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Renaissance to the PresentFinal Causes

[The mind] falls back on things that are more familiar, namely final causes, which are plainly derived from the nature of man rather than of the universe, and from this origin have wonderfully corrupted philosophy. (Bacon, 1620, p. 44)

When dealing with natural things we will, then, never derive any explanations from the purposes which God or nature may have had in view when creating them and we shall entirely banish from our philosophy the search for final causes. (Descartes, 1647, vol. 1, p. 202)

Nature has no end set before it, and … all final causes are nothing but human fictions. (Spinoza, 1660s? Ethics I Appendix)

Whatever Descartes may have said, not only efficient causes, but also final causes, are to be treated in physics, just as a house would be badly explained if we were to describe only the arrangement of its parts, but not its use. (Leibniz, 1702, pp. 254–255)

May I regard purpose-like orderings as intentions… ? Yes, but … it must not matter at all whether you say, "God has wisely willed it so" or "Nature has wisely so ordered it." (Kant, 1781, p. 620)

[Spirit] is in itself the movement which is cognition—the transforming of the in-itself in that which is for-itself, of substance into subject. (Hegel, 1807, p. 488)

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Mathematics to Methanal trimerMetaphysics - Renaissance to the Present - The Renaissance (1433–1617), The Early Modern Period (1561–1753), Final Causes, Kant's "copernican Revolution" In Metaphysics