Ideas of Gottfried Leibniz, by Theme

[German, 1646 - 1716, Born at Leipzig. Widely travelled. For a long time at the court of the Elector of Hanover. Died at Hanover.]

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1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 1. Nature of Wisdom
Wisdom is the science of happiness
Wisdom is knowing all of the sciences, and their application
Wisdom involves the desire to achieve perfection
1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 2. Wise People
Wise people have fewer acts of will, because such acts are linked together
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 2. Invocation to Philosophy
All other human gifts can harm us, but not correct reasoning
Philosophy is sanctified, because it flows from God
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 1. Nature of Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a science of the intelligible nature of being
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 4. Metaphysics beyond Science
Metaphysics is geometrical, resting on non-contradiction and sufficient reason
We can grasp the wisdom of God a priori
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 1. Analysis
An idea is analysed perfectly when it is shown a priori that it is possible
Analysis is the art of finding the middle term
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 2. Conceptual Analysis
Analysing right down to primitive concepts seems beyond our powers
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 1. On Reason
Reason is the faculty for grasping apriori necessary truths
A reason is a known truth which leads to assent to some further truth
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 3. Pure Reason
Reasonings have a natural ordering in God's understanding, but only a temporal order in ours
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 4. Aims of Reason
The two basics of reasoning are contradiction and sufficient reason
For Leibniz rationality is based on non-contradiction and the principle of sufficient reason
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 7. Status of Reason
Opposing reason is opposing truth, since reason is a chain of truths
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 9. Limits of Reason
The universe is infinitely varied, so the Buridan's Ass dilemma could never happen
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 1. Laws of Thought
General principles, even if unconscious, are indispensable for thinking
Necessities rest on contradiction, and contingencies on sufficient reason
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 2. Sufficient Reason
Leibniz said the principle of sufficient reason is synthetic a priori, since its denial is not illogical
The principle of sufficient reason is needed if we are to proceed from maths to physics
There is always a reason why things are thus rather than otherwise
No fact can be real and no proposition true unless there is a Sufficient Reason (even if we can't know it)
No reason could limit the quantity of matter, so there is no limit
For every event it is possible for an omniscient being to give a reason for its occurrence
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 6. Ockham's Razor
Reason avoids multiplying hypotheses or principles
2. Reason / D. Definition / 1. Definitions
'Nominal' definitions just list distinguishing characteristics
2. Reason / D. Definition / 3. Types of Definition
A nominal definition is of the qualities, but the real definition is of the essential inner structure
2. Reason / D. Definition / 4. Real Definition
If our ideas of a thing are imperfect, the thing can have several unconnected definitions
One essence can be expressed by several definitions
Real definitions, unlike nominal definitions, display possibilities
Definitions can only be real if the item is possible
2. Reason / D. Definition / 5. Genus and Differentia
Genus and differentia might be swapped, and 'rational animal' become 'animable rational'
2. Reason / E. Argument / 6. Conclusive Proof
Leibniz is inclined to regard all truths as provable
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 1. Truth
The predicate is in the subject of a true proposition
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 5. Truth Bearers
True and false seem to pertain to thoughts, yet unthought propositions seem to be true or false
Truth is a characteristic of possible thoughts
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 8. Subjective Truth
We hold a proposition true if we are ready to follow it, and can't see any objections
Choose the true hypothesis, which is the most intelligible one
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 1. Correspondence Truth
Truth is correspondence between mental propositions and what they are about
