Monads, Composition, and Force

Monads, Composition, and Force : Ariadnean Threads through Leibniz's Labyrinth

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Description

Leibniz's monads have long been a source of fascination and puzzlement. If monads are merely immaterial, how can they alone constitute reality? In Monads, Composition and Force, Richard T. W. Arthur takes seriously Leibniz's claim of introducing monads to solve the problem of the composition of matter and motion. Going against a trend of idealistic interpretations of Leibniz's thought, Arthur argues that although monads are presupposed as the principles
making actual each of the infinite parts of matter, bodies are not composed of them. He offers a fresh interpretation of Leibniz's theory of substance in which monads are enduring primitive forces, corporeal substances are embodied monads, and bodies are aggregates of monads, not mere appearances. In this reading
the monads are constitutive unities, constituting an organic unity of function through time, and bodies are phenomenal in two senses; as ever-changing things they are Platonic phenomena and as pluralities, in being perceived together, they are also Democritean phenomena. Arthur argues for this reading by describing how Leibniz's thought is grounded in seventeenth century atomism and the metaphysics of the plurality of forms, showing how his attempt to make this foundation compatible with
mechanism undergirds his insightful contributions to biological science and the dynamical foundations he provides for modern physics.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 163 x 236 x 26mm | 670g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198812868
  • 9780198812869
  • 2,397,625

Table of contents

Introduction
1: Composition and division
2: Aggregation, body and substance
3: Atoms and souls
4: Forms and the Scholastic tradition
5: Motion, relativity and force
6: Passive force and corporeal substance
7: Continuance through time
Conclusion
Glossary of Scholastics and Atomists
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Review Text

It should be essential reading for anyone interested either in Leibniz's thinking about the continuum or in the origin and development of his metaphysics. Stephen Puryear, North Carolina State University, Journal of the History of Philosophy
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Review quote

Richard Arthur's new book is in my opinion an outstanding achievement ... the present work integrates and synthesizes much of his previous work and goes a long way beyond previously published works ... This book therefore should be read by any student of Leibniz. The picture it illustrates of Leibniz's metaphysics and its development is one of the most convincing I've seen. * Ohad Nachtomy, Revue d'histoire des sciences * It should be essential reading for anyone interested either in Leibniz's thinking about the continuum or in the origin and development of his metaphysics. * Stephen Puryear, North Carolina State University, Journal of the History of Philosophy *
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About Richard T. W. Arthur

Richard T. W. Arthur is a Professor of Philosophy at McMaster University. He specializes in early modern natural philosophy and mathematics, with special attention to Leibniz, Newton, and Descartes. He is known primarily for his work on Leibniz, on whom he has written numerous articles and two books, G. W. Leibniz: The Labyrinth of the Continuum (Yale University Press, 2001), and Leibniz (Polity Press, 2014). His research interests also include the
theory of the infinite, the epistemology of science, and the theory of time, on which he is finishing a book defending the reality of becoming in modern physics.
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