« FöregåendeFortsätt »
CH A P. XV.
A N attack tevelled so openly and directly M against a system of Universal Logic fanctioned by the authority of Aristotle and made venerable by its antiquity, and which has led the discipline of this seat of learning for many ages, which maintains a kind of perfection in the opinion of many, holds a doubtful sway in the minds of some, and is totally discarded by very few, may, I suspect, offend the ears of most of those who hear me, and found from this place, as the voice of blasphemy and rebellion and it will be fairly expected, that a charge so folemn and unqualified should either be substantiated by some evidence, or eile relinquished, or, at least, that fome apology should be made.
My APOLOGY is (if the love of Truth need an apology — a love which, as it thinks, it fears, no ill,) that I could not pursue the plan of these Lectures, of which the different Methods of Reasoning form the most essential part, without incurring the displeasure of the school-logic by noticing its defects. I am unwilling, I confefs, to relinquish the charge, because I am persuaded in my own mind that it is just, till otherwise convinced, and I am open to fair conviction many that my Apology may be something more than mere form and ceremony, at which my mind revolts as much as it loves the truth, I will endeavour to substantiate it, by bringing forward a proof or example of the falsehood and absurdity of the Aristotelian Dialectic, on which the school-discipline has been formed in every part of scientific learning.
The criterion of all sound logic is, that it lead to truth; and the great exception which I have taken to the Topical or Dialectic Reasoning of the Stagyrite, is from the very hasty and unphilosophical method he
prescribes prescribes of forming the General Propositions, Axioms, or Maxims, as the Principles from which all contingent and probable conclu. fions are to be drawna for, if they be infirmly and illogically framed, all Syllogism of every kind will either conclude falsely, or unphilosophically at best, owing it to accident, to conjecture, or to sophistry, and not to found argument, if the conclusion should happen to prove true.
One of the universal sourfes, among a few others, from which Aristotle, out of his wonderful invention, directs these Dialectical Propositions to be formed into the Principles of probable reasoning, and that one of the least exceptionable, is the • Rule of Contraries or Opposites,” which he has
• Ειδοξον δε και εν παραβολή φανείται ΤΟ ΕΝΑΝTION TIEPI TOT ENANTIOT. Top. lib. i. cap. 10.
This Rule is triumphantly brought forward by his great modern champion to overset a Principle of the Newtonian philosophy. “It was in this way the ancients ar. 'gued concerning opposite things ; and particularly that
great master of the Reasoning Art, Aristotle, who in his book of Topics, has taught us, that, if two things be oppusite, opposite things will follow from them. • Ariftocle expresses the Rule of Reasoning in his short
exemplified and illustrated by a favourite instance x-and the point to which I would direct your attention, is the Example of a Propofition forined from this Rule, which he means to be universal in its operation (for he has directed that all these Propositions are to be as universal as possible, ") and which affects in its operation an interesting and important part of moral science — For example,' says he, if it be a duty to wish well, and to do • good to our friends; it is equally a duty to • wish ill, and to do evil to our enemies."
The Proposition which forms the first part of the Opposition — “It is a duty to wish well, 6 and to do good to our friends,-- is, indeed, universally true: but the second, which from this great Rule of Contraries, Aristotle deter
• way thus: Eỉ có :v&V Tov :v zVra, xa và cu&VTía tuiTiw. Ancient Metaphysics 2 vol. p. 338.
See this roth chapter of the ist book of Topics De Propositione Dialectica. . 5 Ληπτέον δε, ότι μάλιςα καθόλα πάσας τας προτάσεις, και την μίαν, πολλας ποιητέον οίον, ότι των αντικειμένων autnénusóun. lbid. Top. lib. i. cap. 14.
colov, Tès çixous deT U Tuñv, xxi ti's face hoteles dist xxx@so pavein dav xai ivartion Tó Tous pous sů TOLEīv, Tū to's & Jeas xarūs. Ibid. lib. i. cap. 10.
See this favourite Rule of Contraries further illustrated by the fame Example in the 7th chapter of the 2d book of Topics.
to wish ill, and to do evil to our enemies,'. unfortunately for his Dialectic Reasoning upon this important subject, happens to be universally false in every moral sense ; and, by its application, has introduced many mischievous and fatal errors in practical philosophy. One might, indeed, be induced to conclude, and that from a principle and mode of reasoning more probable than those which are delivered in his Dialectics, that One, who despised such vague philosophy, had this false and pernicious axiom, which had made such havoc in the moral system, in his omniscient mind, when he pronounced to his auditors upon the mount the following divine instruction, “ Ye have heard that it “ hath been said, Thou shall love thy neigh“ bour, and hate thine enemy : But I say unto “you, Love your Enemies: Bless them that “ curse you : Do good to them that hate you : “ and pray for them that despitefully use you, 2 3