3. Truth / D. Coherence Truth / 1. Coherence Truth
Everything in the universe is interconnected, so potentially a mind could know everything
5. Theory of Logic / A. Overview of Logic / 3. Value of Logic
Logic teaches us how to order and connect our thoughts
5. Theory of Logic / A. Overview of Logic / 4. Pure Logic
'Blind thought' is reasoning without recognition of the ingredients of the reasoning
5. Theory of Logic / C. Ontology of Logic / 3. If-Thenism
At bottom eternal truths are all conditional
5. Theory of Logic / D. Assumptions for Logic / 3. Contradiction
Falsehood involves a contradiction, and truth is contradictory of falsehood
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / a. Names
People who can't apply names usually don't understand the thing to which it applies
5. Theory of Logic / K. Features of Logics / 1. Axiomatisation
It is always good to reduce the number of axioms
5. Theory of Logic / K. Features of Logics / 5. Incompleteness
We can assign a characteristic number to every single object
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 3. Numbers / o. Units
There is no multiplicity without true units
Only whole numbers are multitudes of units
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 4. The Infinite / d. Actual infinite
I strongly believe in the actual infinite, which indicates the perfections of its author
I don't admit infinite numbers, and consider infinitesimals to be useful fictions
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 4. The Infinite / k. Infinite divisibility
The continuum is not divided like sand, but folded like paper
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 4. The Infinite / l. Infinitesimals
A tangent is a line connecting two points on a curve that are infinitely close together
Nature uses the infinite everywhere
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 5. Geometry
Circles must be bounded, so cannot be infinite
Geometry, unlike sensation, lets us glimpse eternal truths and their necessity
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 7. Application of Mathematics
Everything is subsumed under number, which is a metaphysics statics of the universe, revealing powers
6. Mathematics / B. Foundations for Mathematics / 2. Axioms for Geometry
We shouldn't just accept Euclid's axioms, but try to demonstrate them
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / g. Particular being
What is not truly one being is not truly a being either
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / h. Dasein (being human)
The idea of being must come from our own existence
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 7. Reason for Existence
Possibles demand existence, so as many of them as possible must actually exist
God's sufficient reason for choosing reality is in the fitness or perfection of possibilities
Leibniz first asked 'why is there something rather than nothing?'
There must be a straining towards existence in the essence of all possible things
Because something does exist, there must be a drive in possible things towards existence
First: there must be reasons; Second: why anything at all?; Third: why this?
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 8. Criterion for Existence
What is not active is nothing
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 5. Supervenience / a. Nature of supervenience
A thing 'expresses' another if they have a constant and fixed relationship
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 6. Fundamentals / c. Monads
Monads control nothing outside of themselves
All substances analyse down to simple substances, which are souls, or 'monads'
A monad and its body are living, so life is everywhere, and comes in infinite degrees
Without a substantial chain to link monads, they would just be coordinated dreams
Monads do not make a unity unless a substantial chain is added to them
All simply substances are in harmony, because they all represent the one universe
Substances are in harmony, because they each express the one reality in themselves
Leibniz proposes monads, since there must be basic things, which are immaterial in order to have unity
Reality must be made of basic unities, which will be animated, substantial points
A piece of flint contains something resembling perceptions and appetites
Entelechies are analogous to souls, as other minds are analogous to our own minds
Monads are not extended, but have a kind of situation in extension
Only monads are substances, and bodies are collections of them
The monad idea incomprehensibly spiritualises matter, instead of materialising soul
He replaced Aristotelian continuants with monads
Is a drop of urine really an infinity of thinking monads?
It is unclear in 'Monadology' how extended bodies relate to mind-like monads.
