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"rum causarum possessiones excurrunt, et irruunt misere eam provinciam de72 populantur et vastant.' De Augm. Scient. Lib. III. Cap. 4.


Note (BB.) page 262.

Among the earliest opponents of Des Cartes' doctrine concerning Final Causes, was Gassendi; a circumstance which I remark with peculiar pleasure, as he has been so unjustly represented by Cudworth and others, as a partisan, not only of the physical, but of atheistical opinions of the Epicurean school. For this charge I do not see that they had the slightest pretence to urge, but that, in common with Bacon, he justly considered the physical theories of Epicurus and Democritus as more analogous to the experimental inquiries of the moderns, than the logical subtilties of Aristotle and of the schoolmen. The following passage is transcribed in Gassendi's own words, from his Objections to the Meditations of Des Cartes.

"Quod autem à physica consideratione rejicis usum causarum finalium, aliâ "fortassis occasione potuisses recte facere at de Deo cûm agitur verendum pro"profectò, ne praecipuum argumentum rejicias, quo divina sapientia, providen"tia, potentia, atque adeò existentia, lumine naturae stabiliri potest. Quippe ❝ut mundum universum, ut coelum et alias ejus et praecipuas partes praeteream, "unde nam, aut quomodo meliùs argumentare valeas, quàm ex usu partium in "plantis, in animalibus, in hominibus, in te ipso (aut corpore tuo) qui similitu"dinem Dei geris? Videmus profectò magnos quosque viros ex speculatione ana"tomica corporis humani non assurgere modo ad Dei notitiam, sed hymnum quo.

[The second branch of Metaphysics is the Investigation of Final Causes. This I complain of, not as neglected, but as taken up in a wrong place; as being usually sought in Physics, and not in Metaphysics. Yet if the fault lay only in the order of enquiry, I should think it of less importance, for this belongs only to the illustration, and not to the substance of learning. But this inversion of order has become the occasion of great deficiency, and has done much injury to Philosophy. For the treating of Final causes in Physics, has prevented and discouraged the investigation of physical causes, and has induced men to rest contented with these specious and visionary causes, to the neglect of those which are real and physical; to the great injury of science. And I find this has been done not only by Plato, who seems to have fixed his anchor in this sandy shore, but also by Aristotle, Galen, and others who occasionally touch upon the same shallows. Some adduce causes of this kind; The eyelid and eyelashes serve as a fence for the protection of the eyes-The hide in animals is a defence against cold and heat-The bones are intended by nature for posts and beams to support the fabric of the body -The leaves of trees are produced that the fruit may not suffer from the sun and wind-Clouds are raised in the atmosphere that they may water the earth with showers-The earth is made firm and solid that it may be a proper abode for animals; and the like. Now in Metaphysics these allegations are not improper, but in physics are impertinent. Nay as we have said before, they retard the course and progress of the sciences, and have already produced an indisposition to enquire into physical causes. On this account, the natural philosophy of Democritus and others, who have rejected the Deity and an intelligent mind from the universe, and attributed its formation to an infinite number of essays and trials of nature, which in one word they call Fate or Chance; assigning the causes of individuals to the laws of matter, without intermixture of final causes; appears to me, as far as regards physical causes, to be much more solid and to have penetrated farther into nature, than that either of Plato, or Aristotle. And for this simple reason, that the former never wasted their labour upon final causes, whereas the latter do this perpetually. And in this respect Aristotle is even more blameable than Plato; since, neglecting God, the source of Final causes, he substituted Nature instead of God, and sought them rather as a lover of Logic than of Theology. We do not say this because these final causes are not the true ones, and highly worthy of enquiry in metaphysical speculations, but because when they make incursions and inroads into physics, they miserably lay waste and depopulate that branch of philosophy.]

"que ipsi canere, quòd omnes partes ita conformaverit, collocaveritque ad usus, "ut sit omnino propter solertiam atque providentiam incomparabilem commendan"dus."* Objectiones Quintae in Meditationem IV. De Vero et Falso.

I do not know if it has been hitherto remarked, that Gassendi is one of the first modern writers, by whom the following maxim, so often repeated by later physiologists, was distinctly stated; "Licet ex conformatione partium corporis humani, "conjecturas desumere ad functiones mere naturales."+ It was from a precipitate application of this maxim that he was led to conclude, that man was originally destined to feed on vegetables alone; a proposition which gave occasion to several memoirs by Dr. Wallis and Dr. Tyson, in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.

Note (CC.) page 271.

