Home >> British Encyclopedia >> Inflammation to Language 1 >> Invention

Invention

arts, according, bacon and whence

INVENTION, denotes the act of find ing any thing new,or even the thing thus found. Invention is, according to lord Bacon, of two very different kinds, the one of arts and sciences, the other of ar guments and discourse : the former he sets down as absolutely deficient. That the other part of knowledge is wanting, says he, seems clear ; for logic professes not, nor pretends to invent, either me chanical or liberal arts ; nor to deduce the operations of the one, or the axioms of the other, but only leaves us this in struction, "To believe every artist in his own art." His lordship further maintains, that men are hitherto more obliged to brutes than reason for inventions. Whence those who have written concerning the first inventors of things, and origin of sciences, rather celebrate chance than art, and bring in beasts, birds, fishes, and serpents, rather than men, as the first teachers of arts. No wonder, therefore, as the manner of antiquity was to conse crate the inventors of useful things, that the Egyptians, to whom many arts owe their rise, had their temples filled with the images of brutes, and but a few hu man idols amongst them.

Invention is, therefore, used for a sub tlety of mind, or somewhat peculiar in a man's genius, which leads him to the dis covery of things new ; whence we say a man of invention. Invention, according

to Du Bos, is that part which constitutes the principal merit of works, and distin guishes the great genius from the simple artist.

Ixvswrrox, in rhetoric, being one of the second divisions of invention, according to Bacon, signifies the finding out and choosing of arguments which the orator is to use for proving his point, in moving his hearers' passions.

This invention, in the opinion of that philosopher, cannot properly be called invention, which is the discovery of things not yet known, and not the recol lecting things that are known : the only use and office of this rhetorical invention being, out of the stock of knowledge al ready laid up, to select such articles as make for the purpose. The same author divides the method of procuring a stock of matter for discourse into two ; the first of which is either by marking out and in dicating the parts wherein a thing is to be searched after, which he calls the to . pical way ; and the second is by laying up arguments for use that were compos ed before hand, and which he calls the promptuary way.