Front Page Titles (by Subject) INTRODUCTION. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs)
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INTRODUCTION. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 8 (Chrestomathia, Essays on Logic and Grammar, Tracts on Poor Laws, Tracts on Spanish Affairs) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). In 11 vols. Volume 8.
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Of this work, the parent hints were drawn from the logic of Aristotle, viz. Bishop Sanderson’s Compend of it, in the years 1760 or 1761 to 1762 or 1764, when the author was a youth, or rather a child, at Queen’s College in the University of Oxford. Of the notions therein exhibited, some he found continually applicable, and applicable with advantage, to ordinary practice. These treasured themselves up in his mind.
Aristotle,—the works of his predecessors in the same line, (though the existence of them has, by frequent incidental allusion of his, been made known to us,) being lost, is with reference to us the father of the art called Logic, the sole fountain of everything that has ever been presented, or ever can be presented to our minds under that imposing name.
In such accounts as will here be given of this art, considered in the state in which it has been found by the present work, it may naturally enough be expected that the text of Aristotle should, from first to last, be the object of reference.
But with a view to use in relation to this, as in relation to every other art, the material and only material question is, what is that which is written, not who is he that wrote it. Two thousand years and more have already elapsed since the works of Aristotle, and in particular those which have taken for their subject the field of Logic, were made public. In all that length of time, unless the last century, or century and a half, be regarded as constituting an exception, the making the most and the best of this art, and of the labours of the ingenious founder of it, has afforded occupation to some of the acutest minds that England or Europe has produced. By many of them, if not much has been added to the quantity of matter elaborated by Aristotle, not a little has been done towards the rendering it plainer, and more easily comprehensible by the pupil.
In the instance of this, as of any other branch of art for use, it is to the most instructive work which the field happens to afford, and not the most ancient, that a man whose wish is to make himself more or less acquainted with it, will, if his mind be not absolutely enslaved by prejudice, always betake himself: it is to the works of Davy, or Dalton, or Thomson that a man will betake himself for instruction in chemistry, not to those of Van Helmont or Paracelsus.
In the British isles not a few are the works which at different times have been published, with the professed design of serving for compendiums of instruction in this art. In the University of Oxford, Queen’s College used to be, and for aught the author of these pages has heard to the contrary, continues to be, regarded as the College in which it has been cultivated with greatest success: in this College the Compendium, written in Latin, by Sanderson, who, in the days of Charles the First and Second, was Bishop of Lincoln, used to be, and it is supposed continues to be, the classical work—the work which was taken for the text by the tutor on the occasion of his lectures to his pupils. Considered as a methodical abridgment of what Aristotle and his earliest commentators, the Greek logicians, have left us on this subject, it is, at any rate, the most copious: it is supposed to be the most correct, complete, and, upon the whole, the most instructive. In relation to this or that point, suppose the account given by Sanderson be not a perfectly exact copy of that delivered by Aristotle, what matters it? If it be not exactly the same, the presumption is that it is better. At the end of so many centuries, employed in the endeavour to render the account given of this art better than the account given by Aristotle, the expectation, is it in regard to any point a natural one, that instead of being better, it will be found worse?
Sanderson’s Compendium is, accordingly, the work to which, as often as the question may happen to present itself, what on this point has been said by Aristotle, and by the school of Aristotle, reference will be made. Sanderson’s Compendium is accordingly the work from which, should any supposed imperfections be found in that system, the exemplification and proof of such imperfection will be deduced.
Meantime, what is far from impossible is, that, in this or that instance, an imperfection which, in this way, through the medium of this his English disciple, comes to be imputed to the master, would, if justly chargeable, be found chargeable not on the master, but only on this disciple. But should this sort of injustice, such as it is, chance now and then to be committed,—not that this is any more than a mere supposition for the purpose of the argument,—what would it matter? Where would be the practical mischief? For one who, for instruction, resorts all along, or even to any considerable extent, to the original, some dozen, or some score, will never look further than to this or some other—most probably to this, the most instructive—compendium. Taking the original for its subject, the strictest comment would be a comment, not on the art, but on the language.
If on the occasion of any such imperfections, reference were made, not to the Greek original, but to this or that Greek or Latin commentator, or abridger, volumes and volumes might thus be written, and none of them of any use.
