Ethics "There Does Not Exist A Vacuum In Nature"

Linda Pastan

"There Does Not Exist A Vacuum In Nature"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The common saying, "Nature abhors a vacuum" seems to be a modification, or distortion, of the statement which Spinoza makes while he is discussing the nature of God in his Ethics. Some writers attempt to prove that God, being infinite, has no body, that corporeal or extended substance has no relation to the divine nature; yet they say it was created by God. Spinoza proves to his own satisfaction that no substance can be granted or conceived apart from the Deity. He refutes the argument that extended substance is finite and composed of parts that are capable of being multiplied and divided. It is absurd, he believes, to maintin that extended substance is made up of parts, for if this were possible, and a part were destroyed, the remaining parts would continue unchanged:

Surely in the case of things, which are really distinct one from the other, one can exist without the other, and can remain in its original condition. As then, there does not exist a vacuum in nature . . . but all parts are bound to come together to prevent it, it follows from this also that the parts cannot be really distinguished, and that extended substance . . . cannot be divided.