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Immanuel Kant . Complete Works

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The Collected Works of
IMMANUEL KANT
(1724-1804)

Contents
The Books
UNIVERSAL NATURAL HISTORY AND THEORY OF HEAVEN
DREAMS OF A SPIRIT-SEER
DISSERTATION ON THE FORM AND PRINCIPLES OF THE SENSIBLE AND THE INTELLIGIBLE
WORLD: INAUGURAL DISSERTATION 1770
CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
PROLEGOMENA TO ANY FUTURE METAPHYSICS THAT WILL BE ABLE TO PRESENT ITSELF
AS A SCIENCE
AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION: “WHAT IS ENLIGHTENMENT?”
IDEA FOR A UNIVERSAL HISTORY WITH A COSMOPOLITAN PURPOSE
FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF THE METAPHYSIC OF MORALS
METAPHYSICAL FOUNDATIONS OF NATURAL SCIENCE
CRITIQUE OF PRACTICAL REASON
CRITIQUE OF JUDGEMENT
RELIGION WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF BARE REASON
PERPETUAL PEACE
METAPHYSICS OF MORALS: THE PHILOSOPHY OF LAW
OF THE INJUSTICE OF COUNTERFEITING BOOKS
ON EDUCATION
The Criticism
A COMMENTARY TO KANT’S ‘CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON’ by Norman Kemp Smith
SCIENCE AND RELIGION — KANT, LAMBERT, LAPLACE, SIR WILLIAM HERSCHEL by Walter
Libby
THE PHILOSOPHY OF IMMANUEL KANT by A. D. Lindsay
IMMANUEL KANT by Elbert Hubbard
THE LAST DAYS OF IMMANUEL KANT by Thomas De Quincey
AN OUTLINE OF THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN THOUGHT SINCE KANT by Edward Caldwell
Moore

KANT’S THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE by H. A. Prichard
INTRODUCTION TO KANT by Ralph Barton Perry
The Biographies
MEMOIR OF KANT by Thomas Kingsmill Abbott
IMMANUEL KANT by Robert Adamson
The Delphi Classics Catalogue

© Delphi Classics 2016
Version 1

The Collected Works of

IMMANUEL KANT

By Delphi Classics, 2016

COPYRIGHT

Collected Works of Immanuel Kant
First published in the United Kingdom in 2016 by Delphi Classics.
© Delphi Classics, 2016.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means,
without the prior permission in writing of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form other than that in which it is published.

With thanks to Ian Johnston of Vancouver Island University for permission to include the 2008 translation of ‘Universal Natural History and
Theory of Heaven’.

ISBN: 978 1 78656 037 7

Delphi Classics
is an imprint of
Delphi Publishing Ltd
Hastings, East Sussex

United Kingdom
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The Books

Königsberg (prior to World War One), a city in the monastic state of the Teutonic Knights, the Duchy of Prussia, the Kingdom of
Prussia and Germany until 1946 — Kant’s birthplace

Statue of Kant in his home city

UNIVERSAL NATURAL HISTORY AND THEORY OF HEAVEN

Translated by Ian Johnston, Vancouver Island University
This early treatise was written in 1755 and is based on a 1750 work by the English astronomer Thomas
Wright, the first scientist to describe the shape of the Milky Way and speculate that faint nebulae were
distant galaxies. Universal Natural History and Theory of Heaven proposes that the Solar System is
merely a smaller version of the fixed star systems, such as the Milky Way and other galaxies. The
cosmogony Kant proposes in this book is closer to today’s accepted ideas than that of some of his
contemporary thinkers. Kant’s ideas are strongly influenced by atomist theory, in addition to the thoughts
of the Roman Lucretius.
The book concludes with an almost mystical expression of appreciation for nature: “In the universal
silence of nature and in the calm of the senses the immortal spirit’s hidden faculty of knowledge speaks an
ineffable language and gives undeveloped concepts, which are indeed felt, but do not let themselves be
described.” The first English translation of the work was by the Scottish theologian William Hastie in
1900. Ian Johnston of Vancouver Island University has kindly provided the translation appearing in this
edition, written in 2008.

The first edition’s title page

CONTENTS
TRANSLATOR’S NOTE
CONTENTS OF THE ENTIRE WORK
DEDICATION
PREFACE
PART ONE
PART TWO. SECTION ONE
PART TWO. SECTION TWO
PART TWO. SECTION THREE
PART TWO. SECTION FOUR
PART TWO. SECTION FIVE
PART TWO. SECTION SIX
PART TWO. SECTION SEVEN
PART TWO. SUPPLEMENT TO SECTION SEVEN
PART TWO. SECTION EIGHT
PART THREE
APPENDIX
CONCLUSION
ENDNOTES

Thomas Wright (1711-1786) was an English astronomer, mathematician, instrument maker, architect and garden designer.

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) published The Universal Natural History and Theory of Heaven in 1755.
This English text is based on Georg Reimer’s edition of the complete works of Immanuel Kant (1905).
The translation was first completed and posted on the web in 1998. It has been considerably revised for
this September 2008 version, mainly to improve the accuracy and fluency of the translation.
In the translated text, the Table of Contents has been altered to include the Dedication and the Preface
and moved to the front before these sections. The endnotes (indicated with a numerical superscript link)
come from Kant’s original text except for those which are provided by the translator. The latter are
prefaced in the endnote by the comment [Translator’s note], and the former by the phrase [Kant’s note].
All endnotes without
In the English translation I have used the original lines from the works of Alexander Pope and Joseph
Addison in those places where Kant quotes the often quite loose German versions of these English poets.
The translations of the von Haller quotations are my own.
There are also occasional references to two earlier English versions of Kant’s text: those by Stanley L.
Jaki (Scottish Academic Press, 1981) and by William Hastie (first published in 1900, reprinted by
University of Michigan Press, 1969). The translator of the present text would like to acknowledge the
great help he has received from these two earlier translations. Anyone seeking a detailed contextual
examination of Kant’s scientific ideas in this essay should consult the Jaki edition, which is outstanding in
this respect.
Ian Johnston
Liberal Studies Department
Vancouver Island University
September 2008

CONTENTS OF THE ENTIRE WORK

Dedication

Preface

PART ONE

Short outline of the most essential basic principles of Newtonian philosophy required for an understanding of the following theory.

Outline of a general systematic arrangement among the fixed stars, derived from the phenomenon of the Milky Way. Similarity of this
system of fixed stars to the planetary system. Discovery of many such systems, showing up in the expanse of the heavens in the form
of elliptical shapes. New idea about the systematic arrangement of the entire creation.

Conclusion. Probable assumption about more planets beyond Saturn, deduced from the law according to which planetary eccentricity
increases with distance.

PART TWO
Section One

Grounds for the theory of a mechanical origin for the world. Counterarguments. The only possible idea which satisfies both. First
condition of Nature. Scattering of the elements of all materials throughout the entire extent of space. First movement because of the
power of attraction. Start of the development of a body at the point of the strongest attraction. General sinking down of elements
towards this central body. Power of repulsion of the smallest particles in which the material stuff is diffused. Altered direction of the
downward movement through the combination of this force with the first one. Uniform movement of all these motions in the same
direction. Impulse of all particles to bring themselves to a common plane and to accumulate there. Slowing down of the velocity of
their movement to an equilibrium with the gravity at the distance from the sun at their locations. Free movement of all particles
around the central body in circular orbits. Development of the planets from these moving elements. Free movement of the planets put
together from these elements in the same direction on a common plane, with almost circular orbits for planets near the central point
and with increasing degrees of eccentricity for planets further away from this central point.

PART TWO
Section Two

Deals with the different densities of the planets and the relationship of their masses. Reason why the closer planets are of a denser
type than the distant ones. Inadequacy of Newton’s explanation. Why the central body is of a lighter sort than the closest spheres
moving around it. Relationship of the planetary masses according to the ratio of their distances. Reason derived from their manner of
development: why the central body has the largest mass. Calculation of the spread out solution in which all the elements of the cosmic
matter were scattered. Probability and necessity of this thin distribution. Important proof for the manner of the development of the
heavenly bodies derived from a remarkable analogy of M. de Buffon.

PART TWO
Section Three

Concerning the eccentricity of the planetary orbits and the origin of comets. The eccentricity increases in stages with the distances

from the sun. Cause of this law derived from cosmogony. Why the comets’ orbits freely deviate from the plane of the ecliptic. Proof
that the comets are made out of the lightest sort of material. Parenthetic observation on the Northern Lights.

PART TWO
Section Four

Concerning the origin of the moons and the movements of the planets around their axes. The material for the development of the
moons was contained in the sphere out of which the planet assembled the parts for its own development. Cause of the movement of
these moons with all their rules. Why only the large planets have moons. Concerning the axial rotation of the planets. Whether the
moon previously had a faster rotation. Whether the velocity of the earth’s axial rotation is decreasing. Concerning the position of the
planetary axes in relation to the plane of their orbits. Displacement of their axes.

PART TWO
Section Five

Concerning the origin of Saturn’s ring and the calculation of the planet’s daily rotation from the relationships with this ring. First
condition of Saturn compared to the composition of a comet. Development of a ring from the particles of the planet’s atmosphere by
means of impressed movements from the impulse of its rotation. Computation of the time of Saturn’s axial rotation according to this
hypothesis. Observation on the shape of Saturn. Concerning the flattening of the spheres of cosmic bodies in general. A closer
determination of the composition of this ring. Probable assumption of new discoveries. Whether the earth had a ring before the
Flood.

PART TWO
Section Six

Concerning the light of the zodiac.

