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this day, the tribes of uncivilized and half-civilized man, over the whole face of the earth, have before their eyes a vast body of facts, of exactly the same nature as those with which Europe has built the stately fabric of her physical philosophy; but, in almost every other part of the earth, the process of the intellect by which these facts become science, is unknown. The scientific faculty does not work. The scattered stones are there, but the builder's hand is wanting. And again, we have no lack of proof that mere activity of thought is equally inefficient in producing real knowledge. Almost the whole of the career of the Greek schools of philosophy; of the schoolmen of Europe in the middle ages; of the Arabian and Indian philosophers; shows us that we may have extreme ingenuity and subtlety, invention and connection, demonstration and method ; and yet that out of these germs, no physical science may be developed. We may obtain, by such means, Logic and Metaphysics, and even Geometry and Algebra; but out of such materials we shall never form Mechanics and Optics, Chemistry and Physiology. How impossible the formation of these sciences is without a constant and careful reference to observation and experiment;-how rapid and prosperous their progress may be when they draw from such sources the materials on which the mind of the philosopher employs itself;—the history of those branches of knowledge for the last three hundred years abundantly teaches us.
Accordingly, the existence of clear Ideas applied to distinct Facts will be discernible in the History of Science, whenever any marked advance takes place. And, in tracing the progress of the various provinces of knowledge which come under our survey, it will be important for us to see that, at all such epochs, such a combination bas occurred; that whenever any material step in general knowledge has been made, - whenever any philosophical discovery arrests our attention, --some man or men come before us, who have possessed, in an eminent degree, a clearness of the ideas which belong to the subject in question, and who have applied such ideas in a vigorous and distinct manner to ascertained facts and exact observations. We shall never proceed through any considerable range of our narrative, without having occasion to remind the reader of this reflection.
Successive Steps in Science. —But there is another remark whicb we must also make. Such sciences as we have here to do with are
• Concerning Successive Generalizations in Science, see the Philosophy, book i. ch 2, sect. 11.
commonly, not formed by a single act;—they are not completed by the discovery of one great principle. On the contrary, they consist in a long-continued advance; a series of changes; a repeated progress from one principle to another, different and often apparently contradictory. Now, it is important to remember that this contradiction is apparent only. The principles which constituted the triumph of the preceding stages of the science, may appear to be subverted and ejected by the later discoveries, but in fact they are (so far as they were true) taken up in the subsequent doctrines and included in them. They continue to be an essential part of the science. The earlier truths are not expelled but absorbed, not contradicted but extcnded; and the history of each science, which may thus appear like a succession of revolutions, is, in reality, a series of developments. In the intellectual, as in the material world,
Omnia mutantur nil interit
Nothing which was done was useless or unessential, though it ceascs to be conspicuous and primary.
Thus the final form of each science contains the substance of each of its preceding modifications; and all that was at any antecedent period discovered and established, ministers to the ultimate development of its proper branch of knowledge. Such previous doctrines may require to be made precise and definite, to have their superfluous and arbitrary portions expunged, to be expressed in new language, to be taken up into the body of science by various processes ;—but they do not on such accounts cease to be true doctrines, or to form a portion of the essential constituents of our knowledge.
Terms record Discoveries. The modes in which the earlier truths of science are preserved in its later forms, are indeed various. From being asserted at first as strange discoveries, such truths come at last to be implied as almost self-evident axioms. They are recorded by some familiar maxim, or perhaps by some new word or phrase, which becomes part of the current language of the philosophical world; and thus asserts a principle, while it appears merely to indicate a transient
*Concerning Technical Terms, see Philosophy, book i. ch. &
notion ;-preserves as well as expresses a truth ;-and, like a medal of gold, is a treasure as well as a token. We shall frequently have to notice the manner in which great discoveries thus stamp their impress upon the terms of a science; and, like great political revolutions, are recorded by the change of the current coin which has accompanied them.
Generalization. The great changes which thus take place in the history of science, the revolutions of the intellectual world, have, as a usual and leading character, this, that they are steps of generalization; transitions from particular truths to others of a wider extent, in which the former are included. This progress of knowledge, from individual facts to universal laws,--from particular propositions to general ones, --and from these to others still more general, with reference to which the former generalizations are particular,—is so far familiar to men's minds, that, without here entering into further explanation, its nature will be understood sufficiently to prepare the reader to recognize the exemplifications of such a process, which he will find at every step of our advance.
