulated and observed in accordance with the rules and precautions con
tained in the IId and IVth parts. Let us compare the position of Bacon, with respect to science in gen
eral, to that of an architect invited to undertake the reconstruction of a palace, ancient and splendid, but which, in consequence of the lapse of time and the changes of the mode of living, is found to be in a ruinous or uninhabitable condition. What would be the natural mode of proceeding adopted by an enlightened artist under these circumstances ? He would, I think, make it his first care to draw an exact plan of the edifice in its present state, so as to form a clear notion of the extent, the defects, and the conveniences of the building as it stands; and not till then would he proceed to the demolition of the existing edifice. He would next prepare such instruments, tools, and mechanical aids, as would be likely to render the work of construction more rapid, certain, and economical. Thirdly, he would accumulate the necessary materials. Fourthly, he would provide the ladders. Lastly, he would begin to build: but should the edifice be so vast that no human life would be long enough to terminate it, he would construct so much of it as would suffice to give his successors an idea of the general plan, style, and disposition of the parts, and leave it to be completed by future generations. It will easily, I think, be seen, how accurately the mode of proceeding in Bacon's great work corresponds with common sense and with the method followed by our imaginary architect. Bacon is the builder; the great temple of knowledge is the edifice, which the labors of our race have to terminate according to his plan.
$ 10. Let us now inquire what portion of this project Bacon was able to execute. The first portion, consisting of a general view of the state of science at his time, with an explanation of the causes of its sterility and unprogressiveness, was published in 1605, in an English treatise, bearing the title of The Proficience and Advancement of Learning : this was afterwards much altered and extended, and republished in Latin, in 1623, under the title De Augmentis Scientiarum. The Novum Organum, the most important portion of Bacon's work, is that in which the necessity and the principles of the Inductive Method are laid down and demonstrated. It is, in short, the compendium of the Baconian logic. It was published in Latin, in 1620. The fundamental difference between the method recommended by Bacon and that which had so long been adopted by philosophers, may, I think, be rendered clear by a comparison of the accompanying little B Ć D E F diagrams:
In the first of these the point A may be conceived to represent some general principle upon which depend any number of detached facts or phenomena B, C, D, E, F. Now let it be supposed that we are seeking for the explanation of one or all of these phenomena; or, in other
B C D
words, desirous of discovering the law upon which they depend. It is obvious that we may proceed as the arithmetician proceeds in the solution of a problem involving the search after an unknown quantity or number; that is, we may suppose the law of nature to be so and so, and applying this law to one or all of the phenomena within our observation, see if it corresponds with them or not. If it does, we conclude, so far as our examination has extended, that we have hit upon the true result of which we are in search: if not, we must repeat the process, as the arithmetician would do in a like case, till we obtain an answer that corresponds with all the conditions of the problem: and it is evident, that the greater the number of separate facts to which we successfully apply our theoretical explanation, the greater will be the probability of our having hit upon the true one. Now this application of a preëstablished theory to the particular facts or phenomena is precisely the signification of the word synthesis. It is obvious that the march of the mind in this mode of investigation is from the general to the particular — that is, in the direction of the arrow, or downwards – whence this mode of investigation is styled deduction, or a descent from the general law to the individual example. Similarly, the Aristotelian method has received the designation à priori, because in it the establishment of a theory, or, at all events, the provisional employment of a theory, is prior to its application in practice, just as in measuring an unknown space we previously establish a rule, as of a foot, yard, &c., which we afterwards apply to the space to be so determined. In the diagram all the elements are the same as in the preceding one, with the exception that here the process follows a precisely opposite direction – that is, from a careful comparison of the different facts, the mind travels gradually upwards, with slow and cautious advances, from bare phenomena to more general consideration, till at last it reaches some point in which all the phenomena agree, and this point is the law of nature or general principle, of which we were in search. As synthesis signifies composition, so analysis signifies resolution; and it is by a continual and cautious process of resolution that the mind ascends — in the direction marked by the arrow - from the particular to the general. This ascending process is clearly designated by the term induction, which signifies an ascent from particular instances to a general law; and the term à posteriori denotes that the theory, being evolved from the examination of the individual facts, is necessarily posterior or subsequent to the examination of those facts.
All human inventions have their good and their bad sides, their advantages and their defects : and it is only by a comparison between the relative advantages and defects that we can establish the superiority of one system or mode of action over another. On contemplating the two methods of which I have just been giving a very rough and popular explanation, it will be at once obvious that the Deductive mode enables us, when the right theory has been hit upon, to arrive at absolute, or almost mathematical truth; while analysis, being dependent for its accuracy upon the number of phenomena which furnish the materials