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Other suggestions of a theoretical kind have also been made : but, at any rate, we see enough to show that the phenomenon is not one of necessity out- standing all explanation, and that it very probably will ere long be brought under the dominion of theory. Principle of The system of inductive reasoning in its full ex- uniformity throughout tent essentially involves the conviction of the universal nature the essence of and permanent uniformity of nature. Not an in- And we may remark that this idea, in its proper tuitive or natural be- extent, is by no means one of popular acceptance or lief. And it should be observed that each class of per- commonly doubted or sons, in admitting this belief within the limited range denied be- yond nar- of his own experience, though he doubt or deny it in row limits. Nor, again, is it only among the most ignorant that this limitation is put upon the truth. The precise doctrine of the generalisation of this idea of the uniformity of nature, so far from being obvious, natural, or intuitive, is utterly beyond the attainment of the many. In all the extent of its uni- versality it is characteristic of the philosopher. It is clearly the write my essay wikipedia result of philosophic cultivation and train- ing, and by no means the spontaneous offspring of any primary principle naturally inherent in the mind, write my essay wikipedia as some seem to believe. It is not attained without deep study and reflection. The best-informed philosopher is the man who most firmly believes it, even in opposition to received notions : its acceptance depends on the extent and profoundness of his inductive studies.
Throughout the range which science opens to us we find the several classes and orders of phenomena defined by laws of increasing generality, and thus intimately connected and bound together, so that ESSAY I. Future research will undoubtedly connect them together by a common principle, of which at present we can form no more conception than the predecessors of Newton did of universal gravitation, or than he did of elec- tro-magnetism, or geological epochs. Not more surely does this happen than it is sooner or later followed by the disclosure of more comprehensive laws. The progress of discovery is as certain as the extent of nature is K 3 102 UNIFORMITY OF NATURE.
One main test of its force and extent is the exclusion, in consequence of its admission, of the very notion of chance, or of the possibility of any events in the universe really happening at random. If we take any portion of the natural world, or any class of pheno- mena of which we know least, and which appear most fortuitous, can we correctly say more than that we are ignorant of the laws by which it is regulated? Yet, while in saying that any phenomena appear capricious or fortuitous, we simply admit our igno- rance of the laws by which they are governed, no ESSAY I. To take an example: the apparently irregular Example. Distribu- mode of distribution of the write my paper apa style fixed stars through the tion of fixed stars. Yet the very fact that these masses at least have the property of transmitting light to us, and consist of matter of some kind, and have been in some instances proved to be subject to the law of gravitation, in- stantaneously asserts for them a sort of claim of kindred with matter around us and with ourselves, and dispels every shadow of doubt that they are disposed according to some physical law, under the influence of some determinate physical forces.
The definite and posi- tive spirit of this system strikes at the root of such vague and unmeaning expressions the mere dis- guises of human ignorance. Pro- foundly adjusted order is utterly inconsistent with blind destiny, mechanical causes with chance.
Yet the unknown regions on the frontier of science enjoy at least a twilight from its illumination, and are still brightened by the rays of present conjecture, and the hope of future discovery.
We can never say that we have arrived at such a boundary as shall ESSAY I.
To the truly inductive philosopher, the notion of limit to inquiry is no more real than the mirage which seems to bound the edge of the desert, yet through which the traveller will continue his march to-morrow, as uninterruptedly as to-day over the plain.
A real break in the connection and continuity of physical causes cannot exist in the nature of things. If such breaks often appear, they are due solely to our ignorance. There is no such thing as any class of phenomena really standing out isolated from all others uncon- nected by any analogous principle, and truly ano- malous in regard to the rest of nature. In all apparent anomalies, the inductive philo- sopher will fall back on the primary maxim, that it is always more probable thai events of an unaccount- able and marvellous character are parts of some great fixed order of causes unknown to us, than that any real interruption occurs. And further, what may now appear the most mysterious, and at present least ESSAY I. For example : in the present state of science, of instances.
If, then, some peculiar manifestations should ap- pear of a more extraordinary character, still less apparently reducible to any known principles, it could not be doubted by any philosophic mind that they were in reality harmonious and conspiring parts of some higher series of causes as yet undiscovered. Ill claims of order, continuity, and analogy, eventually vindicated. Inductive philosophy has within itself a pro- phetical warrant to foresee that a time will come when those things which seem most obscure will become clear. It is the mere refuge and confession of ignorance and indolence to imagine special inter- ruptions, and to abandon reason for mysticism.
The consideration of the uniformity of nature leads directly to a more precise a higher view of the same great conclusion to which we before ad- verted generally. Evidence of All induction begins and ends in the conception a supreme mind. It has been eloquently observed, " Humboldt thought he could show why and how this world, and the universe itself, is a kosmos, a divine whole of life and intellect, namely, by its all-pervading eternal laws.
A point which yesterday was invisible is its goal to-day, and will be its starting post to-morrow.