<55>

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

1. ACcording to the usual way of Speaking, Mathematical Principles concern only mere Mathematicks, viz. Numbers, Figures, Arithmetick, 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 Philo <57> sophical one; As Chancellor Bacon says, that there are Idola Tribûs, Idola Specûs.

3. These Gentlemen maintain therefore, that Space is a real absolute Being. But this involves them in great Difficulties; For such a Being must need 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 relative, as Time is; that I hold it to be an Order of Coexistences, as 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 enquiring 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 <59> which it [1] 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 Something in it self, besides the Order of Bodies among themselves,) 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 at all without Bodies, but the Possibility of placing them; then those two States, the one such as it now is, the other supposed to be the quite contrary way, would not at all differ from one another. Their Difference therefore is only to be found in our Chimerical Supposition of the Reality of Space in it self. But in truth the one would exactly be the same thing as the other, they being absolutely indiscernible; and consequently there is no room to enquire after a Reason of the Preference of the one to the other.

<61> 6. The Case is the same with respect to Time. Supposing any one should ask, why God did not create every thing a Year sooner; and the same Person should infer from thence, that God has done something, concerning which 'tis not possible there should be a Reason, why he did it so, and not otherwise: The Answer is, That his Inference would be right, if Time was any thing distinct from Things existing in Time. For it would be impossible there should be any Reason, why Things should be applied to such particular Instants, rather than to others, their Succession continuing the same. But then the same Argument proves, that Instants, consider'd without the Things, are nothing at all; and that they consist only in the successive Order of Things: Which Order remaining the same, one of the two States, viz. that of a supposed Anticipation, would not at all differ, nor could be discerned from, the other which Now is.

7. It appears from what I have said, that my Axiom has not been well understood; and that the Author denies it, tho' he seems to grant it. 'Tis true, says he, that there is nothing without a sufficient Reason why it Is, and why it is Thus, rather than otherwise: But he adds, that This sufficient Reason, is often the simple or mere Will of God: As, when it is asked <63> why Matter was not placed otherwhere in Space; the same Situations of Bodies among themselves being preserved. But this is plainly maintaining, that God Wills Something, without any sufficient Reason for his Will: Against the Axiom, or the general Rule of whatever happens. This is falling back into the loose Indifference, which I have confuted at large, and showed to be absolutely chimerical even in Creatures, and contrary to the Wisdom of God, as if he could operate without acting by Reason.

8. The Author objects against me, that if we don't admit this simple and mere Will, we take away from God the Power of Chusing, and bring in a Fatality. But the quite contrary is true. I maintain that God has the Power of Chusing, since I ground That Power upon the Reason of a Choice agreeable to his Wisdom. And 'tis not This Fatality, (which is only the wisest Order of Providence) but a Blind Fatality or Necessity, void of All Wisdom and Choice, which we ought to avoid.

9. I had observed, that by lessening the Quantity of Matter, the Quantity of Objects, upon which God may exercise his Goodness, will be lessen'd. The Author answers, that instead of Matter, there are other things in the Void Space, on which God may exercise his Goodness. Be it so: <65> Tho' don't grant it; for I hold that every created Substance is attended with Matter. However, let it be so: I answer, that More Matter was consistent with those same Things; and consequently the said Objects will be still lessened. The Instance of a greater Number of Men, or Animals, is not to the purpose; for They would fill up Place, in Exclusion of other Things.

10. It will be difficult to make me believe, that Sensorium does not, in its Usual Meaning, signify an Organ of Sensation. See the Words of Rudolphus Goclenius, in his Dictionarium Philosophicum; v. Sensiterium. Barbarum Scholasticorum, says he, qui interdum sunt Simiæ Græcorum. Hi dicunt Ἀισθήριων. Ex quo illi fecerunt Sensiterium pro Sensorio, id est, Organo Sensationis.

11. The mere Presence of a Substance, even an animated one, is not sufficient for Perception. A blind Man, and even a Man whose Thoughts are wandering, does not See. The Author must explain, how the Soul perceives what is without it self.

12. God is not present to Things by Situation, but by Essence: His Presence is manifested by his immediate Operation. The Presence of the Soul, is quite of another Nature. To say that it is diffused all over the Body, is to make it extended and <67> divisible. To say it is, the Whole of it, in every Part of the Body, is to make it divided from it self. To fix it to a Point, to diffuse it all over many Points, are only abusive Expressions, Idola Tribûs.

13. If active Force should diminish in the Universe, by the Natural Laws which God has established; so that there should be need for him to give a new Impression in order to restore That Force, like an Artist's Mending the Imperfections of his Machine; the Disorder would not only be with respect to Us, but also with respect to God himself. He might have prevented it, and taken better Measures to avoid such an Inconvenience: And therefore, indeed, he has actually done it.

14. When I said that God has provided Remedies before-hand against such Disorders, I did not say that God suffers Disorders to happen, and then finds Remedies for them; but that he has found a way before-hand to prevent any Disorders happening.

15. The Author strives in vain to criticize my Expression, that God is [2] Intelligentia Supramundana. To say that God is Above the World, is not denying that he is In the World.

16. I never gave any Occasion to doubt, but that God's Conservation is an actual <69> Preservation and Continuation of the Beings, Powers, Orders, Dispositions, and Motions of all Things: And I think I have perhaps explained it better than many Others. But, says the Author, This is all that I contended for. To this I answer; Your Humble Servant for That, Sir. Our Dispute consists in many other Things. The Question is, Whether God does not act in the most regular and most perfect Manner? Whether his Machine is liable to Disorders, which he is obliged to mend by extraordinary Means? Whether the Will of God can act without Reason? Whether Space is an absolute Being? Also concerning the Nature of Miracles; and many such Things, which make a wide Difference between us.

17. Divines will not grant the Author's Position against me; viz. that there is no Difference, with respect to God, between Natural and Supernatural: And it will be still less approved by most Philosophers. There is a vast Difference between these two Things; but it plainly appears, it has not been duly consider'd. That which is Supernatural, exceeds all the Powers of Creatures. I shall give an Instance, which I have often made use of with good Success. If God would cause a Body to move free in the Æther round about a certain fixed Centre, without any other Creature <71> acting upon it: I say, it could not be done without a Miracle; since it cannot be explained by the Nature of Bodies. For, a free Body does naturally recede from a Curve in the Tangent. And therefore I maintain, that [3] the Attraction of Bodies, properly so called, is a Miraculous Thing, since it cannot be explained by the Nature of Bodies.

[1] See Appendix, No. 4.

[2] See Appendix, No. 1.

[3] See Appendix, No. 8. and the Note on Dr. Clarke's Fifth Reply, No. 113.

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