"But the various breaks in knowledge commonly called branches of Science, which our intellectual weakness and the shortness of life necessitate, render it convenient to have a number of laws to refer to rather than one only. For if one only it might often seem unrelated to the phenomena to be explained and demand many words to connect it with them. Let us therefore here resolve our all-embracing law into three and these in two sets. And let us express them in terms which are applicable to material Nature to which alone the following pages are devoted. The two sets take their rise in the twofold fact that the finite assimilates itself on the one hand to the Infinite, and on the other hand to itself. [see Laws of Being]
- I. From the assimilation of the finite to the Infinite we obtain the Law of Diffusion or Expansion on the one hand and the Law of Individuation or Condensation on the other, and as their harmonized product in the material economy the Law of the Perfect in Form (symmetry culminating in Sphericity).
- II. From the assimilation of finite objects each to itself and all to each other, we obtain the Law of the Permanence of the Properties of Matter and the Law of Types or Species on the one hand, and the phenomena of affinity and transformation and the Law of Generic Resemblance on the other. And as their harmonized product we obtain the Law of the Conservation of Energy. Of all of these, continual illustration will occur as we proceed and they need not be dwelt upon here." [Macvicar, Sketch of a Philosophy]