Page:A Brief History of Modern Philosophy.djvu/101
ENGLISH EMPIRICAL PHILOSOPHY
peculiarly revealed in the simple and uniform arrangement of the solar system. He asserts most emphatically that the wonderful structure (elegantissima compages) of the solar system—the orbital motions of the planets around the sun, which are concentric with the orbit of the sun and lie almost in the same plane— is inexplicable on the basis of natural law. The orbital motion can only be explained by reference to supernatural energies. Left to themselves, the planets would fall into the sun!— The remarkable structure, the organs and the instincts of animals furnish additional evidence of the supernatural! (Besides the Scholiimi generale contained in the Principia Newton expressed himself on these matters in his Optics, Queries 28-29, and in his letters to Bentley.)—But Newton did not think that the mechanism of the universe was finished once for all. God must interpose as an active regulator from time to time. This problem was the occasion of a very interesting discussion between Leibnitz and Clarke, one of Newton’s disciples.
3. George Berkeley (1685-1753) occupies a place in empirical philosophy similar to that of Leibnitz in the group of systematizers. He represents a reaction against Locke and Newton similar to that of Leibnitz against Descartes, Hobbes and Spinoza, and, like Leibnitz, Berkeley not only represents a reaction, but an advance and further development. He aimed to refute the conclusions of the new science which were hostile to religion, and he hoped to accomplish this by a criticism of the abstract concepts and by a return to immediate experience and intuition. Childlike piety and acute critical analysis have rarely been so intimately united as in this clear mind. At the University of Dublin he occupied himself with the study of Locke, Boyle and Newton, and his chief works were