Changes in a monad come from an internal principle, and the diversity within its substance
A 'monad' has basic perception and appetite; a 'soul' has distinct perception and memory
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 7. Abstract/Concrete / a. Abstract/concrete
Objects of ideas can be divided into abstract and concrete, and then further subdivided
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 1. Realism
If experience is just a dream, it is still real enough if critical reason is never deceived
The strongest criterion that phenomena show reality is success in prediction
The division of nature into matter makes distinct appearances, and that presupposes substances
The only indications of reality are agreement among phenomena, and their agreement with necessities
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 2. Reality
Only unities have any reality
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 9. Vagueness / a. Vagueness of reality
In actual things nothing is indefinite
7. Existence / E. Categories / 3. Proposed Categories
Have five categories - substance, quantity, quality, action/passion, relation - and their combinations
7. Existence / E. Categories / 4. Category Realism
Our true divisions of nature match reality, but are probably incomplete
8. Modes of Existence / A. Relations / 1. Nature of Relations
Relations aren't in any monad, so they are distributed, so they are not real
A man's distant wife dying is a real change in him
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 1. Powers
Because of the definitions of cause, effect and power, cause and effect have the same power
Everything has a fixed power, as required by God, and by the possibility of reasoning
The immediate cause of movements is more real [than geometry]
Active force is not just potential for action, since it involves a real effort or striving
We discern active power from our minds, so mind must be involved in all active powers
I use the word 'entelechy' for a power, to include endeavour, as well as mere aptitude
A complete monad is a substance with primitive active and passive power
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 2. Powers as Basic
As well as extension, bodies contain powers
A substance contains the laws of its operations, and its actions come from its own depth
The soul is not a substance but a substantial form, the first active faculty
The most primitive thing in substances is force, which leads to their actions and dispositions
All occurrence in the depth of a substance is spontaneous 'action'
Substances are primary powers; their ways of being are the derivative powers
Derivate forces are in phenomena, but primitive forces are in the internal strivings of substances
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 4. Powers as Essence
Essence is primitive force, or a law of change
The substantial form is the principle of action or the primitive force of acting
Forms have sensation and appetite, the latter being the ability to act on other bodies
The essence of a thing is its real possibilities
My formal unifying atoms are substantial forms, which are forces like appetites
I call Aristotle's entelechies 'primitive forces', which originate activity
Material or immaterial substances cannot be conceived without their essential activity
Thought terminates in force, rather than extension
There is active and passive power in the substantial chain and in the essence of a composite
Primitive force is what gives a composite its reality
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 5. Powers and Properties
The active powers which are not essential to the substance are the 'real qualities'
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / b. Dispositions and powers
There cannot be power without action; the power is a disposition to act
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 1. Universals
Universals are just abstractions by concealing some of the circumstances
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 4. Concept Nominalism
Abstracta are abbreviated ways of talking; there are just substances, and truths about them.
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 2. Abstract Objects / a. Nature of abstracta
Real (non-logical) abstract terms are either essences or accidents
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 2. Abstract Objects / c. Modern abstracta
Wholly uniform things like space and numbers are mere abstractions
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / a. Individuation
Things seem to be unified if we see duration, position, interaction and connection
Leibniz moved from individuation by whole entity to individuation by substantial form
The only way we can determine individuals is by keeping hold of them
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / b. Individuation by properties
If two individuals could be indistinguishable, there could be no principle of individuation
The law of the series, which determines future states of a substance, is what individuates it
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / c. Individuation by location
We use things to distinguish places and times, not vice versa
A body is that which exists in space
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / d. Individuation by haecceity
The laws-of-the-series plays a haecceitist role
No two things are quite the same, so there must be an internal principle of distinction
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 5. Simples
The analysis of things leads to atoms of substance, which found both composition and action
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 6. Nihilism about Objects
Fluidity is basic, and we divide into bodies according to our needs
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 1. Unifying an Object / a. Intrinsic unification
Philosophy needs the precision of the unity given by substances
Identity of a substance is the law of its persistence
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 1. Unifying an Object / b. Unifying aggregates
A body would be endless disunited parts, if it did not have a unifying form or soul
Accidental unity has degrees, from a mob to a society to a machine or organism
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 1. Unifying an Object / c. Unity as conceptual
We find unity in reason, and unity in perception, but these are not true unity
Leibniz bases pure primitive entities on conjunctions of qualitative properties
To exist and be understood, a multitude must first be reduced to a unity
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / a. Substance
Every substance is alive
The complete notion of a substance implies all of its predicates or attributes
A body is a unified aggregate, unless it has an indivisible substance
