A Logical Reconstruction of Leibniz’s Argument for His Complete Concept Conception of the Nature of Substance in Discours §8

History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 23 (2):447-473 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

This paper develops a valid reconstruction in first-order predicate logic of Leibniz’s argument for his complete concept definition of substance in §8 of the Discours de Métaphysique. Following G. Rodriguez-Pereyra, it construes the argument as resting on two substantial premises, the “merely verbal” Aristotelian definition and Leibniz’s concept containment theory of truth, and it understands the resulting “real” definition as saying not that an entity is a substance iff its complete concept contains every predicate of that entity, but iff its complete concept contains every predicate of any subject to which that concept is truly attributable. An account is suggested of why Leibniz criticises the Aristotelian definition as merely nominal and how he takes his own definition to overcome this shortcoming: while on the Aristotelian basis the predication relation could generate endless chains, so that substances as endpoints of predication would be impossible, Leibniz’s definition reveals lowest species as such endpoints, which he therefore identifies with individual substances. Since duplicate lowest species make no sense, the Identity of Indiscernibles for substances follows. The reading suggests a Platonist interpretation according to which substances do not so much have but are individual essences, natures or forms.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,389

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Leibniz on Subject and Individual Substance.Adrian Nita - 2012 - Filozofia Nauki 20 (2):57-67.
Force and Substance: A Study of the Interrelation of Dynamics and Metaphysics in Leibniz.Richard Bryan Miller - 1982 - Dissertation, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
A (Leibnizian) Theory of Concepts.Edward N. Zalta - 2000 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 3:137-183.
Leibniz’s Theory of Universal Expression Explicated.Ari Maunu - 2008 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (2):247-267.
Monads at the Bottom, Monads at the Top, Monads All Over.Ohad Nachtomy - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (1):197-207.
Real Alternatives.Ohad Nachtomy - 2002 - The Leibniz Review 12:89-97.
On Unity and Simple Substance in Leibniz.Samuel Levey - 2007 - The Leibniz Review 17:61-106.
Substantial Simplicity in Leibniz.T. Allan Hillman - 2009 - Review of Metaphysics 63 (1):91-138.
Substance and Force: Or Why It Matters What We Think.Pauline Phemister - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (3):526-546.

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-12-25

Downloads
18 (#607,505)

6 months
1 (#415,900)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Ralf Busse
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references