Page images
PDF
EPUB

who speak so much of the value of facts of his foreknowledge proving the accuracy may understand the meaning of fact, but of his science. So, too, in the science of they evidently do not understand the mechanics, we predict that, certain cirmeaning of value. For, the value of a cumstances being present, certain results thing is not a property residing in that must follow; and having done this, our thing, nor is it a component; but it is i science ceases. Our art then begins, and simply its relation to some other thing. from that moment the object of utility and We say, for instance, that a five-shilling the faculty of control come into play ; so piece has a certain value ; but the value that in the art of mechanics, we alter does not reside in the coin. If it does, what in the science of mechanics we were where is it? Our senses can not grasp content to foresee. value. We can not see value, nor hear it, One of the most conspicuous tendencies nor feel it, nor taste it, nor smell it. The of advancing civilization is to give a scienvalue consists solely in the relation which tific basis to that faculty of control which the five-shilling piece bears to something is represented by art, and thus afford else. Just so in regard to facts. Facts, fresh prominence to the faculty of preas facts, have no sort of value, but are diction. In the earliest stage of society simply a mass of idle lumber. The value there are many arts, but no sciences. A of a fact is not an element or constituent little later, science begins to appear, and of that fact, but is its relation to the total every subsequent step is marked by an stock of our knowledge, either present or increased desire to bring art under the prospective. Facts, therefore, have dominion of science. To those who have merely a potential, and, as it were, subse studied the history of the human mind, quent value, and the only advantage of this tendency is so familiar that I need possessing them is the possibility of draw- hardly stop to prove it. Perhaps the ing conclusions from them; in other most remarkable instance is in the case of words, of rising to the idea, the principle, agriculture, which, for thousands of years, the law which governs them. Our know- was a mere empirical art, resting on the ledge is composed not of facts, but of the traditional maxims of experience, but relations which facts and ideas bear to which, during the present century, chemthemselves and to each other; and real ists began to draw under their jurisdicknowledge consists not in an acquaintance tion, so that the practical art of manuring with facts, which only makes a pedant, the ground is now explained by laws of but in the use of facts, which makes a physical science. Probably the next step philosopher.

will be to bring another part of the art of Looking at knowledge in this way, we agriculture under the dominion of meteorshall find that it has three divisions : ology, which will be done as soon as the Method, Science, and Art. Of method I conditions which govern the changes of will speak presently; but I will first state the weather have been so generalized as the limits of the other two divisions. The to enable us to foretell what the weather immediate object of all art is either pleas- will be. ure or utility: the immediate object of General reasoning, therefore, as well as all science is solely truth. As art and the history of what has been actually done. science have different objects, so also justify us in saying that the highest, the have they different faculties. The faculty ripest, and the most important form of of art is to change events; the faculty of knowledge, is the scientific form of prescience is to foresee them. The phenom- dicting consequences; it is therefore to ena with which we deal are controlled by this form that I shall restrict the remainart; they are predicted by science. The der of what I have to say to you respectmore complete a science is, the greater its ing the influence of women. And the power of prediction; the more complete point which I shall attempt to prove is, an art is, the greater its power of control. that there is a natural, a leading, and Astronomy, for instance, is called the probably an indestructible element, in the queen of the sciences, because it is the minds of women, which enables them, not most advanced of all; and the astronomer, indeed to make scientific discoveries, but while he abandons all hope of controlling to exercise the most momentous and saluor altering the phenomena, frequently tary influence over the method by which knows what the phenomena will be years discoveries are made. And as all quesbefore they actually appear; the extent tions concerning the philosophy of method

lie at the very root of our knowledge, I poets and mathematicians, asks which of will, in the first place, state, as succinctly them live longest. How is he to solve as I am able, the only two methods by this? If he proceeds inductively he will which we can arrive at truth.