Unity needs an indestructible substance, to contain everything which will happen to it
Every bodily substance must have a soul, or something analogous to a soul
The concept of forces or powers best reveals the true concept of substance
The notion of substance is one of the keys to true philosophy
Individuality is in the bond substance gives between past and future
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / b. Need for substance
Aggregates donít reduce to points, or atoms, or illusion, so must reduce to substance
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / c. Types of substance
Substances mirror God or the universe, each from its own viewpoint
Substances are everywhere in matter, like points in a line
Substance must necessarily involve progress and change
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / d. Substance defined
Substance is that which can act
Leibnizian substances add concept, law, force, form and soul
Substances cannot be bare, but have activity as their essence
Substance is a force for acting and being acted upon
Substances are essentially active
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / e. Substance critique
If a substance is just a thing that has properties, it seems to be a characterless non-entity
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / d. Coincident objects
We can imagine two bodies interpenetrating, as two rays of light seem to
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / e. Vague objects
The essence of baldness is vague and imperfect
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 2. Hylomorphism / b. Form as principle
Forms are of no value in physics, but are indispensable in metaphysics
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 2. Hylomorphism / c. Form as causal
Leibniz strengthened hylomorphism by connecting it to force in physics
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 2. Hylomorphism / d. Form as unifier
Form or soul gives unity and duration; matter gives multiplicity and change
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 7. Substratum
A 'substratum' is just a metaphor for whatever supports several predicates
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 8. Parts of Objects / a. Parts of objects
Indivisibles are not parts, but the extrema of parts
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 1. Essences of Objects
The essence of a circle is the equality of its radii
Subjects include predicates, so full understanding of subjects reveals all the predicates
Basic predicates give the complete concept, which then predicts all of the actions
Essences exist in the divine understanding
A true being must (unlike a chain) have united parts, with a substantial form as its subject
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 3. Individual Essences
Particular truths are just instances of general truths
We can't know individuals, or determine their exact individuality
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 4. Essence as Definition
Essence is just the possibility of a thing
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 6. Essence as Unifier
Bodies need a soul (or something like it) to avoid being mere phenomena
A substantial bond of powers is needed to unite composites, in addition to monads
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 7. Essence and Necessity / a. Essence as necessary properties
The essence is the necessary properties, and the concept includes what is contingent
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 7. Essence and Necessity / b. Essence not necessities
The complete concept of an individual includes contingent properties, as well as necessary ones
A necessary feature (such as air for humans) is not therefore part of the essence
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 8. Essence as Explanatory
If you fully understand a subject and its qualities, you see how the second derive from the first
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 9. Essence and Properties
Leibniz's view (that all properties are essential) is extreme essentialism, not its denial
The properties of a thing flow from its essence
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 10. Essence as Species
Truths about species are eternal or necessary, but individual truths concern what exists
For some sorts, a member of it is necessarily a member
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 12. Essential Parts
The same whole ceases to exist if a part is lost
A composite substance is a mere aggregate if its essence is just its parts
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 13. Nominal Essence
We have a distinct idea of gold, to define it, but not a perfect idea, to understand it
If two people apply a single term to different resemblances, they refer to two different things
Locke needs many instances to show a natural kind, but why not a single instance?
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 14. Knowledge of Essences
Essence is the distinct thinkability of anything
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 1. Objects over Time
Changeable accidents are modifications of unchanging essences
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 9. Ship of Theseus
Bodies, like Theseus's ship, are only the same in appearance, and never strictly the same
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 1. Concept of Identity
Inequality can be brought infinitely close to equality
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 7. Indiscernible Objects
Two eggs can't be identical, because the same truths can't apply to both of them
No two things are totally identical
Things in different locations are different because they 'express' those locations
If two bodies only seem to differ in their position, those different environments will matter
In nature there aren't even two identical straight lines, so no two bodies are alike
There must be some internal difference between any two beings in nature
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 9. Sameness
Things are the same if one can be substituted for the other without loss of truth
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 2. Nature of Necessity
Every necessary proposition is demonstrable to someone who understands
Necessary truths are those provable from identities by pure logic in finite steps
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 7. Natural Necessity
The world is physically necessary, as its contrary would imply imperfection or moral absurdity
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 1. Possibility
There is a reason why not every possible thing exists
How can things be incompatible, if all positive terms seem to be compatible?
