Manual Leibniz: Body, Substance, Monad

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Gottfried Leibniz Monads

Det finnes ingen vurderinger av dette produktet. Vis forrige. Tips en venn. Mottakers e-postadresse:. Din e-postadresse:. The simple "red-ideas", which cannot be differentiated further, can be contemplated only by God. As Leibniz puts it: Finite beings usually are not aware of the simple ideas. Until now, complete concepts are formulated as intelligble contents for "instantaneous individuals".

Therefore, these complete concepts must be joined to ordered families thereof. This can be done, as in the monadic realm, by joining the complete concepts by a flow say. This flow makes it sure that no historically complete concept can ever share the constituting ideas of another historical complete concept. A historical complete concept, complete concept for short, can now be written as with For any is a member of the instantaneous complete concepts.

The flow partitions this set. Let In be the set of instantaneous complete concepts and taking care of the historicity of individuals, the best of all possible world as an ideal composibility can now be written as. The connection between the monadic and the ideal realm under the paradigm of covariation or "parallelity" may now be expressed as as a mapping: There is a one-to-one and onto mapping from the monadic world W , T , to the ideal realm :.

This means that there should be instantaneously as many monads as are complete concepts. And further, that there are as many monads as are historical complete concepts. Moreover, the change of a monad within an intervall of length t of its "personal time" should correspond to a succession of length t of its corresponding complete concept.

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So far, no topological assumptions are needed for the definitions above. To define the mapping as continuous, however, topology is indispensable. Continuity in this context means: small changes within the historical complete concept should correspond to small changes of the perceptual history. To make the continuity claims precise, a topological structure, based on trope theoretical concepts has to be imposed on In , too. Since this is not needed in the present article, this topic is not problematized.

The covariation of a monad with its historical complete concept means that God, on the one hand, created monads according to the complete concepts in his mind and, on the other hand, created entities different from them and not in his mind. A fully determined monad, taking into account its whole history and its complete concept , can now be written as:. Wellfounded Phenomena, monadic aggregates and bodies.

So far, two groups of important distinctions have not been addressed explicitely: On behalf of monads, the difference between simple monads , souls and spirits and, concerning ideas, the different sorts of ideas Leibniz speaks of. The monadic world as presented above takes care only of the features common to all monads. Souls have besides perceptions and appetite what Leibniz calls "memory" and a sort of sensitivity. Their intuitive model are higher animals. The highest created monads, as are humans, have besides perception, appetite, "memory" and sensitivity what Leibniz calls apperception , the capacity of reflection.

They may have insight in necessary and eternal truths, abstract concepts, "laws of nature", mathematical, logical and metaphysical concepts and truths. These capacities grant them a community with God Spirits are the primer candidates for having wellfounded or chimerical phenomena.

From now on, concerning phenomena, only spirits are investigated That means, the mind is not a tabula rasa receiving ideas from "outside", ideas are "in the mind" from the start. This does not mean, however, that the mind always reflects on them. Among ideas, there are several sorts: necessary ideas, contingent ideas, necessary and contingent truths.

With a focus to innate ideas, i. For explicating phenomena, sensitive ideas play an important role. Sensitive ideas are the ideas which are the "content" of sensitive states of the respective monad.

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And, being so, they contribute to the identity and determinateness of the monad. They play an ontological role. But, they play a psychological role, too. They can be thought by finite beings, in most cases confusedly. And, for finite beings, they are innate.

As Leibniz puts it, they do not stem "from the senses", but they are thought, when sensual modifications are present or memorized:. Intellectual ideas, in contrast, can be thought without actual sensual modification; they are thought when spirits are thinking about logic, mathematics or metaphysics. Since phenomena are, inter alia , sensual experiences, the next task is to differentiate the role of sensitive ideas and sensual modifications without accompaning reflections and apperceptions.

The part of sensual experience which could be conceived of as purely physiological or physical together with an unreflected "feeling", as could have dogs or horses as well, may be called sensual states. But, since so far there are only monads, perceptions, appetite and coordinated ideas in the Leibnizian world, there cannot be anything else than the respective monad with that part of its complete concept which does not encompass any sort of reflection.

The intuition behind what follows is that a simple apperception apperceptions of apperceptions of apperceptions Generally, these states do not obtain at the same instance as the apperception takes place, for instance apperceptions about mathematical insights or lawful generalizations in physics are not bound to specific sensitive states.

