the study of it did not commonly commence 
till after that of philosophy, and when the 
student had entered upon the study of theology
Originally, the first rudiments, both of the 
Greek and Latin languages, were taught in 
universities; and in some universities they 
still continue to be so. In others, it is expected 
that the student should have previously 
acquired, at least, the rudiments of one or 
both of those languages, of which the study 
continues to make everywhere a very considerable 
part of university education
The ancient Greek philosophy was divided 
into three great branches; physics, or natural 
philosophy; ethics, or moral philosophy; and 
logic. This general division seems perfectly 
agreeable to the nature of things
The great phenomenon of nature, the revolutions 
of the heavenly bodies, eclipses, comets
thunder and lightning, and other extraordinary 
meteors; the generation, the life
growth, and dissolution of plants and animals
are objects which, as they necessarily 
excite the wonder, so they naturally call forth 
the curiosity of mankind to inquire into their 
causes. Superstition first attempted to satisfy 
this curiosity, by referring all those 
wonderful appearances to the immediate agency 
of the gods. Philosophy afterwards 
endeavoured to account for them from more 
familiar causes, or from such as mankind 
were better acquainted with, than the agency 
of the gods. As those great phenomena are 
the first objects of human curiosity, so the 
science which pretends to explain them must 
naturally have been the first branch of philosophy 
that was cultivated. The first philosophers
accordingly, of whom history has 
preserved any account, appears to have been 
natural philosophers
In every age and country of the world
men must have attended to the characters
designs, and actions of one another; and 
many reputable rules and maxims for the 
conduct of human life must have been laid 
down and approved of by common consent
As soon as writing came into fashion, wise 
men, or those who fancied themselves such, 
would naturally endeavour to increase the 
number of those established and respected 
maxims, and to express their own sense of 
what was either proper or improper conduct
sometimes in the more artificial form of apologues
like what are called the fables of 
Æsop; and sometimes in the more simple 
one of apophthegms or wise sayings, like the 
proverbs of Solomon, the verses of Theognis 
and Phocyllides, and some part of the works 
of Hesiod. They might continue in this 
manner, for a long time, merely to multiply 
the number of those maxims of prudence and 
morality, without even attempting to arrange 
them in any very distinct or methodical order
much less to connect them together by one or 
more general principles, from which they 
were all deducible, like effects from their natural 
causes. The beauty of a systematical 
arrangement of different observations, connected 
by a few common principles, was first 
seen in the rude essays of those ancient times 
towards a system of natural philosophy
Something of the same kind was afterwards 
attempted in morals. The maxims of common 
life were arranged in some methodical 
order, and connected together by a few common 
principles, in the same manner as they 
had attempted to arrange and connect the 
phenomena of nature. The science which 
pretends to investigate and explain those connecting 
principles, is what is properly called 
Moral Philosophy
Different authors gave different systems
both of natural and moral philosophy. But 
the arguments by which they supported those 
different systems, far from being always demonstrations
were frequently at best but 
very slender probabilities, and sometimes 
mere sophisms, which had no other foundation 
but the inaccuracy and ambiguity of 
common language. Speculative systems
have, in all ages of the world, been adopted 
for reasons too frivolous to have determined 
the judgment of any man of common sense
in a matter of the smallest pecuniary interest. 
Gross sophistry has scarce ever had any influence 
upon the opinions of mankind, except 
in matters of philosophy and speculation
and in these it has frequently had the 
greatest. The patrons of each system of natural 
and moral philosophy, naturally endeavoured 
to expose the weakness of the arguments 
adduced to support the systems which 
were opposite to their own. In examining 
those arguments, they were necessarily led to 
consider the difference between a probable 
and a demonstrative argument, between a 
fallacious and a conclusive one; and logic
or the science of the general principles of 
good and bad reasoning, necessarily arose 
out of the observations which a scrutiny of 
this kind gave occasion to; though, in its origin
posterior both to physics and to ethics, it 
was commonly taught, not indeed in all, but 
in the greater part of the ancient schools of 
philosophy, previously to either of those 
sciences. The student, it seems to have been 
thought, ought to understand well the difference 
between good and bad reasoning, before 
he was led to reason upon subjects of so great 
This ancient division of philosophy into 
three parts was, in the greater part of the 
universities of Europe, changed for another 
into five. 
In the ancient philosophy, whatever was 
taught concerning the nature either of the 
human mind or of the Deity, made a part of 
the system of physics. Those beings, in 
whatever their essence might be supposed to