PART TWO
Section Seven

Concerning creation in its entire infinite extent, both in space and time. Origin of a large system of the fixed stars. Central body in the
mid-point of the system of stars. Infinity of creation. General systematic relationship in its entire being. The central body of all of
nature. Successive continuation of creation into all infinity of times and spaces through the ceaseless development of new worlds.
Observation on chaos in undeveloped nature. Gradual decay and destruction of the cosmic structure. Appropriateness of such a
concept. Renewal of fallen nature.

PART TWO
Supplement to Section Seven

Universal theory and history of the sun in general. Why the central body of a cosmic structure is a fiery body. Closer observation of
its nature. Thoughts on the alterations in the air surrounding the sun. Extinguishing of suns. Closer glance at its shape. Mr. Wright’s
opinion concerning the mid-point of all of nature. An improvement on this opinion.

PART TWO
Section Eight

General proof of the correctness of a mechanical theory for the arrangement of the cosmic structure in general, and particularly for

the certainty of the present theory. The fundamental capability in the nature of things to raise themselves on their own to order and
perfection is the most beautiful proof of the existence of God. Defence against the charge of naturalism.

The arrangement of the cosmic structure is simple and not set beyond the forces of nature. Analogies which confirm the mechanical
origin of the world with certainty. The very same point proved from the deviations. Citing an immediate order created by God does not
deal satisfactorily with these questions. Difficulty which made Newton give up the mechanical theory. Solution to this difficulty. The
proposed system is the only possible way to deal satisfactorily with the basic principles of both sides. Further proof from the
relationship of the density of planets, their masses, the space in between their locations from the sun, and the gradual
interrelationships of their determinants. The motivating principles of God’s choice do not immediately determine these conditions.
Justification with respect to religion. Difficulties which present themselves with the theory of the immediate order created by God.

PART THREE

Contains a comparison between the inhabitants of the stars. Whether all the planets are inhabited. Reasons to doubt this. Basis of the
physical relationships between the inhabitants of the different planets. Observation on human beings. Causes of the imperfections in
human nature. Natural relationship of the physical characteristics of living creatures according to their different distances from the
sun. Consequences of this relationship for their spiritual capacities. Comparison of thinking beings on different celestial bodies.
Confirmation from certain circumstances in their dwelling places. Further proof from the disposition of God’s providence, which is
created in their best interests. Short digression.

CONCLUSION

The conditions of human beings in the future life.

DEDICATION
To the most serene, the mightiest king and master
Frederick
King of Prussia
Margrave of Brandenburg
Lord Chamberlain and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire
Sovereign and Highest Lord of Silesia, etc. etc.
My most all-honoured King and Master,
Most serene and mighty king,
Most All-honoured King and Master,
The feeling of my own lack of worth and the radiance from the throne cannot make my foolishness so
timid, when the honour which the most gracious monarch dispenses with equal magnanimity among all his
subjects gives me grounds for hope that the boldness which I undertake will not be looked upon with
ungracious eyes. In most submissive respect I here lay at the feet of your eternal kingly majesty one of the
most trifling samples of that eager spirit with which your highness’s schools, through the encouragement
and the protection of their illustrious sovereign, strive to emulate other nations in the sciences. How
happy I would be if the present endeavour could succeed in making the efforts with which the humblest
and most respectful subject constantly tries to make himself in some way of service to the Fatherland win
the highest possible feeling of goodwill of his king. With the utmost devotion until my dying day,
Your eternal majesty’s most humble servant
The author
Königsberg
14 March, 1755

PREFACE
I have selected a subject which, both in view of its inherent difficulty and also with respect to religion,
can right at the very start elicit an unfavourable judgment from a large section of readers. To discover the
systematic arrangement linking large parts of creation in its entire infinite extent and to bring out by means
of mechanical principles the development of the cosmic bodies themselves and the cause of their
movements from the first state of nature, such insights seem to overstep by a long way the powers of
human reason. From another perspective, religion threatens with a solemn accusation about the
presumption that one is allowed to be so bold as to attribute to nature left to itself such consequences in
which we rightly become aware of the immediate hand of the Highest Being and worries about
encountering in the inquiry into such views a defence of the atheist. I do perceive all these difficulties,
and yet I do not become fainthearted. I feel all the power of the obstacles ranged against me, and
nevertheless I am not despondent. On the basis of a slight assumption I have undertaken a dangerous
journey, and I already see the promontories of new lands. Those people who have the resolution to set
forth on the undertaking will set foot on these lands and have the pleasure of designating them with their
very own names.
I made no commitment to this endeavour until I considered myself secure from the point of view of
religious duties. My enthusiasm has doubled as I witnessed at every step the dispersal of the clouds which
behind their obscurity seemed to hide monsters and which, after they scattered, revealed the majesty of the
Highest Being with the most vital radiance. Since I know that these efforts are free of all reproach, I will
faithfully introduce what well-meaning or even weak-minded people could find shocking in my proposal
and am candidly ready to submit it to the strict inspection of a council of true believers, which is the mark
of an honest disposition. The champion of the faith, therefore, may be allowed to let his reasons be heard
first.
If the planetary structure, with all its order and beauty, is only an effect of the universal laws of motion
in matter left to itself, if the blind mechanism of natural forces knows how to develop itself out of chaos in
such a marvellous way and to reach such perfection on its own, then the proof of the primordial Divine
Author which we derive from a glance at the beauty of the cosmic structure is wholly discredited, nature
is self-sufficient, the divine rule is unnecessary, Epicurus lives once again in the midst of Christendom,
and an unholy philosophy treads underfoot the faith which proffers a bright light to illuminate it.
If I found this criticism had a firm basis, then the conviction which I have of the infallibility of divine
truths is for me so empowering, that I would consider everything which contradicts it sufficiently refuted
by that fact and would reject it. But the very agreement which I encounter between my system and religion
raises my confidence in the face of all difficulties to an unshakable composure.
I recognize all the value of those proofs which people derive from the beauty and perfect organization
of the cosmic structure to confirm the most eminently wise Author. If we do not obstinately deny all
conviction, then we must agree with such incontrovertible reasons. But I maintain that the people who
defend religion in this way, by using these reasons badly, perpetuate the conflict with the naturalists,
because they present an unnecessarily weak case.
People are accustomed to take note of and to point out the harmonies, beauty, purposes, and a perfect
interplay of means and ends in nature. But while they, on the one hand, extol nature, on the other hand, they
seek to diminish it again. This fine arrangement, they say, is foreign to nature. Left alone to its universal
laws, it would bring forth nothing but disorder. The harmonies demonstrate a foreign hand, which knew
how to force material left without any regularity into a wise design. But I answer that if the universal
efficient material laws were established equally as a result of the highest design, then they could

presumably have no purposes except to strive to act on their own to fulfil the plan which the Highest
Wisdom has set out for Itself or, if this is not the case, should we not be drawn into the temptation of
believing that at least matter and its general laws were independent and that the most eminently wise
power, which knew how to make use of them so splendidly, may indeed be great, but not infinite, certainly
powerful, but not totally self-sufficient?
The defender of religion fears that the harmony which can be explained by a natural tendency of matter
would demonstrate the independence of nature from divine providence. He clearly confesses that if
people can discover natural reasons for all the order in the cosmic structure, reasons which can bring this
into existence from the most universal and essential characteristics of matter, then it may be unnecessary
to invoke a highest Ruling Power. According to the natural scientist’s calculations, he finds nothing to
quarrel with in this claim. He acquires examples which establish the fertility of general natural laws for
perfectly beautiful consequences and brings true believers into danger through reasons, which in their
hands could become invincible weapons. I wish to cite examples. People have already often proposed, as
one of the clearest proofs of a benevolent providence solicitous of human welfare, that in the hottest parts
of the earth the sea winds, right at the very time when the heated soil most requires their cooling, spread
over the land and refresh it, as if they had been summoned. For example, in the island of Jamaica, as soon
as the sun has climbed sufficiently high to heat the soil most strongly, just after 9 in the morning, a wind
begins to rise from the sea and blows from all sides over the land. Its strength increases proportionally
with the elevation of the sun. Around 1 in the afternoon, when it naturally is the hottest, the wind is at its
strongest. It gradually decreases again with the setting of the sun, so that in the evening the very same
stillness reigns as at the start. Without this welcome arrangement, the island would be uninhabitable. All
coastal lands lying in the hot places on the Earth enjoy this same benefit. Moreover, it is most essential for
them, because, since they are the lowest places on dry land, they also suffer the greatest heat. For the
higher regions in the country, which this sea wind does not reach, are also in less need of it, because their
higher location places them in a region of cooler air. Is not all this beautiful? Are there not clear purposes
which have been realized by judiciously applied means? However, by way of a counterargument the
natural scientist must find the natural causes of this in the most general characteristics of air, with no need
to assume any special arrangements for the phenomenon. He observes correctly that these sea winds have
to go through such periodic movements, even if no human beings lived on the island, thanks to no property
other than the elasticity of air and gravity, without having any purposeful intention in the matter, even if it
is indispensably necessary merely for the growth of plants. The sun’s heat upsets the air’s equilibrium by
thinning out the air over the land, thus allowing the cooler sea air to rise from its position and take its
place.
What benefits generally advantageous to our planet Earth do the winds not possess? And what uses
does the keen intelligence of human beings not make of them? However, no other arrangements were
necessary to create them except these same general properties of air and heat, which also had to occur on
the Earth without reference to these purposes.
At this point the freethinker says: if you concede the point that when people can derive useful and
purposeful arrangements from the most general and simplest natural laws, then we have no need for the
special rule of a Highest Wisdom and thus you see here proofs which will catch you by your own
admission. All nature, especially inorganic nature, is full of such proofs, which permit us to recognize that
matter, which organizes itself through the mechanical operation of its own forces, has a certain
correctness in its effects and without compulsion satisfactorily acts by rules of what is appropriate. When,
in order to come to the rescue of the worthy cause of religion, a well-meaning person wishes to contest
this capacity of general natural laws, then he will embarrass himself and by a poor defence give atheism a
chance to triumph.
However, let us see how these reasons, which we fear in the hands of our opponents as injurious, are,

