Sunday, October 25, 2009

That Enduring Rock

Permanence in a world of change is hard to come by. However, the announcement from the Vatican this week about the establishment of the Anglican Rite within the church is so seismic that I cannot leave it pass without comment. Indeed hailed as perhaps the largest development since the Reformation, this inspired decision by Pope Benedict will change the face of Christianity for hundreds of years to come. What strikes me in particular is that we are witnessing not a reform (which is transient) but instead a new form, in that permanent sense that only the See of Peter the Rock can achieve. I am also humbled by the Holy Father's uncompromising generosity, a true gift.

I live in Ireland and indeed Anglicanism has had a major impact on the history of the islands of Britain and Ireland. I have attended funeral services of friends who were Anglican and each time I was struck by a sense of loss in that the litergy was beautiful but yet so tragic since it was empty of the Real Presence of Jesus. So it fills me with joy that at last the two can be reunited in a very special way and made whole.

I suspect that this decision will have a much larger impact in the UK than in Ireland, even though the Church of Ireland - Ireland's largest Protestant denomination - is part of the Anglican Communion. Several of the CoI archbishops are very liberally minded and are unlikely to be interested. That said, fifty years ago no one would have imagined that Trinity College Dublin would have an institute of Catholic theology, which is expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks. It will be fascinating to watch.

Fr. Jaki of course had a large interest in the Church of England, mostly through his studies of Newman. Angelo is more qualified than I am to speculate on how Fr. Jaki would view the developments. I can only imagine the reception Pope Benedict will receive from Catholics -from every rite - next year when he visits England and perhaps even presides over the Beatification of Cardinal Newman!

This brings me to the excerpt I have reproduced in full below. It is Macaulay's review of Ranke's History of the Popes, much loved by Fr. Jaki. Macaulay may be an accurate forecaster but he may yet be wrong about St. Paul's! One must never forget to consider the work of the Holy Spirit who works in mysterious and truly creative ways!

~ Jakian Thomist
There is not, and there never was, on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilization. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose above the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back to an unbroken series, from the pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century, to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eight; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique; but full of life and youthful rigor. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world, missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustine; and still con-fronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated her for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendancy extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn - countries which a century hence, may not improbably hence contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty million, and it will be difficult to show that all the other Christian sects united, amount to a hundred and twenty million. Nor do we see any sign which indicates the term of her long domination is approaching. She saw the commencement of all governments, and of all the ecclesiastical establishments, that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot in Britain - before the Frank had passed the Rhine - when Grecian eloquence still flourished in Antioch - when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's.

From Macaulay's essay review of Ranke's History of the Popes

Edinburgh Review 72 (1840) pp. 227-28

Quoted in Stanley L. Jaki, And on this Rock pp. 165-166

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Message must justify the Means

To conclude my review of the foundations of Jaki's philosophy, this week we consider his stance that "only if one takes the realist alternative is it possible to work out a philosophical system which can be communicated by a real means such as a book." [Numbers Decide p. 18-19]

In Cosmos and Creator (p. 94) Jaki recalls Spinoza's succinct survey of the choices available in philosophy:
"The Scholastics start from things, Descartes from thought, I start from God" [1]

On page 87, Jaki describes how this variety of competing philosophical systems easily give the impression of a cacophony and he suggests that "the only thing they have in common is that they are published in books". Jaki's realism places much importance on books and already in Cosmos and Creator we witness the seeds of what was to become the key-stone of Jaki's philosophical work Means to Message:

Since any book is a tangible product and obviously made for a purpose, any book written either against tangible reality or against the reality of purpose is the very refutation of its author's claim. But a book is also a refutation of the slighting of the excellence of thinking, that age-old citadel of metaphysics.
Materialists and positivists, be they logical or not, who must exorcise even the most rudimentary form of metaphysics which is embodied in thinking about any physical thing, are also refuted by the very books they write. A book is a thing, if it is anything. But a thing, any thing, is so loaded with metaphysical realism that, tellingly enough, Wittgenstein's second statement in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the defensive declaration that 'the world is the totality of facts not things'. [Cosmos and Creator p.88-89]

But yet the Tractatus was not the aspired end of philsophy but rather an 'illusory march', since the Tractatus itself was as much a thing as it was a fact. Wittgenstein's search for clarity ignored the means that carried his message and hence it degenerated into mere 'talk about talk'.

