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'may doubt whether we propose to apply our method of investigation to natural philosophy only, or to other sciences, such as ethics and politics. We answer that we mean it to be so applied. Our logic, which proceeds by induction, embraces everything.' 1 Comte appeals, for the verification of such extended views, to recent scientific discoveries, and to the facts of modern history, a critical review of which occupies a consi derable portion of his treatise.?
The progressive growth of the sciences in Comte's (that is our) time, the range of their discoveries, their number and variety, do, indeed, furnish proofs of the universality and uniformity of the laws of nature in countless profusion and overwhelming force. Limiting our attention to two only of the sciences, as being those whích, by reason of the sublimity of their phenomena, most powerfully move the mind, viz., Astronomy, in respect of immeasurable space; and Geology, with
Nov. Org., lib. i. aph. 127. 2 The fact is every year becoming more broadly manifest, by the successive application of scientific principles to subjects that had been hitherto empirically treated, that the great work of Bacon was not the completion, but, as he foresaw and foretold, only the commencement of his own philosophy; that we are yet only at the threshold of the Palace of Truth, which succeeding generations will range over as their own; a world of scientific enquiry in which, not matter only and its properties, but far more rich and complex relations of life and thought, of passion and motive, of interest and action, will come to be regarded as its legitimate objects.'--Sir J. Herschel's Address to the British Association.
3 See Vestiges of the Natural Hist. of Creation, Proofs, Illustrations, Authorities, &c., 10th ed. Professor Sedgwick's Discourse on the Studies of the University of Cambridge. The Reign of Law, by the Duke of Argyll. Herbert Spencer's First Principles. Note F, p. 60.
regard to incalculable time, the testimony supplied by these two sciences alone of the universality and constancy of natural law, is of a vastness and grandeur so impressive, as probably to require the utmost reach of the human understanding properly to appreciate it. But, it is alleged, these are physical sciences, they deal only with inorganic matter. Life, at any rate human life, is regulated by the higher moral law; and there are many who, whilst ready to believe that matter is undisturbed by providential interference, refuse to believe that man is equally undisturbed. In the one case they will admit the scientific doctrine of regularity, but in the other they assert the theological doctrine of irregularity. Science, however, speaks with no uncertain sound, and can show, by unanswerable proofs, that the laws which regulate the movements of matter, do equally affect every action and every instant of human existence. Neither the fervent piety of the blameless Hudson, whose manual of devotion was carried next his heart, nor the agonising prayer he must have uttered on the occasion of that fatal slip from the summit of the Matterhorn, nor the guileless innocence of that unconscious child who, with senses locked in slumber, crossed unthinking the open window sill, availed to avert the penalty attached to the violation of the natural but inexorable law of gravitation.
1 The most unfeeling thing I know of is the law of gravitation ; it breaks the neck of the best and most amiable person without scruple if he forgets for a single moment to give heed to it.'--J. S. Mill's Inaugural Address at St. Andrew's University, Longmans, 1867.
Doubtless, however, notwithstanding the wide range of phenomena now. shown by science to be subject to the action of invariable law, there are a considerable number of social and moral facts, the causes of which cannot be proved to be within that category, and there are many able and estimable minds which not only deny that they are, but cannot conceive that they ever will be proved to be so regulated. Hence it is disputed whether Comte has really done more, with respect to such social and moral phenomena, than point out, by means of analogy (the spirit of induction) and hypothesis (that primary resource of genius), and a review of history from the inductive stand-point, that is, as a chain of causes and effects, that the balance of probability is in favour of his extended views. As, however, it is the faith of the inductive philosopher, that in the moral world, as in the physical, there can be nothing anomalous, nothing unnatural, nothing mysterious, but that all is order, symmetry, and law; he looks forward with confidence to the time when the most irregular and apparently inexplicable occurrences will be explained, brought within the
of scientific treatment, and under the domain of law. Even now, no one competent to the task could conceive the compilation of a complete code of morals? that should ignore physiology, an inductive science; or contend that vice and virtue have no connection with health, health being a subject confessedly dependent on the observance of natural law; the theological theory of disease becoming gradually stamped out by statistics, the grand inductive weapon of sanitary science.
1 Notę G, p. 61.
I am reluctant to close my observations on the Inductive Philosophy without presenting to your notice some concrete example of it, and I will therefore mention one that the late historian Hallam' was accustomed to consider as comprising an almost perfect instance of the Inductive Method, viz., the “Essay on the Principle of Population,' by Malthus ;? whose arguments were pronounced by Archbishop Whately to be as unanswerable as the Elements of Euclid. Malthus, by means of investigations into the condition of every known inhabited country, established inductively two propositions. One, that the natural law of animal increase applied to and regulated the production of human beings. The other, that there is everywhere a tendency in population to exceed the limits of subsistence; whence he drew this indisputable deduction : That unless people, by prudence, forethought, and selfrestraint, deferred entering upon the marriage state until they had before them the prospect of maintaining a family, more children must inevitably be born than the condition of the country could support. Oppressed as he felt by the appalling fact, which still oppresses
Hallam's Literature of Europe, part 3, chap. iii. sec. 2.- On the Philosophy of Lord Bacon,' 4th ed., Murray, 1854.
? An Essay on the Principle of Population; or, a View of its Past and Present Effects on Human Happiness, &c., by the Rev. T. R. Malthus, A.M., F.R.S., &c. 6th edition. Murray, 1826.
Dr. Paley's Works, a Lecture by Richard Whately, D.D., Archbishop of Dublin. Parker and Son, 1859. 'And even now persons may be found among what are called “the educated classes,”- who decry that eminent and most valuable writer (Malthus). They do not indeed disprove his facts, or answer his arguments. In truth, one might as well talk of answering Euclid.'-Note H, p. 62.
us ; that of the children that are brought into existence not one half ever live to arrive at manhood ; 1 well might the benevolent Malthus exclaim, “I am not an enemy to population ; I am an enemy to vice and misery; and the reason why I desire that no more children should be born than the condition of the country can support is this, that of those that are born the greatest possible number may live.'?
In concluding our review of the Inductive Philosophy, as we find it expounded in the works of Lord Bacon and Comte, the mind is naturally inclined to contemplate some parallel between such remarkable men, who seem to have been gifted with considerable similarity of genius, however much the striking diversity of their styles prevent this being obvious. : The student of Lord Bacon has ever found himself fascinated by the stately eloquence of his style. It is indeed distinguished by such a weight of words, and depth of thought, so combined with dignity and gravity, a splendour of imagery, and an authority of expression, as to make it, so to say, the very majesty of speech. This is indeed in striking contrast with
1 Thirty per cent. at least die under ten years of age !'- Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, edited by M'Culloch, 1846, note 4, on Population; and the authorities there cited. On the physical causes of premature deaths, see Dr. Southwood Smith's Philosophy of Health, chap. iii., and Edwin Chadwick’s Reports, cited in Combe's Science and Religion.'—Note I.
* The wholesale slaughter of children in our civilised country is truly appalling. Out of 233,515 deaths at all ages, 94,804, or 40.60 per cent., were those of children under five
of Elizabeth Blackwell's Religion of Health, 1871.
2 Malthus, book iv. chap. xiii.; and App. vol. ii. p. 444.