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Esq., Barrister-at-Law. (" The Times'” Commis-
3. Letters on the State of Ireland. By the Earl of Rosse,
. . 505
NORTH BRITISH REVIEW.
Art. I.- On the Whole Doctrine of Final Causes. A Disser
tation. By WILLIAM I. Irons, of Queen's College, Oxford.
Ever since the times of Bacon and Descartes, who may be regarded as the fathers of Modern Philosophy—the founders of the two rival schools which represent respectively the inductive and the idealistic tendencies of speculation—it has been the fashion with some men of science, and still more with a host of literary writers, to speak disparagingly of the doctrine of Final Causes, and to claim the sanction of these eminent names to opinions which virtually exclude the argument from design in favour of the being and perfections of God. Both Bacon and Descartes had given forth some oracular utterances on the subject, which were caught up and repeated by not a few of their respective followers; utterances which, understood in a certain sense and applied within certain limits, might have been both safe and salutary; but which, when divorced from their connexion which served both to explain and define them, and exhibited absolutely as axiomatic truths, have generated in many minds a vague but influential prejudice against the whole study of final causes, as being either impracticable or illicit. And thus some adherents of each of the two great rival schools, which may be said to divide among them the speculative minds of modern Europe, are found not only abjuring the argument from design, but appealing to the authority of Bacon, the father of inductive science, and to that of Descartes, the model of idealistic reasoning, in support of their pernicious views.
It was less wonderful that Epicurus, and his poetical commentator Lucretius, shoukl bave discarded from their philosophy the
VOL. VII, NO. XIII.