Alexander Bain Quotes
“The doctrine of Relativity is carried to a fallacious pitch, when applied to prove that there must be something absolute, because the Relative must suppose the non- Relative. If there be Relation, it is said, there must be something Un-related, or above all relation. But Relation cannot in this way, be brought round on itself, except by a verbal juggle. Relation means that every conscious state has a correlative state ; which brings us at last to a couple (the subject-mind, and the object or extended world). This is the final end of all possible cognition. We may view the two facts separately or together; and we may call the conjunct view an Absolute (as Ferrier does), but this adds nothing to our knowledge. A self-contradiction is committed by inferring from * everything is relative,' that * something is non-relative.'
Fallacies of Relativity often arise in the hyperboles of Rhetoric. In order to reconcile to their lot the more humble class of manual labourers, the rhetorician proclaims the dignity of all labour, without being conscious that if all labour is dignified, none is ; dignity supposes inferior grades ; a mountain height is abolished if all the surrounding plains are raised to the level of its highest peak. So, in spurring men to industry and perseverance, examples of distinguished success are held up for universal imitation ; while, in fact, these cases owe their distinction to the general backwardness.”
“Terror is a powerful agent in overcoming the contumacious and self willed disposition, and is made use of in government, in religion, and in education.
The passion may be excited by the mere prospect of great suffering, but still more effectually by unknown dangers, uncertainties, and vast possibilities of evil, in matters keenly felt by the hearers.
The approach of unexperienced calamities is out to engender panic. Under a plague or epidemic people may be easily frightened into measures that in cool moments they would repudiate.
The sick and the depressed can readily be inspired with religious and moral terrors. History furnishes many examples of political oratory succeeding through the excitement of terror.”
- Date of birth: June 11, 1818
- Died: September 18, 1903
- Born: in Aberdeen, Scotland.
- Description: Alexander Bain was a Scottish philosopher and educationalist in the British school of empiricism and a prominent and innovative figure in the fields of psychology, linguistics, logic, moral philosophy and education reform. He founded Mind, the first ever journal of psychology and analytical philosophy, and was the leading figure in establishing and applying the scientific method to psychology. Bain was the inaugural Regius Chair in Logic and Professor of Logic at the University of Aberdeen, where he also held Professorships in Moral Philosophy and English Literature and was twice elected Lord Rector of the University of Aberdeen.