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philosophy of the age. The former of these ideas is undoubtedly erroneous, and the latter has been greatly exaggerated.
The printing press had been invented, America had been discovered, Copernicus had promulgated bis theory of the solar sistem, and Luther had triunphantly preached the doctrines of religious reformation, before Bacon appeared upon the stage of existence, the last and latest of which events bad transpired fully a century before the Novum Organum, the greatest of the works of Bacon, was published in 1620.* Galileo and Kempler, both contemporaries of Bacon, though somewhat younger men, had both pro:nulgate i their celebrated ideas in astronomy before the Novum Organum appeared.
Nay, Bernard Telesins, an Italian, who may not inaptly be styled the Bacon of Italy, who was born in 1508 and died in 1583, had, nearly a half century in advance of Bacon, attempted a reformation in philosophy very similar to that attempted by Bacon, seeking, like him, to ground knowledge on experience, or perception through induction, and attacking the system of Aristotle on the very ground on which Bacon attacked it, that it laid down as principles mere abstractions, and not real existencesabstracta et non entia.f It is manifestly erroneous, therefore, to compite the dawn of modern science, or even the SUNRISE of the present day of human enlightenment, from the time of Sir Francis Bicon, although it may be very just to say that the real business of the day fairly commenced with him.
Were it iinportant to the purposes of this review to fix the time when the present day of human enlightenment may be regarded as baving begun, we need bave little hesitation in saying, that it began with the religious reformation inaugurated by Luther, early in the 16th century, when the minds of men becaine, in some degree, generally illuminated with the idea of their own individuality, and rights of independence, as sentient and rational beings. We might venture, moreover, to designate, as the very moment of sunrise to the present civilization, that ever-memorable occasion, the 10th of December, 1520, when Luther, before a great concourse of people, at the Elster gate of Wittenburg, indignantly burnt the Pope's fire decree, while " Wittemburg looked on with shoutings,” and “the whole world was looking on.” It is therefore with
peculiar felicity that Carlyle, some of whose words, in reference to this event, we have borrowed, in the foregoing sentence, savs, in relation to the shout which arose on that occasion, " it was the shout of the awakening nations." Loftier intellects had, indeed, before this, caught the rays of the rising sun, but then, for the first time, it may be said, the sun
* This statement, that the triumphant preaching of the doctrinos of religions reformation by Luther, was later than the promulgation of tho thonry of Copernions, concerning the solar system, may appear liable to censure, as an historical error. since Luther in uy be said to have virtaally triumphed when he burnt the Pope's thre decree, before the Elste: gite of Wittenburg, in 1521, whereas the treatise Du orbium celestinin renolutionibus of Copernicus was not completed until 1530, ten years later, nor published until 1513. But it appears that opernicus had conceived and developed bis ideas on astronomy as far back as 15:07, alin ugh he had not as vot verified them Butliciently by mathematical calculations. In our tert it is assumed that his ideas were orale galed, from the moment they were former and developed, and the work of preparing them for publication, through the printing press, wiis bezin. In this, we do but follow the maxim of the court of chancery, that "what is to be done is to be considered as done," from the time when it is legally directed to be done.
+ See Tonneman's Manual of the History of Philosophy, translated by Johnson and rovised by Morell, sections 298 and 316.
See Carlyle op Heroes, p. 119.
light descended upon the eyelids of the multitude, and they recognized it with a shout.
As to the influence exerted by Bacon on the achievements of modern science, it does not appear to have been so marked or important as appears to be commonly supposed, nor is there any good reason to believe that it has been very inuch greater than that of other transcendent minds, whose contributions to philosophy bave been far less bruited, mainly because they did not, like those of Bacon, have the destiny to appear at a time when the attention of mankind was but little distracted by multiplicity of authors, and when their ideas might well present the appearance of novelty-a circumstance not to be lightly regarded in attempting an estimate of the influence exerted by the philosophical writings of Bacon; since it is obvious, that, amid a crowd of authors, one of great merit is less likely to be recognized, than when he stands up, alone, like Pornpey's pillar amid the solitudes of the modern Alexandria, and since the melody even of the swan is apt to go unheeded, if she be doomed to sing when every goose is cackling. The philosophical writings of Bacon have had the fortune to obtain pre-eminence in reputation, rather than to have merited it—another testimony to the truth of the poet's line,
“ One Cæsar lives, a thousand are forgot," —a reflection which should curb the ambition of men to reign as kings, either in statesmanship, or fundamental philosophy, since it shows that few, if any, are really more gifted than a thousand of their fellows, and that, moreover, it is very uncertain whether the merit which they really possess, of deserving to be regarded as one of a thousand, will ever be recognized.
