Now where there are no parts, there can be neither extension nor form [figure] nor divisibility. These Monads are the real atoms of nature and, in a word, the elements of things.

Thus the final reason of things must be in a necessary substance, in which the variety of particular changes exists only eminently, as in its source; and this substance we call God.

Now, as in the Ideas of God there is an infinite number of possible universes, and as only one of them can be actual, there must be a sufficient reason for the choice of God, which leads Him to decide upon one rather than another....Thus the actual existence of the best that wisdom makes known to God is due to this, that His goodness makes Him choose it, and His power makes Him produce it.
 

GOTTFRIED LEIBNIZ









 

1. Biographical Information

Gottfried Leibniz was born in Leipzig in 1646, the son of a professor of moral philosophy. In 1661 he began to attend the University of Leipzig as a student of philosophy and law, and in 1667 obtained the degree of Doctor of Law at Altdorf, where he was offered a professorship, which he declined. From 1672 to 1676 he worked as diplomatic representative of Mainz at the Court of Louis XIV in France. In 1675-76, his final years of diplomatic service, he discovered infinitesimal calculus, unaware that Newton had already done so. Returning to Germany, he accepted the position of librarian, archivist, and court councilor to the Duke of Brunswick in 1680; he was commissioned to write a history of the house of Brunswick. He founded learned societies during this time, and exerted much effort in attempting to re-unite Protestant and Catholic faiths. He died at Hanover in 1716.
 

2.  Introduction to Leibniz's Philosophy Based on Monadology

2.1. Introduction

Leibniz wrote many philosophical works, some of which were published and some that remained unpublished. What was published of Leibniz's works during his lifetime or immediately after his death include Theodicy, Discourse on Metaphysics, Monadology and New Essays Concerning Human Understanding. None of these publications, however, gives a complete account Leibniz's philosophy. To appreciate fully Leibniz's philosophical system one needs to take into account all of his many writings, including the fifteen thousand letters and unedited fragments of Leibniz's works discovered as late as 1903 in Hanover. A careful reading of his work Monadology, however, serves as a good introduction to Leibniz's philosophy. Because of its brevity, Monadology tends to be obscure at points, so that it is necessary to provide clarification at times. Methodologically Leibniz is a rationalist, which means that he believes that there are necessary truths of reason from which one can deduce other truths.

2.2. Monads as Simple Substances

1. The Monad, of which we shall here speak, is nothing but a simple substance, which enters into compounds. By 'simple' is meant 'without parts.' (Theod. 10.)

2. And there must be simple substances, since there are compounds; for a compound is nothing but a collection or aggregatum of simple things.

3. Now where there are no parts, there can be neither extension nor form [figure] nor divisibility. These Monads are the real atoms of nature and, in a word, the elements of things.

4. No dissolution of these elements need be feared, and there is no conceivable way in which a simple substance can be destroyed by natural means. (Theod. 89.)

5. For the same reason there is no conceivable way in which a simple substance can come into being by natural means, since it cannot be formed by the combination of parts [composition].

6. Thus it may be said that a Monad can only come into being or come to an end all at once; that is to say, it can come into being only by creation and come to an end only by annihilation, while that which is compound comes into being or comes to an end by parts.

Leibniz reasons that for there to be anything there must be basic units of reality, which he calls monads or simple substances: "And there must be simple substances, since there are compounds" (2). He implicitly appeals to the rationalistic axiom that changing, composite things must have unchanging component parts, or else change is not possible. By substance, Leibniz means an entity, or subject to which predicates may be attributed, which is the usual definition of it. The word monad is a Greek word meaning a single thing (monas); in Greek philosophy it is usually applied to God. For Leibniz, monads are the fundamental existing substances or things, the "building blocks" of everything else; only composite things can be created and destroyed. Leibniz assumes that it is rationally undeniable that things are composed of parts. Monads are simple, which means that they are irreducible, having no component parts; rather all composites things are composed of monads: "These Monads are the real atoms of nature and, in a word, the elements of things" (3). True substances are the monads, not those things composed of monads. Composite things, as aggregates of monads, are substances in a secondary and derivative sense.

    One should not interpret Leibniz's monads as fundamental units of matter as normally understood; rather, these monads have "neither extension nor form [figure] nor divisibility" (3). In other words, monads are unextended in the sense of not existing in space, and, therefore, they have no shape and cannot be divided. For Leibniz, it is a truth of reason that simplicity and extension are logically incompatible, for whatever is extended is also divisible and therefore must be a plurality, being composed of parts that can be separated from one another. Yet all things that are identifiable as material existents are composed of monads, being "the elements of things" (3). Exactly why it is a truth of reason that only a composite thing is extended is not explained.

QUESTION: Do you agree that, if there are compounds, there must be simple substances or monads? Why cannot a thing be infinitely divisible? Since it is unextended, can a monad be part of a composite thing that is extended?

    Since they are simple, monads are indestructible. Destruction is decomposition into component parts, but, since they are simple, the decomposition of monads is impossible: "No dissolution of these elements need be feared, and there is no conceivable way in which a simple substance can be destroyed by natural means."  Likewise, monads cannot come into being, since, something new comes into being as the result of new aggregates of monads; monads are the fundamental units of being, and do not come into existence in the same that new combinations, or aggregates, of monads do: "For the same reason there is no conceivable way in which a simple substance can come into being by natural means, since it cannot be formed by the combination of parts [composition]." That which is composed of monads can neither create nor destroy that of which it is composed; only a Being that is ontologically prior to the monads can create or destroy them, which is why Leibniz writes, "Thus it may be said that a Monad can only come into being or come to an end all at once; that is to say, it can come into being only by creation and come to an end only by annihilation, while that which is compound comes into being or comes to an end by parts."
 

2.2. Monads as Diverse and Changing
 

7. Further, there is no way of explaining how a Monad can be altered in quality or internally changed by any other created thing; since it is impossible to change the place of anything in it or to conceive in it any internal motion which could be produced, directed, increased or diminished therein, although all this is possible in the case of compounds, in which there are changes among the parts. The Monads have no windows, through which anything could come in or go out. Accidents cannot separate themselves from substances nor go about outside of them, as the 'sensible species' of the Scholastics used to do. Thus neither substance nor accident can come into a Monad from outside.

8. Yet the Monads must have some qualities, otherwise they would not even be existing things. And if simple substances did not differ in quality, there would be absolutely no means of perceiving any change in things. For what is in the compound can come only from the simple elements it contains, and the Monads, if they had no qualities, would be indistinguishable from one another, since they do not differ in quantity. Consequently, space being a plenum, each part of space would always receive, in any motion, exactly the equivalent of what it already had, and no one state of things would be discernible from another.

