— 179 —
Ideas of Space and Solidity distinct.       §26. To conclude, whatever Men shall think concerning the
existence of a Vacuum, this is plain to me, That we have as clear an
Idea of Space distinct from Solidity, as we have of Solidity distinct from
Motion, or Motion from Space. We have not any two more distinct
Ideas, and we can as easily conceive space without Solidity, as we
can conceive Body or Space without Motion, though it be never so
certain, that neither Body nor Motion can exist without Space. But
whether any one will take Space to be only a relation resulting from
the Existence of other Beings at a distance; or whether they will
think the Words of the most knowing King Solomon, The Heaven, and
the Heaven of Heavens, cannot contain Thee
; 1 Kgs. 8: 27; 2 Chr. 2: 6 and 6: 18. or those more emphatical
ones of the inspired Philosopher St. Paul, In Him we live, move, and
have our Being
, Acts 17: 28. are to be understood in a literal sence, I leave every
one to consider; only our Idea of Space is, I think, such as I have
mentioned, and distinct from that of Body. For whether we con-
sider in Matter it self, the distance of its coherent solid parts, and
call it, in respect of those solid parts, Extension; or whether con-
sidering it, as lying between the extremities of any Body in its
several dimensions, we call it Length, Breadth, and Thickness; or else
considering it as lying between any two Bodies, or positive Beings,
without any consideration, whether there be any Matter or no
between, we call it Distance. However named or considered, it is
always the same uniform simple Idea of Space, taken from Objects,
about which our Senses have been conversant, whereof having
— 180 —
setled Ideas in our Minds, we can revive, repeat, and add them one
to another as often as we will, and consider the Space or Distance so
imagined, either as filled with solid parts, so that another Body
cannot come there, without displacing and thrusting out the Body
that was there before; or else as void of Solidity, so that a Body of
equal dimensions to that empty or pure Space, may be placed in it
without the removing or expulsion of any thing that was there. But
to avoid Confusion in Discourses concerning this Matter, it were
possibly to be wished that the Name Extension were applied only
to Matter, or the distance of the Extremities of particular Bodies,
and the Term Expansion to Space in general, with or without solid
Matter possessing it, so as to say Space is expanded, and Body extended.
But in this every one has his liberty; I propose it only for the more
clear and distinct way of speaking.
Locke Hum II, 13, §26, pp. 179-180