The merits of Bacon, as a leader in philosophy, were undoubtedly very great. But he is indebted largely for his pre-eminent reputation, in the point of time at which he appeared, and to the place which he occupies in the grand column of advancing humanity. He owes it largely to the fact that he belongs to the vanguard of modern philosoply-that he stands in the front rank of that grand army of scientific explorers and conquerors, who seem to be marching forward to the conquest of the universe, and the mastery of its grandest mysteries—to the fact that he stands foremost, or among the foremost, in that long and brilliant retinue of intellectual giants, whose prodigious strength and wonderful achieveinents might well lead an enthusiast to imagine that we are approaching the reign of gods, or at least of demigods, rather than men, in the intellectual sphere of earth.
For this, merit must be accorded to Bacon, that he was among the foremost, and most prominent among the foremost, of these giants. It is true that Columbus, Copernicus, and Luther were slightly in advance of him on the field of action. But their aims and achievements, though highly important, were far more circumscribed. Columbus aimed merely at an extension of knowledge in Geography, Copernicus in Astronomy, and Luther in respect to the more interior and occult relations of man to Deity, or what is commonly called religion. But Bacon, to use his own terse and sententious language, took all knowledge for his province.* He was, moreover, the first of all philosophers who seems to have done so,
* See Bacon's letter to his uncle, Lord Burliegh- also Macaulay's Essays, article on Lord Bacon.
or at least to have done so from deliberate design, and with a clear conception of the fitness and propriety, as well as the vastness, of such an undertaking.
It is true that earlier philosophers, and particularly those of Greece, had attempted to compass the bounds of all knowledge, as in all ages there seems to have been a desire, on the part of all true philosophers, to grasp the all-the to pan of the Greeks. Accordingly, we find Plato and Aristotle, though more particularly the latter, tugging at all the then known sciences - Aristotle having treated not only of Ethics and Politics, but also Physics, Metaphysics, and Logic-which last, Logic, or the science of the formal processes of the mind in reasoning, he treated with distinguished success. But neither Plato, nor Aristotle, nor any other philosopher before the time of Bacon, seems to have had a clear conception of the idea, that all knowledge has an intimate relationship, and a vital connection of parts, which give it a homogeneousness and entirety of nature—that, in short, the tree of knowledge is one and indivisible. It was Bacon who first distinctly announced, that“
“ti distributions and partitions of knowledge are like the branches of a tree, thať meet in a stem, which hath a dimension and quantity of entireness and continuance;"* and who laid it down as a rule, “that all partitions of knowledge be accepted rather for lines and veins, than for sections and separations, and that the continuance and entireness of knowledge be preserved."!
Bacon may be regarded as the first philosopher who gave distinct utterance to this great and eminently valuable idea, of the necessity of at. tempting to grasp all knowledge as a whole, even when considering any one of its parts, an idea which has been subsequently developed, much more prominently, in the grand conceptions of Swedenborg, Fourier, Comte, Humboldt, Schelling, and other German philosophers, who, like Schelling, have regarded the universe, and perhaps more properly, from the metaphysical or subjective stand point, rather than from the physical and objective, from which Bacon almost exclusively regarded it, although these German metaphysicians have been altogether too much immersed in the mere conceptions of reuson, as was Bacon too much immersed in the mere perceptions of sense.
Bacon was the first philosopher who, with deliberate design, made this vast effort to compass all knowledge, who strove to sustain, like the tabled Atlas of antiquity, the world of kuowledge, the universe of thought, upon his shoulders. What, though, in attempting to shoulder the universe, he tuggeil at it with only one shoulder, the shoulder of Induction, which is undoubtedly the right shoulder. Philosophers before had been tugging at it with the other shoulder, almost exclusively—the shoulder of Deluction. It was something, and of no small consequence, to shift the effort from the left to the right shoulder, the more especially as the consequence has been to bring both shoulders into service.
Much bas been said as to the merits of the Inductive or Experimental system of Philosophy, recommended and elaborated by Bacon, in bis Novum Organum, and many writers have expressed themselves, in relation thereto, as if they supposed that to Bacon was due the credit of having invented that method or process of reasoning. The truth should,
* See Advancement of Learning, as published in 1605, book il., p. 93, of London edition, of 1824 + Same, p. 114.
however, be obvious enough, that neither Bacon nor any one else ever invented the process of inductive, any more than of deductive reasoningboth processes being as natural to the human mind, as the process of respiration to the body, by one of which the mind breathes in, as it were, and by the other breathes out ideas, as by the double process of respiration the body inbales and exhales air. Every system of Philosophy, moreover, it should be obvious enough, comprehends, to some extent, both the inductive and deductive methods of reasoning, that is, ascends from particulars to generals, as well as descends from generals to particulars ; for a system of mere induction, without any synthesis or geveralization, would be the most barren empiricism, while one of mere generalization, without any previous induction, or subsequent testing of the generalization or hypothesis, by experiment, would be the most empty dogmatism.
