Mr. Leibnitz's Fourth Paper.
An Answer to Dr. Clarke's Third Reply.

1. IN things absolutely indifferent, there is no [Foundation for] Choice; and consequently no Election, nor Will; since Choice must be founded on some Reason, or Principle.

2. A mere Will without any Motive, is a Fiction, not only contrary to God's Perfection, but also chimerical and contradictory; inconsistent with the Definition of the Will, and sufficiently confuted in my Theodicæa.

3. Tis a thing indifferent, to place three Bodies, equal and perfectly alike, in any order whatsoever; and consequently they will [1] never be placed in Any order, by Him who does nothing without Wisdom. But then, He being the Author of things, no such things will be produced by him at all; and consequently there are no such things in Nature.


4. There is no such thing as Two Individuals indiscernible from each other. An Ingenious Gentleman of my Acquaintance, discoursing with me, in the presence of Her Electoral Highness the Princess Sophia, in the Garden of Herrenhausen; thought he could find two Leaves perfectly alike. The Princess defied him to do it, and he ran all over the Garden a long time to look for some; but it was to no purpose. Two Drops of Water, or Milk, viewed with a Microscope, will appear distinguishable from each other. This is an Argument against Atoms; which are confuted, as well as a Vacuum, by the Principles of true Metaphysicks.

5. Those great Principles of a sufficient Reason, and of the Identity of Indiscernibles, change the State of Metaphysicks. That Science becomes real and demonstrative by means of these Principles; whereas before, it did generally consist in empty Words.

6. To suppose two things indiscernible, is to suppose the same thing under two Names. And therefore to suppose that the Universe could have had at first another position of Time and Place, than that which it actually had; and yet that all the Parts of the Universe should have had the same Situation among themselves, as that which they actually had; such a Supposition, I say, is an impossible Fiction.


7. The same reason, which shows that extramundane Space is imaginary, proves that All empty Space is an imaginary thing; for they differ only as greater and less.

8. If Space is a property or Attribute, it must be the Property of some Substance. But what Substance will That Bounded empty Space be an Affection or Property of, which the Persons I am arguing with, suppose to be between Two Bodies?

9. If infinite Space is Immensity, finite Space will be the Opposite to Immensity, that is, 'twill be Mensurability, or limited Extension. Now Extension must be the Affection of some thing extended. But if That Space be empty, it will be an Attribute without a Subject, an Extension without any thing extended. Wherefore by making Space a Property, the Author falls in with My Opinion, which makes it an Order of things, and not any thing absolute.

10. If Space is an absolute reality; far from being a Property or an Accident opposed to Substance, it will have a greater reality than Substances themselves. God cannot destroy it, nor even change it in any respect. It will be not only immense in the whole, but also Immutable and Eternal in every part. There will be an infinite number of Eternal things besides God.


11. To say that infinite Space has no parts, is to say that it does not consist of finite Spaces; and that Infinite Space might subsist, though all finite Spaces should be reduced to nothing. It would be, as if one should say, in the Cartesian Supposition of a material extended unlimited World, that such a World might subsist, though all the Bodies of which it consists, should be reduced to nothing.

12.The Author ascribes Parts to Space, p. 19. of the 3d Edition of his Defense of the Argument against Mr. Dodwell; and makes them inseparable one from another. But, p. 30. of his Second Defense, he says they are parts improperly so called: Which may be understood in a good sense.

13. To say that God can cause the whole Universe to move forward in a Right Line, or in any other Line, without making otherwise any Alteration in it; is another [2] Chimerical Supposition. For, two States indiscernible from each other, are the same State; and consequently, 'tis a change without any change. Besides, there is neither Rhime nor Reason in it. But God does nothing without Reason; And tis impossible there should be any here. Besides, it would be agendo nihil agere, as I have just now said, because of the Indiscernibility.


14. These are Idola Tribûs, mere Chimeras, and superficial Imaginations. All this is only grounded upon the Supposition, that imaginary Space is real.

15. It is a like fiction, (that is) an impossible one, to suppose that God might have created the World some Millions of Years sooner. They who run into such kind of Fictions, can give no answer to one that should argue for the Eternity of the World. For since God does nothing without Reason, and no Reason can be given why he did not create the World sooner; it will follow, either that he has created nothing at all, or that he created the World before any assignable time, that is, that the World is Eternal. But when once it has been shown, that the Beginning, whenever it was, is always the same thing; the Question, Why it was not otherwise ordered, becomes needless and insignificant.

16. If Space and Time were any thing absolute, that is, if they were any thing else, besides certain Orders of things; then indeed my assertion would be a Contradiction. But since it is not so, the Hypothesis [that Space and Time are any thing absolute] is contradictory, that is, 'tis an impossible Fiction.