9. Indeed, each Monad must be different from every other. For in nature there are never two beings which are perfectly alike and in which it is not possible to find an internal difference, or at least a difference founded upon an intrinsic quality [denomination].

10. I assume also as admitted that every created being, and consequently the created Monad, is subject to change, and further that this change is continuous in each.

11. It follows from what has just been said, that the natural changes of the Monads come from an internal principle, since an external cause can have no influence upon their inner being. (Theod. 396, 400.)

12. But, besides the principle of the change, there must be a particular series of changes [un detail de ce qui change], which constitutes, so to speak, the specific nature and variety of the simple substances.

13. This particular series of changes should involve a multiplicity in the unit [unite] or in that which is simple. For, as every natural change takes place gradually, something changes and something remains unchanged; and consequently a simple substance must be affected and related in many ways, although it has no parts.

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16. We have in ourselves experience of a multiplicity in simple substance, when we find that the least thought of which we are conscious involves variety in its object. Thus all those who admit that the soul is a simple substance should admit this multiplicity in the Monad; and M. Bayle ought not to have found any difficulty in this, as he has done in his Dictionary, article 'Rorarius.'

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22. And as every present state of a simple substance is naturally a consequence of its preceding state, in such a way that its present is pregnant with its future; (Theod. 350.)

As existing things, monads must have qualities, since to exist is to be something that is described in terms of qualities (8). Leibniz reasons that it is necessary that the differences that one observes among phenomenal things, those things that are compounds of monads, requires that monads differ in their qualities one from another: "And if simple substances did not differ in quality, there would be absolutely no means of perceiving any change in things" (8). Otherwise, if everything were alike, there would be no way of ever perceiving change. He is appealing to the rationalistic principle that something cannot come from nothing, or sufficient causation. In fact, since, according to Leibniz, no two things are alike, it follows that no two monads are alike; if some monads were alike, then one would find identical compounds of monads, but this does not happen. He writes, "Indeed, each Monad must be different from every other. For in nature there are never two beings which are perfectly alike and in which it is not possible to find an internal difference" (9). (Leibniz coins the phrase "identity of indiscernibles" to express the truth that two things cannot be two substances indiscernible from each other, for otherwise they would be indistinguishable from each other.) In addition, Leibniz reasons that monads change because that which is composed of monads changes continuously: "I assume also as admitted that every created being, and consequently the created Monad, is subject to change, and further that this change is continuous in each." (10). Change in composite things requires change in the simple monads. Leibniz's conclusions implicitly appeal to the axiom of sufficient causation: that a cause must be commensurate with its effect.

Monads differ from one another in the totality of their predicates, but their predicates, it seems, are their relations to other monads. Since they are simple and unextended, a monad cannot differ from another with respect to what it is in itself, since this implies a differentiation between the monad and its properties, which would be its parts. Rather, their differences are their relations to other monads: the relations are a monad's qualities, which are not internal but external. (As already stated, however, since monads are unextended, a quality that a monad cannot have, unlike composite things, is form or figure, since only something existing as extended can have a shape.) Rather, it differs from another with respect to the totality of its relations to other monads. Moreover, they change according to an "internal principle," which means that the cause of their change is from within as opposed to being caused from without by other monads or compounds of monads. Leibniz holds that there are no true cause and effect relations between monads (and their compounds); rather, a monad changes in relation to other monads according to its own concept or nature. A monad's relational predicates are internal predicates of some perfect (in the sense of complete or all-inclusive) concept, so that the perfect concept of a monad includes all of its "relations" at every time of its existence to every other monad in the universe. 

    As a simple substance, a monad is self-sufficient. Having all these properties within itself, there is no need for a monad to be causally related to other monads. Even without the alleged influence of other monads, a monad will still change relationally as if it is being so influenced. This is consistent with Leibniz's view of truth. For him, a true proposition is one in which the predicate is contained in the concept of the subject. But by a true proposition, Leibniz means more than what is normally called an analytical proposition or tautology, because he holds that every subject, or every monad, which is the fundamental subject or substance, is distinguishable from other monads and so definable by all of its predicates. Whatever can be predicated of a monad, its changing relations with other monads, is part of the perfect concept of that subject. (The same applies to compounds of monads, taken to be subjects; see Discourse on Metaphysics 13: "It is the nature of such a perfect concept of a substance to involve everything." In Leibniz's view, a substance is defined as a subject in which all of the predicates that it will ever have are contained; these predicates would be knowable to an infinite mind, God's mind.) Expressed differently, the change of a monad is self-caused or teleological, according to a goal inherent in the monad. Leibniz draws an analogy from ordinary experience to demonstrate the possibility of multiplicity in a simple substance; the human mind, being simple in the sense of being a unity, can have as its object that which is more than one: "We have in ourselves experience of a multiplicity in simple substance, when we find that the least thought of which we are conscious involves variety in its object" (16). The simple mind is defined by its predicates (what it is thinking about) in the same that a monad is defined by the totality of its predicates, or history of its relations with other monads.

    As indicated, when it changes, a monad changes relationally. As a simple substance, a monad cannot change in the same way that compounds of monads change, i.e., by changing the quantity and configuration of its component parts. Rather, monads change the relations that they to other monads to form the compound things of which they are a part. A monad in its present state with respect to its relations is a consequence of its previous states, and at the same time has potentiality to enter into future because of its present state: "And as every present state of a simple substance is naturally a consequence of its preceding state, in such a way that its present is pregnant with its future" (22). A monad is also "pregnant" with the future just as much as it is "laden" with the past. The complete past and future relational history of monad is the perfect concept of the monad, its nature. What defines the nature of each monad, its perfect concept, is its history and future history of its relations with other monads, which is what Leibniz means when he writes, "But, besides the principle of the change, there must be a particular series of changes, which constitutes, so to speak, the specific nature and variety of the simple substances" (12). At the beginning of time, therefore, each monad differed from the others, not in its shape, size, weight etc., which are qualities of extension, but in its potentiality to enter into relation with other monads.  

QUESTION: Can one explain the diversity of things and their changes by recourse to the theory of monads? How can monads as simple and unextended be different from one another by means of their relations to other monads?
 

2.3. Monads as without "Windows" and as Entelechies

7. Further, there is no way of explaining how a Monad can be altered in quality or internally changed by any other created thing; since it is impossible to change the place of anything in it or to conceive in it any internal motion which could be produced, directed, increased or diminished therein, although all this is possible in the case of compounds, in which there are changes among the parts. The Monads have no windows, through which anything could come in or go out. Accidents cannot separate themselves from substances nor go about outside of them, as the 'sensible species' of the Scholastics used to do. Thus neither substance nor accident can come into a Monad from outside.

