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one Man does to another, and thinks it sufficient if his Reasons are as probable as another Man's, for the exact Reasons were neither in his Hand, nor that of any Mortal whatsoever; which one of his Followers has thus imitated, Ut potero, explicabo: nee tamen, ut Pythius Apollo, certa utstnt etfixa, qua dixero ; fed ut homunculut, probabilia conjeclurd fequens c. i. e. I will explain Things in the best manner I can, yet not, as the Oracle of Delphos, pronouncing them as fixed and certain, but like a mere Man-, who adheres to Probabilities by Conjecture. And that other upon the natural and popular Topic of the Contempt of Death, as he has elsewhere translated it from the very Dissertation of Plato, d Si forte, de Deorum Naturd ortuque Mundi differentes, minus id quod habemus in animo confequemur, baud erit mirum. Æquum eft meminiffe, et me, qui differam, hominem effe, et vos quijudicetis, utsiprobabilia dicentur, nihil ultra requiratis. i. e. If, in discoursing of the Nature of the Gods, and the Origin of the World,, we should happen not to express all that we conceive in our Minds, it will be no Wonder •, for it is but just that we should remember, that both I who argue, and you who are my Judges, are but Men: So that, if probable Things, are delivered, ye are to require nothing more. Aristotle commonly heaps up a great Number of the Opinions and Beliefs of other Men, for the fake of comparing them with his own, and to shew us how' far he has gone beyond them, and how much nearer he approaches to Probability: For Truth is not to be judged by the Authority and Testimony of others •, and therefore Epicurus was very careful not to quote them in his Writings. Aristotle was the Prince of all Dogmatists, and yet we are told by him, That much Knowledge administers Occasion of doubting the more. In Fact, we often find him wrapped up in Obscurity, so thick and impenetrable, that we know not, by his Opinion, what to chuse. 'Tis, in Effect, Pyrrhonism under the Form of Determination. Hear Cicero's Protestation, who expounds another's Fancy to us by his own. • £%ui requirunt, quid de quaque re ipfi fentiamus, curiojius id fa-
ciunt, ciunt, quant neceffe est.—Hæc in Philosopbia ratio, contra omnia differ endi, nuliamque rem aperte judicandi, perfecla a Socrate, repetita ab Arcestla, confirmata a Carneade, usque ad noftram viget ætatem. Hisumus, qui omnibus veris falsa quœdam adjuntla esse dicamus, tantd similitudine, ut in Us nulla in/it certe judicandi et affentiendi nota. i. e. They who defire to know what we think of every Thing, are too inquisitive.—This Rule, in Philosophy, of disputing against every Thing, and of explicitly determining nothing, which was founded by Socrates, re-established by Arcefilaus, and confirmed by Carneades, has continued in Use even to our Times. We are they who declare, that in every Truth there is such a Mixture of Falshood, and that so resembling the Truth, that there is no Mark in them whereby to judge of, or assent to either with Certainty. Why has not only Aristotle, but most of the Philosophers, affected Obscurity, but only to enhance the Value of the Subject, and to amuse the Curiosity of our Minds, by furnishing them with this Bone to pick, on which there is no Flesh? Clitomachus f affirmed, that by the Writings of Carneades he
c Cic. Tufc. Quaest. lib. i. c. o. d Cicero's Timæus, feu de Uu»
verso JFragmentum, c. 3. « Cic. de Natura Deorum, lib. i. c. $.
could could never discover what Opinion he was of. Why did Epicurus affect to be abstruse, and what else procured Heraclitus the Surname of ttxerttm, or obscure?
r Montaigne has supposed this to be the Meaning of Cicero, whose Words are these: The Opinion of tvhich Calliphon Carneades Jo ftudioufy defended, that he even seemed to approve of it, altho' Clitomachus affirmed, that he never could understand ivhat voas approved by Carneades. Acad. ^utejl. lib. x. C. 4£, But this is not saying, That Clitomachus asserted, that, by the Writings of Carneades, he could never discover his Opinion. The Dispute is not, What were the Opinions of Carneades in the general, but what he used to lay in Defence of Calliphon's private Opinion concerning what constitutes Man's chief Good. Forasmuch as Carneades was an Academician, he could not advance any Thing positive or clearly decisive upon this important Question; which was the Reason that Clitomachus never could understand what was the Opinion of Carneades in this Matter. Calliphon made the chief Good confist in Pleasure and Virtue both together, which, fays Cicero, Carneades also was not willing to contradict, not that he approved it, but that he might oppose the Stoics; not to decide the Thing, but to embarrass the Stoics. Acad. Quieft. lib. iv. c 42. In this fame Book Cicero explains to us several of Carneadeis Opinions; and, what is very remarkable is, that he only does it as they are set forth by Clitomachus. 'Having, fays he, explained all that 'Carneadessays upon this Subject, all those Opinions of Antiochus (the Stoic) 'will fall to the Ground.. But, for fear lest I should be suspected of mak♦ ing him say what I think, I (hall deliver nothing but what I collect from 'Clitomachus, who pasted his Life with Carneades till he was an old Man, 'and, being a Carthaginian, was a Man of great Penetration, very studious 'moreover, and very exact.' Acad. £>ua-fi.&a. iv. c. 31. * I have, JajsCkero, • a little before explained to yon from the Words of Clitomacbut, in what 'Sense Carneades declared these Matters. These very Things Cicero re'peats afterwards, where he transcribes them from a Book which Clitoma'chus had composed and addressed to the Poet Lucilius. After this, how 'could Cicero make Clitomachus iky, that, by the Writings of Carneades ia
Obscurity is a Coin which the Learned make use of, like Jugglers, to conceal the Vanity of their Art, and which the Stupidity of Mankind takes for current Pay.