But, phenomena are bound to the monadic, physical and sensitive state the apperceiving monad is in, i. Therefore, if the complete concept of a monad instantaneously encompasses apperception about sensual ideas which are bound to an instantaneous perception, a phenomenon comes up. This phenomenon may be wellfounded or not. What has been informally said is: at each instant the complete concept of a spirit encompasses ideas of space and time, sensitive ideas and the blackbox of apperceptions, which has been written as. For the present purpose, sensitive ideas are of interest.

This can be written as the mapping which coordinates a specific perception of the monad in question to its sensitive ideas and can be called "sensual state" of the monad. For simple monads, this state can be empty. For apperceiving monads, the intellectual answer are sensitive ideas. Usually, sensitve ideas are not apperceived distinctly by finite beings. Only God contemplates them with greatest distinctness. He contemplates them as they are and as they contribute ontologically to the sensitive state of the respective monad. Let S be the set of simple sensual ideas "in God's mind" and let S be a set of subsets of S including sets which give rise, for instance, to the universals contemplated by finite beings , then an apperception of the sensual state the apperceiving monad is in may be written as a partial mapping.

Strictly speaking, the mapping should have the respective instantaneous monad as well as the covariating "ideas of space and time" as source, but since by preestablished harmony covariates with them by , the sensitve ideas are sufficient as source. An apperceived idea is a set of simple ideas in God's mind. The apperception is the partial mapping.


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The elements of the image of the apperception can be conceived of the content of the apperception. They make up what is apperceived. To sum up, a phenomenon is a special sort of apperception. It is an apperception which relates only to instantaneous states of monads which only perceive parts of the monadic world and which has only sensitive ideas as "content". So far, there was no mentioning whether such a phenomenon is wellfounded or not.

The next paragraph focusses on this question. The wellfoundedness of a phenomenon means that the content of the respective phenomenon has something to do with the monadic neighborhood of the respective apperception as well as with the senstive states, specifically the coconstituting sensitive ideas , with which the phenomenon is coordinated. In a first step, concerning the ideas which constitute , wellfoundedness means that the ideas of S which are contemplated include at least some of the constituting sensitive ideas of the complete concept of the instantaneous monad: A phenomenon is ideally wellfounded iff there exists an with.

One must just remember that the sensitive ideas of the complete concept are coordinated with a respective perception by the mapping which expresses the sensual state a monad is in:. Since a perception is always the perception of other monads, the monadic foundation of a wellfounded phenomena are all the monads the perception in question perceives.

Formally: the monadic foundation for an ideally wellfounded phenomenon is. This is obviously a set of monads, or informally, an aggregate of monads. Therefore, a wellfounded phenomenon is a special apperception whose wellfoundedness roots, on the one hand, in the coordination of the constituting sensitve ideas of the apperceiving monad and, on the other hand, in an aggregate of other monads.

But, there cannot be a "monadically wellfounded phenomenon" that is not ideally wellfounded. The solution of the puzzle appears now to be rather simple: Since a body is a phenomenal entity, it is wellfounded , if the apperceived ideas, which are the intelligble content of the phenomenenon, are coordinated with a monadic aggregate which is the monadic foundation of the phenomenon.

This coordination holds, if the sensitve ideas of the respective sensitive state intersect the apperceived sensitive ideas. What are the insights of Leibniz's theory? Leibniz is a systematic thinker. This means, strictly speaking, that accepting one of his more special theories amounts to accepting the whole frame of his metaphysics.

Concerning the present topic, his theory of bodies and of wellfounded phenomena, this means: In a strict sense, one cannot accept his theory of bodies without accepting his theory of ideas in the mind of God, his theory of monads, and his theory of apperception. Since all these theories derive from his theory of God and God's generation of the world, these theories had to be accepted also. To assess the acceptability of these great topics cannot be the issue of a concluding remark, the question "What are the insights of Leibniz's theory?

Only some few aspects will be sketched. Leibniz's terminology certainly is outdated in many respects. His conception of what he calls "ideas" and configuration thereof is a rather simple combinatorial scheme. His talk of monads and perceptions and the metaphors he offers to explain them, like "mirroring", for instance, may cause some problems for modern philosophers. Now, these metaphysical realms and entities are conceived of in a wider understanding. The word "ideas" is taken as a generic word for "intelligible contents", which can be thought of and which have also an ontological status.

The monadic realm as a metaphysical region, what ever it may be otherwise, is understood as being not "ideal" but complementing the ideal realm. With this restrictions, some few insights can be worked out. It should not be inferred that this appetitive tendency to change is entirely mechanistic, entirely governed by efficient causation only.

