Imágenes de páginas

Proclus : “ The celestial fire is not caustic but vivific, in the same manner as the natural heat which is in us. He also adds, that mortal animals live through a certain illumination from this light; and that all heaven consists of a fire of this kind, but that the stars have for the most part this element, and have likewise the summits of the other elements.” ου γαρ καυστικoν το ουρανιον πυρ, αλλ' ως αν eγωγε φαιην ζωοποιον, ως και το εν ημιν εμφυτον θερμον. και αυτος εν τοις περι γενεσεως ζωων, ειναι φησι τινα ελλαμψιν, ης παρουσης ζην των θνητων εκαστον. ο μεν ουν ολος ουρανος, εκ του τοιουτου πυρος εστι, τα


астра, , πλειστον μεν εχει τουτο το στοιχειον, εχει δε και των αλλων τας ακροτητας."

This divine body, ou account of its superiority to sublunary natures, was called by Aristotle a fifth body, and was said hy Plato to consist for the most part of fire; the characteristic of fire according to Plato being visibility, and of earth tangibility. The celestial spheres therefore, being divine immaterial bodies, have nothing of the density or gravity of this our earth, but are able to permeate each other without division, and to occupy the same place together; just like the illuminations emitted from several lamps, which pass through the whole of the same room at once, and pervade each other without confusion, divulsion, or any apparent distinction.

Hence these spheres are similar to mathematical bodies, so far as they are immaterial, free from contrariety, and exempt from every passive quality ; but are different from them so far as they are full of motion and life. But they are concealed from our sight through the tenuity and subtility of their nature, while, on the contrary, the fire of the planets which are carried in them is visible through the solidity which it possesses. So that earth is more predominant in the planets than in the spheres ; though each subsists for the most part according to the characteristic of vivific fire. Very elegantly therefore is it observed by Proclus (in Tim. p. 278) “ that the celestial spheres [in which the planets are carried,] have a more attenuated and diaphanous, but the stars a more solid essence. That fire has every where dominion in the celestial regions, and that all heaven is characterised by its power. That the fire wbich is there is neither caustic, since this is not even the case with the first of the sublunary elements, which Aristotle is accustomed to call fiery-formed, nor corruptive of any thing, nor contrary to earth, but shines throughout with vivific heat, with illuminative power, with purity and transparent splendor.” τι δει (lege δη) ταυτα ορθως λεγομεν, εικοτως αι μεν σφαίραι λεπτοτεραν έχoυσιν και διαφανέστεραν ουσιαν, τα δε αστρα στερεωτεραν. πανταχου δε επικρατει το πυρ, και ο πας ουρανος κατα την χαρακτηριζεται δυναμιν.

! Vid. Joann. Grammat. contra Procl. De Mundi AEternitate.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

και ουτε καυστικoν το εχει πυρ, (οπου γε ουδε το υπο σεληνην το πρωτιστον των ενταυθα στοιχειαν, ο καλειν ειωθεν Αριστοτελης πυροειδες,) ουτε φθαρTIXOV TIVOS, OUTE εναντιον προς την γην, αλλα θερμοτητι ζωογονα, και δυναμει φωτιστικη, και καθαρότητα και διαυγεια διαλαμπον.

When Bonnycasıle therefore represents Copernicus as influenced by a noble phrenzy, when he dashed the crystal orbs of Ptolemy to pieces, he was certainly right in calling it a phrenzy ; for none but a madman would attempt to break that which cannot be broken; and a body consisting of immaterial light must certainly be an infrangible substance ; but it will not, I trust, be readily admitted that such a phrenzy is noble, except in the same way as that of a plebeian lunatic, who fancies himself to be a king.

