Single Idea 5467

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

Full Idea

Euler thought the powers necessary for the maintenance of the changing universe would turn out to be just the passive ones of inertia and impenetrability. There are no active powers, he urged, other than those of God and living beings.

Gist of Idea

Euler said nature is instrinsically passive, and minds cause change


report of Leonhard Euler (Letters to a German Princess [1765]) by Brian Ellis - The Philosophy of Nature: new essentialism Ch.4

Book Reference

Ellis,Brian: 'The Philosophy of Nature: new essentialism' [Acumen 2002], p.62

A Reaction

Very significant, I think, for revealing the religious framework behind early theories of natural laws. If there is nothing external to impose powers and movements on nature, the source must be sought within - hence essentialism.