For in Leibniz's view, value and final causes are not excluded from the action of the mind, the change of mental states. So this principle of human action applies directly, as one would expect, to the two key factors of monadic interior life, only with the role of value, or an end in view, now more clearly in focus. This is why Leibniz says that, at the level of bodies that is, for Leibniz, at the level of well-founded phenomena , all occurs according to the laws of efficient causes; whereas with respect to perceptions and appetites or at least with some of these—interpretations differ here all occurs according to the laws of final causes.

But there is no clash here, given the harmony of the kingdom of nature and the kingdom of grace in Leibniz's system, the harmony of final and efficient causes. To be sure, at an ultimate level, the only actions of substances are changes of perceptions. Thus, at the ultimate level, the appetitions are not so much the tendencies impelling a person towards voluntary motions of the human body although at the level of well-founded phenomena this may indeed be the case but rather tendencies arising out of present perceptions present appearances towards new perceptions.

The last two paragraphs have helped to clarify appetition. It is time to return to perception. Both of them bear considerable weight in Leibniz's metaphysics. Examples, in addition to perception, include a map expressing or representing a geographical region and an algebraic equation representing or expressing a geometric figure, such as a circle or an ellipse. With respect to oneness, Leibniz famously claims a connection with being. Finally, it should be recalled that for Leibniz there are quite distinct levels of perception among created substances.

Some of these will be taken up in more detail in the following section, but the basic point for now is that the three major levels, from the lowest to the highest, are bare perception without special distinctness or memory , sensation with heightened distinctness and memory , and thought with distinctness, memory, and reflection.

Leibniz: Body, Substance, Monad - Oxford Scholarship

These are distinctive of the three levels of monads, respectively, the bare monads, souls, and spirits. Only the last of these may properly be said to have reason. Only the last of these is strictly a mind in the Leibnizian classification. One of the better-known terms of Leibniz's philosophy, and of his philosophy of mind, is apperception. Despite being well known, Leibniz's concept of apperception is not necessarily well understood.

In particular, the place of apperception in the three-fold classifications given just above—of three kinds of perceptions and of simple substances—is not agreed upon, despite the fact that this would seem to be of considerable importance. A common understanding is that for Leibniz apperception is distinctive of spirits, and is not present in even the highest of animals beneath humans.

While there is evidence that Leibniz at least sometimes adopts this position, there is also evidence that he sometimes endorses the view that at least some beasts also apperceive. Since we may assume that at a minimum apperception involves consciousness though not necessarily certain higher forms of consciousness, e. There are at least three specific lines of evidence for apperception in beasts. The first is that Leibniz sometimes uses very similar definitions and examples when talking about the contrast between, on the one hand, apperceptions and petites perceptions perceptions which are not apperceived , and, on the other, sensation and bare perceptions.

This suggests, though it does not demonstrate, that Leibniz is identifying apperception and sensation, not apperception and rational thought. The second line of evidence is that he often appears to take the side of the common man against Descartes' position on beasts, for example, when he says,. II ch. Without trying to proceed further with this issue here, we can see that whichever of these views is ultimately adopted, it remains the case that Leibniz's theory of perception involves something very distinctive in an age dominated by Descartes' theory of ideas, the thesis that there are some perceptions of which we are not conscious, the much-discussed petites perceptions.

Although Leibniz was not the first to propose such an idea Aquinas, for example, had a similar view , and although the view in his hands did not have the explosive quality that it did in the hands of Freud, the thesis remains an intriguing and important part of his philosophy of mind. Indeed, the Preface of the New Essays concerning Human Understanding contains as strong a statement as one is likely to find about the centrality of this view in a particular metaphysical system.

Among other things, Leibniz makes it very clear that it is not just lower simple substances that have such unconscious perceptions but also human minds. Having raised the issue of unconscious perceptions, we should consider also the question of unconscious appetitions. This is infrequently discussed, but the question should not be overlooked. Since appetitions are tendencies or strivings, ones which profoundly influence human actions, it is of distinct human relevance whether or not an individual human is conscious of all of these strivings.

Certainly, some have taken the possibility of urges of which we are not conscious as highly important for the proper understanding of individual humans, and indeed of the human condition generally. There is evidence, notably from the New Essays , that Leibniz did indeed draw a parallel between perceptions and appetitions with respect to consciousness.

Although he did not always explain the distinction between conscious and unconscious appetitions with care and uniformity, it seems clear that he committed himself to appetitions of which we are not conscious, or which we do not apperceive, just as he had committed himself to perceptions which are not apperceived. II, ch. In short, and perhaps oversimplifying to a certain extent, we can say that in the Leibnizian realm of mind there are indeed only perceptions and appetitions, but in these there is a fundamental divide between the realm of consciousness and unconsciousness.


