William of Ockham

On Quantity

Introduction by John Longeway

Ockham says: "It remains after this to show that not only can a substance be quantified without a quantity added to it, but also that a substance is quantified through its essential parts without any quantity which is another separate entity in reality, distinct from substance and quality.

"Let the first persuasion be as follows: it is vain to explain with many words what can be done with fewer. For this is a principle which should not be denied, because no plurality must be supposed unless it is by reasoning or by experience or by the authority of one who cannot be deceived, nor be mistaken, nor be overcome. But since substance can be quantified, and similarly quality can be quantified, without such a quantity distinct from substance and quality, therefore neither reason nor experience can convince us that there is another such distinct quantity."

Original Latin