first collect the facts, that is, he will ranThe scientific inquirer, properly so sack the biographies of poets and mathecalled, that is, he whose object is merely maticians in different ages, different clitruth, has only two ways of attaining his mates, and different states of society, so result. He may proceed from the exter- as to eliminate perturbations arising from nal world to the internal; or he may be circumstances not connected with his gin with the internal and proceed to the subject. He will then throw the results external. In the former case he studies into the statistical form of tables of morthe facts presented to his senses, in order tality, and on comparing them will find, to arrive at a true idea of them; in the that notwithstanding the immense variety latter case he studies the ideas already in of circumstances which he has investigated, his mind, in order to explain the facts of there is a general average which constiwhich his senses are cognizant. If he be- tutes an empirical law, and proves that gin with the facts his method is inductive; mathematicians, as a body, are longer if he begin with the ideas it is deductive. lived than poets. This is the inductive The inductive philosopher collects phe- method. On the other hand, the deductnomena either by observation or by expe- ive inquirer will arrive at precisely the riment, and from them rises to the general. same conclusion by a totally different principle or law which explains and covers method. He will argue thus: poetry apthem. The deductive philosopher draws peals to the imagination, mathematics to the principle from ideas already existing the understanding. To work the imaginain his mind, and explains the phenomena tion is more exciting than to work the by descending on them, instead of rising understanding, and what is habitually exfrom them. Several eminent thinkers citing is usually unhealthy. But what is have asserted that every idea is the result usually unhealthy will tend to shorten of induction, and that the axioms of ge- life; therefore poetry tends more than ometry, for instance, are the product of mathematics to shorten life; therefore on early and unconscious induction. In the the whole, poets will die sooner than same way Mr. Mill, in his great work on mathematicians. Logic, affirms that all reasoning is in You now see the difference between inreality from particular to particular, and duction and deduction; and you see, too, that the major premiss of every syllogism that both methods are valuable, and that is merely a record and register of know- any conclusion must be greatly strengthledge previously obtained. Whether this ened if we can reach it by two such differbe true, or whether, as another school of ent paths. To connect this with the thinkers asserts, we have ideas antecedent question before us, I will endeavor to to experience, is a question which has establish two propositions. First, That been hotly disputed, but which I do not women naturally prefer the deductive believe the actual resources of our know- method to the inductive. Secondly, That ledge can answer, and certainly I have no women by encouraging in men deductive intention at present of making the at- habits of thought, have rendered an imtempt. It is enough to say that we call mense though unconscious service to the geometry a deductive science, because, progress of knowledge, by preventing even if its axioms are arrived at induct- scientific investigators from being as ively, the inductive process is extremely exclusively inductive as they would other. small, and we are unconscious of it; while wise be. the deductive reasonings form the great In regard to women being by nature mass and difficulty of the science. more deductive, and men more inductive,

To bring this distinction home to you, you will remember that induction assigns I will illustrate it by a specimen of de- the first plaee to particular tacts; deducductive and inductive investigation of the tion to general propositions or ideas. same subject. Suppose a writer on what Now, there are several reasons why women is termed social science, wishes to estimate prefer the deductive, and, if I may so say, the influence of different habits of thought ideal method. They are more emotional, on the average duration of life, and taking more enthusiastic, and more imaginative as an instance the opposite pursuits of than men; they therefore live more in an VOL XLIV.-NO. II.

13

194

ideal world; while men, with their colder, more ideal world, and therefore prefer a harder, and austerer organizations, are method of inquiry which proceeds from more practical and more under the do- ideas to facts; leaving to men the oppominion of facts, to which they consequent- site method of proceeding from facts to ly ascribe a higher importance. Another ideas. circumstance which makes women more My second proposition is, that women deductive, is that they possess more of have rendered great though unconscious what is called intuition. They can not service to science, by encouraging and see so far as men can, but what they do keeping alive this habit of deductive see they see quicker. Hence, they are thought; and that if it were not for them, constantly tempted to grasp at once at an scientific men would be much too inducidea, and seek to solve a problem sudden- tive, and the progress of our knowledge ly, in contradistinction to the slower and would be hindered. There are many here more laborious ascent of the inductive in- who will not willingly admit this proposivestigator.