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18. All simple substances or created Monads might be called Entelechies, for they have in them a certain perfection (echousi to enteles); they have a certain self-sufficiency (autarkeia) which makes them the sources of their internal activities and, so to speak, incorporeal automata. (Theod. 87.)

Individual monads cannot be causally influenced by other monads. Since it is simple, a monad could not be changed internally by another monad or composite: "There is no way of explaining how a Monad can be altered in quality or internally changed by any other created thing; since it is impossible to change the place of anything in it or to conceive in it any internal motion which could be produced, directed, increased or diminished therein" (7). Causal influence on a monad would require distinguishing it from its internal qualities that undergo change, which is a contradiction, since a monad is simple and has no parts. Leibniz expresses the fact that a monad cannot be causally influenced by saying metaphorically that, "Monads have no windows, through which anything could come in or go out." He means that monads are such that they are closed off from the influences of other monads, so that a monad cannot be changed either substantially or accidentally by causal agents from without. It can neither cause nor be caused to be what it is or what it becomes. If one takes the metaphor of being without a window seriously, it seems that Leibniz believes that causal interaction between two beings requires the transposition of the parts of a substance into another. Another term used by Leibniz for monads is "entelechies," so chosen because all simple substances have within themselves a certain perfection (enteles) or goal towards which they move as they change, which makes them the cause of their own change. (The term entelechy is Aristotelian, and refers to a thing fully realized in act.) This gives a monad a self-sufficiency, in the sense that it is not dependent on another monad to reach its goal or perfection. Monads are automata in the sense that they change automatically without requiring an external influence.

2.4. Perception and the Impossibility of Reductionism

14. The passing condition, which involves and represents a multiplicity in the unit [unite] or in the simple substance, is nothing but what is called Perception, which is to be distinguished from Apperception or Consciousness, as will afterwards appear. In this matter the Cartesian view is extremely defective, for it treats as non-existent those perceptions of which we are not consciously aware. This has also led them to believe that minds [esprits] alone are Monads, and that there are no souls of animals nor other Entelechies. Thus, like the crowd, they have failed to distinguish between a prolonged unconsciousness and absolute death, which has made them fall again into the Scholastic prejudice of souls entirely separate [from bodies], and has even confirmed ill-balanced minds in the opinion that souls are mortal.

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17. Moreover, it must be confessed that perception and that which depends upon it are inexplicable on mechanical grounds, that is to say, by means of figures and motions. And supposing there were a machine, so constructed as to think, feel, and have perception, it might be conceived as increased in size, while keeping the same proportions, so that one might go into it as into a mill. That being so, we should, on examining its interior, find only parts which work one upon another, and never anything by which to explain a perception. Thus it is in a simple substance, and not in a compound or in a machine, that perception must be sought for. Further, nothing but this (namely, perceptions and their changes) can be found in a simple substance. It is also in this alone that all the internal activities of simple substances can consist. (Theod. Pref. [E. 474; G. vi. 37].)

Leibniz asserts that a monad is aware of its changing relations with other monads, its multiplicity, and this awareness he calls perception. This is what he means by the difficult phrase"the passing condition, which involves and represents a multiplicity in the unit or in the simple substance," which defines perception. The passing condition is the change of a monad's relations with other monads; this history of its multiciplicty is represented to the monad. In other words, all monads in all things have perception, or are aware of their changing relations with other monads to some degree. Perception, however, is not self-awareness ("apperception") or consciousness as normally defined as a human property. Rather it is lower level of awareness. Not all monads are self-aware although all have perception defined in this way. This leads Leibniz to take exception to Descartes view that only minds (unextended or intellectual substances) have "perception," which, in Leibniz's terms, means that only they would be monads, whereas material substances are purely inert. Even animals, according to Descartes, are machines, without a "soul," by which it may have perception.

    Leibniz rejects the idea that perception can be caused mechanistically, by which is meant that perception could arise out of that which does not perceive, such as the sense organs operating in conjunction with the brain. Rather composite things are capable of perception because monads, their component parts, already perceive: "Thus it is in a simple substance, and not in a compound or in a machine, that perception must be sought for." (17). For this reason he opposes the reductionistic explanation of perception as being caused by that which does not perceive. Reductionism violates the rationalistic axiom that something cannot come from nothing, or sufficient causation. He adds that monads consist of changes and their perceptions of their changing relations to other monads: "Further, nothing but this (namely, perceptions and their changes) can be found in a simple substance. It is also in this alone that all the internal activities of simple substances can consist" (17). One monad is what it is because of the history of its relations with other monads (and its future relations); these changes are perceived by the monad.

    The impossibility of reductionism is the reason that Leibniz concludes that monads have perception. Even considering the possibility of perception as an emergent property, one would still violate the principle of sufficient reason by explaining perception as resulting from a non-perceptive cause. Implicitly, he accepts as a necessary truth that a thing cannot derive from its opposite, in this case, the perceiving from cannot derive from the non-perceiving (ex nihilo nihil fit). Given this necessary truth, it follows that the fundamental units of reality, monads, must have perception, for otherwise compounds of monads could not have perception, but they do. 

QUESTION:  Does it make sense to speak of monads as perceiving? Is this conclusion justifiably based on the rationalistic principle that something cannot come from nothing or sufficient causation?
 

2.5. Appetition and Souls

15. The activity of the internal principle which produces change or passage from one perception to another may be called Appetition. It is true that desire [l'appetit] cannot always fully attain to the whole perception at which it aims, but it always obtains some of it and attains to new perceptions.

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19. If we are to give the name of soul to everything which has perceptions and desires [appetits] in the general sense which I have explained, then all simple substances or created Monads might be called souls; but as feeling [le sentiment] is something more than a bare perception, I think it right that the general name of Monads or Entelechies should suffice for simple substances which have perception only, and that the name of Souls should be given only to those in which perception is more distinct, and is accompanied by memory.

20. For we experience in ourselves a condition in which we remember nothing and have no distinguishable perception; as when we fall into a swoon or when we are overcome with a profound dreamless sleep. In this state the soul does not perceptibly differ from a bare Monad; but as this state is not lasting, and the soul comes out of it, the soul is something more than a bare Monad. (Theod. 64.)

21. And it does not follow that in this state the simple substance is without any perception. That, indeed, cannot be, for the reasons already given; for it cannot perish, and it cannot continue to exist without being affected in some way, and this affection is nothing but its perception. But when there is a great multitude of little perceptions, in which there is nothing distinct, one is stunned; as when one turns continuously round in the same way several times in succession, whence comes a giddiness which may make us swoon, and which keeps us from distinguishing anything. Death can for a time put animals into this condition.

