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The examination and analysis of these faculties reciprocal ly open sources of intellectual improvement, and exercise the student in habits of thinking, judging, reasoning, and communication, upon which depend, not merely the sturly of logic, and the further prosecution of science, but almost entirely the active business of life. Nor does it appear to me that any other process could, with equal certainty of success, be adopted, by which the mind of youth, launching into a new and pleasing field of speculation, might be enabled to form an estimate of its own powers, of the acquisitions it has made, of the habits it has formed, and of the further improvements of which it is susceptible. For, when the student has acquired those habits of attention, and that capacity of observation, which the study of his intellectual powers must necessarily give him, it is then, and not till then, I have no hesitation in affirming, that he is qualified to enter upon 2 philosophical, but popular course of LOGIC.
Besides, as the progress of the intellectual powers is not prematurely quickened, an acquaintance with the phenomena of the human mind, arranged so as to enable us to profit by our personal experience, cannot be a subject of abstract speculation, but must be the channel through which we advance to the highest endowments of the understanding.
But the professed object of Logic is to teach us the RIGHT USE OF REASON, both in the investigation and in the communication of Truth.
I have already pointed out the relation in which I conceive RHETORIC to stand to GRAMMAR and LOGIC, and, without arrogating pretensions to superior discernment, which would only lay me open to the suspicion of a particular prejudice, I do not see how it is possible to conduct ingenuous youth upwards from the correctness of their taste to the cultivation of their understanding, but by previously explaining to them the faculties of the mind, and their various operations with which we are immediately or remotely conversant, the cir
cumstances favourable or unfavourable to the development of those faculties, and the means by which their improvement may be most successfully undertaken.
In the execution of this task, I was also laid under an imperious necessity of banishing from my work all the trifling, subtilties of the ancient Logicians, all the logomachy of the schools, the puzzling distinctions which perplex us in most of the popular treatises of our modern philosophers.But I do not thence lay claim to any new discoveries either in the science of mind, or in the art of Logic.
It has been with me a principle of paramount importance, to endeavour to select the most unexceptionable materials from the most approved works of my predecessors or contemporaries, employed, like myself, in extending the elements of science. And those subjects which seemed best adapted for the employment of youth at the commencement of their philosophical studies, I have laboured to present to them in this BOOK with faithfulness and assiduity in their selection, and with simplicity and intelligibility in their form and arrangement.
Of the difficulty of executing an acceptable compilation of the ELEMENTS OF THE SCIENCE OF MIND, with analyses of the intellectual powers, in the order of their connexion and dependence, it would be superfluous to reason with empyrics who have not added one iota to literature or to science. But the philosopher and the critic know that, judgment in selection, perspicuity of style, and compression of argumentation, the great requisites of every writer who would not become dull from crudity of conception, nor obscure from prolixity of reasoning, are indispensable to give anciently received truths and established modern discoveries, those charms which shall fascinate readers in the purple bloom of youth. And in pleasing satisfaction will my mind now repose, if, among the unambitious pretensions of a compiler, the reasonings which support those truths shall be
found to possess conciseness, and the illustrations of those discoveries no more expansion of proof than the different steps of their relative processes required; for, with youth whose mental faculties we would, by active discipline, invigorate, improve, and embellish, brevity is not less the soul of reasoning than of wit. Their knowedge, however, is not to rest on tarnished fragments struck off from splaid systems, nor on defective models the relics of doubtful institutes; but on the details of human knowledge and such discipline of education, as shall accustom them to exert their intellectual faculties, without preparation, and render them prompt in expedient, and active in resource.
Sufficient, however, has been said on Book Second, as well to show its high importance, as to satisfy every impartial reader, that, to have omitted it, or assigned to it any other place in the volume, would have evinced culpable neglect or capricious arrangement.
To have blended with the subjects in the SECOND BOOK those which constitute the Third, would have created a species of confusion, which, in elementary works, should always be avoided; and, besides, the relative importance this Book bears to the Second and the Fourth reciprocally, allotted to it that neutrality which makes it of easier reference to the numerous subjects that it may collaterally illustrate, or with which, in many instances, its materials may be directly conjoined. Nor is this the only light in which Book Third may be viewed. If the subjects of which it is composed be considered abstractedly, then does the student enter upon disquisitions and analyses of separate branches of INTELLECTUAL PHILOSOPHY, of primary importance on his entrance upon philosophical studies. But it is unnecessary to offer proofs for that which is clear as sun-shine.
Of BOOK FOURTH, assigned to PURE LOGIC, I shall say a few words. But I premise, that of all arts, that surely is entitled to attention which pretends to tell us how we may
improve and properly employ the UNDERSTANDING,-the faculty by which man is most eminently distinguished above the other creatures of this world, and by which, perhaps, he partakes most of the constitution of superior natures. Now LOGIC is that art. Its professed purpose, as we have observed above, is to teach us the right use of reason, both in the instigation and in the communication of TRUTH ;—to inform us how to introduce clearness and good order among our IDEAS ;—to explain the OPERATIONS of the mind which are conversant about those ideas; and by the proper exercise of which operations, we shall be least in danger of deviating into error.
The UNDERSTANDING is occupied entirely with knowledge the end of all science is to instruct us in knowledge; and the same end is pursued by all study, whether prudential, political, moral, or mechanical. In what way soever we exert and exercise our understanding, it is to obtain some information that we did not before possess; and the design of logic, considered as an art, is to hold forth the manner of attaining that knowledge with the greatest ease and expedition.
From these views of the nature and end of Logic it is apparent, that it claims our attention, as one of the first arts to which we should apply, in our progress towards knowl edge, either as the best means of fortifying or of improving the understanding. The more acute the understanding is, the more successful will it be in the investigations of science. The less it is liable to err, the more certain and expeditious will be its progress in new and untried pursuits. The more we are acquainted with those sophistries which have misled other reasoners, the less liable shall we be to fall into similar mistakes. The better we understand the nature of the instrument which we employ, we may reasonably expect to be more expert and successful in its use. Every thing, then, in Logic, that does not contribute to improve the under
standing, and to promote our progress in useful knowledge, deserves no attention; but every thing, on the other hand, that promotes these ends, cannot obtain more attention than it deserves.
Though no art ever gave occasion to so much idle research and fanciful refinement as Logic; though none ever so much bewildered the human mind, and repressed every useful exertion of the understanding, as that which pretended to enlighten and improve this faculty, and to guide it in the road to truth; though all the syllogism of the schools, after the thousand volumes that have been written on it, and after the employment of a series of ages to bring it to perfection, never enriched science or art with one useful discovery; we must not rashly conclude that these abuses furnish proofs of the general inutility, or insignificance, of Logic as
As, then, the sophistry and absurdity with which Logic has been disgraced, are no valid objections against its use in a philosophical course of education, so neither is it to be contemned because we hear some men reason very justly without any acquaintance with its rules. There is in all mankind some natural logic, for it is one of those arts which may be learned by practice, without the knowledge of theory.
One of the best methods of making progress in the art of reasoning, is actual practice, or the acquisition of the habit of examining a train of ideas constituting an argument; and of this branch of the art all men acquire some share by experience-many men acquire a great deal-but though long experience in sound reasoning may render us expert logicians, in the same manner as practice, without the knowledge of principles, may form eminent practitioners in any other art; yet this success will not justify any inference against the utility, or even the propriety of the theory. The end of all theory in the arts, is, to render us more me