« PreviousContinue »
di to who compofed a library. And in this the Egyptian and Pergamenian kings, copied his example. As to his genius, it would be difrefpectful to mankind, not to allow an uncommon fhare to a man who governed the opinions of the moft enlightened part of the fpecies near two thousand
If his talents had been laid out folely for the discovery of truth and the good of mankind, his laurels would have remained for ever fresh: but he feems to have had a greater paffion for fame than for truth, and to have wanted rather to be admired as the prince of philofophers than to be useful: so that it is dubious, whether there be in his character, most of the philofopher or of the fophift. The opinion of Lord Bacon is not without probability, That his ambition was as boundlefs as that of his royal pupil; the one apiring at univerfal monarchy over the bolies and fortunes of men, the other ovdr their opinions. If this was the cafe, it cannot be faid, that the philofopher purfued his aim with lefs induftry, lefs abiity, or lefs fuccefs than the hero.
His writings carry too evident marks
of that philofophical pride, vanity, and envy, which have often fullied the charac ter of the learned. He determines boldly things above all human knowledge; and enters upon the most difficult questions, as his pupil entered on a battle, with full affurance of fuccefs. He delivers his decifions oracularly, and without any fear of mistake. Rather than confefs his ignorance, he hides it under hard words and ambiguous expreffions, of which his interpreters can make what they please. There is even reafon to fufpect, that he wrote often with affected obfcurity, either that the air of mystery might procure greater veneration, or that his books might be understood only by the adepts who had been initiated in his philofophy. di node towards the writers that
went before him has been much cenfured. After the manner of the Ottoman princes, fays Lord Verulam, he thought his throne could not be fecure unless he killed all his brethren. Ludovicus Vives charges him with detracting from all philofophers, that he might derive that glory to himself, of which he robbed them. He rarely quotes an author but with a view to cenfure, and QI 2
is not very fair in representing the opinions which he cenfures. od: yd be
The faults we have mentioned arel fuch as might be expected in a man, who had the daring ambition to be transmitted to all future ages, as the prince of philofoasy phers, as one who had carried every branch of human knowledge to its utmost limit; and who was not very scrupulous about the means he took to obtain his end.5.1 goiⱭ dood sno,enit'dq
We ought, however, to do him the jur stice to observe, that although the pride
and vanity of the too much
in his writings in abftract philofophy; yet in natural history the fidelity of his narrations seems to be equal to his induftry; and he always diftinguishes between what he knew and what he had by report. And even in abstract philosophy, it would be unfair to impute to Ariftotle all the faults, all the obfcurities, and all the contradictions, that are to be found in his writings. The greatest part, and perhaps the best part, of his writings is loft. There is reafon to doubt whether fome of thofe we afcribe to him be really his; and whether what are his be not much vitiated and interpolated.
interpolated These fufpicions are juftified by the fate of Aristotle's writings, which is judiciously related, from the best authorities, in Bayle's dictionary, under the article Tyrannion, to which Brefer. ~ol His books in logie which remain, are, 1. One book of the Categories. 2. One of interpretation. bag First Analytics, two books, 4. Laft Analytics, two books. 5. Topics, eight books. 6. Of Sophifms, one book. Diogenes Laertius. mentions many others that are loft. Thofe
have mentioned have commonly been published together, under the name of Ariftotle's Organon, or his Logic; and for many ages, Porphyry's Introduction to the Categories has been prefixed to them. 199.3od esdling
Greqi yd bey od pudes 617
SECT. 2. Of Porphyry's Introductino! ant is the
In this Introduction, which is addreffed to Chryfoarius, the author obferves, That in order to understand Aristotle's doctrine concerning the categories, it is neceffary to know what a genus is, what a species, what a specific difference, what a property, and what an accident; that the knowledge of thefe is also very useful in definition, in
divifion, and even in demonstration : therefore he proposes, in this Great
in this little tract,
to deliver fhortly and fimply the doctrine of the ancients, and chiefly of the Peripatetics, concerning these five predicables; avoiding the more intricate queftions concerning them; fuch fuch as, Whether genera and species do really exist in nature? or,
Whether they are only conceptions of
human mind? If they exift in nature, Whether they are corporeal or incorporeal?
and, Whether they are inherent in the
objects of fenfe, or disjoined from them? Thefe, he fays, are very difficult questions, and require accurate difcuffion; but that he is not to meddle with them.
After this preface, he explains very minutely each of the five words above mentioned, divides and fubdivides each of them, and then purfues all the agreements and differences between one and another through fixteen chapters.
The book begins with an explication of what is meant by univocal words, what