Previous Index Next
Page 66
(previous) (Page 000066) (next)
 
66 FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

“ rests upon no rational grounds, and can be traced to no
rational principle ; ” which possesses.‘._‘. no intellectual char-
acter ; ” which “ philosophy ” has uprooted from “ the
ground of reason,” and fixed in that “large irrational de-
partment ” discovered for it by Mr. Mozley, in the hitherto
unexplored wildernesses of the human mind.

The proper function of the inductive principle, or the
belief in the order of Nature, says Mr. Mozley, is “to act
as a practical .basisfor the affairs of | life, and the carrying
on of human society.” But what, it may be asked, has the
planet Neptune, or the belts of Jupiter, or the whiteness
about the poles of Mars, to do with the affairs of society ?
How is society afi'ected by the fact that the sun’s atmos-
phere contains sodium, or that the nebula of Orion contains
hydrogen gas ? Nineteen-twentieths of the force emplOyed
in the exercise of the inductive principle, which, reiterates
Mr. Mozley, is “purely practical,” have been expended upon
subjects as unpractical as these. What practical interest
has society in the fact that the spots on the sun have a
decennial period, and that when a magnet is closely
watched for half a century, it is found to perform small
motions which synchronize. with the appearance and disap-
pearance of the solar spots ‘3 And yet, I doubt not, Sir
Edward Sabine would deem a life of intellectual toil amply
rewarded by being privileged to solve, at its close, these
infinitesimal motions.

The inductive principle is founded in man’s desire to
know—a desire arising from ,_ his position among phenom-
ena which are reducible t6 order by his intellect. The
material universe is the complement of the intellect, and
Without the study of its laws reason would never have
awoke to its higher forms of self-consciousness at all. It
is the non-ego, through and by which the ego is endowed
with self-discernment. We hold it to be an exercise of
reason to explore the meaning of a universe to which we

Previous Index Next