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Title: A Logic Of Facts - Or, Every-day Reasoning
Author: Holyoake, George Jacob
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Logic Of Facts - Or, Every-day Reasoning" ***



Every-day Reasoning

By G. J. Holyoake

     "Call him wise whose thoughts and words are a clear
      because to a clear why."--Lavater.





The Logic of the Schools, however indispensable in its place, fails to
meet half the common want in daily life. The Logic of the Schools begins
with the _management_ of the premises of an argument; there is, however,
a more practical lesson to be learned in beginning with the _premises_
themselves. A thousand errors arise through the assumption of premises
for one arising in the misplacement of terms. The Logic of the Schools
is an elaborate attack upon the lesser evil.

Sir James Mackintosh has remarked that 'Popular reason can alone correct
popular sophistry'--and it is in vain that we expect amendment in the
reasoning of the multitude, unless we make reasoning intelligible to
the multitude. As to my object, could I, like Gridiron-Cobbett, adopt a
symbol of it, I would have engraved Æsop's 'Old Man and his Ass,' who,
in a vain attempt to please everybody, failed (like his disciples--for
even _he_ has disciples) to please anybody. The folly of that
superfluously philanthropic old gentleman should teach us _proportion_
of purpose. To be of real service; to _some_ is in the compass of
individual capacity, and consequently, the true way of serving, if not
of pleasing _all_. The republic of literature, like society, has its
aristocratic, its middle, and its lower classes. No one has combined, in
one performance, the refinement applauded in the universities, with the
practical purpose, popular among those who toil to live, and live to
toil. The populace are my choice--of them I am one, and, like a recent
premier, Earl Grey, am disposed 'to stand by my order.' I write for this
class both from affection and taste. If I can benefit any, I can them.
I know their difficulties, for I have encountered them--their wants, for
they have been mine. This will account for the liberties taken with the
subjects upon which I treat. There is more than one kind of hunger that
will break through barriers, and I have taken with an unlicensed hand,
wherever it was to be found, what I wanted for myself, and what I know
to be wanted by those who stand at the anvil and the loom, and who never
had the benefits of scholastic education, and who never will.

Many of the arts and sciences, which formerly resided exclusively in the
colleges, and ministered only to the sons of opulence and leisure,
have escaped from their retreat, and have become the hand-maids of the
populace. But as respects logic, there still remains between the learned
and the illiterate an impassable gulf. The uninformed look on the
recondite structure of logic, and they are repelled by the difficulty
of comprehending it, and wrap themselves up in absolute and obstinate
ignorance, which they believe to be their destiny. The populace, in our
manufactories, have to choose between subsistence and intelligence. For
study, after protracted toil, they have not the strength--and to abridge
their labour is to abridge their subsistence, and this they cannot
afford. But because they are precluded by the destiny of civilisation
from knowing much, they need not remain utterly unskilled in reasoning.
Their natural good sense may be systematized, their natural logic may be
reduced to some rule and order--though it may not be refined it may be
practical, it may give power, and develop capacity now dormant.

The hints, general rules, and elementary remarks dispersed throughout
this work, will probably be of service to the uninitiated, perhaps put
them on the road to higher acquirements, give them a confidence in their
own powers, perhaps inspire them with a love of these essential studies,
and impart a taste for the refinements which lie beyond. My hope is that
many will be induced to consult scholastic treatises, and acquire
that accurate knowledge which makes the society of educated people so
interesting. Impulse has been given to knowledge, and the populace have
begun to think, and both to speak and write their thinkings--and why
should they not be enabled to do it free from obvious mistakes, and with
a broad propriety commensurate with the native capacity they possess?
Why should they, like a certain learned politician on a public
occasion, propose, as a sentiment, 'The three R's, Reading, 'Riting, and
'Rithmetic?'* Why, in writing, should they not express themselves with
strong grammatical coherence, and a certain bold perspicuity, if not
able to reach refinement and elegance? Why, in pronunciation, should
they not speak with a certain manly openness of vowel sound and a
distinct articulation, if not with all elocutionary modulation? Why
should not their discourse be expressed in brief, clear sentences? If
their punctuation went no farther than placing capital letters at
the commencement of sentences and of proper names, and periods at
the conclusion of sentences, it would render their writings more
intelligible than are half the communications they now send to the
press. If they mastered only brevity and abrupt directness, and learned
to omit tedious prolixity, they would command a hearing in many cases
where now they are denied one. If in logic they made a shrewd mastery
of plain facts--being as sure as they could, when once set on surety,
eschewing conjecture and pernicious supposition--if they followed the
methods of nature and good sense, where the elaborate methods of art
are hidden from them, who will not admit that they would be more
intelligible than now, exercise a power they never yet possessed, and
extort the attention and esteem of the public where now they excite only
its pity, or contempt, or outrage what just taste it has? The people
would be enabled to do these things, but that so many who prepare
treatises for their guidance alarm them by the display of abstruse
dissertation above their powers, their means, their time, and their
wants. That a little learning is a dangerous thing is not a maxim
alone believed in by the race of country squires steeped in port and
prejudice, but by schoolmen who cannot bring themselves to give a little
proportion of sound knowledge, but must give all, the reconite as well.
The statesman decries the ignorance and want of wisdom displayed by
embryo politicians who will accept no instalment of liberty, but insist
on the concession of _all_ their claims--but the scholar does the same
thing when he will impart none but the completest information to the

     * This case is cited by S. G. Goodrich, the original Peter
     Parley, in his preface to 'Fireside Education.' Sir William
     Curtis, to whom, probably, Mr. Goodrich refers, gave also
     'the three K's--King, Church, and Constitution.'

In quoting, I have been a borrower, but not a plagiarist. In no case am
I conscious of having taken from others without at the same time making
the fairest acknowledgment in my power.

If the references to the highest authorities are sometimes through
others, it is because the highest authorities have not always been
accessible. Those who have had ordinary experience estimate highly the
value of minute integrity in this respect. Fruitless hours are spent
in tracing false and careless references, and to one whose time is his
means, no little injury is done when it is thus wasted.

Unbounded gratitude is due to those authors, old and new, who, with
learning and grace, with care and patience, have put the world in
possession of thoughts which are real additions to its knowledge--and
corresponding should be the contempt of those whose high-sounding and
pretending books seduce readers to wade through them only to find in
them the millioneth echo of some commonplace idea.

The 'Spectator' was pleased to say that I wrote 'Practical Grammar' in
the spirit of an 'ultra-radical, setting the world to rights.' Yet I
have always declared, with Butler--

     Reforming schemes are none of mine,
     To mend the world's a vast design;
     Like those who toil in little boat
     To drag to them the ship afloat.

Utopianism is not my idiosyncracy. But I have confidence in endeavour.
Continuity of ameliorative effort is the sole enthusiasm that can serve
the cause of improvement. It is useful to do what seems to be useful,
whether little or much--a moderate rule, but one that will take those
who carry it out, a long way.

My illustrations, I need scarcely say, are neutral in politics and
theology. In the grammar of J. A. D. D'Orsey, published in 'Chambers'
Educational Course,' there are disputations, Biblicisms, and bits of
intense theology. Professor John Radford Young, in his treatise on
Algebra, has introduced a reply to Hume's controverted theory of
miracles--and Dr. Whately makes his 'Logic' an avowedly theological
auxiliary, showing that much passes for good taste in this country which
is only an irrelevant propitiation of powerful opinion. I have not,
however, been seduced by this species of example. There are distinct
provinces in intellect as well as in industry--and what political
economy justifies in one case, good sense dictates in the other. No man
has a right to intrude theology into every question, and agitate points
of faith when he pretends to instruct the understanding.

There is less occasion to speak of the utility of logic, than to show
it to be easy of acquisition. Mr. Stuart Mill, in confirmation of this
view, observes: We need not seek far for a solution of the question so
often agitated, respecting the utility of Logic. If a science of logic
exists, or is capable of existing, it must be useful. If there be rules
to which every mind conforms, in every instance in which it judges
rightly, there seems little necessity for discussing whether a person is
more likely to observe those rules when he knows the rules, than when he
is unacquainted with them.* Certainly people are not so much prejudiced
against logic on account of its supposed uselessness as on account of
its supposed difficulties. Deserved or not, logic has always had a good
reputation. Well or ill founded, the popular impression has uniformly
been in its favour. It has been valued like the diamond--but considered,
like that precious stone, of very uncertain access.

     *'System of Logic,' p. 12.   Second Edition.

The high popularity of common sense--'the exercise of the judgment
unaided by rule'--has been interpreted into a virtual rejection of logic
by the multitude. But it ought not to be overlooked, that the credit
in which mere common sense is held, is a matter of necessity as well as
choice. It being the best sense the untutored have, they wisely use it,
and no wonder that they are inclined to laud what they are constrained
to employ. Doubtless they always perceived that common sense would be
the better for being made orderly, as a spirited horse is the fitter for
use after being 'broken.' Logical sense, among the masses, is secretly
supposed to be disciplined sense, and to have all the advantage of the
trained soldier over the raw recruit.

It is quite true, as Abram Tucker puts it, that 'The science of abstruse
learning, when completely attained, is like Achilles' spear, that healed
the wounds it had made before; so this knowledge serves to repair the
damage itself had occasioned, it casts no additional light upon the
paths of life.' But few persons sensible of the value of exact knowledge
will complain of the _necessary_ elaboration to which it sometimes
leads. Nor will those who have felt the thrill of pleasure which
complete analysis imparts, regret the patience which put them in
possession of a secret of science, or made them master of a new field of

Common sense is the substratum of all logic. Common sense is the natural
sense of mankind. It is founded on common observation and experience. It
is modest and plain and unsophisticated. It sees with everybody's eyes
and hears with everybody's ears. It has no capricious distinctions, no
partialities, and no mysteries. It never equivocates and never trifles.
Its language is always the same, and is always intelligible. It is known
by its perspicuity of speech and singleness of purpose. The most prudent
of all the children of fact, it never forsakes nature or reason. Some
outline laws for its employment, if they can be indicated, must be
better than its popular aimless and desultory use.


One has no right to make a literary subject political--that is, to make
it partisan; but to give a political motive which concerns all equally,
for promoting a literary study, is allowable, and does not partake of
the nature of party politics. One may, like Cobbett, look on literature
with political eyes, without, like him, making it a vehicle of party

In this country, where the political genius of the people lies in
self-government--where the public growth of the people and their
internal liberty depend upon their capacity to manage their own
affairs--the art of public speaking has political importance to every
aide in politics.

To be able to take a subject well in hand, like a stage-coach driver
does his horses--to hold the reins of your arguments firmly--to direct
and drive well home the burden of your meaning, is a power which every
man ought to study to attain, who rises to address a council, or stands
up on a platform to convince a meeting.



It is a humiliating reflection that mankind never reasoned so ill as
when they most professed to cultivate the art of reasoning.--Life of
Galileo, p. 1. society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.

Common sense--the foundation of logic--first received (to a limited
extent) the regularity of an art and the certainty of a science, from
the master hand of Aristotle. Impartial scholars, familiar with his
writings on logic, allow them to have not only ingenuity but real merit;
and his admirers contend that he has been misunderstood by some and
abused by others. This is highly probable, as we are certain that when
his works were interpreted by the schools, and his logic proclaimed the
great text-book of knowledge and the only weapon of truth, 'men's minds,
instead of studying nature, were in an endless ferment about occult
qualities and imaginary essences; little was talked of but intention
and remission, proportion and degree, infinity, formality, quiddity and
individuality.'* Logic then was jargon, controversy chicane, and truth
a shuttlecock, with which the disputants respectively played, or the
object which they mutually disguised. Logic was a labyrinth in which the
subtlest lost their Way--a bourne from which the traveller after truth
seldom returned.

     * Account of Lord Bacon's Novum Organon Scientiarum, Lib. of
     Useful Knowledge, p. 4.

A striking illustration of this has been furnished by a candid and
distinguished writer--Dr. Reid. 'Of the analytics and of the topics
of Aristotle, ingenuousness requires me to confess, that though I have
often purposed to read the whole with care, and to understand _what is
intelligible_, yet my courage and patience always failed me before I had
done. Why should I throw away so much time and painful attention upon
a thing of so little real use? If I had lived in those ages when the
knowledge of Aristotle's Organon entitled a man to the highest rank in
philosophy, ambition might have Induced me to employ upon it some years
of painful study; and, less, I conceive, would not be sufficient. Such
reflections as these always got the better of my resolution.'*

Dr. Whately, who has for many years occupied the throne of Logic and
whose work maybe taken, from its currency in our colleges and academies,
as the representative of the logic of the schools, seems to obviate all
objections to the abstruseness of this subject by a counter charge,
to the effect that logic is now underrated only because it has been
overrated. But it is not the complexity found in it, but the laudations
bestowed upon it which have brought it into neglect. Dr. Whately contends
that certain writers, 'by representing logic as furnishing the sole
instrument for the discovery of truth in all subjects, and as teaching
the use of the intellectual faculties in general, raised expectations
which could not be realised, and which naturally led to a reaction--to
logic being regarded as utterly futile and empty.'** Deeply deploring
this kind of injury, from which many important arts have suffered, I am
neither disposed to defend such a course, nor to imitate it. But I demur
to the truth of this representation with regard to logic. If logic be not
the 'sole instrument for the discovery of truth in all subjects,' it is
certainly the _principal_ one. Instead of charging scholastic logicians
with having unduly 'raised,' it would be nearer the truth, in my opinion,
to say that they have _confused_ 'expectations' by intricate machinery
and extreme elaborations.

     * Lord Kamet's Sketches vol. 8, chap. S.   Aristotle's

     ** Dr. Whately: Elements of Logic, preface, p. vii.   Second

Intricacy and minuteness of detail might be a trifling disqualification
did they lead to something immediately practical. But Dr. Whately
contends that logic, in the most extensive sense which the name can,
with propriety, be made to bear, is that of the science, and also the
art of reasonings 'Inasmuch as logic institutes an analysis of the
process of the mind in reasoning, it is strictly a _science_, while
considered in reference to the practical rules it furnishes it is an
_art_.'* He confines the province of logic, as an art, to 'employing
language properly for the purpose of reasoning,' and restricts the
logician to the use of the syllogism as the sole test of argument. Mr.
Augustus de Morgan thus exhibits the spirit of Whately's restriction:--

Logic has nothing to do with the truth of the facts, opinions, or
presumptions, from which an inference is derived; but simply takes care
that the inference shall certainly be true if the premises be true.'

It has been, and _is_ to be, objected, that logic, thus confined,
'leaves untouched the greatest difficulties, and those which are the
sources of the greatest errors in reasoning.' To this powerful objection
Dr. Whately thinks it sufficient to reply, that 'no art is to be
censured for not teaching more than falls within its province, and,
indeed, more than can be taught by any conceivable art. Such a system
of universal knowledge as should instruct us in the full meaning
or meanings of every term, and the truth or falsity, certainty or
uncertainty of every proposition, thus superseding all other studies, it
is most unphilosophical to expect, or even to imagine. And to find fault
with logic for not performing this, is as if one should object to optics
for not giving sight to the blind--or complain of a reading glass for
being of no service to a person who had never learnt to read.'***
This would be a most conclusive answer if confident assertion could be
accepted in lieu of proof. The objection still remains to be removed.
We may still demand, does it not fall within the legitimate province of
logic to provide means of encountering the 'greatest difficulties' with
which it is confessed logic is beset? True, there is no art can teach
everything, but is that a reason why logic should teach nothing, or next
to nothing, compared with what seems essentially necessary?

     * Intro., p. 1.

     ** Klein. of Logic, Synthetical Compendium, chap.  2, part
     1, sec. 9.

     *** Elem. of Logic, Intro., pp. 12, 13.

Dr. Whately contends that the 'difficulties' and 'errors' in the
objection adduced, are in the _subject matter_ about which logic is
employed, and _not_ in the process of reasoning--which alone is the
appropriate province of logic. But it seems to me that Dr. Whately has
found it impossible to keep within the bounds of the restriction he thus
endeavours to establish.

In treating upon 'apprehension,' he introduces, as indeed he was obliged
to do, from the department of metaphysics, several speculations on
'generalisation' and 'abstractions,' and from ontology (the science
which explains the most general conceptions respecting the phenomena of
nature) he borrows the leading principles of definition. Because he thus
goes so far, it is not to be contended that _therefore_ he should have
gone further; but when he found he must depart from his rule and borrow
from other branches of knowledge (no matter for what end), why did he
not depart from it to some purpose, and borrow from natural philosophy
such rules as would have guarded the logician from the 'chief errors'
into which he may fall?

Dr. Whately informs us, indeed, that logic furnishes certain syllogistic
forms to which all sound arguments may be reduced, and thus establishes
universal tests for the detection of fallacy--but it is to be observed
that it is only _such_ fallacy as may creep in _between_ the premises
and the conclusion of an argument. It is to this narrow and Aristotelian
object that logic is restricted. 'The process of reasoning itself is
alone the appropriate province of logic. This process will have been
correctly conducted if it have conformed to the logical rules, which
preclude the possibility of any error creeping in _between_ the
principles from which we are arguing, and the conclusions we deduce from
them.'* We learn from our authority, that as arithmetic does not profess
to introduce any notice of the _things_, whether coins, persons, or
dimensions, respecting which calculations are made; neither does logic
undertake 'the ascertainment of facts, or the degree of evidence of
doubtful propositions.' And just as an arithmetical result will be
useless if the data of the calculation be incorrect, so a logical
conclusion is liable to be false if the premises are so. Neither does
the logic, now under consideration, concern itself with the 'discovery
of truth,' excepting so far as that may be said to be implied by the
detection of error in a false inference.** Logic thus, confined to the
actual process of reasoning, however important its functions there,
evidently leaves us in the dark as to the value of what we reason about.
For the information thus missing, this logic refers us to knowledge
in general--to grammar and composition for the art of expressing, with
correctness and perspicuity, the terms of propositions--to natural,
moral, political, or other philosophy, for the facts which alone can
establish the truth of the premises reasoned from.

     * Intro., p. 13.

     ** For the grounds of these representations, see
     Dissertation on the Province of Reasoning, chap. 2, sec. 4
     Dr. Whately's Logic.

The exclusion from logic of all consideration of the facts on which
propositions are founded, is thus endeavoured to be justified by the
Archbishop of Dublin:--'No arithmetical skill will secure a correct
result, unless the data are correct from which we calculate: nor does
any one on that account undervalue arithmetic; and yet the objection
against logic rests on no better foundation.' This is true, but is
it true that arithmetic is on _this account_ to be imitated? If the
arithmetician must take his data for granted, it is what the searcher
after truth must never do--_he_ must use his eyes and examine for
himself, in all cases, as far as possible, unless he intends to be
deceived. And for want of such precaution as this, the arithmetician is
at sea the moment he steps out of the narrow path of mechanical routine.
Who is not aware of the failures of calculation when applied to the
general business of life--to statistics, moral and political? Every
day, facts have to be called in to correct the egregious blunders of
figures.* The calculations are conducted in most approved form, but are
of no use. Does not this demonstrate that when arithmetic, like logic,
is applied to the business of life, general rules for securing the
accuracy of data would be of essential service? Supposing, however, that
arithmetic could do very well without them, does it follow that logic
should, when it would be safer and more efficient with them?

     * 'In Art, in Practice, innumerable critics will demonstrate
     that most things are impossible. It was proved by fluxionary
     calculus, that steam-ships could never get across from the
     farthest point of Ireland to the nearest of Newfoundland;
     impelling force, resisting force, maximum here, minimum
     there; by law of Nature, and geometric demonstration--what
     could be done? The Great Western could weigh anchor from
     Bristol Port; that could be done. The Great Western,
     bounding safe through the gullets of the Hudson, threw her
     cable out on the capstan of New York, and left our still
     moist paper-demonstration to dry itself at leisure.'--
     Thomas Carlyle, Chartism, pp. 96-7.

Since our author's canons are held absolute in the schools, it may be
useful to consider this last cited argument in another light. A stronger
objection may be urged, one which particularly addresses itself to those
who mistake mere pertinence for general relevance, and suppose that a
single analogy decides a case.

His Grace reasons, that, because arithmetic does not concern itself
about its data, logic should follow the same example. But why overlooks
he pure mathematics--a much higher science than arithmetic? Surely
geometry, which through all time has been the model of the sciences, was
better worthy than arithmetic to be the model of logic! Was it classical
in the principal of St. Alban's College to abandon Euclid and cleave
unto Cocker or Walkingame?

Arithmetic is mechanical--geometry is reasoning; surely it was more
befitting to compare reason with reason, when endeavouring to discover
the true way of perfecting reason. Geometry is, of all sciences, reputed
the most conclusive in its arguments--and we know it is distinguished
above all sciences for carefulness in its data. It begins with axioms,
the most indubitable of all data, and its subsequent conclusions
are founded only on established facts--and to be sure that they are
established facts, the geometer, before he employs them, establishes
them himself. If an analogy is to decide the province of logic, here is
an analogy whose pretensions over those of arithmetic are eminent.

So conclusive did Dr. Whately deem the argument just examined, that he
many times, in various forms, reproduced it. One of the last instances
is under the head of 'Fallacies.' 'It has been made a subject of bitter
complaint against logic, that it presupposes the most difficult point to
be already accomplished; viz., the sense of the terms to be ascertained.
A similar objection might be urged against every other art in existence
e.g., against agriculture, that all the precepts for the cultivation of
land presuppose the possession of a farm.'*

     * Logic, chap. 3.  Fallacies, sec. 2.

Already has been pointed out what may reasonably induce a suspicion
of the soundness of these analogies; viz., that their author found
it necessary to disregard them and introduce, from other branches of
knowledge, certain disquisitions on the 'sense of terms.' With regard to
this particular instance, it may be observed, that though treatises
on agriculture do presuppose the possession of a farm, they do not
presuppose the knowledge requisite for cultivating it, but inform
_fully_ of soil, and seed, and crops. So logic may be allowed to
presuppose the existence of the universe, whence truth is drawn, or the
existence of language, 'whereby it is expressed; but it is surely not
to _pre-suppose_ the knowledge of facts and terms, the great instruments
for the cultivation of truth. Agricultural treatises hardly warrant this
inference. There are the representations that induced the confession
that 'Logic is not so much an instrument of acquirement as of defence.
It is a good armour to buckle on when compelled to battle for our
heritage, but a poor implement for its cultivation.'*

All _practical_ arts include a knowledge of materials as well as
implements. Platers, ignorant of the nature of metals, cabinetmakers,
of the different species of wood, make but sorry artizans; and in like
manner, reasoners, unacquainted, at least in a general way, with the
accuracy of what is reasoned about, make but sorry logicians.**

It will readily be expected that in the modern progress of knowledge,
the Aristotelian province of logic would be enlarged. The far-seeing
intellect of Lord Verulam heralded the innovation--'Our glorious Bacon
led philosophy forth from the jargon of schools and the fopperies
of sects. He made her to be--the handmaid of nature, friendly to her
creatures, and faithful to her laws.'***

     *  W. J. Fox, Mon. Rep., p. 45: 1835.

