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the mind, or in guarding it against the influence of erroneous opinions. It is, however, a very different question, how far this art may be of use to such as are led by profession or inclination to try their strength in polemical warfare. My own opinion is, that, in the present age, it would not give to the disputant, in the judgment of men suffrage is of any value, the slightest advantage over his anprofessed whose tagonist. In earlier times, indeed, the case must have been differ

disputants ent. While the scholastic forms continued to be kept up, and while schoolmen were the sole judges of the contest, an expert logician could not fail to obtain an easy victory over an inferiour proficient. Now, however, when the supreme tribunal to which all parties must appeal, is to be found, not within but without the walls of universities; and when the most learned dialectician must, for his own credit, avoid all allusion to the technical terms and technical forms of his art, can it be imagined that the mere possession of its rules furnishes him with invisible aid for annoying his adversary, or renders him invulnerable by some secret spell against the weapons of his assailant? Were this really the case, one might have expected that the advocates who have undertaken its defence, (considering how much their pride was interested in the controversy) would have given us some better specimens of its practical utility, in defending it against the unscientific attacks of Bacon and of Locke. It is, however, not a little remarkable, that, in every argument which they have attempted in its favour, they have not only been worsted by those very antagonists whom they accuse of ignorance, but fairly driven from the field of battle.


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An argument of this sort in favour of the Aristotelian logic, has, in fact, been lately alleged, in a treatise to which I have already had occasion to refer.

Mr. Locke seems throughout to imagine that no use can be made of the doctrine of syllogisms unless by men who deliver their reasonings in syllogistic form. That would, indeed, justly expose a man to the imputation of disgusting pedantry and tediousness. But, in fact, he who never uses an expression horrowed from the Aristotelic logic, may yet, unobserved, be availing himself, in the most important manner, of its use, by bringing definitions, divisions, and arguments, to the test of its rules.

"In the mere application of it to the examining of an argument which we desire to refute, the logician will be able to bring the argument in his own mind to syllogistic form. He will then have before his view every constituent part of the argument; some of which may have been wholly suppressed by his antagonist, and others disguised by ambiguity and declamation.-He knows every point in which it is subject to examination. -He perceives immediately, by the rules of his art, whether the premises may be ac knowledged, and the conclusion denied, for want of a vis consequentiae.-If not, he knows where to look for a weakness.-He turns to each of the premises, and considers whether they are false, dubious, or equivocal; and is thus prepared and directed to expose every weak point in the argument with clearness, precision and method; and this to those who perhaps are wholly ignorant of the aids by which the speaker is thus enabled to carry conviction with his discourse." Commentary on the Compendium of Logic, used in the University of Dublin. Dublin, 1805.

In most of the defences of the school logic which I have seen, the chief weapon em ployed has been that kind of argument which, in scholastic phraseology, is called the Argumentum ad Hominem; an argument in the use of which much regard to consistency is seldom to be expected. In one sentence, accordingly, Bacon and Locke are accused of having never read Aristotle; and, in the next, of having borrowed from Aristotle the most valuable part of their writings.

With respect to Locke, it has been triumphantly observed, that his acquaintance with Aristotle's logic must have been superficial, as he has, in one of his objections, manifestly

It has, indeed, been asserted by an ingenious and learned writer, that "he has never met with a person unacquainted with logic, who "could state and maintain his argument with facility, clearness " and precision ;-that he has seen a man of the acutest mind puz"zled by the argument of his antagonist; sensible perhaps, that it "was inconclusive, but wholly unable to expose, the fallacy which "rendered it so : while a logician, of perhaps very inferior talents, "would be able at once to discern and to mark it.""*

I do not deny that there may be some foundation for this statement. The part of Aristotle's Organon which seems, in the design, to be the most practically useful (although it is certainly very imperfect in the execution) is the book of sophisms; a book which organon. still supplies a very convenient phraseology for marking concisely most use some of the principal fallacies which are apt to impose on the un- fut in praiderstanding in the heat of a viva voce dispute.† Whether it af tine! fords any aid in detecting or discerning these fallacies may perhaps be doubted. But it is certainly an acquisition, and an acquisition of

confounded particular with singular propositions. (Commentary on the Dublin Compen dium.) The criticism, I have no doubt, is just; but does it, therefore, follow, that a greater familiarity with the technical niceties of an art which he despised, would have rendered this profound thinker more capable of forming a just estimate of its scope and spirit, or of its efficacy in aiding the human understanding ?-Somewhat of the same description are the attempts which have been repeatedly made to discredit the strictures of Dr. Reid, by appealing to his own acknowledgment, that there might possibly be some parts of the Analytics and Topics, which he had never read The passage in which this acknowledgment is made, is so characteristical of the modesty and candour of the writer, that I am tempted to annex it to this note ;-more especially, as I am persuaded, that, with many readers, it will have the effect of confirming, rather than of shaking their confidence in the general correctness and fidelity of his researches.

