By Sir John Frederick William Herschel
Astronomer and thinker J. F. W. Herschel's A initial Discourse at the examine of usual Philosophy, initially released in 1830, will 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 clinical research, either at a theoretical point and on the point of scan or remark. He describes nature as being ruled via legislation that are tough to parent by means of mere remark and so deduces that theoretical technological know-how calls for analogical reasoning. within the Discourses, written because the first in a sequence known as cupboard Cyclopaedia, he covers a variety of methodological, medical and philosophical matters that come with discussions of up to date astronomy, atomism and chemistry. His writing on mild is seriously encouraged via Newton. Herschel additionally ponders the diversities among humans and animals and the connection among non secular religion and clinical enquiry.
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Extra resources for A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy
But it has lately been demonstrated by an eminent French philosopher and mathematician, M. Fresnel, that, granting certain principles or postulates, all the phenomena of double refraction, including perhaps the greatest variety of facts that have ever yet been arranged under one general head, may be satisfactorily explained and deduced from them by strict mathematical calculation ; and that, when applied to the cases first mentioned, these principles give a satisfactory account of the want of the extraordinary image ; that when applied to such cases as those of rock-crystal or Iceland spar, they also give a correct account of both the images, and agree in their conclusions with the rules before ascertained for them: but so far from coinciding with that part of the previous statement, which would make these conclusions extend to all crystallised substances, M.
But the laws of nature are not only permanent, but consistent, intelligible, and discoverable OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY. 43 with such a moderate degree of research, as is calculated rather to stimulate than to weary curiosity. If we were set down, as creatures of another world, in any existing society of mankind, and began to speculate on their actions, we should find it difficult at first to ascertain whether they were subject to any laws at all: but when, by degrees, we had found out that they did consider themselves to be so; and would then proceed to ascertain, from their conduct and its consequences, what these laws were, and in what spirit conceived; though we might not perhaps have much difficulty in discovering single rules applicable to particular cases, yet, the moment we came to generalize, and endeavour from these to ascend, step by step, and discover any steady pervading principle, the mass of incongruities, absurdities, and contradictions, we should encounter, would either dishearten us from further enquiry, or satisfy us that what we were in search of did not exist.
For this purpose horizontal indentations or grooves are chiselled out quite round the cylinder, at distances corresponding to the thickness intended to be given to the mill-stones, into which wedges of dried wood are driven. These are then wetted, or exposed to the night dew, and next morning the different pieces are found separated from each other by the expansion of the wood, consequent on its absorption of moisture ; an irresistible natural power thus accomplishing, almost without any trouble, and at no expense, an operation which, from the peculiar hardness and texture of the stone, would otherwise be impracticable but by the most powerful machinery or the most persevering labour.
A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy by Sir John Frederick William Herschel