صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

is immediately placed between, the ideas of men and self-determination appear to be connected, i. e. this proposition, men can determine themselves, is drawn in, or inferred from this, that they shall be punished in the other world. For here the mind seeing the connexion there is between the idea of men's punishment in the other world and the idea of God punishing; between God punishing and the justice of the punishment; between justice of the punishment and guilt; between guilt and a power to do otherwise; between a power to do otherwise and freedom; and between freedom and self-determination; sees the connexion between men and self-determination.

Now I ask whether the connexion of the extremes be not more clearly seen in this simple and natural disposition, than in the perplexed repetitions and jumble of five or six syllogisms? I must beg pardon for calling it jumble, till somebody shall put these ideas into so many syllogisms, and then say, that they are less jumbled, and their connexion more visible, when they are transposed and repeated, and spun out to a greater length in artificial forms, than in that short and natural plain order they are laid down in here, wherein every one may see it; and wherein they must be seen before they can be put into a train of syllogisms. For the natural order of the connecting ideas must direct the order of the syllogisms, and a man must see the connexion of each intermediate idea with those that it connects, before he can with reason make use of it in a syllogism. And when all those syllogisms are made, neither those that are, nor those that are not logicians will see the force of the argumentation, i. e. the connexion of the extremes, one jot the better. [For those that are not men of art, not knowing the true forms of syllogism, nor the reasons of them, cannot know whether they are made in right and conclusive modes and figures or no, and so are not at all helped by the forms they are put into; though by them the natural order, wherein the mind could judge of their

respective connexion, being disturbed, renders the illation much more uncertain than without them.] And as for the logicians themselves, they see the connexion of each intermediate idea with those it stands between (on which the force of the inference depends) as well before as after the syllogism is made, or else they do not see it at all. For a syllogism neither shows nor strengthens the connexion of any two ideas immediately put together, but only by the connexion seen in them shows what connexion the extremes have one with another. But what connexion the intermediate has with either of the extremes in that syllogism, that no syllogism does or can show. That the mind only doth or can perceive as they stand there in that juxta-position only by its own view, to which the syllogistical form it happens to be in gives no help or light at: allit only shows that if the intermediate idea agrees with those it is on both sides immediately applied to, then those two remote ones, or as they are called extremes, do certainly agree, and therefore the immediate connexion of each idea to that which it is applied to on each side, on which the force of the reasoning depends, is as well seen before as after the syllogism is made, or else he that makes the syllogism could never see it at all.' This, as has been already observed, is seen only by the eye, or the perceptive faculty of the mind, taking a view of them laid together in a juxta-position; which view of any two it has equally, whenever they are laid together in any proposition, whether that proposition be placed as a major, or å minor, in a syllogism or no.

Of what use then are syllogisms? I answer, their chief and main use is in the schools, where men are allowed without shame to deny the agreement of ideas that do manifestly agree; or out of the schools, to those who from thence have learned without shame to deny the connexion of ideas, which even to themselves is visible. But to an ingenuous searcher after truth, who has no other aim but to find it, there is no need of any such form to force the allowing of the inference: the truth and reasonableness of it is better seen in ranging of the ideas in a simple and plain order: and hence it is, that men, in their own inquiries after truth, never use syllogisms to convince themselves, (or in teaching others to instruct willing learners.] Because, before they can put them into a syllogism, they must see the connexion that is between the intermediate idea and the two other ideas it is set between and applied to, to show their agreement; and when they see that, they see whether the inference be good or no, and so “syllogism comes too late to settle it. For to make use again of the former instance; I ask whether the mind, considering the idea of justice, placed as an intermediate idea between the punishment of men and the guilt of the punished, (and, till it does so consider it, the mind cannot make use of it as a medius terminus) does not as plainly see the force and strength of the inference as when it is formed into a syllogism ? To show it in a very plain and easy example; let animal be the intermediate idea or medius terminus that the mind makes use of to show the connexion of homo and vivens : I ask, whether the mind does not more readily and plainly see that connexion in the simple and proper position of the connecting idea in the middle; thus,

Homo-
-Animal

Vivens, than in this perplexed one,

Animal-Vivens-Homo Animal:

[ocr errors]

which is the position these ideas have in a syllogism, to show the connexion between homo and vivens by the intervention of animal.

Indeed, syllogism is thought to be of necessary use, even to the lovers of truth, to show them the fallacies that are often concealed in florid, witty, or involved discourses. But that this is a mistake will appear. if we consider, that the reason why sometimes men, who sincerely aim at truth, are imposed upon by such loose, and as they are called rhetorical discourses, is, that their fancies being struck with some lively metaphorical representations, they neglect to observe, or do not easily perceive, what are the true ideas upon which the inference depends. Now to show such men the weakness of such an argumentation, there needs no more but to strip it of the superfluous ideas, which, blended and confounded with those on which the inference depends, seem to show a connexion where there is none; or at least do hinder the discovery of the want of it; and then to lay the naked ideas, on which the force of the argumentation depends, in their due order, in which position the mind, taking a view of them, sees what connexion they have, and so is able to judge of the inference without any need of a syllogism at all.

I grant that mode and figure is commonly made use of in such cases, as if the detection of the incoherence of such loose discourses were wholly owing to the syllogistical form; and so I myself formerly thought, till upon a stricter examination I now find, that laying the intermediate ideas naked in their due order shows the incoherence of the argumentation better than syllogism; not only as subjecting each link of the chain to the immediate view of the mind in its proper place, whereby its connexion is best observed; but also because syllogism shows the incoherence only to those (who are not one of ten thousand) who perfectly understand mode and figure, and the reason upon which those forms are established: whereas a due and orderly placing of the ideas upon which the inference is made makes every one, whether logician or not logician, who understands the terms, and hath the faculty to perceive the agreement or disagreement of such ideas (without which, in or out of syllogism, he cannot perceive the strength or weakness, coherence or incoherence of the discourse) see the

[ocr errors]

want of connexion in the argumentation, and the absurdity of the inference.

And thus I have known a man unskilful in syllogism, who at first hearing could perceive the weakness and inconclusiveness of a long, artificial, and plausible discourse, wherewith others better skilled in syllogism have been misled. And I believe there are few of my readers who do not know such. And indeed if it were not so, the debates of most princes? counsels, and the business of assemblies, would be in danger to be mismanaged, since those who are relied upon, and have usually a great stroke in them, are not always such who have the good luck to be perfectly knowing in the forms of syllogism, or expert in mode and figure. And if syllogism were the only, or so much as the surest way to detect the fallacies of artificial discourses, I do not think that all mankind, even princes in matters that concern their crowns and dignities, are so much in love with falsehood and mistake, that they would every where have neglected to bring syllogism into the debates of moment, or thought it ridiculous so much as to offer them in affairs of consequence; a plain evidence to me, that men of parts and penetration, who were not idly to dispute at their ease, but were to act according to the result of their debates, and often pay for their mistakes with their heads or fortunes, found those scholastic forms were of little use to discover truth or fallacy, whilst both the one and the other might be shown, and better shown, without them, to those who would not refuse to see what was visibly shown them.

Secondly, another reason that makes me doubt whether syllogism be the only proper instrument of reason in the discovery of truth is, that of whatever use mode and figure is pretended to be in the laying open of fallacy (which has been above considered) those scholastic forms of discourse are not less liable to fallacies than the plainer ways of argumentation ; and for this I appeal to common observation, which

« السابقةمتابعة »