This description, quoted from James Clerk Maxwell's article in the 9th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, represents the historical position of the subject up till about 1860, when Maxwell began those constructive speculations in electrical theory, based on the influence of the physical views of Faraday and Lord Kelvin, which have in their subsequent development largely transformed theoretical physics into the science of the aether.
This was the last great effort in constructive theology of the Reformation period.
But even his eloquence was constraining and constructive - a personal call for immediate and universal co-operation; and that personal influence survives to this day in the institutions of his people, and perhaps still more in their character.
The Prolegomena to Ethics and the Lectures on the Principles of Political Obligation, which contain the whole of his positive constructive teaching.
His strength lay in his power as an original thinker rather than as a critic; and he will be remembered by his constructive work as logician, economist and statistician.
As a constructive thinker, he did little.
From the side of literature the way was prepared for it by the genius of Coleridge, Wordsworth and Carlyle; from the side of morals and politics by the profound discontent of the constructive spirit of the century with the disintegrating conceptions inherited from utilitarianism.
Throughout his lectures, Adamson pursued the critical and historical method without formulating a constructive theory of his own.
Though he makes his bow to mathematical method, he, even more than Hobbes, misses its constructive character.
His constructive theory comes at the end, and seems to argue thus: Since (i) there is no discoverable reason why we 3 Mansel's theism (or natural theology), and the revelation he believes in, seem both of them pure matters of assertion on his part, without evidence, or even in the teeth of the evidence as he conceives it.