Leibniz-Clarke-1 - .~ ~ l MR. LEIBNITZ'S THIRD PAPER 1...

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.- ~ ~ l \ I~ .J; ~ MR. LEIBNITZ'S THIRD PAPER 1 being An Answer to Dr. Clarke's Second Reply I. According to the usual way of speaking, mathematical principles concern only mere mathematics, viz. numbers, figures, arithmetic, geometry. But metaphysical principles concern more general notions, such as are cause and effect. 2. The author grants me this important principle; that nothing happens without a sufficient reason, why it should be so, rather than otherwise. But he grants it only in words, and in reality denies it. Which shows that he does not fully perceive the strength of it. And therefore he makes use of an instance, which exactly falls in with one of my demonstrations against real absolute space, which is an idol of some modern Englishmen. I call it an idol, not in a theological sense, but in a philosophical one; as Chancellor Bacon says, that there are idola tribus, idola specus.2 3. These gentlemen maintain therefore, that space is a real absolute being. But this involves them i.n great difficulties; for such a being must needs be eternal and infinite. Hence some have believed it to be God himself, or, one of his attributes, his immensity. But since space consists of parts, it is not a thing which can belong to God. 4. As for my own opinion, I have said more than once, that I hold space to be something merely 3 relative, as time is; that I hold it to be an order of coexistences, as 1 Despatched 25th Feb. 1716 (p. .193)' 2 , idols of the tribe, idols of the cave " Novum Organum I, Aphor. 38 If. 3 , purement '. 25 ~i". '"
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THE LEIBNIZ-CLARKE CORRESPONDENCE time is an order of successions. For space denotes, in terms of possibility, an order of things which exist at the same time, considered as existing together; without en- quiring into their manner of existing. And when many things are seen together, one perceives that order of things among themselves. 5. I have many demonstrations, to confute the fancy of those who take space to be a substance, or at least an absolute being. But I shall only use, at the present, one demonstration, which the author here gives me occasion to insist upon. I say then, that if space was an absolute being, there would something happen for which it would be impossible there should be a sufficient reason. Which is against my axiom. And I prove it thus. Space is something absolutely uniform; and, without the things placed in it, one point of space does not absolutely differ in any respect whatsoever from another point of space. Now from hence it follows, (supposing space to be some- thing in itself, besides the order of bodies among them- selves,) that 'tis impossible there should be a reason, why God, preserving the same situations of bodies among themselves, should have placed them in space after one certain particular manner, and not otherwise; why every thing was not placed the quite contrary way, for instance, by changing East into West. But if space is nothing else, but that order or relation; and is nothing
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This note was uploaded on 02/14/2011 for the course PHIL 124c taught by Professor Humphrey during the Spring '11 term at UCSB.

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Leibniz-Clarke-1 - .~ ~ l MR. LEIBNITZ'S THIRD PAPER 1...

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