Synthese 139 (1):143-164 (2004)

Ari Maunu
University of Turku
Leibniz, it seems, wishes to reduce statements involving relations or extrinsic denominations to ones solely in terms of individual accidents or, respectively, intrinsic denominations. His reasons for this appear to be that relations are merely mental things (since they cannot be individual accidents) and that extrinsic denominations do not represent substances as they are on their own. Three interpretations of Leibniz''s reductionism may be distinguished: First, he allowed only monadic predicates in reducing statements (hard reductionism); second, he allowed also `implicitly relational predicates'' such as `loves somebody'' (soft reductionism); third, he allowed also `explicitly relational predicates'' such as `loves Helen'' (nonreductionism). Hard reductionism is problematic with respect to Leibniz''s doctrines of universal expression and incompossibility (among other things). Nonreductionism, in turn, faces insurmountable problems with Leibniz''s doctrine of self-sufficiency and internal identification of substances, as well as with that of individual accidents. The remaining option, soft reductionism, standing between the other two interpretations, arguably avoids at least some of their problems.
Keywords Leibniz  Relations  Properties  Substance
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DOI 10.1023/
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References found in this work BETA

Primitive Thisness and Primitive Identity.Robert Merrihew Adams - 1979 - Journal of Philosophy 76 (1):5-26.
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Citations of this work BETA

Leibniz on Sensation and the Limits of Reason.Walter Ott - 2016 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 33 (2):135-153.
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