By Sir John Frederick William Herschel
Astronomer and thinker J. F. W. Herschel's A initial Discourse at the examine of ordinary Philosophy, initially released in 1830, might be considered as the 1st smooth paintings at the philosophy of technological know-how. during this e-book, Herschel rigorously units out what he regards because the ideas and techniques of medical research, either at a theoretical point and on the point of scan or commentary. He describes nature as being ruled by way of legislation that are tough to determine through mere remark and so deduces that theoretical technology calls for analogical reasoning. within the Discourses, written because the first in a chain known as cupboard Cyclopaedia, he covers quite a lot of methodological, clinical and philosophical matters that come with discussions of up to date astronomy, atomism and chemistry. His writing on mild is seriously prompted by way of Newton. Herschel additionally ponders the diversities among humans and animals and the connection among non secular religion and medical enquiry.
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To accomplish our ends quickly is often of, at least, as much importance as to accomplish them with little labour and expense. There are innumerable processes which, if left to themselves, i. e. to the ordinary operation of natural causes, are done, and well done, but with extreme * Such a block would weigh between four and five hundred thousand pounds. See Dr. "—£
The refined speculations of modern astronomy, grounding their conclusions on observations niade at very remote periods, have proved to demonstration, that one at least of the great powers of nature, the force of gravitation, the main bond and support of the material universe, has undergone no change in intensity from a high antiquity. The stature of mankind is just what it was three thousand years ago, as the specimens of mummies which have been examined at various times sufficiently show. The intellect of Newton, Laplace, or La Grange, may stand in fair competition with that of Archimedes, Aristotle, or Plato; and the virtues and patriotism of Washington with the brightest examples of ancient history.
The prediction of eclipses has accordingly from the earliest ages excited the admiration of mankind, and been one grand instrument by which their allegiance (so to speak) to natural science, and their respect for its professors, has been maintained; and though strangely abused in unenlightened ages by the supernatural pretensions of astrologers, the credence given even to their absurdities shows the force of this kind of evidence on men's minds. The predictions of astronomers are, however, now far too familiar to endanger the just equipoise of our judgment, since even the return of comets, true to their paths and exact to the hour of their appointment, has ceased to amaze, though it must ever delight all who have souls capable of being penetrated by such beautiful instances of accordance between theory and facts.
A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy by Sir John Frederick William Herschel