Objects cannot be vindicated in terms of something else. The registering of objects cannot be reduced to any other proposition which is still addressed to others. The use of means, of any means, obligates the philosopher to recognize the objective truth of means, so many objects. This is a truth, the very first to be unfolded from among the steps that allow one to go from means to messages. This truth cannot be evaded, let alone be refuted, because the refutation itself is an act of communication, an implicit falling back on objective means whereby alone can other philosophers be reached. [Means to Message p. 13]

Wittgenstein sensed that cheating was to be expected in professional philosophizing (c.f. Means p. 12) and through Jaki's emphasis on the means, he exposes the "clever maneuvers" required when objects are denied their right to independent existence and relegated to the "disembodied conceptual shadows" of either the mind or sensations.

Realist philosophy surpasses these contortions and hence qualifies as the true love of wisdom, since as Jaki reminds us "whatever else a treatise on truth must account for, it must first do full justice to that most immediate reality which any object is." [Means to Message p. 16]

~ Jakian Thomist

[1] Jaki relies on Gilson for this quotation. I have found it quoted slightly differently in T.S. Gregory's introduction to Andrew Boyle's 1959 translation of Spinoza's ethics: "The popular philosopy starts from creatures: Descartes starts from mind: I start from God." (page v). According to Gregory this was communicated to Leibniz. This translation also features in v.1 of Leon Brunschvicg's Ecrits philosophiques (1951).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Precision and Reality Part 2

**Scroll Down for Part 1**

The unbridgeable gap between ontology and science leads to another key theme in Jaki's philosophising - the place of quantities and man's quest for certainty. For some time certainty has been taken as synonymous with numerical accuracy and this reached its apex in the mechanistic philosophy where perfect precision in measuring was identified with full causality in happening. (c.f. Numbers Decide p. 18)

Aristotle noted long ago that quantities were different to his other nine categories in that "the category of quantity does not admit variation of degree". (Means to Message p. 33) Indeed this difference has become the principal message in Jaki's later works. He states that "the two realms of quantities and qualities live on in a splendid conceptual isolation from one another... no conceptual acrobatics can build a smooth transition between them". (A Mind's Matter p.172) However, Jaki always examines the limitations of quantities not least the fact that "the definition of a number can only be given in non-numerical terms." (Science and Religion: A Primer p.5)
Exactness, accuracy, precision and specificity are often used inter-changeably in connection with certainty and reality. However, since qualities lack the measurable clarity of numbers, advocates of scientism do not take them to be real and consequently not important. (c.f. A Mind's Matter p. 173) Past attempts to shoehorn qualities into quantities have invariably failed since, for example, "no measure, unless it is rather arbitrary, can be given of the point where a stick turns into a pole, a knife into a sword, a hut into a house, a lake into a sea, a hill into a mountain, a path into a road. (Means to Message p. 35)
Qualities may be indeterminate "patches of fog" but their reality is assured since ontological being can be exact independently of quantities. Five cannot be more or less five, but the real too, can neither be more or less real. While it is the numerical precision of science that makes it so effective, Jaki reminds us that "the connection between calculation and that reality is provided by something called philosophy and not physics" (Galileo Lessons p. 23)
Numerical exactness depends upon ontological exactness and not the other way around, unless one wants to play a dangerous game with reality, to recall Einstein's phrase. Instead, "at the very start of his work the scientist must answer affirmatively the question. is there matter? Both the question and the answer are very philosophical." (Questions in Science and Religion p. 17)
Jaki constantly reminds us that ontology is the bedrock for the river of change from which we recognise qualities and quantities.
Before there are ideas about reality there has to be a reality to be registered and that this reality exists regardless of whether we register it or not. This however, assumers that there is something fundamentally constant in reality even though it shows changes. That fundamental feature is much more than that material reality which is always measurable, which makes science possible and also exhausts it. But precisely because of this science cannot exhaust reality as such. [Numbers Decide p. 25]
~Jakian Thomist

Precision and Reality Part 1

Last week we considered the importance of objects for Jaki's realist philosophy and his conclusion that "the object activates the mind, instead of being activated by the mind in any sense." (Means to Message p. 23) We now turn to the second question he raised about the basic constant of philosophy:

Since reality is registered primarily through the registering of the size, the magnitude, or quantty of thing, does it follow that the reality of a thing is exhausted by its quantitative parameters?

In order to consider whether the reality of a thing is limited to registering its magnitude, we must first discuss the act of registering and then the category of quantities.

