Imágenes de páginas

Pure Logic confines itself to the domain of Truth in itself Science for its own sake.

4. From Fleming's Vocabulary of Philosophy, ed. 1858, pp. 316-319.

Method means the way or path by which we proceed to the attainment of some object or aim. In its widest acceptation, it denotes the means employed to obtain some end. Every art and every handicraft has its method.

Scientific or philosophical method is the march which the mind follows in ascertaining or communicating truth. It is the putting of our thoughts in a certain order with a view to improre our knowledge or to convey it to others.

Method may be called, in general, the art of disposing well a series of many thoughts, either for the discovering truth when we are ignorant of it, or for proving it to others when it is already known. Thus there are two kinds of method, one for discovering truth, which is called analysis, or the method of resolution, and which may also be called the method of invention; and the other for explaining it to others when we have found it, which is called synthesis, or the method of composition, and which may also be called the method of doctrine. (Port Roy. Logic, Part IV., ch. 2.)

“Method, which is usually described as the fourth part of Logic, is rather a complete practical Logic. It is rather a power or spirit of the intellect, pervading all that it does, than its tangible product." (Thomson, Outline of Laws of Thought, sect. 119.)


Every department of philosophy has its own proper method ; but there is a universal method or science of method. This was called by Plato, dialectic; and represented as leading to the true and real. (Repub., lib. vii.) It has been said that the word uédod os, as it occurs in Aristotle's Ethics, should be translated systems, rather than method.'-(Paul, Analysis of Aristotle's Ethics, p. 1.) But the construction of a system implies method. And no one was more thoroughly aware of the importance of a right method than Aristotle. He has said (Metaphys., lib. ii.),

“ that we ought to see well what demonstration (or proof) suits each particular subject; for it would be absurd to mix together the research of science and that of method; two things, the acquisition of which offers great difficulty.” The deductive method of philosophy came at once finished from his hand. And the inductive method was more extensively and successfully followed out by him than has been generally thought.

James Acontius, or Concio, as he is sometimes called, was born at Trent, and came to England in 1567. He published a work, De Methodo.

According to him all knowledge deduced from a process of reasoning presupposes some primitive truths, founded in the nature of man, and admitted as soon as announced ; and the great aim of method should be to bring these primitive truths to light, that by their light we may have more light. Truths obtained by the senses, and by repeated experience, become at length positive and certain knowledge.

Descartes has a discourse on Method. He has reduced it to four general rules.

I. To admit nothing as true of which we have not a clear and distinct idea. We have a clear and distinct idea of our own existence. And in proportion as our idea of anything else approaches to, or recedes from, the clearness of this idea, it ought to be received or rejected.

II. To divide every object inquired into as much as possible into its parts. Nothing is more simple than the ego, or self-consciousness. In proportion as the object of inquiry is simplified, the evidence comes to be nearer that of selfconsciousness.

III. To ascend from simple ideas or cognitions to those that are more complex. The real is often complex : and to arrive at the knowledge of it as a reality, we must by synthesis reunite the parts which were previously separated.

IV. By careful and repeated enumeration to see that all the parts are reunited. For the

synthesis will be deceitful and incomplete if it do not reunite the whole, and thus give the reality.

This method begins with provisory doubt, proceeds by analysis and synthesis, and ends by accepting evidence in proportion as it resembles the evidence of self-consciousness.

These rules are useful in all departments of philosophy. But different sciences have different methods suited to their objects and to the end in view.

In prosecuting science with the view of extending our knowledge of it, or the limits of it, we are said to follow the method of investigation or inquiry, and our procedure will be chiefly in the way of analysis. But in communicating what is already known, we follow the method of exposition or doctrines, and our procedure will be chiefly in the way of synthesis.

In some sciences the principles or laws are given, and the object of the science is to discover the possible application of them. In these sciences the method is deductive, as in geometry. In other sciences, the facts or phenomena are given, and the object of the science is to discover the principles or laws. In these sciences the proper method is inductive, proceeding by observation or experiment, as in psychology and physics. The method opposed to this, and which was long followed, was the constructive method; which, instead of discovering causes by induction, imagined or assigned them à priori, or ex hypothesi, and afterwards tried to verify them. This method is seductive and bold but dangerous and insecure, and should be resorted to with great caution.

The use of method, both in obtaining and applying knowledge for ourselves, and in convey. ing and communicating it to others, is great and obvious.

“ Marshal thy notions into a handsome method. One will carry twice as much weight, trussed and packed up in bundles, than when it lies untoward, flapping, and hanging about his

[ocr errors]

shoulders." (Pleasures of Literature 12mo, Lond., 1851, p. 104.)

5. From Preface of " A Brief English Grammar on a Logical Method,by Alexander Bain,

The chief peculiarity in the plan of the present work lies in anticipating the unavoidable difficulties of the subject by a previous handling of certain elementary notions (belonging to all science), without which no one can hope to understand the scope or method of grammar.

After such preliminary explanations, I make no scruple to introduce a strict mode of defining the Parts of Speech. I also exemplify the leading subdivisions or classes of each. Moreover, I bring forward at once the equivalent phrases, which, in the case of the Adverb in particular, are used more frequently than single words. On this method, the Grammatical parsing of a sentence directs attention forcibly to the meaning

It (the Key also includes a large selection of additional examples, which are commented on with a view to set forth still farther the methods of parsing, and to illustrate the constructions and idioms of the language.

6. From Whewell's Novum Organon Renovatum, ed. 1858, pp. 141-144.

The name Organon was applied to the works of Aristotle which treated of Logic, i.e., of the method of establishing and proving knowledge, and of refuting errour, by means of Syllogisms. Francis Bacon, holding that this method was insufficient for the augmentation of real knowledge, published his Novum Organon in which he


« AnteriorContinuar »