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Part One, Section One Hundred and Seven

29 September, 2015 - 12:01

After what has been premised, I think we may lay down the following conclusions. First, it is plain philosophers amuse themselves in vain, when they inquire for any natural efficient cause, distinct from a mind or spirit. Secondly, consider- ing the whole creation is the workmanship of a wise and good Agent, it should seem to become philosophers to employ their thoughts (contrary to what some hold) about the final causes of things; and I confess I see no reason why pointing out the various ends to which natural things are adapted, and for which they were originally with unspeakable wisdom contrived, should not be thought one good way of accounting for them, and altogether worthy a philosopher. Thirdly, from what has been premised no reason can be drawn why the history of nature should not still be studied, and obser- vations and experiments made, which, that they are of use to mankind, and enable us to draw any general conclusions, is not the result of any immutable habitudes or relations between things themselves, but only of God’s goodness and kindness to men in the administration of the world. See Sections Part One, Section Thirty and Part One, Section Thirty-one above. Fourthly, by a diligent observation of the phenomena within our view, we may discover the general laws of nature, and from them deduce the other phenomena; I do not say demonstrate, for all deductions of that kind depend on a supposition that the Author of nature always operates uniformly, and in a constant observance of those rules we take for principles: which we cannot evidently know.

  1. Recall Aquinas’s argument in Summa Contra Gentiles, Chapter Sixty-nine: Of the Opinion of those who withdraw from Natural Things their Proper Actions. How would he react to Berkeley’s view about nature? (See especially Section Seven in Chapter Sixty-nine: Of the Opinion of those who withdraw from Natural Things their Proper Actions)
  2. How does Berkeley reply to this argument (see Part One, Section One Hundred and Seven)?