     ** The reader will find that logician is need in the sense
     of skilfulness in eliciting and exhibiting reality. By that
     which I call logical is meant that which is truthful. I
     presume that is the sense to which this high word should be
     confined. It is the lax application of this term to mere
     dexterity in evading the truth according to rule, that has
     so increased the unsatisfactory race of professed sceptics.
     --See Scepticism, chap. XII.

     *** Langhornea' Preface to the Lives of Plutarch.

The general object of Lord Bacon's philosophy, writes Bruce, an
Edinburgh professor of logic of the last century, is to connect the
reasoning powers of man with experiments for the improvement of natural

To create a just taste for philosophical investigation, required--

1. A display of the true, that they may be distinguished from the false
subjects of inquiry.

2. Scientific rules to direct the discovery of the laws of nature.

But to 'display the true,' is to display the _facts_ on which the truth
rests. The 'discovery of the laws of nature' implies _observation_ of
the operations of nature. The philosophy of Bacon, says Macaulay, began
in observation and ended in arts.

It is most obvious, as the reader will gather from what has been
advanced, that for guarding, to the greatest possible extent, against
error in conclusions, it is necessary to take into consideration the
character of the data from which we reason--and to do this, we must draw
from the general sources of knowledge to which the Logic of the Schools
refers us. If we happen not to possess an accurate acquaintance with
these branches, we must draw upon the best notions we have of them, or
apply such natural sagacity as we happen to possess. But whether the
information we happen to possess be complete or partial, it is not well
that we are left to apply it at random, without any definite mode of
procedure; and if logic refuses to assist us, and gives only a vague
reference elsewhere, we must endeavour to assist ourselves. The datum
of all arguments is a proposition, an assertion, or denial; and to
ascertain its truth (upon which the value of the whole reasoning
depends) we have to do with the facts upon which it rests, and the terms
in which it is expressed. For it may be here observed, that the truth
or falsity of every proposition depends upon facts. To ascertain the
general accuracy of facts, we have to appeal to received standards of
certainty; and to fix the meaning of terms, we have recourse to a plain
principle of definition. In the task of recognising truth, so necessary
in examining the premises of an argument, one is wonderfully assisted
by being familiarised with the sources of truth, and the mode of its
discovery. In these operations the tutored and untutored may alike be
assisted by simple general rules. If these rules prove not infallible in
every case, they will prove successful in the majority of cases.

Since general rules are the only, rules that the vast field of facts
admits of, they are not to be rejected on light grounds. They enable
us to set forth intelligibly the reasons of our own conviction, and to
detect and expose the fundamental fallacies of apparent arguments. Since
they direct us where the Logic of the Schools leaves us without a guide,
their value is apparent.

The logical management of the syllogism involves much abstruseness
respecting 'genus' and 'species,' the 'quantity' and 'quality' of
'propositions', 'contraries,' 'sub-contraries,' 'contradictions,'
and 'subalterns.' Stepping by 'illative conversion,' 'six rules to be
observed with respect to categorical syllogism' next demand attention,
followed hard by eleven moods which can be used in a legitimate
syllogism, Viz.---- A, A, A, A, A, I, A., E, E, A, E, O, A, I, I, A, O,
O, E, A, E, E, A, O, E, I, O, I, A, I, O, A, O.' In the middle of
this abstract train march the 'undistributed middle' and the 'illicit
process,' attended by four figures represented by the following
mnemonic lines, which must be carefully committed to memory:'--

Fig. 1. bArbArA, cElArEnt, dArII, fErIOque prioris.

Fig. 2. cEsArE, dAmEstrEs, fEstInO, bArOkO,* secundæ.

Fig. 3. tertia, dArAptI, dIsAmIs, dAtIsI, fElAptOn, bOkArdO,** fErlsO,
habet; quarta insuper addit.

Fig. 4. brAmAntIp, cAmEnEs, dImArIs, fEsApo, frEsIsOn.

A motley group, too numerous to be particularised, bring up the complex
rear of 'Modals,' 'Hypotheticals,' 'Conditionals,' and 'Disjunctives.'
This is certainly not the portal through which the populace can at
present pass to logic, even if such logic helped them to all truth, and
saved them from all fallacy.

But this species of logic is not without interest. Symbolic letters and
mnemonic lines are not without attractions to those who understand
them. There is poetry in an algebraic sign, when it is the emblem of a
difficulty solved, and a wonderful result simply arrived at. To try the
whole power of words, and discover every form of language in which a
legitimate deduction can be expressed, is no ignoble task. It is a high
discipline, but it belongs rather to the age of leisure than this of
'copperasfames, cotton-fuz, gin-riot, wrath, and toil'--to the luxuries
rather than the utilities of learning.

There is the inefficiency of the syllogism, and also the vitiation
produced by its employment.

1. It corrupts the taste for philosophical invention by placing
philosophy in abstractions, and withdrawing it from the observation of

2. It creates a reliance on principles, which originate in the
_hypotheses_ of philosophers, not in the laws of nature.

3. It makes truth the result of the forms of argument, not of scientific

     * Or, Fakoro, as indeed all the particulars in this place

     ** Or, Dokamo.  but a brief summary of the subjects
     comprised in his logic in reference to the syllogism.

     ***Bruce. These references to Fakoro and Dokamo are Whately's.

Lord Kames cites from the father of logic the following syllogism, which
will bear repetition as an extraordinary instance of that assumption for
which the Logic of the Schools provides no remedy:--

  Heavy bodies naturally tend to the centre of the universe.
  We know, by experience, that heavy bodies tend to the centre of the earth.
  Therefore the centre of the earth is the centre of the universe.

But by what experience did Aristotle discover the centre of the
universe, so as to become aware that heavy bodies _naturally_ tend
there? On what facts rest the measurement of the radii from our earth to
the boundless circumference of space? How did he ascertain the limits of
that which has no limits? Yet, strange to say, the Logic of the Schools
prides itself in leaving us where the Stagyrite left us.

'When mankind began to reason on the phenomena of nature, they were
solicitous to _abstract_, and they formed general propositions from a
_limited_ observation. Though these propositions were assumed, they were
admitted as true. They were not examined _by appeals to nature_, but by
comparison with other propositions.'*

In this syllogism from Aristotle, there is the usual compliance with
accredited rules, and the same defiance of common sense. Such examples
are deemed perfect reasoning and legitimate argument; but is it not a
mockery to encourage the belief that we can have reason and argument,
without the truth? Only this shallow consolation remains to us. If the
logician of the schoole does not enlighten the understanding, he is at
least reputed not to offend the taste, and he wins the equivocal praise
of Butler:--

     'He'll run in debt by disputation,
     And pay with ratiocination;
     All this by syllogism, true
     In mood and figure, he will do.'

Syllogisms are to truth what rhyme is to poetry. 'It is a well known
fact that verse, faultless in form, may be utterly destitute of poetic
fire or feeling.'**

     * Bruce.

     ** A. J. D. D'Orsey, Eng. Gram., part 2, article Prosody.

According to the Logic of the Schools, 'the question respecting the
validity of an argument is not whether the conclusion be _true_, but
whether it _follows_ from the premises adduced.' It was the bitter
experience of Bordon of the delusiveness of such partial logic that
induced him to exclaim, '_one_ fact is worth fifty _arguments_.'

With such authorities, 'a valid argument is that which it so stated that
its conclusiveness is evident from the mere _form_ of the expression.'
But since it is admitted that if the data reasoned upon be incorrect,
no logical skill can secure a correct result; it is evident that however
_faultless the form_, the inquirer after truth is in no way nearer his
object, unless he be instructed how to lay a foundation of _faultless
facts_. He then, who is in love with truth rather than logomachy, will
admit, in spite of the most ingenious analogies, that there is some room
for a logic of facts, as well as a logic of words.


Logic is a general guide to the discovery of truth, and teaches us
its systematic communication to others. This definition is intended to
combine logic and rhetoric into one system. According to a quotation in
Pinnock's Guide to Knowledge, Locke defined logic as 'that art by which
we rightly use our mental faculties in the discovery and communication
of truth,' a definition, called by the writer, the definition of nature
echoed by genius. There exists a natural connection between logic
and rhetoric. The discovery of truth could avail us little if we were
without the means of communicating it; and it is easy to see that it
would be in vain to possess the means of communicating truth, unless we
had the truth to communicate. Therefore, ingenuity is but ill employed
in separating these mutual departments of learning which nature has
connected together. Besides, the skill of the logician is as serviceable
in the statement of a case, as in arguing it. Arrangement is as much a
matter of logic as ratiocination; and to impress this neglected
truth upon the young inquirer, is one reason for proposing a combined

The mutual connection of logic and rhetoric is illustrated by the
fact, that the Logic of the Schools is purely a branch of rhetoric. It
consists in putting an argument into 'the most perspicuous form in
which it can be exhibited,'*--i. e., in _communicating_ it in the most
efficient way to others.

     * Dr. Whatetly: Anal. Ont., chap. 1, aec. 6, p. 45.

Indeed, Dr. Whately (who makes logic to consist in reasoning) defines
reasoning as _discourse_, and discourse is rhetoric. '_Grammar_,'
says Doherty,' represents the mechanism of letters in forming
words--_Rhemar_, the mechanism of words in forming sentences. We have
_Grammar_ for letters, _Rhemar_ for words, _Logic for arguments_, and
_Rhetoric_ for discourse.' Locke-logic, therefore--i. e., logic in the
sense in which Locke treated it--seems to come nearer the truth, as well
as nearer the common requirement, than the restricted definition of it
by others insisted on.


All men know something of truth. Happily it is the first impulse of
childhood, and nature teaches us its pleasure before reason instructs us
in its truth. In infancy we own its beauty, in manhood its power. There
is nothing, says Cicero, sweeter to man than the light of truth. Truth,
observes Godwin, is the native element of an intellectual nature. It
has been wisely remarked, said Lord Kames, that truth is to the
understanding what beauty is to the eye, or music to the ear.

Philosophy sanctions what unsophisticated feelings suggested. He that
has made but a little progress beyond ignorance and privilege, cannot be
edified by anything but truth.** Truth, like a mathematical point, has
had various descriptions; and it may be useful to select those which
graduate to its logical definition. Bulwer tells us, that 'the agitation
of thought is the beginning of truth.' Locke, Lord Kames, Mill, and
others, agree that truth, or falsehood, is an affair of language. An
assertion which represents things as they really are, is a truth--an
assertion that represents things what in reality they are _not_, is a

     ** Mr. Hobhouse: Note 15. to 4th Canto of Childe Harold.

Truth, in sculpture, means an exact similitude of some living form,
chiselled in stone or marble. Truth, in painting, is a natural
representation on canvass of some person, or object. In the same
manner, moral 'truth is an exact image of things set forth in speech,
or writing.' The logical definition of truth is given in these
words:--'Truth is that which admits of proof,'* that is, an assertion or
denial which can be substantiated by facts.

     * Chambers' Information.

A fact is commonly called a truth, but this practice leads to great
confusion in reasoning. A fact is only an element in truth, A logical
truth is a proposition supported by facts. Facts compose the premises
of an argument--a truth is the inference from the facts. Unless this
distinction is observed, recourse must be had to the expedient of
calling a fact a particular truth, and an induction from facts a general
truth. Or we must adopt this distinction, that a moral truth, that is,
the truth of parlance, is the coincidence of language with reality; and
a logical truth, a proposition which admits of demonstration.

A lady, who has given intellectual laws to many whom I address, has
said--'A truth I consider to be an ascertained fact, which truth would
be changed into an error the moment the fact on which it rested was
disproved.' But that which can be disproved cannot be an '_ascertained_
fact.' Allowing, however, the relevancy of this definition of a truth,
it would, in a treatise on logic, be considered as a definition only
of a particular truth. Many such truths are required to make a logical


     The great treasure-house of nature is open to all, and the
     only fee demanded for inspection is attention.--Detrosibr.

Observation** of nature is the only source of truth. Discursive
observation is the art of noticing circumstances evident to the senses.
Men who do this intentionally and carefully, with a view of acquiring
a knowledge of phenomena and their causes, are distinguished for their
varied knowledge and often for their great discoveries. Shakspere must
have owed the varied facts interwoven into his delineations of human
character to this source. The clever personations of Garrick were
suggested by his curious observations of men and manners. Sir Walter
Scott is known to have been a careful observer. It is said, 'no
expression escaped him if it bore on the illustration of character.'

     ** The term observation is used here in the sense in which
     it is commonly understood, signifying cognisance in general.
     It includes whatever information we acquire by the meant of
     consciousness, or experience, or through the agency of the

Claude Lorraine, with a passionate sympathy for the beautiful, sate in
the fields from sun-rise to dewy eve, watching, catching, and saturating
his very soul, as it were, with all the evanescent beauties of a
summer's day, as they chased each other over the face of the fair scene;
fixing on canvass, taking captive and imprisoning in our cabinets, the
wanton daughters of nature, that before his time never were caught, but
flitted before the fascinated eye only long enough to make the heart
afterwards feel more achingly the void of their vanishing. And the
artist who has done all this, do we not justly call him an _imaginative_
painter, to distinguish him from those meaner geniuses who were, in
painting, very like Crabbe in poetry, merely faithful delineators of
the vulgarer objects of social life, bunches of carrots, drunken boors,
chamber maids and chimney corners.

'Has the reader ever seen Mr. Macready in the character of Macbeth? If
he have, he can never forget the stupefied murderer withdrawing from the
chamber in which he has just done the dread act, with fascinated gaze
retreatingly regarding his royal victim, and awaking with a guilty start
as he runs unconsciously against his hard-souled partner in guilt, who
in vain tries to infuse into the weaker spirit of her paralysed husband
her own metaphysical superiority. In this scene we know that Mr.
Macready's acting was perfect, for the pressure at our heart, the
suspension of our breathing, and the creeping of our hair, made us
_feel_ that it was so. We see him now, as stealthily he places his foot
over the threshold of the chamber of death to re-appear on the stage;
the intensely staring eye, that cannot remove from what 'tis horror to
look upon; the awfully natural absorption of his soul by that "sorry
sight," which one little minute has brought about; his starting and
awaking from his entranced state, as he runs against his wife in his
retreat, and his full passionate burst of blended remorse, terror, and
superstition, as refusing counsel, regardless of remonstrance, heedless
of probable detection, he pours forth his "brain-sickly" convictions, of
having in one little moment cut the cable that had held him to the rest
of the great human family. All this we can see in our mind's eye, for
the actor gave us a picture of passion that time can never obliterate.
But how would it have been with a cloddish unimaginative fellow,
whom nature never intended should understand Shakspere? Would he not,
conscious that he was among shoals and quicksands of feelings, too nice
for his appreciation, seek to tear over all by a tempest of rant, which
would be a more ruthless murder on Shakspere than Macbeth's on the king?
And why should we be delighted with Mr. Macready's delineation, and
disgusted with the ranter? Simply because the former has _observed_,
treasured up, and felt every genuine exhibition of human feeling that
came in his way, and applied it appropriately to all the situations to
which it was related in nature. A single instance will make this clear.
Mr. Kean one night, in the concluding part of the combat scene of
Richard III., when supposed to be wounded to the death, before falling,
steadily regarded his foe, and painfully raising his right arm in act
to strike, the relaxed and dying limb, unable to second the spirit, fell
heavily and harmlessly to his side, indicating merely the fierce bravery
of the usurper living in all its strength, when the body which it would
move, was all but a senseless clod. Pit, gallery, and boxes arose with
an enthusiasm beyond description, and by their repeated plaudits bore
testimony the intense naturalness of the struggle. The actor being
afterwards complimented upon the _hit_, said, that he had taken the
action from Jack Painter, the prize-fighter, when the latter was beaten
in some one of his contests, and it immediately struck the tragedian
that the very same thing would come in beautifully in the dying scene
of Richard III. What was this, if not imagination? Kean saw Painter's
action to be the natural effects of undying valour in vain endeavouring
to contend against overwhelming power. Remembering and associating it
with his previous conception of the character of Richard III., the
actor saw it could be most strikingly incorporated with that picture of
passion the usurper's death should present to our view. Seeing this, he
combined it with his previous delineation, and thereby did precisely
the same thing as the poet in using a fine simile, or the painter in
introducing sun-light over a part of his picture. It was a portion
of nature carried away by the actor to be reproduced on a future and
fitting occasion.'*

The beginning of all knowledge is observation. It has been shown by Mr.
Mill that 'axioms,' which lie at the foundation of all reasoning and all
science, 'are experimental truths--generalisations _from observation_.
The proposition that Two straight lines cannot inclose a space--or, in
other words, Two straight lines which have once met do not meet again,
but continue to diverge--is an induction from the _evidence of our
senses._'** 'Axioms are but a class of inductions from _experience_: the
simplest and easiest cases of generalisation,' from the facts furnished
to, us by our senses or by our internal consciousness.'***

Autobiography, or the metaphysical revelation of a man to himself, is
a source of valuable psychological and moral truths. From this centre
frequently radiate new lights upon human nature. But this is resolvable
into a species of mental observation. It is self-inspection.

We have lately been told that 'Poetry is called upon to work in
the _discovery_ of truth. The imagination has always been the great
discovering power. Discoveries are the poetry of science. The case is
rare indeed in which, by merely advancing step by step in the exercise
of the logical faculty, any new truth has been arrived at. Logic comes
afterwards, to verify that which imagination sees with its far-darting

     * Phrenology Tested, by A. M., of the Middle Temple, pp.

     ** Logic, vol 1, p. 305.

     *** Idem, pp. 328-9.

     **** W. J. Fox's Lectures to the Working Classes: Genius and
     Poetry of Campbell, p.;5.

This seems to call upon us to recognise the imagination as fresh source
of truth. But the definition of imagination, as given by Emerson,
reveals to us its origin in observation;--'The imagination may be
defined to be the use which reason makes of the material world.
Shakspere's imperial muse tosses the creation like a bauble from hand to
hand, to embody any capricious shade of thought that is uppermost in his
mind.' Hence, though we agree with Gilfillan that imagination is thought
on fire, we must confess that the ignition is material.

We will, however, hear a poet's defence of his fraternity:--'Poets are
vulgarly considered deficient in the reasoning faculty; whereas no man
was ever a great poet without having it in excess, and after a century
or two, men become convinced of it. They jump the middle terms of their
syllogisms, it is true, and assume premises to which the world has not
yet arrived; but time stamps their deductions as invincible.'*

Imagination is based on observation, and bears the same relation to the
'material world' that the magician bears to the appliances of his art.
Imagination is the dexterous and astonishing use of realities. It is
a species of mental experiment, whereby, without permission of the
line-and-rule men, we join strange things together, and to the surprise
of every body, the junction is a happy one. 'Angelo's greatness lay in
searching for untried existence.'** But observation primarily suggests
the combination. If, as in the case of Angelo, imagination essays the
highest flights of genius, and goes in search of untried existence, it
is not existence out of nature, but founded upon nature--its success is
a revelation of some hidden reality.

     * Lowell's Conversations on the Old Poets.

     ** J. T. Seymour; Oracle of Reason.

Some of the most praised conceptions of Shakspere have been traced by
critics to the tritest observation. Instance Hamlet's remark:--

     There's a divinity doth shape our ends,
     Bough-hew them as we will.

Critics tell us, that Shakspere here fell into the conventional cant
of a mechanic making skewers. But it is no detraction to cull the best
phrases from the most common sources. Knight remarks:--'Philosophy, as
profound as it is beautiful! says the uninitiated reader of Shakspere.
But he that is endued with the wisdom of the commentators, will learn
how easy it is to mistake for philosophy and poetry what really only
proceeded from the very vulgar recollection of an ignorant mind. Dr.
Farmer informs me, says Steevens, that these words are merely technical.
A woodman, butcher, and dealer in skewers, lately observed to him, that
his nephew (an idle lad), could only assist in making them; he could
rough-hew them, but I was obliged to shape their ends. To shape the ends
of wood skewers, i. e., to point them, requires a degree of skill: any
one can rough-hew them. Whoever recollects the profession of Shakspere's
father, will admit that his son might be no stranger to such terms. I
have frequently seen packages of wool pinned up with skewers.'* To admit
the likelihood of all this, notwithstanding Mr. Knight's jeer at the
'wisdom of the commentators,' is rather to exalt than degrade the genius
of Shakspere, who could derive exalted figures from humble sources.
The 'Athenæum,' far more wisely than Mr. Knight, in this instance,
observes:--'This is the test of a truly great man; that his thoughts
should be _things_, and become things in instantaneous act, and not for
a moment mere speculations and abstractions.'

As the theories of the schoolmen subside, and men no longer ignore
nature, it will become recognised as the source rather than the tool
of intellect. We shall have less occasion to contend that all lofty and
sublime ideas derive their value and beauty from their coherence with
the instincts of sensation, 'Poetry, we grant, creates a world of its
own; but it creates it out of _existing_ materials.' 'Imagination' may
be but 'thought on fire,' but the spark, which ignites it, is material.
Is there any other distinction between the nights of the rhapsodist
and those of genius, than that genius _illumines_ reality and rhapsody
_obscures_ it? 'We know of no great generalisation that has ever been
made by a man unacquainted with the details on which it rests.'

Experiment is invented observation. It is putting into operation certain
supposed causes in order to observe their effects. An experiment may
be defined as an observation, which we are at some trouble to make.
Experiment is usually set down as being a process of discovering truth
different from observation. It is evidently included under observation,
and there is no practical advantage in separating it. Discursive,
general, ordinary, or common observation is the observation of the
phenomena we _find_. Experiment is observation of the phenomena we
_bring together_. Experimental observation has been the great agent
of modern discovery. Newton ranked it as the most valuable knowledge.
Whatever is not founded on phenomena is hypothesis, and has no place in
experimental philosophy. It is the principal source of accurate
facts. When Jenner first communicated to John Hunter, what he thought
respecting the prevention of small pox--'Don't think, but try; be
patient, be accurate,' was Hunter's characteristic reply. Locke
remarks--'While the philosophy of Aristotle prevailed in the schools,
which dealt often in words without meaning, the knowledge of nature was
at a stand; men argued concerning things of which they had no idea;
in this enlightened age, we keep to trial and experiment, as the only
certain foundation of philosophy.'