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 5. Contingency
Necessary truths can be analysed into original truths; contingent truths are infinitely analysable
A reason must be given why contingent beings should exist rather than not exist
10. Modality / C. Sources of Modality / 2. Necessity as Primitive
Some necessary truths are brute, and others derive from final causes
10. Modality / C. Sources of Modality / 5. Modality from Actuality
A perfect idea of an object shows that the object is possible
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 1. A Priori Necessary
Intelligible truth is independent of any external things or experiences
Proofs of necessity come from the understanding, where they have their source
Truths of reason are known by analysis, and are necessary; facts are contingent, and their opposites possible
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 2. A Priori Contingent
Only God sees contingent truths a priori
If we understand God and his choices, we have a priori knowledge of contingent truths
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 4. Conceivable as Possible / c. Possible but inconceivable
What we cannot imagine may still exist
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 1. Possible Worlds / a. Possible worlds
Leibniz narrows down God's options to one, by non-contradiction, sufficient reason, indiscernibles, compossibility
Each monad expresses all its compatible monads; a possible world is the resulting equivalence class
The actual universe is the richest composite of what is possible
Leibniz proposed possible worlds, because they might be evil, where God would not create evil things
There may be a world where dogs smell their game at a thousand leagues
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 3. Transworld Objects / a. Transworld identity
If varieties of myself can be conceived of as distinct from me, then they are not me
If someone's life went differently, then that would be another individual
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 3. Transworld Objects / c. Counterparts
Leibniz has a counterpart view of de re counterfactuals
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 3. Transworld Objects / d. Haecceitism
Leibniz is some form of haecceitist
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 3. Transworld Objects / e. Possible Objects
If non-existents are possible, their existence would replace what now exists, which cannot therefore be necessary
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 1. Knowledge
Knowledge needs clarity, distinctness, and adequacy, and it should be intuitive
Perfect knowledge implies complete explanations and perfect prediction
11. Knowledge Aims / A. Knowledge / 2. Understanding
For Leibniz, divine understanding grasps every conceivable possibility
We understand things when they are distinct, and we can derive necessities from them
Understanding grasps the agreements and disagreements of ideas
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 1. Certainty
Certainty is where practical doubt is insane, or at least blameworthy
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 5. The Cogito
I cannot think my non-existence, nor exist without being myself
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 6. Cogito Critique
I can't just know myself to be a substance; I must distinguish myself from others, which is hard
I know more than I think, since I know I think A then B then C
The Cogito doesn't prove existence, because 'I am thinking' already includes 'I am'
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 2. Phenomenalism
If we are dreaming, it is sufficient that the events are coherent, and obey laws
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 3. Idealism
Leibniz is an idealist insofar as the basic components of his universe are all mental
A whole is just its parts, but there are no smallest parts, so only minds and perceptions exist
Leibniz said dualism of mind and body is illusion, and there is only mind
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 3. Innate Knowledge / a. Innate knowledge
All of our thoughts come from within the soul, and not from the senses
Arithmetic and geometry are implicitly innate, awaiting revelation
Children learn language fast, with little instruction and few definitions
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 3. Innate Knowledge / c. Tabula rasa
What is left of the 'blank page' if you remove the ideas?
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 4. A Priori as Necessities
An a priori proof is independent of experience
Mathematical analysis ends in primitive principles, which cannot be and need not be demonstrated
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 1. Perception
Not all of perception is accompanied by consciousness
'Perception' is basic internal representation, and 'apperception' is reflective knowledge of perception
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / d. Secondary qualities
We know objects by perceptions, but their qualities don't reveal what it is we are perceiving
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / e. Primary/secondary critique
Light, heat and colour are apparent qualities, and so are motion, figure and extension
Colour and pain must express the nature of their stimuli, without exact resemblance
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 3. Representation
A pain doesn't resemble the movement of a pin, but it resembles the bodily movement pins cause
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 6. Inference in Perception
Truth arises among sensations from grounding reasons and from regularities
12. Knowledge Sources / C. Rationalism / 1. Rationalism
We only believe in sensible things when reason helps the senses
The senses are confused, and necessities come from distinct intellectual ideas
You may experience a universal truth, but only reason can tell you that it is always true
We all expect the sun to rise tomorrow by experience, but astronomers expect it by reason
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 1. Empiricism
There is nothing in the understanding but experiences, plus the understanding itself, and the understander
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 5. Empiricism Critique
Knowledge doesn't just come from the senses; we know the self, substance, identity, being etc.