Somewhat obscurely, Leibniz calls "appetition" the internal principle or cause by which the perception of a monad changes insofar as it changes in relation to other monads: "The activity of the internal principle which produces change or passage from one perception to another may be called Appetition" (15). A monad "desires" and so changes itself, which produces a new perception, or new awareness of its relations to other monads. For Leibniz, change is a passage from one perception to another because of a change of relation. A monad, however, only changes one part at a time of the totality of its relations to every other other monad, which is its nature or perfect concept. For this reason, he explains, "Desire cannot always fully attain to the whole perception at which it aims, but it always obtains some of it and attains to new perceptions" (15). But a monad cannot be said to be caused to perceive by the new object of perception, for then a monad would not be an entelechy, as explained above; this means that a monad must cause its own perceptions to change as it itself changes its relations with other monads. (Now what is true of monads is also true of compounds of monads.)

    Since monads have perception, Leibniz states that it is appropriate to call them "souls"; he decides, however, to only calls "souls" those monads that have both perception and memory. This means that monads differ from one another in another respect: their capacity for perception. Although they are simple and unextended and therefore do not differ from one another except in their relations, monads do differ in their capacity for perception. Some monads are what human beings normally call souls, whereas other are the component parts of material things, even though they have perception.

2.6. Degrees of Perception

20. For we experience in ourselves a condition in which we remember nothing and have no distinguishable perception; as when we fall into a swoon or when we are overcome with a profound dreamless sleep. In this state the soul does not perceptibly differ from a bare Monad; but as this state is not lasting, and the soul comes out of it, the soul is something more than a bare Monad. (Theod. 64.)

21. And it does not follow that in this state the simple substance is without any perception. That, indeed, cannot be, for the reasons already given; for it cannot perish, and it cannot continue to exist without being affected in some way, and this affection is nothing but its perception. But when there is a great multitude of little perceptions, in which there is nothing distinct, one is stunned; as when one turns continuously round in the same way several times in succession, whence comes a giddiness which may make us swoon, and which keeps us from distinguishing anything. Death can for a time put animals into this condition.

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23. And as, on waking from stupor, we are conscious of our perceptions, we must have had perceptions immediately before we awoke, although we were not at all conscious of them; for one perception can in a natural way come only from another perception, as a motion can in a natural way come only from a motion. (Theod. 401-403.)

24. It thus appears that if we had in our perceptions nothing marked and, so to speak, striking and highly-flavored, we should always be in a state of stupor. And this is the state in which the bare Monads are.

25. We see also that nature has given heightened perceptions to animals, from the care she has taken to provide them with organs, which collect numerous rays of light, or numerous undulations of the air, in order, by uniting them, to make them have greater effect. Something similar to this takes place in smell, in taste and in touch, and perhaps in a number of other senses, which are unknown to us. And I will explain presently how that which takes place in the soul represents what happens in the bodily organs.

26. Memory provides the soul with a kind of consecutiveness, which resembles [imite] reason, but which is to be distinguished from it. Thus we see that when animals have a perception of something which strikes them and of which they have formerly had a similar perception, they are led, by means of representation in their memory, to expect what was combined with the thing in this previous perception, and they come to have feelings similar to those they had on the former occasion. For instance, when a stick is shown to dogs, they remember the pain it has caused them, and howl and run away. (Theod. Discours de la Conformite, &c., ss. 65.)

27. And the strength of the mental image which impresses and moves them comes either from the magnitude or the number of the preceding perceptions. For often a strong impression produces all at once the same effect as a long-formed habit, or as many and oft-repeated ordinary perceptions.

28. In so far as the concatenation of their perceptions is due to the principle of memory alone, men act like the lower animals, resembling the empirical physicians, whose methods are those of mere practice without theory. Indeed, in three-fourths of our actions we are nothing but empirics. For instance, when we expect that there will be daylight to-morrow, we do so empirically, because it has always so happened until now. It is only the astronomer who thinks it on rational grounds.

Monads differ from one another in degree of perception and appetition. Leibniz distinguishes the soul from what he calls "a bare monad," insofar as the latter has perceptions without consciousness: "It thus appears that if we had in our perceptions nothing marked and, so to speak, striking and highly-flavored, we should always be in a state of stupor. And this is the state in which the bare Monads are." (24). Memory provides monads with the possibility of connecting several perceptions together, which, Leibniz says, resembles reason; in fact it is a kind if inductive reasoning (arguing from particulars to the general) that even animals have (26). Those compound things that lack consciousness are composed of these "bare monads." By contrast, it seems that what human beings normally call souls are monads with consciousness. The difference between the two extremes in the monad perception continuum is, however, quantitative (degree) and not qualitative (kind).

2.7. Two Types of Truth

29. But it is the knowledge of necessary and eternal truths that distinguishes us from the mere animals and gives us Reason and the sciences, raising us to the knowledge of ourselves and of God. And it is this in us that is called the rational soul or mind [esprit].

30. It is also through the knowledge of necessary truths, and through their abstract expression, that we rise to acts of reflexion, which make us think of what is called I, and observe that this or that is within us: and thus, thinking of ourselves, we think of being, of substance, of the simple and the compound, of the immaterial, and of God Himself, conceiving that what is limited in us is in Him without limits. And these acts of reflexion furnish the chief objects of our reasonings. (Theod. Pref. [E. 469; G. vi. 27].)

31. Our reasonings are grounded upon two great principles, that of contradiction, in virtue of which we judge false that which involves a contradiction, and true that which is opposed or contradictory to the false; (Theod. 44, 169.)

32. And that of sufficient reason, in virtue of which we hold that there can be no fact real or existing, no statement true, unless there be a sufficient reason, why it should be so and not otherwise, although these reasons usually cannot be known by us. (Theod. 44, 196.)

33. There are also two kinds of truths, those of reasoning and those of fact. Truths of reasoning are necessary and their opposite is impossible: truths of fact are contingent and their opposite is possible. When a truth is necessary, its reason can be found by analysis, resolving it into more simple ideas and truths, until we come to those which are primary. (Theod. 170, 174, 189, 280-282, 367. Abrege, Object. 3.)

34. It is thus that in Mathematics speculative Theorems and practical Canons are reduced by analysis to Definitions, Axioms and Postulates.

35. In short, there are simple ideas, of which no definition can be given; there are also axioms and postulates, in a word, primary principles, which cannot be proved, and indeed have no need of proof; and these are identical propositions, whose opposite involves an express contradiction. (Theod. 36, 37, 44, 45, 49, 52, 121-122, 337, 340-344.)

36. But there must also be a sufficient reason for contingent truths or truths of fact, that is to say, for the sequence or connection of the things which are dispersed throughout the universe of created beings, in which the analyzing into particular reasons might go on into endless detail, because of the immense variety of things in nature and the infinite division of bodies. There is an infinity of present and past forms and motions which go to make up the efficient cause of my present writing; and there is an infinity of minute tendencies and dispositions of my soul, which go to make its final cause.

