sprung. To rectify which, he defines Bodies to be * Extended Substances, * It founds hard, To say, An extended substance is Indivisible. and Matter an Aggregate of Bodies. Whence he inferrs, that Bodies are Indivisible and Matter divisible, a Body being nothing but one and the same substance, whose different extremities are inseparable, because they are the extremities of one and the indivisible. same Extension, and, in a word, of one and the same Substance: but Matter being nothing but an Association or Collection of Bodies, 'tis evident, (saith he) it must be divisible. This doctrine he so much insists upon, that he conceives, Nature cannot subsist, if a Body in the sence he takes it, be divisible; and that Motion and Rest cannot be explicated without it. As for Quantity, he makes that to he nothing but More or less Bodies; not allowing, that each Body should be a Quantity, though it be a part of Quantity; no more than an Unite is a Number, though it make part of a Number: so that Quantity and Extension are two distinct things with him, the first belonging properly to Matter, the last to a Body, Touching Vacuity, he conceives, that the Bodies, which compose a mass, are not every where so near one another, as not to leave some interval in several places. Neither does he think it necessary, that those intervals should be fill'd up, nor unconceivable, that there should he no Body between two Bodies, which touch not one another. And when 'tis said, that those intervals cannot be conceived without Extension, and that consequently there are Bodies that replenish them, he frankly pronounces that not to be true, and affirms, that though it may be said, that between two Bodies, which touch not one another, other Bodies may be placed of so or so many feet, &c: yet ought it not to be inferred, that therefore they are there, but onely, that they are thus placed, that there may be put between them so many Bodies, as joyned together would compose an Extension of so many feet. So that one conceives onely, that Bodies may be placed there, but not that they are there: and as we can have an Idea of many Bodies, though none of them be in being, so we can conceive, that some Bodies may be put between others, where really there are none. And when 'tis alledged, that if all the Bodies, that fill a vessel full, were destroyed, the sides of the vessel would be closed together, He professes he understand not that ratiocination, nor can conceive, what one Body does to the subsistence of another, more than to sustain themselves mutually, when they are thrust by the neighbouring ones: and therefore see not, why the sides of the vessel should close, if nothing did thrust them together; but understands clearly that two Bodies may well subsist so far from one another, that one might place a great many Bodies between them, or none at all, and yet they neither approach to, nor recoil from one another.
Page:Philosophical Transactions - Volume 001.djvu/320
Jump to navigation Jump to search