Leibniz's World-Apart Doctrine

In Yual Chiek & Gregory Brown (eds.), Leibniz on Compossibility and Possible Worlds. Springer. pp. 37-63 (2016)
Adam Harmer
University of California, Riverside
Leibniz's World-Apart Doctrine states that every created substance is independent of everything except God. Commentators have connected the independence of substance asserted by World-Apart to a variety of important aspects of Leibniz's modal metaphysics, including his theory of compossibility and his notion of a possible world (including what possible worlds there are). But what sort of independence is at stake in World-Apart? I argue that there is not a single sense of "independence" at stake, but at least three: what I call "causal", "phenomenal", and "ontological" independence. Further, I distinguish two versions of each type of independence: what I call "basic" and "strict" versions. I argue that only basic versions can be legitimately attributed to Leibniz. In light of this result, I conclude, pace previous commentators, that World-Apart has little impact on Leibniz's modal metaphysics.
Keywords Leibniz  Substance  Independence
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