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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.

XII. Hobbes and Contemporary Philosophy

§ 1. Logical writings

THE PHILOSOPHICAL writings which belong to the period following Bacon’s death show but slight traces of Bacon’s influence. His genius was recognised, and he was quoted, now and again, on special points; but his leading doctrines were generally ignored. No new logic appeared on the lines described in his Novum Organum. The writers of logical treatises followed the traditional scholastic method, or adopted the modifications of it introduced by Ramus. Even Milton’s logic, which is founded on that of Ramus, pays no attention to the Baconian revolution. It is worthy of note that, in the middle of the sixteenth century, a beginning had been made at writing works on logic in English. In 1552, Thomas Wilson published The Rule of Reason, conteining the arte of logique. The innovation was not without danger at the time, if it be true that his publication on this subject in a vulgar tongue led to the author’s imprisonment by the inquisition at Rome. His example was followed, in safer circumstances, by Ralph Lever, who, in his Arte of Reason rightly termed Witcraft, teaching a perfect way to argue and dispute (1573), not only wrote in English, but used words of English derivation in place of the traditional terminology—forest and backset for “subject” and “predicate,” inholder and inbeer for “substance” and “accident,” saywhat for “definition” and so on. This attempt was never taken seriously; and a considerable time had to elapse before English became the usual language for books on logic. In the seventeenth century, as well as in the sixteenth, the demands of the universities made the use of Latin almost essential for the purpose. The work of Richard Crakanthorp, Logicae libri quinque de Praedicabilibus (1622), was one of the best known of these text-books. The question of method which had ruled the thought of Bacon, was less prominent in the English philosophy of the following period and did not lead to any new work of importance.