Inductive Epochs ; Preludes; Sequels.-In our history, it is the progress of knowledge only which we have to attend to. This is the main action of our drama; and all the events which do not bear upon this, though they may relate to the cultivation and the cultivators of philosophy, are not a necessary part of our theme. Our narrative will therefore consist mainly of successive steps of generalization, such as have just been mentioned. But among these, we shall find some of eminent and decisive importance, which have more peculiarly influenced the fortunes of physical philosophy, and to which we may consider the rest as subordinate and auxiliary. These primary movements, when the Inductive process, by which science is formed, has been exercised in a more energetic and powerful manner, may be distinguished as the Inductive Epochs of scientific history; and they deserve our more express and pointed notice. They are, for the most part, marked by the great discoveries and the great philosophical names which all civilized nations have agreed in admiring. But, when we examine more clearly the history of such discoveries, we find that these epochs have not occurred suddenly and without preparation. They have been preceded by a period, which we may call their Prelude, during which the ideas and facts on which they turned were called into action; -were gradually evolved into clearness and connection, permanency and certainty ; till at last the discovery which marks the epoch, seized and fixed forever the truth which had till then been obscurely and
doubtfully discerned. And again, when this step has been made by the principal discoverers, there may generally be observed another period, which we may call the Sequel of the Epoch, during which the discovery has acquired a more perfect certainty and a more complete development among the leaders of the advance; has been diffused to the wider throng of the secondary cultivators of such knowledge, and traced into its distant consequences. This is a work, always of time and labor, often of difficulty and conflict. To distribute the History of science into such Epochs, with their Preludes and Sequels, if successfully attempted, must needs make the series and connections of its occurrences more distinct and intelligible. Such periods form restingplaces, where we pause till the dust of the confused march is laid, and the prospect of the path is clear.
Inductive Charts. Since the advance of science consists in collecting by induction true general laws from particular facts, and in combining several such laws into one higher generalization, in which they still retain their truth; we might form a Chart, or Table, of the progress of each science, by setting down the particular facts which have thus been combined, so as to form general truths, and by marking the further union of these general truths into others more comprehensive. The Table of the progress of any science would thus resemble the Map of a River, in which the waters from separate sources unite and make rivulets, which again meet with rivulets from other fountains, and thus go on forming by their junction trunks of a higher and higher order. The representation of the state of a science in this form, would necessarily exhibit all the principal doctrines of the science; for each general truth contains the particular truths from which it was derived, and may be followed backwards till we have these before us in their separate state. And the last and most advanced generalization would have, in such a scheme, its proper place and the evidence of its validity. Hence such an Inductive Table of each science would afford a criterion of the correctness of our distribution of the inductive Epochs, by its coincidence with the views of the best judges, as to the substantial contents of the science in question. By forming, therefore, such Inductive Tables of the principal sciences of which I have here to speak, and by regulating by these tables, my views of the history of the sciences, I conceive that I have secured the distribution of my his
• Inductive charts of the History of Astronomy and of Optics, such as are here referred to, are given in the Philosophy, book xi. ch. 6.
tory from material error; for no merely arbitrary division of the events could satisfy such conditions. But though I have constructed such charts to direct the course of the present history, I shall not insert them in the work, reserving them for the illustration of the philosophy of the subject; for to this they more properly belong, being a part of the Logic of Induction.
Stationary Periods.-By the lines of such maps the real advance of science is depicted, and nothing else. But there are several occurrences of other kinds, too interesting and too instructive to be altogether omitted. In order to understand the conditions of the progress of knowledge, we must attend, in some measure, to the failures as well as the successes by which such attempts have been attended. When we reflect during how small a portion of the whole history of human speculations, science has really been, in any marked degree, progressive, we must needs feel some curiosity to know what was doing in these stationary periods; what field could be found which admitted of so wide a deviation, or at least so protracted a wandering. It is highly necessary to our purpose, to describe the baffled enterprises as well as the achievements of human speculation.
Deduction.—During a great part of such stationary periods, we shall find that the process which we have spoken of as essential to the formation of real science, the conjunction of clear Ideas with distinct Facts, was interrupted; and, in such cases, men dealt with ideas alone. They employed themselves in reasoning from principles, and they arranged, and classified, and analyzed their ideas, so as to make their reasonings satisfy the requisitions of our rational faculties. This process of drawing conclusions from our principles, by rigorous and unimpeachable trains of demonstration, is termed Deduction. In its due place, it is a highly important part of every science; but it has no value when the fundamental principles, on which the whole of the demonstration rests, have not first been obtained by the induction of facts, so as to supply the materials of substantial truth. Without such materials, a series of demonstrations resembles physical science only as a shadow resembles a real object. To give a real significance to our propositions, Induction must provide what Deduction cannot supply. From a pictured hook we can hang only a pictured chain.
Distinction of common Notions and Scientific Ideas. 9 — When the
• Scientific Ideas depend upon certain Fundamental Ideas, which are enumerated in the Philosophy, book i. ch. 8.