Cabinet of Natural Philosophy - Page 4 - PROPERTIES OF MATTER. - Photos of the moment

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under whatever form it exist. Such properties alone
Can be considered as tests of materiality. Where their
presence is neither manifest to sense, nor demonstrable
by reason, there matter is not. The principal of
qualities are magnitude and impenetrability,
(4.) Magnitude. —Every body occupies space, that is,
it has magnitude. This is a property observable by the
senses in all bodies which are not so minute as to elude
them, and which the understanding can trace to the
smallest particle of matter.
It is impossible, by any
stretch of imagination, even to conceive a portion of
matter so minute as to have no magnitude.
The quantity of space which a body occupies is some-
times called its magnitude. In colloquial phraseology,
the word size is used to express this notion ; but the
most correct term, and that which we shall generally
adopt is colume. Thus we say, the volume of the earth
is so many cubic miles, the volume of this room is so
many cubic feet.
The external limits of the magnitude of a body are
lines and surfaces, lines being the limits which separate
the several surfaces of the same body. The linear
limits of a body are also called edges. Thus the line
which separates the top of a chest from one of its sides
is called an edge.
The quantity of a surface is called its area, and the
quantity of a line is called its length. Thus we say, the
area of a field is so many acres, the length of a rope is so
many yards. The word magnitude" is, however, often
used indifferently for volume, area, and length. If the
objects of investigation were of a more complex and sub-
tle character, as in metaphysics, this unsteady applica-
tion of terms might be productive of confusion, and even
of error; but in this science the meaning of the term
is evident, from the 'yvay in which it is applied, and no
inconvenience is found to arise.
(5.) Impenetrability. — This property will be most
clearly explained by defining the positive quality from
which it takes its name, and of which it merely signifies

In the Public Domain - from an edition of a book published in 1839
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