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with something more of ornament, may be opposed the firm belief of in those of Dugald Stewart. Dr. Pascal, Bacon, Boyle, Euler, BarGregory will not be angry with us row, Cotes, Newton, and the present for commending these models to bis inheritor of the chair once possessimitation.
ed by these three last celebrated perOn the whole, we do not hesitate sons, But an appeal niay more conto say, that few more important gifts fidently be made to bodies of men have been of late years presented to than to individuals. If, then, we the public, than the work before us. cast our eyes upon that university of
Those who have not leisure (and our country which is chiefly occuwho has any leisure in these busy pied in these studies, in what state days, in times when every man do we find religion among her sons; must know every thing and every driven up into a corner, abandoned body :) to examine the massy folios to a few of her more illiterate memthrough which the evidences, doc. bers? On the contrary, the univertrines, and duties of Christianity sity of Cambridge, not content to are dispersed, will fnd this compen- follow the march of ordinary sodium of Dr. Gregory compact, accu: ciety in religion, has boldly led rate, and complete. Those who have the way ; has burst through the explored this wide sea of knowledge, barriers of surrounding prejudices; will be glad to see it reduced to a has been the first to re-erect the map by Dr. Gregory; to find their banner of the Reformation; has own discoveries noied and measured, pioneered the way to the successes as it were, upon a tangible meridian. of its children in all parts of the
There is a single topic, on which nation. And as we doubt the fact we cannot help dwelliag for a mo. itself, so also we think the solution ment, in coaclusion. It has almost provided for it very questionable. grown into a proverbial observation, In the first place, admitting the evithat the study of the mathematics in- dence for any mathematical concludisposes men lo religion; and the so- sion to be stronger than for a moral Jution provided for the phenomenon truth, is it the fact, that a man, acis, that the mind, accustomed to the customed to one species of evidence, demonstrative evidence of mathema- upon one subject, will be satisfied tics, is apt to be dissatisfied when, with that alone upon all subjects ? as is the case in religion, the evi- Is not the mathematician compelled dence falls short of demonstration. to act continually upon evidence inNow we are inclined to dispute both ferior to demonstration ? 'Is not his the fact and the solution : in the daily life, his determinations when first place, we do not by any means to eat, sleep, drink, or walk; with think it the fact, that the study of whom and where to live ; his conthe mathematics has this tendency ; elusions as to every question in mo. on the contrary, the most eminent rals, politics, physics, law, formed mathematicians have many of them upon inferior evidence? If, therebeen distinguished by their rever- fore, the mind is likely, in every inence for religion. Thus Thales and stance, to covet the evidence upon Pythagoras, the first fathers of this which it ordinarily judges and acts, science, were scarcely less celebrated there is liule fear that it will demand for their mathematical attainments, in religion that foree of evidence than for their zealous support of the which is called demonstration. The superstitions of their country. And uncertainties of life will, even in - although in modern times, the French this view of the subject, correct any mathematicians have the reputation evils springing from the certainty of of infidelity, it is to be remembered the mathematics. But the fact is, that they only partook of the gene- that the precision of mathematical
ral disease of iheir age and country; demonstration is much overstated. . and to their unthinking scepticism, Take the following illustrations of
this position from Dr. Gregory him- endeavouring to define what does self:
not admit of definition, and to de* Mathematics is not the science which cipher what was never meant to be enables us to ascertain the nature of things explained. in themselves; for that, alas! is not a sci- Secondly, the mathematician is ence which can be learned in our present in general cautious to employ those imperfect condition, where we see through terms of simple, pure, invariable,aca glass darkly ; but the science of quantity credited meaning; whereas the dias measure
that is, as comparable ; and vine too often employs a loose, metait is obvious, that we can compare quantities phorical, unaccredited, fluctuating, satisfactorily in some respects, while we know nothing of them in others. Thus we
partial phraseology. can demonstrate, that any two sides of a
Thirdly, the axioms of the matheplane triangle are, together, greater than the matician are truths, either self-obthird, by sbewing iliat angles, of whose abso- vious or established by universal lute magnitude we know nothing, are one consent ; whereas those of theologreater than the other : and then inferring gians are apt to be obscure and amthe truth of the proposition, that the greater biguous, clear to one half the world angle in a triangle is subtended by the greater perhaps, but denied by the other. side." Vol. i. p. 71.