     * Philosophy and Religion of Shakspere, pp. 173-4

     **  No 946. p. 1103.

     *** Athenæum, No. 946, p. 1191.

Hypothesis may be noticed here as being a species of _embryo_
experiment. Hypothesis is guessing at the truth. It is a conjecture or
supposition relating to the cause of an effect. It imagines that where
certain conditions exist, the desired result will ensue. But all
these conjectures must be founded on observation. For, in the wildest
conjecture, unless made by a madman, there is some reason. Hypothesis is
incipient truth founded on a few facts which make it probable, but not
on sufficient to make it certain. Hypothesis does not directly discover
truth, but it is a guide to experiment, which does. The hypotheses of
Columbus respecting an unknown continent, did not of itself discover
America--but it directed the experiment of his voyage there, which did.
To hypothesise alone is the error of the visionary and the dreamer.
Practical wisdom, as far as possible, tests hypothesis by experiment.
Sir C. Bell conjectured that the nervous fluid of the human body
was analogous to galvanic fluid, and then, by experiments on various
animals, he endeavoured to test his hypothesis. However, great
thinkers arise who are best employed in contriving plans for others to
execute--in telling others what they are to do. Great poets belong
to this class. They are often incapable of the concentrated labour of
furnishing proofs of their hypothesis. Gladly should we recognise the
mission of such men. They work for humanity by thinking for humanity.
'All who think,' says Lytton, 'are co-operative with all who work.'
Labour supplies our wants, thought teaches us dominion over nature.
Labour is but the means of subsistence, it is thought that makes it the
source of wealth by multiplying its powers.

To the value of hypothesis Mr. Mill bears this testimony, that by
suggesting observations and experiments, it puts us upon the road
to, independent evidence, if it be really attainable, and till it be
attained, the hypothesis ought not to count for more than a suspicion.
The function of hypothesis is one which must be reckoned absolutely
indispensable in science. Without such assumption, science would not
have attained its present state. Nearly everything which is now theory
was once hypothesis.*

     * Logic, Vol. II, p. 18.

Induction is systematic observation of a given class of phenomena.
It consists in bringing together a variety of facts and instances,
carefully and patiently viewing them in all possible lights to
discover from a comparison of the whole what, if any, new principle is
elicitable. Induction is an experiment with a number of facts, to see
if any general result can be arrived at. Thus observation is of three
kinds--discursive, experimental, and inductive. For brevity of speech,
we use respectively the terms observation, experiment, and induction,
as the names of the three recognised modes of investigation. But it
facilitates a clear view of this subject, to note that experiment and
induction are but phases of observation--and that observation is the
great source of the discovery of truth.

Discursive observation and experiment are the sources of facts or
particular truths. Nature, poetically says Dr. Reid, is put to the
question by a thousand observations and experiments, and forced to
confess her secrets. Out of these secrets induction gathers its general
truths, which become the premises of argument. Facts, like stones, are
of little service while scattered--it is in the edifice raised by them
that their value is apparent. They have been compared to blocks, upon
_one_ of which, if a person stand, he has but a partially increased
view; but when many are piled up, a person from their summit commands
the prospect round. Particular truth seldom proves anything but itself.
Argument is proving something else, and we have seen that that which is
proved must be _contained_ in something which proves it. In other words,
an argument is an assertion or denial of something substantiated by
other things--by facts.

Gall _observed_ the peculiar formation of a certain head, but the one
fact proved nothing, except that the head had a certain form. It was
a barren observation, except that it suggested to his imagination
the hypothesis that the peculiar form of the head might be caused by
peculiarity of mind. This set him upon the experiment of observing
the habits and dispositions of the individual in order to test his
hypothesis. But the one fact of finding a peculiarity proved nothing new
of any value. The two facts, though incident, were hardly convincing.
They proved only that a peculiar head was accompanied in one case by
peculiar habits--but whether one was the cause of the other, or whether
the phenomena were in any way connected, still remained unknown. When,
however, Gall, Spurzheim, and others, had travelled through Europe,
making observations and experiments, and at last putting all the facts
and instances together, and carefully and patiently viewing them in all
possible lights, and finding that they shadowed forth that the brain was
the organ, the map and measure of intelligence, they inducted a general
truth, which enters the lists of argument and takes its place as an
addition to our metaphysical and moral treasures.

Mr. Macaulay, who, perhaps, might be accused of underrating both Bacon
and Induction, with a view of exalting Aristotle, remarks that 'The
vulgar notion about Bacon we take to be this, that he invented a new
method of arriving at truth, which method is called induction, and that
he detected some fallacy in the syllogistic reasoning which had been in
vogue before his time. This notion is about as well founded as that of
the people who, in the middle ages, imagined that Virgil was a great
conjurer. Many who are far too well informed to talk such extravagant
nonsense, entertain what we think incorrect notions as to what Bacon
really effected in this matter. The inductive method has been practised
ever since the beginning of the world by every human being. It is
constantly practised by the most ignorant clown, by the most thoughtless
schoolboy, by the very child at the breast. That method leads the clown
to the conclusion, that if he sows barley he shall not reap wheat. By
that method, the schoolboy learns that a cloudy day is the best for
catching trout. The very infant we imagine is led by induction to expect
milk from his mother or nurse, and none from his father. Not only is it
not true that Bacon invented the inductive method, but it is not true
that he was the first person who correctly analysed that method and
explained its uses. Aristotle had long before pointed out the absurdity
of supposing that syllogistic reasoning could ever conduct men to the
discovery of any new principle, had shown that such discoveries must be
made by induction and by induction alone, and had given the history of
the inductive process concisely, indeed, but with great perspicuity and
precision. We are not inclined to ascribe much practical value to that
analysis of the Inductive method which Bacon has given in the second
book of the Novum Organon. It is, indeed, an elaborate and correct
analysis. But it is an analysis of that which we are all doing from
morning to night, and which we continue to do even in our dream.'*

     * Macaulay's Hist Essays, vol. 3, p. 407.

It is not 'some fallacy in the syllogistic reasoning' which Bacon is
supposed to have detected, it is rather the partial protection against
error afforded by syllogisms, which he exposed and provided against,
for which he is estimated. Certainly Aristotle must have had a very
different opinion of the value of inductive philosophy from that
entertained by Bacon, or he would have indoctrinated his disciples with
it. Few will doubt that had Bacon's Novum Organon appeared in the place
of Aristotle's logic, and Aristotle's work in the place of Bacon's,
that the advancement of learning in the world would now be in a very
different state. Could Bacon have arrested the attention of the
ancient sages with his methods of discovering new principles, ancient
philosophy, instead of being a treadmill, would have been a path, and we
should not have had a contempt for all learning which was useful. When
Posidonius said that we owed to philosophy the principles of the
arch and the introduction of metals. We should not have had Seneca
repudiating such insulting compliments, nor Archimedes considering that
geometry was degraded by being employed in anything useful.

But these observations of Macaulay have the merit of showing us
that induction has its foundation in nature, and afford a further
confirmation of our views, that observation is the source of our
knowledge, and that it is the province of logic to teach us to
systematise our thoughts. Observation, experiment, hypothesis and
induction, are but different names for the operation--varying in degree,
in method, in expedient, and elaboration--whereby we discover truth.
Nature is the treasure-house of truth, and the sole fee of appropriation
is attention.

Much discussion has taken place upon the nature of necessary truths.
Mr. Mill, however, after an elaborate analysis of Dr. Whewell's theory,
pronounces that 'nothing is necessary except the connection between a
conclusion and the premises.' A necessary truth is commonly defined as a
proposition, the negation of which is not only false, but inconceivable.
Mr. Mill contests this doctrine in words embodying suggestions of great

'Now I cannot but wonder that so much stress should be laid upon the
circumstance of inconceivableness, when there is such ample experience
to show that our capacity or incapacity of conceiving a thing has very
little to do with a possibility of the thing in itself; but is in truth
very much an affair of accident, and depends upon the past history and
habits of our own minds. There is no more generally acknowledged fact
in human nature, than the extreme difficulty at first felt in conceiving
anything as possible, which is in contradiction to long established and
familiar experience; or even to old and familiar habits of thought. And
this difficulty is a necessary result of the fundamental laws of the
human mind. When we have often seen and thought of two things together,
and have never in any one instance either seen or thought of them
separately, there is by the primary law of association an increasing
difficulty, which in the end becomes insuperable, of conceiving the two
things apart. This is most of all conspicuous in uneducated persons, who
are in general utterly unable to separate any two ideas which have once
become firmly associated in their minds; and if persons of cultivated
intellect have any advantage on the point, it is only because, having
seen and heard and read more, and been more accustomed to exercise their
imagination, they have experienced their sensations and thoughts in
more varied combinations, and have been prevented from forming these
inseparable associations. But this advantage has necessarily its limits.
The man of the most practised intellect is not exempt from the universal
laws of our conceptive faculty. If daily habit presents to him for a
long period two facts in combination, and if he is not led during that
period either by accident or intention to think of them apart, he will
in time become incapable of doing so even by the strongest effort; and
the supposition that the two facts can be separated in nature, will
at last present itself to his mind with all the characters of an
inconceivable phenomenon. There are remarkable instances of this in
the history of science: instances, in which the wisest men rejected
as impossible, because inconceivable, things which their posterity, by
earlier practice and longer perseverance in the attempt, found it quite
easy to conceive, and which everybody knows to be true. 'If, then, it be
so natural to the human mind, even in its highest state of culture, to
be incapable of conceiving, and on that ground to believe impossible,
what is afterwards not only found to be conceivable but proved to be
true; what wonder if in cases where the association is still older, more
confirmed, and more familiar, and in which nothing ever occurs to shake
our conviction, or even suggest to us any conception at variance
with the association, the acquired incapacity should continue, and be
mistaken for a natural incapacity? It is true our experience of the
varieties in nature enables us, within certain limits, to conceive other
varieties analogous to them. We can conceive the sun or moon falling;
for although we never saw them fall, nor ever perhaps, imagined
them falling, we have seen so many other things fall, that we have
innumerable familiar analogies to assist the conception; which after
all, we should probably have some difficulty in framing, were we not
well accustomed to see the sun and moon move, (or appear to move,)
so that we are only called upon to conceive a slight change in the
direction of motion, a circumstance familiar to our experience. But when
experience affords no model on which to shape the new conception, how is
it possible for us to form it? How, for example, can we imagine an end
to space or time? We never saw any object without something beyond
it, nor experienced any feeling without something following it. When,
therefore, we attempt to conceive the last point of space, we have
the idea irresistibly raised of other points beyond it. When we try
to imagine the last instant of time, we cannot help conceiving another
instant after it Nor is there any necessity to assume, as is done by a
modern school of metaphysicians, a peculiar fundamental law of the mind
to account for the feeling of infinity inherent in our conceptions of
space and time; that apparent infinity is sufficiently accounted for by
simpler and universally acknowledged laws.'*

     * Mill's Logic, vol. 1, pp. 313-17.

Thus we stand on the verge of boundless possibility. What truths may yet
be discovered in that great and untrodden field, which lies without our
experience, no man can tell. All we have yet brought between assertion
and proof, is all we have yet conquered, is all that we as yet know,
is all that we can yet rely upon. The search after the untried is the
highest and apparently the inherent aspiration of roan. The revelation
of new worlds continually rewards his noble ambition. At once arrested
and allured by the magnificence of nature--we wonder, we work, we wait.


     We must never forget that accurate and multiplied
     quantitative facts form the only substantial basis of

As clear fountains send forth pellucid streams, so do clear truths give
accurate sciences. The more definite the facts, the more perfect the
science; it is therefore of importance that all facts should be capable
of being tested by the standard of physical certainty. Dr. Reid says,
that 'the inquirer after truth must take only facts for his guide.' It
is then of moment that he takes true and not false guides. A writer in
the 'Monthly Repository' observes, that 'the basis of all knowledge is
such an extensive induction from particular facts, as leads to general
conclusions and fundamental axioms'--and if the facts are erroneous,
evidently the conclusions will be also erroneous. He also remarks,
that 'in reasoning, all sciences are the same, being founded on an
examination of facts--comparison of ideas.' But If the examination is
incomplete, or the facts admitted incorrect, the comparison will
be alike defective and the reasoning vitiated. If suppositions or
conjectures are mixed up with facts, the inductions from them will be
suppositions, and the conclusions but conjectures.

There are three words--consciousness, conscience, and
conscientiousness--very much alike to the ear but very different in
signification. Consciousness, is feeling--conscience, the sense of right
and wrong---conscientiousness, the practice of what is believed to be
right. Conscience and conscientiousness are often confounded. We say,
lawyers have no conscience, we mean no conscientiousness. They
know right from wrong as men, but not professionally. It is with
consciousness that the logician has to deal. Consciousness is the
primary source of knowledge. Consciousness and the 'Evidences of the
Senses' are synonymous terms. Facts referable to consciousness are said
to be physically certain. The evidence of the senses is the highest
standard of certainty.

The intuitive principles of belief are--

  1st. A conviction of our own existence.
  2nd. A confidence in the evidences of our senses.
  3rd. In our mental operations.
  4th. In our mental identity.
  5th. In the conformity of the operations of nature.

These truths of intuition or consciousness are the foundation of all
knowledge. Truths which we know, by way of inference, are occurrences
which took place while we were absent--the events of history and the
theorems of mathematics. But the truths known by intuition are the
original premises from which all others axe inferred. Our assent to the
conclusion being grounded upon the truth of the premises, we could never
arrive at any knowledge by reasoning, unless something could be known
antecedently to all reasoning.

'Whatever is known to us by consciousness, is known beyond possibility
of question. What one sees, or feels, whether bodily or mentally, one
cannot but be sure that one sees or feels. No science is required for
the purpose of establishing such truths; no rules of art can render our
knowledge of them more certain than it is in itself. There is no logic
for this portion of our know ledge.'*

All discussions pertaining to the nature and limits of intuition or
consciousness are referred to the higher or transcendental metaphysics,
but all the facts that compose evidence and become the grounds of
inference are, according to the view taken here, necessarily subjects of

'Cogito ergo sum--I think, therefore I am, argued Des Cartes. We
learn by this that consciousness of the operations of the mind is the
strongest evidence of our existence. It cannot be proved so forcibly by
any other means; and although Des Cartes' language may appear to involve
a logical fallacy, yet the proof of our personal existence which we have
from _thinking_, is the fullest and best we are acquainted with.'**

     * J. 8. Mil: Logic, vol. l, p. 7.

     ** Rev. Robert Amalie.

There is a numerous class of facts from which all men draw conclusions,
which facts are not referable to the evidence of the senses. There are
the facts of testimony. Testimony is founded on laws almost as fixed
and certain as those of nature. All our knowledge, scientific,
literary, historical--all except what arises from our experience and
consciousness--depends on it. In the administration of justice it is
the sole guardian of property and life. If a man of known integrity and
veracity state a fact, without any possible motive of self-interest, and
evidently subject to no delusion; and if others of like character, who
could have no understanding or collusion with him, state the same, men
are nearly as certain of it as of any truth in mathematics. I believe
in the existence of Rome and the facts of astronomy on this evidence,
although I never saw the city or examined the stars through a telescope.

The conclusiveness of testimony is designated moral certainty. The value
of testimony depends on three things. 1. On the nature of the subject.
Some subjects are capable of more accurate observation than others. 2.
On the powers and character of the observer--his ability to understand
or note that of which he testifies--and his honesty in common matters.
3. On the number of our informers. Several persons are less likely to be
imposed upon than one.

Testimony or moral certainty is inferior to physical certainty. A
physical certainty bears uniformly the name of certainty, while a moral
certainty is characterised as a probability. Great, very great may
be the probability, still it is less in reliableness than a
physical certainty. The evidence of Cato or Aristides would be very
conclusive--yet somewhat less certain than that which our own senses
have proved.

The conclusions from moral certainties are obtained like other
conclusions, by induction. The induction from moral facts is like
the induction from physical facts, with this difference--that the
conclusions from moral facts are probabilities, like the facts on which
they are founded. Whatever has physical certainty in its favour is
considered demonstrable, and when sufficient probable evidence is
adduced in favour of a proposition, it is considered to be fairly
proved. Some persons, biased by the strictness of mathematical proof,
insist upon the same accuracy in moral investigations. I have elsewhere
pointed out the juvenility and infatuation of this error. Insist upon
demonstration where the nature of the questions admits it. Less should
not, in such case, suffice. Accept probability where probability is the
sole evidence attainable. Never ask more than reason can grant. We must
admit gradations of validity. What we are conscious of, we _know_.
All we receive on testimony, we _believe_. Physical certainty is
_knowledge_: moral certainty, _belief_. Hume remarks, in his 'Essay on
Probabilities,' that 'Mr. Locke divides all arguments into demonstrative
and probable. In this view, we must say, that it is only probable all
men must die, or that the sun will rise to-morrow. But to conform
our language more to common us, we ought to divide arguments into
_demonstrations, proofs, and probabilities_. By proofs, meaning such
arguments from experience as leave no room for doubt or opposition.'*

     * Hume's Essays, vol. 2, p.59.

Conjecture is probable truth. Some subjects only furnish a sufficient
number of facts to make them probable in the lowest degree--not to
decide them as positively true. The propositions expressing results
pertaining to such subjects are called conjectures.

A conjecture founded on no fact or upon too few to make it likely, is
called a vagary.

It will be seen that probability is a thing of degree. A probability may
vary in weight from a moral certainty, where it ranks next to a physical
certainty, down to a conjecture, and descend lower in likelihood till it
is lost in conjecture.

Lord Kames remarks, in his preface to his 'Sketches'--'Most of
the subjects handled in the following sheets, admit but of probable
reasoning: and, with respect to such reasoning, it is often difficult to
say, what degree of conviction they ought to produce. It is easy to form
plausible arguments; but to form such as can stand the test of time,
is not always easy. I could amuse the reader with numerous examples
of conjectural arguments, which, fair at a distant view, vanish like a
cloud on a near approach'. Did all authors so judiciously apprise their
readers of the probable logical value of their speculations, fewer would
be misled than now.

To numerous questions of undoubted interest, which have been agitated in
all ages, only a moderate degree of certainty attaches--these are termed
speculative. Such subjects may afford but few facts and instances, and
the chances of conclusiveness may seem remote--yet ultimate results
are not to be despaired of: the new comparison of conjectures and the
arrangement of facts daily throws new light on age-contested points.
Systems of conduct should not be founded on conjectures in opposition to
evident moral utility; but if speculation is kept 'within the sphere of
speculation, it may be prosecuted with safety and prospect of success.

There are problems in metaphysics as there are in mathematics, which may
be demonstrated to be insolvable. To describe the limit of human power
with respect to contested questions will yet result from speculative
controversy. The capacities of our understanding will be one day well
considered, the extent of our knowledge discovered, and the horizon
found which sets bounds between the enlightened and the dark part of
things--between what is and what is not comprehensible by us. But this
will only be when the _untried_ has been _universally_ attempted in all
directions. Bailey, I think, has defined truth as being that which is
universally accepted after having been universally examined. Little of
this truth is yet extant. When every man shall be a thinker, when the
autobiography of intellect shall be more freely furnished than it ever
yet has been, unanimity of opinion not yet dreamed of will prevail.
Harmony of opinion is the sign of intellectual conquest--the
standard-bearer of truth no advocacy is victorious while dissent
occupies the field.

What we _know_ to be true, is _knowledge_; what we have only reason
to believe true, is _opinion_. All human information is made up of
knowledge and opinion. The primary importance of knowledge is evident
from the fact that knowledge is the umpire of all opinion. We believe
in the existence of the ruins of Palmyra and Thebes, and in certain
discoveries of algebraists and astronomers. It is our _opinion_ that
these things are true, although we may never have visited Palmyra
or Thebes, nor made the calculations of the algebraist, nor the
observations of the astronomer. In these cases our belief is founded
on our _experience_ and knowledge of mankind. It is quite true that
travellers exaggerate, and scientific men are sometimes mistaken; but
we know that there is always _some_ truth at the bottom of what
is communicated by well-meaning writers. More or less, every man's
_experience_ assures him of this; and it is the cause of our reliance on
the records of history, and the reports of science. Therefore, since all
information is made up of knowledge and opinion, plainly knowledge is
the one thing which comprises all intelligence.

'Questions of fact,' observes Pascal, in his celebrated 'Provincial
Letters,' 'are only to be determined by the senses. If what you assert
be true, prove it to be so; if it be not, you labour in _vain_ to induce
belief. All the authority in the world cannot enforce or alter belief as
to facts; nothing can possibly have power to cause that not to be which
actually _is_.'*

A remarkable instance of the verification of what was assumed to be
is related of Pascal by Goodrich. 'Pascal was a philosopher even in
childhood. At a very early age he was taught the ten commandments. For
several days after, he was observed to be measuring the growth of a
blade of grass. When asked the meaning of this, he replied, "The fourth
commandment says, 'Six days shalt thou labour, but the seventh is the
Sabbath in which thou shalt do no work.' Now I wished to ascertain if
nature obeyed this great law, and therefore measured the grass, to see
if it grew as much on Sunday as on other days." '**

'We are informed,' says Beattie, 'by Father Malebranche, that the senses
were at first as honest faculties as one could desire to be endued with,
till after they were debauched by original sin; an adventure from which
they contracted such an invincible propensity to cheating, that they
are now continually lying in wait to deceive us. But there is in man,
it seems, a certain clear-sighted, stout, old faculty, called _reason_,
which, without being deceived by appearances, keeps an eye upon the
rogues, and often proves too cunning for them.'***

     * Letter xviii.

     ** Fireside Education, p. 89.

     *** Essay on Truth, p. 105.

Though it is so abundantly obvious that the evidences of our senses,
internal and external, are, in effect, the sources of all certainty,
yet we are not warranted in rejecting, as mere hypothesis, every theory
which we cannot at once corroborate. When Euler remarked of his new
law of arches, 'This will be found true, though contrary to all
experience'--when Gall exclaimed of his new philosophy of the sensorium,
'This is true, though opposed to the philosophy of ages'--they expressed
demonstrable truths hidden from the multitude. They announced new
generalisations to man. New truths are commonly found to be old unnoted
experiences, for the first time subjected to classification, and
presented in a scientific form.

To me it seems almost in vain to urge men to notice facts who have
never noticed themselves. The truest standards of certainty arise
from individuality of retrospection. An intelligent man is, himself to
himself, the measure of all things in the universe.