Leibniz holds that human beings differ from animals with memory (and who can "reason" inductively thereby) by the fact that the former have "the knowledge of necessary and eternal truths," which gives them "Reason." He means that human beings alone can reason deductively, beginning with necessary propositions and deducing other necessary truths from them. The ability to know necessary truths presupposes the capacity for abstraction (since necessary truths are abstract truths; this capacity for abstraction leads to being able to distinguish the "I" from its predicates, and this then leads to the abstract notions "of being, of substance, of the simple and the compound, of the immaterial, and of God Himself, conceiving that what is limited in us is in Him without limits" (30). This is because the "I" is an immaterial subject or substance that, as a soul, is simple, but which is compound in its predicates; the notion of God derives from the negation of the finitude of the "I" as a simple substance.

    All reasoning is based on two principles: "that of contradiction" (31) and "that of sufficient reason" (32). In other words, all reasoning is based on the principle that something cannot be true and false at the same time in the same manner, so that whatever is not false is true, and the principle "that there can be no fact real or existing, no statement true, unless there be a sufficient reason, why it should be so and not otherwise, although these reasons usually cannot be known by us." (32). There are also two types of truth "those of reasoning and those of fact." The second principle simply affirms that there must a adequate cause for whatever is. A truth of reasoning is a necessary truth or a proposition the denial of which is impossible; its consists of "simple ideas, of which no definition can be given" and has the nature of an axiom, a self-evidently true proposition: "in a word, primary principles, which cannot be proved, and indeed have no need of proof; and these are identical propositions, whose opposite involves an express contradiction" (35). A contingent truth is a truth of fact, meaning that its opposite is not contradictory. But the principle of sufficient reason always applies to contingent truths, so that every "fact" must be fully explained in terms of its antecedent causation. In other words, for every predicate that is true of a subject, there will be a set of other true predicates that together constitute a sufficient reason for its being true. This seems to imply that each predicate of a subject is necessarily true, since it has sufficient reason for being true. But its necessity is not of the same type as a truth of reasoning.

QUESTION:  Do you agree with Leibniz that there are two types of truth? Do you agree with the two principles: "that of contradiction" and "that of sufficient reason"?


2.8. Arguments for the Existence of God

37. And as all this detail again involves other prior or more detailed contingent things, each of which still needs a similar analysis to yield its reason, we are no further forward: and the sufficient or final reason must be outside of the sequence or series of particular contingent things, however infinite this series may be.

38. Thus the final reason of things must be in a necessary substance, in which the variety of particular changes exists only eminently, as in its source; and this substance we call God. (Theod. 7.)

39. Now as this substance is a sufficient reason of all this variety of particulars, which are also connected together throughout; there is only one God, and this God is sufficient.

40. We may also hold that this supreme substance, which is unique, universal and necessary, nothing outside of it being independent of it,- this substance, which is a pure sequence of possible being, must be illimitable and must contain as much reality as is possible.

41. Whence it follows that God is absolutely perfect; for perfection is nothing but the amount of positive reality, in the strict sense, leaving out of account the limits or bounds in things which are limited. And where there are no bounds, that is to say in God, perfection is absolutely infinite. (Theod. 22, Pref. [E. 469 a; G. vi. 27].)

42. It follows also that created beings derive their perfections from the influence of God, but that their imperfections come from their own nature, which is incapable of being without limits. For it is in this that they differ from God. An instance of this original imperfection of created beings may be seen in the natural inertia of bodies. (Theod. 20, 27-30, 153, 167, 377 sqq.)

43. It is further true that in God there is not only the source of existences but also that of essences, in so far as they are real, that is to say, the source of what is real in the possible. For the understanding of God is the region of eternal truths or of the ideas on which they depend, and without Him there would be nothing real in the possibilities of things, and not only would there be nothing in existence, but nothing would even be possible. (Theod. 20.)

44. For if there is a reality in essences or possibilities, or rather in eternal truths, this reality must needs be founded in something existing and actual, and consequently in the existence of the necessary Being, in whom essence involves existence, or in whom to be possible is to be actual. (Theod. 184-189, 335.)

45. Thus God alone (or the necessary Being) has this prerogative that He must necessarily exist, if He is possible. And as nothing can interfere with the possibility of that which involves no limits, no negation and consequently no contradiction, this [His possibility] is sufficient of itself to make known the existence of God a priori. We have thus proved it, through the reality of eternal truths. But a little while ago we proved it also a posteriori, since there exist contingent beings, which can have their final or sufficient reason only in the necessary Being, which has the reason of its existence in itself.

Leibniz argues for the existence of God from the necessity of a first term in the sequence of sufficient causes, which he calls an a posteriori argument: "The sufficient or final reason must be outside of the sequence or series of particular contingent things" (37). His point is that, however vast the totality of the sequences of contingent things is, the ultimate cause of this sequence must be outside of it, and not a part of that sequence. The universe, or the total aggregate of monads and their compounds in all time is contingent, meaning that it is not necessary but could be other than it is. As contingent, all things that constitute the universe do not explain themselves, because they did not cause themselves. For this reason, there must be something outside the totality of contingent things that explains them by causing them. Leibniz's position does not necessarily presuppose that the universe had a beginning, because even an eternal universe would still be contingent and therefore require an explanation. Leibniz further concludes that "the final reason of things" or the first cause must be necessary, presumably because it is by definition not contingent. That is to say, only the necessary can be the ultimate cause of the contingent, since a contingent cause would itself need a cause. Insofar as God is the first cause, God is all change, or one could say that "the series of particular contingent things" exist eminently in God, meaning that they are caused by God. But God is different from them as effects, being their cause. In other words, God is nothing like the effects that he produces as their cause and cannot be identified with the effects. Leibniz also concludes that, since only one God is necessary as the first cause, then there is only one God: "Now as this substance is a sufficient reason of all this variety of particulars, which are also connected together throughout; there is only one God, and this God is sufficient." (39). In addition, since all particular, contingent things are interconnected and so exist as a unity there could only be one sufficient cause, not more than one.

    Leibniz says that God is a substance that is "a pure sequence of possible being" and that "must be illimitable and must contain as much reality as is possible" (40). What he means is that God is the necessary substance that makes all contingent substances possible. To say that God is the sequence of possible being is to say that all causal sequences depend on God for their existence. God must also be illimitable, by which is meant that God cannot have limits, presumably because nothing can be or even be conceived as independent of God. For God to be the cause of all reality, to use a metaphor, all possible reality is contained in God, so that all things are dependent on God. This leads Lebniz to say that God is perfect, defined as containing the total amount of "positive reality"; to be perfect in fact is to be without limits or infinite, since God as containing the total amount of "positive reality" is by definition without limits. By contrast, all created or contingent beings are perfect within limits, which is to say that they are also imperfect because they are not all "positive reality": they are what they are determined to be by God, but they are not everything, as God is everything in the sense of being the source and container of all possible being (42).

