페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

ough as the circumstances admit, the principles well defined, the illustrations striking and suggestive, and, to younger students especially, the information very valuable.

The end of pure logic is formal truth—the harmony of thought with thought; the end of modified logic is the harmony of thought with existence.

The former is less ambitious, but more certainly accomplished. The latter is more important, but less perfectly attained. Stated more fully, the object of modified logic is the conditions to which thought is subject, arising from the empirical circumstances, external and internal, under which man's faculty of thinking is exercised. Its problems are three: 1. What is truth and its contradictory opposite, error? 2. What are the causes of error, and the impediments to truth, and what are the means of their removal? 3. What are the subsidiaries by which human thought may be strengthened and guided in the exercise of its functions?

Truth is defined as the agreement of a cognition with its object. Real truth, as distinguished from formal, is the harmony between a thought and its matter. "The criterion of truth is the necessity determined by the laws which govern our faculties of knowledge, and the consciousness of this necessity is certainty." In relation to the kind and degree of certainty, we have to distinguish knowledge, belief, and opinion. "Knowledge is a certainty founded on intuition. Belief is a certainty founded on feeling." Our author dissents from the common notion that belief is an inferior degree of certainty. We may be " equally certain of what we believe as of what we know." Many philosophers, whose testimony he brings, maintained that the certainty of all knowledge is, in its ultimate analysis, resolved into a certainty of belief. Luther says: "All things stand in a belief, in a faith, which we can neither see nor comprehend." This is true not only theologically but philosophically. Aristotle declares that "on a primary and incomprehensible belief hangs the whole chain of our comprehensible or mediate knowledge." The Platonists, at least some of them, held the same doctrine. Even Hume, of all men the last to admit such a thought, is made to give unwilling testimony in the same direction. The importance and results of this doctrine are obvious.

Error is opposed to truth, and arises, 1. From the commutation of what is subjective with what is objective in thought; 2. From the contradiction of a supposed knowledge with its laws; or, 3. From a want of adequate activity in our cognitive faculties. It is to be distinguished from ignorance and from illusion, "which, however, along with arbitrary assumption, afford the most frequent occasions of error." The various sources of error are reduced to four heads: 1. The general circumstances which modify the intellectual character of the individual; 2. The constitution, habits, and reciprocal relations of his powers of cognition, feeling, and desire; 3. The language he employs as an instrument of thought and a medium of communication; 4. The nature of the objects themselves about which his knowledge is conversant.

The remarks under the first of these heads are among the most valuable in this division, and well worth the attention of every thoughtful man. As man is destined by his Creator to live in society, he is expressly constituted with a disposition to conform himself to whatever section of society he may belong. But this disposition, which is properly an element of power and happiness, is also liable to a vicious action. We are compelled to think much earlier than we are able to think for ourselves; thus many mental habits and beliefs are formed for us before we are able to choose or discriminate concerning them. It will readily be seen that these become the manifold source of error. Thus with reference to opinions of every kind it becomes necessary to accept the exhortation of Paul: "Prove all things: hold fast that which is good."

Of the sources of error which arise from the constitution and relation of the "affective elements of mind," the following is a summary statement:

The disturbing passions may be reduced to four: precipitancy, sloth, hope and tear, self-love. 1. A restless anxiety for a decision begets impatience, which decides before the preliminary inquiry is concluded. This is precipitancy. 2. The same result is the effect of sloth, which dreams on in conformity to custom, without subjecting its beliefs to the test of active observation. 3. The restlessness of hope or fear impedes observation, distracts attention, or forces it only on what interests the passions; the sanguine looking on only what harmonizes with his hopes, the diffident only on what accords with his fears. 4. Self-love perverts our estimate of probability by causing us to rate the grounds of judgment not according to their real influence on the truth of the decision, but according to their bearing on our personal interests therein.— Pp. 402, 403.

There is much good discussion on the subject of language, both considered in itself and as a source of error, which we must pass, as we must also the remarks on testimony, and the sensible and thoroughly judicious observations on the art of criticism, which many of our tyros in that field of study might do well to read.

On the doctrine of the perfecting of knowledge two means are described: acquisition and communication. The former may be either by speculation or by experience. Experience may be either immediate or mediate. In the latter case our acquisition is through testimony. Under this head are given rules for the proper method of reading.

