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observed facts are the only basis of sound speculation, and that no proposition that is not finally reducible to the enunciation of a fact, particular or general, can offer any real and intelligible meaning.
It remains to be remarked of these illustrious men, that they were proficients in Philosophy, rather than in Science, and, more eminently, Philosophy of human than of general nature; and, if it be the case, as an eminent professor has lately sought to show, that Comte possessed but slight actual acquaintance with scientific processes, it must be admitted that Bacon probably had less. Harvey, who was the Huxley of Lord Bacon's day, said of Bacon sneeringly, that he wrote of Science
like a Lord Chancellor.'3 But, though their Science be sneered at, or their Philosophy sought to be refuted, they cannot be deprived of their splendour of genius, their elevation of view, and their devotion to the highest moral law of Science-love of the Spirit of
Comte, vol. ii.
p. 511. It has been suggested that this feature of the Inductive Philosophy is at present exercising a decidedly prejudicial influence on the English intellect, by producing an excessive distaste for the higher generalisations, and for all speculations that do not lead directly to practical results.—Lecky's Rationalism, vol. i. p. 443. But Mr. Mill has justly remarked, that such tendency is the effect of an exclusive following of what is imagined to be the teaching of Bacon, being in reality the result of a slovenly conception of him, leaving on one side the whole spirit and scope of his speculations.—Mill on Hamilton, p. 541, note.
2 Huxley, Lay Sermons, &c., ' Scientific Aspects of Positivism.' Macmillan & Co., 1870.
3 Nothing more is meant by this juxtaposition of the names of Harvey and Huxley than that they are alike in the relation in which they stand towards the objects of their censure—viz., men of special science criticising philosophers. Harvey was a great discoverer as well as a profound physiologist.
Truth, wherewith in thoughts that burn and words that breathe' they have inspired so many kindred minds to think deeply upon social problems, and to strive nobly for social regeneration.
Their works indeed have moved the intellects that have moved the world.'i
If the Inductive Philosophy be such as I have endeavoured to describe it, how is it, you may ask, that we sometimes hear of grave objections being urged against it? I need hardly remind
of the proverb which tells us what usually happens when you give a dog a bad name. It has been objected, then, to the Inductive Philosophy, disguised in the garb of Positivism, that it leaves out the spiritual part of man's nature—an objection which is about as rational as it would be to say the multiplication table should not be taught because you would not thereby learn the Apostles' Creed. The true answer to the objection, however, is this. The spiritual part of man's nature is at present the subject, not of Science, but of Theology; and the Inductive Philosophy, however much it may seek to recover from Theology domains that do not belong to her, does not assume to supersede Theology in her own proper sphere. But
1. The conviction which the study of M. Comte's works left on my mind, which I shall always be thankful to him for awakening in me; that the organisation of society upon a new and purely scientific basis is not only practicable, but is the only political object much worth fighting for.'-Huxley, ubi supra.
* See passim, The Limits of Philosophical Enquiry, by William, Lord Archbishop of York. Edinburgh : Edmonston & Douglas, 2nd ed. 1868; and Positivism, a Lecture (Christian Evidence Society), by Rev. W. Jackson, M.A., F.S.A., &c. Hodder and Stoughton, 1871.
Faraday, On the Education of the Judgment, a Lecture-Modern Culture. Macmillan, 1867.
the Inductive Philosophy has also, thus disguised, been denounced as a system of materialism, whatever that may mean.
Science no doubt is limited to matter, its laws, and its relations, and the Inductive Philosophy, being founded on Science, is, necessarily, so far material. But, whilst man himself is a being compounded partly, at any rate, of matter, living in a world of matter, surrounded by, and subjected on all sides to material influences, can it be wise for any man, or set of men, whatever their piety, to seek to disparage a system of knowledge which aims at expounding for man’s benefit the properties and laws of matter, the nature of material influences, and the relations in which man, in this world, has been placed towards them? Can there be a doubt, for instance, that it must be of the greatest importance for man to have ascertained, from the teachings of Science, that he cannot destroy one particle of matter, or one moment of force; but that he can, as the Inductive Philosophy teaches, so arrange matter, that force shall be his servant ?? Nay, will any one seriously deny that the true satisfactions of life, its duties and its charity, its happiness and its virtue, are now in course of being diffused throughout the civilised world, as one result of Science having, in a Franklin, enabled man to grasp the lightning, and Inductive Philosophy, in an Oersted, a Faraday, and a
1. Au-delà de ces deux termes, matière et force, la science positive ne connaît rien.'—Comte, Préface d'un Disciple (E. Littré).
2 On the conservation of force, the indestructibility of matter, and the invariability of gravity, see Faraday's brilliant Discourse on the Conservation of Force. London, 1857.
3 Note J, p. 71.
Wheatstone, having taught man how to apply the lightning to his use ?—whereby time and space are annihilated, in order to bind all mankind into one family, for their intellectual and moral advancement; and the thunderbolt snatched from heaven, passed through the depths of the ocean, becomes a messenger of love to the most distant nations.
Such are the fruits of the Inductive Philosophy, or Philosophy founded on Science, that is, on the knowledge of universal invariable Law; the sacred code, promulgated by the great Legislator of the Universe for the guidance of his creatures to happiness—that Law of which our eloquent Hooker so sublimely speaks when he assures us, “there can be no less acknowledged than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world ; all things in heaven and earth do her homage; the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her powerboth Angels and men, and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and manner, yet all, with uniform consent, admiring her as the mother of their peace and joy.' 3 To whom, therefore, the inspired poet addressed the rapt utterance, ‘Bless ye the Lord ; praise Him, and magnify Him for ever.'
1 ""Eripuit fulmen Coelo," is part of the inscription on a medal struck in honour of Franklin.'-Mary Somerville's Connexion of the Physical Sciences, sec. xxxii. p. 327, 9th ed. Murray, 1858.
2 Note K, p. 71, and note L, p. 74.
NOTE A, p. 1.
The Telescope and its Discoveries.
The telescope was invented early in the seventeenth century, probably by James Metius, of Alkmaer, in Holland, in the year 1609. Galileo, from hints that he picked up in Venice in the same year, constructed the first practical astronomical telescope; and it is related that he was besieged from morning till night hy crowds of the inhabitants, all eager to have a peep through the wonderful glass, which he subsequently presented to the Doge, who accepted it from him sitting in full council.
The first effects of the discoveries that followed the invention of the telescope upon the prevailing orthodox cosmical theories were simply astounding, and exercised such a withering influence upon the ancient philosophy,' that many of its adherents, in the height of their mortification, took
1 The interest this discovery excited was intense, and men were so little habituated to accommodate their convictions on matters of science to newly observed facts, that several of the paper philosophers,' as Galileo termed them, appear to have thought they could get rid of these new objects by writing books against them. The effect which the discovery had upon the reception of the Copernican System was immediately very considerable. It showed that the real universe was very different from that which the ancient philosophers had imagined.-Whewell, Hist, of the Inductive Sciences, vol. i. p. 414.