The theories of Hume, of Paley, and of Godwin, how differently soever they may have figured in the imaginations of their authors, are all equally liable to the fundamental objections stated in the text. The same objections are applicable to the generous and captivating, but not always unexceptionable morality inculcated in the writings of Dr. Hutcheson.-The system, indeed, of this last philosopher may be justly regarded as the parent stock on which the speculations of the others have been successively grafted.

Mr. Hume entered on his Inquiries concerning Morals, at a period when Dr. Hutcheson's literary name was unrivalled in Scotland. The abstract principles on which his doctrines are founded, differ widely from those of his predecessor, and are unfolded with far greater ingenuity, precision, and elegance. In various instances, however, he treads very closely in Dr. Hutcheson's footsteps; and, in the final result of his reasonings, he coincides with him exactly. According to both writers, a regard to general expediency affords the only universal canon for the regulation of our conduct.

It is a curious circumstance in the History of Ethics, that the same practical rule of life, to which Dr. Hutcheson was so naturally and directly led by his cardinal virtue of disinterested benevolence, has been inferred by Dr. Paley from a theory which resolves moral obligation entirely into prudential calculations of individual advantage. For the very circuitous, and (in my opinion) very illogical argument, whereby he has attempted to connect his conclusion with his premises, I must refer to his work.‡

The political justice of Mr. Godwin is but a new name for the principle of general expediency or utility. "The term justice (he observes) may be assumed as a "general appellation for all moral duty.-That this appellation (he continues) is

[In rejecting while you treat of physics, the use of Final causes, you might in a different part of the subject have done so with propriety; but in treating of God, there is reason to fear that you may weaken the principal argument, by which, according to the light of nature, we establish his wisdom, his providence, his power, and therefore his existence. For to say nothing of the world, of the heavens, and of other parts of the universal frame, from what or in what manner can you reason more forcibly, than from the use of the parts in plants, in animals, in men, in your own body, who are made after the likeness of God? We find, indeed, that the greatest men have risen from anatomical speculations upon the human body, not only to the acknowledgment of God, but even to sing hymns of praise to him, as worthy of all admiration, in having formed so wonderfully the several parts, and adapted them to their proper uses.]

+ [From the conformation of the parts of the human body, we may form conjectures, not unphilosophically, as to the functions which are merely natural.]

Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, Book ii. Chap. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

The theory of Dr. Paley has been very ably examined by Mr. Gisborne, in a treatise entitled, The Principles of Moral Philosophy investigated, and briefly applied to the Constitution of Civil Society. (London, 1790.) The objections to it there stated appear to me quite unanswerable; and they possess the additional merit of being urged with all the deference so justly due to Dr. Paley's character and talents.



"sufficiently expressive of the subject, will appear, if we consider for a moment, "C mercy, gratitude, temperance, or any of those duties which, in looser speaking, "are contradistinguished from justice. Why should I pardon this criminal, remu"nerate this favour, abstain from this indulgence? If it partake of the nature of "morality, it must be either right or wrong, just or unjust. It must tend to the be"nefit of the individual, either without entrenching upon, or with actual advan"tage to the mass of individuals. Either way, it benefits the whole, because in"dividuals are parts of the whole. Therefore, to do it, is just, and to forbear it is "unjust. If justice have any meaning, it is just that I should contribute every "thing in my power to the benefit of the whole." (Polit. Justice, Vol. I. pp. 80, 81.)

It is manifest, that, in the foregoing extract, the duty of justice is supposed to coincide exactly as a rule of conduct with the affection of benevolence; whereas, according to the common use of words, justice means that particular branch of virtue which leads us to respect the rights of others; a branch of virtue remarkably distinguished from all others by this, that the observance of it may be extorted by force; the violation of it exposing the offender to resentment, to indignation, and to punishment. In Mr. Godwin's language, the word justice must either be understood to be synonymous with general benevolence, or-assuming the existence of such an affection-to express the moral fitness of yielding, upon all occasions, to its suggestions. "It is just (says Mr. Godwin) that I should contribute every "thing in my power to the benefit of the whole.-My benefactor ought to be es"teemed, not because he bestowed a benefit upon me, but because he bestowed "it upon a human being. His desert will be in exact proportion to the degree in "which the human being was worthy of the distinction conferred. Thus, every "view of the subject brings us back to the consideration of my neighbour's moral "worth, and his importance to the general weal, as the only standard to determine "the treatment to which he is entitled. Gratitude, therefore, a principle which "has so often been the theme of the moralist and the poet, is no part either of "justice or virtue." (Ibid. p. 84.) The words just and justice can, in these sentences, mean nothing distinct from morally fit or reasonable; so that the import of the doctrine amounts merely to the following proposition. That it is reasonable or right, that the private benevolent affections should, upon all occasions, yield to the more comprehensive;-which is precisely the system of Hutcheson disguised under a different and much more exceptionable phraseology.

