Leibniz's Mill Argument Against Mechanical Materialism Revisited


Authors
Paul Lodge
Oxford University
Abstract
Section 17 of Leibniz’s Monadology contains a famous argument in which considerations of what it would be like to enter a machine that was as large as a mill are offered as reasons to reject materialism about the mental. In this paper, I provide a critical discussion of Leibniz’s mill argument, but, unlike most treatments, my discussion will focus on texts other than the Monadology in which considerations of the mill also appear. I provide a survey of three previous interpretations of the argument and a partial defence of one of them, namely the one that Marc Bobro and I offered in Stepping Back Insider Leibniz's Mill (The Monist, 1998). However, I also argue that a fourth interpretation is necessary to account for the appearances of Leibniz’s mill in at least some of his writings.
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Varieties of Early Modern Materialism.Falk Wunderlich - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (5):797-813.
Mechanism and Materialism in Early Modern German Philosophy.Paola Rumore - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (5):917-939.
Materialism in the Mainstream of Early German Philosophy.Corey Dyck - 2016 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 24 (5):897-916.

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