By Sir John Frederick William Herschel
Astronomer and thinker J. F. W. Herschel's A initial Discourse at the research of ordinary Philosophy, initially released in 1830, could be considered as the 1st glossy paintings at the philosophy of technology. during this booklet, Herschel rigorously units out what he regards because the ideas and techniques of clinical research, either at a theoretical point and on the point of test or statement. He describes nature as being ruled by means of legislation that are tough to figure through mere commentary 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, medical and philosophical topics that come with discussions of up to date astronomy, atomism and chemistry. His writing on gentle is seriously motivated through Newton. Herschel additionally ponders the variations among people and animals and the connection among spiritual religion and medical enquiry.
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Yet, so far from being thereby destroyed, it is only become again what it was before it existed in the form of charcoal or wax, an active agent in the business of the world, and a main support of vegetable and animal life, and is still susceptible of running again and again the same round, as circumstances may determine ; so that, for aught we can see to the contrary, the same identical atom may lie concealed for thousands of centuries in a limestone rock; may at length be quarried, set free in the limekiln, mix with the air, be absorbed from it by plants, and, in succession, become a part of the frames of myriads of living beings, till some concurrence of events consigns it once more to a long repose, which, however, no way unfits it from again resuming its former activity.
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. ) Again, the researches of chemists have shown that what the vulgar call corruption, destruction, &c, is nothing but a change of arrangement of the same ingredient elements, the disposition of the same materials into other forms, without the loss or actual destruction of a single atom ; and thus any doubts of the permanence of natural laws are discountenanced, and the whole weight of appearances thrown into the opposite scale.
The chain is laid before us, and every link is submitted to our unreserved examination, if we have patience and inclination to enter on such detail Hundreds have gone through it, and will continue to do so; but, for the generality of mankind, it is enough to satisfy themselves of the solidity and adamantine texture of its materials, and the unreserved exposure of its weakest, as well as its strongest, parts. If, however, we content ourselves with this general view of the matter, we must be content also to take on trust, that is, on the authority of those who have examined deeper, OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY, 23 every conclusion which cannot be made apparent to our senses.