Lastly, the mathematician has in If our views be extended from general no temptation to call in his what are called the pure mathema- passions to assist the decisions of his tics, to that branch of the science judgment; whereas the polemic in which geometry and physics are scarcely suffers his judgment to incombined, it is obvious to every one terfere with the “fiat” of his pas. at all acquainted with the subject, sions. that here ihe method of proof is by In all these instances, then, let the no means of that precise and obvious divine emulate his more philosophic kind which is likely to seduce the brethren, and we shall cease to hear mind into any unwarrantable or en- 80 much of the vast interval between thusiastic expectations of clearness their respective proofs. Moral eviand precision upon other subjects. dence will, indeed, never arrive at Upon the whole, then, we can dis- demonstrative ; but it will be more cover no ground, either in fact or difficult to ascertain where the one theory, for the alleged perils of ma- begins and the other ends. They thematical studies. Will our readers will be no longer separated, as the yet bear with us upon this sonewhat colours in the prism; bat melt into onerous topic, wbile we venture to one another, as these colours in the state to thein how we conceive those solar ray. Our correspondents somevery mathematical studies, hitherto times complain, that we hesitate to deemed the enemies of religion, determine, or even to argue, upon might he converted into her allies? some vast and most important topics. Our rule would be simply this; to We beg to assure them, that these employ the same means, with ear- more curious investigations are denest prayer for the Divine blessing, Jayed only iill we can find precisely in the establishment of religious such a reasoner as we have just detruth, that are used for the discovery scribed. Such a man, baving discoof mathematical truths. With jus- vered the causes of gravitation and tifying, by certain examples, the attraction, the philosopher's stone, rule thus promulged, we shall con- and the longitude at sea, will, we clude.
have no doubt, soon put an end to First, then, the sound mathema- sectarianism in Great Britain. If he tician takes care to obtain clear ideas does not, at least the fault will lie in of the things of which his science ourselves; and who will affirm that treats. Let the theologian, also, pow? seize upon the plain, definite, intel- We beg to console our readers for ligible parts of his subject, instead of the pain which our last dull reasonings may have inflicted upon them, the work now before us; but many by the following eulogy upon ma- of the subjects which have occupied thematics, from the band of a man our attention since its appearance at once the best mathematician, ora- have possessed a temporary interest, tor, and divine of bis day. “ The to which it was necessary to have mathematics, I say, which effectu- some regard, and which could not ally exercises, not vainly deludes belong to a collection of essays nor vexatiously torments, studious upon abstract subjects. We bave felt minds with obscure subtleties, per- also the less unwillingness to yield plexed difficulties, or contentious to these demands, from a knowledge disquisitions, which overcomes with that philosophical writings, in geout opposition, triumphs without neral, attract the public attention pomp, compels without force, and slowly, and live long in their rerules absolutely without the loss of collection. liberty : which does not privately It is now about twenty years over-reach a weak faith, but openly since Mr. Stewart gave to the world. assaulis an armed reason, obrains a his Elements of the Philosophy of the total victory, and puts on inevitable Human Mind; a work which is alchains; whose words are so many ready established among the classics oracles, and works as many miracles; of the country; and which, whether which blabs out nothing rashly, nor we consider the originality of many designs any thing from the purpose, of the truths contained in it, the but plainly demonstrates and readily justness and scientific arrangement performs all things within its verge ; of the observations which are not which obtrudes no false shadows of strictly original, or the elegance of science, but the very science itself, its composition, is entitled to be the mind firmly adhering to it as classed among the most valuable soon as possessed of it, and cau never productions which we possess in after desert it of its own accord, or philosophy and literature. It was be deprived of it by any force of intended by the author as the first others: lastly, the mathematics, part of a systematic inquiry into the which depends upon principles clear nature of man, contemplated as an to the mind, and agreeable to expe- intellectual being, or moral agent, rience ; which draws certain con- and a member of political society. clusions, instructs by profitable Mr. Stewart complains, in the earlier rules, unfolds pleasant questions, parts of that publication, that the and produces wonderful effects; proper objects of metaphysical inwhich is the fruitful parent of, í vestigation had been, in general, had almost said all, arts, the un- much mistaken, and the progress of shaken foundation of sciences, and the science proportionably retard. the plentiful fountain of advantage ed ;--that philosophers had been to human affairs *.”
