The Failure of Leibniz's Infinite Analysis view of Contingency

Abstract : In this paper, it is argued that Leibniz’s view that necessity is grounded in the availability of a demonstration is incorrect and furthermore, can be shown to be so by using Leibniz’s own examples of infinite analyses. First, I show that modern mathematical logic makes clear that Leibniz’s "infinite analysis" view of contingency is incorrect. It is then argued that Leibniz's own examples of incommensurable lines and convergent series undermine, rather than bolster his view by providing examples of necessary mathematical truths that are not demonstrable. Finally, it is argued that a more modern view on convergent series would, in certain respects, help support some claims he makes about the necessity of mathematical truths, but would still not yield a viable theory of necessity due to remaining problems with other logical, mathematical, and modal claims
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