In appealing to the young on the aspiration after improvement, one
cannot say 'Consult your aptitudes--follow your bias.' This Is the
sole appeal-injunctive to which all natures can respond. But in this
half-natured, half-trained, doubtfully-conditioned state of society,
though the generous would be incited to noble deeds, the sordid would
lay their vulture claws on the world, and the unprincipled victimise
their fellows. You have, therefore, to say, 'Man, do what thou listest,
provided it be compatible with the welfare of thy fellow men.' Men are
not well-natured, and we have thus to guard individuality, and qualify
the appeal, and so we miss the soil of great enterprise. Great is the
disadvantage. For the fulcrum which is to raise men is without their
natures--remote in the wide world.

Man should begin with himself. He loves Truth--it is the first impulse
of his nature. He loves Justice--the bandit on the throne, as well as
the bandit in the forest, respects justice in some form or other. Man
loves Cheerfulness--it is the attribute of innocence and courage. He
loves Fraternity--it knits society together in brotherhood. These are
standards. His codes of life and judgment arise from these aspirations.
That which accords with these principles is _reasonable_. Whatever
develops these principles in conduct is _moral_. These sentiments are to
be confirmed by his own observations. His experience in connection with
these rules is the right with which he may examine religions, creeds,
books, systems, opinions.

The right understanding of physical and moral facts greatly depends upon
intellectual character--and there enters largely into the recondite and
ultimate inquiries of intelligent men another class of facts, called
mental facts. There is no chance of identifying these without the power
of self-analysis, which is one reason why metaphysic ability belongs to
so few, and why questions involving metaphysical considerations are such
profound enigmas to the majority of the people. The illiterate in these
things are easily led or misled by words. They who will not bow before a
throne fall prostrate before a sound.

The first principles of things are few. The axioms from which men date
their reasoning are chiefly personal. They are expressed in an infinite
variety of ways, occasioned by the various conceptions of those who
conceive them, and by the different capacities to which they are adapted
when offered for the instruction and guidance of others. But this
must not mislead us as to the number, and overwhelm us with a sense of
complexity, where in fact simplicity reigns. Those who have the power
of self-analysis make for themselves rules of conduct, and the best are
originated in this way--for when a man recasts his acquirements of sense
and education, in order to see on what all rests, and what are essential
standards of action and judgment, he resolves all into few, and those
the clear and strong. Rob Roy's self-examination paper is presented
to us in those lines which Sir Walter Scott, with grace and justice,
characterised as the 'high-toned poetry of his gifted friend

     Say, then, that he was wise as brave,
     As wise in thought as bold in deed;
     For in the principles of things
     He sought his morai creed.

     Said generous Rob, 'What need of Books?
     Burn all the statutes and their shelves!
     They stir us up against our kind,
     And worse, against ourselves.

     We have a passion, make a law,
     Too false to guide us or control;
     And for the law itself we fight
     In bitterness of soul.

     And puzzled, blinded, then we lose
     Distinctions that are plain and few;
     These find I graven on my heart,
     That tells me what to do.

Sir Walter Scott himself has enforced the same views:--'How much do I
need such a monitor,' said Waverley to Flora. 'A better one by far Mr.
Waverley will always find in his own bosom, when he will give its still
small voice leisure to be heard.

     All that hath been majestical
     In life or death, since time began,
     Is native in the simple heart of all,--
     The angel heart of man.--Lowell.

To awaken the senses and instruct them and direct them aright in the art
of observation, is a great and essential undertaking. All scattered aids
need collecting together. De la Beche in 'Geology,' and Miss Martineau
have written books, entitled 'How to Observe.' This quality is the
distinction between the natural and artificial man--the natural man
observes what is in nature--the artificial notes what he finds in
books--the one depends on himself--the other on an encyclopaedia.
We want contrast, in order to know as well as to explain. Foreigners
observe us better than we observe ourselves. The common escapes our
attention. To know a fact fully we seek its opposite to compare it with.

Were men reared with the powers of men without the genius of the child
being impaired, the ability to observe would be more general and perfect
among us. Children stop at everything to question its nature, at every
word to ask its import. It was the aim of Pestalozzi to cultivate by his
system of tuition this incessant questioning. But parents among the poor
know not the value of the habit, or knowing it have not time to gratify
it, and thus this happiest aptitude of childhood is repressed.

With regard to the analysis of groups of facts, Mr. J. S. Mill
remarks--'The observer is not he who merely sees the thing before his
eyes, but he who sees what parts that thing is composed of. To do this
well is a rare talent. One person from inattention, or attending only in
the wrong place, overlooks half of what he sees; another sets down much
more than he sees, confounding it with what he imagines, or with what
he infers $ another takes note of the kind of all the circumstances, but
being inexpert in estimating their degree, leaves the quantity of each
vague and uncertain; another sees indeed the whole, but makes such an
awkward division of it into parts, throwing things into one mass
which require to be separated, and separating others which might more
conveniently be considered as one, that the result is much the same,
sometimes even worse, than if no analysis had been attempted at all.'*

     * Logic, vol. 1, p. 438.

In the case of the Leigh Peerage there was a number of witnesses
examined in the House of Lords, as to the existence of a certain
monument in Stonely Church--'The first witness described the monument as
being black; the second spoke of it as a kind of dove-colour; the third
said it was black and white; the fourth said it was originally white,
but dirty, when he saw it; the fifth differing from the others, said it
was blue; the next witness described it as a light marble, but said it
had a dark appearance as if it had been bronzed, and the last witness
spoke of it as feeing of a light grey colour. Then, as to the form of
the monument, the first witness said it was oblong; the next said it
was square at the top, and came down narrower to the bottom, and there
rested on a single truss; the third witness described it as being
square at the bottom, testing upon two trusses; and went up narrower and
narrower to a point at the top; the fourth witness said it was angular
at the top; the next said it was square at the bottom, was brought to
a point in the middle, and was then curved into a sort of festoon; the
sixth witness stated that it was square at the top and bottom, and had a
curve; and the last said it was square at the top and bottom. As to the
language of the inscriptions, the first witness stated that the names
of _Thomas_ and _Christopher Leigh_ were in English; the next said the
inscription was not in English; the third said there was a great deal in
English; the fourth witness said the whole, (with the exception of the
name Christopher Lee), was in a language, which he did not understand;
the next witness stated that the inscription was all in English,
except the words _Anno Domini_; and the last witness said it was not in

     * Times, May 10, 1828.

All these witnesses agree as to the fact in dispute, but their variances
in testimony illustrate the common inattention of observation--and this
case farther admonishes us that if such differences may exist as to
a question of fact, where the senses are the same, little wonder that
differences exist as to matters of opinion, where intellectual capacity
and information are so various.

We know from experience that the sportsman sees a point which is hidden
from the unpractised aimer--the painter sees traits of character of
light and shade in an object which the untaught limner never observes;
the musician distinguishes harmonies and discords that fall unnoted on
the uneducated ear.

Thus we learn that by cultivation we can increase natural susceptibility
to observe.

The extent is surprising to which the unanalytic are in ignorance of the
real nature of phenomena. 'There is nothing which we appear to ourselves
more directly conscious of, than the distance of an object from us. Yet
it has long been ascertained, that what is perceived by the eye, is at
most nothing more than a variously coloured surface; that when we fancy
we see distance, all we really see is certain variation of apparent
size, and more or less faintness of colour.'*

In preparing to support an argument on any question, we must first
determine the sources whence the facts are to be collected. Instance:
The objects of municipal laws are rights and crimes.

The evidence of rights are:--  1. Public consent.
  2. Testimony.
  3. Records.

The evidence of crimes are:--  1. Confession.
  2. Previous malice.
  3. Testimony.

This outline of the investigation prosecuted, the inquirer next consults
the authors who treat of the rules which are applied for determining
the facts of public consent, testimony, records, confessions: he is
then able to support his own argument in a valid manner, or prepared to
examine the facts offered by an opponent in support of an opposite view.

The opinion may be hazarded that it is not so much from want of capacity
to observe that error arises, as from the want of conviction that we
should observe well before we attempt to infer. Nature is inventive, and
desire, once awakened, will, without formal rules, find out a thousand
modes of gratification. The foundation for a soldier logic than now
prevails will be laid when the people are impressed with the great
importance of looking well to facts as the data of all inferential

There is a noted aphorism of Cendillac, to the effect that the one
sufficient rule for discovering the nature and properties of objects is
to name them properly, as if, observes Mr. J. S. Mill, 'the reverse was
not the truth, that it is impossible to name them properly except
in proportion as we are already acquainted with their nature and
properties.' Need it be added that this knowledge is only to be had by
patient observation?

     * Mill Logic vol. l, p.7.

To assist this habit, Dr. Watts recommends the thinker to ascertain if
a given idea is clear and distinct, obscure and confused, learned or
vulgar, perfect or imperfect, adequate or inadequate--true or false.
'View a subject, says he, as through a telescope, so as to command a
clear view of it; examine its whole bearings as you look over a globe;
consider it in its several properties--anatomise it as with a scalpel.
Take cognizance of its various aspects as though inspecting it through
a prismatic glass. Whenever we contemplate a single object in nature
is obvious it must have duration, size, weight, form, colour, such
qualities being essentially present in all adequate conceptions of
physical phenomena.'

It was objected to the 'Cricket' of Mr. Dickens, that his delineation of
Bertha was wanting in truthfulness. The teachers of the blind who knew
their nature could detect the departure from the reality of their habits
in the sketch of Bertha. The study of the blind was necessary to insure
success. We may not be able in any one book to give rules for the study
of all subjects, but we may indicate that we ought not to speak of what
we do not know, and that if we mean to introduce certain facts into our
speech or writing, we should consult the records and experienee of those
persons who are known to have written upon the subject, and follow the
best directions they give, and we shall generally attain accuracy.

Mr. Combe observes, in his introduction to his notes on the United
States of North America, p. xi.--'I was told that a _certain person_
boasts of having given Miss Martineau erroneous information for the
purpose of leading her into mistakes; and another in Philadelphia
assures his friends that he "crammed" Capt. Marryatt with old "Joe
Millers," which the Capt. embodied into his books as facts illustrative
of American manners. This seems to be a case in which some uncertainty
must ever exist as to the value of the facts collected by travellers.
They cannot observe all, or test half that they do observe. They must
rely on testimony. But they might do this--They might tell us precisely
the kind of authority they followed, and then the reader could form some
opinion of the value of what was communicated. Had Miss Martineau and
Captain Marryatt given the name and addresses of their informants,
the latter would now be punished by being infamously known throughout
Europe; and all future travellers warned from them--and all future
informants warned by their example. Where informants cannot be mentioned
by name and address, the chances are, they cannot be trusted. When first
connected with public proceedings, I found myself made the depository of
innumerable bits of scandal, and ominous reports of public characters.
To all who told me anything, if I attached importance to it, I made it
a rule to ask--'May I mention it to the party with your name?' 'O, no,
I would rather not,' was the common reply. To all written communications
answer--'Please add your name and address--and may I publish them if
occasion requires?' 'O, no, don't,' would be the general injunction.
Thus I found that huge reports, inflated as balloons, shrunk like them
when pricked by the pin of a question--'Will you answer for it?' Thus
I saved myself from being imposed upon by, or being the retailer of,
reports for which the originator or relator would not or could not

'Upwards of twenty years ago,' says George Combe, 'I accompanied a
member of the bar of Paris, a philosopher and a man of letters, on a
visit to the Highlands of Scotland. At Callendar a boy of twelve or
thirteen years of age attended as a guide to some interesting spot,
and in external appearance he seemed to be in every respect one of the
common lads of the village. My Parisian friend entered into conversation
with him; asked him if he had been at school, and soon discovered that
to a tolerable acquaintance with the Greek and Latin languages, he added
a pretty extensive-knowledge of arithmetic and geography, and was then
engaged in the study of mathematics. My friend conceived that the boy
was an average specimen of the peasantry of the country; and greatly
admired the educational attainments of the Scotch people, which he had
previously heard highly extolled. But,' adds Mr. Combe, 'the boy was the
natural son of an English officer, who had resided in the neighbourhood,
and who, while he ordered him to be reared in the hardy habits of
the Scottish Highlanders, had provided ample funds for his mental

     * Intro, to notes on United States of North America, p. 10.,
     vol. 1

It is difficult to believe in this Frenchman being a 'philosopher,
making, as he did, a national induction from a single instance. Had he
previously inquired, as he ought to have done, the particulars of that
lad's life and rearing, before coming to so large a conclusion, he would
at once have discovered the error he was falling into.

In the Registrar General's Report of 1840, the mean of married
persons unable to write is presented. The conclusion is based upon the
statistics of nine counties. But when it was found that only three
per cent, of the persons marriageable, did marry, the datum was found
insufficient to afford sure results. This fact; is given by Mr. Combe
in the same book. Then how many boys ought our 'philosopher' to have
questioned before making his vast inference?

Another instance of the value of a question I extract from the
same work. Mr. Combe says:--'A few years ago, when travelling in
Somersetshire, I saw four horses, attended by two men, drawing a light
plough in a light soil. "What a waste of labour is here," said I to an
intelligent farmer; "in Scotland, two horses and one man will accomplish
this work." "We rear and train young horses for the London market,"
said he; "two of the four which you see are serving an apprenticeship to
labour."' Had Mr. Combe asked a few questions as to the correctness
of his assumed inference, he would have been saved from his erroneous
conclusion. We should be wary of unquestioned data.

When Murray's Grammar was first placed in my hands, I found in it
certain references to the Canons of Language in the larger edition.
I questioned my teacher as to what it meant. 'It is a trick of the
printer,' he answered, 'to induce you to buy the larger volume.' I do
not believe this now. I believe that it was a necessary reference. An
author who has written upon a given subject, naturally finds his own
ideas coincident illustrations of his views, and honestly refers to
them. In this book I have made a few references to previous works of
mine, and it has struck me that nine ont of ten of the readers will set
this down to artifice or egotism. Yet it is neither. I have referred
only to avoid the full quotation of some necessary illustration of the
argument. Yet few will penetrate to the fact, and most will be apt to
infer a trick from appearances.


     Whatever we know must be in the number of the primitive
     data, or of the conclusions which can be drawn therefrom.--
     J.S. Mill

To have reached, in the study of observed phenomena, the point of
perception indicated in this motto, and to feel the full force of the
remark, is to have imbibed the spirit of science---whose traits are dear
distinctions, accurate classification, and strict reference to primitive
data. The bases of all science are methodical facts. The first step to
the perfection and enlargement of a science is the resolution of its
propositions into axioms, and into propositions which are to be
proved. Dr. Reid observes--'This has been done in mathematics from the
beginning, and has tended greatly to the emolument of that science.
It has lately been done in natural philosophy, and by this means that
science has advanced more in 160 years than it had done before in 2,000.
Every science is in an unformed state until its first principles are
ascertained; after this it advances regularly, and secures the ground it
has gained.'

Classification is one of the first steps to Science. The maxim in
government, divide and conquer, retains, when applied to science, all
its wisdom without its machiavelialism. The young grammarian reduces the
mass of words, that so threaten to confound his powers, to a few natural
classes, and he conquers them separately with ease.

'The single power by which we discover resemblance or relation in
general, is a sufficient aid to us in the perplexity and confusion of
our first attempts at arrangement. It begins by converting thousands,
and more than thousands, into one; and, reducing in the same manner
the numbers tiros formed, it arrives at last at the few distinctive
characters of those great comprehensive tribes, on which it ceases to
operate, 'because there is nothing left to oppress the memory or the

     * Brown's Moral Philosophy, Lect, xvi.

Merell has spoken more comprehensively on this subject--'That human
knowledge dees not consist in the bare collection and enumeration of
facts; this alone would be of little service were we net to attempt the
classification of them, and to educe from such classification general
laws and principles. The knowledge, which consists in individual truths,
could never be either extensive ear definite--for the multiplicity of
objects which then must crowd in upon the mind only tends to confound
and perplex it, while the memory, overburdened with particulars, is not
able to retain a hundredth part of the materials which are collected. To
prevent this, the power el generalisation comes to our aid, by which the
individual facts are so classified under their proper conceptions, that
they may at the same time be more easily retained, and their several
relations to all other branches of knowledge accurately defined. The
colligation and classification of facts, then, we may regard as the two
first steps, which are to be taken in the attainment of truth.'*

Aristotle, says Morell, classified the _matter_, Kant the _forms_.
Aristotle was the first man who undertook the gigantic task of reducing
the multiplicity of all the objects of human knowledge to a few general
heads---1. Substance. 2. Quality. 3. Quantity. 4. Relation. Action.
6. Passion. 7. Place. 8. Time. 9. Posture. 10. Habit. Aristotle's
philosophy was _objective_, Kant's _subjective_. Kant's categories were
twelve. 1. Unity. 2. Plurality. 3. Totality. 4. Affirmation. Negation.
6. limitation. 7. Substance. 8. Casualty. 9. Reciprocity. 10.
Possibility. 11. Actuality. 12. Necessity.

'It is a fundamental principle in logic, that the power of framing
classes is unlimited as long as there is any (even the smallest)
difference to found a distinction upon.**

What Geoffroy Saint Hilaire has said of natural history is applicable
to all science:--'The first problem to be solved by him who wishes to
penetrate deeply into this; study, consists evidently in the formation
of clear and precise distinctions between the various brings. This is
the most elementary problem, in so-far as it precedes all the
others; but it is in reality, in most cases, complicated and full of
difficulties. Its accurate solution requires--first, _Observation_,
which makes known the facts; next, _Description_, which fixes them
permanently; then _Characterisation_, which selects and displays
prominently the most important of them--and lastly, _Classification_,
which arranges them in systematic order.'***

Of the value of classification, Lamartine has given a fine
illustration:----'Montesquieu had sounded the institutions and analysed
the laws of all people. By _classing_ governments he had compared them,
by comparing them he passed judgment on them; and this judgment brought
out, in its bold relief and contrast, on every page, right and force,
privilege and equality, tyranny and liberty.'****

     * Morell's Hist. of Speculative Phil., p. 34, vol. 1.

     ** Mill, p. 165, vol. 1.

     *** T. W. Thornton: Reasoner No. 72, p. 664.

     **** Lamartine's Hist. Girondists, pp. 14-15, vol. 1.

Familiarity with the characteristics of science imparts considerable
power for the detection of fallacy. A logician is imperfect without
scientific tastes and habits. The man of science has all his knowledge
systematised and arranged. What other people have in confusion, he
has in order. The elements of knowledge are, more or less, as has been
observed, known to all men--but in their perfect, communicable, and
usable state, they are-known only to the educated and scientific man.
What training is to the soldier, science is to the thinker. It enables
him to control all his resources and employ his natural powers to the
best advantage. It is this which constitutes the superiority of the
educated over the ignorant. Astronomy, navigation, architecture,
geometry, political economy, morals, all rest, or should rest, and do
rest, if they have-attained to the perfection of science, on
primary facts and first principles. Every step can be measured by an
axiom--every result can be traced to a first principle.* To detect
error, then, in any province of investigation, or any domain of
argument, the logician first looks to the primary principles on which it
is based, and thus tests the legitimacy of its conclusions.

As respects those who deal in things professedly above reason, It
was well said by an anonymous writer of the old school of sturdy
thinkers,--'Of such men as these I usually demand, whether their own
assent to things they would have us believe, be grounded upon some
_rational argument_. If they say 'tis not, they are fools to believe
it themselves; and I should add to the number of fools, if, after this
acknowledgment, I should believe them: but if they say it is, I desire
them to produce their argument; for since 'tis framed by a human
understanding, the force of it may also be comprehended and judged of
by a human understanding: and tis to no purpose to say that the subject
surpasses human reason: for if it do so indeed, it will surpass _theirs_
as well as _mine_, and so leave us both upon even terms. And let the
thing assented to be what it will, the assent itself must be founded
upon a _sufficient reason_, and consequently upon one that is
_intelligible_ to the human intellect that is wrought on by it.'**

     * See Beauties and Uses of Euclid, chap. vi., Logic of

     **  A Discourse on Things above Reason, 1681.

"What is it?--" "'Tis impossible the same thing should be, and not be
at the same time," are maxims of such universal usefulness, that without
them we could neither _judge, discourse,_ nor _act_. These principles
may not always make their appearance in formal propositions, but still
they guide all our thoughts in the same manner as when a musician plays
a careless voluntary upon a harpsichord--he is guided by rules of music
he long since became familiar with, though now scarcely sensible of

'A butcher loses his knife, and looks all about for it, and remarks as
the motive of his search, "I am sure it must be somewhere or other."
By which rude saying it is evident he is guided by the axiom last
mentioned. Had he not the knowledge of this axiom beforehand, did he
think it possible that his knife could be _no where_ or in _no place_
he would never take pains to look for it. We may observe many such
axioms as this guiding the actions of the vulgar, and it is no unworthy
speculation to observe their behaviour and words, which proceed from
uncorrupted nature, and retrieve the axioms from which their conduct

     *  Solid Philosophy, asserted against the Fancies of the
     Idealists. (Locke's Understanding is the work controverted.)
     By J. S..  London, 1679.

The outlines of the science of morality are thus comprehensively
sketched by Sir James Mackintosh: the origin, value, and application of
first principles are indicated with his usual felicity. 'The usages and
laws of nations, the events of history, the opinions of philosophers,
the sentiments of orators and poets, as well as the observations of
common life, are in truth, the materials out of which the science of
morality to formed; and those who neglect them are justly chargeable
with a vain attempt to philosophise without regard to fact and
experienee--the sole foundation of all true philosophy.

The natural order undoubtedly dictates that we should first search for
the _original principles_ of the science in human nature; then apply them
to the regulation of the conduct of individuals, and lastly employ them
for the decision of those difficult and complicated questions that arise
with respect to the intercourse of nations.'

To search for ultimate principles is to discover at a glance the whole
bearings of a great question. Through what clouds of politics had the
historian of Rome penetrated when he announced that the principles of a
free constitution are irrecoverably lost when the legislative power is
nominated by the executive.

This habit--it cannot be too often insisted on aids not only the
acquisition of knowledge, but also its _retention_. Around these first
principles, as around a standard, the thoughts naturally associate.
Touch but a remote chord of any question, and it will vibrate to
the central principle to which it has once been well attached. Every
relative impression owns a kindred connection, and the moment one is
attacked, it, like a faithful sentinel, arouses a whole troop, which,
marshalled and disciplined, bear down and challenge the enemy.'*

     * Beauties and Uses of Euclid, pp. 47-9.

What Rogers has so exquisitely sung of the associations of childhood, is
true of the associations of science.

     Childhood's loved group revisit! every scene,--
     The tangled wood-walk and the tufted green.
     The school's lone porch, with reverend mosses grey,
     Just tells the pensive pilgrim where it lay.

     Mute is the bell which rang at peep of dawn,
     Quick'ning my truant steps across the lawn:
     Unheard the shout that rent the noontide air,
     When the slow dial gave a pause to care.

