, denotes room, place, distance, capacity, extension, duration, &c.

When Space is considered barely in length between any two bodies, it gives the same idea as that of distance. When it is considered in length, breadth, and thickness, it is properly called capacity. And when considered between the extremities of matter, which sills the capacity of Space with something solid, tangible, and moveable, it is then called extension.

So that extension is an idea belonging to body only; but Space may be considered without it. Therefore Space, in the general signification, is the same thing with distance considered every way, whether there be any matter in it or not.

Space is usually divided into absolute and relative.

Absolute Space is that which is considered in its own nature, without regard to any thing external, which always remains the same, and is infinite and immoveable.

Relative Space is that moveable dimension, or measure of the former, which our senses define by its positions to bodies within it; and this the vulgar use for immoveable Space.

Relative Space, in magnitude and figure, is always the same with absolute; but it is not necessary it should be so numerically. Thus, when a ship is perfectly at rest, then the places of all things within her are the same both absolutely and relatively, and nothing changes its place: but, on the contrary, when the ship is under sail, or in motion, she continually passes through new parts of absolute Space; though all things on board, considered relatively, in respect to the ship, may yet be in the same places, or have the same situation and position, in regard to one another.

The Cartesians, who make extension the essence of matter, assert, that the Space any body takes up, is the same thing with the body itself; and that there is no such thing in the universe as mere Space, void of all matter; thus making Space or extension a substance. See this disproved under Vacuum.

Among those too who admit a vacuum, and consequently an essential difference between Space and matter, there are some who assert that Space is a substance. Among these we find Gravesande, Introd. ad Philos. sect. 19.

Others again put Space into the same class of beings as time and number; thus making it to be no more than a notion of the mind. So that according to these authors, absolute Space, of which the Newtonians speak, is a mere chimera. See the writings of the late bishop Berkley.

Space and time, according to Dr. Clarke, are attributes of the Deity; and the impossibility of annihilating these, even in idea, is the same with that of the necessary existence of the Deity.


, in Geometry, denotes the area of any figure; or that which sills the interval or distance between the lines that terminate or bound it. Thus,

The Parabolic Space is that included in the whole parabola. The conchoidal Space, or the cissoidal Space, is what is included within the cavity of the conchoid or cissoid. And the asymptotic Space, is what is included between an hyperbolic curve and its asymptote. By the new methods now introduced, of applying algebra to geometry, it is demonstrated that the conchoidal and cissoidal Spaces, though infinitely extended in length, are yet only finite magnitudes or Spaces.


, in Mechanics, is the line a moveable body, considered as a point, is conceived to describe by its motion.

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Entry taken from A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary, by Charles Hutton, 1796.

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