"In attempting to give some account of the Analytics and of the Topics of Aristotle, ingenuity requires me to confess, that, though I have often proposed to read the whole with care, and to understand what is intelligible, yet my courage and patience always failed before I had done. W by should I throw away so much time and painful attention upon a thing of so little real use? If I had lived in those ages when the knowledge of Aristotle's Organon entitled a man to the highest rank in philosophy, ambition might have induced me to employ upon it some years of painful study, and less, I conceive, would not be sufficient. Such reflections as these always got the better of my resolution, when the first ardour began to cool. All I can say is, that I have read some parts of the books with care, some slightly, and some perhaps not at all. I have glanced over the whole often, and when any thing attracted my attention, have dipped into it till my appetite was satisfied Of all reading, it is the most dry and the most painful, employing an infinite labour of demonstration, about things of the most abstract nature, delivered in a laconic style, and often, I think, with affected obscurity; and all to prove general propositions, which, when applied to particular instances, appear self-evident." Chap. III.

sect. 1.

* Mr. Walker, author of the Commentary on the Dublin Compendium of Logic.

+ Such phrases, for example, as 1. Fallacia Accidentis. 2. A dicto secundum quid, ad dictum simpliciter. 3. Ab ignorantia Elenchi 4 A non causa pro causa. 5 Fallacia consequentis. 6. Petitio principii. 7. Fallacia plurium interrogationum. &c.

I have mentioned those fallacies alone which are called by logicians Fallaciae extra Dictionem; for as to those which are called Fallaciae in Dictione (such as the Fallacia Aequivocationis, Fallacia Amphiboliae, Fallacia Accentus vel Pronunciationis, Fallacia a Figura dictionis. &c.) they are too contemptible to be deserving of any notice.-For some remarks on this last class of fallacies, see note (M.)

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no contemptible value, to have always at hand a set of technical terms, by which we can point out to our hearers, without circumlocution or discussion, the vulnerable parts of our antagonist's reasoning. That nothing useful is to be learned from Aristotle's logic, I am far from thinking: but I believe that all which is useful in it might be reduced into a very narrow compass; and I am decidedly of opinion, that wherever it becomes a serious and favourite object Attachment of study, it is infinitely more likely to do harm than good. Indeed, I cannot help considering it as strongly symptomatic of some unto syllogism soundness in a man's judgment, when I find him disposed (after all groof of m-that has been said by Bacon and Locke) to magnify its importance tol weakness. either as an inventive or as an argumentative Organ. Nor does this opinion rest upon theory alone. It is confirmed by all that I have observed, (if after the example of the author last quoted I may presume to mention the results of my own observations,) with respect to the intellectual characters of the most expert dialecticians whom I have happened to know. Among these, I can with great truth say, that although I recollect several possessed of much learning, subtlety and ingenuity, I can name none who have extended by their discoveries the boundaries of science; or, on whose good sense I should conceive that much reliance was to be placed in the conduct of important affairs.


Some very high authorities, I must, at the same time, confess, may be quoted on the opposite side of the question; among others, that of Leibnitz, unquestionably one of the first names in modern phi


defended losophy. But, on this point, the mind of Leibnitz was not altogeth er unwarped; for he appears to have early contracted a partiality, lains of not only for scholastic learning, but for the projects of some of the schoolmen to reduce, by means of technical aids, the exercise of the discursive faculty to a sort of mechanical operation;—a partiality which could not fail to be cherished by that strong bias towards synthetical reasoning from abstract maxims, which characterizes all his philosophical speculations. It must be remembered, too, that he lived at a period, when logical address was still regarded in Germany as an indispensable accomplishment to all whose taste led them to the cultivation of letters or of science. Nor was this an accomplishment of easy acquisition; requiring, as it must have done, for its attainment, a long course of laborious study, and, for its suc cessful display, a more than ordinary share of acuteness, promptitude, and invention. To all which it may be added, that while it remained in vogue, it must have been peculiarly flattering to the vanity and self-love of the possessor; securing to him, in every contest with the comparatively unskilful, an infallible triumph. These considerations, (combined with that attachment to the study of jurisprudence which he retained through life) may, I think, go far to account for the disposition which Leibnitz sometimes shews to magnify a little too much the value of this art. It is, besides, extremely worthy of remark, with respect to this eminent man, within what narrow limits he circumscribes the province of the school

logic, notwithstanding the favourable terms in which he occasionally speaks of it. The following passage in one of his letters is particularly deserving of attention, as it confines the utility of syllogism But denin to those controversies alone which are carried on in writing, and contains an explicit acknowledgment, that, in extemporaneous dis- the utility cussions, the use of it is equally nugatory and impracticable. in extempo"I have myself experienced the great utility of the forms of logic ramous " in bringing controversies to an end; and wonder how it has hap- disputes. "pened, that they should have been so often applied to disputes "where no issue was to be expected, while their real use has been "altogether overlooked. In an argument which is carried on viva "voce, it is scarcely possible that the forms should continue to be " rigorously observed; not only on account of the tediousness of the "process, but chiefly from the difficulty of retaining distinctly in "the memory all the different links of a long chain. Accordingly, "it commonly happens, that after one prosyllogism, the disputants "betake themselves to a freer mode of conference. But if, in a "controversy, carried on in writing, the legitimate forms were "strictly observed, it would neither be difficult nor disagreeable, by "a mutual exchange of syllogisms and answers, to keep up the con"test,* till either the point to be proved was completely established, "or the disputant had nothing farther to allege in support of it. "For the introduction, however, of this into practice, many rules "remain to be prescribed; the greater part of which are to be col"lected from the practice of lawyers."t

