Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

no way commodious unto us, but having made use of our habitations, and served their own turns, forsake us. So he commands to deface the print of a cauldron in the ashes, after it hath boiled; which strictly to observe, were condemnable superstition. But hereby he covertly adviseth us not to persevere in anger, but after our choler hath boiled, to retain no impression thereof. In the like sense are to be received, when he adviseth his disciples to give the right hand but to few, to put no viands in a chamber-pot, not to pass over a balance, not to take up fire with a sword, or piss against the sun. Which ænigmatical deliveries comprehend useful verities, but being mistaken by literal expositors at the first, they have been misunderstood by most since, and may be occasion of error to verbal capacities for ever.

This fallacy is the first delusion Satan put upon Eve, and his whole tentation might be the same continued.9 So when he said, “Ye shall not die,” that was, in his equivocation,

ye shall not incur a present death,” or a destruction immediately ensuing your transgression; “Your eyes shall be opened,” that is, not to the enlargement of your knowledge, but discovery of your shame and proper confusion; “Ye shall know good and evil,” that is, ye shall have knowledge of good by its privation, but cognizance of evil by sense and visible experience. And the same fallacy or way of deceit, so well succeeding in Paradise, he continued in his oracles through all the world. Which had not men more warily understood, they might have performed many acts inconsistent with his intention. Brutus might have made haste with Tarquine to have kissed his own mother.' The Athenians might have built them wooden walls, or doubled the altar at Delphos. 3

9 the same continued.] The early reign power at Rome.” Brutus, who editions read, “the same elench contin- was present, fell to the ground, as if acued.” Dean Wren remarks that clench cidentally, and touched with his lips his is wrongly used here; meaning rather mother, earth. the detection of a sophistry than the so. 9 The Athenians, fc.] When the phistry itself. The author seems him- oracle advised them, on the approach of self to have seen the error, and omitted Xerxes, to take refuge within their woodthe word.

en walls, which, l'y the advice of The| Brutus might have made haste, &c.] mistocles, they understood to mean their Alluding to his retation of the Del- fleet. phian reply to the Tarquinii; “ Young or doubled the altar at Delphos.] men, whichever of you shall first kiss This refers to the demand of the Delian your mother, he ahall possess the sove- oracle, "to double his cubical altar,"

3

The circle of this fallacy is very large; and herein may be comprised all ironical mistakes, for intended expressions receiving inverted significations; all deductions from metaphors, parables, allegories, unto real and rigid interpretations. Whereby have risen, not only popular errors in philosophy, but vulgar and senseless heresies in divinity; as will be evident unto any that shall examine their foundations, as they stand related by Epiphanius, * Austin, or Prateolus. 5

Other ways there are of deceit; which consist not in false apprehension of words, that is, verbal expressions, or sentential significations, but fraudulent deductions, or inconsequent illations, from a false conception of things. Of these extradictionary and real fallacies, Aristotle and logicians make in number six, but we observe that men are most commonly deceived by four thereof: those are, petitio principii ; a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter; a non causa pro causa; and, fallacia consequentis.

The first is, petitio principii. Which fallacy is committed, when a question is made a medium, or we assume a medium as granted, whereof we remain as unsatisfied as of the question. Briefly, where that is assumed as a principle to prove another thing, which is not conceded as true itself. By this fallacy was Eve deceived, when she took for granted, the false assertion of the Devil : “Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know, that in the day ye shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as Gods." Which was but a bare affirmation of Satan, without any proof or probable inducement, contrary unto the command of God, and

which gave occasion to a long series of his works, but that to which Browne regeometrical inventions. See Gillies Anc. fers is doubtless the following: “De vitis, Greece, part 2, vol. ii, p. 130, and the lectis, et dogmatibus, onnium hæreticoauthorities he refers to.

ruin, qui ab orbe condito, ad nostra usque * Epiphanius, fc.] Epiphanius, con- tempora, et veterum et recentium monutra octoginta Hæreses Panarium ; Augus- mentis proditi sunt, elenchus alphabetitinus, De Hæresibus.

cus," &c.Br. 5 Gabriel Prateolus.] Vernacularly extradictionary.] Johnson, citing the du Preau, was a voluminous French ec- present passage, explains the word, “ not clesiastical writer of the 16th century. relating to words, but realities.” He was distinguished by the ardour of 7 where that is assumed as a principle, his zeal for the Roman catholic church, &c.] More clearly, “where that which in opposition to those whom she has been is not conceded as true itself, is aspleased to stigmatize by the name of sumed as a principle to prove another heretics. This spirit is manifested in all thing."

6

former belief of herself. And this was the logick of the Jews when they accused our Saviour unto Pilate; who demanding a reasonable impeachment, or the allegation of some crime worthy of condemnation, they only replied, "If he had not been worthy of death, we would not have brought him before thee.” Wherein there was neither accusation of the person nor satisfaction of the judge, who well understood a bare accusation was no presumption of guilt, and the clamours of the people no accusation at all. The same fallacy is sometimes used in the dispute between Job and his friends, they often taking that for granted which afterwards he disproveth.

