PHILOSOPHIZING

, the act of considering some object of our knowledge, examining its properties, and the phenomena it exhibits, and enquiring into their causes or effects, and the laws of them; the whole conducted according to the nature and reason of things, and directed to the improvement of knowledge.

The Rules of Philosophizing, as established by Sir Isaac Newton, are, 1. That no more causes of a natural effect be admitted than are true, and suffice to account for its phenomena. This agrees with the sentiments of most philosophers, who hold that nature does nothing in vain; and that it were vain to do that by many things, which might be done by fewer.

2. That natural effects of the same kind, proceed from the same causes. Thus, for instance, the cause of re<*>piration is one and the same in man and brute; the cause of the descent of a stone, the same in Europe as in America; the cause of light, the same in the sun and in culinary fire; and the cause of reflection, the same in the planets as the earth.

3. Those qualities of bodies which are not capable of being heightened, and remitted, and which are found| in all bodies on which experiments can be made, must be considered as universal qualities of all bodies. Thus, the extension of body is only perceived by our senses, nor is it perceivable in all bodies: but since it is found in all that we have perception of, it may be affirmed of all. So we find that several bodies are hard; and argue that the hardness of the whole only arises from the hardness of the parts: whence we infer that the particles, not only of those bodies which are sensible, but of all others, are likewise hard. Lastly, if all the bodies about the earth gravitate towards the earth, and this according to the quantity of matter in each; and if the moon gravitate towards the earth also, according to its quantity of matter; and the sea again gravitate towards the moon; and all the planets and comets gravitate towards each other: it may be affirmed universally, that all bodies in the creation gravitate towards each other. This rule is the foundation of all natural philosophy.

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Entry taken from A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary, by Charles Hutton, 1796.

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PHASES
PHENOMENON
PHILOLAUS
PHILOSOPHER
PHILOSOPHICAL Transactions
* PHILOSOPHIZING
PHILOSOPHY
PHOENIX
PHONICS
PHOSPHORUS
PHYSICAL