  1. G. W. Leibniz resources.
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  3. Leibniz: Body, Substance, Monad;
  4. In the former, there are apperceptions and desires, the perceptions and appetitions of which we are conscious. In the latter, there are perceptions and appetitions of which we are not conscious. That does not mean, however, that this latter realm is unimportant in our mental lives. Matter and Thought 2. Language and Mind 4. Perception and Appetition 5.

    Matter and Thought For present purposes, we may think of materialism as the view that everything that exists is material, or physical, with this view closely allied to another, namely, that mental states and processes are either identical to, or realized by, physical states and processes. His most famous argument against the possibility of materialism is found in section 17 of the Monadology : One is obliged to admit that perception and what depends upon it is inexplicable on mechanical principles , that is, by figures and motions.

    In imagining that there is a machine whose construction would enable it to think, to sense, and to have perception, one could conceive it enlarged while retaining the same proportions, so that one could enter into it, just like into a windmill. Supposing this, one should, when visiting within it, find only parts pushing one another, and never anything by which to explain a perception. Thus it is in the simple substance, and not in the composite or in the machine, that one must look for perception. The following passages, the first from the New System of Nature , the second from the Reply to Bayle , are revealing in this regard: Furthermore, by means of the soul or form, there is a true unity which corresponds to what is called the I in us; such a thing could not occur in artificial machines, nor in the simple mass of matter, however organized it may be.

    It is summarized in the following passage from a letter to Arnauld of 30 April I believe that where there are only beings through aggregation, there will not even be real beings. For every being through aggregation presupposes beings endowed with a true unity, because it obtains its reality from nowhere but that of its constituents, so that it will have no reality at all if each constituent being is still an entity through aggregation; or else, one must yet seek another basis to its reality, which in this way, if one must constantly go on searching, can never be found…. If there are aggregates of substances, there must also be genuine substances from which all the aggregates result.

    One must therefore necessarily arrive either at mathematical points from which certain authors make up extension, or at Epicurus' and M. Cordemoy's atoms which you, like me, dismiss , or else one must acknowledge that no reality can be found in bodies, or finally one must recognize certain substances in them that possess a true unity.

    Denial of Mind-Body Interaction, Assertion of Pre-established Harmony A central philosophical issue of the seventeenth century concerned the apparent causal relations which hold between the mind and the body. For, not to mention the fact that one cannot explain how something can pass from one thing into the substance of another, we have already shown that from the notion of each and every thing follows all of its future states.

    What we call causes are only concurrent requisites, in metaphysical rigor. At Monadology 7, we read this: There is no way of explaining how a monad can be altered or changed internally by some other creature, since one cannot transpose anything in it, nor can one conceive of any internal motion that can be excited, directed, augmented, or diminished within it, as can be done in composites, where there can be change among the parts.

    The monads have no windows through which something can enter or leave. Accidents cannot be detached, nor can they go about outside of substances, as the sensible species of the Scholastics once did. Thus, neither substance nor accident can enter a monad from without. Language and Mind Some scholars have suggested that Leibniz should be regarded as one of the first thinkers to envision something like the idea of artificial intelligence cf.

    Perception and Appetition What do we find in the human mind? Apperception, Desire and the Unconscious One of the better-known terms of Leibniz's philosophy, and of his philosophy of mind, is apperception. The second line of evidence is that he often appears to take the side of the common man against Descartes' position on beasts, for example, when he says, It will be difficult to rid mankind of this opinion which has been held always and everywhere and which is universal if any opinion deserves that term, namely, that beasts have feelings letter to Arnauld, 9 October Edited by the German Academy of Science.

    Darmstadt and Berlin: Berlin Academy, Cited by series, volume, and page. Edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber. Indianapolis: Hackett, Edited by Louis Couturat. Paris: Felix Alcan, Edited by C. Berlin: Weidman, — Cited by volume and page. Edited by Gaston Grua. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, H Theodicy.

    Edited by Austin Farrer and translated by E. New Haven: Yale UP, L Philosophical Papers and Letters. Edited by Leroy Loemker, 2nd ed. Dordrecht: Reidel, Translated and edited by H.

    Fler böcker av Daniel Garber

    Manchester: Manchester UP, MP Philosophical Writings. Translated and edited by Mary Morris and G. London: Dent, P Leibniz: Logical Papers. Translated and edited by G.