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Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. CCCXXXVI. October, 1843. Vol. LIV.   By:

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BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

No. CCCXXXVI. OCTOBER, 1843. VOL. LIV.

CONTENTS.

MILL'S LOGIC. MY COUNTRY NEIGHBOURS. TRAVELS OF KERIM KHAN. THE THIRTEENTH; A TALE OF DOOM. REMINISCENCES OF SYRIA. THE FATE OF POLYCRATES. MODERN PAINTERS. A ROYAL SALUTE. PHYSICAL SCIENCE IN ENGLAND. CHRONICLES OF PARIS. THE RUE ST DENIS. THE LAST SESSION OF PARLIAMENT.

MILL'S LOGIC.[1]

[1] A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive; being a connected view of the Principles of Evidence, and the Methods of Scientific Investigation. By John Stuart Mill. In two volumes. London: Parker.

These are not degenerate days. We have still strong thinkers amongst us; men of untiring perseverance, who flinch before no difficulties, who never hide the knot which their readers are only too willing that they should let alone; men who dare write what the ninety nine out of every hundred will pronounce a dry book; who pledge themselves, not to the public, but to their subject, and will not desert it till their task is completed. One of this order is Mr John Stuart Mill. The work he has now presented to the public, we deem to be, after its kind, of the very highest character, every where displaying powers of clear, patient, indefatigable thinking. Abstract enough it must be allowed to be, calling for an unremitted attention, and yielding but little, even in the shape of illustration, of lighter and more amusing matter; he has taken no pains to bestow upon it any other interest than what searching thought and lucid views, aptly expressed, ought of themselves to create. His subject, indeed the laws by which human belief and the inquisition of truth are to be governed and directed is both of that extensive and fundamental character, that it would be treated with success only by one who knew how to resist the temptations to digress, as well as how to apply himself with vigour to the solution of the various questions that must rise before him.

"This book," the author says in his preface, "makes no pretence of giving to the world a new theory of our intellectual operations. Its claim to attention, if it possess any, is grounded on the fact, that it is an attempt not to supersede, but to embody and systematize, the best ideas which have been either promulgated on its subject by speculative writers, or conformed to by accurate thinkers in their scientific enquiries.

"To cement together the detached fragments of a subject, never yet treated as a whole; to harmonize the true portions of discordant theories, by supplying the links of thought necessary to connect them, and by disentangling them from the errors with which they are always more or less interwoven must necessarily require a considerable amount of original speculation. To other originality than this, the present work lays no claim. In the existing state of the cultivation of the sciences, there would be a very strong presumption against any one who should imagine that he had effected a revolution in the theory of the investigation of truth, or added any fundamentally new process to the practice of it. The improvement which remains to be effected in the methods of philosophizing, [and the author believes that they have much need of improvement,] can only consist in performing, more systematically and accurately, operations with which, at least in their elementary form, the human intellect, in some one or other of its employments, is already familiar."

Such is the manly and modest estimate which the author makes of his own labours, and the work fully bears out the character here given of it. No one capable of receiving pleasure from the disentanglement of intricacies, or the clear exposition of an abstruse subject; no one seeking assistance in the acquisition of distinct and accurate views on the various and difficult topics which these volumes embrace can fail to read them with satisfaction and with benefit... Continue reading book >>


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