Ascertainment Quotes (2 quotes)
[The famous attack of Sir William Hamilton on the tendency of mathematical studies] affords the most express evidence of those fatal lacunae in the circle of his knowledge, which unfitted him for taking a comprehensive or even an accurate view of the processes of the human mind in the establishment of truth. If there is any pre-requisite which all must see to be indispensable in one who attempts to give laws to the human intellect, it is a thorough acquaintance with the modes by which human intellect has proceeded, in the case where, by universal acknowledgment, grounded on subsequent direct verification, it has succeeded in ascertaining the greatest number of important and recondite truths. This requisite Sir W. Hamilton had not, in any tolerable degree, fulfilled. Even of pure mathematics he apparently knew little but the rudiments. Of mathematics as applied to investigating the laws of physical nature; of the mode in which the properties of number, extension, and figure, are made instrumental to the ascertainment of truths other than arithmetical or geometricalit is too much to say that he had even a superficial knowledge: there is not a line in his works which shows him to have had any knowledge at all.
Endow scientific research and we shall know the truth, when and where it is possible to ascertain it; but the counterblast is at hand: To endow research is merely to encourage the research for endowment; the true man of science will not be held back by poverty, and if science is of use to us, it will pay for itself. Such are but a few samples of the conflict of opinion which we find raging around us.