Nay, moreover, it should be obvions enough, that, “there is," as Morell has remarked, in his history of Modern Philosophy, “ a logic of induction, as well as of deduction, having rational axioms at its foundation, and tha , without these axioms, or the trutlis which they embody, being in the mind, the outward observation, whereon they, (the sensationlists like Bacon) so firmly rely, would be altogether nugatory";* and that, therefore, the difference between the inductive mode of reasoning, which Bacon is erroneously supposed to have invented, and the deductive, which bad, before his time, been much more generally employed, is not essentially or really so great as is commonly imagined.
What, then, did Bacon really accomplish for the cause of science and philosophy, that he should bave acquired such great celebrity, as a leader in Pbilosophy, and that he should have been so commonly regarded as " the Father of the Inductive Philosophy”? If the author of this review is right, in regarding all sciences as but the different members of the same common body; nay, if Bacon himself was right, in regarding them as but the ditferent branches of the same common stem or trunk, then this inquiry is not out of place in a “Review, Historical and Critical, of the Different Systems of Social Philosophy." For in such an inquiry, we shall be but considering the condition of the body or trunk of general philosophy, before proceeding to examine that of its separate members or branches, or rather, we shall be but considering what has been done by modern philosophers, for the body or trunk of general philosophy, before proceeding to inquire what has been done by them for that particular meinber or branch of the common body or trunk, which is specifically the subject of the present undertaking.
What Bacon has accomplished for science and philosophy, may be summed up in one sentence. He enlarged the conceptions of philosophers in general, by his comprehensive, all-embracing plan of regarding the sciences, and has thereby enlarged and invigorated the general body of Philosophy; be illustrated, with an overwhelming force, the importance of a more enlarged induction of facts and observations, as a basis of generalization or scientitic conclusion, than had before been adopted; and he exerted a powerful influence in turning philosophic attention from the contemplative pursuits, to which it had been, before, altogether too much addicted, to the active, from the theoretical to the practical, from the speculative to the actual, from the internal to the external, from the mere
See J. D. Morell's History of Modern Philosophy, chap. iv., sec. I., sub-sec. C., p. 321.
conceptions of reason to the perceptions of sense-in short, from the too purely spiritual to the material.
This much Bacon has accomplished for science and philosophy, and but little if any more. It is evident, however, that it was something more than this which he aimed to accomplish, and which he flattered himself with the idea that he had accomplished. He aimed at confering a specific benefit, as well as exerting a general influence, on Philosophy. Ile aimed at furnishing it with a new method for acquiring knowledge of extraordinary virtues—the Inductive method; and he bas, more. over, acquired the reputation of having effected what he aimed at, though he has not merited it. For not only is there nothing specifically new, in the Inductive method of reasoning, recommended by Bacon, (as we have already remarked) but there is no specific virtue in that meihod of investigating truth, no talismanic power that it possesses, as Bacon seems to have imagined, which could insure us against error in our conclusions. Indeed, the history of Lord Bacon, as a philosopher, affords another and striking illustration of the truth, that men often aim at one end and at-, tain another, either essentially different, or else more or less comprehensive than that at which they aimed. And this remark naturally leads us to inqnire, with somewhat more particularity, what it was, then, Bacon aimed to accomplish, and wbat it was that he actually accomplished for the cause of Philosophy ?
Of all the manifold writings of Lord Bacon, not excepting his masterly essays, in which his peculiar genius is really more conspicuous than in any other, the greatest, though not the most unexceptionable, are undoubtedly those which he aimed to make the greatest, and which he evidently regarded as the great business of his life, those which he has comprehended under the august title of the “ Magna Instauratio," or "Grand Instauration," in which, essaying to set aside or disregard all previously acquired knowledge, or supposed knowledge, nay, to pull down the whole structure of the sciences, as they then stood, he proposed to set mankind to work to obtain knowledge upon a new method, and to reconstruct the whole edifice of science, upon a new and more reliable basis. This great undertaking Bacon divided into six parts, which, like other great undertakers, he never completed, having been overtaken by death, the great destroyer of all the vaulting aspirations of man, before he had completed more than the first three parts of his great design. These three parts of the “Grand Instauration," which Bacon actually completed, were, first, the “ Advancement of Learning"—first published, in English, in 1605, divided into two books, and subsequently published in Latin, under the title of "De Augmentis," somewhat enlarged in body, and divided into nine books--second, the “Novum Organum,” first published in 1520, in Latin, and divided into two books, and third, the “Sylva Silvarum," literally, " Leaves of the Woods," or less literally and poetically, " Phenomena of the Universe," a miscellaneous collection of facts, without order, and of no great value. It is in the first of these works, the “Advancement of Learning," that Bacon makes the classification of the sciences, which has already come under our review, in the present undertaking. It is in the second, or the Novum Organum, that he develops, more particularly, the Inductive method, with which his name has been
* See part ii. of this review, in November number of Merchants' Magazine, for 1859.