Decision Concerning MS “De Motu”// Author: Bishop Berkeley

Dear Bishop Berkeley,

First I would like to thank you for your submission of the manuscript of your De Motu. I am afraid to say that we have limited space and so, given the referee report which I have attached below, we will not be able to move forward with publication at this time.

Yours,

The Editor

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Referee Report

The author’s manuscript purports to overturn what all right-thinking men accept to be the foundations of modern natural philosophy. It is thus not surprising that his attempt falls flat. First off, we should deal with his assertion that terms such as ‘force’ and ‘gravity’ as used by contemporary natural philosophers are in some way ‘occult’. The author has simply misunderstood modern natural philosophy. Gravity and force are not, as the author asserts, ‘abstract’ ideas at all. As we have known since Galileo, if a body is dropped from a height it will accelerate at a constant rate. This very concrete phenomenon is what we modern natural scientists call ‘gravity’. Gravity is not an abstract idea, but rather a part of God-given nature. If the author would care to consider this once again, I am sure he will see that he is in error, and has simply misunderstood the issues at play.

The author goes on to make bizarre assertions to the effect that motion is not contained in bodies themselves, but rather in the minds observing them. Does the author seek to deny the existence of reality itself? Yet it is reality that we natural philosophers deal with. It seems the author wishes to sow the seeds of scepticism and doubt in the minds of men. He should not be given the opportunity to do so in a journal for right-thinking people. Likewise, the author’s assertions that ideas of absolute space have no content seem – to this reader at least – to be more of an attempt to spread doubt and dissent, rather than to engage constructively with modern natural philosophy.

This reader was particularly disturbed by the author’s insistence that motion should not be considered independently, and should rather be thought of in relation to time and space. Newton was quite clear that motion need only be considered in terms of infinitesmals, and in thus doing so should be taken alone as our object of study. Progress in natural philosophy will continue in this direction, regardless of whether the author tries to confuse gullible men with his ideas of relative motion, time, and space. Future generations will look back on the work of modern natural philosophy, and agree that Sir Newton’s accomplishment was revealing the God-given final truths of the physical universe. Proceeding from the notion that time, motion and space are relative? One is astounded by the lack of modernism the author is prepared to countenance in his inability to understand natural philosophy.

This referee advises that the author’s manuscript not be published.

This is a guest post by Philip Pilkington

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