tion, because, in England, since the first That women are more deductive than balf of the seventeenth century, the inmen, because they think quicker than men, ductive method, as the means of arriving is a proposition which some persons will at physical truths, has been the object, not relish, and yet it may be proved in a not of rational admiration, but of a blind variety of ways. Indeed, nothing could and servile worship; and it is constantly prevent its being universally admitted said, that since the time of Bacon all great except the fact, that the remarkable ra- physical discoveries have been made by pidity with which women think is obscured that process. If this be true, then of by that miserable, that contemptible, that course the deductive habits of women preposterous system, called their educa- must, in reference to the progress of knowtion, in which valuable things are care- ledge, have done more harm than good. fully kept from them, and trifling things But it is not true. It is not true that the carefully taught to them, until their fine greatest modern discoveries have all been and nimble minds are too often irretriev- made by induction ; and the circumstance ably injured. It is on this account, that of its being believed to be true, is one of in the lower classes the superior quickness many proofs how much more successful of women is even more noticeable than in Englishmen have been in making disthe upper; and an eminent physician, Dr. coveries than in investigating the prinCurrie, mentions in one of his letters, that ciples according to which discoveries are when a laborer and his wife came together made. to consult him, it was always from the The first instance I will give you of the woman that he gained the clearest and triumph of the deductive method, is in most precise information, the intellect of the most important discovery yet made the man moving too slowly for his pur- respecting the inorganic world ; I mean pose. To this I may add another obser- the discovery of the law of gravitation by vation which many travelers have made, Sir Isaac Newton. Several of Newton's and which any one can verify; namely, other discoveries were, no doubt, inducthat when you are in a foreign country, tive, in so far as they merely assumed such and speaking a foreign language, women provisional and tentative hypotheses as are will understand you quicker than the men always necessary to make experiments will; and that for the same reason, if you fruitful. But it is certain that his greatlose your way in a town abroad, it is est discovery of all was deductive, in the always best to apply to a woman, because proper sense of the word ; that is to say, a man will show less readiness of

the process of reasoning from ideas was hension.

out of all proportion large, compared to These, and other circumstances which the process of reasoning from facts. Five might be adduced—such, for instance, as or six years after the accession of Charles the insight into character possessed by II., Newton was sitting in a garden, when women, and the fine tact for which they (you all know this part of the story) an are remarkable-prove that they are more apple fell from a tree. Whether he had deductive than men, for two principal been already musing respecting gravitareasons. First, Because they are quicker tion, or whether the fall of the apple dithan men. Secondly, Because, being more rected his thoughts into that channel is emotional and enthusiastic, they live in a l uncertain, and is immaterial to my present purpose, which is merely to indicate the fall of the apple was the cause of the discourse his mind actually took. His object covery, and then to adduce that as a conwas to discover some law, that is, rise to firmation of the idle and superficial saying some higher truth respecting gravity than that great events spring from little was previously known. Observe how he causes,” only shows how unable such went to work. He sat still where he was, writers are to appreciate what our masters and he thought. He did not get up to have done for us. No great event ever make experiments concerning gravitation, sprung, or ever will spring, from a little nor did he go home to consult observa- cause; and this, the greatest of all discov. tions which others had made, or to collate eries, had a cause fully equal to the effect tables of observations: he did not even produced. The cause of the discovery of continue to watch the external world, but the law of gravitation was not the fall of he sat, like a man entranced and enrap- the apple, nor was it any thing that octured, feeding on his own_mind, and curred in the external world. The cause evolving, idea after idea. He thought of the discovery of Newton was the mind that if the apple had been on a higher of Newton himself

appre

. tree, if it had been on the highest known The next instance I will mention of tree, it would have equally fallen. Thus the successful employment of the à prifar, there was no reason to think that the ori, or deductive method, concerns the power which made the apple fall was sus- mineral kingdom. If you take a crystalceptible of diminution; and if it were not lized substance as it is usually found in nasusceptible of diminution, why should it ture, nothing can at first sight appear be susceptible of limit? If it were unlim- more irregular and capricious. Even in ited and undiminished, it would extend its simplest form, the shape is so various above the earth ; it would reach the moon as to be perplexing; but natural crystals and keep her in her orbit. If the power are generally met with, not in primary which made the apple fall was actually forms, but in secondary ones, in which they able to control the moon, why should it have a singularly confused and uncouth asstop there? Why should not the planets pect. These strange-looking bodies had also be controlled, and why should not long excited the attention of philosophers, they be forced to run their course by the who, after the approved inductive fashion, necessity of gravitating towards the sun, subjected them to all sorts of experiments; just as the moon gravitated towards the divided them, broke them up, measured earth? His mind thus advancing from them, weighed them, analyzed them, thrust idea to idea, he was carried by imagina- them into crucibles, brought chemical tion into the realms of space, and still agents to bear upon them, and did every sitting, neither experimenting nor observ- thing they could think of to worm out the ing, but heedless of the operations of na- secret of these crystals, and get at their ture, he completed the most sublime and mystery. Still

