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step of the enquiry, pofterity will rejoice over mental liberty, no less precious than personal liberty. The despotism of Aristotle with respect to the faculty of reason, was no less complece, than that of the Bishop of Rome with respect to religion; and it is now a proper subject of curiosity, to enquire into the nature and extent of that despotism. One cannot peruse the following sheets, without sympathetic pain for the weakness of man with respect to his noblest faculty; but that pain will redouble his fatisfaction, in now being left free to the dictates of reason and common sense.

In my reveries, I have more than once compared Aristotle's logic to a bubble made of soap-water for amusing children; a beautiful figure with fplendid colours; fair on the outside, empty within. It has for more than two thousand years been the hard fate of Aristotle's followers, Ixion like, to embrace a cloud for a goddess. But this is more than sufficient for a preface: and I had almost forgot, that I am detaining my readers from better entertainment, in listening to Dr Reid,


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A Brief Account of ARISTOTLE'S

Logic. With REMARKS.

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Riftocle had very uncommon advan

tages born in an age when the philosophical spirit in Greece had loog flourished, and was in its greatest vigour; brought up in the court of Macedon, where his father was the King's physician; twenty years a favourite scholar of Plato, and tutor to Alexander the Great ; who both honoured him with his friendship, and supplied him with every thing necessary for the prosecution of his enquiries.

These advantages he improved by indefatigable study, and immense reading. He was the firft, we know, says Strabo,


who composed a library. And in this the Egyptian and Pergamenian kings, copied his example. As to his genius, it would be disrespectful to mankind, not to allow an uncommon share to a man who governed the opinions of the most enlightened

part of the species near two thousand years.

If his talents had been laid out folely for the discovery of truth and the good of mankind, his laurels would have remained for ever fresh; but he seems to have had a greater passion for fame than for truth, and to have wanted rather to be admired as the prince of philosophers than to be useful : so that it is dubious, whether there be in his character, most of the philosopher or of the sophist. The opinion of Lord Bacon is not without probability, That his ambition was as boundless as that of his royal pupil; the one aspiring at universal monarchy over the bodies and fortunes of men, the other over their opinions. If this was the case, it cannot be said, that the philofopher pursued his aim with less industry, less ability, or less success than the hero. His writings. carry too evident marks


of that philosophical pride, vanity, and envy, which have often sullied the character of the learned. He determines boldly things above all human knowledge ; and enters upon the most difficult questions, as his pupil entered on a battle, with full assurance of success. He delivers his decisions oracularly, and without any fear of mistake. Rather than confess his ignorance, he hides it under hard words and ambiguous expressions, of which his interpreters can make what they please. There is even reason to suspect, that he wrote often with affected obscurity, either that the air of mystery might procure greater veneration, or that his books might be understood only by the adepts who had been initiated in his philosophy.

His conduct towards the writers that went before him has been much censured. After the manner of the Ottoman princes, fays Lord Verulam, he thought his throne could not be secure unless he killed all his brethren. Ludovicus Vives charges him with detracting from all philosophers, that he might derive that glory to himself, of which he robbed them. He rarely quotes an author but with a view to censure, and


is not very fair in representing the opinions which he censures.

The faults we have mentioned are such as might be expected in a man, who had the daring ambition to be transmitted to all future ages, as the prince of philofophers, as one who had carried every branch of human knowledge to its utinost limit; and who was not very fcrupulous about the means he took to obtain his end.

We ought, however, to do him the justice to observe, that although the pride and vanity of the fophift appear too much in his writings in abstract philosophy ; yet in natural history the fidelity of his narrations seems to be equal to his induftry; and he always diftinguishes between what he knew and what he had by report, And even in abstract philosophy, it would be unfair to impute to Aristotle all the faults, all the obscurities, and all the contradictions, that are to be found in his writings. The greatest part, and perhaps the best part, of his writings is loft. There is reason to doubt whether some of those we ascribe to him be really his; and whether what are his be not much vitiated and


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