     Up springs at every step, to claim a tear,
     Some little friendship formed and cherished here?
     And not the lightest leaf but trembling teems
     With golden visions and romantic dreams.


     All truth and all error lie in Propositions.--J. S. Mill.

In accordance with that experience which directs to the profoundest
books for the simplest statements, we turn to Mill's Logic for the
philosophy of propositions. The answer to every question which it is
possible to frame is contained in a proposition or assertion. Whatever
can be an object of belief or even of disbelief, must, when put into
words, assume the form of a proposition * * What we call a truth is
simply a true proposition; and errors are false propositions. To know
the import of all possible propositions would be to know all questions
which can be raised, all matters which are susceptible of being either
believed or disbelieved. * * Since then the objects of all belief and
all inquiry express themselves in propositions, a sufficient scrutiny
of propositions and of their varieties will apprise us what questions
mankind have asked themselves, and what it the nature of the answers to
those questions they have actually thought they had grounds to believe.

'Now the first glance at a proposition shows that it is formed by
putting together two names. A proposition, according to the common
simple definition, which is sufficient for our purpose, is, _discourse
in which something is affirmed or denied of something_. Thus, in the
proposition, gold is yellow, the quality _yellow_ is affirmed of the
substance _gold_. In the proposition, Franklin was not born in England,
the fact expressed by the words _born in England_ is denied of the man

'Every proposition consists of three parts: the subject, the predicate,
and the copula. The predicate is the name denoting that which is
affirmed or denied. The subject is the name denoting the person or
thing which something is affirmed or denied of. The copula is the sign
denoting that there is an affirmation or denial; and thereby enabling
the hearer or reader to distinguish a proposition from any other kind of
discourse. Thus, in the proposition, the earth is round, the predicate
is the word _round_, which denotes the quality affirmed, or (as the
phrase is) predicated: _the earth_ words denoting the object which that
quality is affirmed of, compose the subject; the word it, which serves
as the connecting mark between the subject and predicate, to show that
one of them is affirmed of the other, is called the copula.'


     No difficulty is unsurmountable, if words be allowed to pass
     without meaning.--Lord Kames.

As every proposition consists of two names, and as every proposition
affirms or denies one of these names of the other, the value of
definition, which fixes the import of names, is apparent.

'A _name_ is a word taken at pleasure to serve for a mark, which may
raise in our mind a thought like to some thought we had before, and
which being pronounced to others, may be to them a sign of what thought
the speaker had before in his mind [Hobbes]. This simple definition of
a name, as a word (or set of words) serving the double purpose of a mark
to recall to ourselves the likeness of a former thought, and a sign to
make it known to others, appears unexceptionable.'*

Definition originates in accurate and comprehensive observation. 'There
cannot be,' says Mill, 'agreement about the definition of a thing, until
there is agreement about the thing itself. _To define a thing is to
select from among the whole of its properties those which shall
be understood to be designated and declared by its name_; and the
properties must be very well known to us before we can be competent to
determine which of them are fittest to be chosen for this purpose.'**

'The simplest and most correct notion of a definition is, a proposition
declaratory of the meaning of a word; namely, either the meaning which
it bears in common acceptation, or that which the speaker or writer, for
the particular purposes of his discourse, intends to annex to it.'***

     * J. Stuart Mill: System of Logic, 2nd ed., chap. 11, sec.
     I.  p. 27.

     ** Introduction to Logic, p. 1.

     *** Mill's Logic, p. 183, vol. 1.

But with most persons the object of a definition is merely to guide them
to the correct use of a term as a protection against applying it in a
manner inconsistent with custom and convention. Anything, therefore, is
to them a sufficient definition of a term which will serve as a correct
index to what the term denotes; although not embracing the whole, and
sometimes perhaps not even any part of what it connotes.

Definitions are sometimes explained as being of two kinds--of things and

The definition of _words_ is the explanation of the sense in which they
are used.

The definition of _things_ is an explanation of the specific properties
by which they differ from all other things.

To define a thing, says Dr. Watts, we must ascertain with what it
agrees, then note the most remarkable attribute of difference, and join
the two together.

Probity--the disposition to acknowledge the rights of mankind.

Justice--the disposition to maintain the rights of mankind.

Benevolence--the disposition to improve the rights of mankind.

Deceit--the concealed violation of the rights of mankind.

Injustice--the open violation of the rights of mankind.

Malevolence--hatred of the rights of mankind.

In defining a word we seek some class to which to refer it, that we may
identify it, and fix attention upon that peculiarity by which we
can distinguish it from all other things. 'Probity and 'justice' are
referred to 'disposition,' with reference to the 'rights of mankind' as
their sphere of existence: and _acknowledgment, and maintenance_, are
mentioned as the distinguishing features.

Distinctions must not be made without differences. The definition should
be plainer than the thing defined. Aristotle's definition of motion is
considered defective in this respect:--'Motion--an act of a being in
power, so far forth as it is in power.' Tautological definitions cause
more to be supposed than is true--the too terse explanation leaves some
necessary thing unmentioned. A perfect definition requires the union of
the concise, the clear, and the adequate. Some persons are so
unskilful in the analysis of terms as to occasion the advice _Nil
explicare_--never explain yourself if you wish to be understood.

Double meanings should be avoided. The writer may himself alternate in
their use, and the reader may take the word in the unintended meaning.
All men have not the strong sense of Johnson. When Caleb Whiteford
inquired seriously of the Doctor, whether he really considered that a
man ought to be transported, like Barrington, the pickpocket, for being
guilty of a double meaning. 'Sir,' said Johnson, 'if a man means well,
the more he means the better'--which, whether real or fictitious, is one
of the happiest answers that ever crushed a quibble.*

     * Hood's Own.

I have frequently put the question--What is consciousness? to persons
who have been conscious for twenty or thirty years, but who were yet
unable to reply. Had any one deprived these persons of consciousness, a
judge would have hanged him for the offence; yet, could they themselves
have been interrogated as to what harm they had suffered, they could
not have told what they had lost. And upon the principle, that he not
knowing what he has lost, is no loser, these persons, though murdered,
had suffered no harm.

The various definitions of the same subject which prevail, originate in
the caprice, or partial, or profound knowledge the definer may have of
his subject. It seems to be admitted by logicians, that an author has a
right to give whatever provisional definition he pleases of his terms.
But having once given them, perspicuity requires that he should adhere
to them. Any new sense in which a term is employed should be specially
defined. In discoursing on an ordinary subject, as the right of public
assembly,--such words as perception, conception, apprehension, might be
used reciprocally, but in a dissertation on metaphysics each requires
restriction in use and precision in purport.

Often genius strikes out new relations of words. In recent political
debates, Mr. Cobden resorted with new force and point to a charge of
rashness against ministers: he showed that rashness consisted more
frequently in inaction than action. He is rash who stands surrounded
by the elements of danger without taking; any precaution against the
contingencies of peril; he is rash who does not take advantage of the
calm, to repair his shattered rigging; he is rash who looks not out for
a proper supply of water until the conflagration is raging around
him; and more rash than all is he who exercises no provident care for
supplying a nation with food, but waits for the pressure of famine and
the perils of starvation.

At the last soiree of the Leeds Mechanics' Institution, Mr. Dickens
referred to ignorance, commonly considered as a passive negation, and
placed it in the light of a power. 'Look where we will, do we not find
ignorance powerful for every kind of wrong and evil? Powerful to take
its enemies to its heart and strike its best friends down--powerful
to fill the prisons, the hospitals, and the graves--powerful for blind
violence, prejudice, and error in all their destructive shapes.'

The variations which not only common but technical terms undergo, is
a considerable source of perplexity in reasoning. Mr. Mill cites the
instance of the term felony. No lawyer will undertake to tell what a
felony is otherwise than by enumerating the various kinds of offences
which are so called. Originally, felony denoted all offences, the
penalty of which included forfeiture of goods; but, subsequent Acts
of Parliament have declared various offences to be felonies without
enjoining that penalty, and have taken away the penalty from others
which continue still to be called felonies, insomuch that the acts
so called have now no property whatever in common, save that of being
unlawful and punishable. This inattention to precision in terms has
arisen not among the vulgar, but among educated English lawyers.

'Language,' says Mr. Mill, borrowing a political simile from Sir James
Mackintosh, '"is not made, but grows." A name not unfrequently passes
by successive links of resemblance from one object to another, until it
becomes applied to things having nothing in common with the first things
to which the name was given; which, however, do not, for that reason,
drop the name; so that it at last denotes a confused huddle of objects,
having nothing whatever in common; and connotes nothing, not even a
vague and general resemblance. When a name has fallen into this state,
in which by predicating it of any object we assert literally nothing
about the object, it has become unfit for the purposes either of thought
or of the communication of thought; and can only be made serviceable by
stripping it of some part of its multifarious denotation, and confining
it to objects possessed of some attributes in common, which it may be
made to connote. Such are the inconveniences of a language which "is not
made, but grows." like a road which is not made, but has made itself, it
requires continual mending in order to be passable.'*

     * Logic, p. 207.

It is well observed, that the spontaneous growth of language is of
the utmost importance to the thinker. There seems to be so palpable a
substratum of right sense, in the rude classifications of the multitude,
that the logician has little else to do, in many cases, than to retouch
them and give them precision. Guizot observes, there is frequently more
truth in common acceptations of general terms than in the more precise
definitions of science. Common sense gives to words their ordinary
signification. The leading terms of philosophy are clothed in
innumerable shades of meaning acquired in their transitional use, and
immense is the knowledge of _thing:_ requisite to enable a man to affirm
that any given argument turns wholly on _words_. The study of terms,
for which logicians have provided multiplied means, is one of the most
interesting and profitable upon which men can enter. If it be worth
while to speak at all, it is worth while to know certainly what we speak

Philanthropic genius has pointed out a perversion of power, arising
through definitional incapacity, which makes it a moral duty to study
analysis of terms, and exactitude of expression.

'All battle,' says Carlyle, 'is _misunderstanding_--did the parties know
one another, the battle would cease. No man at bottom means injustice;
he contends for some distorted image of right. _Clear_, undeniable
right--_clear_, undeniable might--either of these, once ascertained,
puts an end to battle. Battle is a confused experiment to ascertain

Of the power of names to impose on the multitude, history furnishes too
many examples. Strength to forefend us against they delusion ability to
see that the meaning governs the term, and not the term the meaning--are
species of intellectual self-defence.

'Augustus,' says Gibbon, 'was sensible that mankind is governed by
names; nor was he deceived in his expectation that the senate and people
would submit to slavery provided that they were respectably assured that
they still enjoyed their ancient freedom.'

'Never,' adjures W. J. Fox, 'be deceived by words. Always try to
penetrate to realities. Have your wits sharpened, your senses exercised
to discern good and evil. Be not imposed upon by pompous manners. Many a
solemnly-uttered sentence is often a sheer inanity, which will not
bear the scrutiny of an observant intellect. Be not frightened by
denunciations; by being told that you are not a good subject or a good
Christian, if you do not believe, or say that you believe this or
that. Be not led astray by iteration--mistake not the familiar for the
intelligible. Ascertain what words are meant to convey, and what they
actually do convey. Go to the substance and soul of whatever is
propounded. Be on your guard against bold assumptions, nor let them bear
you away against the dictates of your own understanding.

Look at phrases as counters, or paper money, that may pass for much or
little according to circumstances. Endeavour to arrive at truth, and
make that your treasure. Be ever wide awake to see through any veil
of sophistry and cant; nor by the agency of words be made the dupe of
critic or lawyer, of priest of politician.'*

     * Lectures to the Working Classes, p. 70, vol. 2.


Propositions being assertions--as soon as sufficient reasons are
adduced to make the proposition credible, it becomes a truth probable or
certain, as the case may be.

Reasoning is a simple business. To reason is to state facts in support
of a proposition. A conclusive fact so advanced is called a reason. All
the reasons offered in proof of a proposition are called premises. The
Pythagorean, who lays down the proposition that fruits and grain are the
proper food of man, and cites facts to prove his assertion--reasons. A
proposition and its reasons are called an argument.

Reason is the faculty of perceiving coherences. Effective reasoning is
stating them so that others cannot but see them too. 'Reasoning on the
abstrusest questions is nothing more than arriving at a remote truth by
discovering its coherence with the preceding facts in the same chain.'*

     * Uses and Beauties of Euclid, p. 52.

A syllogism is a peculiar _form_ of expression, in which every argument
may be stated. It consists of three propositions.

1. Whoever have their heads cut off ought to be allowed to ask the
reason why.

2. Women have their heads cut off.

3. Therefore women ought to be allowed to ask (politically) the reason

This is an argument of Mad. de Stael, in allusion to the beheading of
women in France, without allowing them any voice in making the laws
which determine the offences for which they suffered.

A syllogism is constructed upon the principle (known as the Dictum of
Aristotle) that whatever is affirmed or denied universally of a whole
class of things, may be affirmed or denied of anything comprehended in
that class. Thus the first proposition introduces the class of persons
who have their heads cut off. Of this class it is affirmed that they
ought to be allowed to ask the reason why. But women are included in the
class of persons who have their heads cut off, and consequently that
may be affirmed of them which is affirmed of the whole class--that they
should be allowed to ask the reason why.

'To prove an affirmative,' says Mr. Mill, 'the argument must admit of
being stated in this form:--

All animals are mortal;

  All men        |
  Some men       }    are animals;
  Socrates       |


  All men        |
  Some men       }    are mortal.
  Socrates       |

'To prove a negative, the argument must be capable of being expressed in
this form:--

'No one who is capable of self-control is necessarily vicious;

  All negroes        |
  Some negroes       }   are capable of self-control;
  Mr. A.'s negro     |


  No negroes are           |
  Some negroes are not     }   necessarily vicious.
  Mr. A.'s negro is not    |

'Although all ratiocination admits of being thrown into one or the other
of these forms, and sometimes gains considerably by the transformation,
both in clearness and in the obviousness of its consequence; there are,
no doubt, cases in which the argument falls more naturally into one
of the other three figures, and in which its conclusiveness is more
apparent at the first glance in those figures, than when reduced into
the first. Thus, if the proposition were that pagans may be virtuous,
and the evidence to prove it were the example of Aristides; a syllogism
in the third figure,

  Aristides was virtuous,
  Aristides was a pagan,


  Some pagan was virtuous,

Would be a more natural mode of stating the argument, and would carry
conviction more instantly home, than the same ratiocination strained
into the first figure, thus--

 Aristides was virtuous,
 Some pagan was Aristides,


  Some pagan was virtuous.'

The best thing that can be said in favour of the syllogism, as an
instrument of reasoning, is that it is a regular form to which every
valid argument can be reduced; and may be accompanied by a rule, showing
the validity of every argument in that form, and consequently the
unsoundness of any apparent argument which cannot be reduced to it. This
would be high praise if every 'valid argument' was a trusty one. But
unfortunately 'the question respecting the validity of an argument is
not whether the conclusion be _true_, but whether it _follows_ from the
premises adduced.'* Even this small advantage is purchased at a greater
expense of tedium and trouble than the bulk of mankind are willing to
pay, or able to pay if they were willing.

     * Logic, vol. 1, pp. 232-3.

There is some reason to believe that the syllogistic form, as a _test_
of valid arguments, may be entirely dispensed with, if we can secure
accuracy of data, and intelligibility in terms.

It is not contended now that we discover new truths by the syllogism.
The syllogism is allowed to be only a form of _stating_ a truth.

  No predacious animals are ruminant,
  The lion is predacious,


  The lion is not ruminant.

     * Whately's Logic, Anal. Out. chap. 1, sec. 3.

Of course, if we know that no animal that lives by prey chews the cud,
and know, also, that the lion lives by prey, we know that the lion
does not chew the cud. This conclusion, as Lord Kames contends, and Dr.
Whately admits, is not a truth _inferred_ from the fundamental premises,
but _included_ in it. Smart, whom Mr. J. S. Mill calls acute and often
profound, remarks--'Every one, as to the _mere_ act of reasoning,
_reasons rightly_: we may reason from wrong premises, or mistake right
ones; we may be unable to infer from proper ones; but from such premises
as we do reason from, we reason _correctly_: for all premises contain
their conclusion; and in knowing the premises, we therefore know the
conclusion. The art wanted is one that will enable us to use
language perspicuously in expressing our premises:' and he might
have added--_direct us in selecting proper materials of which to make

The strength and weakness of the syllogism as an instrument of reasoning
will now be understood. Whately remarks, that 'since all reasoning may
be resolved into syllogisms, and since in a syllogism the premises do
virtually assert the conclusion, it follows at once that no new truth can
be elicited by any process of reasoning.'* We therefore no longer look to
the syllogism to discover truth, its value is in stating it. In this
sense it is worthy of all attention. It is the form of nature.

     * Logic, p. 223.

Of such a syllogism as the one quoted--

  No predacious animals are ruminant,
  The lion is predacious,


  The lion is not ruminant.

It has been insisted by some logicians that the genius required for its
construction was _invention_. Having made a general proposition like
the first, we then have to invent or find out a middle term as the
second--but if we bear in mind that the general affirmation of the first
proposition relates to a class of (predacious animals in this case)
objects which include the middle term, the necessity of invention is
consequently dispensed with. We need only look well to what we have
there. Simplicity will be promoted by returning to our previous remark,
viz.--that reasoning is asserting a proposition, and then showing why
it is true--in other words, adducing the fact or facts, on which the
assertion rests.

In the Logic given in 'Chambers' Information,' it is said--' In choosing
your middle terms, or arguments to prove any question, always take such
topics as are purest and least fallible, and which carry the greatest
evidence and strength with them,' But it rather appears that we have
not to invent a middle term, but only to look to the major premises, and
find it included there.

By methodical questioning any argument may be tested. Thus, on any
assertion being made, ask--Why is the assertion true? In this manner, if
an argument has truth in it, it may be elicited. In this manner you dig
through assertions down to premises, and discover whether any ore of
truth lies there.

The value of the argument depends upon the final answer which reveals
the premises or data of facts, upon which the conclusion rests. Forms
of speech, classification of propositions, figures of syllogisms, are of
minor importance when you have once elicited the rough truth. The best
test of an argument is the soundness of its data, and the simplest
formula for drawing out and exhibiting such data, is of the greatest
service in enabling us to judge of the validity thereof.

Tyranny, says Cobbett, has no enemy so formidable as the pen, Why?
'Because the pen pursues tyranny both in life and beyond the grave.'
How is this proved to be the most formidable enemy of tyranny? 'From the
fact that tyranny has no enemy so formidable as that which assails not
only its existence, but its reputation, which pursues it in life
and beyond the grave.' Such interrogatories and replies generate the
expository syllogism.

1. Tyranny has no enemy so formidable as that which assails not only its
existence, but its reputation, which pursues it in life and beyond the

2. The pen pursues tyranny in life and beyond the grave.

3. Therefore, tyranny has no enemy so formidable as the pen. A syllogism
is made up of collective and single facts. It is the process of
reasoning, whereby we show that a single truth is proved by a collective
one which contains it, or a less quantity is proved by a greater, or
that an assertion is proved by an induction from a class of facts. From
the class of the enemies of tyranny the pen is selected, and is
proved, by passing in inductive review the whole class, to be the most

The usual manner in which an argument is presented is called the
entihymeme. Thus:--

  He is an industrious man,


  He will acquire wealth.

The first or major proposition is in this form suppressed. The
syllogistic form would be this:--

  Every industrious man acquires wealth,
  He is an industrious man,


  He will acquire wealth.

But if we ask for the proof that every industrious man acquires wealth,
we find the facts wanting--for the idle are often rich, and the diligent
poor. The industrious _may_ acquire wealth, the chances are in their


  We must cherish self-respect,
  Because self-respect is the stay of virtue.

The suppressed proposition is--'We must cherish whatever is the stay of

The whole syllogism then stands thus:--

  We must cherish whatever is the stay of virtue,
  Self-respect is the stay of virtue,


  We must cherish self-respect.

Dilemma is derived from a Greek word, and signifies twice an argument.
It is an argument divided into several members, and infers of each part
what is to be inferred of the whole. Thus: Either we shall live or die.
If we live, we can only live happily by being virtuous; and if we die,
we can only die happy by being virtuous; therefore, we ought always
to be virtuous. In the dilemma, question one argument at a time, as in
preceding cases.

The Sorites uses several middle terms by which the predicate of the last
proposition is connected with the first subject. Of this argument the
well-known speech of Themistocles is a specimen. 'My son,' said that
eminent person, 'governs his mother, his mother governs me, I govern
the Athenians, the Athenians govern Greece, Greece governs Europe, and
Europe governs the world; therefore, my son governs the world.' In
these instances, question each assertion, as there are as many acts of
reasoning as intermediate propositions.

The Onus Probandi, or Burden of Proof, is said to rest with him who
would dispute any point in favour of a presumptive, or generally
allowed truth. But manly logic holds no quibbling about who shall prove.
Whatever he asserts, the honest reasoner should be prompt to prove.

Chalmers, it is said, made Morell known--but Morell has written a
synopsis of metaphysical philosophy that only needed to be known to be
appreciated. If Chalmers gave Morell distinction, Morell had previously
earned it. From his work I extract the following passage, which passes
in review the steps taken, marks the analytic point reached, and
outlines the ground before us:--'Different as were the minds of those
two great men [Bacon and Descartes] in themselves, different as were
their respective labours, and opposite as were, in many respects, the
results at which they arrived, yet the writings of both were marked
by one and the same great characteristic, namely, by the _spirit of
method_. The most important works of Bacon, it will be remembered, were
the "Instanratio Magna," and the "Novum Organum;" those of Descartes
were his "Dissertatio de Methodo," and his "Meditationes de Prima
Philosophia," The fruitlessness of the ancient logic, as an instrument
of discovery, had been abundantly proved by past experience, and the
watchword which these two great thinkers of their age both uttered,
and which has been ever since the guiding principle of all philosophy,
was--analysis. Bacon, who gave his attention chiefly to the direction
and improvement of physical science, taught to analyse nature, while
Descartes, who aimed rather at grounding all human knowledge upon its
ultimate principles, instructed how to analyse _thought_. All modern
philosophy, therefore, whether it arise from the Baconian or the
Cartesian point of view, bears upon it the broad outline of the analytic
method. It matters not whether it be the outer or the inner world to
which its investigations apply, in each case it teaches us to observe
and analyse _facts_ to induce instances, and upon such observation and
induction to ground our knowledge of laws and principles. In this alone
consists the Unity of modern science, and from this arises its broad
distinction from that of the ancient world. Every natural philosopher
since Bacon has grounded his success upon an induction of the facts
of the outward world, and every metaphysician, since Descartes, has
progressed onwards in his department of knowledge by analysing the facts
of our inward consciousness.'*

     * Morell: Modern Philosophy, pp. 76-8.