This concession, from so consummate a judge, I consider as of great consequence in the present argument. For my own part, if I were called on to plead the cause of the school logic, I should certainly choose to defend, as the more tenable of the two posts, that which Leibnitz has voluntarily abandoned. Much might, I think, on this ground be plausibly alleged in its favour, in consequence of its obvious tendency to cultivate that invaluable talent to a disputant, which Aristotle has so significantly expressed by the word arxivo;a talent of which the utility cannot be so forcibly pictured, as in the lively and graphical description given by Johnson, of the inconveniences with which the want of it is attended.

The words in the original are" non ingratum nec difficile foret, mittendo remit. tendoque syllogismos. et responsiones, tamdiu reciprocare serram, donec vel confectum sit quod probandum erat, vel nihil ultra habeat quod afferat argumentator."

+ Leibnitz. Op. Tom. VI. p. 72. Edit. Dutens.

turns upon one only of the many advantages which management of a vivâ voce dispute.

Aristotle's definition of a presence of mind bestows, in the Ηδ' αγχίνοια εστιν ευστοχία τις εν ασκέπτῳ χρόνῳ του μέσου. (Sagacitas est bona quaedam medii conjectatio brevissimo tempore.) Analyt. Post. Lib. i. cap. 34. I use the word, upon this occasiou, in that extensive and obvious sense which its etymology suggests, and in which the corresponding Latin phrase is employed by Quinctilian. "In Altercatione opus est imprimis ingenio veloci ac mobili, animo praesenti et acri. Non enim cogitandum, sed dicendum statim est." Quinct. Lib. vi. cap. 4,

+ n it.

"There are men whose powers operate only at leisure and in "retirement, and whose intellectual vigour deserts them in conver"sation; whom merriment confuses, and objection disconcerts; "whose bashfulness restrains their exertion, and suffers them not "to speak, till the time of speaking is past; or whose attention to "their own character makes them unwilling to utter, at hazard, "what has not been considered and cannot be recalled."*

The tendency however of scholastic disputations to cure these defects, it must not be forgotten, belongs to them only in common with all other habits of extemporaneous debate; and the question still recurs, Whether it would not be wiser to look for the remedy, in exercises more analogous to the real business of life?


After having said so much in disparagement of the art of syllogizing, I feel it incumbent on me to add, that I would not be understood to represent a general acquaintance with it as an attainment knoledge of no value, even in these times. The technical language connected with it is now so incorporated with all the higher departments of syllogism learning, that, independently of any consideration of its practical applications, some knowledge of its peculiar phraseology may be remy useful garded as an indispensable preparation both for scientific and for literary pursuits. To the philosopher, it must ever remain a subject of speculation peculiarly interesting, as one of the most singular facts in the history of the Human Understanding. The ingenuity and subtlety of the invention, and the comprehensive reach of thought displayed in the systematical execution of so vast a design, form a proud and imperishable monument to the powers of Aristotle's mind, and leave us only to regret, that they were wasted upon objects of

* Life of Dryden.

+ It was with great pleasure I read the concluding paragraph of the introduction prefixed to a Compend of Logic, sanctioned by so learned a body as the University of Dublin.

"Utrum haecce ars per se revera aliquem praestet usum, quidam dubitavere. Quoniam vero in Authorum insigniorum scriptis saepe occurant termini Logici, hos terminos explicatos habere, ideoque et ipsius artis partes praecipuas omnino necessarium videtur. Haec itaque in sequenti compendio efficere est propositum."

(Artis Logicae Compendium. In usum Juventutis Collegii Dubliniensis.)

The arrangement of this department of academical study, proposed by M. Prévost of Geneva, seems to be very judiciously and happily imagined.

"Dialecticam, quae linguae philosophicae usum tradit, seorsim docere: et logicam, quae rationis analysin instituit, ab omni de verbis disputatione sejungere, visum est.

"Logicam autem in tres partes dividimus, de veritate, de errore, de methodo ut haec mentis medicina, ad instar medicinae corporis, exhibeat ordine statum naturalem, morbos, curationem."{

See the preface to a short but masterly tract De Probabilitate, printed at Geneva, in 1794.

[Whether this ast is of itself of any utility, some have doubted. Since however in the writings of the best authors, terms of logic often occur, to explain these and also the principal parts of the art, seems absolutely necessary.]

[It seemed best to teach separately Dialectics; and to separate logic, which teaches the analysis of reason, from all disputes about words.}

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