Изображения страниц

« The careless inquirer into physical intimations of sensation are fallacious, truth would certainly think he had seized until interpreted by a process of reaon a sound principle of classification, if soning and by experience. Every one he should divide the object with which is aware of the general fact, that our philosophy, natural and mental, is con- perception of external objects, is modiFersant, into two classes—those objects fied by experience ; but every one also of which we know the existence by our who reflects upon this experience must consciousness; that is, external objects be aware that this babitual discipline which we see, touch, taste, and smell, of the senses has not been in any internal ideas which we couceive or re- degree the effect of reasoning ; but is member, or emotions which we feel-- much more similar in its progress to and those objects of wbich we only know those unconscious adaptations which the existence by a process of reasoning, take place in the functions of animal founded upon something originally pre- life. sented by the senses or by consciousness. This superficial reasoner would range be referred to an intellectual process;

The alleged cases may, it is true, under the first of these heads the members of the animal, vegetable, and mine but it is latent and unconscious; and ral kingdom'; the heavenly bodies; the so far from being a process of logical mind-lor we are supposing him to be so

ratiocination, (wbich the purpose of far capable of reflection, as to know that the argument requires,) the observer is, the proof of the mind's separate existence in most instances incapable of stating is, at the least, as short, plain, and direct, the reasons by which the justness of as that of the body, or of external the perception might be supported. objects. Under the second head he The process alleged is the result of would range generally whatever objects science, only; the actual process, takes of examination are not directly perceived place in infants, and in the bruto by the senses, or felt by consciousness." creation. We admit the possible sub

stitution of reasoning, but the case is Now, we object that the classifica- not in point. Cheselden's operation tion which is thus put into the mouth is not to the purpose ; in such a case of the “careless inquirer,” for the pur- the two classes of mental operations pose of the intended comparison, is not (not departinents of science) become that which ang but a very careless rea- accidentally united. souer would have used for the purpose. As for the classification upon which For it siinply amounts to a distinction the noble lord depends, we must between all reasoning, and all the facts now shew that it suppresses the only or data of reasoning, on every subject distinction which is of any practical whatever; the deductions of logical value ; and adopts one which, however inference, are: confused with the true, is quite nugatory. Of the disperceptions of sense or consciousness. tinction between human and divine Between these the noble lord science the noble lord observes : discovers a similarity which has

“ Yet it is equally certain, that nothing relation whatever the classifi- but an imperfect knowledge of the subcation of methods of reasoning, or ject, or a superficial attention to it, can sciences ; and suppresses the preciso permit us to think that there is any welldifference which destroys his compari- defined boundary which separates the two

The argument by which this kinds of philosophy; that the methods of egregious feat of logic is performed, is investigation are different in each; and worth noting for its dexterity ; it is that the kind of evidence varies by which somewhat elaborately shewn, that the the truths of the one and of the other




• We do not mean to deny the value of this in restigation, if limited to its proper use; we merely object to the application--a false analogy. The relation between observation and inference is not that between the classes of science, with which they are attempted to be compared. The laws of strict reasoning, and those of our habitual modes of perception, have, probably, a common principle, which it would be profitable as well as curious to trace. But all our sensible applications of reasoning begin where observation ends; could we reach a step further back by any logical process, that step must become the first of the argument.

class are demonstrated. The error is far ing, vaguely and uncertainly even for more extensive in its consequences than an hour. But the mode of obsera mere inaccuracy of classification, for it vation, the precision of the data, and materially impairs the force of the proofs the law of action are different and on upon which natural theology rests. The this difference depends the consequenproposition which we would place in its tial value of the several reasonings. stond is, that this science is strictly a The noble lord may assume some elebranch of inductive philosophy, formed

mentary rule of abstract observation, and supported by the same kind of rea- which, in point of fact, has no existence soning upon which the physical and psy. —he may assume some superhuman chological sciences are founded.”