by contrast, strong weapons to use in the fight against them. Matter, which organizes itself according to its
most general laws, produces through its natural behaviour or, if we prefer, through a blind mechanical
process, good consequences, which appear to be the design of a supremely High Wisdom. When we
observe air, water, and heat left to themselves, they produce wind and clouds, rain, streams which
moisten the lands, and all the useful consequences without which nature would have had to remain sad,
empty, and barren. However, they produce these results not through mere chance or accident, which could
just as readily have resulted in something detrimental. But we see that these consequences are limited by
its natural laws so as to work only in this way. What should we then think of this harmony? How would it
really be possible that things with different natures should strive to work in cooperation with one another
for such perfect coordination and beauty, even with purposes in such matters which are to a certain extent
beyond the range of lifeless material stuff, namely, for the benefit of human beings and animals, unless
they recognized a common origin, that is, an Infinite Understanding, in which all things were designed
with reference to their essential properties? If their natures were necessarily isolated and independent,
what an astonishing contingency that would be, or rather, how impossible it would be that with their
natural efforts they should mesh so exactly together, as if an overriding wise selection had united them.
Now, I confidently apply this concept to my present enterprise. I summon up the material stuff of all
worlds in a universal confusion and create out of this a perfect chaos. According to the established laws
of attraction, I see matter developing and modifying its motion through repulsion. Without the assistance of
arbitrary fictions, I enjoy the pleasure of seeing a well-ordered totality emerge under the influence of the
established laws of motion, something which looks so similar to the same planetary system which we see
in front of us, that I cannot prevent myself from believing that it is the same. This unanticipated unfolding
of the order of nature on a grand scale I find at first suspicious, because it establishes such a wellcoordinated and correct system on such a meagre and simple foundation. Finally, on the basis of the
previously outlined observation, I advise myself that such a natural development is not something unheard
of in nature but that its fundamental striving necessarily brings such things with it and that this is the most
marvellous evidence of its dependence on that Primordial Essence which has within Itself the source of
being and the first laws by which nature operates. This insight doubles my trust in the proposal I have
made. The confidence increases with each step I take as I continue on, and my timidity disappears
completely.
But the defence of your system, it will be said, is at the same time a defence of the opinions of
Epicurus, to which it has the closest similarity.1* I will not completely deny all agreement with him. Many
people have become atheists through the apparent truth of such reasons which, with a more scrupulous
consideration, could have convinced them as forcibly as possible of the certain existence of the Highest
Being. The consequences which a perverse understanding infers from innocent basic principles are often
very blameworthy. Although his theory was what one would expect from the keen intelligence of a great
spirit, Epicurus’ conclusions were also of this kind.
I will also not deny that the theory of Lucretius or of his predecessors (Epicurus, Leucippus, and
Democritus) has much similarity to mine.2* Like those philosophers, I set out the first condition of nature
as that state of the world consisting of a universal scattering of the primordial materials of all planetary
bodies, or atoms, as they were called by these writers. Epicurus proposes a principle of heaviness which
drives these elementary particles downwards, and this appears not very different from Newton’s power
of attraction, which I assume. He also assigned to these particles a certain deviation from the straight
linear movement of their descent, although at the same time he had an absurd picture of the cause and
consequences of this deviation. This deviation comes about to some extent with the alteration in the
straight linear descent, a change which we derive from the force of repulsion of the particles. Finally,
came the eddies, which arose from the confused movement of the atoms, a major part of the theories of
Leucippus and Democritus. We will meet them also in our theory. But such a close affinity with a theory

which was the true theory of atheism in ancient times does not lead mine to be grouped in the company of
their errors. Even with the most foolish opinions which can win popular applause, sometimes there is
some truth to remark upon. A false basic assumption or a pair of unexamined coordinating principles lead
people from the footpath of truth through unnoticed misdirections right into the abyss. Nonetheless, there
remains, in spite of the above-mentioned similarity, a fundamental difference between the ancient
cosmogony and the present one, so that one can derive from the latter totally opposite consequences.
The previously mentioned teachers of the mechanical development of the cosmic structure derived all
order which can be observed in it from chance accident, which allowed the atoms to come together in
such a fortunate way that they created a well-ordered totality. Epicurus was even so unconscionable that
he demanded that the atoms swerved from their direct linear movement without any cause, so that they
could run into each other. Collectively these writers pushed this absurdity so far, that they even attributed
the origin of all living creatures to this blind collision and, in effect, derived reason from irrationality. In
my theory, by contrast, I find matter bound to certain necessary laws. I see a beautiful and orderly totality
developing quite naturally in its complete dissolution and scattering. This does not happen through
accident or chance. By contrast, we see that natural characteristics necessarily bring this condition with
them. Hence, will we not be moved to inquire why matter had have just such laws which aim at order and
propriety? Was it really possible that many things, each of which has its own nature independent of the
others, should on their own constitute themselves in such a way that a well-ordered totality thereby
arises? And if they do this, is there not an undeniable proof of the commonality of their first primordial
origin, which must be a self-sufficient Highest Reason, in which the natures of things were designed for
harmonious purposes?
The material which is the primordial stuff for all things is thus bound to certain laws. Freely left
subject to these laws, it must necessarily bring forth beautiful combinations. It has no freedom to deviate
from this plan of perfection. Since it also finds itself subject to the loftiest wise purpose, it must of
necessity be set in such harmonious relationships through a First Cause which rules over it. There is a
God for just this reason, that nature, even in a chaotic state, can develop only in an orderly and rulegoverned manner.
I have such a high opinion of the honest minds of those people who confer upon this proposal the
honour of testing it, that I remain confident that, where the basic principles mentioned above will still not
be able to get rid of all worries about the deleterious consequences of my system, nevertheless at least
they place the sincerity of my intentions beyond doubt. If, in spite of this, there are malicious zealots who
consider it a duty worthy of their holy calling to attach shameful explanations to the most innocent
opinions, then I am sure that their judgment will have precisely the opposite effect among reasonable
people. Besides, people will not deprive me of the right which Descartes enjoyed in his time among
disinterested critics when he ventured to explain the development of world bodies from merely
mechanical laws.3* I wish therefore to quote from the author of Universal World History:4* “Thus we can
do nothing other than believe that the attempt of this philosopher, who endeavoured to explain the
development of the world in a certain time from confused matter simply through the continuation of a
movement once impressed on it using a few easy and universal laws of motion, or of others who since
then have, with more approval, attempted the same thing through the primordial properties of matter,
with which it was created, is far from being worthy of punishment or demeaning to God, as many have
imagined, since in this way a higher idea of His infinite wisdom is far more likely to be brought
about.”
I have sought to clear away the difficulties which seem, from a religious point of view, to threaten my
propositions. There are some no less significant difficulties with respect to the subject matter itself. Even
if it is true, people will say, that God has set in the forces of nature a hidden art of developing a perfect
world order out of chaos on their own, will human understanding, which is so stupid in the commonest

circumstances, be capable of investigating hidden properties in such a massive enterprise? Such an
undertaking amounts to much the same thing as when people say: Give me only the material, and I will
create a world out of it for you. Can the weakness of your insights, which are shamed by the most
insignificant things, which come into your mind daily and close by, not teach you that it is vain to discover
the infinite and what was happening in nature even before there was a world? I demolish this difficulty,
for I clearly show that of all the attempts which could be devised to learn about nature, this very
endeavour may be the one in which we can most easily and surely go right to the origin. Just as among all
problems of research into nature, none will be resolved more correctly and certainly than the true
constitution of the planetary structure on a large scale, the laws of motions, and the inner workings which
drive all planetary orbits, in which Newtonian philosophy can provide such insights that we find nothing
like them in any other part of philosophy, in the same way I maintain that among all the natural phenomena
whose first cause we are investigating, the origin of the planetary system and the production of the
heavenly bodies, together with the causes of their movements, is the one which we may hope to consider
reliably from first principles. The reason for this is easy to perceive. The heavenly bodies are round
masses with the simplest development which a body whose origin we are exploring can ever have. Their
movements are equally clear. They are nothing other than a free continuation of an impetus impressed
upon them once, a motion which, combined with the force of attraction of the body at the mid-point,
becomes circular. Moreover, the space in which they move is empty, the intermediate distances, which
separate them from each other, are exceptionally large, and thus everything is laid out for undisturbed
motion as well as for clear observation of them in as manifest a way as possible. In my view, we could
say here with certain understanding and without presumption: Give me the material, and I will build a
world out of it! That is, give me the material, and I will show you how a world is to come into being out
of it. For if there is material present which is endowed with an inherent power of attraction, then it is not
difficult to establish those causes which could have led to the arrangement of the planetary system,
considered on a large scale. We know what is involved for a body to acquire a spherical shape. We grasp
what is required for freely suspended spheres to take on a circular movement around the middle point
towards which they are attracted. The position of the orbits relative to each other, the agreement in the
direction, the eccentricity, everything can arise from the simplest mechanical causes, and we may hope
with confidence to discover them, because they can be established with the easiest and clearest reasons.
However, can we boast of such advantages for the smallest plants or insects? Are we in a position to say,
give me the material, and I will show you how a caterpillar could have developed? Do we not remain
here on the bottom rung because of our ignorance of the true inner constitution of the object and of the
development inherent in its multiple elements? Thus, people must not let themselves be disconcerted
when I venture to say that we will be able to understand the development of all the cosmic bodies, the
causes of their movements, in short, the origin of the entire present arrangement of the planetary system,
before we completely and clearly understand the development of a single plant or caterpillar on
mechanical principles.
These are the reasons on which I base my confidence that the physical part of natural philosophy gives
us hope that in future it will indeed have the same perfection to which Newton raised the mathematical
part of the subject. Next to the laws according to which the arrangement of the cosmic structure stands in
its present state perhaps there are no others in the entire study of nature so capable of such mathematical
accuracy as those laws by which it has developed, and without doubt the hand of an experienced surveyor
would find work in these fields unproductive.
Now that I have allowed myself to promote a favourable reception for what I am proposing in my
examination, I will be permitted briefly to explain the way I have dealt with it. The first part is concerned
with a new system for the structure of the cosmos on a large scale. Mr. Wright from Durham, whose essay
I learned about in the Freie Urteile from Hamburg for the year 1751, first gave me the occasion to