Our sensation of green is a confused idea, like objects blurred by movement
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 4. Foundationalism / a. Foundationalism
Nothing should be taken as certain without foundations
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 4. Foundationalism / d. Rational foundations
Our thoughts are either dependent, or self-evident. All thoughts seem to end in the self-evident
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / b. Pro-coherentism
Scientific truths are supported by mutual agreement, as well as agreement with the phenomena
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 1. Scepticism
Light takes time to reach us, so objects we see may now not exist
13. Knowledge Criteria / D. Scepticism / 6. Scepticism Critique
I don't recommend universal doubt; we constantly seek reasons for things which are indubitable
13. Knowledge Criteria / E. Relativism / 2. Knowledge as Convention
Truth is mutually agreed perception
14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 4. Prediction
Successful prediction shows proficiency in nature
14. Science / C. Induction / 2. Aims of Induction
Hypotheses come from induction, which is comparison of experiences
14. Science / C. Induction / 3. Limits of Induction
The instances confirming a general truth are never enough to establish its necessity
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / a. Types of explanation
Nature is explained by mathematics and mechanism, but the laws rest on metaphysics
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / f. Causal explanations
Bodies are best explained by their ends, and bodies by efficient causes
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / g. Explanations by function
Final causes can help with explanations in physics
To explain a house we must describe its use, as well as its parts
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / j. Explanations by essence
To fully conceive the subject is to explain the resulting predicates and events
The cause of a change is not the real influence, but whatever gives a reason for the change
The essence of substance is the law of its changes, as in the series of numbers
We will only connect our various definitions of gold when we understand it more deeply
14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / a. Best explanation
The Copernican theory is right because it is the only one offering a good explanation
14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / b. Ultimate explanation
Nature can be fully explained by final causes alone, or by efficient causes alone
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 1. Mind / b. Purpose of mind
Mind is a thinking substance which can know God and eternal truths
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 5. Unity of Mind
No machine or mere organised matter could have a unified self
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 7. Animal Minds
It seems probable that animals have souls, but not consciousness
Animal thought is a shadow of reasoning, connecting sequences of images by imagination
Animals are semi-rational because they connect facts, but they don't see causes
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / a. Consciousness
Leibniz introduced the idea of degrees of consciousness, essential for his monads
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / c. Parts of consciousness
Our large perceptions and appetites are made up tiny unconscious fragments
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 2. Unconscious Mind
It is a serious mistake to think that we are aware of all of our perceptions
The soul doesn't understand many of its own actions, if perceptions are confused and desires buried
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 3. Privacy
Increase a conscious machine to the size of a mill - you still won't see perceptions in it
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 5. Generalisation by mind
Abstraction attends to the general, not the particular, and involves universal truths
16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 2. Self-Knowledge
We know the 'I' and its contents by abstraction from awareness of necessary truths
16. Persons / E. Self as Mind / 1. Self and Memory
If a person's memories became totally those of the King of China, he would be the King of China
Memory doesn't make identity; a man who relearned everything would still be the same man
16. Persons / E. Self as Mind / 2. Psychological Continuity
We know our own identity by psychological continuity, even if there are some gaps
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 1. Free Will / a. Nature of free will
Future contingent events are certain, because God foresees them, but that doesn't make them necessary
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 1. Free Will / c. Free will critique
If we know what is good or rational, our knowledge is extended, and our free will restricted
Saying we must will whatever we decide to will leads to an infinite regress
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 2. Free Will Theories / a. Fate
Sloth's Syllogism: either it can't happen, or it is inevitable without my effort
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 2. Free Will Theories / b. Determinism
Everything which happens is not necessary, but is certain after God chooses this universe
We think we are free because the causes of the will are unknown; determinism is a false problem
People argue for God's free will, but it isn't needed if God acts in perfection following supreme reason
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 2. Free Will Theories / c. Compatibilism
The will determines action, by what is seen as good, but it does not necessitate it
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 1. Dualism
Soul represents body, but soul remains unchanged, while body continuously changes
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 3. Panpsychism
Every body contains a kind of sense and appetite, or a soul