The act of registering requires use of the senses, and for Jaki this serves as the principal reminder about the reality of objects. However, Jaki highlights the fallacy of expecting too much from empiricism:

But trust in sensory perception, or commitment to empiricism, does not by itself lead one to the objectively real. Sensory perceptions as such are in the senses, in the subject. To recognise in sensory data the externally real is one of the main philosophical acts of true realism. Another of its main acts provides coherence to momentary sensory perceptions as so many indices of a reality existing even when the senses are dormant and counsciousness is not active.

Sensory perceptions are so many events. As such they can at most assure the occasional existence of things. Their togetherness can, in terms of a strictly sensationist philosophy of knowledge, hardly amount to more than a momentary kaleidoscope. True realism is about the continued existence of things, and, above all the continued consistent existence of the totality of things which is the universe." [The Only Chaos (p. 13-14)]

Registering size highlights the specific suchness of objects and prompts the mind to inquire and to ask why the object is such and not something else. (Science and Religion: A Primer p. 8) Size prompts the question of existence but cannot provide the answer, instead we need to turn to ontology:
The tie of the mind with reality rests forever on the mind's trust in the word is or the verb that states that this or that thing does exist. In investigating any bit of matter, say a stone, the scientist must first assume that it exists. Only then can he logically investigate the quantitative properties of that things, although he as a scientist does not have to speculate any further about existence. But he cannot take lightly this foundation of his work. Then the danger arises that he would seek a false reason for foundation and turn reality into the function of some operation, preferably quantitative, of the mind. [Questions on Science and Religion p. 16]
Since sense perception is fallible and ideals lack substance, those who ignore the constant being in a world of change will expect too much from their empiricism or idealism and will ultimately end in pragmatism or outright skepticism. There is more than anti-ontology lurking behind the statement of Quine that "to be... is to be the value of a variable" (The Limits of a Limitless Science p. 11). It smacks of an oscillation between an empiricist registering size and a Platonist whose numbers are reality and the end result is a dehumanising scientistic slogan.

However, Jaki notes "Is is simply ourside the grasp of exact science. Only a wild intellect would imagine that existence can be measured in grams, inches, or nanoseconds." (Science and Religion: A Primer p. 6)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Objects, Reality and the Solvitur Ambulando

Following on from my previous blog entry, let us now consider Jaki's take on the first question he raises on the foundations of philosophy:

Does man create reality by having ideas about it or do ideas depend on man's registering reality?

In A Mind's Matter (p. 247), Jaki emphatically answers, "objects are here to object" and concludes that "a mind becomes a knower only to the extent that it resonates to the act whereby each and every object does indeed object".

Jaki develops this further:
The word "object" may indeed carry far more effectively the meaning of the "real" than perhaps any other word. To see this, one merely should seize on the "object" as if its main function should be to object to the mind and keep objecting to it whether the mind pays attention or not. [A Mind's Matter (p. 246)]

The instinctive realist in Einstein certainly gave consideration to this final point as he asked A. Pais whether the moon is there only when one looks at it. (c.f. The Limits of a Limitless Science p. 186). However, Einstein's denial of free will should reflect Jaki's penetrating example of the dissonance that occurs when object in a philosopher's nightlife conflicts with his daytime philosophy:
Diderot was one such philosophe who did not differ from other philosophes in liberally experimenting in free love. It was through his most remembered love-liasons that he discovered the agony which is in store for all who take man for a mere machine and try to be a bit consistent about it. On being asked by his lover, Mme de Maux, whether comets blindly obey the law of gravitation, it suddenly dawned on Diderot that his love for Mme de Maux might then by just as well a blind submission to fate. "It makes me wild," he wrote to her, "to be entangled in a devil of philosophy
that my mind cannot deny and my heart gives the lie to." [The Limits of a Limitless Science (p. 42)]

The sophistry of Zeno certainly entangled him in a devil of philosophy. Diogenes efficiently disposed with one particular sophism of his by walking across a room and in the process gave birth to the philosophical principle of solvitur ambulando. Jaki shows great fondness for variations of this principle which he states "only thorough-bred realists can invoke consistently". [Means to Message (p. 20)]

Jaki frequently makes use of it when discussing the new "quantum" sophistries of reducing reality to sensations. He wonders whether those cosmologists who claim they can produce entire universes by concentrating their consciousnesses experiment first on creating silver dollars by letting some wave functions collapse as they think hard about them. (Numbers Decide p. 40)

Nothing like money woes object on the mind and in this era of failed banks there is a sense deja vu when cosmologists claim that they can set up universes like "a most gigantically dubious World Bank...and from this World Bank they can draw matter equivalent to the mass of the entire universe without first securing the deposit of that amount." (The Limits p. 136) That this practice could only work so long for the financial sector has now become evident.