    Leibniz also proposes an a priori argument for the existence of God. God is said to be both the source of existences and essences or eternal truths: whatever is and whatever can be originates with God. By essence or eternal truth he means those basic ontological components of all reality, something like Plato's Ideas, without which there could not be particular substances, or composites formed from monads. He says that the possible cannot exist except as dependent upon the actual: "For if there is a reality in essences or possibilities, or rather in eternal truths, this reality must needs be founded in something existing and actual, and consequently in the existence of the necessary Being, in whom essence involves existence, or in whom to be possible is to be actual" (44). Leibniz defines God as necessary, which means that God is a being whose mere possibility implies his actual existence. What he means is that if the existence of God is possible in the sense of not being logically contradictory, then God exists necessarily, because the idea of God is that of a necessary Being. God's existence is possible, since, by definition, "Nothing can interfere with the possibility of that which involves no limits, no negation and consequently no contradiction, this [His possibility] is sufficient of itself to make known the existence of God a priori" (45).

QUESTION:  Has Leibniz proved the existence of God?  Do you agree with Leibniz's definition of God as a substance or monad?
 

2.9. The Nature of God

46. We must not, however, imagine, as some do, that eternal truths, being dependent on God, are arbitrary and depend on His will, as Descartes, and afterwards M. Poiret, appear to have held. That is true only of contingent truths, of which the principle is fitness [convenance] or choice of the best, whereas necessary truths depend solely on His understanding and are its inner object. (Theod. 180-184, 185, 335, 351, 380.)

47. Thus God alone is the primary unity or original simple substance, of which all created or derivative Monads are products and have their birth, so to speak, through continual fulgurations of the Divinity from moment to moment, limited by the receptivity of the created being, of whose essence it is to have limits. (Theod. 382-391, 398, 395.)

48. In God there is Power, which is the source of all, also Knowledge, whose content is the variety of the ideas, and finally Will, which makes changes or products according to the principle of the best. (Theod. 7, 149, 150.) These characteristics correspond to what in the created Monads forms the ground or basis, to the faculty of Perception and to the faculty of Appetition. But in God these attributes are absolutely infinite or perfect; and in the created Monads or the Entelechies (or perfectihabiae, as Hermolaus Barbarus translated the word) there are only imitations of these attributes, according to the degree of perfection of the Monad. (Theod. 87.)

Leibniz rejects the notion that eternal truths, by which he means necessary truths, are arbitrarily created by God; rather, "necessary truths depend solely on his understanding and are its inner object" (46). What he means is that the eternal truths recognized as such by human beings are the necessary objects of the mind of God. He adds that God is the original simple substance, whereas derivative or created monads come into existence through God's "fulgurations," i.e., God's emissions of light, insofar as God is the all-inclusive potentiality containing all "positive reality" (see 41). The image is that of a substance, whom Leibniz calls "the primary unity,"that projects its potentiality outward, thereby bringing into existence finite or imperfect monads. The derivative monads, being finite, are only partial actualizations of this total potentiality.

    Leibniz identifies three "attributes" of God: power, knowledge and will. The three attributes of God correspond in derivative monads to "the ground or basis, to the faculty of Perception and to the faculty of Appetition," which are manifested in varying degrees according to the perfection of the monad. In other words, the power of God is the reason that a monad exists. A monad's perception corresponds to God's knowledge and a monad's appetition, or its awareness of its changes from one perception to another, is a type of volotional activity, corresponding to the will of God. He also says that God creates according to the principle of the best, which implies that the whole in all its diversity is not arbitrary, but as perfect as possible.

2.10. Monads as Active and Passive

49. A created thing is said to act outwardly in so far as it has perfection, and to suffer [or be passive, patir] in relation to another, in so far as it is imperfect. Thus activity [action] is attributed to a Monad, in so far as it has distinct perceptions, and passivity [passion] in so far as its perceptions are confused. (Theod. 32, 66, 386.)

50. And one created thing is more perfect than another, in this, that there is found in the more perfect that which serves to explain a priori what takes place in the less perfect, and it is on this account that the former is said to act upon the latter.

51. But in simple substances the influence of one Monad upon another is only ideal, and it can have its effect only through the mediation of God, in so far as in the ideas of God any Monad rightly claims that God, in regulating the others from the beginning of things, should have regard to it. For since one created Monad cannot have any physical influence upon the inner being of another, it is only by this means that the one can be dependent upon the other. (Theod. 9, 54, 65, 66, 201. Abrege, Object. 3.)

52. Accordingly, among created things, activities and passivities are mutual. For God, comparing two simple substances, finds in each reasons which oblige Him to adapt the other to it, and consequently what is active in certain respects is passive from another point of view; active in so far as what we distinctly know in it serves to explain [rendre raison de] what takes place in another, and passive in so far as the explanation [raison] of what takes place in it is to be found in that which is distinctly known in another. (Theod. 66.)

Leibniz distinguishes between a monad as active and as passive. Although his manner of expression tends to be obscure, he seems to mean that, insofar as it changes according to an internal principle, which is reflected clearly in its perception of itself in relation to other monads, a monad can be said to be active and perfect. But a monad can be said to be passive insofar as its perceptions are confused, by which Leibniz seems to mean that it is not self-caused and therefore not an entelechy; rather it is acted upon, in a sense, by that which is self-caused, another monad. Its perceptions would be clear if they were correlated with the realization its own potentiality, as self-directed. Yet, Leibniz makes it clear that monads do not really act upon another as efficient causes, but merely appear to, according to the design of God; this is what he means when he says that the influence of one monad on another is "ideal," as opposed to existing in reality: "But in simple substances the influence of one Monad upon another is only ideal, and it can have its effect only through the mediation of God, in so far as in the ideas of God any Monad rightly claims that God, in regulating the others from the beginning of things, should have regard to it" (51). One created monad is more perfect than another, insofar as it is "that which serves to explain a priori what takes place in the less perfect, and it is on this account that the former is said to act upon the latter." (50) When one monad appears to act upon another monad, the true relationship between these is one of logical priority: that monad is prior by which the other is explained. Monads exist is a hierarchy of relationship of logical priority and posteriority (52).
 

2.11. The Universe as the Best Possible

53. Now, as in the Ideas of God there is an infinite number of possible universes, and as only one of them can be actual, there must be a sufficient reason for the choice of God, which leads Him to decide upon one rather than another. (Theod. 8, 10, 44, 173, 196 sqq., 225, 414-416.)

