Recent English Works On Logic And Metaphysics -- By: N. Porter, Jr.

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 006:23 (Aug 1849)
Article: Recent English Works On Logic And Metaphysics
Author: N. Porter, Jr.


Recent English Works On Logic And Metaphysics

N. Porter, Jr.

These works are not all of equal value, but they are all interesting, as indications of the direction now taken by thinking men in England. They show that logic and metaphysics are far from dying out on English soil; that, on the other hand, they are pursued with greater thoroughness than for a long time previous, and are held in higher estimation, both in respect to their value in the training of the scholar, and in their relation to the fundamental principles of the sciences and theology. The advance in this respect since Whately published what may be called his vindication of Logic, is very perceptible and gratifying. Such works as Herschell on Natural Philosophy, Whewell on the Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, Mill’s System of Logic, Hamilton’s edition of Reid, Morell’s History of Speculative Philosophy, etc., are all tokens of a more thorough and less timid philosophical spirit. In this country, the study of logic has for the last generation been almost unknown, and it is not surprising that it has been gravely proposed to dispense with it altogether and to substitute in its stead, as the regulator of the mind, intuition by the emotions! We may possibly be in the right in this judgment, but it may not be amiss for us, to be informed, of the differing judgments of our neighbors in England and on the Continent. In Germany, logic has for seventy-five years at least, held its deserved honor, and tasked the energies of all its severest thinkers. In England, it seems to be rising rather than falling in the public esteem. In both England and Germany, the relations of logic to science, or of thoughts to things, is occupying the attention of

many earnest men; as, with us, the kindred question of the relation of logic to theology. We propose to settle it by a contemptuous discharge of logic, as an inadequate and incompetent assistant, who will rather hinder than help us. Our older, perhaps not our wiser neighbors, seek by a more thorough study of logic itself, and by the light which logic affords, to trace distinctly the line between thoughts and things, between our conceptions and the realities which they represent; between things as expressed in language and things as they exist in nature.

The “Lectures on Logic” is a small volume, which is designed as a manual of formal logic, or logic as it is concerned with the forms of reasoning, as distinguished from “the method of their application to the various departments of knowledge.” In style it is direct and condensed. It enters, without apology or introduction, upon the several topics of which it treats, defines and expounds each one in its turn, with perhaps a single illustration...

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