Of course, for the thorough realist, petty thefts with small quantities of matter (c.f. A Mind's Matter p. 165) are just as serious as the petty thefts of pick-pockets, despite the fact that only the latter object to the mind of both physicists and non-physicists alike:

But quite unbelievable sounds the remark of still another Nobel Laurate, who took exception to my dismissal of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics as based on the anticausal interpretation of Heisenberg's principle. To his credit, he drew the ultimate inference of that interpretation and held that there was no external reality except sensory impressions of what we think to be such a reality. I asked him whether, if a pickpocket had come and taken his wallet, he could still say that his wallet had been stolen, or only say that he had sensory impression of this. He was visably taken aback by my question, but he also admitted that he had no right to say anything else. Being a good friend, I had no heart to drive the dagger deeper by telling him that he should be careful not to complain to the police that he had just had the sensory impression of his wallet been taken from his pocket. [A Mind's Matter (p.167)].

Jaki has also challenged famous names such as the late astronomer W. McCrea who claimed that the stars he saw through his telescope only existed on his retina (The Limits p. 142) and Oppenheim (A Mind's Matter p. 110) amongst others.

By recognising the primacy of objects Fr. Jaki's realist philosophy is rooted to the ground while it reaches for the stars. Jaki's concluding advice to thorough-bred realists is to be savored:

Realism has to be methodical, that is, a continual return to what one has most consciously taken for one's primary step. This is something more than what I said about the importance of the first step taken in any activity. Continual return to that first step, to an ever fresh reconsideration of what it means, of what it implies, is what gives life to one's realism in philosophy. What I would say now is that a true realist, a true objectivist should never tire of taking an ever fresh look at that primary step of his. He should be ready to test it again and again against ever new problems, tasks, and possibilities, in fact against all of one's major concerns. [A Mind's Matter (p. 247)]

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jaki in Italian

Hello, dear friends of the Duhem Society! Dr Thursday has kindly invited me to contribute to this blogg and here I am.

I was born and educated in Italy. Seven years ago I moved to Ireland where I live now. I am a lecturer, I teach philosophy in a couple of colleges. My PhD thesis was on John Henry Newman and this is one of the reason I started reading Jaki, a fine Newman scholar. Moreover, philosophy of science is one of my areas of interest (I said interest, not expertise) and this is another reason I like Stanley Jaki.

In my first contribution I will tell you something about Jaki and Italy.

Jaki studied theology in Rome, at the Benedictine Pontificial University of Sant'Anselmo, on the beautiful hill of Aventino. This is how he remembers that experience in his autobiography:

In Rome I greatly profited from the historical method which was stressed in Sant'Anselmo in the teaching of various theological subjects, especially in systematic theology.It certainly suited my mind, which was never satisfied until it grasped the history of the topic. The exposure to Rome's cultural riches and to its monuments recording two millennia of history remained a lifelong experience to cherish. I would have been most please to stay in Rome, but I started going back there regularly only from 1992 on, following my appointment as an honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Science.

[Jaki, A Mind's Matter: An Intellectual Autobiography, 20]

Rome is also the last place where he lectured, a few days before his death.

Some of Jaki's books have been translated into Italian. Here is a provisional list:

La strada della scienza e le vie verso Dio (Jaca Book, Milano 1988);
Dio e i cosmologi (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 1991);
Il Salvatore della scienza (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 1992);
Lo scopo di tutto. Scienza, filosofia & teologia si interrogano sulla finalità (Ares, Milano 1994);
Cristo e la scienza (Fede e cultura, Verona 2006);
Disegno intelligente? (Fede e cultura, Verona 2007);
Il messaggio e il suo mezzo (Fede e cultura, Verona 2007);
Arcipelago Chiesa (Fede e cultura, Verona 2008);
Gesù, Islam e scienza (Fede e cultura, Verona 2009).

The Italian translation of Christ and Science was presented to Pope Benedict XVI. Here you can find an account of the event.

Next week I will tell you more about articles and interviews to Jaki available on line in Italian.