This abuse of words is not without its effect in concealing from careless readers the fallaciousness of some of the author's subsequent arguments; for although the idea he professes to convey by the term justice, be essentially different from that commonly annexed to it, yet he scruples not to avail himself, for his own purpose, of the received maxims which apply to it in its ordinary acceptation. In discussing, for example, the validity of promises, he reasons thus. I have promised to "do something just and right.-This certainly I ought to perform. Why? Not "because I promised it, but because justice prescribes it. I have promised to be"stow a sum of money upon some good and respectable purpose. In the interval "between the promise and my fulfilling it, a greater and nobler purpose offers itself, "which calls with an imperious voice for my co-operation. Which ought I to pre"fer? That which best deserves my preference. A promise can make no altera❝tion in the case. I ought to be guided by the intrinsic merit of the objects, and "not by any external and foreign consideration. No engagements of mine can "change their intrinsic claims.-If every shilling of our property, every hour of "our time, and every faculty of our mind, have already received their destination "from the principles of immutable justice, promises have no department left upon "which for them to decide. Justice, it appears therefore, ought to be done, wheth"er we have promised it or not." (Ibid. p. 151.)

It is quite evident, that, in this passage, the paramount supremacy indisputably belonging to justice in its usual and legitimate sense, is ascribed to it when employed as synonymous with benevolence; and of consequence, that the tendency of the new system, instead of extending the province of justice, properly so called, is to set its authority entirely aside, wherever it interferes with views of utility. In this respect, it exhibits a complete contrast to all the maxims hitherto recognized among moralists. The rules of justice are happily compared by Mr. Smith, to the strict and indispensable rules of grammar; those of benevolence to the more loose and

general descriptions of what constitutes the sublime and beautiful in writing that we 'meet with in the works of critics. According to Mr. Godwin, the reverse of this comparison is agreeable to truth; while, at the same time, by a dexterous change in the meaning of terms, he assumes the appearance of combating for the very cause which he labours to betray.

Of the latitude with which the word justice had been previously used by many ethical writers, a copious and choice collection of instances may be found in the learned and philosophical notes subjoined by Dr. Parr to his Spital Sermon. (London, 1801.)“By none of the ancient philosophers, however, (as he has well ob"served,) is justice set in opposition to any other social duty; nor did they em"ploy the colossal weight of the term in crushing the other moral excellencies, "which were equally considered as pillars in the temple of virtue." pp. 28, 29, 30, 31.*

Note (DD.) page 271.

As the main purpose of this section is to combat the logical doctrine which would exclude the investigation of Final Causes from natural philosophy, I have not thought it necessary to take notice of the sceptical objections to the theological inferences commonly deduced from it. The consideration of these properly belongs to some inquiries which I destine for the subject of a separate Essay. On one of them alone I shall offer at present a few brief remarks, on account of the peculiar stress laid upon it in Mr. Hume's Posthumous Dialogues.

"When two species of objects (says Philo) have always been observed to be con"joined together, I can infer, by custom, the existence of one wherever I see the ex"istence of the other: and this I call an argument from experience. But how this 66 argument can have place, where the objects, as in the present case, are single, "individual, without parallel, or specific resemblance, may be difficult to explain. "And will any man tell me, with a serious countenance, that an orderly universe "must arise from some thought and art, like the huinan, because we have experi"ence of it? To ascertain this reasoning, it were requisite that we had experi"ence of the origin of worlds; and it is not sufficient surely, that we have seen "ships and cities arise from human art and contrivance.-Can you pretend to shew "any similarity between the fabric of a house, and the generation of the universe? "Have you ever seen Nature in any such situation as resembles the first arrange"ment of the elements? Have worlds ever been formed under your eye; and "have you had leisure to observe the whole progress of the phenomenon, from the "first appearance of order to its final consummation? If you have, then cite your "experience, and deliver your theory."

This celebrated argument appears to me to be little more than an amplification of that which Xenophon puts into the mouth of Aristodemus, in his conversation with Socrates, concerning the existence of the Deity. "I behold (says he) none of "those governours of the world, whom you speak of; whereas here, I see artists ac"tually employed in the execution of their respective works."-The reply of Socrates, too, is in substance the same with what has been since retorted on Philo by some of Mr. Hume's opponents. "Neither, yet, Aristodemus, seest thou thy soul, "which, however, most assuredly governs thy body :-Although it may well seem, ❝by thy manner of talking, that it is chance and not reason which governs thee."

