At the age of ten he began attending the famous Jesuit school, Le Fleche.
Some of the more important works featured in this collection are the "Monadology," and "Discourse on Metaphysics," and "On Nature Itself". While using this book in a grad seminar, it was brought to my attention that there are some questionable aspects to the translation.
Some of the works in this volume are translated from the Latin, others from the French. Either way, some of the word choices lend themselves to serious misinterpretation in the English. Is I mentioned above, some of the inclusions concern theorectical aspects of various scientific problems, some of which are problems bequethed to Leibniz from previous thinkers, such as Descartes.
For instance, in section 13 of On Nature Itself, Leibniz raises a number of objections to a view of motion that is compatible with Cartesian physics. The editors, however, do not make clear to which arguments Leibniz was responding.
The Cartesian view of motion consists in geometrical bodies acting on each other within a plenum. It is only possible, furthermore, according to Descartes, for the movement of bodies to be circular.
Leibniz presents the following argument against this Cartesian view. P1 The criterion for distinguishing a uniform mass of matter is motion.
P2 If motion is transference, then a change of state from one place to another must occur. P3 It is not the case that a uniform mass of matter can be distinguished by means of a change of state from one place to another.
P4 If P3then it is not the case that the criterion for distinguishing a uniform mass of matter is motion.
C1 It is not the case that the criterion for distinguishing a uniform mass of matter is motion. Leibniz gives an argument for P3which is reformulated as follows.
P3a One part of matter is distinguished from another by means of an extrinsic denomination.
P3c If P3bthen it is not the case that there is an extrinsic denomination. P3d It is not the case that there is an extrinsic denomination. P3e If P3dthen it is not the case that one part of matter is distinguished from another.
C2 It is not the case that one part of matter is distinguished from another. Leibniz also argues against shape, instead of motion, being the criterion for distinguishing one piece of matter from another.
According to Leibniz, a uniform mass of matter, which is infinite i. Shape, however, entails a boundary. For that reason, the Cartesians cannot construe a uniform mass of matter as having shape; and hence, shape cannot be a means for distinguishing one piece of matter from another.A short Rene Descartes biography describes Rene Descartes's life, times, and work.
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G. W. Leibniz, Philosophical Essays, ed. and trans. Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber (Hackett, ). An excellent overview of Leibniz's philosophy by Brandon Look is available online at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Summary: Leibniz defines the monad as a simple substance, without a party. The existence of compound bodies proves the existence of monads, since the existence of the compound proves the existence of simple.