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into genera and species, this does not hold equally in every
Hence it is that the general terms in different languages do not always exactly correspond. Some nations, from particular circumstances, are more affected by one property in objects, others by another. This leads to a different distribution of things under their several names. Now, though it is not of importance that the words in one tongue exactly correspond to those in another, it is of importance that in the same tongue uniformity in this respect be, as much as possible, observed." Errors in regard to the signs tend not only to retard the progress of knowledge, but to introduce errors in regard to the things signified. Now, by suggesting the different attributes comprised in the definition of the term as so many mediums in the proof, an appeal is made to the adversary's practice in the language. In this way such mediums may be presented as will satisfy a candid adversary that the application he makes of the term in question is not conformable to the usage of the tongue.
On the other hand, it is certain that, in matters of an abstract and complex nature, where the terms are comprehensive, indefinite, not in frequent use, and, consequently, not well ascertained, men may argue together eternally without making the smallest impression on each other, not sensible all the while that there is not at bottom any difference between them, except as to the import of words and phrases.
however, that this is a consequence peculiar to this manner of debating, though perhaps oftener resulting from it, on account of its many nice distinctions, unmeaning subleties, and mazy windings, than from any other manner. For it must be owned, that the syllogistic art has at least as often been employed for imposing fallacies on the understanding as for detecting those imposed. And though verbal controversy seems to be its natural province, it is neither the only method adapted to such discussions, nor the most expeditious.
To conclude, then, what shall we denominate the artificial system, or organ of truth, as it has been called, of which we have been treating ? Shall we style it the art of reasoning ? So honourable an appellation it by no means merits, since, as hath been shown, it is ill adapted to scientific matters, and for that reason never employed by the mathematician, and is utterly incapable of assisting us in our researches into nature. Shall we then pronounce it the science of logomachy, or, in plain English, the art of fighting with words and about words? And in this wordy warfare, shall we say that the rules of syllogizing are the tactics? This would certainly hit the matter more nearly; but I know not how it happens, that to call anything logomachy or altercation would be considered as giving bad names; and when a good use may be made of
I do not say,
an invention, it seems unreasonable to fix an odious name úpon it, which ought only to discriminate the abuse. I shall therefore only title it the scholastic art of disputation.* 'It is the schoolmen's science of defence.
When all erudition consisted more in an acquaintance with words, and an address in using them, than in the knowledge of things, dexterity in this exercitation conferred as much lustre on the scholar as agility in the tilts and tournaments added glory to the knight. In proportion as the attention of mankind has been drawn off to the study of Nature, the honours of this contentious art have faded, and it is now almost forgotten. There is no reason to wish its revival, as eloquence seems to have been very little benefited by it, and philosophy still less.
Nay, there is but too good reason to affirm that there are two evils at least which it has gendered. These are, first, an itch of disputing on every subject, however uncontrovertible; the other, a sort of philosophic pride, which will not permit us to think that we believe anything, even a self-evident principle, without a previous reason or argument. In order to gratify this passion, we invariably recur to words, and are at immense pains to lose ourselves in clouds of our own raising. We imagine we are advancing and making wonderful progress, while the mist of words in which we have involved our intellects hinders us from discerning that we are moving in a circle all the time.t
* It answers to that branch of logic which Lord Verulam styles Doctrina de elenchis hermeniæ ; concerning which he affirms, “ Dedimus ei nomen ex usu, quia verus ejus usus est plané redargutio, et cautio circa usum verborum. Quinimo partem illam de prædicamentis, si recté instituatur, circa cautiones de non confundendis aut transponendis definitionum et divisionum terminis, præcipuum usum sortiri existimamus, et hucetiam referri malu. mus."- De Aug. Sci., 1. v., c. iv.