Whatever additional plausibility Philo may have lent to the argument of Aristodemus, is derived from the authority of that much abused maxim of the inductive logic, that "all our knowledge is entirely derived from experience." It is curious,

Having mentioned the name of this eminent person, I eagerly embrace the opportu nity of acknowledging the instruction I have received not only from his various publications, but from the private literary communications with which he has repeatedly favour ed me. From one of these (containing animadversions on some passages in my Essay on the Sublime,) I entertain hopes of being permitted to make a few extracts in a future edition of that performance. By his candid and liberal strictures, I have felt myself highly honoured; and should be proud to record, in his own words, the corrections he has suggested of certain critical and philological judgments, which, it is highly probable, I may have too lightly hazarded.

that Socrates should have touched with precision on one of the most important exceptions with which this maxim must be received. Our knowledge of our own existence as sentient and intelligent beings, is (as I formerly endeavoured to shew) not an inference from experience, but a fundamental law of human belief. All that experience can teach me of my internal frame, amounts to a knowledge of the various mental operations whereof I am conscious; but what light does experience throw on the origin of my notions of personality and identity? Is it from having observed a constant conjunction between sensations and sentient beings; thoughts and thinking beings; volitions and active beings; that I infer the existence of that individual and permanent mind, to which all the phenomena of my consciousness belong? Our conviction that other men are, like ourselves, posssessed of thought and reason; together with all the judgments we pronounce on their intellectual and moral characters, cannot (as is still more evident) be resolved into an experimental perception of the conjunction of different objects or events. They are inferences of design from its sensible effects, exactly analogous to those which, in the instance of the universe, Philo would reject as illusions of the fancy.*

But leaving for future consideration these abstract topics, let us, for a moment, attend to the scope and amount of Philo's reasoning.-T those who examine it with attention it must appear obvious, that, if it proves any thing, it leads to this general conclusion, That it would be perfectly impossible for the Deity, if he did exist, to exhibit to Man any satisfactory evidence of design by the order and perfeetion of his works. That every thing we see is consistent with the supposition of its being produced by an intelligent author, Philo himself has explicitly acknowledged in these remarkable words: "Supposing there were a God, who did not discover "himself immediately to our senses; would it be possible for him to g.ve stronger "proofs of his existence, than what appear on the whole face of nature? What, in"deed, could such a Divine Being do, but copy the present economy of things ;— "render many of his artifices so plain, that no stupidity could mistake them ;"afford glimpses of still greater artifices, which demonstrate his prodigious supe"riority above our narrow apprehensions ;-and conceal altogether a great many "from such imperfect creatures?"-The sceptical reasonings of Philo, therefore, do not, like those of the ancient Epicureans, hinge, in the least, on alleged disorders and imperfections in the universe, but entirely on the impossibility, in a case to which experience furnishes nothing parallel or analogous, of rendering intelligence and design manifest to our faculties by their sensible effects. In thus shifting his ground from that occupied by his predecessors, Philo seems to me to have abandoned the only post from which it was of much importance for his adversaries to dislodge him. The logical subtilties, formerly quoted, about experience and belief, (even supposing them to remain unanswered,) are but little calculated to shake the authority of principles, on which we are every moment forced to judge and to act by the exigencies of life. For this change in the tactics of modern sceptics, we are evidently, in a great measure, if not wholly, indebted to the lustre thrown on the order of nature, by the physical researches of the two last centuries.

Another concession extorted from Philo by the discoveries of modern science is still more important. I need not point out its coincidence with some remarks in the first part of this section, on the unconscious deference often paid to final causes by those inquirers who reject them in theory ;-a coincidence which had totally escaped my recollection when these remarks were written. I quote it here, chiefly

This last consideration is ably stated by Dr. Reid. (See Essays on the Intellectual Powers, pp. 631, 632. 4to ed.). The result of his argument is, that "according to Philo's reasoning, we can have no evidence of mind or design in any of our fellow-men."—At a considerably earlier period, Buffier had fallen into the same train of thinking. Among the judgments which he refers to common sense, he assigns the first place to the following. "1. Il y a d'autres êtres, et d'autres hommes que moi au monde. 2. Il y a dans eux quelque chose qui s'appelle vérité, sagesse, prudence," &c. &c. (Cours de Sciences, p. 566. Paris 1732.) I have already objected to the application of the phrase common sense to such judgments as these; but this defect in point of expression does not detract from the sagacity of the au thor in perceiving, that in the conclusions we form concerning the minds and characters of our fellow creatures, (as well as in the inferences drawn concerning the invisible things of God from the things which are made,) there is a perception of the understanding implied, for which neither reasoning nor experience is sufficient to account.

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