3.93 Cudworth on dancing angels (31)

Sat, 3 Jun 89 00:08:46 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 93. Saturday, 3 Jun 1989.

Date: Fri, 02 Jun 89 10:57:10 BST
From: stephen clark <AP01@LIVERPOOL.AC.UK>
Subject: Cudworth on angels

Courtesy of Nicholas Coleman of Emmanuel, Cambridge:
Cudworth True Intellectual History (1678) pp.777f:
says that is a misconception to suppose that "thousands of .. incorporeal
substances or spirits might dance together at once upon a needles point".
He refutes by reference to Plotinus VI 9.6. And goes on:
"And to conclude, though some who are far from Atheists, may make themselves
merry with that conceit of thousands of spirits dancing at once upon a needles
point and though the atheists may endeavour to rogue and ridicule all
incorporeal substances in that manner; yet does this run upon a clear
mistake of the hypothesis, and make nothing at all against it; for as much
as and unextended substance is neither any parvitude as is here supposed
(because it hath no magnitude at all) nor hath it any place or site or local mo
tion, properly belonging to it; and therefore can neither dance upon a needles
point nor any where else".

So Cudworth's answer is not, as I had suggested, "infinitely many", but "none".