Ladies and Gentlemen;
More than once during this course I have declared that I do not now touch upon metaphysics, but confine myself to logic. I do not mean that what I have said has no bearing upon metaphysics. On the contrary, metaphysics can properly draw its principles from no other source than logic. It ought to consist in the interpretation of the facts of common experience in the light of a scientific logic. That is the method of Plato, of Aristotle, and of Kant. Logic is the prior science.
Its truths ought to be
deter worked out without squinting at all at their metaphysical bearings. No man with a natural genius for logic who devotes his life to the study of it will ever tolerate the smallest interference from metaphysics, any more than a geologist would tolerate any interference from theology.
But in taking up the confusing question of chance, I know that your minds are wedded to vague metaphysical doctrines about it, which are rife the world over, especially among men
who pride themselves upon thinking clearly; and I do not think I would bring your thoughts fully to bear on the pure logical question without a few introductory words on the metaphysics of chance, espe cially since some of you are probably aware that my own
position opinions about this subject are what might be described as extreme. which is the word usually applied to logically consistent opinions. In practical matters, there may be wisdom in steering a course intermediate between never punishing one’s children and wishing to burn all heretics alive. But in pure
The question what are the shares of uniformity and variety in the phenomena of the universe is a question
about which there has never been agitated in any public dispute that has attracted general attention. The consequence is that everybody in a semi-unconscious way forms his own opinion about it, usually a pretty vague opinion; and he has the impression that all his neighbours think as he does about it. But on questioning people closely, it will be found that there are no less than five different