54. And this reason can be found only in the fitness [convenance], or in the degrees of perfection, that these worlds possess, since each possible thing has the right to aspire to existence in proportion to the amount of perfection it contains in germ. (Theod. 74, 167, 350, 201, 130, 352, 345 sqq., 354.)

55. Thus the actual existence of the best that wisdom makes known to God is due to this, that His goodness makes Him choose it, and His power makes Him produce it. (Theod. 8, 78, 80, 84, 119, 204, 206, 208. Abrege, Object. 1 and 8.)

Leibniz asserts that the eternal truths or "the Ideas of God" give rise to numberless (i.e. infinite) possible contingent universes; but only one universe can be actual, and in accordance with the principle of sufficient reason this one actual universe must have a  reason to be. That reason is that the one actual universe has the highest degree of perfection; each monad and compounds of monads rightly seeks to become what it is potentiality, which is "to aspire to existence in proportion to the amount of perfection it contains in germ" (54). Of all the possible universes that could exist, this one is the most perfect that it could be, given its inherent limitations. God creates a universe that is the most perfect, for this is an expression of the infinity of God as an infinite being. Leibniz concludes, "Thus the actual existence of the best that wisdom makes known to God is due to this, that His goodness makes Him choose it, and His power makes Him produce it." (55)

QUESTION:  Is it a "truth of reason" that the universe must be the best possible?
 

2.12. Monad as Mirror of the Universe

56. Now this connection or adaptation of all created things to each and of each to all, means that each simple substance has relations which express all the others, and, consequently, that it is a perpetual living mirror of the universe. (Theod. 130, 360.)

57. And as the same town, looked at from various sides, appears quite different and becomes as it were numerous in aspects [perspectivement]; even so, as a result of the infinite number of simple substances, it is as if there were so many different universes, which, nevertheless are nothing but aspects [perspectives] of a single universe, according to the special point of view of each Monad. (Theod. 147.)

58. And by this means there is obtained as great variety as possible, along with the greatest possible order; that is to say, it is the way to get as much perfection as possible. (Theod. 120, 124, 241 sqq., 214, 243, 275.)

59. Besides, no hypothesis but this (which I venture to call proved) fittingly exalts the greatness of God; and this Monsieur Bayle recognized when, in his Dictionary (article Rorarius), he raised objections to it, in which indeed he was inclined to think that I was attributing too much to God- more than it is is possible to attribute. But he was unable to give any reason which could show the impossibility of this universal harmony, according to which every substance exactly expresses all others through the relations it has with them.

60. Further, in what I have just said there may be seen the reasons a priori why things could not be otherwise than they are. For God in regulating the whole has had regard to each part, and in particular to each Monad, whose nature being to represent, nothing can confine it to the representing of only one part of things; though it is true that this representation is merely confused as regards the variety of particular things [le detail] in the whole universe, and can be distinct only as regards a small part of things, namely, those which are either nearest or greatest in relation to each of the Monads; otherwise each Monad would be a deity. It is not as regards their object, but as regards the different ways in which they have knowledge of their object, that the Monads are limited. In a confused way they all strive after [vont a] the infinite, the whole; but they are limited and differentiated through the degrees of their distinct perceptions.

61. And compounds are in this respect analogous with [symbolisent avec] simple substances. For all is a plenum (and thus all matter is connected together) and in the plenum every motion has an effect upon distant bodies in proportion to their distance, so that each body not only is affected by those which are in contact with it and in some way feels the effect of everything that happens to them, but also is mediately affected by bodies adjoining those with which it itself is in immediate contact. Wherefore it follows that this inter-communication of things extends to any distance, however great. And consequently every body feels the effect of all that takes place in the universe, so that he who sees all might read in each what is happening everywhere, and even what has happened or shall happen, observing in the present that which is far off as well in time as in place: sympnoia panta, as Hippocrates said. But a soul can read in itself only that which is there represented distinctly; it cannot all at once unroll everything that is enfolded in it, for its complexity is infinite.

The universe is a system of monads, each changing in unison with the other monads; this means that each monad is in relation to all the others and is part of a larger unity. As a result, insofar as it is a part of the whole, each monad reflects the whole, since the whole defines the individual monad and the one monad stands in relation to a nexus consisting of all the other monads. This is what he means when he says that a monad is a "perpetual living mirror of the universe" (56). It reflects the universe, because the whole is contained in it, the part, since it is part of the whole. The reflection of the whole by a monad, however, is relative to its relationship to the whole, so that it reflects the whole from a limited point of view, with the result that "This representation is merely confused as regards the variety of particular things [le detail] in the whole universe, and can be distinct only as regards a small part of things, namely, those which are either nearest or greatest in relation to each of the Monads" (60). Each monad reflects the whole in proportion to its nearness to other monads that constitute the whole. Otherwise, each particular monad would be God, reflecting the whole at once without limit. Perfection in the universe is defined as maximum diversity in maximum unity or order. It follows that all compounds of monads (bodies) are analogous to the monads as simple substances insofar as all bodies influence all other bodies, but not in the sense of being efficient causes, but being in coordination with them: "Every body feels the effect of all that takes place in the universe" (61). 

2.13. Body and Soul

62. Thus, although each created Monad represents the whole universe, it represents more distinctly the body which specially pertains to it, and of which it is the entelechy; and as this body expresses the whole universe through the connection of all matter in the plenum, the soul also represents the whole universe in representing this body, which belongs to it in a special way. (Theod. 400.)

63. The body belonging to a Monad (which is its entelechy or its soul) constitutes along with the entelechy what may be called a living being, and along with the soul what is called an animal. Now this body of living being or of an animal is always organic; for, as every Monad is, in its own way, a mirror of the universe, and as the universe is ruled according to a perfect order, there must also be order in that which represents it, i.e. in the perceptions of the soul, and consequently there must be order in the body, through which the universe is represented in the soul. (Theod. 403.)

64. Thus the organic body of each living being is a kind of divine machine or natural automaton, which infinitely surpasses all artificial automata. For a machine made by the skill of man is not a machine in each of its parts. For instance, the tooth of a brass wheel has parts or fragments which for us are not artificial products, and which do not have the special characteristics of the machine, for they give no indication of the use for which the wheel was intended. But the machines of nature, namely, living bodies, are still machines in their smallest parts ad infinitum. It is this that constitutes the difference between nature and art, that is to say, between the divine art and ours. (Theod. 134, 146, 194, 403.)

