Superphysics
Chapter 5

# Table of the Degrees or Comparative Instances

## 3.

13

We learn about the nature of an object by comparing the increase and decrease of that nature in the same object, or its degree in different objects.

The form of a thing is its very essence.

• The appearance of an object is different from the essence of the object.

This is similar to:

• the exterior being different from the interior
• anything related to man being different from anything related to the universe.

It follows that a thing’s essence is that which uniformly diminishes and increases with the given nature.

This comparison is our “Table of Degrees” or Comparative Instances.

### Table of the Degrees or Comparative Instances of Heat

First, we speak of bodies which exhibit no degree of heat sensible to the touch, but appear to possess a potential heat.

We will then go on to others, which are actually warm to the touch, and observe the strength and degree of it.

1. There is no known solid which is by its own nature originally warm.

Stone, metal, sulphur, fossils, wood, water, and dead animal carcasses are not found warm. The warm springs in baths appear to be heated accidentally by fire.

Therefore, the degree of heat in inanimate objects is not sensible to our touch.

But they differ in their degrees of cold.

Wood and metal are not equally cold.[94] This, however, belongs to the Table of Degrees of Cold.

1. But with regard to potential heat and predisposition to flame, we find many inanimate substances wonderfully adapted to it, as sulphur, naphtha, and saltpetre.

2. Bodies which have previously acquired heat retain some latent portion of it.

Examples are:

• horse dung from the animal
• ashes and soot from fire

Hence, distillations and separations of substances are effected by burying[137] them in horse dung. Heat is excited in lime by sprinkling it with water.

1. In the vegetable world, no plant is warm to man’s touch.

Yet green weeds grow warm when confined. Some vegetables are warm and others cold to our internal touch, i.e., the palate and stomach, or even after a while to our external skin (as is shown in plasters and ointments).

1. We know of nothing in the various parts of animals, when dead or detached from the rest, that is warm to the touch.

Horse dung itself does not retain its heat, unless it be confined and buried. All dung, however, appears to possess a potential heat, as in manuring fields; so also dead bodies are endued with this latent and potential heat to such a degree, that in cemeteries where people are interred daily the earth acquires a secret heat, which consumes any recently deposited body much sooner than pure earth.

They tell you that the people of the East are acquainted with a fine soft cloth, made of the down of birds, which can melt butter wrapped gently up in it by its own warmth.

1. Manures, such as every kind of dung, chalk, sea-sand, salt and the like, have some disposition toward heat.

2. All putrefaction exhibits some slight degree of heat, though not enough to be perceptible by the touch.

Neither the substances which by putrefaction are converted into animalculæ,[95] as flesh and cheese, nor rotten wood which shines in the dark, are warm to the touch. The heat,[138] however, of putrid substances displays itself occasionally in a disgusting and strong scent.

1. The first degree of heat, therefore, in substances which are warm to the human touch appears to be that of animals.

This admits of a great variety of degrees, for the lowest (as in insects) is scarcely perceptible, the highest scarcely equals that of the sun’s rays in warm climates and weather, and is not so acute as to be insufferable to the hand. It is said, however, of Constantius, and some others of a very dry constitution and habit of body, that when attacked with violent fevers, they became so warm as to appear almost to burn the hand applied to them.

1. Animals become more warm by motion and exercise, wine and feasting, venery, burning fevers, and grief.

2. In the paroxysm of intermittent fevers the patients are at first seized with cold and shivering, but soon afterward become more heated than at first—in burning and pestilential fevers they are hot from the beginning.

3. Let further inquiry be made into the comparative heat of different animals, as fishes, quadrupeds, serpents, birds, and also of the different species, as the lion, the kite, or man.

According to the vulgar opinion, fishes are the least warm internally, and birds the most, particularly doves, hawks, and ostriches.

1. Let further inquiry be made as to the comparative heat in different parts and limbs of the same animal.

Milk, blood, seed, and eggs are moderately warm, and less hot than the outward flesh of the animal when in motion or agitated. The degree of heat of the brain, stomach, heart, and the rest, has not yet been equally well investigated.

1. All animals are externally cold in winter and cold weather, but are thought to be internally warmer.[139]

2. The heat of the heavenly bodies, even in the warmest climates and seasons, never reaches such a pitch as to light or burn the driest wood or straw, or even tinder without the aid of burning-glasses. It can, however, raise vapor from moist substances.

3. Astronomers tell us that some stars are hotter than others.

Mars is considered the warmest after the Sun, then Jupiter, then Venus. The Moon and, above all, Saturn, are considered to be cold.

Among the fixed stars Sirius is thought the warmest, then Cor Leonis or Regulus, then the lesser Dog-star.

1. The sun gives out more heat as it approaches toward the perpendicular or zenith, which may be supposed to be the case with the other planets, according to their degree of heat; for instance, that Jupiter gives out more heat when situated beneath Cancer or Leo than when he is beneath Capricorn and Aquarius.

2. It is to be supposed that the sun and other planets give more heat in perigee, from their approximation to the earth, than when in apogee.

But if in any country the sun should be both in its perigee and nearer to the perpendicular at the same time, it must necessarily give out more heat than in a country where it is also in perigee, but situated more obliquely; so that the comparative altitude of the planets should be observed, and their approach to or declination from the perpendicular in different countries.

1. The sun and other planets are thought also to give out more heat in proportion as they are nearer to the larger fixed stars, as when the sun is in Leo he is nearer Cor Leonis, Cauda Leonis, Spica Virginis, Sirius, and the lesser Dog-star, than when he is in Cancer, where, however, he approaches nearer to the perpendicular.

It is probable,[140] also, that the quarters of the heavens produce a greater heat (though not perceptibly), in proportion as they are adorned with a greater number of stars, particularly those of the first magnitude.

1. On the whole, the heat of the heavenly bodies is augmented in 3 ways:
1. The approach to the perpendicular
1. Proximity or their perigee
1. The conjunction or union of stars.