I. As concerns the quantity of what is to be read, there is a single rule: Read much, but not many works, (multum non multo.)

ft. As concerns the quality of what is to be read, there may be given five rules: 1. Select the works of principal importance, estimated by relation to the several sciences themselves, or to your particular aim in reading, or to your individual disposition and wants. 2. Read not the more detailed works on a science until you have a rudimentary knowledge of it in general. 3. Make yourself familiar with a science in its actual present state before you proceed to study it in its chronological development. 4. To avoid erroneous and exclusive views, read and compare together the more important works of every sect and party. 5. To avoid a one-sided development of mind, combine with the study of works which cultivate the understanding, the study of works which cultivate the taste.

III. As concerns the mode or manner of reading itself, there are four principal rules: 1. Read that you may accurately remember, but still more that you may fully understand. 2. Strive to compare the general tenor of a work before you attempt to judge of it in detail. 3. Accommodate the intensity of the reading to the importance of the work. Some works are therefore to be only dipped into, others are to be run over rapidly, and others to be studied long and sedulously. 4. Regulate on the same principle the extracts which you make from the works you read.—P. 486.

We are unwilling to close without registering our grateful acknowledgements of the fidelity and thoroughness displayed by the editor in the preparation of this volume for publication. The Lectures were left in such a condition as to require much skill and labor in their arrangement; and the selection and adjustment of the papers of which the appendix is made up must have been a herculean task. Then there were the quotations to verify, involving extensive search through the works referred to, a labor which we shall only appreciate when we realize the immensity of the field from which the author drew his materials. There is little necessity to urge upon our students generally the propriety of an acquaintance with this volume; it is hardly supposable that they will fail of this from the intrinsic character of the work itself. The somewhat strong tendency for a long time growing in many literary circles to a contempt for logic, which has naturally been engendered by its inefficient treatment hitherto, and the false utilities claimed for it, will be largely neutralized by a study of these Lectures.

■ ♦ i

Art. n.—LEONARDO DA VINCI.

The events of the past few months have again turned the attention of the civilized world to Italy. The peculiar circumstances of that country invest it with an interest possessed by no other land in Christendom. During the twenty-five centuries of its history what mighty changes have transpired in the history of the world! The restless course of empire has swayed to and fro, from the Euphrates on the east to the Thames on the west. Twice has its pathway crossed Italy itself. Pagan Rome, from her seven hills, received tribute from every nation and tribe of the then known world. Fifteen centuries later, Catholic Rome sent forth edicts that changed the fate of nearly all Europe, dispensing crowns and overthrowing thrones at its will. To Italy again were all eyes turned as the center of all excellence in literature, science, art.

In a philosophical point of view there was a marked difference between the Augustan age and the time of Leo the Tenth. The former was marked by a grand absorption, a gathering into the Eternal City, as a store-house or a museum, of all works of literature and art of surrounding nations and of preceding ages. It lacked an inherent organizing power to remodel from the materials thus collected works of original genius. It was an age of accumulation rather than of creation. This was reserved for Italy's second visitation. At its approach the hands had stood still for centuries on the great dial face of the world's advancement, while the pendulum of time kept moving on in mournful darkness. The ignorance, superstition, and vices of the masses, the bigotry, ambition, and oppression of the rulers, and the unscrupulous perversion of Christianity by the Church, during the Middle Ages, were almost beyond belief. We turn away from its dark record with our cheeks blushing with shame for our race! Where shall we turn for a genius that shall readjust the disordered machinery of the human mind, restore a sound philosophy, and lead the world back to the truths that had been so long deserted? The work is too extensive, and the material of the human mind too intractable, for this to be accomplished by any one person or in any short time.

But Italy, the land of science and of song, the birthplace of literature and art, the cradle and the grave of civil and religious liberty, was the country in which was inaugurated a revolution in philosophy that, spreading to every nation and permeating every branch of human thought, has wrought out in the history of the world such transformations in religion, science, art, and civil government. Nobly, indeed, did she maintain the pre-eminence she had attained for more than two hundred years. While she was in the zenith of her glory, with her schools of philosophy and art in every city, even the educated minds of surrounding nations were groping in almost unbroken darkness. Scholastic learning in England consisted in reading, writing, a little conversational French, and a smattering of Latin. The education of her universities hardly equaled that received in our most ordinary common schools of the present day. In France the constable of one of the departments could neither read nor write, though he was one of the most influential diplomatists of the empire. His deficient education did not excite surprise among his peers, many of whom were but little his superiors in literary qualifications. In Germany learning was in a more elevated condition, and in Spain much higher still. But Italy far surpassed all other nations.

Among the many names of that most illustrious period, none more justly deserves our notice and admiration than that of

« 이전계속 »