The Mystery of Matter by Jennifer Trusted (auth.)

By Jennifer Trusted (auth.)

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Leibniz was to modify this; see note 24 below] .... 19 Though Leibniz came to think of extension figure and motion as something imaginary and [he] held that the basic laws of motion [could not] be derived from a study of their nature. Nevertheless he continued to hold that, given the basic la ws derived from other sources, extension, figure and motion could produce a means for explaining and predicting the course of phenomena. 20 Thus, though the contemporary view was to treat matter as inert, for Leibniz this was true only when dealing with phenomena.

Therefore indeed I do not admit the idea of vacuum interspersed amongst matter, but I consider that matter is interspersed in a Vacuum & floats in it. 38 Boscovich was anxious to stress that even the most compact of bodies were still highly porous. This foreshadows our twentiethcentury view of the atom (see chapter 6) as being largely empty space. Boscovich wanted utterly to reject the Cartesian view that matter was equivalent to extension (see chapter 3) and he also emphasised that so-called common sense could deceive and that it was necessary to interpret sensory evidence critically: Non-material Reality 31 We obtain the idea of bodies through the senses; and the senses cannot in any way judge on a matter of accurate continuity; ...

Plato insisted that objects of knowledge had to be permanent and unchanging because then true statements about them would 18 Non-material Reality 19 indeed be eternally and necessarily true. Like Parmenides he held that knowledge came through thought and necessary truths* were known to be true because they are apprehended as such by the mind. 2 Their necessary nature did not depend on the evidence of sense perception. Examples of necessary truths are arithmetical propositions such as '2 + 2 = 4'; and so for Plato these were proper objects of knowledge.

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