« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
FOUNDED UPON THEIR HISTORY.
BY WILLIAM WHEWELL, D.D.,
MASTER OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE.
A NEW EDITION,
WITH CORRECTIONS AND ADDITIONS, AND
AN APPENDIX, CONTAINING
REV. ADAM SEDGWICK, M.A.,
SENIOR FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGF,
WOODWARDIAN PROFESSOR OF GEOLOGY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF
CAMBRIDGE, AND PREBENDARY OF NORWICH.
MY DEAR SEDGWICK,
When I showed you the last sheet of my History of the Inductice Sciences in its transit through the press, you told me that I ought to add a paragraph or two at the end, by way of Moral to the story; and I replied that the Moral would be as long as the story itself. The present work, the Moral which you then desired, I have, with some effort, reduced within a somewhat smaller compass than I then spoke of; and I cannot dedicate it to any one with so much pleasure as to you.
It has always been my wish that, as far and as long as men might know anything of me by my writings, they should hear of me along with the friends with whom I have lived, whom I have loved, and by whose conversation I have been animated to hope that I too might add something to the literature of our country. There is no one whose name has, on such grounds, a better claim than yours to stand in the front of a work, which has been the subject of my labours for no small portion of our long period of friendship. But there is another reason which gives a peculiar propriety to this dedication of my Philosophy to you. I have little doubt that if your life had not been absorbed in struggling with many of the most difficult problems of a difficult science, you would have been my fellow-labourer or master in the work which I have here undertaken. The same spirit which dictated your vigorous protest against some of the errours which I also attempt to expose, would have led you, if your thoughts had been
more free, to take a leading share in that Reform of Philosophy, which all who are alive to such errours, must see to be now indispensable. To you I may most justly inscribe a work which contains a criticism of the fallacies of the ultra-Lockian school.
I will mention one other reason which enters into the satisfaction with which I place your name at the head of my Philosophy. By doing so, I may consider myself as dedicating it to the College to which we both belong, to which we both owe so much of all that we are, and in which we have lived together so long and so happily; and that, be it remembered, the College of Bacon and of Newton. That College, I know, holds a strong place in your affections, as in mine; and among many reasons, not least on this account ;— we believe that sound and enduring philosophy ever finds there a congenial soil and a fostering shelter. If the doctrines which the present work contains be really true and valuable, my unhesitating trust is, that they will spread gradually from these precincts to every part of the land.
That this office of being the fosterer and diffuser of truth may ever belong to our common Nursing Mother, and that you, my dear Sedgwick, may long witness and contribute to these beneficial influences, is the hearty wish of
Trinity College, May 1, 1840.
In the Preface to the first edition of this work, it was stated that the work was intended as an application of the plan of Bacon's Nocum Organon to the present condition of Physical Science. Such an undertaking, it was there said, plainly belongs to the present generation. Bacon only divined how sciences might be constructed ; we can trace, in their history, how their construction has taken place. However sagacious were his conjectures, it may be expected that they will be further illustrated by facts which we know to have really occurred. However large were his anticipations, the actual progress of science since his time may aid in giving comprehensiveness to our views. And with respect to the methods by which science is to be promoted,—the structure and operation of the Organ by which truth is to be collected from nature,-we know that, though Bacon's general maxims still guide and animate philosophical enquirers yet that his views, in their detail, have all turned out inapplicable: the technical parts of his method failed in his hands, and are forgotten among the cultivators of science. It cannot be an unfit task, at the present day, to endeavour to extract from the actual past progress of science, the elements of a more effectual and sub