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gifm shows the incoherence only to thofe (who are not one of ten thousand) who perfectly understand mode and figure, and the reafon upon which thofe forms are established whereas a due and orderly placing of the ideas upon which the inference is made, makes every one, whether logician or not logician, who understands the terms, and hath the faculty to perceive the agreement or difagreement of fuch ideas (without which, in or out of fyllogifm, he cannot perceive the strength or weaknefs, coherence or incoherence of the discourse) see the want of connexion in the argumentation, and the abfurdity of the inference.
And thus I have known a man unfkilful in fyllogifm, who at first hearing could perceive the weakness and inconclufiveness of a long artificial and plaufible discourse, wherewith others better fkilled in fyllogifin have been mifled. And I believe there are few of my readers who do not know fuch. And indeed if it were not fo, the debates of moft princes councils, and the business of affemblies would be in danger to be mifmanaged, fince those who are relied upon, and have usually a great stroke in them, are not always fuch, who have the good luck to be perfectly knowing in the forms of fyllogifm, or expert in mode and figure. And if fyllogifm were the only, or fo much as the fureft way to detect the fallacies of artificial difcourfes; I do not think that all mankind, even princes in matters that concern their crowns and dignities, are fo much in love with falfhood and mistake, that they would every where have neglected to bring fyllogifm into the debates of moment; or thought it ridiculous fo much as to offer them in affairs of confequence a plain evidence to me, that men of parts and penetration, who were not idly to difpute at their ease, but were to act according to the refult of their debates, and often pay for their mistakes with their heads or fortunes, found thofe fcholaftic forms were of little ufe to discover truth or fallacy, whilft both the one and the other might be shown, and better fhown without them, to those who would not refufe to fee what was visibly fhown them.
Secondly, another reason that makes me doubt whether fyllogifm be the only proper inftrument of reason in the discovery of truth, is, that of whatever use mode and figure is pretended to be in the laying open of fal-' lacy (which has been above confidered) thofe fcholaftic forms of difcourse are not lefs liable to fallacies than the plainer ways of argumentation; and for this I appeal to common obfervation, which has always found these artificial methods of reasoning more adapted to catch and entangle the mind, than to inftruct and inform the understanding. And hence it is that men, even when they are baffled and filenced in this fcholaftic way, are feldom or never convinced, and fo brought over to the conquering fide: they perhaps acknowledge their adverfary to be the more fkilful difputant; but reft neverthelefs perfuaded of the truth on their fide; and go away, worsted as they are, with the fame opinion they brought with them, which they could not do, if this way of argumentation carried light and conviction with it, and. made men fee where the truth lay. And therefore fyllogifm has been thought more proper for the attaining victory in difpute, than for the difcovery or confirmation of truth in fair inquiries. And if it be certain, that fallacies can be couched in fyllogifm, as it cannot be denied; it must be fomething elfe, and not fyllogifm, that must discover them.
I have had experience how ready fome men are, when all the ufe which they have been wont to ascribe to any thing is not allowed, to cry out, that I am for laying it wholly afide. But, to prevent fuch unjust and groundlefs imputations, I tell them, that I am not for taking away any helps to the understanding, in the attainment of knowledge. And if men fkilled in, and used to fyllogifms, find them affifting to their reafon in the difcovery of truth, I think they ought to make use of them. All that I aim at is, that they should not afcribe more to these forms than belongs to them; and think that men have no use, or not so full an use of their reasoning faculty without them. Some eyes want spectacles to fee things clearly and diftinctly: but let not thofe that use them therefore fay, nobody can fee clearly without
them those who do fo will be thought in favour of art (which perhaps they are beholden to) a little too much to deprefs and difcredit nature. Reafon, by its own penetration where it is ftrong and exercised, ufually fees quicker and clearer without fyllogifm. If use of those fpectacles has fo dimmed its fight, that it cannot without them fee confequences or inconfequences in argumentation, I am not so unreasonable as to be against the ufing them. Every one knows what beft fits his own fight. But let him not thence conclude all in the dark, who use not just the same helps that he finds a need of.
Helps little in demonftration, lefs in probability.
§. 5. But however it be in knowledge, I think I may truly fay, it is of far lefs, or no ufe at all in probabilities. For, the affent there being to be determined by the preponderancy, after due weighing of all the proofs, with all circumstances on both fides, nothing is so unfit to assist the mind in that, as fyllogifm; which running away with one affumed probability, or one topical argument, pursues that till it has led the mind quite out of fight of the thing under confideration; and forcing it upon fome remote difficulty, holds it faft there, intangled perhaps, and as it were manacled in the chain of fyllogifms, without allowing it the liberty, much lefs affording it the helps, requifite to show on which fide, all things confidered, is the greater probability.