consider the fixed stars, not as a scattered teeming mass without perceptible order, but as one system with
the closest similarity to a planetary system.5* Thus, just as in the latter the planets are located very near to
a common plane, the fixed stars in their positions are also related as closely as possible to a certain plane
which must be imagined drawn through the entire heavens, and because of their densest accumulation
toward this same plane they project that band of light called the Milky Way. I have become convinced
that, since this zone illuminated by countless suns is very precisely structured in the orientation of an
extremely large circle, our sun must similarly be located very near this large interconnecting plane. While
I was exploring the causes of this structure, I have found it very probable that the so-called fixed or firm
stars could really be slowly moving, wandering stars of a higher order. To endorse what will be found
about this concept later in its own section, I wish only to cite here a passage from a text by Mr. Bradley
concerning the movement of the fixed stars:6* “If we wish to judge the result of a comparison between our
best contemporary observations and earlier ones with tolerable accuracy, then it seems clear that some
fixed stars really have changed position with respect to each other and, indeed, in such a way, that we see
this is not the result of some movement in our planetary system, but can be ascribed only to a movement of
the stars themselves. Arcturus readily provides strong proof of this point. For when we compare the
present declination of Arcturus with its location as determined by Tycho as well as by Flamsteed, we will
find that the difference is greater than we can assume to have arisen from the inaccuracy of their
observations.7* We have reason to suppose that other examples of a similar phenomenon must occur
among the large number of visible stars, because their positions relative to each other could have altered
for various reasons. For if we imagine that our own solar system changes its position in celestial space,
then after a certain time has gone by, this will give rise to a perceptible change in the angular distance of
the fixed stars. And because in such a case this would have a greater effect on the positions of the nearest
stars than on the positions of the ones far distant, then their positions would appear to change, although the
stars themselves really remain immovable. And if, by contrast, our own planetary system stands still and
some stars do, in fact, move, these will similarly change their apparent position, and the apparent
movement will be greater the closer the stars are to us or the more the direction of their motion is
arranged so that we can perceive it. Now, since the positions of the stars could thus be altered by so many
different causes, when we consider the astonishing distances at which some of them are indubitably
located, it will take the observations of several human lifetimes to determine the laws for the perceptible
alterations of even a single star. Thus, it must be even more difficult to establish laws for all the most
remarkable stars.”
I cannot precisely determine the boundaries between Mr. Wright’s system and my own, nor in what
parts I have merely copied his design or developed it further. However, I had very good reasons to
expand one aspect of the design considerably. I took into account the species of nebulous stars, which M.
de Maupertuis considers in his treatment of the shape of the stars and which display more or less open
elliptical shapes, and I easily convinced myself that they could only be an accumulation of many fixed
stars.8* The fact that these shapes, when measured, were always round taught me that here there must be
arranged an unimaginably numerous host of stars and, further, that they are around a common mid-point,
because, if that were not the case, their free positioning in relation to each other would display wholly
irregular shapes, not measurable figures. I also perceived that in the system in which they are brought
together they must be for the most part limited to a single plane, because they are not circular but elliptical
in shape, and that because of their pale light they are located incredibly far away from us. What I have
concluded from these analogies the discussion will itself present for the unprejudiced reader’s evaluation.
In the second part, which contains the proposal most germane to this treatise, I endeavour to develop
the arrangement of the cosmic structure from the simplest condition of nature merely by mechanical laws.
If, for those who are shocked at the daring of this undertaking, I may venture to propose a certain order in
the manner with which they honour my ideas by testing them, I would request that they first read through

the eighth section, which, I hope, will prepare their judgment for a correct insight. Meanwhile, when I
invite the well-disposed reader to examine my opinions, I am justly concerned that, since hypotheses of
this sort commonly are considered no better than philosophical dreams, it is a sour pleasure for a reader
to resolve to undertake a careful investigation on his own into the histories of nature and patiently to
follow the author through all the turns by which he moves around the difficulties which he runs into, so
that at the end the reader perhaps laughs at his own credulity, like those who look at the London Market
Crier.9* However, I dare to promise that, if the reader will, as I hope, be convinced by the preparatory
chapter placed at the start to undertake such a physical adventure based on such plausible assumptions, he
will not meet, as he continues on his way, as many crooked diversions and impassable obstacles as he is
perhaps worried about at the beginning.
In fact, I have rejected with the greatest care all arbitrary fictions. After I place the world in the
simplest chaos, I have applied to it no forces other than the powers of attraction and repulsion, so as to
develop the great order of nature. These two forces are both equally certain, equally simple, and at the
same time equally primal and universal. Both are taken from Newtonian philosophy. The first is now an
incontestably established law of nature. The second, which Newtonian science perhaps cannot establish
with as much clarity as the first, I here assume only in the sense which no one disputes, that is, in
connection with the smallest distributed particles of matter, as, for example, in vapours. From such simple
grounds as these, I have produced the system which follows in a natural manner, without imagining any
consequences other than those which the reader’s attentiveness must observe entirely on its own.
Finally, may I be permitted to provide a short explanation concerning the validity and the alleged value
of those propositions which will appear in the following theory and according to which I hope to be
assessed by reasonable judges. We evaluate an author fairly by the same stamp which he impresses on his
own work. Thus, I hope people will demand from the different parts of this treatise no stronger validity
for my opinions that what I myself establish for them in the scale of values. Generally, the greatest
geometrical precision and mathematical certainty can never be demanded from a treatise of this sort. If the
system is based upon analogies and harmonies in accordance with the rules of credibility and a correct
way of thinking, then it has met every demand raised by its object. I believe I have reached this level of
quality in some parts of this essay, as in the theory of the system of fixed stars, in the hypothesis about the
composition of the nebulous stars, in the general design for the mechanical development of the cosmic
structure, in the theory of Saturn’s ring, and in some others. In some particular parts the treatment will be
somewhat less persuasive, as, for example, the determination of the relationships of the eccentricity, the
comparison of the masses of the planets, the various deviations of comets, and some others.
Therefore, when in the seventh section I pursue the consequences of this theory as far as possible,
attracted by the fecundity of the system and the pleasing nature of the greatest and most awesome subject
imaginable, always guided by analogy and a reasonable credibility, although with a certain boldness, and
when I propose to the power of imagination the infinite nature of the entire creation, the development of
new worlds and the destruction of old ones, and the unlimited space of chaos, I hope that people will be
sufficiently indulgent to the attractive charm of the subject and the pleasure which one has in witnessing
the harmony in one’s theory pushed to its furthest limit not to judge it according to the strictest geometrical
precision, which, in any case, does not occur in a theory of this sort. I await exactly the same fairness
with respect to the third part. There people will constantly come across something more than merely
arbitrary, although always something less than certain.

PART ONE

OUTLINE OF A SYSTEMATIC ARRANGEMENT OF THE FIXED STARS AND OF THE VAST
NUMBER OF SUCH SYSTEMS OF FIXED STARS
Is the great chain, that draws all to agree,
And drawn supports, upheld by God, or thee?
(Pope)10*
SHORT OUTLINE OF THE NECESSARY FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF NEWTONIAN
PHILOSOPHY REQUIRED FOR AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE FOLLOWING THEORY11*
Six planets, including three with accompanying satellites, Mercury, Venus, Earth with its moon, Mars,
Jupiter with four satellites, and Saturn with five, describe orbits around the sun as the mid-point and,
together with the comets, which do the same thing from all sides in very long orbits, make up a system
which we call the Solar System or the planetary world structure. The fact that the movement of all these
bodies takes the form of a circle and returns back on itself presupposes two forces which are equally
necessary for any sort of theory, namely, a projectile force, by which at every point of their curved linear
movement the bodies would continue on a straight line and disappear into the infinite distance, unless
another force, whatever it may be, constantly required them to leave this path and move on a curved track
around the mid-point of the sun. This second force, as geometry itself has established with certainty,
always aims at the sun and is therefore called the sinking force, the centripetal force, or gravity.
If the orbits of the celestial bodies were exact circles, then the very simplest breakdown of the
compounded curved movements would reveal that a continuous impulse towards the central point would
be required for the arrangement. However, although the movements of all planets and comets are ellipses
in which the sun is located at a common focal point, higher geometry with the help of Kepler’s model
(according to which the radius vector or the line drawn from the planet to the sun always cuts out on its
elliptical path areas proportional to the times) similarly establishes with unequivocal certainty that a
force must constantly draw the planet throughout its entire orbital path towards the midpoint of the sun.12*
This sinking force, which governs throughout the whole space of the planetary system and directs itself to
the sun, is thus an accepted natural phenomenon. Equally clearly demonstrated is the law according to
which this force extends from the mid-point of the sun into the far distances. It always decreases inversely
as the square roots of the distances from the centre increase. This rule is derived in an equally infallible
way from the time which the planets need at different distances to complete their orbits. These times are
always in a ratio to the square root of the cubes of their average distance from the sun. From this we
deduce that the force which pulls these cosmic bodies to the mid-point of their orbits must decrease
inversely as the square of the distance.
This very same law which governs among the planets in their movements around the sun occurs also in
connection with small systems, namely, with those which are made up of moons moving about their main
planet. Their orbital times are in exactly the same way proportional to the distances and establish a
relationship of the force which causes sinking towards the planet, which is exactly the same as the one by
which the planet is pulled towards the sun. All this, derived from the most infallible geometry and
uncontested observations, has been placed forever beyond contradiction. From this arises now the idea
that this sinking force may be exactly the same impetus which is called heaviness on the surface of the
planet and which gradually diminishes with the distances from the surface according to the abovementioned law. We see this from the comparison of the quantity of heaviness on the surface of the earth

