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Bateman's lerne of Armorica, 720.
Newman's Characteristics, 860.
Newman's Letter, etc., 857.
Nobleman of '89, The, 714.
Leguay's The Mistress of Novices, 859.
Testimony of the Evangelists Examined, etc., 718.
Library of the Sacred Heart, 576.
Trafton's Katherine Earle, 288.
Universal Church History, 289.
Meline's Charteris, 288.
Whitney's Oriental and Linguistic Studies, 573.
Works of Aurelius Augustine, 575.
VOL. XX., No. 115.-OCTOBER, 1874.
The plain philosophical and sci- chief argument advanced against entific proofs by which we have the possibility of actio in distans established the actio in distans, al- without a material medium of comthough sufficient, in our judgment, munication is thus developed in the to convince every unbiassed reader Popular Science Monthly for Novemof the truth of the view we have ber, 1873 (p. 94), by J. B. Stallo: maintained, may nevertheless prove “ How is the mutual action of inadequate to remove the prejudice atoms existing by themselves in of those who regard the time-hon- complete insulation, and wholly ored doctrine of action by material without contact, to be realized in contact as axiomatic and unassail- thought? We are here in presence able. It is true that they cannot of the old difficulties respecting the upset our arguments; but they op- possibility of actio in distans which pose to us other arguments, which presented themselves to the minds they confidently believe to be un- of the physicists in Newton's time, answerable. It is therefore neces- and constituted one of the topics sary for us to supplement our pre- of the famous discussion between vious demonstration by a careful Leibnitz and Clarke, in the course analysis of the objections which of which Clarke made the remarkcan be made against it, and to able admission tható if one body atshow the intrinsic unsoundness of tracted another without an interthe reasonings by which they are vening body, that would be not a supported. This is what we intend miracle, but a contradiction ; for it to do in the present article. would be to suppose that a body
A first objection. The first and acts where it is not '-otherwise Eatered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by Rev. 1. T. Hecker, in the Office of
the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.
expressed: Inasmuch as action is mised that, had Newton been as but a mode of being, the assertion well acquainted with the metaphythat a body can act where it is not sical doctrine about the essential would be tantamount to the asser- constituents of substance as he tion that a body can be where it is was with the mathematical for. not. This admission was entirely mulas of mechanics, he would have in consonance with Newton's own recognized in his “inanimate brute opinion; indeed, Clarke's words matter” the potential constituent are but a paraphrase of the cele- of material substance, and in his brated passage in one of Newton's "something else which is not mateletters to Bentley, cited by John rial” the formal constituent of the Stuart Mill in his System of Logic, same substance and the principle which runs as follows: “It is in- of its operation.
of its operation. The only objecconceivable that inanimate brute tionable phrase we find in the pasmatter should, without the mediation sage now under consideration is of something else which is not ma- that in which he describes action terial, operate upon and affect other and force as conveyed from matter matter without mutual contact. ... to matter. But, as he explicitly That gravity should be innate, in- maintains that this convection reherent, and essential to matter, so quires no material medium, the that one body may act on another, phrase, whatever may be its verbal at a distance, through a vacuum, inaccuracy, is not scientifically without the mediation of anything wrong, and cannot be brought to else by and through which their ac- bear against the actio in distans. tion and force be conveyed from We therefore dismiss this part of one to the other, is to me so great the objection as preposterous, and an absurdity that I believe no man, shall at once turn our attention to who in philosophical matters has a Clarke's argument, which may be competent faculty of thinking, can reduced to the syllogistic form thus: ever fall into it.'"
“A body cannot act where it is Before we enter into the discus- not present either by itself or by sion of this objection we must re- its power. But actio in distans is mark that it is scarcely fair to allege an action which would be exerted Newton's view as contrary to actio in where the body is not present by distans. For he neither requires a itself, as is evident; and where the material contact of matter with mat body is not present by its power, as ter nor a material medium of com- there is no medium of communicamunication; he says, on the contra- tion. Therefore the actio in distans ry, that the inanimate brute matter is an impossibility.” needs the mediation of something The objection, though extremely else which is not material, which plausible, is based on a false asamounts to saying that his inani- sumption—that is, on the supposimate brute matter must have all tion that there can be distance around a non-material sphere of from the active power of one elepower, without which it would ment to the matter of another. never reach any distant matter. The truth is that, however far mat. This assertion, far from being a de- ter
be distant from matter, no nial of actio in distans, seems rather active power can ever be distant to be a remote endeavor towards from it. For no distance in space its explanation; and it may be sur- is conceivable without two formal