, the mystery was not remajestic speculation that it ever entered vealed to them. At length, late in the into the heart of man to conceive. Ow- eighteenth century, a Frenchman named ing to an inaccurate measurement of the Haüy, one of the most remarkable men of diameter of the earth, the details which a remarkable age, made the discovery, verified this stupendous conception were and ascertained that these native crystals, not completed till twenty years later, irregular as they appear, are in truth when Newton, still pursuing the same fectly regular, and that their secondary process, made a deductive application of forms deviate from their primary forms the laws of Kepler: so that both in the by a regular process of diminution; that beginning and in the end, the greatest is, by what he termed laws of decrement discovery of the greatest natural philoso-1 —the principles of decrease being as unpher the world has yet seen, was the fruit erring as those of increase. Now, I beg of the deductive method. See how small that you will particularly notice how this a part the senses played in that discovery! striking discovery was made. Haüy was It was the triumph of the idea! It was essentially a poet'; and his great delight the audacity of genius! It was the out- was to wander in the Jardin du Roi, obbreak of a mind so daring, and yet so serving nature, not as a physical philososubtle, that we have only Shakspeare's pher, but as a poet. Though his underwith which to compare it. To pretend, standing was strong, his imagination was therefore, as many have done, that the stronger; and it was for the purpose of

per

was in

filling his mind with ideas of beauty that Those among you who are interested in he directed his attention at first to the botany, are aware that the highest morvegetable kingdom, with its graceful forms phological generalization we possess reand various hues. His poetic tempera- specting plants, is the great law of metament luxuriating in such images of beauty, morphosis, according to which the stamens, his mind became saturated with ideas of pistils, corollas, bracts, petals, and so forth, symmetry, and Cuvier assures us that it of every plant, are simply modified leaves.

consequence of those ideas that he It is now known that these various parts, began to believe that the apparently ir- different in shape, different in color, and regular forms of native crystals were in different in function, are successive stages reality regular; in other words, that in of the leaf-epochs, as it were, of its bisthem, too, there was a beauty-a hidden tory. The question naturally arises, who beauty-though the senses were unable to made this discovery? Was it some indiscern it. As soon as this idea was firm- ductive investigator, who had spent years ly implanted in his mind, at least half the in experiments and minute observations discovery was made ; for he had got the of plants, and who, with indefatigable key to it, and was on the right road, which industry, had collected them, classified others had missed because, while they ap- them, given them hard names, dried them, proached minerals experimentally on the laid them up in his herbarium that he side of the senses, he approached them might at leisure study their structure speculatively on the side of the idea. This and rise to their laws? Not so. The is not a mere fanciful assertion of mine, discovery was made by Göthe, the greatsince Haüy himself tells us, in his great est poet Germany has produced, and one work on Mineralogy, that he took, as his of the greatest the world has ever seen. starting point, ideas of the symmetry of And he made it, not in spite of being a form; and that from those ideas he poet, but because he was a poet. It was worked down deductively to his subject. his brilliant imagination, his passion for It was in this way, and of course after a beauty, and his exquisite conception of long series of subsequent labors, that he form, which supplied him with ideas, from read the riddle which had baffled his able which, reasoning deductively, he arrived but unimaginative predecessors. And at conclusions by descent, not by ascent. there are two circumstances worthy of He stood on an eminence, and looking note, as confirming what I have said re-down from the heights generalized the specting the real history of this discovery. law. Then he descended into the plains, The first is, that although Haüy is univers and verified the idea. When the discov: ally admitted to be the founder of the ery was announced by Göthe, the botanists science, his means of observation were so not only rejected it, but were filled with rude that subsequent crystallographers wrath at the notion of a poet invading declare that hardly any of his measure their territory. What! a man who made ments of angles are correct; as indeed is verses and wrote plays, a mere man of not surprising, inasmuch as the goniome- imagination, a poor creature who knew ter which he employed was a very imper- nothing of facts, who had not even used fect instrument; and that of Wollaston, the microscope, who had made no great which acts by reflection, was not then experiments on the growth of plants, was invented. The other circumstance is, he to enter the sacred precincts of physithat the little mathematics he once knew cal science, and give himself out as a pluihe had forgotten amid his poetic and losopher ? It was too absurd. But imaginative pursuits; so that, in working Göthe, who had thrown his idea upon the out the details of his own science, he world, could afford to wait and bide his was obliged, like a schoolboy, to learn the time. You know the result. The men of elements of geometry before he could facts at length succumbed before the man prove to the world what he had already of ideas; the philosophers, even on their proved to himself, and could bring the own ground, were beaten by the poet ; laws of the science of form to bear upon and this great discovery is now received the structure of the mineral kingdom. and eagerly welcomed by those very per

To these cases of the application of sons who, if they had lived fifty years ago, what may be termed the ideal method to would have treated it with scorn, and the inorganic world, I will add another who even now still go on in their old from the organic department of nature. routine, telling us, in defiance of the his

« PreviousContinue »