with the force which pulls the moon to the mid-point of its orbit. These stand in relation to each other just
as the force of attraction in the entire planetary system, namely, in inverse proportion to the square of the
distances. Hence people also call this frequently reported central force gravity.
Moreover, because there is the highest degree of probability that if an effect occurs only in the presence
of and in proportion to the distance to a certain body and if the direction of this effect is related as
precisely as possible to this body, then it is credible that this body is the cause of the effect, however it
occurs. Therefore, we have sufficient reason to think that this universal downward movement of the
planets towards the sun can be attributed to the power of attraction of the sun and to ascribe the capacity
for the power of attraction in general to all the celestial bodies.
Hence, if a body is left free to the influence of this impulse which drives it to sink toward the sun or
some other planet, then it will fall towards it with a constantly accelerating motion and soon will be
united with that same mass. However, if it gets a push directing it to the side, then, if that push is not
powerful enough to achieve an exact equilibrium with the sinking force, the body will sink down to the
central mass with a curved movement. And if, before the sinking body touches the outer surface of the
central mass, the impulse impressed on it has grown at least strong enough to shift it from the vertical line
about half the thickness of the body at the mid-point, then it will not touch this surface but, after it has
swung closely around it, will, thanks to the velocity achieved in its fall, be raised up high again just as far
as it fell, so as to continue its path in a constant circular movement.
Thus, the difference between the orbital paths of the comets and the planets consists in the sideways
deviation in opposition to the force which drives them to fall. The more these two forces approach an
equilibrium, the more the orbit will become circular in shape; the more unequal they are, the weaker the
projectile force in relation to the force pulling to the centre, then the longer the orbit, or, as we say, the
more eccentric the orbit is, because the celestial body in one part of its path comes far closer to the sun
than in another.
Because nothing in all nature is exactly balanced, no planet has an entirely circular motion. However,
the comets deviate the most from a circular orbit, because at their first distance from the sun the impetus
which was impressed on them towards the side was the least proportional to the force pulling them to the
centre.
In this treatise I will very often use the expression a systematic arrangement of the cosmic structure. So
that people will have no difficulty clearly imagining what this term is to mean, I will explain it briefly.
Strictly speaking, all the planets and comets which belong to our cosmic structure already form a system
by the fact that they rotate around a common central body. However, I take this term in an even narrower
sense, because I consider the more precise relationships which have united them with each other in a
regular and uniform way. The orbits of the planets are, in relation to each other, as nearly as possible on a
common plane, namely, on the extended equatorial plane of the sun. The deviations from this rule occur
only in connection with the outermost borders of the system, where all movements gradually cease. When
therefore a certain number of cosmic bodies, ordered around a common mid-point and moving around it
are at the same time restricted to a certain plane, so that they have minimal freedom to deviate on both
sides of this plane, and when the deviation occurs gradually only with those which are furthest distant
from the mid-point and participate less in the interconnections than the others, then I say that these bodies
are bound together in a systematic arrangement.
ON THE SYSTEMATIC ARRANGEMENT OF THE FIXED STARS
The theory of the general arrangement of the cosmic structure has not achieved any remarkable progress
since the time of Huygens.13* At this point we still know no more than we already knew then, namely, that
six planets with ten companions, all of which have the circle of their orbit set almost on a single plane,
and the eternal spheres of the comets, which run riot on all sides, make up a single system, whose mid-

point is the sun, towards which everything sinks, around which their movements run, and from which they
all are illuminated, warmed, and kept alive, and finally that the fixed stars are just so many suns, the midpoints of similar systems, in which everything may be set up in just as large and orderly a way as in our
system and that infinite space teems with cosmic systems, whose number and excellence have a
relationship to the infinite nature of their Creator.
The systematic arrangement which took place in the union of the planets which move around the sun
disappeared in the crowd of fixed stars, and it seemed as if the rule-governed relationship encountered in
miniature does not hold sway on a large scale among the links of all the worlds. The fixed stars were
subject to no law, by which their positions were confined relative to each other, and we saw all heaven
and the heaven of all heavens filled without order and without design. Since human curiosity limited itself
in this way, we did nothing further, other than to infer from this state the immensity of the One who had
revealed Himself in such inconceivably huge works and to admire Him.
It was reserved for Mr. Wright, an Englishman from Durham, to take a happy step to an observation
which he himself does not seem to have developed into anything insightful and whose useful application
he did not sufficiently note. He looked at the fixed stars not as a disorganized and scattered swarm
without purpose but found a systematic arrangement in their totality and a general relationship of these
stars with respect to a major plane of the space which they occupy.
We wish to improve the idea which he presented and to redirect it, so that it can generate important
consequences. The complete confirmation of these is something we leave for future ages.
Anyone who gazes at the starry heavens on a clear night will notice that bright band which presents a
steady light through the crowd of stars which have accumulated there more than elsewhere and which
perceptibly lose themselves in the huge expanse. People have called this band the Milky Way. Because of
the structure of this recognizably distinct area in the sky, it is remarkable that observers of the heavens
were not long ago prompted to derive from it strange conclusions about the locations of the fixed stars.
For we see that the band has an immense circular orientation and, indeed, in a continuous arrangement
taking up the entire heavens. These two factors possess such a precise determination and characteristics
so recognizably different from uncertain approximations that from them keen astronomers should long ago
naturally have been motivated attentively to investigate the explanation for such a phenomenon.
The stars are not placed on the apparently hollow sphere of the heavens, but from our point of view
stand at some distance from each other, some further than others, disappearing into the depths of the
heavens. From this phenomenon it follows that, at those distances where they are located one behind the
other in relation to us, they do not occur in an equal scattering in every direction, but must be arranged in
particular relation to a certain plane which goes through our viewpoint and to which their locations are
fixed as closely as possible.
This relationship is such an unambiguous phenomenon that even the remaining stars, which are not
included in the white band of the Milky Way, are themselves observed to be that much closer together and
more dense, the nearer they are located to the circle of the Milky Way, so that of the 2000 stars which the
naked eye perceives in the sky, we find the largest number in a relatively narrow area, the middle of
which is taken up by the Milky Way.
Now, if we imagine a plane drawn through the starry heavens and extending an unlimited distance and
assume that all the fixed stars and all the solar systems have a common spatial relationship to this plane,
so that they are closer to it than to any other areas, then the eye which is located on this common plane, as
it looks out into this field of stars, into the hollow spherical surface of the firmament, will see the thickest
accumulation of stars in the direction of the drawn plane, in the form of an area illuminated with more
lights. This band of light will sweep out in the direction of a huge circle, because the onlooker’s
viewpoint is on the plane itself. This area will be swarming with stars. Because of the undifferentiated
smallness of bright points, a single one of which escapes the eye, and because of the apparent density of a

