Leibniz: Body, Substance, Monad

Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press (2009)
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Daniel Garber presents a study of Leibniz's conception of the physical world, elucidating his puzzling metaphysics of monads, mind-like simple substances.



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First Thoughts

This chapter begins with Leibniz's early views, examining his first thoughts about the physical world, deeply inspired by the physics of Thomas Hobbes, and how they fit into his early concerns about the nature of mind. It argues that the young Leibniz should be understood as a heretical Ho... see more

Reforming Mechanism: Unity

This chapter explores the notions of unity and individuality in Leibniz's early and middle years, and the way in they lead him to one conception of corporeal substance as the foundation of his metaphysics and to the introduction of substantial forms into extended bodies.

Reforming Mechanism: Body and Force, Matter and Form (II)

This chapter continues the development of Leibniz's metaphysics of body connected with his physics. It discusses the way in which form and matter are transformed into active and passive force, and how the notion of extension, central to the Cartesian conception of body, becomes subordinate... see more

Divine Wisdom and Final Causes

This chapter focuses on Leibniz's treatment of final causes and divine wisdom. It first argues that the question of final causes should be distinguished from that of contingency: there are numerous places where Leibniz seems perfectly happy to admit that God necessarily chooses the best of... see more

Enchanting the World: “After Many Corrections and Forward Steps in my Thinking . . . ”

This chapter begins with a discussion of real unities, entities without parts, and simple substances, the latter terms which seem to have entered Leibniz's vocabulary in 1695 or so. It then turns to Leibniz's discovery of monads. By 1700 or so, Leibniz had clearly committed himself to the ... see more

Monads, Bodies, and Corporeal Substances: The Endgame

This chapter examines Leibniz's treatment of body in the context of a world grounded in monads. It examines a variety of ways in which Leibniz tries to integrate bodies into the world of monads, and a variety of ways in which he treats the notion of corporeal substance in the context of th... see more


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Daniel Garber
Princeton University

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