17. And the Case is the same as in Geometry; where by the very Supposition that a <103> Figure is greater than it really is, we sometimes prove that it is not greater. This indeed is a Contradiction; but it lies in the Hypothesis, which appears to be false for that very reason.

18. Space being uniform, there can be neither any External nor Internal Reason, by which to distinguish its parts, and to make any choice among them. For, any External Reason to discern between them, can only be grounded upon some Internal one. Otherwise we should discern what is indiscernible, or chuse without discerning. A Will without Reason, would be the Chance of the Epicureans. A God, who should act by such a Will, would be a God only in Name. The cause of these Errors proceeds from want of care to avoid what derogates from the Divine Perfections.

19. When two things which cannot Both be together, are equally good; and neither in themselves, nor by their combination with other things, has the one any advantage over the other; God will produce [3] Neither of them.

20. God is never determined by external things, but always by what is in himself; that is, by his Knowledge of things, before any thing exists without himself.

21. There is no possible Reason, that can limit the quantity of Matter; and therefore such limitation can have no place.


22. And supposing an arbitrary Limitation of the Quantity of Matter, something might always be added to it without derogating from the Perfection of those things which do already exist; and consequently something must always be added, in order to act according to the Principle of the Perfection of the divine Operations.

23. And therefore it cannot be said, that the present quantity of Matter is the fittest for the present Constitution of Things. And supposing it were, it would follow that this present Constitution of things would not be the fittest absolutely, if it hinders God from using more Matter. It were therefore better to chuse another constitution of things, capable of something more.

24. I should be glad to see a passage of any Philosopher, who takes Sensorium in any other Sense than Goclenius does.

25. If Scapula says that Sensorium is the place in which the Understanding resides, he means by it the Organ of internal Sensation. And therefore he does not differ from Goclenius.

26. Sensorium has always signified the Organ of Sensation. The Glandula pinealis would be, according to Cartesius, the Sensorium, in the above-mentioned sense of Scapula.


27. There is hardly any Expression less proper upon this Subject, than that which makes God to have a Sensorium. It seems to make God the Soul of the World. And it will be a hard matter to put a justifiable sense upon this Word, according to the Use Sir Isaac Newton makes of it.

28. Though the question be about the Sense put upon that Word by Sir Isaac Newton, and not by Goclenius; yet I am not to blame for quoting the Philosophical Dictionary of that Author, because the design of Dictionaries is to shew the use of Words.

29. God perceives things in himself. Space is the Place of things, and not the Place of God's Ideas: Unless we look upon Space as something that makes an Union between God and Things, in imitation of the imagined Union between the Soul and the Body; which would still make God the Soul of the World.

30. And indeed the Author is much in the wrong, when he compares God's Knowledge and Operation, with the Knowledge and Operation of Souls. The Soul knows things, because God has put into it a [4] Principle Representative of Things without. But God knows things, because he produces them continually.

31. The Soul does not act upon things, according to my Opinion, any otherwise than <109> because the Body adapts it self to the Desires of the Soul, by virtue of the [5] Harmony, which God has pre-established between them.

32. But They who fancy that the Soul can give a new Force to the Body; and that God does the same in the World, in order to mend the Imperfections of his Machine; make God too much like the Soul, by ascribing too much to the Soul, and too little to God.

33. For, none but God can give a new Force to Nature; And he does it only supernaturally. If there was need for him to do it in the natural course of things; he would have made a very imperfect Work. At That rate, He would be with respect to the World, what the Soul, in the vulgar notion, is with respect to the Body.

34. Those who undertake to defend the vulgar Opinion concerning the Soul's influence over the Body, by instancing in God's operating on things External; make God still too much like a Soul of the World. To which I add, that the Author's affecting to find Fault with the Words, Intelligentia Supramundana, seems also to incline that way.

35. The Images, with which the Soul is immediately affected, are within it self; but they correspond to those of the Body. The presence of the Soul is imperfect, and <111> can only be explained by That Correspondence. But the Presence of God is perfect, and manifested by his Operation.

36. The Author wrongly supposes against me, that the presence of the Soul is connected with its influence over the Body; for he knows, I reject That influence.

37. The Soul's being diffused through the Brain, is no less inexplicable, than its being diffused through the whole Body. The Difference is only in more and less.

38. They who fancy that [6] active Force lessens of it self in the World; do not well understand the principal Laws of Nature, and the beauty of the Works of God?

39. How will they be able to prove, that this Defect is a consequence of the dependence of things?

40. The imperfection of our Machines, which is the reason why they want to be mended, proceeds from this very thing, that they do not sufficiently depend upon the Workman. And therefore the dependence of Nature upon God, far from being the cause of such an imperfection, is rather the reason why there is no such imperfection in Nature, because it depends so much upon an Artist, who is too perfect to make a work that wants to be mended. Tis true that every particular Machine of <113> Nature, is, in some measure, liable to be disordered; but not the whole Universe, which cannot diminish in Perfection.

