Leibniz on Individuals and Individuation

Leibniz on Individuals and Individuation : The Persistence of Premodern Ideas in Modern Philosophy

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Leibniz's earliest philosophy and its importance for his mature philosophy have not been examined in detail, particularly in the level of detail that one can achieve by placing Leibniz's philosophy in the context of the sources for two of the most basic concerns of his philosophical career: his metaphysics of individuals and the principle oftheir individuation. In this book I provide for the first time a detailed examination of these two Leibnizian themes and trace its implications for how we should interpret other major Leibnizian themes and for how we should read Leibniz and other philosophers of the sixteenth and later centuries as 'modem' philosophers. Leibniz began his philosophical career more than 300 years ago, a fact that shapes fundamentally my attempt in the pages that follow to come to terms now with the texts that he left us. Leibniz's did not do philosophy in a way wholly congenial to twentieth century philosophical methodologies, especially those that have enjoyed some prominence in recent Anglo-American philosophy. Moreover, as we shall see, Leibniz is not a modem philosopher, when 'modem' is understood to mean making a sharp break with medieval philosophy. Indeed, I shall argue, scholars should discard such terms as 'modem' from historical philosophical scholarship, so that old texts can be allowed to remain old - to stand on their own in and from times now long past.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 210 pages
  • 154.94 x 236.22 x 20.32mm | 476.27g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 1996 ed.
  • XVI, 210 p.
  • 0792338642
  • 9780792338642

Table of contents

Part I: Leibniz' Earliest Philosophy. One: Introduction to Leibniz's Individuals and their Individuation. Two: Individuals and Individuation in the Disputatio. Three: The Principles of Individuation Leibniz Rejects in Disputatio. Four: The Position Leibniz Defends in the Disputatio. Part II: Leibniz's Mature Philosophy. Five: Individuals and Individuation in Leibniz's Mature Philosophy. Six: An Interpretation of Major Leibnizian Themes. Part III: Leibniz and Modern Philosophy. Seven: Leibniz and the `Modern' in Modern Philosophy. Index.
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Review quote

`This work is well written, well organized and to the point. The author argues his points convincingly, but is admirably fair in his treatment of competing views. This book should stand as an example of what good scholarly research and writing can be. It deserves to be read especially by Leibniz scholars, those interested in late medieval philosophy, and students of early modern philosophy.'
The Review of Metaphysics, LI:3 (1998)
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