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Foundations of Jaki's Philosophy

Fr. Jaki notes in his autobiography (p.162) that a fellow priest physicist could not figure out his stance as a philosopher from reading The Relevance. Jaki does provide some clues and it doesn't take long to realise that he had little esteem for positivism or materialism and especially not Kantian Idealism. The less said the better about the transcendental Thomists, or Aquikantians as he christened them.
Yet Fr. Jaki was reluctant to be called a Thomist also, unless Thomism was to be equated with metaphysical realism. (p. 169, A Mind's Matter) This should not seem too surprising. While Thomas' great service to science was his unyielding defence of realism and the Christian Creed, his lack of interest in experimentation and critically his concordist stance on Aristotle's physics, makes it difficult to construct a uniquely Thomist Philosophy of Science.
Of course, if Jaki considered himself a fully-fledged Thomist I would merely be repeating myself by referring to my philosophical stance as a 'Jakian Thomist'! However, it is Jaki's integration of a Thomist realist perspective into the Philosophy of Science and crucially in a non-concordist manner with the science of the moment that I think will give Jaki's thought perennial credence.
The following quotation provides one of the clearest statements of how Jaki builds the foundations of his philosophy:

[The basic constant of philosophy] consists in the necessity of taking one or the other of the alternatives: Does man create reality by having ideas about it, or do ideas depend on man's registering reality? Moreover, since reality is registered primarily through the registering of the size, the magnitude, or quantity of a thing, does it follow that the reality of a thing is exhausted by its quantitative parameters?

In fact, it seems to me that these choices are so fundamental that it is not possible to work out a consistent system of philosophy without adopting one or the other of those alternatives. Of course, only if one takes the realist alternative, is it possible to work out a philosophical system which can be communicated by a real means, such as a book. Although physical things reveal their reality primarily through their quantitative size, a set of quantitative measures is never equivalent to physical reality, let alone the source of it. If, however, such is the case, the exactness of quantities will never become an arbiter over ontological questions such as causality, freedom, and purpose.
[Numbers Decide: Planck's Constant and the Constants of Philosophy, Numbers Decide and Other Essays, p. 18-19]

Jaki concludes that such a system will give justice to both philosophy and science through the strict demarcation line between quantities and everything else. Or put simply, it's about recognising the fundamental difference between 123's and ABC's.

~ Jakian Thomist

Monday, October 5, 2009

Introducing the Guest Speaker


Dr. Thursday has kindly invited me to be a contributor to the Duhem Society Blog. I have been an enthusiastic follower of Fr. Jaki's books since I discovered them some months ago and indeed his writings sparked my interest in the philosophy and history of science. Alas, at present I have no qualifications in this area, so all I can offer is my humble opinion and encouragement.

As well as making contributions to this blog, I hope to write reviews of Fr. Jaki's books and related others on my profile available here:

Fr. Jaki's prayful scholarship has truly been an inspiration for me and I am eternally grateful for having encountered his works.

~Jakian Thomist

BYOJL #2: Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism

No I was not on vacation - some days I have other things which must be done, and as yet I have no grad students (or even undergrad students) to assist. Perhaps it is as well you had some time to catch up - we all have plenty of reading to do, plenty of thinking, plenty of putting what we read and think into action - and - what is even more important - plenty of praying. If we do not start our work with prayer, be it technical or literary, practical or abstract - we will get nowhere, no matter how hard we work.

Today I present the second article in our new series, "Building Your Own Jaki Library" - that is, books which Father Jaki refers to, and which are important for our work in science, in philosophy, and in history - and what is more delightful, books which are presently available in print!

James Clerk Maxwell's A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, is available as a two-volume set from Dover: volume one and volume two.

For the classical physicist understanding a phenomenon meant simply reducing it to the Newtonian laws. It was therefore a source of deep satisfaction for them to learn that the mathematical interpretation of a physical process in which gravitation played no part might show a striking resemblance to the law of gravitation. Maxwell was particularly eager to point this out in connection with the law of the conduction of heat in uniform media. Newton's laws were also the ideal Ampere had emulated in his work with such success that Maxwell was prompted to say: "The whole theory and experiment seems as if it had leaped, full-grown, full-armed, from the brain of the Newton of electricity."
[SLJ The Relevance of Physics 73 quoting JCM ToEM II:175]

