Pringle, Sir John

Pringle, Sir John a Scotch philosopher and physician, was born in Roxburghshire in 1707. He settled in Edinburgh about 1734, and after 1748 resided in London, where he distinguished himself greatly, and became president of the Royal Society in 1773. He was for a time professor of pneumatology and ethical philosophy in Edinburgh University. He died in 1782. He divided pneumatics into the following parts:

1. A physical inquiry into the nature of such subtle and material substances as are imperceptible to the senses, and known only from their operations.

2. The nature of immaterial substances connected with matter, in which is demonstrated, by natural evidence, the immortality of the human soul.

3. The nature of immaterial created beings not connected with matter.

4. Natural theology, or the existence and attributes of God demonstrated from the light of nature. Ethics, or moral philosophy, he divided into the theoretical and practical parts, in treating of which the authors he chiefly uses are Cicero, Marcus Antonius, Puffendorf. and lord Bacon. Carlyle describes him as "an agreeable lecturer, though no master of the science he taught." "His lectures were chiefly a compilation from lord Bacon's works; and had it not been for Puffendorf's small book, which he made his text, we should not have been instructed in the rudiments of the science." Nevertheless, we see that he discussed topics which must issue, sooner or later, in a scientific jurisprudence and political economy. See M'Cosh, Scottish Philosophy, p. 109.

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