uniform white gleam, it will look, in a word, like a Milky Way. The rest of the heavenly host, whose
relationship with the drawn plane becomes less and less apparent or which are also located closer to the
observer’s position, will be seen as more scattered, although their accumulation will be related to this
same plane. From this, finally, it follows that, because from our solar system we see this arrangement of
fixed stars in the orientation of a very large circle, our solar system is located in precisely the same large
plane and makes one system with the others.
In order that much better to penetrate the composition of the common interrelationship governing this
cosmic structure, we wish to try to discover the cause which has arranged the locations of the fixed stars,
relating them to a single common plane.
The Sun does not limit the extent of its powers of attraction to the narrow region of the planetary
system. According to all appearance, this power extends an infinite distance. The comets which go very
far above Saturn’s orbit are forced by the sun’s powers of attraction to turn back again and to move in
orbits. Whether it is more likely for the nature of a force apparently incorporated into the essence of
matter to act without limits and whether, in addition, it will be really recognized as such by those who
assume Newton’s principles, we wish only to have it conceded that this power of attraction of the sun
extends approximately to the nearest fixed star and that the fixed stars act on each other as just so many
suns to the same extent. Thus, it follows that the entire host of fixed stars strives to come closer together
through this power of attraction, so that all the world systems are in a situation where sooner or later they
fall into one clump, through this reciprocal moving closer together, which is continuous and unhindered,
unless these systems are saved from this disaster by forces which pull away from the central point, as
with the spheres in our planetary system. These forces bend the heavenly bodies away from falling in a
straight line and, working together with the forces of attraction, bring about the timeless orbits. Thus the
structure of creation is preserved from collapse and has been skilfully created to last eternally.
Hence, all the suns in the firmament have orbiting motions, either around one common central point or
around many. But with them, we can everywhere apply the analogy of what we observe about the orbital
paths of our solar system, namely, that just as that very cause which has imparted to the planets a force
moving them away from the centre, through which they maintain their orbits, has directed their orbital
paths so that they are all related to a single plane, so also the cause, whatever it might be, which has given
the suns of the higher world as well as so many wandering stars of the higher world structure the force of
their orbit has at the same time brought their orbits as much as possible into one plane and has worked to
limit deviation from this plane.
According to this conception, we can picture the system of fixed stars to a certain extent by means of
the planetary system, if we magnify the latter infinitely. For if instead of six planets with their ten
satellites we assume many thousands of similar bodies, and instead of the twenty-eight or thirty comets
which we have observed, we assume a hundred or a thousand times more of them, and if we think of these
particular bodies as generating their own light, then to the eye of the observer who looks out at them from
the Earth there would appear exactly the same light as appears from the fixed stars of the Milky Way. For
the planets we have imagined, because of their close relationship to the same common plane in which we
find ourselves with our Earth, would display a densely lit area made up of countless stars, whose
direction went in a very large circle. This band of light would have a sufficient number of stars
everywhere, although, according to this hypothesis, as moving stars, they are not fixed to a single spot.
For, because of their movement, there would always be enough stars on anyone side, even though other
stars had moved from that location.
The width of this illuminated zone, which projects a sort of zodiac, will be set by the different levels of
deviation of designated erratic stars from their reference plane and by the inclination of their orbits in
relation to this same plane. Since most of them are near this plane, their number will appear more
scattered in relation to the extent they are distant from it. However, the comets, which occupy all regions

without distinction, will cover the field of the heavens on both sides.
The shape of the heaven of fixed stars thus has no cause other than the same systematic arrangement on
a grand scale as the cosmic structure of the planetary system on a small scale, since all the suns make up
one system, whose common interconnecting plane is the Milky Way. Those which are the least related to
this plane will be seen to the side; for that very reason, however, they are less dense, more widely
scattered, and less frequent. They are, so to speak, comets among the suns.
This new theory, however, attributes a forward motion to the suns, and yet everyone acknowledges that
they are motionless and that they have been fixed in their positions from the start. The name which the
fixed stars have acquired from this seems confirmed and unambiguous because of all the centuries of
observation. This difficulty, if soundly based, would destroy the proposed theory. But this lack of
movement, according to all appearances, is only something apparent. It is either merely an exceeding
slowness, caused by the enormous distance of their orbits from the common mid-point or the impossibility
of perceiving them brought about by the distant location of the observer. Let us estimate the plausibility of
this notion by calculating the movement which one of the fixed stars located close to our sun would have,
assuming that our sun is the mid-point of its orbit. If, following Huygens, we assume that the distance of
this star is more than 21000 times greater than the distance of the sun from the Earth, it then follows from
the established law of the time of orbiting bodies, which is proportional to the square root of the cube of
the distances from the mid-point, that the time which this star must take to complete its circle once around
the sun would be more than one and a half million years and that in 4000 years this would have
established a shift in its position of only about one degree. Now, because perhaps only a very few fixed
stars are as close to the sun as Huygens assumed for Sirius, and because the distance of the rest of the
heavenly host perhaps exceeds by far the distance of Sirius, therefore they would require a far longer time
for such periodic orbits. Moreover, it is also more probable that the motion of the suns in the celestial
stars goes around a common mid-point whose distance away is extraordinarily far, and the forward
motion of the stars can hence be exceedingly slow. Consequently, we can probably assume from this that
all the time since human beings have been keeping records of celestial observations has perhaps still not
been sufficient for them to notice the change which has taken place in these stellar positions. We must
meanwhile not yet give up hope that we will discover this change in time. To achieve that will require
subtle and careful observers, together with a comparison of observations far distant from each other. We
must direct these observations especially at the stars of the Milky Way, the main plane of all movement.14*
Mr. Bradley has observed the almost imperceptible movement of the stars. The ancients marked stars in
particular places in the sky, and we see new ones in other places. Who knows that these are not the latter
which have merely changed position? The excellence of the instruments and the perfecting of our
knowledge of the stars give us ground to hope for the discovery of such remarkable and important
observations.15* The plausibility of the matter itself, based on nature and analogy, supports this hope so
well, that it can stimulate the attentive work of scientists to bring it to completion.
The Milky Way is, so to speak, also the zodiac of new stars, alternately appearing and disappearing in
this region in a way hardly matched in any other celestial region. If this alteration in their visibility
proceeds from their periodic moving further away and closer to us, it seems clear from the proposed
systematic arrangement of the stars that such a phenomenon must mainly be seen only in the region of the
Milky Way. For there are stars in that location moving in very elongated orbits around other fixed stars, as
satellites move around their main planets. Thus, the analogy with our planetary system, in which only
heavenly bodies near the common plane of movement have a companion moving around them, requires
that only the stars in the Milky Way will have suns orbiting around them.
I am coming to that part of the proposed theory which makes it most particularly attractive because of
the sublime picture it presents of creation’s plan. The series of ideas which has led me to it is short and
natural. It consists of the following. If a system of fixed stars, all spatially related to a common plane, just

as we have sketched out the Milky Way, is so far distant from us that all perception of individual stars
making up the system is no longer possible, even with a telescope, if the distance of this system has
exactly the same relationship to the distance of the stars in the Milky Way as the latter have to the distance
of the sun from us, in short, if such a world of fixed stars is seen at such an immeasurable distance from
the eye of the observer located outside this world, then this world will appear in a small angle as a tiny
and weakly lit area, with a circular shape if its plane is oriented directly in the line of sight and elliptical
if it is viewed from the side. The weakness of the light, the shape, and the recognizable extent of its
diameter will clearly distinguish such a phenomenon, when present, from all the stars which are seen
individually.
We do not need to search a long time for this phenomenon among the observations of the astronomers. It
has been clearly confirmed by different observers. People have wondered about its strangeness, have
made assumptions, and have subscribed sometimes to odd imaginary images and sometimes to plausible
ideas, which, however, just like the former, had no basis. We are talking about the nebulous stars or,
rather, a type of them, which M. de Maupertuis wrote about as follows:16* “There are small places whose
light is somewhat more than the darkness of empty celestial space, which all are alike in the fact that they
display more or less open ellipses, but their light is much weaker than any other that we are aware of in
the heavens.” The author of the Astrotheology imagined that these were openings in the firmament through
which he believed he saw heavenly fire.17* A philosopher of illuminating insights, the above-mentioned
M. de Maupertuis, in thinking about the shape and the recognizable diameter of these stars, considers that
they are astonishingly large celestial bodies which display an elliptical shape because of the large
flattening caused by the impetus of their rotation, when viewed from the side.
It is easy to be convinced that this last explanation also cannot hold. Because this kind of nebulous stars
must undoubtedly be at least as far away from us as the other fixed stars, not only would their size be
astonishing (for in this respect they would have to exceed by a factor of many thousands even the largest
stars), but the strangest point of all would be that with this extraordinary size, made up of self-illuminating
bodies and suns, these stars should display the dimmest and weakest light.
Much more natural and comprehensible is the idea that there are no such individual huge stars but
systems of many stars, whose distance makes them appear in such a narrow space, that the light, which
cannot be seen for each individual star, because of the countless crowd of them, comes out in a uniform
pale glow. The analogy with the system of stars in which we find ourselves, their shape, which is exactly
as it must be according to our theory, the weakness of the light, which this previously mentioned infinite
distance requires, all these endorse perfectly the idea that these elliptical figures should be taken as
exactly the same world systems and, so to speak, as Milky Ways, whose structure we have just gone
through. And if suppositions in which analogy and observation are in full agreement and support each
other have precisely the same value as formal proofs, then we must take the certainty of this system as
demonstrated.
Now the attentiveness of those who observe the heavens has sufficient motivation to concern itself with
this undertaking. The fixed stars, as we know, are all connected to a common plane and thus create a
coordinated totality, a world of worlds. We see that in the immeasurable distances there are more such
star systems and that creation in the entirely of its infinite extent is everywhere systematic and mutually
interconnected.
We could further suppose that these particular higher world orders are not unconnected to each other
and through this mutual relationship establish once again an even more immeasurably great system. In fact,
we see that the elliptical shapes of these sorts of nebulous stars, which M. de Maupertuis mentions, have
a very close relationship to the plane of the Milky Way. Here a wide field stands open to discoveries, for
which observation must provide the key. The properly named nebulous stars and those about which there
is a dispute whether we should call them nebulous must be investigated and tested according to the

