Final Causes (1883)
Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009 - 390 pages
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated.1883 Excerpt: ... X. THE PHYSICO-THEOLOGICAL PEOOF. (book Ii. Chapter I.) WE shall be allowed to add to our chapter on the physicotheological proof two interesting notes that have been addressed to us by two very distinguished minds: the one by M. Mansion, professor of Mathematics in the University of Ghent, on the Epicurean Argument; the other by M. Rabier, professor in the Lyceum Charlemagne, on the Argument of Kant. The first of these notes is entirely mathematical, and concerns the application of the calculation of probabilities to the formation of the world; we shall rest satisfied with reproducing, without adding anything to it. The second is philosophical, and is a reply to our own discussion on the argument of Kant. I. The Epicurean Argument and the Caleulation of Probabilities. 'The calculation of probabilities cannot serve so much as might, in the first instance, be believed, to elucidate the questions raised by the Epicurean argument, for two reasons, the one general, the other special. 'The general reason is this: In mathematics one is never occupied, and one can never really be occupied, with an infinite number; although one speaks of it at every moment. The phrases where this term infinite occurs are concise, and conventionally take the place of longer phrases. Examples: 1st, "Two straight lines that meet in the infinite form with a secant internal angles whose sum is equal to two right angles," signifies: "Two straight lines situated in the same plane, and parallel, form 7." 2d, " A fraction for n = 00(00 represents the infinite) is nil," signifies: "If n increases indefinitely, so as to exceed any number given beforehand, J will become as little as you please, so as to be less than any fraction given beforehand, however small." 'This mode of view is that of ...