consist, were parts of the great system of the 
universe, and parts, too, productive of the 
most important effects. Whatever human 
reason could either conclude or conjecture 
concerning them, made, as it were, two 
chapters, though no doubt two very important 
ones, of the science which pretended to give 
an account of the origin and revolutions of 
the great system of the universe. But in 
the universities of Europe, where philosophy 
was taught only as subservient to theology, it 
was natural to dwell longer upon these two 
chapters than upon any other of the science
They were gradually more and more extended, 
and were divided into many inferior chapters
till at last the doctrine of spirits, of 
which so little can be known, came to take up 
as much room in the system of philosophy as 
the doctrine of bodies, of which so much can 
be known. The doctrines concerning those 
two subjects were considered as making two 
distinct sciences. What are called metaphysics
or pneumatics, were set in opposition 
to physics, and were cultivated not only as 
the more sublime, but, for the purposes of a 
particular profession, as the more useful 
science of the two. The proper subject of 
experiment and observation, a subject in 
which a careful attention is capable of making 
so many useful discoveries, was almost 
entirely neglected. The subject in which, 
after a very few simple and almost obvious 
truths, the most careful attention can discover 
nothing but obscurity and uncertainty, and 
can consequently produce nothing but subtleties 
and sophisms, was greatly cultivated. 
When these two sciences had thus been set 
in opposition to one another, the comparison 
between them naturally gave birth to a third, 
to what was called ontology, or the science 
which treated of the qualities and attributes 
which were common to both the subjects of 
the other two sciences. But if subtleties and 
sophisms composed the greater part of the 
metaphysics or pneumatics of the schools
they composed the whole of this cobweb 
science of ontology, which was likewise sometimes 
called metaphysics
Wherein consisted the happiness and perfection 
of a man, considered not only as an 
individual, but as the member of a family, of 
a state, and of the great society of mankind
was the object which the ancient moral philosophy 
proposed to investigate. In that philosophy
the duties of human life were treated 
of as subservient to the happiness and perfection 
of human life. But when moral, as 
well as natural philosophy, came to be taught 
only as subservient to theology, the duties of 
human life were treated of as chiefly subservient 
to the happiness of a life to come. In 
the ancient philosophy, the perfection of virtue 
was represented as necessarily productive
to the person who possessed it, of the most 
perfect happiness in this life. In the modern 
philosophy, it was frequently represented as 
generally, or rather as almost always, inconsistent 
with any degree of happiness in this 
life; and heaven was to be earned only by 
penance and mortification, by the austerities 
and abasement of a monk, not by the liberal, 
generous, and spirited conduct of a man
Casuistry, and an ascetic morality, made up, 
in most cases, the greater part of the moral 
philosophy of the schools. By far the most 
important of all the different branches of philosophy 
became in this manner by far the most 
Such, therefore, was the common course of 
philosophical education in the greater part of 
the universities in Europe. Logic was taught 
first; ontology came in the second place
pneumatology, comprehending the doctrine 
concerning the nature of the human soul and 
of the Deity, in the third; in the fourth followed 
a debased system of moral philosophy
which was considered as immediately connected 
with the doctrines of pneumatology
with the immortality of the human soul, and 
with the rewards and punishments which, 
from the justice of the Deity, were to be expected 
in a life to come: a short and superficial 
system of physics usually concluded the 
The alterations which the universities of 
Europe thus introduced into the ancient course 
of philosophy were all meant for the education 
of ecclesiastics, and to render it a more 
proper introduction to the study of theology
But the additional quantity of subtlety and 
sophistry, the casuistry and ascetic morality 
which those alterations introduced into it, certainly 
did not render it more for the education 
of gentlemen or men of the world, or more 
likely either to improve the understanding or 
to mend the heart
This course of philosophy is what still continues 
to be taught in the greater part of the 
universities of Europe, with more or less diligence
according as the constitution of each 
particular university happens to render diligence 
more or less necessary to the teachers
In some of the richest and best endowed universities
the tutors content themselves with 
teaching a few unconnected shreds and parcels 
of this corrupted course; and even these 
they commonly teach very negligently and superficially
The improvements which, in modern times
have been made in several different branches 
of philosophy, have not, the greater part of 
them, been made in universities, though some, 
no doubt, have. The greater part of universities 
have not even been very forward to 
adopt those improvements after they were 
made; and several of those learned societies 
have chosen to remain, for a long time, the 
sanctuaries in which exploded systems and obsolete 
prejudices found shelter and protection
after they had been hunted out of every other