ponderable matter (which in part subsists in the ether ).
Regarding heat (matiere de feu or fluide igne) as a peculiar kind of imponderable matter, Lavoisier held that the three states of aggregation - solid, liquid and gas - were modes of matter, each depending on the amount of matiere de feu with which the ponderable substances concerned were interpenetrated and combined; and this view enabled him correctly to anticipate that gases would be reduced to liquids and solids by the influence of cold and pressure.
For instance, in the history of mechanics it was first inferred from some that all terrestrial bodies gravitate, and then from these as some that all ponderable bodies, terrestrial and celestial, gravitate.
He not only agrees with Laplace and Lyell about the evolution of the solar system, but also supposes that the affinities, pointed out by Lothar Meyer and Mendeleeff, between groups of chemical elements prove an evolution of these elements from a primitive matter (prothyl) consisting of homogeneous atoms. These, however, are not ultimate enough for him; he thinks that everything, ponderable and imponderable or ether, is evolved from a primitive substance, which condenses first into centres of condensation (pyknatoms), and then into masses, which when they exceed the mean consistency become ponderables, and when they fall below it become imponderables.
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