Leibniz on Time and Substance

Idealistic Studies 36 (2):109-122 (2006)
Leibniz’s metaphysics is centered on the claim that ultimate reality is composed of mind-like, immaterial substances, monads. While it is universally agreed that such substances are non-spatial, monads’ relation to time is less clear. In some passages, Leibniz suggests that monads are themselves temporal, yet in others he implies that they have only derived temporal properties in virtue of being connected to phenomenal bodies. This has led to predictable disagreements among commentators, some insisting that monads are intrinsically temporal and some insisting that they are intrinsically non-temporal. In this article, I seek to defend the latter interpretation. To do this, I focus on Leibniz’s account of monadic perception and appetition, arguing that the order of monadic states is given by the intentional content represented therein. This view, I suggest, commits Leibniz to the conclusion that monads are intrinsically non-temporal, having only second-order, derivative temporal properties
Keywords Continental Philosophy  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0046-8541
DOI 10.5840/idstudies200636218
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