The conclusion which would follow is that neither bodies nor their relations in space and time have, as such, reality. They are on each side an appearance and an abstraction separated from the whole. But in that whole, on the other hand, they cannot, as such, be connected intelligibly, and that whole therefore points beyond itself to a higher mode of being, in comparison with which it is but appearance.
The idea of the motion of a single body may perhaps (I am ignorant) be necessary in physics, and, if that is so, then in physics of course that idea must be rational and right. But, except as a working fiction of this kind, it strikes my mind as a typical instance of unnecessary nonsense. It is to me nonsense, because I use ‘body’ here to cover anything which occupies and has position in space, and because a bare or mere space (or time) which in itself has a diversity of distinct positions, seems to me quite unmeaning. And I call this nonsense unnecessary, because I have been unable to see either what is got by it, or how or why in philosophy we are driven to use it. The fact, if it is a fact, that this idea is necessary for the explanations of physics has, I would repeat, here no bearing whatever. For such a necessity could not show that the idea is really intelligible. And if, without it, the laws of motion are in their essence irrational, that does not prove, I imagine, that they become rational with it, or indeed can be made intrinsically rational at all. This, I would add, is in principle my reply to such arguments as are used by Lotze, Metaphysik, §§ 164, 165, and Liebmann, Zur Analysis der Wirklichkeit, pp. 113 foll. The whole idea, for instance, of a solitary sphere in space, to say nothing of its rotation and centrifugal force, is, considered metaphysically, I should say, a mere vicious abstraction and from the first totally inadmissible. And if without it the facts are self-contradictory, with it they still more deeply contradict themselves.
But, however that may be, I must be excused the remark that on such subjects it is perhaps not surprising that any man should come in the end to any result whatever, yet that in philosophy any man should use the idea of a single moving body, as if it were a thing self-evident and free from difficulty—this really surprises me.
Note to Chapter vi. I have left this chapter as it stood, though it would be very easy to enlarge it; but I doubt if any end would be obtained by insistence on detail. I will however in this Note call attention to one or two points.
(i) If the cause is taken as complex, there is a problem first as to the constitution of the cause itself. How are its elements united internally, and are they united intelligibly? How is it limited intelligibly so as to be distinct from the universe at