The second is, A dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter, when from that which is but true in a qualified sense, an inconditional and absolute verity is inferred; transferring the special consideration of things unto their general acceptions, or concluding from their strict acception unto that without all limitation. This fallacy men commit when they argue from a particular to a general; as when we conclude the vices or qualities of a few, upon a whole nation, or from a part unto the whole. Thus the Devil argued with our Saviour; and by this he would persuade him he might be secure if he cast himself from the pinnacle: "For," said he, “it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." But this illation was fallacious, leaving out part of the text, (Psalın.91,) “He shall keep thee in all thy ways;” that is, in the ways of righteousness, and not of rash attempts : so he urged a part for the whole, and inferred more in the conclusion than was contained in the premises. By the same fallacy we proceed, when we conclude from the sign unto the thing signified. By this encroachment idolatry first crept in, men converting the symbolical use of idols into their proper worship, and receiving the representation of things as the substance and thing itself. So the statue of Belus, at first erected in his memory, was in aftertimes adored

[ocr errors]

By this incroachment, fc] The proper worship," is beautifully though conversion of the “symbolical use" of consisely explained in Kirby and Spence's such “ idols" as consisted of natural ob- Introduction to Entomology, vol. iv, p. jects or their representations "into their 401-403.-Br.

as a divinity. And so also in the sacrament of the Eucharist, the bread and wine which were but the signals or visible signs, were made the things signified, and worshipped as the body of Christ. And hereby generally men are deceived, that take things spoken in some latitude without any at all. Hereby the Jews were deceived concerning the commandment of the sabbath, accusing our Saviour for healing the sick, and his disciples for plucking the ears of corn upon that day. And, by this deplorable mistake, they were deceived unto destruction, upon the assault of Pompey the Great, made upon that day;! by whose superstitious observation they could not defend themselves, or perform any labour whatever.

The third is, A non causa pro causa, when that is pretended for a cause which is not, or not in that sense which is inferred. Upon this consequence the law of Mahomet forbids the use of wine ;? and his successors abolished universities. By this, also, many Christians have condemned literature, misunderstanding the counsel of Saint Paul, who adviseth no further than to beware of philosophy. On this foundation were built the conclusions of soothsayers in their augurial and tripudiary divinations, collecting presages from voice or food of birds, and conjoining events unto causes of no connection. Hereupon also are grounded the gross mistakes in the cure of many diseases, not only from the last medicine and sympathetical receipts, but amulets, charms, and all incantatory applications; deriving effects not only from inconcurring causes, but things devoid of all efficiency whatever.

9 And by this deplorable mistake, &c.] to a Christian, that by furbidding that The reader will find the particulars of which is indeed vaine, he advanceth true this event recorded by Josephus, in his philosophye: such as is that of the hexAntiquities of the Jews, book xiv, chap. 4, ameron, or 6 dayes creation : whereon to which some pertinent illustrations from many of the ancient Christians have left other parts of the Jewish history have admirable treatises, setting forth in those been added by Whiston.-Br.

workes the incomprehensible wisdom, i Upon this consequence, &c.] Mean- and majesty and omnipotency of the Creing probably that Mahomet forbad the ator, and his unpromerited inexhausted use of wine, when his motive was to pre- goodness unto us, for whom he ordained vent its abuse only; but his experience the use of them all: that by our acknowhad taught him that the only means of ledgment, the abundant grace might reeffecting this would be to prohibit it al- dound to his glorye ; as itt hath don in all together.

ages by that divine philosophical treatise Philosophy.] The apostle bids be- of Moses philosophie, mentioned in the ware of vaine philosophie : where the 196th page, line 7, in the passage beworde (vaine) is a sufficient commentarye ginning "And though Galen," &c.--Wr. 3 A third cause of common errors.] apprehension ; the second, fallacious, or The first cause being mistake, or mise false inferences.

The fourth is, the fallacy of the consequent; which, if, strictly taken, may be a fallacious illation in reference unto antecedency, or consequency; as, to conclude, from the position of the antecedent, to the position of the consequent, or from the remotion of the consequent, to the remotion of the antecedent. This is usually committed when in connexed propositions the terms adhere contingently. This is frequent in oratory illations; and thus the Pharisees, because he conversed with publicans and sinners, accused the holiness of Christ. But, if this fallacy be largely taken, it is committed in any vicious illation, offending the rules of good consequence; and so it may be very large, and comprehend all false illations against the settled laws of logick. But the most usual inconsequencies are from particulars, from negatives, and from affirmative conclusions in the second figure, wherein, indeed, offences are most frequent, and their discoveries not difficult.

CHAPTER V.

Of other more immediate Causes of Error ;-viz. Credulity

and Supinity.

A THIRD cause of common errors is, the credulity of men, that is, an easy assent to what is obtruded, or a believing, at first ear, what is delivered by others. This is a weakness in the understanding, without examination assenting unto things which, from their natures and causes, do carry no persuasion ; whereby men often swallow falsities for truths, dubiosities for certainties, feasibilities for possibilities, and things impossible as possibilities themselves. Which, though a weakness of the intellect, and most discoverable in vulgar heads, yet hath it sometime fallen upon wiser brains, and great advancers of truth. Thus many wise Athenians so far forgot their philosophy, and the nature of human production, that they descend

« PredošláPokračovať »