Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

flated

me in

words

every

l, and ur du

e fame

d; as,
brew

never

meying,
think,

never

adness, T, we 7 than

breed

rofit

ing.

les?

n,

y,
fit,

be

ual

ood

by

he uld

"should say, that those logs were happy "that were made images to be worshipped; for their fellows, as good as they,

[ocr errors]

66

lay for blocks behind the fire: fo if we "fhould fay, as it were, unto certain "words, Stand up higher, have a place

66

in the Bible always; and to others of "like quality, Get ye hence, be banished "for ever, we might be taxed peradventure 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 fuch are the translators?

A P

APPENDI X.

IN reviewing the foregoing sketch, it occurred, that a fair analysis of Aristotle's logic, would be a valuable addition to the hiftorical branch. A diftinct and candid account of a fyftem that for many ages governed the reafoning part of mankind, cannot but be acceptable to the public. Curiofity will be gratified, in feeing a phantom delineated that fo long fascinated the learned world; a phantom, which shows infinite genius, but like the pyramids of Egypt or hanging gardens of Babylon, is abfolutely ufelefs unless for raifing wonder. Dr Reid, profeffor of moral philofophy 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 Ariftotle's writings; and, without any enthufiaftic attachment, he holds that philofopher to be a first-rate genius.

The

The logic of Ariftotle has been on the decline more than a century; and is at prefent relegated to fchools and colleges. It has occafionally been criticifed 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 pafs a true judgement on that work, and to determine whether it ought to make a branch of education. The Doctor's effay, as a capital article in the progrefs 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 ftupendous fabric.

It will at the fame time fhow the hurt that Aristotle has done to the reasoning faculty, by drawing it out of its natural courfe into devious paths. His artificialmode of reasoning, is no lefs fuperficial than intricate: I fay, fuperficial; for in none of his logical works, is a fingle truth. attempted to be proved by fyllogifm that requires a proof: the propofitions he undertakes to prove by fyllogifm, are all of them felf-evident. Take for instance the following propofition, That man has a VOL. III. power

[ocr errors]

power of felf-motion. To prove this, he affumes the following axiom, upon which indeed every one of his fyllogifms are founded, That whatever is true of a number of particulars joined together, holds true of every one feparately; which is thus expreffed in logical terms, Whatever is true of the genus, holds true of every fpecies. Founding upon that axiom, he reafons thus: "All animals have a power "of felf-motion: man is an animal: ergo,

[ocr errors]

man has a power of self-motion." Now if all animals have a power of felf-motion, it requires no argument to prove, that man, an animal, has that power: and therefore, what he gives as a conclufion or confequence, is not really fo; it is not inferred from the fundamental propofition, but is included in it. At the fame time, the felf-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 felfmotive animal, is it not abfurd, to found the argument on a propofition lefs clear than that undertaken to be demonftrated? What is here obferved, will be found applicable

[ocr errors]

plicable to the greater part, if not the whole,

of his fyllogifms.

Unless for the reafon now given, it would appear fingular, that Aristotle never attempts to apply his fyllogiftic mode of reafoning to any fubject handled by himfelf: 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 fuppofable that a man of his capacity could be ignorant, how infufficient a fyllogifm is for difcovering any latent truth. He certainly intended his fyftem of logic, chiefly if not folely, for disputation: and if fuch was his purpose, he has been wonderfully fuccessful; for nothing can be better contrived for wrangling and difputing without end. He indeed in a manner profeffes this to be his aim, in his books De Sophifticis elenchis,

Some ages hence, when the goodly fabric of the Romish fpiritual power fhall be laid low in the duft, and fcarce a veftige remain; it will among antiquaries be a cu rious enquiry, What was the nature and extent of a tyranny, more oppreffive to the minds of men, than the tyranny of ancient Rome was to their perfons. During every Q1 2

Пер

« AnteriorContinuar »