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The zeal with which natural and experimental Philosophy have been cultivated since the time of Bacon, has enriched the funds of experience with so many important discoveries and particulars, that the great end of natural Philosophy is no longer impeded by want of means for its establishment upon an universal basis à posteriori, according to the design and anticipation of that great man.
It is true indeed that the survey for a perfect universal induction in this department is absolutely illimitable, and only to be accomplished by the united labor of all men in all ages; there is therefore no danger of enquiry being exhausted ; the apprehension is rather that physics should obstruct their own progress by the multiplication of particulars on the one hand, or by too narrow and hasty inductions on the other.
It is true also that knowledge à posteriori thus eminently and successfully investigated in our own times, and with so much honor to the ingenious researches and industry of the moderns, must furnish the particulars for the generalogical or inductive process, without which these sciences can never be established, in barmony with experience, upon ground universally satisfactory to the mind. It has accordingly supplied a mass of materials which demands of the mind some principle of selection and rejection, upon which it may be reduced to science and order, its exuberances lopped off, and its wants disclosed.
It is not sufficient that we establish isolated sciences, nor that
one science administers to many, the principle of union upon which such administration depends must be unfolded, ere the whole body of science can move in concert.
All science (even that of the external) has its ground à priori, or in the mind, and to become perfectly legitimate, must be conformable to its requisitions. Every attempt however to erect the physical sciences upon such foundation has hitherto failed, and consequently little progress has been made in the science of the external ; for the stores of particular knowledge which we possess in this department are those of Natural History and experience under the false appellation of science.
The total failure of the ancients, upon this ground, owing to the want of proper materials, has brought discredit upon their more legitimate philosophy; nor have the attempts of the moderns to generalise our physical experience, and bring it under the
prescription of reason and an universal theory, notwithstanding our incomparably more extended knowledge of facts and phenomena, been by any means successful.
An attempt in which both ancients and moderns have failed, if not presumptuous in the present advanced state of natural knowledge, is at least difficult and hazardous : its nature indeed admits not of entire accomplishment; hence all we can fairly hope or require is some progress toward the perfect reconcilement of Reason with Experience, while every attempt that supplies a new light may be hailed as the harbinger and incentive to a better : the greatest obstacle will be overcome when we have attained the right road; for such is the admirable nature of truth, that we no sooner get into her track, than new lights arise, and the way widens before
In such attempts, however, the distinctions of ancient and modern, and the prejudices of fashion and authority are to be discarded, that while we adopt the discoveries or reject the mistakes and errors of our predecessors and contemporaries, we may neither consecrate their illusions, nor estinguish the lights they have set up ;, but recognising truth by its grand characteristics of unity and consistency, adopt it wherever it appear.
The following Essay aims at no more than to analogise those particulars of posterior experience which coincide with the prior requisitions of that universal theory which appears to us upon the whole to embrace facts more widely than: any other, to indicate where experience is wanting, and to reconcile the discrepances of the sciences in a manner altogether the most simple.
We have therein claimed for the mind so much of the labors of Natural Philosophy as accords with its own ground or requisitions, independently of any assump
tions founded upon the illusive forms of partial and incomplete inductions: this Essay might however have been extended to a much greater variety of the particulars of nature, had it accorded with our design to bave offered any more than a mere outline in the department of Physical Science.
THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES.
§ 1. Having in a former Essay' posited science upon unia versal principles, and traced it through its genera to its species, it remains that we investigate these species individually, and recon cile them with the established sciences from which they take their denominations; justifying our theoretic distributions by the coincidences of these accepted sciences, and the analogies of particulars and practice.
§ 2. It is true we might proceed in our analysis to the development of subordinate sciences to infinity; for the sciences are as numberless as the arts. But on this account also it is necessary that some point should be established at which our analysis may terminate; and since, in reconciling our arrangements with the received or established sciences and languages we are bound to take the latter as we find them, this point may reasonably be where analogy in name and nature would be lost between the stricter distributions of science and those of the accepted denomina tions.
$ 3. The point then at which we are arrived is that in which the denominations of accepted sciences accord with the stricter distributions to which we have applied them, beyond which analogy and coincidence become either defective or lost ; here therefore our analysis should terminate; and since the denominations of accepted sciences denote both Theory and Practice, while in ont previous application of them they are considered as purely theoretic or scientific; we may now also further justify or confirm our theoretic distributions, as before mentioned, by the coincidences of particulars and practice.
'Pamphleteer, Vol. IX. p. 118
$ 4. Now the essential difference of Theory and Practice is this, that the former rests upon universals and the latter upon particulars, whence the end of Theory is the beginning of Practice; and as there is no absolute Particularity or Universality, we may not only fix both Theory and Practice arbitrarily upon any point between these relative extremes, but we may unite them with the same latitude. Hence the arbitrary and various souvdations of accepted sciences, which sprung originally from the imperfect inductions of practice and particular knowledge, and the confounding therein of Science or Theory with Art or Practice; and hence unavoida. ble anomalies will arise in attempting to reconcile the latter sciences with the stricter arrangements of an universal theory.
§ 5. And since particulars are infinite, and practice depends upon particulars, while our knowledge of particulars is necessarily very confined, and practice is proportional to this knowledge, it follows also that the practical confirmations of theory will be proportionably limited and vastly removed from complete. . $ 6. Under these views therefore of harmonising theory with practice, and reconciling these new specific arrangements with their corresponding acknowledged sciences, as far as our means may admit, we proceed first to investigate the PHYSICAL SCIENces, of which first in order is
$7. Chemistry, then, is that Physical Science which comprehends the Actions, Passions, and Effects of all Material Subslance.
$ 8. Now it has before appeared that all Physical Effect is the result of an original Physical Agent and Patient, and MATEKIAL SUBSTANCE is known only in Effect, while three primaTy states or modifications of matter are admitted, and no more ;= the Solid, or that state of gubstances in which their parts in space cohere and resist change,--the Liquid, or that state in which the parts equilibrate, change place reciprocally or Aow, and the Elastic, or that state of substances in which their parts ehange place and repel each other : states that are not absolute but relative.
I Pamphleteer, Vol. IX. p. 107. $12.