chiefly employed in controversies concerning the origin of our know
ledge, while the steady contemplaPhilosophical Essays. By DUGALDtion of the known powers and attecSTEWART, Esq. F. R.S. Edin.,
tions of the human mind had been Emeritus Professor of Moral Phi- little attended to;- and that the losophy in the University of Edin- only true way to render this im. burgh. 4to. pp. 490. Price 21. 23. portant science of practical value to Edinburgh: Constable. London: men, or to make real advances in it, Cadell. 1810.
must be, as in physics, to collect
carefully the phenomena which beWe owe an apology to our readers long to it
, and build upon them a for having so long delayed to notice system of general principles; ob
serving rigidly, through ihe whole Barrow's Lectures, p. 28. process, the same laws of induction which have long been universally the Human Mind were intended, as recognised in the sister science. we have already mentioned, as the Acting upon this view of things, commencement of a course of inshe justness of which we think it quiries into subjects of a very exten impossible to controvert, Mr. Stew. sive and interesting nature. But art, in the work alloded to, after “art is long, and life is short." In some very acute and valuable ob- this "land of shadows,' eveo those servations on the nature of our per. who seem to be the least exposed to teprions, and the essential difficul. the varieties of fortune, too often. ties which will probably for ever find their leisure consumed by avo. attend our inquiries respecting them, cations which they cannot forbid, proceeds to take a general survey of and saddened with corrows which the faculties of the human under they had no power to auticipate, standing; and the greater part of Twenty years are elapsed, and the the volume is occupied with obser. projecis which were conceived by varions and reasonings upon the Mr Stewart, not in the eagerness
of powers of Attention, Conception, Ab- youth, but in the maturity and exstraction, Association, Memory, and perience of riper years, still remain Imagination. All the chapters upon unaccomplished ; and this justly these subjects, but particularly those celebrated writer may perhaps, after upon Attention and Conception, con- all his efforts, add one io the number tain much that is new and valuable; of the many great and wise men and what is not entitled to the who have indulged and awakened praise of originality, may generally expectations which the vicissitude claim that of correctness and ele- of human things never allowed them gance. Indeed, the plan of Mr. to fulfil. In this, however, he difStewart's work entitles him to be fers from most others, that even at considered as original in a degree to the time of expressing bis hopes be which few authors can lay claim ; had the wisdom to anticipate the for, though much of the materials possibility of their failure*. May which he digested was undoubtedly ihe tranquillity of his future years drawn from the metaphysical writers enable him to prove, what none who preceded him, none of them, who justly estimate his works can except perhaps Mr. Locke (whose doubt, that the fulfilment of his progreat work, however, is not very jects has been retarded by no dis. orderly), employed the facts, of proportion between his talents and which they were in possession, in his designs, but by that wise ecosuch a manner as could tend, in nomy of things, which has provided any considerable measure, to the that in this imperfect state even the advancement of the science; having highest intellectual endowments been generally content to adduce shall seldom be allowed to produce then, for the purpose of supporting their full effect. some hypothesis respecting the ori- In the mean time, and still, as he gin of our knowledge,-a question informs us, intent on the prosecu• rather curious than useful; and tion of his great work, Mr. Stewart having, for the most part, neglected has presented to the public a volume to combine and extend them for the of Essays on subjects intimately purpose of shewing the nature, the connected with his favourite studies. proper application of, and best of these we are now to give some means of improving, the faculties of account. They were written, the man, which ought to be the main author tells us, during an interval of objects of metaphysical investiga- ill health, which disqualified him tions, and are perhaps those which from severer labours; like Baxter's can alone, strictly, be termed prac-Saint's Rest, « in the time of his lantical.
