Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.

of nature with the purpose of improving the conditions of human life. Unluckily his mind was still enslaved by the formulae of the quasi-mechanical scholastic logic. He supposed that natural laws would disclose themalves by the accumulation and due arrangement of instances without any need for original speculation on the part of the investigator. In his Novum Organum there are directions for drawing up the various kinds of lists of instances. For two hundred years after Bacon's death little was, done towards the theory of induction; the reason being, probably, that the practical scientists knew no logic, while the university logicians, with their conservative devotion to the syllogism, knew no science. Whewell's Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1840), the work of a thoroughly equipped scientist, if not of a great philosopher, shows due appreciation of the cardinal point neglected by Bacon, the function of theorizing in inductive research. He saw that science advances only in so far as the mind of the inquirer is able to suggest organizing ideas whereby our observations and experiments are col ligated into intelligible system. In this respect ]. S. Mill is inferior to Whewell: throughout his System of Logic (1843) he ignores the constitutive work of the mind, and regards knowledge as the merely passive reception of sensuous impressions. His work was intended mainly to reduce the procedure of induction to a regular demonstrative system like that of the syllogism; and it was for this purpose that he formulated his famous Four Methods of Experimental Inquiry. His work has contributed greatly to the systematic treatment of induction. But it must be remarked that his Four Methods are not methods of formal proof, as their author supposed, but methods whereby hypotheses are suggested or tested. The actual proof of an hypothesis is never formal, but always lies in the tests of experiment or observation to which it is subjected.

The current theory of induction as set forth in the standard works is so far satisfactory that it combines the merit of Whewell's treatment with that of Mill's; and yet it is plain that there is much for the logician of the future to accomplish. The most important faculty in scientific inquiry is the faculty of suggesting new and valuable hypotheses. But no onef has ever given any explanation how the hypotheses arise in the mind: we attribute it to “ genius, ” which, of course, is no explanation at all. The logic of discovery, in the higher sense of the term, simply has no existence. Another important but neglected province of the subject is the relation of scientific induction to the inductions of everyday life. There are some who think that a study of this relation would quite transform the accepted view of induction. Consider such a piece of reasoning as may be heard any day in a court of justice, a detective who explains how in his opinion a certain burglary was effected. If all reasoning is either deductive or inductive, this must be induction. And yet it does not answer to the accepted definition of induction, “ the process of discovering a general principle by observation of particular instances ”: what the detective does is to reconstruct a particular crime; he evolves no general principle. Such reasoning is used by every man in every hour of his life: by it we understand what people are doing around us, and what is the meaning of the sense-impressions which we receive. In the logic of the future it will probably be recognized that scientific induction is only one form of this universal constructive or reconstructive faculty. Another most important question closely akin to that just mentioned is the true relation between these reasoning processes and our general life as active intelligent beings. How is it that the detective is able to understand the burglar's plan of action?~the military commander to forecast the enemy's plan of campaign? Primarily, because he himself is capable of making such plans. Men as active creatures co-operating with their fellow-men are incessantly engaged in forming plans and in apprehending the plans of those around them. Every plan may be viewed as a form of induction; it is a scheme invented to meet a given situation, an hypothesis which is put to the test of events, and is verified or refuted by practical success or failure. Such considerations widen still farther our view of scientific induction and help us to understand its relation to ordinary human thought and activity. The scientific investigator in his inductive stage is endeavouring to make out the plan on which his material is constructed. The phenomena serve as indications to help him in framing his hypothesis, generally a guess at first, which he proceeds to verify by experiment and the collection of additional facts. In the deductive stage he assumes that he has made out the plan and can apply it to the discovery of further detail. He has the capacity of detecting plans in nature because he is wont to form plans for practical purposes.

There are good recent accounts of induction in We1ton's Manual of Logic, ii., in H. W. B. Joseph's Introduction to Logic, and in W. R. Boyce Gibson's Problem of Logic; see also LOGIC. (H. ST.)

INDUCTION COIL, an electrical instrument consisting of two coils of wire wound one over the other upon a core consisting of a bundle of iron wires. One of these circuits is called the primary circuit and the other the secondary circuit. If an alternating or intermittent continuous current is passed through the primary circuit, it creates an alternating or intermittent magnetization in the iron core, and this in turn creates in the secondary circuit a secondary current which is called the induced current. For most purposes an induction coil is required which is capable of giving in the secondary circuit intermittent currents of very high electromotive force, and to attain this result the secondary circuit must as a rule consist of a very large number of turns of wire. Induction coils are employed for physiological purposes and also in connexion with telephones, but their great use at the present time is in connexion with the production of high frequency electric currents, for Rontgen ray work and Wireless telegraphy.

The instrument began to be developed soon after Faraday's discovery of induced currents in 1831, and the subsequent researches of Joseph Henry, C. G. Page and W. Sturgeon on the induction of a current. N. ]. Callan described in 1836 the construction of an electromagnet with two separate insulated wires, one thick and the other thin, wound on an iron core together. He provided the primary circuit of this instrument with an interrupter, and found that when the primary current was rapidly intermitted, a series of secondary currents was induced in the ine wire, of high electromotive force and considerable strength. Sturgeon in 1837 constructed a similar coil, and provided the primary circuit with a mercury interrupter operated by hand. Various other experimentalists took up the construction of the induction coil, and to G. H. Bachhoffner is due the suggestion of employing an iron core made of a bundle of fine iron wires. At a somewhat later date Callan constructed a very large induction coil containing a secondary circuit of very great length of wire. C. G. Page and J. H. Abbot in the United States, between 1838 and 1840, also constructed some large induction coils! In all these cases the primary circuit was interrupted by a mechanically worked interrupter. On the continent of Europe the invention of the automatic primary circuit interrupter is generally attributed to C. E. Neeff and to J. P. Wagner, but it is probable that J. W. M'Gauley, of Dublin, independently invented the form of hammer break now employed. In this break the magnetization of the iron core by the primary current is made to attract an iron block fixed to the end of a spring, in such a way that two platinum points are separated and the primary circuit thus interrupted. It was not until 1853 that H. L. Fizeau added to the break the condenser which greatly improved the operation of the coil. It 1851 H. D. Rtihmkorlf (1803-1877), an instrument maker in Paris, profiting by all previous experience, addressed himself to the problem of increasing the electromotive force in the secondary circuit, and induction coils with a secondary circuit of long fine wire have generally, but unnecessarily, been called Rtihmkorfi coils. Riihmkorif, however, greatly lengthened the secondary circuit, employing in some coils 5 or 6 m. of wire. The secondary wire was insulated with silk and shellac varnish,

1For a full history of the early development of the induction

coil see ]. A. Fleming, The Alternate Current Transformer, vol. ii., chap. i.