Serves not to increase our knowledge, but fence with it.
§. 6. But let it help us (as perhaps may be faid) in convincing men of their errours and mistakes: (and yet I would fain fee the man that was forced out of his opinion by dint of fyllogifm) yet ftill it fails our reafon in that part, which, if not its highest perfection, is yet certainly its hardest task, and that which we most need its help in; and that is the finding out of proofs, and making new discoveries. The rules of fyllogifm serve hot to furnish the mind with thofe intermediate ideas that may show the connexion of remote ones. This way of reafoning difcovers no new proofs, but is the art of marshalling and ranging the old ones we have already. The forty-feventh propofition of the first book of Euclid is very true; but the discovery of it, I think, not owing
to any rules of common logic. A man knows first, and then he is able to prove fyllogistically. So that fyllogifm comes after knowledge, and then a man has little or no need of it. But it is chiefly by the finding out those ideas that fhow the connexion of diftant ones, that our stock of knowledge is increased, and that useful arts and sciences are advanced. Syllogifm at beft is but the art of fencing with the little knowledge we have, without making any addition to it. And if a man fhould employ his reafon all this way, he will not do much otherwise than he, who having got fome iron out of the bowels of the earth, fhould have it beaten up all into fwords, and put it into his fervants hands to fence with, and bang one another. Had the king of Spain employed the hands of his people, and his Spanish iron fo, he had brought to light but little of that treafure that lay fo long hid in the entrails of America. And I am apt to think, that he who fhall employ all the force of his reafon only in brandifhing of fyllogifms, will difcover very little of that mass of knowledge, which lies yet concealed in the fecret receffes of nature; and which, I am apt to think, native ruftic reason (as it formerly has done) is likelier to open a way to, and add to the common stock of mankind, rather than any fcholaftic proceeding by the strict rule of mode and figure.
Other helps fhould be
§. 7. I doubt not nevertheless, but there are ways to be found out to affift our reason in this most useful part; and this the judi- fought. cious Hooker encourages me to fay, who in his Eccl. Pol. 1. 1. §. 6, fpeaks thus: "If there might be added "the right helps of true art and learning (which helps, "I muft plainly confefs, this age of the world carrying "the name of a learned age, doth neither much know, "nor generally regard) there would undoubtedly be "almost as much difference in maturity of judgment "between men therewith inured, and that which men now are, as between men that are now, and inno"cents.' I do not pretend to have found, or discovered here any of thofe right helps of art, this great man of deep thought mentions; but this is plain, that fyllogifm, and the logic now in ufe, which were as well
known in his days, can be none of those he means. is fufficient for me, if by a discourse, perhaps fomething out of the way, I am fure as to me wholly new and unborrowed, I shall have given occafion to others to cast about for new difcoveries, and to feek in their own thoughts, for those right helps of art, which will scarce be found, I fear, by those who fervilely confine themfelves to the rules and dictates of others. For beaten tracks lead this fort of cattle (as an obferving Roman calls them) whofe thoughts reach only to imitation, "non quo eundum eft, fed quo itur." But I can be bold to say, that this age is adorned with some men of that ftrength of judgment, and largenefs of comprehenfion, that if they would employ their thoughts on this fubject, could open new and undiscovered ways to the advancement of knowledge.
We reason about particulars.
§. 8. Having here had an occafion to fpeak of fyllogifm in general, and the use of it in reafoning, and the improvement of our knowledge, it is fit, before I leave this fubject, to take notice of one manifest mistake in the rules of fyllogifm, viz. that no fyllogiftical reasoning can be right and conclufive, but what has, at least, one general propofition in it. As if we could not reason, and have knowledge about particulars: whereas, in truth, the matter rightly confidered, the immediate object of all our reasoning and knowledge, is nothing but particulars. Every man's reafoning and knowledge is only about the ideas exifting in his own mind, which are truly, every one of them, particular exiftences; and our knowledge and reafon about other things, is only as they correfpond with thofe of our particular ideas. So that the perception of the agreement or difagreement of our particular ideas, is the whole and utmost of all our knowledge. Univerfality is but accidental to it, and confifts only in this, that the particular ideas, about which it is, are fuch, as more than one particular thing. can correfpond with, and be reprefented by. But the perception of the agreement or difagreement of any two ideas, confequently our own knowledge, is equally clear and certain, whether either, or both, or neither of thofe