In the sense above brought to view, the logic of Aristotle may be said to have formed the basis of this work. In that storehouse of instruction the author found, at any rate, a considerable number of the tools or instruments which he has had to work with.
But though such was the assistance derived from the great philosopher of old, the author—never at any time, never in any instance, did it occur to him to consider the opinion or discourse of that philosopher, any more than of any one else as the standard or criterion of truth. The human mind, viz. his own mind—that being the only mind open to any man’s immediate observation—was the source from which Aristotle drew the instruction for which we are indebted to his ingenious labours: his own mind was, in like manner the source whence the author of the present work drew those notions which it is the object and the endeavour of this work to communicate to, and tranfuse into such other minds as may find themselves disposed to receive it.
Truth is never capable of being so clearly or strongly impressed, when considered by itself, as it is capable of being when illustrated by a view of any opposite error or errors by which its place has been wont to be occupied.
This system of Aristotle is the system by and according to which whatsoever has been taught under the name of logic, has now, for upwards of two thousand years, been taught; and through by far the greater part of that time it has been considered as being in a state of absolute perfection, little if at all capable of receiving improvement, and not in any degree susceptible of amendment—of amendment in any of its three modes, viz. omission, addition, and substitution.
By whomsoever the present sketch is looked into and considered, if Aristotle’s system of logic, in so far as it is delivered in the first chapter of Bishop Sanderson’s Compendium of that art and science, be looked into at the same time, and compared with it, very different to a considerable extent will the two volumes be seen to be at the very first glance.
The account which in this work is given of logic, in regard to its nature and business, is before the reader; if the extent given to it in that account be not in a considerable part improper and irrelevant, the extent given to it by the Aristotelians will be seen to be incomplete.
Of the topics that presented themselves as appertaining to the art, appertaining to it in such sort that, supposing any one omitted, the account would, pro tanto, have been incomplete: the list is before the reader; if this list be a correct one, that given by the Aristotelians will be seen to be an incongruous one; on the one hand deficient, on the other hand redurdant.
In the art and science of logic, two branches may be distinguished, the tactical and the dialectic. The tactical, that which teaches the arrangement which, for whatsoever purpose, requires to be given to ideas. The dialectic that which, for a particular purpose, gives arrangement to them in their quality of materials of discourse, to wit of the disputatious kind.
In the works of Aristotle, the fountain whence all ideas respecting Logic have been hitherto derived, the tactic was scarcely considered in any other light than that of an instrument employed in carrying on the disputatious branch;—the war of words being a sort of interlude by which men of superior minds amused themselves in the intermission of the war of arms.
Of late years, and by no means without reason, the dialectic has been, as to the greater part of it, an object of neglect; the tactic, being the main instrument in the hands of art, of invention to whatsoever subject-matter applied, can never deservedly be so, so long as man is man. On the present occasion, the precedence, as between the two, may be determined by these observations. In the first place will come the tactical branch; in the next will come the application made of it on occasion of the exercise given to the dialectic.*
In speaking of logic as an art, according to the definition of the Aristotelians, I find myself obliged to add to the word art the word science. For the truth is that, howsoever clearly distinguishable in idea, the two objects, art and science, in themselves are not, in any instance, found separate. In no place is anything to be done, but in the same place, there is something to be known; in no place is anything to be known, but in the same place there is something to be done.
To the presenting, in conjunction with each other, as well as either of them without the other, the idea which the word art is employed to signify, and the idea which the word science is employed to signify, the Latin word discipline is correctly and admirably well adapted. Unfortunately, though so perfectly coincident in respect of its original, and so near to perfect coincidence in sound and appearance, yet in respect of its established, and, at present, customary import, the correspondent English word discipline presents no equal aptitude.†
Great, however, would be the convenience, strong the light, thrown upon the whole field of human power, if, instead of the composite and frequently perplexing locution art and science, or science and art, the men of modern times could prevail upon themselves to employ the simple as well as classical term discipline, discipline would then be the name of the genus, art and science the name of the species included in it.
[* ] With the exception of some notices of an introductory and critical nature, no MSS. bearing on the dialectic branch have been found.—Ed.
[† ] From signifying instruction itself or the subject of it, in English as well as in French, and probably because so it was seen to be in French, it has come to signify along with, and frequently instead of it, the means employed in the administration of instruction, viz. in so far as they consist of coercion and punishment, in the first instance, on the occasion of education at large; and thence in the military department of government.