41. The Author contends, that Space does not depend upon the Situation of Bodies. I answer: 'Tis true, it does not depend upon such or such a situation of Bodies; but it is That Order, which renders Bodies capable of being situated, and by which they have a Situation among themselves when they exist together; as Time is That Order, with respect to their Successive position. But if there were no Creatures, Space and Time would be only in the Ideas of God.

42. The Author seems to acknowledge here, that his Notion of a Miracle is not the same with that which Divines and Philosophers usually have. It is therefore sufficient for my purpose, that my Adversaries are obliged to have recourse to what is commonly called a Miracle.

43. I am afraid the Author, by altering the Sense commonly put upon the Word Miracle, will fall into an inconvenient Opinion. The nature of a Miracle does not at all consist in Usualness or Unusualness; For then Monsters would be Miracles.

44. There are Miracles of an inferior sort, which an Angel can Work. He can, for instance, make a Man Walk upon the Water without sinking. But there are Mi <115> racles, which none but God can work; they exceeding all natural Powers. Of which kind, are Creating and Annihilating.

45. 'Tis also a supernatural thing, that Bodies should attract one another at a distance, without any intermediate Means; and that a Body should move round, without receding in the Tangent, though nothing hinder it from so receding. For these Effects cannot be explained by the Nature of things.

46. Why should it be impossible to explain the Motion of Animals by Natural Forces? Tho' indeed, the Beginning of Animals is no less inexplicable by natural Forces, than the Beginning of the World.

P. S.

ALL those who maintain a Vacuum, are more influenced by Imagination than by Reason. When I was a young Man, I also gave into the Notion of a Vacuum and Atoms; but Reason brought me into the right way. It was a pleasing Imagination. Men carry their Inquiries no farther than those two things: They (as it were) nail down their Thoughts to them: They fancy, they have found out the first Elements of Things, a non plus ultra. We would have Nature to go no farther; and <117> to be finite, as our Minds are: But this is being Ignorant of the greatness and Majesty of the Author of things. The least Corpuscle is actually subdivided in infinitum, and contains a World of other Creatures, which would be wanting in the Universe, if That Corpuscle was an Atom, that is, a Body of one entire piece without Subdivision. In like manner, to admit a Vacuum in Nature, is ascribing to God a very imperfect Work: 'Tis violating the grand Principle of the necessity of a sufficient Reason; which many have talked of, without understanding its true meaning; as I have lately shown, in proving, by That Principle, that Space is only an Order of things, as Time also is, and not at all an absolute Being. To omit many other Arguments against a Vacuum and Atoms, I shall here mention those which I ground upon God's Perfection, and upon the necessity of a sufficient Reason. I lay it down as a Principle, that every Perfection, which God [7] could impart to things without derogating from their other Perfections, has actually been imparted to them. Now, let us fancy a Space wholly empty. God [8] could have placed some Matter in it, without derogating in any respect from all other things: <119> Therefore he hath actually placed some Matter in That Space: Therefore, there is no Space wholly Empty: Therefore All is full. The same Argument proves that there is no Corpuscle, but what is subdivided. I shall add another Argument, grounded upon the necessity of a sufficient Reason. 'Tis [9] impossible there should be any Principle to determine What Proportion of Matter there ought to be, out of all the possible degrees from a Plenum to a Vacuum, or from a Vacuum to a Plenum. Perhaps it will be said, that the one should be equal to the other: But, because Matter is more perfect than a Vacuum, Reason requires that a Geometrical Proportion should be observed, and that there should be [10] as much more Matter than Vacuum, as the former deserves to have the preference before the latter. But then there must be No Vacuum at all; for the Perfection of Matter is to that of a Vacuum, as [11] Something to Nothing. And the case is the same with Atoms: What reason can any one assign for confining Nature in the Progression of Subdivision? These are Fictions merely Arbitrary, and unworthy of true Philosophy. The reasons alledged for a Vacuum, are mere Sophisms.

[1] See Appendix, No. 4, and 9.

[2] See Appendix, No 10.

[3] See Appendix No 4. and 9.

[4] See Appendix, No. 11.

[5] See Appendix, No 5.

[6] See above, the Note, on § 13, of Dr. Clarke's Third Reply.

[7] See Dr. Clarke's Third Reply, § 9; and his Fourth Reply, § 22.

[8] See Dr. Clarke's Third Reply, § 9; and his Fourth Reply, § 22.

[9] See Dr. Clarke's Third Reply, § 9. and his Fourth Reply, § 22.

[10] See Dr. Clarke's Third Reply, § 9. and his Fourth Reply, § 22.

[11] See Dr. Clarke's Third Reply, § 9. and his Fourth Reply, § 22.

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