The Supplément to the Encyclopédie by Kathleen Hardesty (auth.)

By Kathleen Hardesty (auth.)

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Sample text

Before adefinition of infanticide can be written, the jurist must answer such questioils as whether a woman can be unaware of her pregnancy or unable to assist the child immediately after birth ("Infanticide," Lafosse). How can the tender-shelled mollusk described in "Bulin" survive the hot months of the year? Wnat causes a greater number of them in the hotter years? (Adanson). What the scientists try to determine through these questions is causality. Knowledge of the causal relationships among analyzed material enables the research er to make the transition between analysis and synthesis.

Haller, who is aware that analogy can cloud the observer's vision, is among the exceptions. He points out, for instance, that anatomists erroneously decided that a certain membrane, composed of fibers that looked like those of a muscle, was a muscle (" f Capsule de Glisson"). Superstition is another form of conjecture that leads toward error. The superstitious person does not understand a phenomenon by observing it objectively in aH its details; he skips final steps in the observation and invents an explanation, usually of a supernatural nature.

Even if we arrive at knowledge of the final cause of a creature, we will never know how an infinite divinity can act on a finite creature ("fPhenomene," Felice). Certain phenomena, such as the earliest growth of the human embryo, will probably always be mysterious ("fEmbryon," Haller). Man's role sometimes must be to submit, not to explain. Felice criticizes those who try to pervert the order of the creator (in "Sara," mothers who refuse to 34 THE RATIONALIST AND EMPIRICAL SPIRIT nurse their infants}; nor should one question that order because of small accidents ("Avortements," Lafosse).

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