more from René Descartes

Single Idea 12730

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 2. Natural Purpose]

Full Idea

We will not seek for the reason of natural things from the end which God or nature has set before him in their creation .

Gist of Idea

We will not try to understand natural or divine ends, or final causes


René Descartes (Principles of Philosophy [1646], §28)

Book Reference

Descartes,René: 'Philosophical Essays and Correspondence', ed/tr. Ariew,Roger [Hackett 2000], p.238

A Reaction

His programme is to investigate efficient causes using God-given reason, to see how far he can progress. Natural selection has confused the picture, by suggesting 'survival' as an end outside the immediate causal nexus.