eye and mind, observing and calcuStrange as it must appear, the noble lating the elements of the erratic orbit lord here rests his argument upon the of man's minds; and tell us that by his artifice of a false and arbitrary classifi- compendious science, it must arrive by cation ; which suppresses a distinc- a rigid method to a precise result. tion, unfavourable to his purpose, and If the ordinary principle of classifiessential to any practical division of cation, which we have pointed out, be sciences. His argument is the sophism understood, it will be apparent how little of composition and division, by which can be gained in clearness or certainty he ranks together that which is dissi- by distinctions which confuse it. The milar, and disjoins tha hich is similar. method of induction may be proved to We may, at once, grant that all knowledge be co-extensive with reasoning, but derived by reasoning from facts, may be we must still be compelled to admit, considered as the result of induction, that all probable inference is not and still insist that both what he terms equally certain, nor the ground of all human science, and what he terins the sciences equally defined, certain, divine, each contain two branches of and precise. We once beard some enquiry, severally to be ranked in the witty mountebank endeavour to settle opposite class ; if any regard is to be a disputation by observing that all lanhad to the essential differences, as to guage might be resolved into the mode of investigation, class of pheno- alphabet ; with as much hopes of sucmena, and even of the intellectual fa- cess may the metaphysician atteinpt to culties they employ. The laws of clear away difficulties, by the compenphysical nature, the proof of the ex- dious expedient to which the noble istence of God on one side: on the lord has had recourse. The same imother, the indications of his providence, penetrable cloud of mystery rests upon and the investigations of moral and in- the unrevealed portion of the divine tellectual philosophy, whether relative system, although he should establish to God or man : all of them inductive, that the logical sounding-line, with are nevertheless widely to be distin- which philosophy has ever groped with guished by the difference of the actual the same success, has not been hitherto phenomena from whence they are to be called by its correct name. And when sought. All right reasoning is the the noble lord shall have succeeded in same,


every truth equally true. raising the vague and conflicting-the But our means of acquiring informa- never-ending and never-concluding tion, and estimating its accuracy when search into final causes-into the dig. acquired, widely different. That nity of a stricter science; we must which is constant, from that which is still be thrown upon the actual means occasional—the uniform from the irre- which the practical part of the world gular, the simple and unvarying from have ever used for the discovery of the complicated and changing. We truth, and the fixing of assent

. We could multiply distinctions, and in so shall be obliged to value each inledoing point out various modifications rence by the value of its premises of research, terminating in all the the certainty, distinctness, and definavarious degrees of probability. The ble character of its facts. return of a comet, after a revolution There are indeed, in such speculaof the generations of man, can be tions as those which the noble lord has estimated within a few hours ; the attempted to illustrate, causes of error, actions of a man, equally the result of and of confidence in error, which are causes--equally the subject of reason- concealed by the enormous and ill-esti. !

[ocr errors]

mated difficulty of such subjects. A the subject of three very distinct spe. difficulty which increases as the sub- cies of investigation, directed toward ject enlarges and ascends above the very different fields of search : the sphere of actual sense. The noble word of God, the phenomena of lord has been enabled by his own nature, and the argument from abstract studies to appreciate the difficulties of notions, called the a priori argument. that most comprehensive and subtle of these, the a priori argument bas system of reasoning which has reached been generally abandoned as quite unthe remote and refined discoveries of tenable, by all recent writers of authe mecanique celeste. He is aware thority. The noble lord has, in his how much of labour, of life, they must fourth section, discussed it with much hare sunk — how many giant minds good sense ; we can only afford to say, they must have employed-how rash that we concur in his view, would have been the hope to have In his attempt to raise natural themade even the thorough comprehend- ology into an inductive science, Lord ing of these, the amusement of a Brougham but follows many able vacant hour in the evening of life. recent writers. And if due caution Again, his lordship is quite aware of had been observed, in scrupulously the varied errors that have been com- defining its limits, and thus placing a mitted by intellects of enormous power, barrier against presumptuous speculaduring the progress of this elevated tion, upon a subject, in the investigastructure of human science ; he is tion of which error is dangerous, and aware that these errors would, in many additional light not comparatively vainstances, have been rendered perma- luable, we should not have lifted our nent portions of our knowledge, were testimony against this most shallow it not that actual observation detected and empirical of sciences. As the the errors of reason, and that one of matter stands, we deny the science, the results of the most certain of all the while we concur in the proposition, sciences, is an inductive proof of the that the proof of the first great fact, fact that reasoning, unless corrected viz. the existence of an intelligent from step to step by observation or contriver and creator of the natural experiment, has iio security of devia- world, is an argument strictly inducting into innumerable false directions, tive, and to be drawn with the comfrom which there is absolutely no clue. pletest force of inference from the The divine mind, and the nature of the facts of either moral or physical scihuman mind, have also from the beginning occupied the attention of in The main intent of the noble lord is quisitive and curious philosophy, but to erase the line of distinction between with this remarkable difference, that human science and what he terms while there has been less success, divine. In his second section, in there has been more confidence; and, which he states the main argument for that, while in physical science men's the existence of a deity; he also folconfidence has diminished with the lows up his purpose by an effort to difficulty of the science, and the re-establish the identity of this argument moteness of the object, in these it has with physics. We grant his position, increased. The reason is this, and we p. 28, that the “two paths of investiearnestly recommend its consideration gation for a great part of the way, to the noble lord, that in metaphysical completely coincide.“ But he overspeculation there are few precise facts looks the fact that the mathemato correct the vagueness of verbal tical argument which led the reasoning—of man's nature, few-of physical conclusion, ceases there. And God's, none ; the presumptuous theolo- the psychological begins with the gian cannot be either rectified as he fact which it discovered. The conproceeds, or detected when he infers clusion of one is the datum for the fallaciously. He may triumph in other; and the reasonings are altothe profound obscurity he has wrapped gether different in kind. So much for about him, in proportion as its dark- the “common path.” less is more objectless and more pro- psychological inference of design, howfound.