The next modern I shall adduce, who has presumed to defame Aristotle without being thoroughly acquainted with his writings is the Honorable Robert Boyle; a man who in other respects deserves no common portion of esteem and applause, for the purity of his manners, and the piety of his disposition. In this latter particular indeed, he is an example worthy the imitation of every sincere lover of divinity. For it is recorded of bim, that he never mentioned the name of God in conversation without a pause; so reverential were his conceptions of the divine essence. And it is deeply to be regretted that a mind with such a predisposition, had not, by a legitimate study of Plato and Aristotle, combined the light of science with the effusions of piety, and thus have had access to the adytum, instead of standing in the vestibules of deity. This otherwise excellent man, therefore, observes of Aristotle as follows: “And I must now make bold to say, that Aristotle was not only a heathen, but was far enough from being one of the best heathen philosophers about God and divine things, there being several of the ancient philosophers, as Plato and Pythagoras (to name no others), whose discourses about the deity and his attributes were much more sound, and less unsuitable to that infinitely perfect being, and his actions, than were those of Aristotle, of whom the excellent Grotius somewhere judiciously observes, that his sentiments appeared much more favorable to religion, in his exoterical writings, where he was to keep fair with popular seaders, than in his acroamatical, where he delivers bis sense as a philosopher." And again in another place: “For as Aristotle, by introducing the opinion of the eternity of the world, did, at least in almost all men's opinion, openly deny God the production of the world; so by ascribing the admirable works of God to what he calls nature, he tacitly denies him the government of the world." ?

From these extracts it appears, that Boyle had never read the metaphysics of Aristotle ; for if he had, he certainly would not

[merged small][ocr errors]



See Boyle's Works, 4to. vol. vi. p. 706.

2 Ibid, vol. v. p. 163.

have said, that Aristotle ascribes the works of God to nature ; since in the passage which we cited when we were speaking of Lord Bacon, the Stagirite expressly says,

" that heaven and NATURE are suspended from the principle of things, who is the first mover, wbo moves as that which is beloved, and who is life and duration continued and eternal.” Had Boyle indeed properly studied the works of Aristotle, he would have made the same eulogium ou the whole, as he has represented Themistius, in a dialogue, making on a part of them. For this interlocutor there says : “ That great favorite and interpreter of nature Aristotle, who was, as his Organum witnesses, the greatest master of logic that ever lived, disclaimed the course taken by other petty philosophers (ancient and modern) uho, not attending to the coherence and consequence of their opinions, are more solicitous to make each particular opinion plausible independently upon the rest, than to frame them allso, as not only to be consistent together, but to support each other. For that great man, in bis vast and comprehensive intellect, so framed each of his notions, that being curiously adapted into one system, they need not each of them any other defence than that which their mutual coherence gives them; as it is in an arch, where each single stone, which if severed from the rest, would be perhaps defenceless, is sufficiently secured by the solidity and entireness of the whole fabric, of which it is a part. How justly this may be applied to the present case, I could easily show you, if I were permitted to declare to you, how harmonious Aristotle's doctrine of the elements is with his other principles of philosophy; and how rationally he has deduced their number from that of the combinations of the four first qualities, from the kinds of simple motion belonging to simple bodies, and from I know not how many other principles and phænomena of nature, which so conspire with his doctrine of the elements, that they mutually strengthen and support each other.”! And thus much for the illustrious but unfortunate Boyle ; for unforiunate he certainly must be deemed, who, with a mind so naturally well-disposed, mistook the dark and descending labyrinths of matter, for the arduous but luminous heights of genuine philosophy.

Let us in the next place direct our attention to that celebrated modern Locke, and we shall find him so far from being an adept in the writings of Aristotle, as not even to have understood his logic, though this ranks only as an introduction to the philosophy of the Stagirite. Any one is certainly justified in asserting this of Locke, when he finds him in his Essay on Human Understanding maintaining that syllogism is not the great instrument of reason. But I will extract what he says on this subject.

[ocr errors][merged small]

“ If we will observe," says he, “the actings of our own minds, we shall find that we reason best and clearest, when we only observe the connection of the proof, without reducing our thoughts to any rule of syllogism. And therefore we may take notice, that there are many nien that reason exceeding clear and rightly, who know not how to make a syllogism). All who have so far considered syllogism, as to see the reason why in three propositions laid together in one form, the conclusion will be certainly right, but in another, not certainly so; I grant are certain of the conclusion they draw from the premises in the allowed modes and figures. But they who have not so far looked into those forms, are not sure by virtue of syllogism, that the conclusion certainly follows from the premises ; they only take it to be so by an implicit faith in their teachers, and a confidence in those forms of argumentation ; but this is still but believing, not being certain.-But God has not been so sparing to men to inake them barely two-legged creatures, and left it to Aristotle to make them rational. God has been more bountiful to mankind than so. He has given them a mind that can reason, without being instructed in methods of syllogising. I say not this any way to lessen Aristotle, whom I look on as one of the greatest men among the ancients; whose large views, acuteness and penetration of thought, and strength of judgment, few have equalled : and who, in this very invention of forms of argumentation, wherein the conclusion may be shown to be rightly inserred, did great service against those who were not ashamed io deny any thing. And I readily own, that all right reasoning may be reduced to his forms of syllogism. But yet I think I may truly say, without any diminution to him, that they are not the only nor the best way of reasoning, for the leading of those into truth who are willing to find it, and desire to make the best use they may of their reason, for the attainment of knowledge.”'

