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A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume II by De Morgan

In mathematical formulae the carat (^) and underscore (_) introduce superscripts or subscripts respectively, of one character or a group enclosed in curly braces ({xyz}). Elsewhere underscores delimit italics in the text, and braces enclose the original page numbers thus {123}.

BY AUGUSTUS DE MORGAN

A BUDGET OF PARADOXES

REPRINTED WITH THE AUTHOR'S ADDITIONS FROM THE ATHENAEUM

SECOND EDITION EDITED BY DAVID EUGENE SMITH

WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION BY ERNEST NAGEL

PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

UNABRIDGED EDITION--TWO VOLUMES BOUND AS ONE

Volume II

DOVER PUBLICATIONS, INC., NEW YORK

* * * * *

_This new Dover Edition, published in 1954, is an unabridged republication of the Second Edition of 1915, with a new introduction by Professor Ernest Nagel._

_Copyright 1954 by Dover Publications, Inc. Manufactured in the United States of America_

* * * * *

{1}

A BUDGET OF PARADOXES.

VOLUME II.

ON SOME PHILOSOPHICAL ATHEISTS.

With the general run of the philosophical atheists of the last century the notion of a God was an hypothesis. There was left an admitted possibility that the vague somewhat which went by more names than one, might be personal, intelligent, and superintendent. In the works of Laplace,[1] who is sometimes called an atheist from his writings, there is nothing from which such an inference can be drawn: unless indeed a Reverend Fellow of the Royal Society may be held to be the fool who said in his heart, etc., etc., if his contributions to the _Philosophical Transactions_ go no higher than _nature_. The following anecdote is well known in Paris, but has never been printed entire. Laplace once went in form to present some edition of his "Systeme du Monde" to the First Consul, or Emperor. Napoleon, whom some wags had told that this book contained no mention of the name of God, and who was fond of putting embarrassing questions, received it with--"M. Laplace, they tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never even mentioned its Creator." Laplace, who, though the most supple of politicians, was as stiff as a martyr on every point of his philosophy or religion (e. g., even under Charles X he never concealed his dislike of the priests), drew himself up and answered {2} bluntly, "Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothese-la."[2] Napoleon, greatly amused, told this reply to Lagrange, who exclaimed, "Ah! c'est une belle hypothese; ca explique beaucoup de choses."[3]


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