Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

“ should say, that those logs were happy " that were made images to be worship

ped; for their fellows, as good as they,

lay for blocks behind the fire: so if we “ should say, as it were, unto certain

words, Stand up higher, have a place

in the Bible always; and to others of “ like quality, Get ye hence, be banished for ever, we might be taxed peradven

ture with St James his words, namely, to be partial in ourselves, and judges of evil thoughts."

Quæritur, Can this translation be safely rely'd on as the rule of faith, when such are the translators ?

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

A P

[blocks in formation]

by he

puld

Α Ρ Ρ Ε Ν DI X.

IN reviewing the foregoing sketch, it oc

curred, that a fair analysis of Aristotle's logic, would be a valuable addition to the historical branch. A distinct and candid account of a system that for many ages governed the reasoning part of mankind, cannot but be acceptable to the public. Curiosity will be gratified, in seeing a phantom delineated that so long fascinated the learned world ; a phantom, which shows infinite genius, but like the pyramids of Egypt or hanging gardens of Babylon, is absolutely useless unless for raising wonder. Dr Reid, professor of moral philosophy in the college of Glasgow, relished the thought; and his friendship to me prevailed on him, after much folicitation, to undertake the laborious task. No man is better acquainted with Aristotle's writings; and, without any enthusiastic attachment, he holds that philosopher to be a first-rate genius.

Thc

The logic of Aristotle has been on the decline more than a century; and is at present relegated to schools and colleges. It has occasionally been criticised by different writers; but this is the first attempt to draw it out of its obfcurity into day-light. From what follows, one will be enabled to pass a true judgement on that work, and to determine whether it ought to make a branch of education. The Doctor's essay, as a capital article in the progress and history of the sciences, will be made welcome, even with the fatigue of fqueezing through many thorny paths, before a distinct view can be got of that ancient and stupendous fabric.

It will at the same time show the hurt that Aristotle has done to the reasoning faculty, by drawing it out of its natural course into devious paths. His artificial mode of reasoning, is no less superficial than intricate: I say, fuperficial; for in none of his logical works, is a single truth attempted to be proved by fyllogism that requires a proof: the propositions he undertakes to prove by syllogism, are all of them felf-evident. Take for instance the following propofition, That man has a VOL. III. Na

power

power of self-motion. To prove this, he assumes the following axiom, upon which indeed every one of his fyllogisms are founded, That whatever is true of a number of particulars joined together, holds true of every one separately; which is thus expressed in logical terms, Whatever is true of the genus, holds true of every species. Founding upon that axiom, he reasons thus: “ All animals have a power

of self-motion: man is an animal: ergo,

man has a power of self-motion. ” Now if all animals have a power of self-motion, it requires no argument to prove, that man, an animal, has that power : and therefore, what he gives as a conclusion or consequence, is not really so; it is not inferred from the fundamental proposition, but is included in it. At the same time, the self-motive power of man, is a fact that cannot be known but from experience ; and it is more clearly known from experience than that of any other animal. Now, in attempting to prove man to be a selfmotive animal, is it not absurd, to found The argument on a proposition less clear than that undertaken to be demonstrated ? What is here observed, will be found ap

plicable

plicable to the greater part, if not the whole, of his fyllogisms.

Unless for the reason now given, it would appear singular, that Aristotle never attempts to apply his fyllogistic mode of reasoning to any subject handled by himself: on ethics, on rhetoric, and on poetry, he argues like a rational being, without once putting in practice any of his own rules. It is not supposable that a man of his capacity could be ignorant, hów insufficient a fyllogisın is for discovering any latent truth. He certainly inténded his fystem of logic, chiefly if not solely, for disputation: and if such was his purpose, he has been wonderfully fuccessful; for nothing can be better contrived for wrangling and disputing without end. He indeed in a manner professes this to be his aim, in his books De Sophifticis elenchis,

Some ages hence, when the goodly fabric of the Romish fpiritual power shall be laid low in the dust, and scarce a veltige remain; it will among antiquaries be a cu-rious enquiry, What was the nature and extent of a tyranny, more oppressive to the minds of men, than the tyranny of ancient Rome was to their persons. During every Qq2

Пер

« AnteriorContinuar »