+ How ridiculous are the efforts which some very learned and judicious men have made, in order to evince that whatever begins to exist must have
One argues, “There must have been a cause to determine the time and place," as though it were more evident that the accidents could not be determined without a cause, than that the existence of the thing could not be so determined. Another insists, very curiously, that if a thing had no cause, it must have been the cause of itself; a third, with equal consistency, that nothing must have been the cause. Thus, by always assuming the absolute necessity of a cause, they demonstrate the absolute necessity of a cause. For a full illustration of the futility of such pretended reasonings, see the Treatise of Human Nature, b. i., part iii., section 3. I do not think they have succeeded better who have attempted to assign a reason for the faith we have in this principle, that the future will resemble the past. A late author imagines that he solves the difficulty at once by saying that "what is now time past was once futuro; and that, though no man has had experience of what is future, every man has had experience of what was fu. ture.” Would it, then, be more perspicuous to state the question thus, “How come we to believe that what is future, not what was future, will resemble the past ?" Of the first he says expressly, that no man has had experience, though almost in the same breath he tells us, not very consistent.
OF THE CONSIDERATION WHICH THE SPEAKER OUGHT TO HAVE
OF THE HEARERS, AS MEN IN GENERAL. RHETORIC, as was observed already, not only considers the subject, but also the hearers and the speaker.* The hearers must be considered in a twofold view, as men in general, and as such men in particular.
As, men in general, it must be allowed there are certain principles in our nature which, when properly addressed and managed, give no inconsiderable aid to reason in promoting belief. Nor is it just to conclude from this concession, as some have hastily done, that oratory may be defined "The art of deception." The use of such helps will be found, on a stricter examination, to be in most cases quite legitimate, and even necessary, if we would give reason herself that inly, “The answer is sufficient: have we not always found it to be so ?" an answer which appears.lo me not more illogical than ungrammatical. But admitting with him that to consider time as past or future (though no distinction can be more precise) is only puzzling the question, let us inquire whether a reason can be assigned for judging that the unknown time will resemble the known. Suppose our whole time divided into equal portions. Call these portions A, B, C, D, E, F,G. Of these the first three have been experienced, the remaining four are not. The first three I found to resemble one another, but how must I argue with regard to the rest? Shall I say B was like A, therefore D will be like C; or, if you think it strengthens the argument, shall I say C resembled A and B, therefore D will resemble A, B, and C? I would gladly know what sort of reasoning, scientifical or moral, this could be denominated, or what is the medium by which the conclusion is made out? Suppose, farther, I get acquainted with D, formerly unknown, and find that it actually resembles A, B, and C, how can this furnish me with any knowledge of E, F, and G, things totally distinct? The resemblance I have discovered in D to A, B, and C, can never be extended to any. thing that is not D, nor any part of D, nainely, to E, F, and G, unless you assume this as the medium, that the unknown will resemble the known, or, which is equivalent, that the future will resemble the past. So far is this principle, therefore, from being deduced from particular experiences, that it is fundamental to all particular deductions from experience, in which we could not advance a single step without it. We are often misled in cases of this nature by a vague and popular use of words, not attending to the nicer differences in their import in different situations. If one were to ask me, “Have you, then, no reason to believe that the future will resemble the past ?" I should certainly answer, “I have the greatest reason to be. lieve it.” And if the question had been concerning a geometrical axiom, I should have returned the same answer. By reason we often mean, not an argument or medium of proving, but a ground in human nature on which a particular judgment is founded. Nay, farther, as no progress in reasoning can be made where there is no foundation (and first principles are here the sole foundation), I should readily admit, that the man who does not believe such propositions, if it were possible to find such a man, is perfectly irrational, and, consequently, not to be argued with.
* Chap. iv.
