Individuals and Worlds In order to explain Leibniz's modal metaphysics—the metaphysics of necessity, contingency, and possibility—we must look first at the foundation of Leibniz's system more generally:
Principles of Nature and Grace f 2. And the mere act of dating pieces often depends upon careful analysis of the paper Leibniz wrote on and watermarks and so on. Hence, for example, the important short work, Primary Truths, which, because of its content, was often thought to date to as in AGhas recently been redated by the Akademie editors to because of a watermark.
Yet, as he became more familiar with the modern philosophy of the seventeenth century, he came to see many of its virtues. Although there is some reason to be skeptical of the details, the spirit of the self-portrait Leibniz paints to Nicolas Remond in can be a helpful guide for approaching his work.
The circumstances under which my studies proceeded from my earliest youth have given me some facility in this. I discovered Aristotle as a lad, and even the Scholastics did not repel me; even now I do not regret this.
But then Plato too, and Plotinus, gave me some satisfaction, not to mention other ancient thinkers whom I consulted later. After finishing the trivial schools, I fell upon the moderns, and I recall walking in a grove on the outskirts of Leipzig called the Rosental, at the age of fifteen, and deliberating whether to preserve substantial forms or not.
Mechanism finally prevailed and led me to apply myself to mathematics…. But when I looked for the ultimate reasons for mechanism, and even for the laws of motion, I was greatly surprised to see that they could not be found in mathematics but that I should have to return to metaphysics.
This led me back to entelechies, and from the material to the formal, and at last brought me to understand, after many corrections and forward steps in my thinking, that monads or simple substances are the only true substances and that material things are only phenomena, though well founded and well connected.
Of this, Plato, and even the later Academics and the skeptics too, had caught some glimpses… I flatter myself to have penetrated into the harmony of these different realms and to have seen that both sides are right provided that they do not clash with each other; that everything in nature happens mechanically and at the same time metaphysically but that the source of mechanics is metaphysics.
The letter to Remond makes clear that Leibniz had reservations about certain aspects of the modern philosophy, qualms that arose from and led him back to this eclectic mix of Aristotle and Christian Platonism. According to Descartes, the essence of body is extension; that is, a corporeal substance is simply a geometric object made concrete, an object that has size and shape and is in motion.
This view, indeed, is the cornerstone of the new mechanical philosophy to which Leibniz was originally attracted. Nevertheless, Leibniz came to see two distinct problems with this view. First, in claiming that the essence of body is extension, Descartes is endorsing the view that matter is infinitely divisible.
But if matter is infinitely divisible, then one can never arrive at the simple unities that must exist at some ontological ground level.
Second, if matter is simply extension, then there is in its nature no source of activity. If this is so, Leibniz thought, then the bodily objects of the world cannot count as substances. Hobbes and Spinoza, despite their own differences, advanced, or were read as advancing, a number of objectionable and deeply troubling theses which Leibniz and most of his contemporaries saw as an enormous threat:This edition contains Leibniz's 'Discourse on Metaphysics', 'On the Ultimate Origination of Things', the Preface to his 'New Essays', and the 'Monadology'.
All of these texts are essential to any serious study of Leibniz's thought/5(8). Nov 15, · Discourse on Metaphysics and Other Essays by Freiherr Von Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide/5(K).
In order to explain Leibniz's modal metaphysics—the metaphysics of necessity, In §8 of the Discourse on Metaphysics, Leibniz presents his classic picture, Leibniz: Critical and Interpretive Essays, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Ishiguro, Hidé, Leibniz's Modal Metaphysics First published Fri May 23, ; substantive revision Fri Feb 8, In the main article on Leibniz, it was claimed that Leibniz's philosophy can be seen as a reaction to the Cartesian theory of corporeal substance and the necessitarianism of Spinoza and Hobbes.
_Discourse on Metaphysics and Other Essays_ contains complete translations of the two essays that constitute the best introductions to Leibniz's complex thought: Discourse on Metaphysics of and Monadology of In the Discourse on Metaphysics by Leibniz he suggest that, "we maintain that everything that is to happen to some person is already contained virtually in his nature or notion, as properties of a circle are contained in its definition." This assertion raised a difficulty for Leib.