Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/493

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propositions of geometry; only, in that case, if he takes a fancy to read Euclid, he will do well to skip whatever he finds with A, B, C, etc., for, if he reads attentively that disagreeable matter, the freedom of his opinion about geometry may unhappily be lost forever.

How many people there are who are incapable of putting to their own consciences this question, "Do I want to know how the fact stands, or not?"

The rules which have thus far been laid down for induction and hypothesis are such as are absolutely essential. There are many other maxims expressing particular contrivances for making synthetic inferences strong, which are extremely valuable and should not be neglected. Such are, for example, Mr. Mill's four methods. Nevertheless, in the total neglect of these, inductions and hypotheses may and sometimes do attain the greatest force.


Classifications in all cases perfectly satisfactory hardly exist. Even in regard to the great distinction between explicative and ampliative inferences, examples could be found which seem to lie upon the border between the two classes, and to partake in some respects of the characters of either. The same thing is true of the distinction between induction and hypothesis. In the main, it is broad and decided. By induction, we conclude that facts, similar to observed facts, are true in cases not examined. By hypothesis, we conclude the existence of a fact quite different from anything observed, from which, according to known laws, something observed would necessarily result. The former, is reasoning from particulars to the general law; the latter, from effect to cause. The former classifies, the latter explains. It is only in some special cases that there can be more than a momentary doubt to which category a given inference belongs. One exception is where we observe, not facts similar under similar circumstances, but facts different under different circumstances the difference of the former having, however, a definite relation to the difference of the latter. Such inferences, which are really inductions, sometimes present nevertheless some indubitable resemblances to hypotheses.

Knowing that water expands by heat, we make a number of observations of the volume of a constant mass of water at different temperatures. The scrutiny of a few of these suggests a form of algebraical formula which will approximately express the relation of the volume to the temperature. It may be, for instance, that v being the relative volume, and t the temperature, the few observations examined indicate a relation of the form—

v 1 at bt2 ct3.

Upon examining observations at other temperatures taken at random, this idea is confirmed; and we draw the inductive conclusion that all