Leibniz has a panpsychist view that physical points are spiritual
Something rather like souls (though not intelligent) could be found everywhere
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 4. Occasionalism
Occasionalism give a false view of natural laws, miracles, and substances
Mind and body can't influence one another, but God wouldn't intervene in the daily routine
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 5. Parallelism
Assume that mind and body follow their own laws, but God has harmonised them
Maybe mind and body are parallel, like two good clocks
The soul does know bodies, although they do not influence one another
We should say that body is mechanism and soul is immaterial, asserting their independence
Souls act as if there were no bodies, and bodies act as if there were no souls
Perfections of soul subordinate the body, but imperfections of soul submit to the body
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 7. Zombies
It's impossible, but imagine a body carrying on normally, but with no mind
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 3. Emotions
Passions reside in confused perceptions
Every feeling is the perception of a truth
18. Thought / C. Content / 2. Ideas
By an 'idea' I mean not an actual thought, but the resources we can draw on to think
True ideas represent what is possible; false ideas represent contradictions
An idea is an independent inner object, which expresses the qualities of things
Thoughts correspond to sensations, but ideas are independent of thoughts
The idea of green seems simple, but it must be compounded of the ideas of blue and yellow
We must distinguish images from exact defined ideas
18. Thought / C. Content / 6. Broad Content
The name 'gold' means what we know of gold, and also further facts about it which only others know
The word 'gold' means a hidden constitution known to experts, and not just its appearances
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 1. Concepts / a. Nature of concepts
Concepts are what unite a proposition
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 2. Origin of Concepts / a. Origin of concepts
Concepts are ordered, and show eternal possibilities, deriving from God
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 3. Ontology of Concepts / a. Concepts as representations
Our notions may be formed from concepts, but concepts are formed from things
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / a. Will to Act
The idea of the will includes the understanding
Volition automatically endeavours to move towards what it sees as good (and away from bad)
Will is an inclination to pursue something good
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / d. Weakness of will
Limited awareness leads to bad choices, and unconscious awareness makes us choose the bad
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / a. Practical reason
We follow the practical rule which always seeks maximum effect for minimum cost
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 3. Beauty
Leibniz identified beauty with intellectual perfection
Beauty increases with familiarity
21. Aesthetics / A. Aesthetic Experience / 6. Taste
If would be absurd not to disagree with someone's taste if it was a taste for poisons
21. Aesthetics / B. Nature of Art / 8. The Arts / a. Music
Music charms, although its beauty is the harmony of numbers
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / c. Love
Love is pleasure in the perfection, well-being or happiness of its object
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / b. Types of good
The good is the virtuous, the pleasing, or the useful
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / g. Consequentialism
You can't assess moral actions without referring to the qualities of character that produce them
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 2. Happiness / a. Nature of happiness
Happiness is advancement towards perfection
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 2. Happiness / d. Routes to happiness
Supreme human happiness is the greatest possible increase of his perfection
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 3. Pleasure / a. Nature of pleasure
Intelligent pleasure is the perception of beauty, order and perfection
Pleasure is a sense of perfection
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / a. Preconditions for ethics
Animals lack morality because they lack self-reflection
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / g. Moral responsibility
Humans are moral, and capable of reward and punishment, because of memory and self-consciousness
23. Ethics / B. Contract Ethics / 2. Golden Rule
We can't want everyone to have more than their share, so a further standard is needed
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 1. Deontology
We want good education and sociability, rather than lots of moral precepts
24. Applied Ethics / C. Death Issues / 1. Death
Death and generation are just transformations of an animal, augmented or diminished
Most people facing death would happily re-live a similar life, with just a bit of variety
Death is just the contraction of an animal
25. Society / D. Social Rights / 4. Right to Punish / a. Right to punish
There are natural rewards and punishments, like illness after over-indulgence
26. Natural Theory / A. Heart of Nature / 1. Nature
The principle of determination in things obtains the greatest effect with the least effort
26. Natural Theory / A. Heart of Nature / 2. Natural Purpose
A machine is best defined by its final cause, which explains the roles of the parts
26. Natural Theory / A. Heart of Nature / 4. Pythagoreanism
Minds unconsciously count vibration beats in music, and enjoy it when they coincide
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 3. Space / a. Space
Space is the order of coexisting possibles
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 3. Space / c. Substantival space
The idea that the universe could be moved forward with no other change is just a fantasy