Another experimental method of verifying the inverse square law in electrostatics was first pointed out by J. Priestley and brought to a very high order of accuracy in later times. Characteristically enough, the argument rested on analogy with the absence of gravitational force inside a spherical shell. To Priestley such analogy suggested that a law of attraction obeying the inverse square law should be the reason why pithballs placed inside an electrified metal cup would experience no force on themselves. As could be easily seen, even the slightest departure from the inverse square law would result in observable effects, and this Cavendish tried to ascertain. His result was negative, and from the sensitivity of his apparatus, he concluded that the exponent in the force law was between 2.02 and 1.98. This was one of Cavendish's many important experiments that lay unpublished until edited by Maxwell in 1879. Maxwell himself repeated the experiment with a much greater accuracy and gave 2.00005 and 1.99995 as the limits for the variation of the value of the exponent permissible by the experimental error. This was a thousandfold improvement on Cavendish, but was by no means the last word on the subject. In 1936 S. J. Plimpton and W. E. Lawton improved the accuracy of the experiment by another factor of ten thousand, setting the limits of variation as 2.000,000,002 and 1.999,999,998.
[SLJ ibid 251 referencing JCM ToEM I:81-83]

... in his [Maxwell's] article on Faraday in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, he even poked fun at those mathematicians "who have rejected Faraday's method of stating his law as unworthy of the precision of their science." For all their mathematics, Maxwell noted, they "have never succeeded in devising any essentially different formula which shall fully express the phenomena without introducing hypotheses about the mutual actions of things which have no physical existence, such as elements of currents which flow out of nothing, then along a wire, and finally sink into nothing again." By contrast, Faraday, with no recourse to mathematics, came up with one of the most seminal laws in physics. For Maxwell this was not without the deepest significance, because Faraday's original statement was a model of perfection. It remains to this day, wrote Maxwell, "the only one which asserts no more than can be verified by experiment, and the only one by which the theory of phenomena can be expressed in a manner which is exactly and numerically accurate, and at the same time within the range of elementary methods of explanation." There is indeed much food for thought in the fact that Maxwell deemed it very fortunate for physics that Faraday was not a "professed mathematician" and was thus left at leisure to "coordinate his ideas with his facts and to express them in natural, untechnical language."
[SLJ ibid 354; the final quote is from JCM ToEM II:176]

Culture is the art of finding the true proportion in things, situations, and human affairs. Consequently, any ingredient in culture must take its place in the whole according to its own proportion of truth, uncertainty, and error. By ignoring history, it is easy to forget that errors, blind alleys, wrong assumptions, and illusions in physics far outnumbered the successful efforts. Faraday, for one, found that even in the most successful instances not a tenth of his preliminary ideas and conclusions could be carried to satisfactory completion. In his diaries failures were recorded as faithfully as successes, in the conviction that an awareness of failures was indispensable for progress. No one upheld this view more resolutely than Maxwell, whose electromagnetic theory was deeply rooted in the study of Faraday's notes. Comparing the methods of Ampère and Faraday, Maxwell warned his students that it was necessary to study both in order to get a view in depth of a scientific theory. Ampère, said Maxwell, does not show the steps by which he arrived at his perfect demonstration: "He removed all traces of the scaffolding by which he had raised it." Faraday, on the other hand, made known both his successful and his unsuccessful experiments, both his crude and his developed ideas. Therefore, if Ampère's research should be read, to hear Maxwell state it, as a "splendid example of scientific research," Faraday's writings should be studied "for the cultivation of a scientific spirit."
[SLJ ibid 519-20 quoting JCM ToEM II:175, 176]

There is one other reference which is wonderful as it gives us a bit of Pierre Duhem's thoughts on this important book, as well as an insight into Duhem's own work:
The same volume of the Bulletin contained a precious insight into the horizons within which Pierre saw the accomplishment of the task of perfecting physics. In a review of the French translation of Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, he wrote: "Maxwell's Treatise faithfully represents what the science of electricity is in the country of Green and Faraday. The fundamental ideas and the manner of presentation notably differ from the doctrine and mode of exposition adopted in the country of Coulomb and Ampere as well as in the country of Gauss." From this it would have been most tempting to draw a conclusion savoring of chauvinism at a time when French science eagerly sought to recover its erstwhile leadership. But Pierre was committed to the fullness of truth regardless of national provenance. "Perhaps the [French] reader of Maxwell's work will regret the absence there of the clarity of French physicists and of the rigor of German geometers; yet, the methods of the English mathematician will help him in the discovery of new consequences by forcing him to retrace the principal theories of electricity in an order different from, and sometimes inverse to, that to which he is accustomed." These lines were so many anticipations, in a nutshell, of a famed analysis to be given by Pierre two decades later of the colouring of the physicist's reasoning and discourse according to his national origin. In this connection too, Pierre, still in his mid-twenties, had a keen consciousness of ideas that were to distinguish his work for the rest of his life.
[SLJ Uneasy Genius: The Life and Work of Pierre Duhem 67]