Induction is an inference from many facts. Induction is verification.
Just as in a syllogism we show that a part is contained in the whole, so
in induction we show that a part is illustrated by the whole. It seems
that every single fact contains many truths, but induction establishes
their _universality_. A single brain contains all the truths of
phrenology, a single stone includes the phenomena of gravitation, the
temperance of a single individual exhibits the whole law of moderation,
but we learn the universality of these truths by induction.

Every legal statute, says Dr. Johnson, is founded on induction. 'Law is
the science in which the greatest powers of understanding are applied
to the greatest number of facts.' The _basis of all_ science is such an
extensive induction of particulars as leads to general definitions and
fundamental axioms, and furnishes the premises from which inferences may
be deduced.

Inductive observation is the great instrument of discovering important
truths. 'What are called the principles of human nature are learned from
individual instances. It is the only possible way of learning them. *
* When we reason from a general law or principle, we are in truth
reasoning from a number of instances represented by It.'*

     * Rationale of Political Representation, p. 34.

A general election is an induction of the intelligence of the country
represented by the members of Parliament. The difference between
democracy and monarchy is in one sense an affair of logic. Where
electors are limited in franchise, and candidates restricted by property
qualification, the induction is partial, but where all can vote and many
can be chosen from, the premises are more capacious and the inference

Dr. Whately says, that 'in Natural Philosophy a _single instance_ is
often accounted a _sufficient_ induction; e.g., having once ascertained
that an individual magnet will attract iron, we are authorised to
conclude that this property is universal.'

'The Edinburgh Reviewer of Whewell's "History of the Inductive
Sciences," observes that, "by the _accidental_ placing of a rhomb
of calcareous spar, upon a book or line, Bartholinus discovered the
property of the double refraction of light. By _accidentally_ combining
two rhombs in different positions, Huygens discovered the polarisation
of light. By _accidentally_ looking through a prism of the same
substance, and turning it round, Mains discovered the polarisation of
light by reflection; and by placing thin chrystalline films between two
similar prisms or rhombs, M. Arago discovered the phenomena of polarised

'To this Mr. Whewell, in his "Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences,"
makes the following reply:--"But Bartholinus could have seen no such
consequence in the accident, if he had not previously had a clear
conception of single refraction. A lady, in describing an optical
experiment which had been shown her, said of her teacher, 'he told me
to increase and diminish the angle of refraction: and, at last, I found
that he only meant me to move my head up and down.' At any rate, till
the lady had acquired a knowledge of the meaning which the technical
terms convey, she could not have made Bartholinus's discovery by means
of this accident. Suppose that Huygens made the experiment alluded to,
without design, what he really observed was that the images appeared
and disappeared alternately as he turned the rhomb round. His success
depended on his clearness of thought, which enabled him to perform
the intellectual analysis which would never have occurred to most men,
however often they had combined two rhombs in different positions. Malus
saw that in some positions the light reflected from the windows of
the Louvre became dim. Another person would have attributed this to
accident; he, however, considered the position of the prism, and the
window; repeated the experiment often; and by virtue of the eminently
distinct conceptions of space which he possessed, resolved the
phenomenon into its geometrical conditions."* "If it were true, that
the fall of an apple was the occasion of Newton's pursuing that train of
thought which led to the doctrine of universal gravitation, the habits
and constitution of Newton's intellect were the real source of this
great event in the progress of knowledge."** "In whatever manner facts
may be presented to the notice of a discoverer, they can never become
the materials of exact knowledge, except they find his mind already
provided with precise and suitable conceptions, by which they may be
analysed and connected."'***

     * Whewell:  Phil. Induct. Sciences, vol. 2. pp. 199-1.

     ** Ibid, vol. 2, p. 189.

     *** See J. N. Bailey's Essays pp. 87-8-9.

These admissions seem to me to prove that whenever a casual fact proves
to us a new truth, it does so by its coincidence with previously known
facts, and that the novelty of the occasion attracts all credit to
itself, and we lose sight of the generalisation below--the fruitful
soil of experience on which the new fact, like a seed, falls. We only
recognise difference by comparison, and the comparison is an induction,
however slender.

Monsieur de Montmorine was recaptured and brought to the scaffold,
through the trifling circumstance of some chicken bones being found near
the door of his landlady--a woman too poor to indulge in such dainties.*
The discovery of de Montmorine was not, as at first sight appears, an
inference from a single fact, but from an adjacent induction. It was
a general truth, (known to the party who observed the bones) a truth
inducted from a number of facts that poor people could not afford to
luxuriate on chickens. It was, therefore, from this induction, inferred
that some one of superior fortune must be living in that particular

     * Chambers' Miscellany of Useful and Entertaining Tracts,
     No. 61: the Story of Lavaiette, p. 27

The judicious care which the great fathers of science have exhibited in
making their inferences, incontestably establishes their conviction
of the danger of any other reasoning than that from inductions. Lord
Brougham informs us, that what Newton's Principia is to science, Locke's
essay to metaphysics, Demosthenes in oratory, and Homer in poetry,
Cuvier's researches to our fossil osteology. But Cuvier never attempted
to draw any inferences until he had examined the _whole_ osteology of
the living species.

Lord Brougham remarks, that 'from examining a _single_ fragment of bone
we infer that, in the wilds where we found it, there lived and ranged,
some thousands of years ago, an animal of a peculiar kind.' This is a
case in which the inference spoken of is arrived at in a way different
from that apparently stated. We recognise in the 'fragment of bone'
a link in a chain of facts constituting the basis of a well-known
induction, which comparative anatomy has many times verified. It
is important to distinguish well the grounds from which accurate
inferences, such as these in the cases before us, have really been
adduced, in order to ascertain the grounds from which we should reason
generally. It will be found that solid reasoning can only proceed from
general rules--i.e., inductions from facts. It will be found that the
prime source of fallacy lies in reasoning from isolated facts. It is
not to be denied that such reasoning is sometimes right, but it is to
be remembered that it is right by accident, not by design. There is no
science or certainty in it. It is hazard, not logic.

This habit however, is very common. Mr. Mill says, that 'Not only _may_
we reason from particulars to particulars, without passing through
generals, but we perpetually do so reason. All our earliest inferences
are of this nature. From the first dawn of intelligence we draw
inferences, but years elapse before we learn the use of general
language. The child, who, having burnt his fingers, avoids to thrust
them again into the fire, has reasoned or inferred, though he has never
thought of the general maxim--fire burns. He knows from memory that he
has been burnt, and on this evidence believes, when he sees a candle,
that if he puts his fingers into the flame of it, he will be burnt
again. He believes this in every case which happens to arise; but
without looking, in each instance, beyond the present case. He is not
generalising; he is inferring a particular from particulars. In the same
way, also, brutes reason. There is little or no ground, for attributing
to any of the lower animals the use of conventional signs, without
which general propositions are impossible. But those animals profit by
experience, and avoid what they have found to cause them pain, in the
same manner, though not always with the same skill, as a human creature.
Not only the burnt child, but the burnt dog, dreads the fire.

'I believe that, in point of fact, when drawing inferences from our
personal experience, and not from maxims handed down to us by books
or tradition, we much oftener conclude from particulars to particulars
directly, than through the intermediate agency of any general
proposition. We are constantly reasoning from ourselves to other people,
or from one person to another, without giving ourselves the trouble to
erect our observations into general maxims of human or external nature.
When we conclude that some person will, on some given occasion, feel or
act so and so, we sometimes judge from an enlarged consideration of the
manner in which men in general, or men of some particular character,
are accustomed to feel and act; but much oftener from having known the
feelings and conduct of the same man in some previous instance, or from
considering how we should feel or act ourselves. It is not only the
village matron who, when called to a consultation upon the case of a
neighbour's child, pronounces on the evil and its remedy simply on the
recollection and authority of what she accounts the similar case of
her Lucy. We all, where we have no definite maxims to steer by, guide
ourselves in the same way; and if we have an extensive experience, and
retain its impressions strongly, we may acquire, in this manner, a
very considerable power of accurate judgment, which we may be utterly
incapable of justifying or of communicating to others. Among the higher
order of practical intellects, there have been many of whom it was
remarked how admirably they suited their means to their ends, without
being able to give any sufficient reasons for what they did and
applied, or seemed to apply, recondite principles which they were wholly
unable to state. This is a natural consequence of having a mind stored
with appropriate particulars, and having been long accustomed to reason
at once from these to fresh particulars, without practising the habit of
stating to oneself or to others the corresponding general propositions.
An old warrior, on a rapid glance at the outlines of the ground, is able
at once to give the necessary orders for a skilful arrangement of his
troops; though if he has received little theoretical instruction, and
has seldom been called upon to answer to other people for his conduct,
he may never have had in his mind a single general theorem respecting
the relation between ground and array. But his experience of
encampments, under circumstances more or less similar, has left a number
of vivid, unexpressed, ungeneralised analogies in his mind, the most
appropriate of which, instantly suggesting itself, determines him to a
judicious arrangement.

'The skill of an uneducated person in the use of weapons, or of tools,
is of a precisely similar nature. The savage who executes unerringly the
exact throw which brings down his game, or his enemy, in the manner
most suited to his purpose, under the operation of all the conditions
necessarily involved, the weight and form of the weapon, the direction
and distance of the object, the action of the wind, &c., owes this
power to a long series of previous experiments, the results of which he
certainly never framed into any verbal theorems or rules. It is the
same in all extraordinary manual dexterity. Not long ago a Scotch
manufacturer procured from England, at a high rate of wages, a working
dyer, famous for producing very fine colours, with a view of teaching
to his other workmen the same skill. The workman came; but his mode of
proportioning the ingredients, in which lay the secret of the effects he
produced, was by taking them up in handfuls while the common method was
to weigh them. The manufacturer sought to make him turn his handling
system into an equivalent weighing system, that the general principle of
his peculiar mode of proceeding might be ascertained. This, however,
the man found himself quite unable to do, and therefore could impart
his skill to nobody. He had, from the individual cases of his own
experience, established a connection in his mind between fine effects
of colour, and tactual perceptions in handling his dyeing materials;
and from these perceptions he could, in any particular cases, infer the
means to be employed, and the effect which would be produced, but could
not put others in possession of the grounds on which he proceeded, from
having never generalised them in his own mind, or expressed them in

'Almost every one knows Lord Mansfield's advice to a man of practical
good sense, who, being appointed governor of a colony, had to preside
in its court of justice, without previous judicial practice or legal
education. The advice was to give his decision boldly, for it would
probably be right; but never to venture on assigning reasons, for they
would almost infallibly be wrong. In cases like this, which are of no
uncommon occurrence, it would be absurd to suppose that the bad reason
was the source of the good decision. Lord Mansfield knew that if any
reason were assigned it would be necessarily an afterthought, the judge
being _in fact_ guided by impressions from past experience, without the
circuitous process of framing general principles from them, and that if
he attempted to frame any such he would assuredly fail. Lord Mansfield,
however, would not have doubted that a man of equal experience, who
had also a mind stored with general propositions derived by legitimate
induction from that experience, would have been greatly preferable as
a judge, to one, however sagacious, who could not be trusted with the
explanation and justification of his own judgments. The cases of able
men performing wonderful things they know not how, are examples of the
less civilised and most spontaneous form of the operations of superior
minds It is a _defect in them_, and _often a source of errors_, not to
have generalised as they went on; but generalisation is a help, the most
important indeed of all helps, yet not an essential.'*

     * Mill's Logic, pp. 251-5.

In illustration of generalising from single instances, Miss Martineau
gives this example:--'A raw Chinese traveller in England was landed by
a Thames waterman who had a wooden leg. The stranger saw that the wooden
leg was used to stand in the water with, while the other was high and
dry. The apparent economy of the fact struck the Chinese; he saw in it
strong evidence of design, and wrote home that in England one-legged men
are kept for watermen, to the saving of all injury to health, shoe, and
stocking, from standing in the river.'*

Reasoning on insufficient data--

     Falls like an inverted cone,
     Wanting its proper base to stand upon.

Samuel Bailey has furnished, in one passage, both a clear illustration
of the process, and the validity of an induction:--'Whoever had
witnessed the acts of a landlord to his tenants, of a schoolmaster to
his pupils, of artizans towards their apprentices, of husbands towards
their wives, on points where the power of the superior could not be
contested, and where his personal gratification was incompatible with
just conduct to the subordinate, would necessarily have formed in his
own mind a species of general rule; and from this rule he might safely
draw an inference as to what would be the conduct of a despot, seated on
a throne, in the possession of unchecked authority; assisted too, as the
inquirer would be, by that _indispensable and inestimable guide to the
knowledge of mankind, an appeal to his own feelings_, in a variety of
_analogous_ instances.

'We conclude, that a ruler with uncontrolled power will act the tyrant,
not merely from the fact that Caligula, or Nero, or Bonaparte did,
but from a thousand facts attesting that men, in, every situation, use
uncontrolled power in this way--just as we infer that all bodies tend to
the centre of the earth, _not merely from the circumstance of an apple
dropping from a tree, but from seeing the tendency in stones, water,
animals, and all things within our observation_. The use of uncontrolled
power, for the gratification of the possessor, without an equitable
respect to others, is no more peculiar to monarchs, than a tendency
to the earth is peculiar to apples. It may be useful to know that
_monarchs_ act in this way, as it may be useful to know that apples drop
to the ground; but it is much more useful to know that _men_ act in
this manner. _An inference is safer when gathered from the widest

     *  How to Observe, p. 6.

     ** Rationale of Political Representation. Introduction, pp.
     85-6. The last sentence of this extract is abridged--but, as
     the reader will find upon reference, the sense of the author
     is faithfully rendered.

It may be useful to observe that, though a few instances are insufficient
to establish a theory, one may be sufficient to overturn a theory,
fancifully or hypothetically supported, Gibbon overturns the entertaining
theory of Rudbeck, an antiquarian of Upsal, of profound learning and easy
faith, who, by the dim light of legends and traditions, of conjectures
and etymologies, sought to establish the antiquity of Sweden over half
the earth. Gibbon annihilated this well laboured system of German
antiquities, by a single fact too well attested to admit of any doubt,
and of too decisive a nature to leave room for any reply--the fact that
the Germans, of the age of Tacitus, were unacquainted with the use of
letters. A circumstance fatal to their literary claims, urged by Olaus

In the chapter on 'Facts' I have cautioned the reader against
unquestioned data. This seems the place to remark that the unsuspected
sources of error and unfriendliness have their rise in the criminal
implicitness with which we listen to reports, and infer from rumours as
from facts. These are the very little handles which move men and women
to strange performances.'* All the plots of dramas and romances are
founded on misunderstandings, which a little sagacity of action (such as
a wise resolution not to be imposed upon would lead to) would commonly
suffice to arrest the error at its birth. With regard to character we
constantly infer from data, partial, limited, and doubtful. If most
quarrelers were called into a court of Inquiry to confess the real
grounds from which they have arrived at certain conclusions with regard
to their neighbours, and often with regard to their friends, they would
be at once overwhelmed with a conviction of the weakness of which they
have been guilty. Upon analysing the miserable sources of opinions
of which scandal and calumny are born, I have found it impossible
to restrain astonishment at the imbecility of logical power men will
sometimes be content to exhibit, where meanness prevails, malice
incites, and passion governs. Well might Bacon exclaim--'Doth any man
doubt, that if there were taken out of men's minds, vain opinions,
flattering hopes, false valuations, imaginations, and the like, but it
would leave the minds of a number of men poor shrunken things?'** The
wise rule is, never judge from appearances when facts can be had--never
receive a report without challenging its foundation, nor adopt it
without permission to give the authority.

     * Cricket on the Hearth.

     ** Essay on Truth.

In all cases, in which you must judge from appearances and reason
from conjectures, adopt the _fairest_ interpretation possible. On this
principle, credit will sometimes be given where none is due--but in nine
cases out of ten, justice will be done, for I am satisfied that there is
more worth among men than wisdom, and that we do well much oftener than
we reason well. We seldom need judge charitably, did we always endeavour
to judge justly. But we make a virtue of our own errors, and we often
affect to _condescend_ to pronounce an opinion, which it would be
criminal to withhold. If ever I go to the Herald's, office, the motto I
will have emblazoned shall be this--Justice is sufficient. Could we only
get justice in the world, we could afford to excuse it all its 'charity'
of judgment, and its benevolence even of act.

Where should a man's reputation be safe from suspicion if not in the
hands of his friend? It ought to be a principle of action with all
men, never to judge a friend except out of his own mouth. 'There was
a generous friend of mine once, who never would have judged me or any
other man unheard.'* With the sublime intensity of one who felt the
infinite value of private justice, has Schiller delineated this spirit
in the interview between Octavio and his son Max Piccolomini. After
a violent and visible struggle with his feelings--wrought upon by his
father's endeavours to sow suspicions in his mind, and detach him from
the service of his friend, Wallenstein--Max exclaims:--

     * Edward to Mr. Peerybing.

I will procure me light a shorter way. Farewell.

Octavio. Where now?

Max. (To the Duke.)

  If thou hast believed that I shall act
  A part in this thy play----
  Thou hast miscalculated on me grievously.
  My way must be straight on.
  True with the tongue,
  False with the heart--I may not, cannot be:
  Nor can I suffer that a man should trust me--
  As his friend trust me--and then lull my conscience
  With such low pleas as these:--"I ask him not--
  He did it all at his own hazard--and
  My mouth has never lied to him."--No, no
  What a friend takes me for, that I must be.
  --I'll to the Duke; ere yet this day is ended
  Will I demand of him that he do save
  His good name from the world, and with one stride
  Break through and rend this fine-spun web of yours.
  He can, he will!--I still am his believer.
  Yet I'll not pledge myself, but that those letters
  May furnish you, perchance, with proofs against him.
  How far may not this Tertsky have proceeded--
  What may not he himself too have permitted
  Himself to do, to snare the enemy,
  The laws of war excusing?   Nothing, save
  His own mouth shall convict him--nothing less!
  And face to face will I go question him.
  Ay--this state-policy?   O how I curse it!
  You will some time, with your state-policy,
  Compel him to the measure; it may happen
  Because ye are _determined_ that he is guilty,
  Guilty ye'll make him.   All retreat cut off,
  You close up every outlet, hem him in
  Narrower and narrower, till at length ye force him--
  Yes, ye,--ye force him in his desperation,
  To set fire to his prison.   Father! father!
  That never can end well--it cannot--will not!
  Deem of it what thou wilt; but pardon me,
  That I must bear me on in my own way.
  All must remain pure betwixt him and me;
  And, ere the day-light dawns, it must be known
  Which I must lose--my father, or my friend.*

     * Shiller's Piccolomini, act 3,  scene 9.

Had Othello been thus honourable to Desdemona, he would never have
murdered her. Incalculable is the evil we bring on ourselves and
society, by supposing and surmising facts we ought resolutely to
question. The motto of the garter--

  Evil be to him who evil thinks,

ought to be,

  Evil is to him who evil thinks.

Every man will be his own Lawyer and his own Doctor, and such is the
perversity of human nature, he will also be his own _Iago_, and feed
himself with suspicions. Nearly all tragedies hinge on this error.

To avoid being the cause of misunderstanding to others, it is a good
rule never to speak critically of others, except in their presence, or
in print. When I am obliged to do this in conversation, with persons of
unknown or doubtful exactitude, I take care to keep much below the truth
in matters of censure, as anything of that kind may gain ten or twenty
per cent, in carriage. When with men of just habits of interpretation,
I pay them the highest compliment of friendship, and speak to them of
others, without reserve.

Notorious are the contumelies put upon the cases of grievance presented
from the people in the House of Commons. Nor is it altogether causeless.
So prone are the ignorant to mistake their prejudices for facts, and
ascribe to others as crimes what exists only in their own surmises, that
most popular cases may be stripped of half their pretensions without
injuring their truth. Exaggeration is the vice of ignorance. Half the
speeches addressed to 'King Mob' are hyperbolic. The sentiments of
public meetings minister too often to the prevalent inflation. The
people will be powerful when they learn to be exact--and not till then.

The only mode of correcting this evil is to instil into the people the
wise rule of Burlamiqui. To reason, (that is, inductively) says this
writer, is to calculate, and as it were draw up an account, after
balancing all arguments, in order to see on which side the advantage
lies. Burlamiqui had law chiefly in view in his remark, but the rule is
of immense application. A logician is a secretary or banker's clerk, who
keeps an account between truth and error. When a lady once consulted Dr.
Johnson on the degree of turpitude to be attached to her son's robbing
an orchard--'Madam,' said Johnson, 'it all depends upon the weight of
the boy. I remember my schoolfellow, Davy Garrick, who was always a
little fellow, robbing a dozen orchards with impunity, but the very
first time I climbed up an apple tree, for I was always a heavy boy, the
bough broke with me, and it was called a judgment. I suppose that is
why Justice is represented with a pair of scales.' This may not be the
precise reason why Justice has a pair of scales, but the point goes to
the root of the matter. Without weighing there can be neither justice
nor fair induction.

In illustration of these views Mr. Mill has some able remarks:--'In
proportion to any person's deficiency of knowledge and mental
cultivation, is generally his inability to discriminate between his
inferences and the perceptions on which they were grounded.

Many a marvellous tale many a scandalous anecdote, owes its origin to
this incapacity. The narrater relates, not what he saw or heard, but
the impression which he derived from what he saw or heard, and of which
perhaps the greater part consisted of inference, though the whole
is related not as inference but as matter-of-fact. The difficulty
of inducing witnesses to restrain, within any moderate limits,
the intermixture of their inferences with the narrative of their
perceptions, is well known to experienced cross-examiners; and still
more is this the case when ignorant persons attempt to describe any
natural phenomenon. "The simplest narrative," says Dugald Stewart, "of
the most illiterate observer involves more or less of hypothesis nay,
in general, it will be found that, in proportion to his ignorance,
the greater is the number of conjectural principle involved in his
statements. A village apothecary (and, if possible, in a still greater
degree, an experienced nurse) is seldom able to describe; the plainest
case, without employing a phraseology of which every word is a theory;
whereas a simple and genuine specification of the phenomena which mark a
particular disease--a specification unsophisticated by fancy, or by
preconceived opinions, may be regarded as unequivocal evidence of a mind
trained by long and successful study to the most difficult of all arts,
that of the faithful _interpretation_ of nature."'*

     * Logic, pp. 408-9, vol. 2.

