Observations upon experimental philosophy to which is added The description of a new blazing world
Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674.
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2. Of Art, and Experimental Philosophy.

SOme are of opinion, That by Art there can be a reparation made of the Mischiefs and Imperfections mankind has drawn upon it self by negligence and intem∣perance, and a wilful and superstitious deserting the Pre∣scripts and Rules of Nature, whereby every man, both from a derived Corruption, innate and born with him, and from his breediug and converse with men, is very subject to slip into all sorts of Errors. But the all-powerful God, and his servant Nature, know, that Art, which is but a particular Creature, cannot inform us of the Truth of the Infinite parts of Nature, being but finite it self; for though every Creature has a double per∣ception, rational and sensitive, yet each creature or part has not an Infinite perception; nay, although each particular creature or part of Nature may have some conceptions of the Infinite parts of Nature, yet it can∣not know the truth of those Infinite parts, being but a finite part it self, which finiteness causes errors in Perceptions; wherefore it is well said, when they con∣fess themselves, That the uncertainty and mistakes of humane actions proceed either from the narrowness and wandring of our senses, or from the slipperiness or delusion of our memory, or from the confinement or rashness of our understandiug. But, say they, It is no wonder that our power over natural Causes and Effects is so slowly im∣proved, Page  6 seeing we are not onely to contend with the obscu∣rity and difficulty of the things whereon we work and think, but even the forces of our minds conspire to betray us: And these being the dangers in the process of Humane Rea∣son, the remedies can onely proceed from the Real, the Mechanical, the Experimental Philosophy, which hath this advantage over the Philosophy of discourse and dis∣putation, That whereas that chiefly aims at the subtilty of its deductions and conclusions, without much regard to the first ground-work, which ought to be well laid on the sense and memory, so this intends the right ordering of them all, and making them serviceable to each other. In which discourse I do not understand, first, what they mean by our power over natural causes and effects; for we have no power at all over natural causes and effects, but onely one particular effect may have some power over another, which are natural actions; but neither can natural causes nor effects be over-powred by man so, as if man was a degree above Nature, but they must be as Nature is pleased to order them; for Man is but a small part, and his powers are but particular actions of Nature, and therefore he cannot have a supreme and absolute power. Next, I say, That Sense, which is more apt to be deluded then Reason, cannot be the ground of Reason, no more then Art can be the ground of Nature: Wherefore discourse shall sooner find or trace Natures corporeal figurative motions, then de∣luding Arts can inform the Senses; For how can a Page  7 Fool order his understanding by Art, if Nature has made it defective? or how can a wise man trust his sen∣ses, if either the objects be not truly presented accord∣ing to their natural figure and shape, or if the senses be defective, either through age, sickness, or other accidents, which do alter the natural motions proper to each sense? And hence I conclude, that Experimental and Mecha∣nick Philosophy cannot be above the Speculative part, by reason most Experiments have their rise from the Speculative, so that the Artist or Mechanick is but a servant to the Student.