According to Leibniz, although it reflects the universe, each monad more distinctly reflects the body to which it belongs as part of a compound. He seems to be thinking of the relationship between a human soul (entelechy) and the body to which it belongs. Because the body represents the whole universe through its connection with the plenum, i.e., the totality of created monads, the soul likewise represents the whole because of its relation to the body. He defines a "living being" as the combination of an entelechy (in the case of a human being) or a soul (in the case of an animal), both of which are monads, with a body. A "living being" is said to be organic, by which he means that each monad in this compound reflects the universe through the body, and, in so reflecting, is as orderly as that which it reflects, a unity in diversity. He adds that "a living body" is a natural automaton, in the sense that "the machines of nature, namely, living bodies, are still machines in their smallest parts ad infinitum" (64). He seems to mean by this that, although compounds are composed of monads, this is not to say that monads are the "atoms" or the smallest extended parts of the compound; rather every monad is in a sense the whole and whole is in every monad.

2.14. Infinite Divisibility of Matter

65. And the Author of nature has been able to employ this divine and infinitely wonderful power of art, because each portion of matter is not only infinitely divisible, as the ancients observed, but is also actually subdivided without end, each part into further parts, of which each has some motion of its own; otherwise it would be impossible for each portion of matter to express the whole universe. (Theod. Prelim., Disc. de la Conform. 70, and 195.)

66. Whence it appears that in the smallest particle of matter there is a world of creatures, living beings, animals, entelechies, souls.

67. Each portion of matter may be conceived as like a garden full of plants and like a pond full of fishes. But each branch of every plant, each member of every animal, each drop of its liquid parts is also some such garden or pond.

68. And though the earth and the air which are between the plants of the garden, or the water which is between the fish of the pond, be neither plant nor fish; yet they also contain plants and fishes, but mostly so minute as to be imperceptible to us.

69. Thus there is nothing fallow, nothing sterile, nothing dead in the universe, no chaos, no confusion save in appearance, somewhat as it might appear to be in a pond at a distance, in which one would see a confused movement and, as it were, a swarming of fish in the pond, without separately distinguishing the fish themselves. (Theod. Pref. [E. 475 b; 477 b; G. vi. 40, 44].)

Leibniz concludes that, because each part of the universe expresses the whole, it follows that what we call "matter" is infinitely divisible and that each part has some "motion," by which he means that each part has its own self-directed activity, the impulse to realize its potentiality. The result is that there are infinite universes in infinite universes: "Whence it appears that in the smallest particle of matter there is a world of creatures, living beings, animals, entelechies, souls" (66). To use modern terminology, he understands the whole as having a fractal nature: it is infinitely self-similar. It seems that, because monads have no extension, then there is no limit on their number. Thus, the universe is living and orderly through and through; there is no "dead" matter or basis inert stuff out of which living matter is formed.

QUESTION:  If monads are immaterial, then does it follow that "matter" is infinitely divisible?  Or is this notion simply rationalist nonsense?
 

2.15. Dominant Entelechy

70. Hence it appears that each living body has a dominant entelechy, which in an animal is the soul; but the members of this living body are full of other living beings, plants, animals, each of which has also its dominant entelechy or soul.

71. But it must not be imagined, as has been done by some who have misunderstood my thought, that each soul has a quantity or portion of matter belonging exclusively to itself or attached to it for ever, and that it consequently owns other inferior living beings, which are devoted for ever to its service. For all bodies are in a perpetual flux like rivers, and parts are entering into them and passing out of them continually.

72. Thus the soul changes its body only by degrees, little by little, so that it is never all at once deprived of all its organs; and there is often metamorphosis in animals, but never metempsychosis or transmigration of souls; nor are there souls entirely separate [from bodies] nor unembodied spirits [genies sans corps]. God alone is completely without body. (Theod. 90, 124.)

73. It also follows from this that there never is absolute birth [generation] nor complete death, in the strict sense, consisting in the separation of the soul from the body. What we call births [generations] are developments and growths, while what we call deaths are envelopments and diminutions.

Each (human) body has what Leibniz calls a "dominant entelechy," by which he means what is normally called a soul. Each part of the body—infinitely divisible, it would seem—contains the whole universe, so that, "The members of this living body are full of other living beings, plants, animals, each of which has also its dominant entelechy or soul" (70). Perhaps he means that a part that is infinitely divisible is infinite, which means that each part is actually the whole. The body to which a soul belongs changes slowly and there is never any beginning or end of the body. It is not clear what Leibniz means by this in light of the facts of birth and death.

2.16. Final and Efficient Causation

79. Souls act according to the laws of final causes through appetitions, ends, and means. Bodies act according to the laws of efficient causes or motions. And the two realms, that of efficient causes and that of final causes, are in harmony with one another.

80. Descartes recognized that souls cannot impart any force to bodies, because there is always the same quantity of force in matter. Nevertheless he was of opinion that the soul could change the direction of bodies. But that is because in his time it was not known that there is a law of nature which affirms also the conservation of the same total direction in matter. Had Descartes noticed this he would have come upon my system of pre-established harmony. (Pref. [E. 477 a; G. vi. 44]; Theod. 22, 59, 60, 61, 63, 66, 345, 346 sqq., 354, 355.)

81. According to this system bodies act as if (to suppose the impossible) there were no souls, and souls act as if there were no bodies, and both act as if each influenced the other.

82. As regards minds [esprits] or rational souls, though I find that what I have just been saying is true of all living beings and animals (namely that animals and souls come into being when the world begins and no more come to an end that the world does), yet there is this peculiarity in rational animals, that their spermatic animalcules, so long as they are only spermatic, have merely ordinary or sensuous [sensitive] souls; but when those which are chosen [elus], so to speak, attain to human nature through an actual conception, their sensuous souls are raised to the rank of reason and to the prerogative of minds [esprits]. (Theod. 91, 397.)

83. Among other differences which exist between ordinary souls and minds [esprits], some of which differences I have already noted, there is also this: that souls in general are living mirrors or images of the universe of created things, but that minds are also images of the Deity or Author of nature Himself, capable of knowing the system of the universe, and to some extent of imitating it through architectonic ensamples [echantillons], each mind being like a small divinity in its own sphere. (Theod. 147.)

According to Leibniz, souls and bodies do not interact; this is impossible because the laws operative in the physical world do not allow for the addition to "the quantity of  force" in matter. (There is also the "law of nature which affirms also the conservation of the same total direction in matter.")  Souls "act according to the laws of final causes" (79), which means that souls choose ends and then means to accomplish those ends; bodies, on the other hand, "act according to the laws of efficient causes or motions" (79), which means that their actions are determined by causal antecedents or efficient causes. (But this is true only on the phenomenal level, because metaphysically monads do not influence one another.) Yet because of the pre-established harmony, souls and bodies appear to interact: God has pre-determined that volitional activity would be correlated with the change in the physical world (e.g., moving parts of body): "According to this system bodies act as if (to suppose the impossible) there were no souls, and souls act as if there were no bodies, and both act as if each influenced the other." (81)

QUESTION:  Is it true that there is no interaction between mind or soul and matter, as Leibniz suggests?
 

 

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