It is in judgments formed, in reprehensible indifference to the actual
facts of the case, that party rancour and the proverbial injustice of
popular political opinion take their rise. A useful caution on this
head is pronounced by Lord Brougham in his sketch of the life of Lord
Wellesley:--'How often do we see,' observes his lordship, 'vehement: and
unceasing; attacks made upon a minister or a statesman, perhaps not in
the public service, for something which he does not choose to defend or
explain, resting his claims to the confidence of his countrymen upon
his past exertions and his known character. Yet these assaults are
unremittingly made upon him, and the people believe that so much noise
could not be stirred up without something to authorise it. Sometimes the
objects of the calumny are silent from disdain; sometimes from knowing
that the base propagators of it will only return to their slander the
more eagerly alter their conviction of falsehood; but sometimes, also,
the silencer may be owing to official reserve, of which we see a most
remarkable instance in the ease of Lord Wellesly.'

Not only are enemies of the people afforded a justification for their
opposition by wrongful judgment pronounced upon them, but the friends
of the people often pass over to the other side through the same cause.
When a leader of the people first comes in personal contact with the
opposite party, and becomes acquainted with merits of feeling and
judgment which he had as it were pledged himself to deny, and indeed
achieved himself a position by disbelieving in, he becomes ashamed of
the injustice exacted from him by his inexorable adherents, and forsakes
his party when he should only forsake its errors. The case of Barnave,
in the first French Revolution, is a memorable instance of this. On
lesser theatres I have seen many instances of this kind of conversion;
Such changes have always been ascribed to venality, yet they are men
of generous instincts who are thus overcome--but they want logical
strength, and cannot correct themselves without falling.

It is a wise rule in conversation, never to guess at meanings. When, an
observation is made, capable of affording two inferences, at once put
the question which shall elicit the meaning intended. Conversation is
held to no purpose unless explicitness comes out of it. Innumerable are
the errors that arise through letting remarks pass, of which we
only _suppose_ we know the purport. This is a fruitful source of
misunderstanding. When in Scotland I was much instructed by the
intellectual characteristics of the people. The Scotch are essentially a
reflective people. The English conceive doubts, but the Scotch put them
into queries. Before I had been in the country many hours I was struck
by the inductive habits of the people. A very old and illiterate woman,
to whom I put an indefinite question, eyed me deliberately from head to
foot before she gave me an answer. Not in rudeness did she gaze, so much
as in inquiry as to what could be my object. I spent more than a week
in inquiring at places, where apartments were to be let, by which I
acquired profitable acquaintance with the people. Upon asking the
terms of apartments, I was met, in all cases, by several preliminary
questions, as for whom were they? what number of persons? what station,
habits, and probable stay? Then I received the precise answer required.
It did not seem to me that they were answering one question by asking
another, as is sometimes said of the Scotch--but by a happy and wise
presence of mind they asked, as all should do, at many questions as were
required to complete the data of the specific answer they were called
upon to give.

A wise practice is followed in courts of law. No judge pronounces an
opinion on a hypothetical case. What he would do? or what would be the
judgment of the law, suppose a certain case should arise?--are questions
he never condescends to answer. 'Bring the plaintiff into court, let the
evidence be taken, and then we will decide. We sit here to judge actual,
not suppositious cases.' Such would be the reply. People out of court
might profit by the example.

I remember one striking instance of the pernicious effects of surmise.
Some years ago I took part in a Fraternal Demonstration at Highbury
Barn. The assembly was numerous, and composed of persons of all nations
and all parties. The celebration was avowedly one of fraternity. The
tone of the meeting reflected its object. Pacific words were on every
tongue, and harmony reigned up till eleven o'clock. At that hour
Monsieur Chillman asked me if some steps could not be taken to annualize
the meeting, and he requested me to prepare and propose a resolution to
that effect. Monsieur Chillman, thinking the resolution ought to come
from an Englishman, strongly urged me to move it. I, thinking it too
important to emanate from a young man, looked about for a person of
experience and known discretion to introduce it. After several had
declined, Mr. Hetherington undertook it. The English politicians were
composed of two parties, the friends of Mr. O'Connor, and the members of
the National Hall. At that time they were pleased to be the antipodes of
each other. No sooner had Mr. Hetherington spoken, he being the friend
of Mr. Lovett, than his motion was supposed to come from Mr. Lovett's
party, though they were utterly ignorant of its origination. Clamour's
hundred tongues were loosened. Slumbering differences were awakened.
Suspicion spread like an infection. Fraternity perished of the
contagion. Twenty amendments were proposed, and it was not till
midnight, and then in a storm indescribably contradictory of the
meeting's whole purport, that a common understanding was come to.
Had the least inquiry been made by the objecting party, previously
to dissenting, they would have found that the suspicious proposition
originated with one of themselves. But assuming premises, they inferred
from conjecture instead of fact, and raised disastrous doubts as to the
ability of that assembly for domestic or international fraternisation.

The use and abuse of authority Is a subject worthy of the young
logician's serious attention. Many great writers like Bacon, through
policy--Burke through position, or Shakspere through versatility of
genius, have written on both sides of important questions. Such men,
taken piece-meal, may be quoted by the most opposite parties in favour
of the most opposite opinions. Unless there is time to make a broad
induction from their writings, showing, by weighty, quantitive evidence,
the side to which they leaned, better not quote them as _authorities_
at all, but give what expresses your own views on your own
responsibility--indeed, in _all_ cases, the quoter ought to stand
prepared, if possible, to justify all he cites from another in argument.
'There is perhaps something weak and servile in our wishing to rely
on, or draw assistance from, ancient opinions. Reason ought not, like
vanity, to adorn herself with old parchments, and the display of a
genealogical tree; more dignified in her proceedings, she ought to
derive everything from herself; she should disregard past times, and be,
if I may use the phrase, the contemporary of all ages.'* Quote others as
Grotius did: not as judges from whose decision there is no appeal, but
as witnesses whose conspiring testimony confirms the view taken.

     * Necker.

Analogy has frequently been confounded with induction. Analogy signifies
reasoning from resemblances subsisting between phenomena--induction,
reasoning from the sameness of phenomena.

The phenomena affording an induction of a law of nature must be obvious,
uniform, and universal.

The rules to be observed in deducing general principles are, that the
case be true and the facts universal.

On this subject, as exhibiting the clearest results arrived at, I
transcribe a passage from Mill: 'There is no word which is used more
loosely, or in a greater variety of senses, than analogy. It sometimes
stands for arguments which may be examples of the most rigid induction.
Archbishop Whately, for instance, following Ferguson and other writers,
defines analogy conformably to its primitive acceptation, that which was
given to it by mathematicians, resemblance of relations. In this sense,
when a country which has sent out colonies is termed the mother country,
the expression is analogical, signifying that the colonies of a country
stand in the same _relation_ to her in which children stand to their
parents. And if any inference be drawn from this resemblance of
relations, as, for instance, that the same obedience or affection is
due from colonies to the mother country which is due from children to a
parent, this is called reasoning by analogy. Or if it be argued that
a nation is most beneficially governed by an assembly elected by the
people, from the admitted fact that other associations for a common
purpose, such as joint stock companies, are best managed by a committee
chosen by the parties interested; this, too, is an argument from analogy
in the preceding sense, because its foundation is, not that a nation is
like a joint stock company, or Parliament like a board of directors, but
that Parliament stands in the same _relation_ to the nation in which a
board of directors stands to a joint stock company. Now, in an argument
of this nature, there is no inherent inferiority of conclusiveness like
other arguments from resemblance, it may amount to nothing, or it may
be a perfect and conclusive induction. The circumstance in which the
two cases resemble, may be capable of: being shown to be the _matereal_
circumstance; to be that on which all the consequences, necessary to be
taken into account in the particular discussion, depend. In the case
in question, the resemblance is one of relation; the _fundamentum
relationis_ being the management, by a few persons, of affairs in which
a much greater number are interested along with them. Now, some may
contend that this circumstance which is common to the two cases, and
the various consequences which follow from it, have the chief share in
determining all those effects which make up what we term good or bad
administration. If they can establish this, their argument has the force
of a rigid induction: if they cannot, they are said to have failed
in proving the analogy between the two cases, a mode of speech which
implies that when the analogy can be proved, the argument founded upon
it cannot be resisted.'*

     * Logic, pp. 97-8, vol. 2.

'Many of the most splendid and important discoveries in this science
were the result of analogical reasonings. It was from this source that
Dr. Priestley proved the compound nature of atmospheric air; and it is
related that it was in consequence of hints which he had given, when
on a visit to Paris, to Lavoisier, founded entirely upon analogical
conjectures, that the latter philosopher was induced to commence
experiments, with the view of proving the compound nature of water, and
of reducing it to its constituent elements. Indeed the whole history of
this very important and useful department of human knowledge exhibits
very striking and incontestable proofs how much of the art owed its
existence to mere hints and conjectures, founded, in many cases, upon
very slight resemblances or analogies.*. The chief province of analogy
is confined to that of suggestion. Analogies are the great hinters of
experiments. They illustrate an argument, but do not establish it.
They are probabilities, not proofs. Hence Lord Brougham in one place
exclaims:--'I have a dread, at least a suspicion, of all analogies, and
never more than when on the slippery heights of an obscure subject;
when we are, as it were, _inter apices_ of a metaphysical argument, and
feeling, perhaps groping, our way in the dark, or among the clouds.
I then regard analogy as a dangerous light, a treacherous _ignii

A striking instance of the fallacy of analogy is afforded in the
experiments of Professor Matteuoci, which seem to prove that though the
analogies between electricity and nervous substance are nearly perfect,
yet they are two distinct agencies.***

     * Blakey's  Logic, pp. 97-7.

     ** Pal. Illus.  vol. 2.

     ***  See Zoist No. 20, p. 363.


WE hope to be able to save students from the fate of Diodorus, (a great
logician, who died in his school through shame at being, unable to
resolve a quibble propounded by Stilno)--not by hardening, but by
enlightening them. Though we bring neither mood nor figure wherewith to
test the presence of error, we are not without the hope of qualifying
the student for its discovery.

It has been confessed from the throne of logic that, 'After all, in the
practical detection of each individual fallacy, _much must depend on
natural and acquired acuteness_: nor can any rules be given, the
mere learning of which will enable us to _apply_ them with mechanical
certainty and readiness.'

Bulwer, in remarking that error is a view of _some_ facts instead of
a survey of _all_, indicated the key to logical fallacy. Error lies
principally in defective premises. Sophistry in science is referable
to incomplete analysis of nature, of systems--to artificial
arrangements--to _supposing_ qualities, to _assuming_ principles, to
false inductions from imperfect demonstration.

Dickens, in 'Nicholas Nickleby,' gives the case of a certain lady, who,
because she knew _one_ young milliner, who retained red cheeks and
did not die of consumption, was immovably of opinion that all
representations of the injurious effect of such sedentary occupation
were false. It is ever so with the vulgar. Some one case has come under
their notice, and it is in vain that you appeal to a chain of facts.
They know nothing of induction--they know one case to the contrary, and
that is enough. This error is the source of vulgar prejudice. Once teach
men that truth does not lie in a single instance, but in a calculation
in a balance of probabilities, and you rationalise them. 'The chapter
of accidents [or single instances] is the Bible of the fool--it supplies
him with a text against everything great, or good, or wise.'*

          * Times.

     Where others toil with philosophic force,
     Their nimble nonsense takes a shorter course,
     Flings at your head convictions in the lump,
     And gains' remote conclusions with a jump.--Cowper,

The first source of error is defective induction. We easily arrive at
this point of examination by the questions we have proposed for use
in the test of syllogism. Formerly, one syllogism was required to be
defeated by another--we now attack a fallacy by induction. No false
syllogism, says Biennan, can resist the inductive process of sifting

     I do not like thee. Dr. Fell,
     The reason why, I cannot tell--
     But this I know, and know full well,
     I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.

This kind of thing will not do. Induction pursues the reasoner with an
eternal _why_. A clear because to a clear why, is a demand that is never
remitted in sound logic.

Lord Melbourne, in giving his reason for his religion in the House
of Lords, said it was the religion of his forefathers and that of his
country, _therefore_, he would support the church. (Cheers from the
opposition benches.) The Brahmin and Mussulman give the same reason
for theirs. A logician in facts would have said, I hold and support my
religion because it is _true_. What the standard of physical certainty
is to facts, what axioms are to science, such is induction to
syllogisms--it is the test of their correctness.

Dr. Whately exhibits the following instance of a regularly expressed

  Every dispensation of Providence is beneficial:
  Afflictions are dispensations of Providence,
  Therefore, they are beneficial.

Every applicable rule of Dr. Whately's logic is, of course, applied
here--it is true in mood and figure, and yet the argument is fallacious.
A fallacy is defined as 'an ingenious mixture of truth and falsehood,
so entangled as to be intimately blended--that the falsehood is, in
chemical phrase, _held in solution_: one drop of sound logic is that
test which immediately disunites them, makes the foreign substance
visible, and precipitates it to the bottom.'* But whence is to come
'this drop of sound logic?' Not from the Doctor's _Elements,_ they have
sent forth the fallacy. But touch it with the talisman of facts and; the
error will appear.

     * Whately's Logic, Anal. Out., chap. 1, stc. 4.

What facts support the assertion that Afflictions are dispensations of
Providence?' The simple question is fatal to the argument. Can such
a proposition have facts for its support? Ignorance, congregating in
narrow courts, and laziness, accumulating filth, generate sickness
and affliction. Are these the dispensations of Providence, or the
dispensations of folly and crime? To ascribe them to Providence is
virtually to allow ignorance and laziness to step into the throne of
God, and call upon men to believe in _their_ beneficent dispensations.
Dr. Watts, another writer on logic, set the Christian congregations of
England to sing the same species of fallacy:---

     "Diseases are the servants, Lord,
     They come at thy command;
     I'll not attempt a murm'ring word,
     Against thy chast'ning hand."

According to this lyrical logician, whenever wise precautions arrest
the progress of pestilence, or the physician's skill subdues disease,
Jehovah is robbed of a servant. By such an argument, humanity is made
to be in rebellion against heaven, and our medical colleges are in
antagonism with Deity, and the recent appointment, by the Russell
government, of a Sanatory Commission, was high blasphemy. It is the
degradation of language to employ it to such a purpose, and logic
needs revising to save us from publishing such puerility in the name
of learning and of reason. It must have been logic of this kind
that induced a strong-thoughted woman to hazard the bold but tenable
conjecture, that 'If an argument has truth in it, less than a
philosopher will see it--and if it has not, less than a logician will
refute it.'*

     * A Few Days in Athens, by Frances Wright.

R. G. Latham, M.D., in his 'First Outlines of Logic applied to Grammar
and Etymology,' has introduced the particular instance of the syllogism
on Providence here cited from Whately. It would be no difficult task to
present other instances of the same species of polemical fallacy from
Dr. Whately and other writers on logic, did it comport with the rule
I have chosen for observance. I give these cases chiefly to show how
extensively and obtrusively they are introduced.

'We have,' says Mr. Mill, 'five distinguishable classes of fallacy,
which may to expressed in the following synoptic table:--

[Illustration: Mill's Fallacy Table]

It was the boast of Archimedes, that if any one would find him a
fulcrum, on which to rest a prop, he would raise the world, But this was
mere assertion unsupported by facts, for if the fulcrum had been found
him, Archimedes could not have performed his promise. This has been
proved by Ferguson, who has demonstrated that if Archimedes could have
moved with the swiftness of a cannon ball--480 miles every hour--it
would have taken him just 44,963,540,000,000 of years to have-raised the
world one inch. Bulwer remarks, 'Critics have said, what a fine idea of
Archimedes! But how much finer is the fact that refutes it. _One of the
sublimest things in the world is plain truth_.'

  All motion generates warmth,
  Shaking (with cold) is motion,
  _Ergo_, shaking with cold generates warmth.

We look, in this case, to the facts on which the first proposition
rests, and find the assertion too general.

To one who said that none were happy who were not above opinion, a
Spartan replied, 'Then none are happy but knaves and robbers.'

Mr. Goodrich, the original Peter Farley gives, In his 'Fireside
Education,' an instance to this effect of two boys arguing on the
division of their beds. William exclaims, 'You take more than your share
of the bed, James.' James answers, 'I only take half the bed.' William
replies, 'True, but you take your half out of the middle, and I am
obliged to lie on both sides to get my half.'

Innumerable sophisms are suffered to pass in consequence of Some
brilliancy of position which, dazzles us and prevents our seeing that
they are wide of the' mark of reason. An instance occurs in Bulwer--who
says, 'Helvetius erred upon education--but his dogma has been
beneficial.' Probably so--but not so beneficial as the truth would have
been. Many persons have argued from such an instance, that error is
useful. Dickens, in those incidental observations of striking good
sense strewed up and down his writings, says, in the 'Cricket on the
Hearth:'--'These remarks (of Mrs. Fielding) were quite unanswerable:
which is the happy property of all remarks that are _sufficiently wide
of the purpose_.' Of the refutation of such remarks he has presented an
able instance in 'Martin Chuzzlewit':

'Bless my soul, Westlock,' says Pinch, is it nothing to see Pecksniff
moved to that extent and know one's self to be the cause? And did you
not hear him say that he could have shed his blood for me?

'Do you want any blood shed for you?' returned Westlock with
considerable irritation. 'Does he shed anything for you that you _do_
want? Does he shed employment for you, instruction for you pocket
money for you? Does he even shed legs of mutton for you in any decent
proportion to potatoes and garden stuff?'


Man has been called the plaything of chance, but there is no logic more
close and inflexible than that of human life: all is entwined together;
and for him who is able to disentangle the premises and patiently await
the conclusion it is the most correct of syllogisms.--Jules Sandau:
People's Journal, No. 87.

'To quote authors,' says Harris, in his preface to his Hermes,' 'who
have lived in various ages, and in distant countries; some in the full
maturity of Grecian and Roman literature; some in its declension;
and others in periods still more barbarous and depraved; may afford,
perhaps, no unpleasing speculation, to see how the same reason has
at all times prevailed; how there is one truth like one sun, that has
enlightened human intelligence through every age, and saved it from the
darkness both of sophistry and error.' This is the assurance which right
reason will ever impart. Underneath all the change after which we pant,
amid all the variety which surrounds us, and seem the very aliment of
our nature, lies the instinct after the permanent. It is the province of
sound logic to guarantee this in conclusion.

The novelty, change, fluctuation, which scientific discovery has
brought, and will yet bring, into the formerly settled worlds of opinion
and social condition, will unsettle men's minds, and pave the way to an
age of scepticism. Sound logic is necessary to provide that this doubt
is transitional and not ultimate.

Scepticism is of two kinds, that of Pyrrho, and that of examination. The
followers of Pyrrho, it is said, made doubting a profession, until at
last they doubted whether they did doubt. This is the scepticism of the
scorner and trifler.

He did not know that he did not know it, and if he did know it it was
more than he knew. This is as far as the philosopher, of this school can
go. Dickens has drawn the portrait of these, logicians in Mr. Tigg:--

'When a man like Slyme,' said Mr. Tigg, 'is detained for such a thing as
a bill' I reject the superstition of ages, and believe nothing. I don't
even believe that I don't believe, curse me if I do.'

Hood is ironical on the professors of uncertainty. 'On a certain day
of a certain year, certain officers went, on certain information, to
a certain court, in a certain city, to take up a certain Italian for
a certain crime. What gross fools are they who say there is nothing
certain in this world.'

But scepticism is not capable of disturbing the well-grounded repose
of the wise; for when the sceptic thinks he has involved everything in
doubt, everything is still left in as much certainty as his scepticism.

In the great maze of conflicting opinion, it matters little that we are
cautioned that reason is not all-sufficient--it is the best sufficiency
we have. If reason will not serve us well, will anything serve us
better? Bishop Berkeley may demonstrate that we are not sure of matter's
existence--but are we more sure of any thing else? We are not thus to
be cajoled. But it is right to say that Mr. J. S. Mill contends that
Berkeley has been misunderstood--but if he did argue, as popularly
believed, to such argument, the answer of Byron is sufficient--

     When Berkeley said there  was no matter,
     It was no matter what he said.

If all is delusion, the delusion is very orderly--it observes regular
laws, and we proceed in logical method to inform each other, how
the delusion of things appears to our understandings or affects our

     Where nothing is, and all things seem,
     And we the shadows of a dream,

We discuss the seemings with the same gravity as realities.' If a man
seems to do wrong, and I seem to prevent him, and the wrong, therefore,
seems not to be done, I am satisfied.

The 'wise considerate scepticism' of inquiry has been well expressed by
Emerson, in his recent lecture on Montaigne.--'Who shall forbid a wise
scepticism, seeing that there is no practical question on which anything
more than a proximate solution is to be had? Marriage itself is an open
question: those "out" wish to be "in:" those "in" to be "out."

The state. With all its obvious advantages, nobody loves it. Is
it; otherwise with the Church? Shall the young man enter trade or a
profession without being vitiated? Shall he stay on shore or put out to
sea? There is much to be said on both sides. Then there is competition
and the attractions of the co-operative system. The labourer has a poor
hut, is without knowledge, virtue, civilisation. If: we say, "Let us
have culture," the expression awakens a new indisposition; for culture
destroys spontaneous and hearty unencumbered action. Let us have a
robust manly life; let us have to do with realities, not with shadowy
ghosts. Now this precisely is the right ground of the sceptic; not of
unbelief, denying or doubting--least of all of scoffing and profligate
jeering at what is stable and good. He is _the considerer_. He has,
too many enemies around him to wish to be his own. The position of the
sceptic is one taken up for defence; as we build a house not too high or
too low; under the wind, but out of the dust. For him the Spartan vigour
is too-austere. St. John too thin and aerial. The wise sceptic avoids to
be fooled by any extreme; he wishes to, see the game. He wishes to see
all things, but mainly men. Really our life in this world not of so easy
interpretation as preachers and school-books are accustomed to describe
it.' These have not so efficiently solved the problem, that the sceptic
should yield himself contentedly to their interpretation. True, he does
not wish to speak harshly of what is best in us,--to turn himself into a
"devil's attorney." But he points out the room there is for doubt;--the
power of moods;--the power of complexion, and so forth. Shall we, then,
because good-nature inclines us to virtue's side, smoothly cry: "There
are no doubts!"--and lie for the right? We ask whether life is to be led
in a brave or a cowardly way: whether the satisfaction of our doubts be
not essential to all manliness: whether the name of virtue is to be a
barrier to that which is virtue? The sceptic wants truth, wants to have
things made plain to him, and has a right to be convinced in his own
way. In such scepticism there is no malignity; it is honest, and does
not hinder his being convinced; and this hard-headed man, once convinced
will prove a giant in defence of his faith. The true and final answer
in which all scepticism is lost is the moral sentiment: that never
forfeits the supremacy. It is the drop that balances the universe.'