fluence which is certainly her due. In order to evince the truth considered by itself, conclusive arguments alone are requisite;
but in order to convince me by these arguments, it is moreover requisite that they be understood, that they be attended to, that they be remembered by me; and, in order to persuade me by them to any particular action or conduct, it is farther requisite that, by interesting me in the subject, they may, as it were, be felt. It is not, therefore, the under: standing alone that is here concerned. If the orator would prove successful, it is necessary that he' engage in his service all these different powers of the mind, the imagination, the memory, and the passions. These are not the supplanters of reason, or even rivals in her sway; they are her handmaids, by whose ministry she is enabled to usher truth into the heart, and procure it there a favourable reception. As handmaids, they are liable to be seduced by sophistry in the garb of reason, and sometimes are made ignorantly to lend their aid in the introduction of falsehood. But their service is not on this account to be dispensed with; there is even a necessity of employing it founded in our nature. and hands, and feet will give us the same assistance in doing mischief as in doing good ; but it would not, therefore, be better for the world that all mankind were blind and lame. Arms are not to be laid aside by honest men because carried by assassins and ruffians; they are to be used the rather for this very reason. Nor are those mental powers, of which eloquence so much avails herself, like the art of war or other human arts, perfectly indifferent to good and evil, and only beneficial as they are rightly employed. On the contrary, they are by nature, as will perhaps appear afterward, more friendly tò truth than to falsehood, and more easily retained in the cause of virtue than in that of vice. *
* “Notandum est enim, affectus ipsos ad bonum apparens semper ferri, atque hac ex parte aliquid habere cum ratione commune : verum illud interest; quod affectus intuentur præcipue bonum in præsentia ; ratio prospiciens in longum, etiam, futurum, et in summa. Ideoque cum quæ in præsentia obversentur, impleant phantasiam fortius, succumbit plerumque ratio et subju gatur. Sed postquam eloquentiâ, et suasionum vi effectum sit, ut futura et remota constituantur et conspiciantur tanquam præsentia, tum demum abe. unte in partes rationis phantasia, ratio fit superior. Concludamus igitur, non deberi magis vitio verti Rhetoricæ, quod deteriorem partem cohonestare sciat; quam Dialecticæ, quod sophismata concinnare doceat. Quis enim nescit, contrariorum eandem rationem esse, licit usu opponantur ?"-- De Aug. Sci., 1. vi., c. iii. Τα υποκειμενα πράγματα ουχ ομοίως έχει, άλλ' αιεί ταληθή και τα βελτίω τη φύσει, ευσυλλογιστότερα και πιθανώτερα, ως απλώς ειπεϊν. * * * Εί δε, ότι μεγάλα βλάψειεν αν ο χρώμενος αδίκως τη τοιαύτη δυνάμει των λόγων, τυυτό το κοινόν έστι κατά πάντων των αγαθών, πλην αρετής, και μάλιστα κατά των χρησιμωτάτων, οίον ισχύος, υγιείας, πλούτου, στρατηγίας: τοιούτοις γαρ άν τις ωφελήσειε τα dryiora, xpúuevos dikaiws, kai Blámaicv, áðixws.--ARIST., Khet., l. i., c. i.
MEN CONSIDERED AS ENDOWED WITH UNDERSTANDING. But to descend to particulars: the first thing to be studied by the speaker is, that his arguments may be understood. If they be unintelligible, the cause must be either in the sense or in the expression. It lies in the sense if the mediums of proof be such as the hearers are unacquainted with ; that is, if the ideas introduced be either without the sphere of their knowledge, or too abstract for their apprehension and habits of thinking. It lies in the sense likewise, if the train of reasoning (though no unusual ideas should be introduced) be longer, or more complex, or more intricate, than they are accustomed to. But as the fitness of the arguments in these respects depends on the capacity, education, and attainments of the hearers, which in different orders of men are different, this properly belongs to the consideration which the speaker ought to have of his audience, not as men in general, but as such men in particular. The obscurity which ariseth from the expression will come in course to be considered in the sequel.
MEN CONSIDERED AS ENDOWED WITH IMAGINATION.
The second thing requisite is that his reasoning be attend. ed to; for this purpose the imagination must be engaged. Attention is prerequisite to every effect of speaking, and without some gratification in hearing, there will be no attention, at least, of any continuance. Those qualities in ideas which principally gratify the fancy are vivacity, beauty, sublimity, novelty. Nothing contributes more to vivacity thar, striking resemblances in the imagery, which convey, besides, an additional pleasure of their own.
But there is still a farther end to be served by pleasing the imagination than that of awakening and preserving the attention, however important this purpose alone ought to be accounted. I will not say with a late subtile metaphysician, * that “ Belief consisteth in the liveliness of our ideas." That this doctrine is erroneous, it would be quite foreign to my purpose to attempt here to evince.f Thus much, however, is indubitable, that belief commonly enlivens our ideas, and that lively ideas have a stronger influence than faint ideas to induce belief. But so far are these two from being coincident, that even this connexion between them, though com
* The author of “ A Treatise of Human Nature,” in 3 vols.
+ If one is desirous to see a refutation of this principle, let him consult Reid's Inquiry, ch. ii., sect. V,