Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

generally as inartificial and variable. But leaving the humour which hath reigned too much in the schools, which is, to be vainly subtle in a few things which are within their command, and to reject the rest; I do receive particular topics, (that is, places or directions of invention and inquiry in every particular knowledge,) as things of great use, being mixtures of logic with the matter of sciences; for in these it holdeth, “ Ars inveniendi adolescit cum “ inventis;" for as in going of a way, we do not only gain that part of the way which is passed, but we gain the better sight of that part of the way which remaineth : so every degree of proceeding in a science giveth a light to that which followeth ; which light if we strengthen, by drawing it forth into questions or places of inquiry, we do greatly advance our pursuit.

Now we pass unto the arts of Judgment, which handle the natures of proofs and demonstrations; which as to induction hath a coincidence with invention ; for in all inductions, whether in good or vicious form, the same action of the mind which inventeth, judgeth; all one as in the sense; but otherwise it is in proof by syllogism; for the proof being not immediate, but by mean, the invention of the mean is one thing, and the judgment of the consequence is another; the one exciting only, the other examining. Therefore, for the real and exact form of judgment, we refer ourselves to that which we have spoken of “ Interpretation of nature."

For the other judgment by syllogism, as it is

;

a thing most agreeable to the mind of man, so it hath been vehemently and excellently laboured; for the nature of man doth extremely covet to have somewhat in his understanding fixed and immoveable, and as a rest and support of the mind. And therefore as Aristotle endeavoureth to prove, that in all motion there is some point quiescent; and as he elegantly expoundeth the ancient fable of Atlas, that stood fixed, and bare up the heaven from falling, to be meant of the poles or axle-tree of heaven, whereupon the conversion is accomplished : so assuredly men have a desire to have an Atlas or axle-tree within, to keep them from fluctuation, which is like to a perpetual peril of falling ; therefore men did hasten to set down some principles about which the variety of their disputations might

turn.

So then this art of judgment is but the reduction of propositions to principles in a middle term: the principles to be agreed by all and exempted from argument; the middle term to be elected at the liberty of every man's invention; the reduction to be of two kinds, direct and inverted; the one when the proposition is reduced to the principle, which they term a probation ostensive ; the other, when the contradictory of the proposition is reduced to the contradictory of the principle, which is that which they call “ per incommodum,” or pressing an absurdity; the number of middle terms to be as the proposition standeth degrees more or less removed from the principle.

But this art hath two several methods of doctrine, the one by way of direction, the other by way of caution: the former frameth and setteth down a true form of consequence, by the variations and deflections from which errors and inconsequences may be exactly judged; toward the composition and structure of which form, it is incident to handle the parts thereof, which are propositions, and the parts of propositions, which are simple words : and this is that part of logic which is comprehended in the analytics.

The second method of doctrine was introduced for expedite use and assurance sake; discovering the more subtile forms of sophisms and illaqueations with their redargutions, which is that which is termed Elenches. For although in the more gross sorts of fallacies it happeneth, as Seneca maketh the comparison well, as in juggling feats, which though we know not how they are done, yet we know well it is not as it seemeth to be; yet the more subtle sort of them doth not only put a man beside his answer, but doth many times abuse his judgment.

This part concerning Elenches is excellently handled by Aristotle in precept, but more excellently by Plato in example, not only in the persons of the sophists, but even in Socrates himself; who professing to affirm nothing, but to infirm that which was affirmed by another, hath exactly expressed all the forms of objection, fallacy, and redargution. And although we have said that the use of this

doctrine is for redargution, yet it is manifest the degenerate and corrupt use is for caption and contradiction, which passeth for a great faculty, and no doubt is of very great advantage: though the difference be good which was made between orators and sophisters, that the one is as the greyhound, which hath his advantage in the race, and the other as the hare, which hath her advantage in the turn, so as it is the advantage of the weaker creature.

But yet further, this doctrine of Elenches hath a more ample latitude and extent than is perceived ; namely, unto divers parts of knowledge; whereof some are laboured and others omitted. For first, I conceive, though it may seem at first somewhat strange, that that part which is variably referred, sometimes to logic, sometimes to metaphysics, touching the common adjuncts of essences, is but an elench ; for the great sophism of all sophisms being equivocation or ambiguity of words and phrase, (especially of such words as are most general, and intervene, in every inquiry,) it seemeth to me that the true and fruitful use, leaving vain subtilties and speculations, of the inquiry of majority, minority, priority, posteriority, identity, diversity, possibility, act, totality, parts, existence, privation, and the like, are but wise cautions against ambiguities of speech. So again the distribution of things into certain tribes, which we call categories or predicaments, are but cautions against the confusion of definitions and divisions.

Secondly, there is a seducement that worketh by the strength of the impression, and not by the subtilty of the illaqueation; not so much perplexing the reason, as overruling it by power of the imagination. But this part I think more proper to handle when I shall speak of rhetoric.

But lastly, there is yet a much more important and profound kind of fallacies in the mind of man, which I find not observed or inquired at all, and think good to place here, as that which of all others appertaineth most to rectify judgment : the force whereof is such, as it doth not dazzle or snare the understanding in some particulars, but doth more generally and inwardly infect and corrupt the state thereof. For the mind of man is far from the nature of a clear and equal glass, wherein the beams of things should reflect according to their true incidence; nay, it is rather like an enchanted glass, full of superstition and imposture, if it be not delivered and reduced. For this purpose, let us consider the false appearances that are imposed upon us by the general nature of the mind, beholding them in an example or two; as first, in that instance which is the root of all superstition, namely, That to the nature of the mind of all men it is consonant for the affirmative or active to affect more than the negative or privative: so that a few times hitting or presence, countervails oft-times failing or absence; as was well answered by Diagoras to him that shewed him in Neptune's temple the great number of pictures of such as had escaped shipwreck and had paid their

a

a

« AnteriorContinuar »