Science and logic have so far advanced as to abridge the field of
doubtful questions. When syllogism answered syllogism, uncertainty
reigned absolute--but now that the appeal is to facts, we can, wherever
facts can be had, weigh or number them, and decide on one side or the

When Ali Pacha was at Janina, the case of a poor woman, who accused a
man of the theft of all her property, was brought before him; but the
plaintiff having no witnesses, the case was discharged, as the other
asserted his innocence, and insisted as a proof, that he had not a
farthing in the world. On their leaving his presence, Ali ordered
both to be weighed, and then released them without further notice. A
fortnight afterwards, he commanded both into his presence, and again
weighed them; the accuser had lost as much as the defendant had
gained in weight. The thing spoke for itself, and Ali decided that the
accusation was just. Ali Pacha was the Burlamiqui of justice. Induction,
too, has its scales, and seldom leaves us in doubt when it gets truth
and falsehood in them. Scepticism is now happily restricted to those
questions resting on conjectures, and which do not pertain to the
practical affairs of this life. On matter-of-fact questions, only the
weak are perplexed. After men have been in deliberation till the time of
action approach, if it be not then manifest what is best to be done,
it is a sign the difference of motives the one way and the other is
not great; therefore, not to resolve then is to lose the occasion by
weighing of trifles, which is pusillanimity.

Quaint old Bunyan tells us, that when he had completed his 'Pilgrim's
Progress' he took the opinions of various friends on the propriety of
publishing it. Some said 'John, do;' others 'John, don't.' But solid
old John was not to be thus confounded. 'Then I will print it,' said
he, 'and thus the case decide.' To this good sense the public owe that
immortal dream.

In the great field of physical investigation, science has conquered
doubt. 'Contingency and versimilitude are the offspring of human
ignorance, and, with an intellect of the highest order, cannot be
supposed to have any existence.'*

     *Edinburgh Review, September 1814, article Probabilities

'Probability,' says Laplace,' has reference partly to our ignorance, and
partly to our knowledge.'

'Chance,' observes Mr. Mill, 'is usually spoken of in direct antithesis
to _law_; whatever (it is supposed) cannot be ascribed to law, If
attributed to chance. It is, however, certain, that whatever happens
is the result of some law; is an effect of causes, and could have been
predicted from a knowledge of the existence of those causes, and from
their laws. If I turn up a particular card, that is a consequence of its
place in the pack. Its place in the pack was a consequence of the manner
in which the cards were shuffled, or of the order in which they were
played in the last game; which, again, were the effects of prior causes.
At every stage, if we had possessed an accurate knowledge of the causes
in existence, it would have been abstractedly possible to foretell the

'In the domain of morals, too, a certainty, not dreamed of in past
times, now prevails. However much man, as an individual, may be an
enigma, in the aggregate he is a mathematical problem.'**

In the great world of opinion it is the duty of honest reasoners to
endeavour to find out the truth, and take sides, undeterred by the
philosophical frivolity now growing fashionable. If men are silent
concerning objects and principles, it is said they have none, and it is
impatiently asked 'where is their bond of union?' And no sooner is it
explained than they are told 'it is very unphilosophical to think of
setting up a creed.' Where the alternatives are thus put against them
they should take their own course. Creeds are the necessary exponents
of conviction. The creedless philosopher is out on the sea of opinion,
without compass or chart. To bind yourself for the future to present
opinions is doubtless unwise, but he who has inquired to any purpose has
come to some conclusion, affirmative, negative, or neutral; and it is
the province of a creed to avow the actual result, and the consequent;
conduct intended to be followed. It is the vice of free thinking that
it spreads universal uncertainty, and assumes right and wrong to be so
protean that no man can tell one hour what opinion he shall hold the
next. Logic should correct this unsatisfactory extreme, and extirpate
the tiresome race whom Shelley described in Peter Bell:--

     To Peter's view, all seems one hue;
     He is no Whig, he is no Tory;
     No Deist and no Christian he--
     But is so subtle, that to be
     Nothing is all his glory**

          * Logic, pp. 57-8, vol. 2

          ** Vestiges.


Freedom has been hunted through the world, and is ever exposed to Insult
and injury. It is crushed by conquest; frowned from courts; expelled
from colleges; scorned out of society; flogged in schools; and
anathematised in churches. Mind is her last asylum; and if freedom quail
there, what becomes of the hope of the world, or the worth of human
nature?--W. J. Fox's Lectures to the Working Classes, part 12, p. 65.

We should be prepared to dare all things for truth. If the 'very hopes
of man, the thoughts of his heart, the religion of nations, the manners
and morals of mankind, are all at the mercy of a new generalisation,'
we should be prepared to risk them. If we must choose between truth
and repose, we ought not to hesitate. There is danger in having the
truth--philosophers are obliged to conceal it. Mankind vaunt their love
of truth, but they are not to be trusted. From interest or ignorance
they always persecute, and often kill, the discoverer. Still the
pursuit of truth is a _duty_, and we must find consolation in the heroic
reflection of Burke, that _in all exertions of duty there it something
to be hazarded_. But intellectual daring will never be common while it
is so generally believed to be criminal. We will, therefore, quote some
considerations touching the rightfulness of inquiry.

Without inquiry it is impossible for us to know whether our opinions
are true or false, and various are the pretences employed for declining
investigation: frequently they are masked under vague and metaphorical
phrases: "inquiry implies the weighing of evidence, and might lead to
doubt and perplexity"--"to search into a subject might shake the settled
convictions of the understanding"--to examine opposite arguments, and
contradictory opinions, might contaminate the mind with false views.

'Every one who alleges pretexts like these for declining inquiry, must
obviously begin by assuming that his own opinions are unerringly in the
right. Nothing could justify a man for declining the investigation of
a subject involving important opinions, but the possession of
an understanding free from liability of error. Not gifted with
infallibility, in what way, except by diligent inquiry, can he obtain
any assurance that he is not pursuing a course of injurious action? If
he holds any opinion, he must have acquired it either by examination,
by instillation, rote, or some other process. On the supposition that
he has acquired it by proper examination, the duty on which I am now
insisting has been discharged, and the matter is at an end--but if he
has acquired it in any other manner, the mere plea, that his mind might
become unsettled, can be no argument against the duty of investigation.
For anything he can allege to the contrary, his present opinions are
wrong--and, in that case, the disturbance of his blind convictions,
instead of being an evil, is an essential step towards arriving at the

'It may possibly be assigned, as a further reason for his declining
inquiry, that he may come to some fallacy which he cannot surmount,
although convinced of its character. If he is convinced of its
character, he must either have grounds for that conviction or not.
If he has grounds, let him examine them, draw them out, try if they are
valid, and then the fallacy will stand exposed. If he has no grounds for
suspecting a fallacy, what an irrational conclusion he confesses himself
to have arrived at! But perhaps he will reply--he may be unable to solve
the difficulty; his mind may become perplexed, and the issue may prove,
after all, that it would have been much better had he remained in his
former strong, though unenlightened, conviction. Why better? If he is in
perplexity let him read, think, consult the learned and the wise, and
in the end he will probably reach a definite opinion on one side or the
other. But if he should still remain in doubt, where is the harm? or
rather, why is it not to be considered a good? The subject is evidently
one which admits strong probabilities on opposite sides. Doubt is
therefore the proper sentiment for the occasion--it is the result of
the best exercise of the faculties--and either positively to believe,
or positively to disbelieve, would imply an erroneous appreciation of

In the minds of some people a strong prejudice appears to exist
against that state of the understanding which is termed doubt. A little
reflection, however, will convince any one that on certain subjects
"doubt" is as appropriate a state of the reasoning faculties as belief
or disbelief on others. There are doctrines, propositions, facts,
supported and opposed by every degree of evidence, and amongst them
by that degree of evidence of which the proper effect is to leave the
understanding in an equipoise between two conclusions. In these cages
"doubt" is the appropriate result, which there can be no reason to
shrink from or lament. But it may be further urged, that inquiry might
contaminate the understanding with false views--and, therefore, It is
wise and laudable to abstain from it.

'We can comprehend what is meant by contaminating a man's habits or
disposition, or even imagination. But there is no analogy on these
points in reference to the understanding. There is contamination,
there is evil, in preposterous and obscene images crowding before the
intellectual vision, notwithstanding a full and distinct perception of
their character--but there is no contamination, no evil, in a thousand
false arguments coming before the understanding, if their quality is
clearly discerned. The only possible evil in this case is mistaking
false for true--but the man who shrinks from investigation lest he
should mistake false for true, can have no reason for supposing himself
free from that delusion in his actual opinions. Besides these objections
to inquiry, there are other prejudices of a similar character, forming
serious impediments to the attainment of truth.

'One of these is a _fear that we may search too far, and become
chargeable with presumption in prying into things we ought not to know_.
A few words will suffice to prove that nothing can be more irrational
and absurd. We have already shown that true opinions are conducive to
the welfare of mankind--and the prosecution of inquiry is therefore a
process from which we have everything to hope and nothing to fear, and
to which there are no limits but such as the nature of our own faculties
pre scribes.

'A second prejudice--that _we may contract guilt, if, in the course of
our researches, we miss the right conclusion, and had therefore better
let inquiry alone_--is still more influential in preventing those
investigations which it is our duty to make. As our opinions on any
subject are not voluntary acts, but involuntary effects, in whatever
conclusions our researches terminate they can involve us in no
culpability. All that we have to take care of is, to bestow on every
subject an adequate and impartial attention. Having done this, we have
discharged our duty; and it would be irrational and unmanly to entertain
any apprehension for the result.

'In fact, there is the grossest inconsistency in the prejudice now under
consideration. If we may contract guilt by searching after truth, wo may
equally do so by remaining in our present state The reason alleged in
the prejudice itself, and the only reason which can be assigned with any
plausibility, why we may commit an offence by embarking in any inquiry,
is that we may, by so doing, miss the right conclusion, or, in other
words, fall into error--for no one would seriously contend that we
incur any moral culpability by an investigation which conducts us to the
truth. But it is obvious that we may equally miss the right conclusion
by remaining in our actual opinions. It is, then, incumbent on us to
ascertain whether we are committing an offence by remaining in them--in
other words, it is necessary to examine whether those opinions are true.
Thus the reasons assigned for not inquiring, lead to the conclusion that
it is necessary to inquire.

'The third prejudice is that acquiescence in received opinions, or
forbearing to think for ourselves, shows a degree of humility highly
proper and commendable--if closely examined will be found usually
to evince nothing but a great degree of indolent presumption, or
intellectual cowardice. There is often, in truth, as great a measure of
presumption in this species of acquiescence as in the boldest hypothesis
which human invention can start. That received and established opinions
are true, is one of those sweeping conclusions which would require
very strong reasons, and often elaborate research, to justify. On
what grounds are they considered to be true by one who declines
investigation? Because (on the most favourable supposition) they have
been handed down to us by our predecessors, and have been held
with unhesitating faith by a multitude of illustrious men. But what
comprehensive reasons are these? What investigation would it require to
shew that they were valid? As the whole history of mankind teems with
instances of the transmission of the grossest errors from one generation
to another, and of their having been countenanced by the concurrence of
the most eminent of our race--how, without examination, can we show that
this particular instance is an exception from the general lot?

'From the necessity of using our own judgment, or, in other words, of
arriving at a conclusion for ourselves, we cannot be absolved. Far from
being a virtue, blind acquiescence in the opinions of others is, in most
cases, a positive vice, tending to stop all advancement in knowledge,
and all improvement in practice.

From the preceding it is evident that the inquirer may enter on his task
with full confidence that he is embarking in no criminal, or forbidden,
or presumptuous enterprise, but is, on the contrary, engaging in
the discharge of a duty. Let him be as circumspect as he pleases in
collecting his facts and deducing his conclusions, cautious in the
process, but fearless in the result. Let him be fully aware of his
liability to error, of the thousand sources of illusions, of the limited
powers of the individual, of the paramount importance of truth--but let
him dismiss all apprehensions of the issue of an investigation conducted
with due application of mind and rectitude of purpose.'*

     * Extracts of Summary, by Aliquis. of arguments on the Duty
     of Inquiry, from the 'Pursuit of Truth, and other Essays, by
     S. Bailey, in Reasoner No. 12.

Marcus Antoninus, indeed, said 'I seek after truth, by which no man yet
was ever injured.' But there is a great practical mistake here. There is
danger in truth---and the admission should be plainly made. Men, where
forewarned, make the choice more manfully. We have been wisely told by
Emerson, that the cherished thoughts and institutions of mankind are
at the mercy of a new generalisation--rest, commodity, reputation.
Inconvenience, and suspense, are the consequences of the partizanship
of truth. Certain political truths annihilate the interests of whole
classes. Certain social truths war with life-cherished prejudices.
Certain sanitary truths reduce the value of all city property. Certain
scientific truths ruin the working classes by thousands. In a wiser
state of society this could be prevented, but our present business is
with what is. It is therefore idle to conceal the truth--that there is
danger in truth. Pope's dictum, that party is the madness of many for
the gain of a few, is inversely true of truth. Truth is the ultimate
benefit of many, but the immediate ruin of the few. Here, however, comes
to our aid the wise and far-seeing aphorism of Burke--'In all exertions
of duty there is something to be hazarded'--and the brave man and wise
friend of mankind will risk the fate which surely awaits him--the fate
of Galileo, Newton, Salomon de Caus, Volta, Fulton, Winser, Arkwright,
Gall, and all who present themselves, with truth in their hands, at the
door of this great bedlam called the world--the fate of being received
with stones and hisses.


The term Idol is employed by Bacon to designate those prejudices which
men prefer to truth. A prejudice is a bias without a reason for it, an
opinion without a foundation, a judgment formed of persons and things
without sufficient examination, an assent given to a proposition without
sufficient evidence. The bias may be honourable, the opinion correct,
the assent in the right direction, but still of the nature of
prejudice, because, if right, it is right by accident rather than

Ignorance hides from us facts, and we decide partially rather than
confess our deficiency. Ill-directed education gives us pre-possessions,
which are obstacles in the way of truth, and we continue to cherish
what, having become a part of our nature, it pains us to discard. The
senses will occasionally mislead us and although we are conscious that
appearances are not to be wholly trusted, we reluctantly doubt our own
infallibility. From early, and therefore unquestioned, associations, we
have acquired certain habits, and from fashion certain sentiments,
and we continue old customs, and fall into the current opinion
unconsciously. Of these sources of prejudice, logic warns us to beware.
Of so much importance did Bacon regard these hindrances to truth,
that he considered the pursuit of new truth hopeless while they
were cherished. In a mixed vein of poetry and philosophy, he divided
prejudices into four classes, which he called Idols of the Tribe, the
Den, the Market and the Theatre. Idols of the Tribe are prejudices men
imbibe from early training, and love of hypothesis. They are so called
because common to the whole race or tribe of mankind. Idols of the Den
are those which relate to a man's particular character, Idols of the
Market are those which are accommodated to common notions. Idols of the
Theatre denote such as pertain to hypothetical systems of philosophy.

Remembering the declarations of Euler and Gall, and the daily
discoveries of science, we should stand, as it were, on the verge of
the old world of experience, and look out on the new world of troth.
A young thinker should make for himself a chart of proposed reforms,
systems, and changes, agitated in his day--place

In relative positions in the scale of importance such as he deems of
value, if true--and then analyse his experience to see what is
soundly opposed thereto. Such a practice would go far to rid men of
idol-prejudices, which retard private improvement and public progress.


1. All men possessed of an uncontrolled discretionary power, leading
to the aggrandisement and profit of their own body, have always abused
it.'--Burke's Thoughts on the Present Discontents.

The student will find the proof of this proposition exhibited in the
example of Induction, quoted from Mr. Bailey, p. 63.

2. Prosperity could never be reached and maintained in this country,
without some provision for the regular employment of the poor.--Mr.
Beckett's Speech in the House of Commons, Feb. 3,1842.

The demonstration, to universal conviction, of this proposition, would
lead to an entire and beneficial change of the social condition of this

3. The pen is the tongue of the world.--Paine. Put this in the
syllogistic form.

4. A good instance of a metaphorical argument drawn out is given by Mr.
Mill:--'For instance, when Mr. Carlyle, rebuking the Byronic vein, says
that "strength does not manifest itself in spasms, but in stout bearing
of burdens;" the metaphor proves nothing, it is no argument, only
an allusion to an argument; in no other way however could so much of
argument be so completely suggested in so few words. The expression
suggests a whole train of reasoning, which it would take many sentences
to write out at length. As thus: Motions which are violent but brief,
which lead to no end, and are not under the control of the will, are,
in the physical body, more incident to a weak than to a strong
constitution. If this be owing to a cause which equally operates in what
relates to the mind, the same conclusion will told there likewise. But
such is really the fact. For the body's liability to these sudden
and uncontrollable motions arises from irritability, that is, unusual
susceptibility of being moved out of its ordinary course by
transient influences: which may equally be said of the mind. And this
susceptibility, whether of mind or body, must arise from a weakness
of the forces which maintain and carry on the ordinary action of the
system. All this is conveyed in one short sentence. And since the causes
are alike in the body and in the mind, the analogy is a just one, and
the maxim holds of the one as much as of the other.'*

     * Logic, pp. 433-4, vol. 2.

5. A youth, named Evathlus, engaged with Protagoras to learn dialectics,
and promised his tutor a large sum of money, _in case he gained the
first cause he pleaded_, Evathlus, when fully instructed, refused to pay
his instructor. Protagoras brought his action thus--'You must pay the
money however the cause go, for if I gain you must pay in consequence of
the sentence, as being cast in the cause; and if you gain it, you must
pay in pursuance of our covenant.' 'Nay,' Evathlus retorts, 'which way
soever the cause be decided, you will have nothing, for if I prevail,
the sentence gives it that nothing is due: and if I lose, then there is
nothing due by the covenant.' What should be the decision in this case?

6. The first case, says Cervantes, requiring Sancho's attention was a
question put by a stranger, in presence of the stewards and rest of the
attendants. 'My Lord,' said he, 'a certain manor is divided by a large
river. I beg your honour will be attentive, for the case is of great
consequence and of some difficulty. I say then, upon this river is a
bridge, and at one end of it the gibbet, together with a sort of court
hall, in which four judges usually sit to execute the law enacted by the
lord of the river, bridge, and manor, which runs to this effect: Whoever
shall pass this bridge, must first swear whence he comes and whither
he goes; if he swear the truth he shall be allowed to pass, but if he
forswear himself he shall die upon the gallows without mercy or respite.
This law, together with the rigorous penalty, being known, numbers
passed, and as it appeared they swore nothing but the truth, the judges
permitted them to pass freely and without control. It happened, however,
that one man's oath being taken, he affirmed and swore by his deposition
that he was going to be hanged on that gibbet, and had no other errand
or intention. The judges, having considered this oath, observed: if we
allow this man to pass freely, he swore to a lie, and, therefore, ought
to be hanged according to law; and if we ordered him to be hanged after
he hath sworn he was going to be suspended on that gibbet, he will have
sworn the truth, and by the same law he ought to be acquitted, I beg,
therefore, to know, my lord governor [and student], what the judges must
do with this man?'


Abstract names--the names of attributes.--J. S. Mill. Abstraction--fixing
thought on the point of resemblance in one body.--drawing off and
contemplating separately any part of an an object.

Action--a volition followed by an effect.--J. S. Mill.

Analogy--resemblance of relation.--Whately.

Analysis--the resolution of a complex whole into its component elements.
--J. S. Mill.

Argument--an expression in which, from something laid down as granted,
something else is deduced--Whately.

Argumentum ad hominem--appealing to an opponent's professed views.

A priori--reasoning from cause to effect.

A posteriori--arguing from effects to cause.

Body--the unknown cause of our sensations--J. S. Mill.

Cause--the invariable antecedent, or thing going before.--the stimulus
of an effect.

Conclusion--a proposition proved by argument.

Connotative terms--denote a subject, and imply an attribute.---. J.S.

Consciousness--sensation of existences.

Definition--the separation of a thing, as by a boundary, from everything

Discovery--finding out something already existing.

Effect--the immediate, invariable consequent, or the change produced by

ENTHYMEME-An argument with one premiss suppressed being understood.

Experience--events which have taken place within a person's own

Fallacy--an apparent argument.

General Terms--express the notion of partial similarity.

Generalisation--tracing certain points of resemblance.--naming one
respect in which many things agree.

Induction--universalisation of truth by inference from uniform facts.

Intuition--imaginary looking.--Whewell,

Logic--a scientific use of facts.

Logical Truth--that which admits of proof.--Chambers.

Mind--the unknown percipient of sensation.--J. S. Mill.

Necessary Truths--are those in which we not only learn that the
proposition is true, but see that it must be true; in which the negative
of the truth is not only false, but impossible; in which we cannot, even
by an effort of the imagination, or in a supposition, conceive the
reverse of that which is asserted.--Dr. Whewell: Phil. Inductive
Sciences, pp. 54-5, vol. 1.*

* As 'necessary truths' are much talked of I have introduced here, from
Whewell, the completest definition with which I am acquainted. For
myself, I coincide on this question with J. S. Mill, as quoted pp. 22-3.

Non-connotative Terms--denote a subject only and an attribute only.--J.
S. Mill.

Philosophy--the science of realities in opposition to that of mere
appearances--the attempt to comprehend things as they are, rather than as
they seem.--Morell.

Point at issue--the real question to be decided.

Power in logic, is the relation of circumstances to each other in time.

Premises the propositions which precede a "conclusion."--the name of the
propositions from which a conclusion is deduced.

Principle--an invariable rule.

Proof--sufficient evidence; the balance of probability in favour of a

Proposition--a sentence which affirms or denies something.--Whately.--An
expression in words of a judgment.--J. S. Mill, Reason--the recognition
of facts.--the classification of facts.--following in the pathway of
facts.--the power of discerning coherences.--a premiss placed after its
conclusion.--the minor premiss--in the sense of Reason for asserting

Reasoning--argumentation.--process, the same always. Subject--first term
of a proposition.

Syllogism--1. A general rule. 2. A fact contained under that rule. 3. A
conclusion that the fact is so contained.--an argument stated regularly
and at full length.--a valid argument so stated that its conclusiveness
is evident from the mere form of the expression.

Technical Terms--the tools of art.--Whately.

Technical Language--regularly formed, defined, and agreed on set of

Testimony--second-hand experience. Direct evidence is that which is
professedly given. Incidental, is corroboration casually introduced on
one subject in the course of an evidence delivered on another.

Theory--is a system of rules intended to explain a class of facts. The
rules should be precise, and rest on a rigorous induction of facts or

Tradition--the relation of a circumstance, not committed to writing by
any person who observed it, but communicated orally from one to another
for a long period of time.

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we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.