CONTINUITY (Law of)
CONTINUITY (Law of).—(1) Persistence of movement through successive stages; (2)
persistence of being through successive transformations. In the latter
reference, now the most familiar, it is the expression of the indestructibility
of matter and energy.
The law of continuity, though originally applied to continuity of motion, was
extended by Charles Bonnet to continuity of being. He held that all the various
beings which compose the universe form a descending scale without any chasm or
saltus, from the Deity to the simplest forms of unorganised
manner. A similar view had been held by Locke and others.
The principle of continuity was one of the guiding ideas of the
philosophy of Leibnitz. Kant also holds that "all phenomena are
continuous quantities" (Critique of Pure Reason, Anticipations of
Perception). For more recent usage in physical science, see Balfour
Conservation of Energy, and Tait's Recent Advances of Physical Science.
"The grand principle of Conservation of Energy... is simply a statement
of the invariability of the quantity of energy in the universe (Tait,
Modern science proclaims the continuity of Law, i.e.,
that the transition from lower to higher laws is not abrupt, but
gradual, the former surviving, as it were, in the latter.