more from Isaac Newton

Single Idea 16746

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 1. Laws of Nature]

Full Idea

The (active) principles I consider not as occult qualities, supposed to result from the specific forms of things, but as general laws of nature, by which the things themselves are formed.


'Occult' just means hidden

Gist of Idea

Principles of things are not hidden features of forms, but the laws by which they were formed


Isaac Newton (Queries to the 'Opticks' [1721], q 31), quoted by Robert Pasnau - Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671 23.6

Book Reference

Pasnau,Robert: 'Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671' [OUP 2011], p.544

A Reaction

This is the external, 'imposed' view of laws (with the matter passive) at its most persuasive. If laws arise out the stuff (as I prefer to think), what principles went into the formulation of the stuff?