The conduct of the understanding

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Scott, Webster, and Geary, 1823 - Intellect - 186 pages
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Page 32 - I said above, that the faculties of our souls are improved and made useful to us, just after the same manner as our bodies are. Would you have a man write or paint, dance or fence well, or perform any other manual operation dexterously and with ease? let him have ever so much...
Page 8 - We sea but in part, and we know but in part, and therefore it is no wonder we conclude not right from our partial views. This might instruct the proudest esteemer of his own parts how useful it is to talk and consult with others, even such as...
Page 9 - ... him in capacity, quickness, and penetration : for, since no one sees all, and we generally have different prospects of the same thing, according to our different, as I may say, positions to it ; it is not incongruous to think, nor beneath any man to try, whether another may not have notions of things, which have escaped him, and which his reason would make use of if they came into his mind.
Page 38 - ... got the way of reasoning, which that study necessarily brings the mind to, they might be able to transfer it to other parts of knowledge, as they shall have occasion. For, in all sorts of reasoning, every single argument should be managed as a mathematical demonstration ; the connexion and dependence of ideas should be followed, till the mind is brought to the source on which it bottoms, and observes the coherence all along, though in proofs of probability one such train is not enough to settle...
Page 38 - I have mentioned mathematics as a way to settle in the mind a habit of reasoning closely and in train ; not that I think it necessary that all men should be deep mathematicians, but that, having got the way of reasoning, which that study necessarily brings the mind to, they might be able to transfer it to other parts of knowledge as they shall have occasion.
Page 23 - Nobody is made any thing by hearing of rules, or laying them up in his memory ; practice must settle the habit of doing, without reflecting on the rule...
Page 21 - ... which are looked on as natural endowments, will be found, when examined into more narrowly, to be the product of exercise, and to be raised to that pitch only by repeated actions. Some men are remarked for pleasantness in raillery ; others for apologues and apposite diverting stories. This is apt to be taken for the effect of pure nature, and that the rather, because it is not got by rules ; and...
Page 22 - ... which was much more the effect of use and practice. I do not deny that natural disposition may often give the first rise to it, but that never carries a man far without use and exercise, and it is practice alone that brings the powers of the mind as well as those of the body to their perfection. Many a good poetic vein is buried under a trade, and never produces any thing for want of improvement.
Page 14 - Every man carries about him a touchstone, if he will make use of it, to distinguish substantial gold from superficial glitterings, truth from appearances. And indeed the use and benefit of this touchstone, which is natural reason, is spoiled and lost only by assuming prejudices, over-weening presumption, and narrowing our minds.
Page 33 - Just so it is in the mind; would you have a man reason well, you must use him to it betimes, exercise his mind in observing the connexion of ideas, and following them in train. Nothing does this better than mathematics; which, therefore, I think should be taught all those who have the time and opportunity ; not so much to make them mathematicians, as to make them reasonable creatures...

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