This passage may surely be considered as one of the most remarkable for its absurdity that ever was written by a rational being. For can any thing be more obvious to one who is at all • conversant with logic than this, that all reasoning is a syllogistic process, which process is either latent or apparent? To say therefore that God has given men a mind that can reason, without being instructed in methods of syllogising, is just as absurd as if it should be said that God has made all inen archers witholit being instructed in the use of the bow. For as all men are capable of discharging an arrow from a bow, and may frequently though unskilled in archery hit the mark at which they aim, so all men can reason though uninstructed in syllogism, and frequently though thus

See his Essay, 4to. edit. p. 423,424,

ignorant, reason rightly, but the rectitude in both these instances is accidental ; since he who is unskilled in the use of the bow cannot be certain that be shall hit the mark, nor can he who is uninstructed in syllogism, be certain that he reasons rightly. The absurdiiy indeed of Locke's position is so great, that he contradicts himself in maintaining it. For he says, “I readily own that all right reasoning may be reduced to Aristotle's forms of syllogism ;" and yet he immediately adds, “ But I think I may truly say, withiout any diminution to him, that they are not the only nor the best way of reasoning, for the leading of those into truth who are willing to find it, and desire to make the best use they may of their reason for the attainment of knowledge.” Now if all right reasoning may be reduced to Aristotle's forms of syllogism, the best way of reasoning must be according to those forms. For the best way of reasoning is surely that which leads to right reasoning, and right reasoning is reducible to the syllogistic forms invented by Aristotle.

Besides, there can be no demonstration unless that syllogism is employed, the properties of which Aristotle has so beautifully unfolded in his Posterior Analytics. For having enumerated the three conditions of true science; viz. Ist, that the cause of the thing must be known, or, in other words, that the middle term of the demonstration must be the cause of the conclusion ; 2d, that this cause must be compared with the effect, so that we may know it to be the cause of the conclusion ; and 3d, that this conclusion must have a necessary subsistence, he observes as follows: Ει τοινυν εστι το επιστασθαι, οιον εθεμεν' αναγκη και την αποδεικτικην επιστημην εξ αληθων τειναι, και πρωτων και αμεσων, και γνωριμώτερων, και προτερων, και αιτιων του συμπερασματος, ουτως γαρ έσονται και αι αρχαι οικείαι του δεικνυμενου, συλλογισμος μεν γαρ εσται και ανευ τουτων αποδειξις δε ουκ εσται' ου γαρ ποιησει επιστημην. αληθη μεν ουν δει ειναι, ότι ουκ εστι το μη ον επιστασθαι' οιον οτι η διαμετρος συμμετρος. εκ πρωτων δ' αναποδεικτων, οτι ουκ επιστησεται μη έχων αποδειξιν αυτων. το γαρ επιστασθαι ως αποδειξις εστι, μη κατα συμβεβηκος, το εχεις αποδειξιν εστιν, αιτια τε, και γνωριμώτερα


προτερα, αιτια μεν, οτι τοτε επισταμεθα, οταν την αιτιαν ειδωμεν. και προτερα, είπερ αιτια. και προγινωσκομενα ου μονον τον ετερον τροπον τω ξυνιέναι, αλλα και το ειδεναι οτι

εστι. προτερα δ' εστι και γνωριμωτερα διχως. ου γαρ ταυτον, προτερον τη φυσει, και προς ημας προτερον, ουδε γνωριμοτερον, και ημιν γνωριμοτερον. λεγω δε προς ημάς μεν προτερα και γνωριμυτερα τα εγγυτερον της αισθησεως απλως δε προτερα και γνωριμωτερα τα πορρωτερον. εστι δε πορρωτατω μεν, τα καθολου μαλιστα. εγγύτατα δε, τα καθέκαστα, και αντικειται ταυταλληλοις. 1. e. "If then science is such as we have established it to be, it is also necessary that demonstrative science should consist from things true, first, immediate, more known than, prior to, and the causes of the conclusion: for this

είναι, και

« AnteriorContinuar »