guidelines of this theory. If we view the parts of nature according to a design and a plan we have
discovered, then certain characteristics reveal themselves which are otherwise overlooked and remain
hidden, when observation squanders its time on all objects without any guidance.
The theory which we have proposed opens up for us a view of the infinite field of creation and offers
an idea of the work of God appropriate to the infinite nature of the Great Master Builder. If the size of a
planetary system in which the Earth is hardly seen as a grain of sand fills the understanding with
astonishment, how delightfully astounded we will be when we examine the infinite crowd of worlds and
systems which fill the totality of the Milky Way. But how much greater this wonder when we know that all
these immeasurable arrangements of stars once again create a numbered unity, whose end we do not know
and which is perhaps, like the previous one, inconceivably large and yet, once again, only a unit in a new
numbered system. We see the first links of a progressive relationship of worlds and systems, and the first
part of this unending progression already allows us to recognize what we are to assume about the totality.
Here there is no end, but an abyss of a true infinity, in which all capacity of human thought sinks, even
when it is uplifted with the help of mathematics. The wisdom, goodness, and power which has revealed
itself is limitless and, to exactly the same extent, fruitful and busy. The plan of its revelation must,
therefore, be, just like it, infinite and without borders.
However, there are important discoveries to be made, and not just in large things, which serve to
expand the idea we can formulate about the magnitude of creation. In smaller things there is no less
undiscovered, and we see even in our solar system the links of a system which stand immeasurably far
from one another and between which we have not yet found the intermediate parts. Saturn is the outermost
of the wandering stars which we know about. Are there to be no more planets between Saturn and the
least eccentric comet which comes down to us from a distance perhaps ten or more times removed, no
planet whose orbit could approach more closely a comet’s orbit than Saturn does? And should not other
planets be gradually changing into comets by means of a series of intermediate types approximating the
composition of comets and linking together the family of planets with the family of comets?
The law according to which the eccentricity of the planetary orbits is directly related to their distance
from the sun supports this assumption.18* The eccentricity in the movements of the planets increases with
the distance of the planet from the sun, and the furthest planets, therefore, come closer to the condition of
comets. We can thus assume that there are still other planets beyond Saturn which are even more
eccentric and hence even more closely akin to comets, thanks to a continual gradation which finally turns
planets into comets. The eccentricity of Venus is 1/126th of the semi-axis of its elliptical orbit; in the
case of Earth, the eccentricity is 1/58th; in the case of Jupiter, it is 1/20th, and in the case of Saturn
1/17th. Thus, the eccentricity evidently increases with the distances. It is true that Mercury and Mars are
exceptions to this law, because their eccentricity is much greater than the measurement of their distance
from the sun permits. But we will learn in what follows that the very same cause which gave some
planets in their development a small mass also deprived them of the impulse required for a circular path,
with the result that they were pulled into an eccentric movement, thus leaving them incomplete in two
respects.
Is it not a probable consequence that the increase in the eccentricity of the cosmic bodies located
immediately beyond Saturn will be approximately proportional to the ones beneath, and that the planets
are related to the family of comets through a less abrupt gap?19* For it is certain that this very eccentricity
is the fundamental difference between the comets and the planets. The comet’s tail and its misty spheres
are only consequences of eccentricity. Similarly, the particular cause, whatever it may be, which has
given the celestial bodies their orbital paths, because of the greater distances not only was weaker in
making the circular impulse equal to the downward force, thereby allowing eccentric movements, but also
for this very reason was less capable of bringing the orbits of these spheres into the common plane on
which the lower bodies move. Thus was produced the deviation of the comets to all regions.

According to this hypothesis, we would still perhaps hope for the discovery of new planets beyond
Saturn, which would be more eccentric than Saturn and thus closer to the characteristic of comets. But for
this very reason we would be able to see them only for a short time, that is, when they approach the sun.
This factor, together with the smaller extent of their approach and the weakness of their light, has hindered
their discovery up to now and must make that difficult in future. If we wanted, we could call the last
planet and the first comet the one whose eccentricity was so large that in its approach to the sun it
intersected the orbit of the nearest planet to it, and perhaps Saturn’s, as well.

PART TWO. SECTION ONE
Concerning the first condition of Nature, the development of the celestial bodies, the causes of their
movement and their systematic interrelationship both with the structure of planets in particular and
also with the entire creation.
See plastic Nature working to this end,
The single atoms each to other tend,
Attract, attracted to, the next in place
Form’d and impell’d, its neighbour to embrace.
See Matter next, with various life endu’d
Press to one centre still, the gen’ral Good.
(Pope)20*
Concerning the Origin of the Planetary World Structure in General and the Causes of Its Movements
So far as concerns the reciprocal relationships which the parts of the cosmic structure have among
themselves and through which they reveal the cause which brought them about, observation of this
arrangement displays two aspects, both of which are equally probable and worthy of consideration. On
the one hand, if we think of the fact that six planets with ten companions describe orbits around the sun at
their mid-point, that all move in one direction, in fact, the same direction as the axial rotational of the sun
itself, which governs all their orbits though the power of attraction, that their orbits do not deviate far
from a common plane, namely, the extrapolated equatorial plane of the sun, that among the furthest
celestial bodies belonging to the solar system, in the region where the common cause of movement was,
according to the hypothesis, not so strong as in the region close to the mid-point, deviations from the
precision of these conditions occur, which are sufficiently related to the lack of impressed motion, if, I
say, we consider all this interconnection, then we will come to believe that one cause, whatever it may
be, had a pervasive influence throughout the entire extent of the system and that the conformity in the
direction and position of the planetary orbits is a consequence of the coordinated agreement which they
must have had with that material cause through which they were set in motion.
On the other hand, if we consider the space in which the planets of our system orbit, then we find it is
completely empty and deprived of all material stuff which could have subjected these celestial bodies to
a common set of influences and brought with it coordination among their movements.21* This fact has
been established with more perfect certainty and its probability is, where possible, greater than the
probability of the previous claim. Swayed by this reason, Newton could not point to any material cause
which should maintain by its extension into the space of the planetary system the commonality of
movements. He maintained that the immediate hand of God had set up this order without the use of natural
forces.
Considering the matter impartially, we see that the reasons here on both sides are equally strong. And
they have an equal value as completely certain. However, it is also just as clear that there must be a
concept which could and should unite these two apparently conflicting reasons and that in this concept we
are to seek the true system. We wish briefly to announce that concept. In the present arrangement of space,
in which the spheres of all the planetary worlds move around, there is no material cause present which
could impress itself on or direct their movements. This space is completely empty, or at least as good as
empty. Thus, it must have in earlier times been differently constituted and full of matter sufficiently

capable of conferring movement on all the celestial bodies located there and of bringing them into
harmony with its motion and, as a consequence, into harmony with each other. When the power of
attraction unified the above-mentioned space and collected all the scattered matter in particular clusters,
the planets must have from then on freely and unchangingly continued the orbital movement, once
impressed upon them, in an unresisting space. The reasons for the first-mentioned probability absolutely
require this notion. And since there is no third possibility between the two, we look upon this idea with
approval as an excellent one, an approval which raises it above the plausibility of a hypothesis. If we
wished to be long winded, we could, with a series of successive inferences in the manner of a
mathematical demonstration, with all the display which this involves and with an even greater plausibility
than its introduction in physical subjects customarily elicits, finally arrive at the proposal itself, which I
will set down, concerning the origin of the cosmic structure. But I would rather present my opinions in the
form of a hypothesis and leave it to the reader’s insight to put its value to the test, than render its validity
suspect because of the appearance of a devious demonstration, something which might thus captivate the
ignorant but lose the approval of those who understand.
I assume that all the matter making up the spheres belonging to our solar system, all the planets and
comets, at the origin of all things was broken down into its elementary basic material and filled the entire
space of the cosmic structure in which these developed bodies now move around. If we consider this state
of nature in and of itself, without reference to a system, it seems to be merely the simplest which can
follow upon nothingness. At that time nothing had yet developed. The incorporation of heavenly bodies
located separate from one another, their distance from each other controlled according to the powers of
attraction, and their shape, arising from the equilibrium of the collected materials, are a later condition.
Nature, on the immediate edge of creation, was as raw and undeveloped as possible. Only in the
fundamental properties of the elements which make up the chaos can we perceive the sign of that
perfection which nature has from its origin, since its being is a consequence arising from the eternal idea
of the Divine Understanding. The simplest, most universal characteristics, apparently designed without
purpose, the material, which seems merely passive and in need of forms and structures, has in its simplest
condition a tendency to build itself up by a natural development to a more perfect arrangement. The
difference in the types of elements by itself was the most important factor contributing to the movement of
nature and to the development of chaos, so that the tranquillity which would have ruled in a state of
universal equality among the scattered elements would be lifted, and the chaos begin to develop itself at
points where the particles have a stronger power of attraction. The types of this basic material are
undoubtedly infinitely different, to match the immensity which nature displays in every respect. Given the
equal distribution in planetary space, the materials with the greatest specific density and power of
attraction, which in and of themselves take up less room and are also rarer, therefore become more
scattered than the lighter varieties of material. Elements with a specific heaviness one thousand times
greater are a thousand, perhaps a million, times more scattered than those which are lighter in this
proportion. And since these differences must be imagined as infinite as possible, then, just as there can be
one sort of physical component which exceeds another in its measured density, as a sphere drawn with the
radius of the planetary system exceeds another sphere with the diameter of the thousandth part of a line, so
the heavier type of scattered elements are separated from each other by a much greater distance than the
lighter kinds.
The universal tranquillity in space replete in this way lasts only for an instant. The elements have
essential forces which set each other in motion and are, indeed, themselves an origin of life. The material
is under an immediate impulse to develop. The denser type of scattered materials, thanks to the power of
attraction, collect from a spherical area around them all the material with a lesser specific weight. But
they themselves, together with the material which they have united with them, converge in the points
where the small pieces of an even denser type are located, and these again to even denser points, and so

