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"fo great a part of the earth is not alto"gether fea, but that there must be fome proportion of land." The uniformity of nature with refpect to the intermixture of fea and land, is an argument that affords but a very flender degree of convic tion; and from late voyages it is difcovered, that the argument holds not in fact. The following argument of the fame kind, tho' it cannot be much rely'd on, feems however better founded. "The inhabi"tants of the northern hemifphere, have, "in arts and sciences, excelled fuch of the "fouthern as we have any knowledge of: "and therefore among the latter we ought
not to expect many arts, nor much cul" tivation."
After a fatiguing inveftigation of numberlefs particulars which divide and scatter the thought, it may not be unpleasant to bring all under one view by a fuccinct recapitulation.
We have two means for difcovering truth and acquiring knowledge, viz. intuition and reasoning. By intuition we difcover fubjects and their attributes, paffions, internal action, and in fhort every thing that is matter of fact. By intuition we
alfo difcover feveral relations.
fome facts and many relations, that cannot be discovered by a fingle act of intuition, but require feveral fuch acts linked together in a chain of reafoning.
Knowledge acquired by intuition, includes for the most part certainty: in fome inftances it includes probability only. Knowledge acquired by reasoning, frequently includes certainty; but more frequently includes probability only.
Probable knowledge, whether founded on intuition or on reafoning, is termed opinion when it concerns relations; and is termed belief when it concerns facts. Where knowledge includes certainty, it retains its proper name.
Reafoning that produces certainty, is termed demonftrative; and is termed probable, when it only produces probability.
Demonftrative reasoning is of two kinds. The firft is, where the conclufion is derived from the nature and inherent properties of the fubje&t: mathematical reafoning is of that kind; and perhaps the only inftance. The fecond is, where the conclufion is derived from fome propofition, of which we are certain by intuition.
Probable reasoning is endless in its varieties; and affords different degrees of conviction, depending on the nature of the fubject upon which it is employ'd.
3 Е С Т. II.
Progrefs of Reason.
A Progrefs from infancy to maturity in
the mind of man, fimilar to that in his body, has been often mentioned. The external fenfes, being early neceffary for felf-prefervation, arrive quickly at maturity. The internal fenfes are of a flower growth, as well as every other mental power: their maturity would be of little or no use while the body is weak, and unfit for action. Reasoning, as obferved in the first section, requires two mental powers, the power of invention, and that of perceiving relations. By the former are discovered intermediate propofitions, having the fame relation to the fundamental propofition and to the conVOL. III. E e clufion;
clufion; and that relation is verified by the latter. Both powers are necessary to the perfon who frames an argument, or a chain of reafoning: the latter only, to the perfon who judges of it. miferably deficient in both.
Savages are With refpect
to the former, a favage may have from his nature a talent for invention; but it will stand him in little ftead without a stock of ideas enabling him to select what may anfwer his purpose; and a favage has no opportunity to acquire fuch a stock. With respect to the latter, he knows little of relations. And how should he know, when both ftudy and practice are necessary for diftinguishing between relations? The understanding, at the fame time, is among the illiterate obfequious to paffion and prepoffeffion; and among them the imagination acts without control, forming conclufions often no better than mere dreams. In fhort, confidering the many caufes that mislead from juft reasoning, in days especially of ignorance, the erroneous and abfurd opinions that have prevailed in the world, and that continue in fome measure to prevail, are far from being furprising. Were reafon our only
guide in the conduct of life, we should have caufe to complain; but our Maker has provided us with the moral fenfe, a guide little fubject to error in matters of importance. In the sciences, reason is effential; but in the conduct of life, which is our chief concern, reafon may be an ufeful affiftant; but to be our director is not its province,
The national progress of reafon has been flower in Europe, than that of any other art: ftatuary, painting, architecture, and other fine arts, approach nearer perfection, as well as morality and natural hiftory. Manners and every art that appears externally, may in part be acquired by imitation and example: in reafoning there is nothing external to be laid hold of. But there is befide a particular caufe that regards Europe, which is the blind deference that for many ages was paid to Ariftotle; who has kept the reafoning faculty in chains more than two thoufand years. In his logic, the plain and fimple mode of reafoning is rejected, that which Nature dictates and in its ftead is introduced an artificial mode, fhowy but unfubftantial, of no use for discovering truth; but con