But motion … in the ordinary sense of the term, is nothing more than the action by which a body passes from oneplace to another. And just as we have remarked above that the same thing may be said to change and not to change place at the same time, so also we may say that the same thing is at the same time moved and not moved. Thus, for example, a person seated in a vessel which is setting sail, thinks he is in motion if he look to the shore that he has left, and consider it as fixed; but not if he regard the ship itself, among the parts of which he preserves always the same situation. Moreover, because we are accustomed to suppose that there is no motion without action, and that in rest there is the cessation of action, the person thus seated is more properly said to be at rest than in motion, seeing he is not conscious of being in action.
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Home » Modern Philosophy » René Descartes (1596–1650) » Descartes’ The Principles of Philosophy (1644)
Part Two, Section Twenty-four: What motion is, taking the term in its common use
- Front Matter
- Body Matter
- Back Matter