on. When we think about this idea of a self-developing nature throughout the entire extent of chaos, we
will easily see that all the consequences of this process will finally consist of the assembling of different
clusters, which, after the completion of their development, would be calm and eternally motionless
because of the equality in the force of attraction.
But nature has still other forces in store, which manifest themselves especially when the material is
dispersed in fine particles, so that these particles repel each other and by their conflict with the power of
attraction induce that movement, which is, as it were, an enduring life of nature. Because of this force of
repulsion, which reveals itself in the elastic nature of fumes, in the diffusion from strong-smelling bodies,
and the spreading of all gaseous materials and which is an uncontested phenomenon of nature, the
elements sinking towards their points of attraction will shift each other sideways from their vertical
movement, and the straight linear descent will end up in orbital movements which surround the mid-point
towards which they were sinking at the centre. In order clearly to grasp the development of the cosmic
structure, we want to limit our observation of the infinite essence of nature to a particular system, like the
one to which our sun belongs. Once we have explored the development of this system, then we will be
able to proceed in a similar way to the origin of the higher world structures and bring together into one
theory the infinite nature of the entire creation.
Thus, if a point is found in a very large space where the power of attraction of the elements located
there exerts a stronger influence than at any other points around it, then the basic material stuff of
elementary particles spread out in all the surrounding area will sink toward this point. The first effect of
this general sinking is the development of a body at this mid-point of the attraction which, so to speak,
proceeds to grow from an infinitely small seed in rapid stages. But as this mass increases, it will, in
exactly the same proportion, with its more powerful force move the surrounding particles to unite with it.
When the mass of this central body has grown so extensive that the velocity with which it draws the small
particles to itself from great distances is diverted sideways by the weak level of the force of repulsion
with which these particles interfere with one another, it produces lateral movements, which, thanks to the
centrifugal force [Centerfliehkraft], are such that they can move in a circle around the central body. Thus,
large vortexes of small particles develop, each of which, because of the combination of the force of
attraction and the force leading to a sideways rotation describes its own curving path. These sorts of
circles all intersect each other, something which their large scattering in this space leaves room for.
Meanwhile, these movements, in various ways in conflict with each other, strive naturally to bring one
another into equilibrium, that is, into a single state where the movement of one hinders the movement of
another as little as possible. This occurs, first, because the particles restrict the movement of other
particles for as long as it takes until they all are moving forward in one direction; and second, because the
particles restrict their vertical movement, thanks to which they approach the centre of the attraction, until
the time when they are all moving horizontally, that is, in circles running parallel around the sun at their
mid-point, no longer intersecting with one another, and, thanks to the equilibrium between the centrifugal
force [Schwungskraft] and the force drawing them downwards, maintaining constant free circular orbits
at the heights where they are suspended, so that finally only those particles remain suspended in the
volume of space which have attained through their fall a velocity and through the resistance of other
particles a direction by means of which they can continue a free circular movement. In this condition,
where all the particles run around the central body in one direction and in circles arranged in parallel,
namely, in free circular movements by means of the required centrifugal force, the conflict and the
collision of the elements disappear, and everything is in the condition of the smallest reciprocal
interaction. This result always occurs naturally with materials subject to conflicting movements. It is thus
clear that from the scattered mass of particles a large number must, on account of the resistance through
which they seek to bring each other to this state, succeed in attaining such an exact arrangement, although a
much greater number do not reach this condition and serve only to increase the cluster of the central body,

into which they sink, since they cannot hold their position freely at the height where they are suspended,
but intersect the circles of the lower particles and eventually, because of the resistance, lose all their
movement. This body at the middle point of the force of attraction, which, on account of of the large
amount of its assembled material, has accordingly become the main piece of the planetary structure, is the
sun, although at this time it does not yet immediately have that flaming glow, which breaks out on its
surface when its development is fully complete.
We must still note that while all the elements of self-developing nature, as demonstrated, thus move in
one direction around the sun as the mid-point, in the case of such orbits which are set up in a single
direction and which occur, so to speak, around a common axis, the rotation of fine material cannot remain
in this way, because, according to the laws of central motion, all orbital movements must intersect the
mid-point of the force of attraction with the plane of their rotation. Among all these orbits moving in one
direction around a common axis, however, there is only one which intersects the mid-point of the sun.
Therefore, all the material from both sides of this imagined axis moves quickly to that circle which goes
directly through the axis of rotation right at the central point of the common downward movement. This
circle is the plane which establishes a relationship for all the elements hovering around; as much as
possible they accumulate around it and, by contrast, leave the regions far away from this plane empty. For
those elements which cannot approach so closely to this plane towards which everything is drawn will
not be able to maintain themselves indefinitely in those places where they are suspended, but, as they
collide with the elements floating around, will bring about their own final fall toward the sun.
Thus, if we consider this fundamental material of the planets hovering around in a state where it
develops itself through the power of attraction and the mechanical consequence of the general law of
repulsion, then we see a region which is contained between two planes standing not far from each other.
In the middle of these two is located the common interconnecting plane, extending from the mid-point of
the sun out to an unknown distance. All the particles we can think of carry out mathematically precise
circular movements in free orbits on this common plane, each proportional to the extent of its distance and
to the force of attraction which governs there. Because in such an arrangement they interfere with each
other as little as possible, they would remain in this form for ever, if the force of attraction of these
particles of basic matter did not then start to exercise its effect and in this way to cause new
developments, the seeds of planets which are to arise. For since the elements moving around the sun in
parallel circles and positioned where the distance from the sun is not very different, because of the
equality in the parallel movements, are almost calm relative to each other, then the force of attraction of
elements located there with an excessive specific attraction initiates at once a significant effect, collecting
the nearest particles to start the development of a body. In proportion to the growth of its cluster, the
power of attraction of this body expands, and elements from a wide area move to combine with it.22*
In this system, the development of the planets has this advantage over any other theoretical possibility:
the cause of the masses provides simultaneously the cause of the motions and the position of the orbits.
Indeed, even the deviations from the greatest precision in this arrangement, as well as the harmonies
themselves, are illuminated in an instant. The planets are developed out of particles, which, at the heights
where they are suspended, have precise movements in circular orbits. Thus, the masses formed by their
combination will continue exactly the same movements at precisely the same level and in exactly the same
direction. This is sufficient to understand why the movement of the planets is approximately circular and
why their orbits are on a single plane. Moreover, they would be exactly circular if the distance from
which they gather the elements for their development were very small and thus if the difference in their
movements were very insignificant.23* But because the development of a thick planetary cluster involves
a wider surrounding area, throughout which the fine basic stuff is scattered so much in celestial space, the
difference in the distances of these elements from the sun and thus also the difference in their velocities
are no longer insignificant. As a result, given this difference in the movements, it would be necessary, in

order to maintain on the planet an equilibrium between the central forces and the circular velocity, for the
particles which collide with the planet from different distances and with different motions to offset each
other’s aberrations exactly. Although this, in fact, occurs fairly accurately, nonetheless, this compensation
falls somewhat short of perfection and brings the deviations from circular movement and eccentricity with
it.24* It is just as easy to shed light on the fact that although the orbits of all planets should properly be in
one plane, nevertheless in this part we also come across a small deviation, because, as already discussed,
the elementary particles which find themselves as close as possible to the general plane of their
movements nevertheless take up some space on either side of it. It would be only too fortunate a
coincidence if all the planets were to begin to develop exactly in the middle between these two sides on
the plane connecting them, something which would already cause some inclination of their orbits towards
each other, although the impulse of the particles from both sides would restrict this deviation as much as
possible, allowing it only within narrow limits. Thus, we must not be surprised about the fact that here,
too, we rarely come across the most precise accuracy in the arrangements, as is the case with all things in
nature, because generally the multiplicity of circumstances involved in every natural condition does not
permit an exact regularity.

PART TWO. SECTION TWO
Concerning the Different Densities of the Planets and the Relationship of Their Masses
We have shown that the particles of the elementary basic material, distributed equally by themselves in
cosmic space, through their sinking downward towards the sun remain suspended in the places where the
velocity which they attained in their descent reaches a precise equilibrium in relation to the force of
attraction and that their direction would be altered so as to be perpendicular to the radius of the circle, as
should be the case with circular movements. However, if we now think of the particles of different
specific density at the same distance from the sun, then the ones with a greater specific heaviness drive
more deeply through the resistance of the other particles toward the sun and will not be diverted from
their path as soon as the lighter ones. Thus, their movement will form a circular orbit only at a closer
distance to the sun. On the other hand, the elements of the lighter type are diverted from a straight vertical
fall earlier and take on circular movements before they are driven so deep toward the centre. Thus, they
remain suspended at greater distances away. Moreover, they are not able to drive so deeply downward
through the space filled with the elements, without the resistance of these elements decreasing their
motion, and they will not be able to attain the high level of velocity required for a circular movement
closer to the mid-point. Hence, according to the required equilibrium in the movements, the specifically
lighter particles will orbit at distances further from the sun; the heavier ones occur, however, at closer
distances. The planets which are built out of these elements will therefore be of a denser variety when
they are nearer the sun than when they are formed from the combination of these atoms further away from
the sun.
Thus, there is a sort of statistical law which establishes for the material of cosmic space an inverse
relationship between its distance from the centre and its density. Nonetheless, it is just easy to grasp that it
is not essential that each distance contain only particles of the same specific density. Of the particles of a
certain specific type, some remain hovering at greater distances from the sun and attain the permanent
circular motion appropriate to their fall at a greater distance. These have moved down toward the sun
from further away. On the other hand, those whose original location in the universal distribution of the
materials in chaos was nearer the sun, regardless of the fact that their density is no greater than the former
group, will attain a circular orbit closer to the sun. Since the locations of the materials in relation to the
mid-point of their descent is determined not only by the specific heaviness of the material but also by its
original place in the first calm state of