ever attained, is a fact sui generis, The principles of theology have been deduced not from the reasonings of



The great

mixed mathematics, (the actual reason is referred to intelligent design, from ing of physics) but from certain infe- the precise analogy which arises from rences thus arrived at. It is one great the fact already noticed, that such truth, of which all the proof to be ob- adaptations and adjustment are univer. tained from physics, is not merely a sally traced to design so far as we have repetition of the same argument, lead- any knowledge. Lord Brougham, who ing to the same single inference; but is particularly eloquent in the statenot leading a single step further. The ment of the illustrations of this argumoral additions to this argument be. meut, is by no means so fortunate in long to a science wholly different in his method of stating the inference

, its principles, facts, and degree of as- which he mostly draws in such a natsurance. The connection we do not ner as partly to conceal the point which deny in this more than in the other; he is laboring to establish, namely, the physical result was attained by that it is a strict induction. This we mathematical reasoning on facts ; the must attribute to the double purpose psychological, by a purely logical of confusing this argument to first inference from the inferences so ob- causes, with that leading to final causes. tained; the moral conclusion is founded of this, any one who attentively reads upon a wide induction of particulars, the statement at p. 44, must become differently ascertained, and requiring aware ; for instance :much more complicated and less cer

6. We know that if some of our works tain modes of inquiry. In his second section, the noble

were seen by others, who neither were lord states, and illustrates, by a variety the intention with which we made them,

aware of our having made them, por of of well selected examples, the argu- they would be right should they, from ment from nature for the existence of seeing and examining them, both infer God. It is not merely inductive, that we had made them, and conjecture .but the most perfect specimen of in- why we had made them.duction. The inductive argument is an analogy founded upon the law of Of these statements, we have perused, reason, that like effects are to be attri- with much pleasure, the noble author's buted to like causes, so far as the phe- clear summary of the principles of the nomena admit; for instance, as design stability of thie planetary system;

and is uniformly traceable to mind, in one with still more gratification, his descripclass of known instances; it is referred tion of the process of the comparative to mind in another class. We premise anatomist's investigations of fossil rethis statement because the noble lord, mains. in his anxiety to enlarge the principle From this last eloquent description, of induction, occasionally disguises it which reanimates to our conception in his various deductions from this ar the broken up and buried worlds of gument.

the past, we are compelled to make a Within the entire compass of rea

brief citation for the ungrateful purpose soning there is not an argument of of cavil ; for this purpose we must almore conclusive force than by which low him the advantage of his own the existence of a first cause can be words. Now the question is this :inferred from the phenomena of nature. It is in the strictest sense inductive, investigation, in the strictest sense of the

