Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

against inferring, from the multiplicity of physical illustrations with which it abounds, that his object is to instruct them with respect to the phenomena of Matter, when his real aim is to deduce, from the laws of the Human Mind, such logical rules as may guide them in the search of truth. o “Illud vero monendum, nos in hoc nostro organo “tractare logicam, non philosophiam. Sed cum “ logica nostra doceat intellectum et erudiat ad hoc, “ut non tenuibus mentis quasi claviculus, rerum “abstracta captet et prenset (ut logica vulgaris); * sed maturam revera persecet, et corporum virtutes “et actus, eorumque leges in materia determinatas “inveniat; ita ut non solum er natura mentis, sed “ea natura rerum quoque haec scientia emanet: “mirari non est, si ubique naturalibus contempla“tionibus et experimentis, ad exempla artis nostrae, “conspersa fuerit et illustrata.” It is perfectly manifest from the context, that by philosophy Lord Bacon here means the particular branches of the study of Nature, in opposition to that science (one of the most important departments of the Philosophy of the Mind) which professes to comprehend them all in its survey, and to furnish the means of their advancement. To this science he elsewhere gives the name of Philosophia Prima; Pointing out, by a happy and beautiful allusion, its Pre-eminence among the rest, both in dignity and in practical importance. “Alius error est, quod post singulas scientias et “artes suas in classes distributas, mox a plerisque TD

“universali rerum cognitioni et philosophiae primae “renunciatur; quod quidem profectui doctrinarum “inimicissimum est. Prospectationes fiunt a turri“bus, aut locis praealtis, et impossibile est, ut quis “exploret remotiores interioresque scientiae alicujus “partes, sistet super plano ejusdem scientiae, neque “altioris scientiae veluti speculum conscendat.” That Bacon's philosophy, too, was constantly present to my thoughts, when I have dwelt, in any of my publications, on the importance of the Philosophy of the Human Mind, must be evident to all who have read them with attention. In proof of this, I shall only appeal, at present, to the illustrations given of the utility of the study, in the introduction to my former volume. The “sanguine “ and extravagant expectations” which I am accused of having formed, with respect to the advantages likely to result from its future improvement, will be found, from every page of that work, to resolve chiefly into a conviction (founded on the astonishing success with which the labours of Bacon’s followers have been attended), that much may yet be done to direct and accelerate the progress of the Mind, by completing that undertaking to which he gave a beginning. When we reflect on the low state in which even physical science, strictly so called, was at the period when he attempted to lay down the rules according to which philosophical inquiries ought to be prosecuted, this conviction camot well appear either very unnatural or very romantic. But it is not merely as an organon for the advancement of Physics, that the science of the Mind

is valuable. It furnishes, in itself, a field of study, equally interesting and important; and far more intimately connected than is commonly supposed, with all the arts which contribute to the stability, to the ornament, and to the happiness of civilized society. How far this assertion is agreeable to Bacon’s own views; or whether it be true, as has been affirmed, that “the chief advantage which he expected “from his inquiries, appears to have been centered “in the enlargement of man’s dominion over the “material universe,”—can be decided only by an appeal to his writings. Whatever opinion may be adopted on this point, it must be granted on both sides, not only that, in the occasional passages where he touches on the science of Mind, his observations are just and profound, but that the whole of his philosophical works form one continued exemplification of the plan on which this study ought to be conducted.—Here we meet with no hypothesis concerning the essence of the Mind, or the nature of its connection with our bodily organization; but with a few important conclusions concerning the human understanding, obtained by a cautious induction from those phenomena of thought, which every man may ascertain by reflecting on the subjects of his own consciousness. Although it should be contended, therefore, that the advancement of the Philosophy of Mind was but a subordinate object in Bacon's general plan, it cannot possibly be disputed, that it is to his singularly just views on the subject, that we are indebted for all the scientific aids which have been derived from his genius. Whether Bacon himself considered the utility of his Organum as exclusively confined to inquiries relating to the Material Universe, and had no view to its application in guiding our analytical researches concerning the intellectual faculties or active principles of the Mind, may be judged of from his own words. “Etiam dubitabit quispiam potius quam objiciet; “utrum nos. de naturali tantum philosophia, an “etiam de scientiis reliquis, logicis, ethicis, politicis, “secundum viam nostram perficiendis loquamur. “At nos certe de universis, haec, quae dicta sunt, “intelligimus: Atque quemadmodum vulgaris lo“gica, quae regit res per syllogismum, non tantum “ad Naturales, sed ad omnes scientias pertinet; “ita et mostra, quae procedit per inductionem, omnia “complectitur. Tam enim historiam et tabulas in“veniendi conficimus de ira, metu, et verecundia, “et similibus; ac etiam de exemplis rerum civi“lium ; nec minus de motibus mentalibus memoriae, “compositionis et divisionis, judicii, et reliquorum; “quam de calido, et frigido, aut luce, aut vegeta“tione, aut similibus.” The effects which Bacon's writings have hitherto produced, have indeed been far more conspicuous in Physics than in the science of Mind. Even here, however, they have been great and most important, as well as in some collateral branches of knowledge (such as natural jurisprudence, political economy, criticism, and morals), which spring up from the same root, or rather which are branches of that tree of which the science of Mind is the trunk. Of the truth of this assertion I shall afterwards have occasion to produce abundant evidence. That our conclusions concerning the principles and laws of the human constitution differ, in many respects, from discoveries in physics, I do not deny ; nor will I enter into a verbal dispute with those who maintain that the word discovery is in no sense applicable to these conclusions. It is sufficient for my purpose to remark, that this criticism, admitting it to be just, ought not, in any respect, to lower our estimate of their practical value, or of the merits of the writers to whom we owe them. Among Bacon's aphorisms there is not one single sentence which contains a discovery, as that word has been lately defined; but what discoveries can vie with them in the accessions which they have brought to the happiness and to the power of the human race : * * D'Alembert was one of the first who insisted on this nicety in the use of the word discovery. In one passage he seems to exclude the possibility of discoveries from mathematics as well as metaphysics; and, what is still more curious, to do so on account of the perfect evidence which it is possible for us to attain in both these sciences. “La réflexion, en partant des idées directes, peut suivre deux “routes différentes: ou elle compare les qualités des corps, et “alors, d'abstractions en abstractions, elle arrive aux notious les “plus simples, celles de quantités; ou bien elle se reporte sur “ces opérations même qui out servià la formation des dées, et “remonte ainsi aux elemens de la métaphysique. Ces deux “sciences, la géométrie et la métaphysique, quoqu' analogues “entr’elles, sont donc les deux termes extrèmes et opposés de

« AnteriorContinuar »