* See Advertisement to the Elements of The Elements of the Philosophy of the Philosophy of the Human Mind.
guishment:" but there are probably argument is, that the proper use of few persons whose full vigour would knowledge being to increase the have been sufficient for the produc- power of man, a science of which tion of such a volume ; and certainly the phenomena are observed, but not none whose years of health and discovered, can be of little service to strength hail not been assiduously that end : that in physics a great devoted to the cultivation of science variety of new facts are obtained and letters.
by skilful experiments; but that in The Essays before us are preceded metaphysics the most accurate inby a Preliminary Dissertation, which quirer can only notice what has is divided into two chaplers. In the been, from time immemorial, open first of these, the writer offers some to the view of all who were disposed strictures on the hypothetical sy. to examine: that it is, therefore, stems in metaphysics, for which highly improbable that new phesome of the followers of Hartley nomena should now be discovered ; and Priestley have, since the ap- and though an able philosopher may pearance of his former work, claim- classify more skilfully what is aled the public approbation; and de- ready known, and perhaps have fends, with a title warmth, that sagacity enough to point out in more cautious process of observation ferences not immediately obvious, and induction which he had for- he can add nothing new to the facts merly recommended, and himself of the science, and even his results steadily pursued. There is no doubt, will generally be found to have we believe, now entertained by judi. been anticipated by the practical cious scholars, that the scheme of good sense of mankind; who know investigation adopted by Mr. Stewart perfectly well (for example) how is as sound and unquestionable in memory depends upon attention, metaphysical researches, as in all and is assisted by association, withthe branches of natural science. Of out any elaborate inquiry into the the theories of the Hartleian school, nature of the human facullies. we shall have occasion to say ore The argument, of which we have hereafter.
here presented the substance, is exThe second chapter, in the Prelimi. panded and enforced by its author nary Dissertation, is employed upon with considerable ability, and Mr. a question, which we have always Stewart has judged it worthy of a thought interesting, and which is pretty large examination. He denow rendered more so by the cha. nies, in the first place, that there is racter of the disputants. Mr. Stewart, any essential difference between in some early chapters of his former physical and metaphysical science, work, expatiated pretty largely on as to the manner of collecting the the benefits which might be expect- data properly belonging to each. ed to result from a just view and Berkley's theory of vision, he obassiduous cultivation of the meta- serves, is “at least an attempt tophysics. It is natural for an author wards an experimental decomposito be partial lo his own pursuits. tion of our perceptions : and the But the philosophers of the north whole of a philosopher's life, if he are sceptical. "A writer ' in the spends it to any purpose, is one conEdinburgh Review, in one of the tinued series of experiments on bis early numbers, controverted this own faculties and powers.” Even with opinion, and insisted on the inutility respect to the distinction attempted of metaphysical knowledge for prac- to be made between experiment and tical purposes *. The sum of his observation, he insists that it is, in
• Some of the metaphysical articles in the employed their industry? We, however, have early volumes of the Edinburgh Review, are no hesitation in preferring those papers to written with great ability. If their doctrine the vehement political diatribes wbich have is correct, bave not the writers a little mis- for some time past overran iliat journal. Christ. OBSERY. No. 129.