“ There can be as little doubt that the and perhaps the most perfect example term, forms a branch of physical science

, to be found of this argument. The and that this branch sprang legitimately systematic combination of distinct parts from the grand root of the whole, and materials, the adaptation and mu induction; in a word, that the process of tual adjustment of systems, otherwise reasoning employed to investigate—the wholly distinct, so as to operate to- kind of evidence used to demonstrate its gether to some common end, as for truths, is the modern analysis or inducinstance, the eye and light, the ear and tion taught by Bacon and practised by sound, the solar systein and the whole Newton. Now wherein, with reference phenomena of animal and vegetable life: to its nature and foundations, does it again, the several phenomena and mu vary from the inquiries and illustrations tual relations between these. Are all of Natural Theology? When from ex. instances of that instrumentality which amining a few bones, or it may be a single

fragment of a bone, we infer that, in consists, in not noticing wherein conthe wilds where we found it, there lived sists the line between any science, and and ranged, some thousands of years ago, every other distinct from it--the chain an animal wholly different from any we of its inferences. Induction is the ever saw, and from any of which any same, however applied ; and simply a account, any tradition, written or oral, logical method. has reached us, nay, from any that ever We cannot too much praise the was seen by any person of whose exist- clearness and beauty of style with ence we ever heard, we assuredly are which the same inference is drawn led to this remote conclusion, by a strict from the constitution of the mind. and rigorous process of reasoning; but, The argument has recently been stated as certainly, we come through that pro- by several writers ; but the noble lord cess to the knowledge and belief of things has, to some extent, made it his own udseen, both of us and of all men— things respecting which we have not, and by the completeness of his details. cannot have, a single particle of evidence, That the mind is wonderfully constieither by sense or by testimony. Yet we

tuted for the various individual and harbour no doubt of the fact; we go

social purposes which it is actually farther, and not only implicitly believe observed to fulfil, is a fact easily ascerthe existence of this creature, for which tained from no very difficult inquiry we are forced to invent a name, but into its observable constitution : the clothe it with attributes, till, reasoning inference, that it was therefore designed step by step, we come at so accurate a for these purposes, is but a single step notion of its form and habits, that we precisely parallel with, and of the can represent the one, and describe the same force as those derived from other, with unerring accuracy; picturing physics. The importance of the topics to ourselves how it looked, what it fed which remain to be noticed, must preon, and how it continued its kind. vent our entering into this, further

" Now, the question is this: What than may be required by its connexion perceivable difference is there between with another speculation, to which the kind of investigations we have just the public is indebted for a very been considering, and those of Natural able and eloquent reply from Mr. Theology-except, indeed, that the lat- Wallace.t ter are more sublime in themselves, and

The proposition may be best stated incomparably more interesting to us? in the words of the noble lord :Where is the logical precision of the arrangement, which would draw a broad

“ Such is the process of reasoning by line of demarcation between the two

which we infer the existence of design in speculations, giving to the one the name

the natural moral world. To this abstract and the rank of a science, and refusing it argument an addition of great importance

remains to be made. The whole reasonto the other, and affirming that the one Tested upon induction, but not the other p" ing proceeds necessarily upon the assump

tion that there exists a being or thing Now be it observed ; we say both separate from, and independent of, matter, upon

induction; and add that the and conscious of its own existence, which one is a science and the other not. It is we call mind. For the argument is_Had not because the reasoning differs in I to accomplish this purpose, I should principle

, but because one is a system, have used some such means ;' or, ' Had I implying a certain theory of appropri- used these means, I should have thought ate principles, observations, methods I was accomplishing some such purpose.' of observation, and registered facts. Perceiving the adaptation of the means The other is but a fact; the foundation to the end, the inference is, that some of an* assumed science. The error being has acted as we should ourselves


. We do not here mean to deny such value as some able philosophers attach to systems of morals and of natural theology. We simply deny these, or any that can be similarly constructed, the authority of stricter sciences. The true value of such, (if they have any) is derived from the authoritative sanction of revealed religion.

+ Observations on the Discourse of Natural Theology, by Henry Lord Brougham. By Thomas Wallace, Esq., LL.D. London: D. Ridgway and Sons, Piccadilly. 1835.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »