Leibniz: Body, Substance, Monad by Daniel Garber

By Daniel Garber

Daniel Garber offers an illuminating examine of Leibniz's notion of the actual global. Leibniz's commentators frequently start with monads, mind-like basic components, the final word building-blocks of the Monadology. yet Leibniz's it appears idealist metaphysics is especially difficult: how can any good individual imagine that the area is made of tiny minds? during this e-book, Garber attempts to make Leibniz's inspiration intelligible by way of focusing as an alternative on his concept of physique. starting with Leibniz's earliest writings, he indicates how Leibniz begins as a Hobbesian with a powerful experience of the actual global, and the way, step-by-step, he advances to the monadological metaphysics of his later years. a lot of the book's concentration is on Leibniz's heart years, the place the basic materials of the realm are corporeal ingredients, unities of topic and shape understood at the version of animals. For Garber monads in simple terms input relatively past due in Leibniz's profession, and once they input, he argues, they don't displace our bodies yet supplement them. in spite of everything, even though, Garber argues that Leibniz by no means works out the relation among the area of monads and the realm of our bodies to his personal delight: on the time of his loss of life, his philosophy remains to be a piece in growth.

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In the opening of part V of the Discours de la m´ethode, Descartes outlines the whole program of deriving the present state of the world from creation; see AT VI 42ff. 223–6. f irst thoughts 19 Leibniz argues, ‘‘these . . bubbles are the seeds of things, . . ⁵⁸ The project, then, is to explain the main phenomena of the world in terms of these tiny bubbles or corpuscles. And so, for example, Leibniz discusses the Aristotelian four elements (earth, water, air, and fire), showing how each can be generated from his theory (HPN §§ 13–14), gravity (HPN §§ 15f), color, sound, and heat (HPN §§ 30f), the magnet (HPN §§ 33bis f), chemical reactions (HPN §§ 37f), density and rarity (HPN §§ 56), among many other things.

How, then, could one be both a mechanical philosopher and pious at the same time? ²⁵ On Boineburg and his early acquaintance with Leibniz, see Antognazza (2008), 85f. ²⁶ On the strongly intolerant Lutheran context of Leibniz’s early upbringing in Leipzig, see Antognazza (2008), 24–30. ²⁷ Goldenbaum (1999a), 88. More generally, on the importance of Mainz and Boineburg for Leibniz’s intellectual development in these years, see Antognazza (2008), 85ff and Goldenbaum (1999a), 87ff. Goldenbaum paints a vivid and convincing picture of the centrality of theology in this period.

But scattered through the texts there are some indications of his metaphysical conception ⁶⁷ Cf. 166. Cf. Beeley (1995). In a personal communication, Domenico Bertoloni Meli informed me that this view can also be found in Ignace Gaston Pardies, Discours du mouvement local (Paris, 1670). According to Bertoloni Meli, Pardies denies any resistance in bodies, any causal efficacy to rest, and draws a distinction much like Leibniz’s between abstract and concrete laws of motion. But, so far as I can see, Leibniz would have had no acquaintance with this book until he got to Paris.

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