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240 Reviews Wilson, Fred, The Logic and Methodology ofScience in Early Modern Thought, Toronto, Toronto University Press, 1999; cloth; pp. xxiv, 608; R R P US$95,£65; ISBN 0802043569. This is a monumental book in size, 608 pages with index. Its concerns are monumental too, and indeed the author begins by acknowledging the difficulty of writing 'one story' ofthese concerns: The story of the emergence of the truly human reason of natural science and of the Enlightenment is a complex one. Several times over the last decade I have tried to sketch out a book that would deal with the relevant interactions oflogic, methodology ofscience, and ontology/metaphysics/epistemology in the early m o d e m period. In the end, I gave up: the themes were simply too interrelated to be organized in a simple manner. The result has been seven essentially independent but none the less interrelated studies. I hope that, taken both individually and together, these studies will help in our undertanding of the emergence of the m o d e m mind. (pp. xxi-ii) The book consists of these seven studies, most subdivided into titled sections (which in turn may be subdivided into named topics). This review then will comment briefly on each of the seven studies. Study One, 'Establishing the N e w Science: Rationalist and Empiricist Responses to Aristotle' (pp. 3-134), describes the methods of the 'old' science and of the new in terms of their differing cognitive aims. It discusses both what is similar in the rationalist and empirist responses (their concern with experiment, rather than the intrinsic nature of things, as the proper method, and their shared belief that the 'logic of experiment was the logic of eliminative induction') and what is different (basing the logic of eliminative induction, on the one hand, for the rationalists, on axioms as self-evident, and on the other, for the empiricists, on the assumption ofprinciples which are nevertheless assumed to be empirically justifiable, by laws yet to be discovered). This is a densely argued discussion, elaborating particularly on the work of Aristotle, Descartes, Bacon, Locke and Hume, and illustrating the role of the last two in establishing the empirical response as the secure method of the new science. Study Two, 'Logic under Attack: The Early M o d e m Period' (pp. 135-261), ends with the statement, 'It is Locke's achievement to have defended solid philosophy against the fancies of the metaphysicians.' The metaphysicians defended objective necessities: the empiricist Locke, in contrast, demonstrated that 'what guarantees Reviews 241 the truth of our ideas, insofar as it can be guaranteed, is our deliberate effort to conform our thought to the rules ofthe logic oftruth', that is, w e re-order our ideas through reflection on our observation and experience. This chapter gives a detailed description oftraditional and modern logic, both technically and historically. Study Three, 'Berkeley's Metaphysics and Ramist Logic' (pp. 262-89), describes Berkeley's innovative understanding of predication (based not on the traditional ontology of substance and property, but on the relation of part to whole) and suggests this may have been influenced by the logical account of Petrus Ramus. Ramus wrote for those who needed to produce effective public oratory in legal, political and religious contexts; the role of substance was not central. After Berkeley, after Ramus, 'things' could be conceived of, not as Aristotelian substances, but as bundles ofproperties. Study Four, 'Empiricist Inductive Methodology: Hobbes and H u m e ' (pp. 290-318), offers a re-reading of Hobbes, which aims to show that 'Hobbes is struggling to articulate the empiricist inductive methodology that H u m e was later to articulate and defend' and that, contrary to the usual scholarly opinion, Hobbes, as Bacon's secretary, appears to have learned some of his ideas from Bacon's method ofeliminative induction. Study Five, 'Rules by Which to Judge of Causes' before H u m e ' (pp. 31963 ), gives an historical account of such rules, from the Aristotelian tradition of the nature of causation, as explained by Aquinas, to the explanations of the early modem rationalists and empiricists. Bacon is credited withfirstdiscovering the rules ofeliminative induction, but...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 240-242
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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