« ZurückWeiter »
place are the verses which report the story of Nisus and Euryalus, it would be very improper to determine this place by saying, they were in such a part of the earth, or in Bodley's library : but the right designation of the place would be by the parts of Virgil's works; and the proper answer would be, that these verses were about the middle of the ninth book of his Æneid ; and that they have been always constantly in the same place ever since Virgil was printed; which is true, though the book itself hath moved a thousand times ; the use of the idea of place here being to know in what part of the book that story is, that so upon occasion we may know where to find it, and have recourse to it for use. Place.
§ 10. That our idea of place is nothing
else but such a relative position of any thing, as I have before mentioned, I think is plain, and will be easily admitted, when we consider that we can have no idea of the place of the universe, though we can of all the parts of it; because beyond that we have not the idea of any fixed, distinct, particular beings, in reference to which we can imagine it to have any relation of distance; but all beyond it is one uniform space or expansion, wherein the mind finds no variety, no marks. For to say that the world is somewhere, means no more than that it does exist: this, though a phrase borrowed from place, signifying only its existence, not location; and when one can find out and frame in his mind, clearly and distinctly, the place of the universe, he will be able to tell us whether it moves or stands still in the undistinguishable inane of infinite space: though it be true that the word place has sometimes a more confused sense, and stands for that space which any body takes up; and so the universe is in a place. The idea therefore of place we have by the same means that we get the idea of space (whereof this is but a particular limited consideration), viz. by our sight and touch; by either of which we receive into our minds the ideas of extension or distance.
$ 11. There are some that would per- Extension suade us that body and extension are the and body not same thing; who either change the sig- the same. nification of words, which I would not suspect them of, they having so severely condemned the philosophy of others, because it hath been too much placed in the uncertain meaning or deceitful obscurity of doubtful or insignificant terms. If therefore they mean by body and extension the same that other people do, viz. by body, something that is solid and extended, whose parts are separable and moveable different
ways; and by extension, only the space that lies be• tween the extremities of those solid coherent parts,
and which is possessed by them; they confound very different ideas one with another. For I appeal to every man's own thoughts, whether the idea of space be not as distinct from that of solidity as it is from the idea of scarlet colour? It is true, solidity cannot exist without extension, neither can scarlet colour exist without extension; but this hinders not but that they are distinct ideas. Many ideas require others as necessary to their existence or conception, which yet are very distinct ideas. Motion can neither be, nor be conceived without space; and yet motion is not space, nor space motion : space can exist without it, and they are very distinct ideas; and so, I think, are those of space and solidity. Solidity is so inseparable an idea from body, that upon that depends its filling of space, its contact, impulse, and communication of motion upon impulse. And if it be a reason to prove that spirit is different from body, because thinking includes not the idea of extension in it, the same reason will be as valid, I suppose, to prove that space is not body, because it includes not the idea of solidity in it; space and solidity being as distinct ideas as thinking and extension, and as wholly separable in the mind one from another. Body, then, and extension, it is evident, are two distinct ideas. For,
$ 12. First, Extension includes no solidity, nor resistance to the motion of body, as body does.
§ 13. Secondly, The parts of pure space are inseparable one from the other; so that the continuity cannot be separated, neither really nor mentally. For I demand of any one to remove any part of it from another, with which it is continued, even so much as in thought. To divide and separate actually, is, as I think, by removing the parts one from another, to make two superficies, where before there was a continuity; and to divide mentally, is to make in the mind two superficies, where before there was a continuity, and consider them as removed one from the other; which can only be done in things considered by the mind as capable of being separated, and, by separation, of acquiring new distinct superficies, which they then have not, but are capable of; but neither of these ways of separation, whether real or mental, is, as I think, compatible to pure space.
It is true, a man may consider so much of such a space as is answerable or commensurate to a foot, without considering the rest; which is indeed a partial consideration, but not so much as mental separation or division; since a man can no more mentally divide, without considering two superficies separate one from the other, than he can actually divide, without making two superficies disjoined one from the other: but a partial consideration is not separating. A man may consider light in the sun, without its heat; or mobility in body, without its extension, without thinking of their separation. One is only a partial consideration, terminating in one alone; and the other is a consideration of both, as existing separately.
§ 14. Thirdly, The parts of pure space are immoveable, which follows from their inseparability; motion being nothing but change of distance between any two things : but this cannot be between parts that are inseparable, which therefore must needs be at perpetual rest one amongst another.
Thus the determined idea of simple space distinguishes it plainly and sufficiently from body; since its parts are inseparable, immoveable, and without resistance to the motion of body.
$ 15. If any one ask me what this space The definiI speak of is? I will tell him, when he tion of exten
sion explains tells me what his extension is. For to say, as is usually done, that extension is to have partes extra partes, is to say only that extension is extension : for what am I the better informed in the nature of extension when I am told, that extension is to have parts that are extended exterior to parts that are extended, i. e, extension consists of extended parts ? As if one asking what a fibre was? I should answer him, that it was a thing made up of several fibres; would he thereby be enabled to understand what a fibre was better than he did before ? Or rather, would he not have reason to think that my design was to make sport with him, rather than seriously to instruct him ?
$ 16. Those who contend that space and Division of body are the same, bring this dilemma: beings into either this space is something or nothing;
spirits if nothing be between two bodies, they
proves not must necessarily touch ; if it be allowed space and to be something, they ask whether it be body the body or spirit ? To which I answer by same. another question, who told them that there was or could be nothing but solid beings which could not think, and thinking beings that were not extended ? which is all they mean by the terms body and spirit.
S 17. If it be demanded (as usually it Substance is) whether this space, void of body, be
know not, substance or accident, I shall readily an
no proof swer, I know not: nor shall be ashamed against to own my ignorance, till they that ask space withshow me a clear distinct idea of sub- out body. stance.
S 18. I endeavour, as much as I can, to deliver myself from those fallacies which we are apt to put upon ourselves by taking words for things. It helps not our ignorance to feign a knowledge where we have none, by making a noise with sounds, without clear and distinct significations. Names made at pleasure neither alter the nature of things nor make us understand them, but as they are signs of and stand for determined ideas : and I desire those who lay so much stress on the sound of these two syllables, substance, to consider whether applying it, as they do, to the infinite incomprehensible God, to finite spirit, and to body, it be in the same sense; and whether it stands for the same idea, when each of those three so different beings are called substances. If so, whether it will thence follow that God, spirits, and body, agreeing in the same common nature of substance, differ not any otherwise than in a bare different modification of that substance; as a tree and a pebble being in the same sense body, and agreeing in the common nature of body, differ only in a bare modification of that common matter; which will be a very harsh doctrine. If they say that they apply it to God, finite spirit, and matter, in three different significations; and that it stands for one idea, when God is said to be a substance ; for another, when the soul is called substance; and for a third, when a body is called so: if the name substance stands for three sea veral distinct ideas, they would do well to make known those distinct ideas, or at least to give three distinct names to them, to prevent, in so important a notion, the confusion and errors that will naturally follow from the promiscuous use of so doubtful a term; which is so far from being suspected to have three distinct, that in ordinary use it has scarce one clear distinct signification : and if they can thus make three distinct ideas of substance, what hinders why another may not make a fourth? Substance S 19. They who first ran into the no