Clarus ob obscuram lingUam, magis inter inanes:
Bombast and Riddle best do Puppies please,
Cicero reproves some of his Friends for having spent more Time in Astrology, Law, Logic, and Th, lihtrtd Geometry, than those Arts deserved, saying, Ans despised That the Study of these diverted them from lysome ostbt the more useful and honourable Duties of !'pfS;0s',ie Life. The Cyrenaic Philosophers equally 'W■*>"'• despised Natural Philosophy and Logic. Zenoh, in the very Beginning of the Books of the Commonwealth, declared all the liberal Arts unprofitable. Chrysippus said, That what Plato and Aristotle had wrote concerning Logic, they only composed it for Diversion, and by way of Exercise; ercise-, and he could not believe that they spoke of so vain a Thing in earnest. Plutarch says the fame of Metaphysics: And Epicurus had also said as much of Rhetoric, Grammar, Poetry, Mathematics, and (Natural Philosophy excepted) of all the other Sciences: And Socrates fays the fame of all, except Ethics and the Science of Life. Whatever Instruction any Man applied to him for, he always, in the first Place, desired him to give him an Account of the Conditions of his Life past and present, which he examined and judged, esteeming all other Learning subsequent to that and supernumerary. Parum mihi placent eœ literœ qu& ad. virtutem doctoribus nihil profuerunt'. i. e. That Learning is in small Repute with me, which did not contribute to the Virtue of the Teachers as well as Learners. Most of the Arts have been disparaged in like Manner by the same Knowledge. But they did not consider that it was foreign to the Purpose to exercise their Understanding on those very Subjects, wherein there was no solid Advantage.
• general, he could never discover what were his Sentiments? The Truth
• is, that Clitomachus had hot tcad the Writings of Carneades; for, except 'fome Letters that he wrote to Anarathes, King of Cappadocia, which ran
• in his Name, the rest of his Opinions, as Diogenes Laertius fays expresly, 'were preserved in the Books of his Disciples. In Vita Carneadis, lib. iv. 'sect. 65. The fame Historian tells us, that Clitomachus, who composed « above 400 Volumes, applied himself above all Things, to illustrate the Sen'timents of Carneades, whom he succeeded. Diogtnus Laertius, in the
• Life of Clitomachus, lib. iv. sect. 67. * Lucret. lib. i. v. 640, &c.
k Diog.Laert. in the lifo-ofZae, lib. viL sect. 32..
As for the rest, some have reckoned Plato a Dogma
tist •, others a Doubter •, others in some Plato's^/ Things the former, and in others the latter. Sentiments. Socrates, who conducted his Dialogues, is
continually starting Queries and stirring up Disputes, never determining, never satisfying, and profesies to have no other Science but that of Opposition. Homer, their Author, has equally laid the Foundations of all the Sects of Philosophy, to shew how indifferent it was to which of them we inclined.
Tohonumany 'Tis said' that Kn several Sects sPTMg
Seas Plato from Plato; and, in my Opinion, never did gam Birth. any Instruction totter and waver, if his does
not. Socrates said, • That Midwives, while they make it their
'Business to assist others in bringing forth,! Socrates com- 'lay aside the Misery of their own Generatifaredhimself * 0n: That, by the Title of the Sage, which uMdudve,. < the Qbds had conferred upon him, he was
* also disabled in his virile and mental Love,.
s Sallust. p. 94. Mattairfi Edit, London, 1715.
4 of the Faculty of bringing forth, contenting himself to 'help and assist those that were pregnant, to open their
* Nature, lubricate their Passages, facilitate the Birth of 4 the Issue of their Brains; to pass Judgment on it 5 to 4 baptise, nourish, fortify it; to swathe and circumcise
* it; exercising and employing his Understanding in the
* Perils and Fortunes of others.'
The Cafe is the fame with the.Generality of the Authors of this third Class, as the Ancients have observed of the Writings-of Anaxagoras, Be- 2^/2"/ mocritus, Parmenides, Xenophon, and others. '^Ly 'great They have a manner of Writing doubtful, Philosophers both in Substance and Design, rather inquir- and famous jng than teaching, though they intermix some nters' dogmatical Periods in their Stile. * Is not this also visible in Seneca and Plutarch? How self-contradictory do they appear to such as pry narrowly into them? And the Reconcilers of the Lawyers ought first to reconcile them every one to themselves. Plato seems to me to have affected this Form of philosophizing by Dialogues, on purpose to the End that he might with greater Decency from several Mouths deliver the Diversity and Variety of his own Fancies. To treat of Matters variously is altoge-1 ther as well as to treat of them conformably, and indeed better; that is to fay, more copiously, and with greater Profit. Let us only look at Home, Sentences or Decrees are the utmost Period of all dogmatical and determinative Speaking: And yet those Arrets which our Parliaments make, those that are the most exemplary, and that are most proper to cultivate the Reverence due from the People to that Dignity chiefly, considering the Ability of the Persons vested with it, derive their Beauty notso much from theConclusions, which are what they passeveryDay, and are common to every Judge, as from the Discussion and Debating of the differing and contrary Arguments which the Matter of Law admits of. And the largest Field for the Censures, which some Philosophers pass upon others, is owing to the Contradictions and Variety of Opinions, wherein every one of them finds himself inrangled, eiVol. II. R ther