Leibniz's theory of universal expression explicated

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (2):247-267 (2008)
According Leibniz's thesis of universal expression, each substance expresses the whole world, i.e. all other substances, or, as Leibniz frequently states, from any given complete individual notion (which includes, in internal terms, everything truly attributable to a substance) one can "deduce" or "infer" all truths about the whole world. On the other hand, in Leibniz's view each (created) substance is internally individuated, self-sufficient and independent of other (created) substances. What may be called Leibniz's expression problem is, how to reconcile these views with each other, that is, how a substance that expresses the whole world, even in the sense that the whole world can be "inferred" from its complete individual notion, can be self-sufficient and internally individuated. The purpose of this paper is to give an exact account of this tricky problem of universal expression, an account that retains substances' self-sufficiency under the constraint that all truths about the whole world are to be obtained from complete individual notions. It will also be shown how the explication of universal expression to be given accounts for Leibniz's thesis of universal change, i.e. the view that any change in any substance is reflected as a real, internal change in each and every other substance.
Keywords Leibniz  Universal expression  Individuation  Substance
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1353/cjp.0.0014
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,209
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Brandon Look (2002). On Monadic Domination in Leibniz's Metaphysics. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 10 (3):379 – 399.
Montgomery Furth (1967). Monadology. Philosophical Review 76 (2):169-200.

View all 13 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Marco Giovanelli (2010). Urbild Und Abbild. Leibniz, Kant Und Hausdorff Über Das Raumproblem. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 41 (2):283-313.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

76 ( #62,511 of 1,941,073 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

26 ( #19,826 of 1,941,073 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.