Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECTION I - A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
SECTION I - Johann Gottlieb Heineccius, A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations 
A Methodical System of Universal Law: Or, the Laws of Nature and Nations, with Supplements and a Discourse by George Turnbull. Translated from the Latin by George Turnbull, edited with an Introduction by Thomas Albert and Peter Schröder (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
What is called a law of nature by natural philosophers.Natural Philosophy is defined to be the science of the laws, according to which nature operates in producing its effects, and to which human art must conform in order to produce certain effects. And the settled methods, according to which nature works, and human arts must work, in order to produce certain effects, are called laws of nature. An example or two will shew the truth and justness of these definitions. That part of natural philosophy, which is properly called mechanics, consists in shewing the laws of motion, and what it is in particular that constitutes the quantity of motion in a body, and in deducing from thence certain rules to be observed by human art in the contrivance of machines, in order to give them a certain useful force. And this connexion in nature is found to be the principle of mechanics, or the rule according to which machines for raising weights, or overcoming obstacles, must be constructed, viz. That the moment of a body being its quantity of matter inducted into its velocity, any other body, however short of another in quantity of matter, will be rendered equal to it in moment, by adding to the less heavy body, just as much more in velocity as it wants of the heavier in quantity of matter. For this plain reason, that because if a body have a quantity of matter, as four, and a velocity as two, its force of motion or moment will be four multiplied by two; i.e. eight; and if another body have a quantity of matter, as two, and a velocity, as four, its force or moment will likewise be as two multiplied by four; that is, as eight; i.e. the two will be equal in moment. This principle is therefore called the law of mechanic powers, or the law of nature, with respect to quantity of motion. And upon this principle are balances, levers, cranes, pullies, wedges, screws, and inclined planes constructed. And he who attempts to assist mankind in raising weights, or overcoming obstacles, upon any other principle besides this, attempts to make new laws in nature, and his aim will prove absurd and lost labour. In the same manner, optics is a science which shews the laws observed by nature in the reflexion and refraxion of light, and points out the way of assisting vision, and attaining to certain other optical ends, as magnifying, diminishing, or multiplying objects, &c. And the laws observed by nature in reflecting and refracting light, are the laws of this human art; the laws according to which it must work to answer these purposes.