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 3. Space / d. Relational space
Space is an order among actual and possible things
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 4. Time / a. Time
If everything in the universe happened a year earlier, there would be no discernible difference
Time is the order of inconsistent possibilities
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 4. Time / e. Existence of time
No time exists except instants, and instants are not even a part of time, so time does not exist
Time doesn't exist, since its parts don't coexist
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 4. Time / i. Time and change
If there were duration without change, we could never establish its length
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 5. Space-Time
Space and time are purely relative
Space and time are the order of all possibilities, and don't just relate to what is actual
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation / b. Types of cause
In the schools the Four Causes are just lumped together in a very obscure way
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation / c. Final causes
Power rules in efficient causes, but wisdom rules in connecting them to final causes
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 3. General Causation / d. Causal necessity
The connection in events enables us to successfully predict the future, so there must be a constant cause
Causes can be inferred from perfect knowledge of their effects
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 1. Laws of Nature
Each possible world contains its own laws, reflected in the possible individuals of that world
God's laws would be meaningless without internal powers for following them
An entelechy is a law of the series of its event within some entity
Primitive forces are internal strivings of substances, acting according to their internal laws
Even if extension is impenetrable, this still offers no explanation for motion and its laws
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / a. Scientific essentialism
If there is some trace of God in things, that would explain their natural force
Qualities should be predictable from the nature of the subject
Gold has a real essence, unknown to us, which produces its properties
Part of our idea of gold is its real essence, which is not known to us in detail
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / c. Essence and laws
Each of the infinite possible worlds has its own laws, and the individuals contain those laws
Leibniz wanted to explain motion and its laws by the nature of body
The law within something fixes its persistence, and accords with general laws of nature
In addition to laws, God must also create appropriate natures for things
Gravity is within matter because of its structure, and it can be explained.
The only permanence in things, constituting their substance, is a law of continuity
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 10. Closure of Physics
Leibniz had an unusual commitment to the causal completeness of physics
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 1. Matter / b. Prime matter
Prime matter is nothing when it is at rest
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 1. Matter / c. Atoms
Atomism is irrational because it suggests that two atoms can be indistinguishable
There are atoms of substance, but no atoms of bulk or extension
I think the corpuscular theory, rather than forms or qualities, best explains particular phenomena
Leibniz rejected atoms, because they must be elastic, and hence have parts
The only simple things are monads, with no parts or extension
Microscopes and the continuum suggest that matter is endlessly divisible
Things are infinitely subdivisible and contain new worlds, which atoms would make impossible
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 1. Matter / d. Elements in general
The true elements are atomic monads
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 1. Matter / g. Matter as extension
Leibniz eventually said resistance, rather than extension, was the essence of body
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 1. Matter / i. Modern matter
Leibniz struggled to reconcile bodies with a reality of purely soul-like entities
Secondary matter is active and complete; primary matter is passive and incomplete
Not all of matter is animated, any more than a pond full of living fish is animated
Every particle of matter contains organic bodies
Bare or primary matter is passive; it is clothed or secondary matter which contains action
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 2. Movement
Motion is not absolute, but consists in relation
All that is real in motion is the force or power which produces change
Maybe motion is definable as 'change of place'
Bodies are recreated in motion, and don't exist in intervening instants
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 3. Force
All qualities of bodies reduce to forces
Motion alone is relative, but force is real, and establishes its subject
Leibniz uses 'force' to mean both activity and potential
Clearly, force is that from which action follows, when unimpeded
We need the metaphysical notion of force to explain mechanics, and not just extended mass
It is plausible to think substances contain the same immanent force seen in our free will
Power is passive force, which is mass, and active force, which is entelechy or form
The force behind motion is like a soul, with its own laws of continual change
Force in substance makes state follow state, and ensures the very existence of substance
Some people return to scholastic mysterious qualities, disguising them as 'forces'
27. Natural Reality / C. Biology / 2. Life
To regard animals as mere machines may be possible, but seems improbable
27. Natural Reality / C. Biology / 3. Evolution
Men are related to animals, which are related to plants, then to fossils, and then to the apparently inert
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 2. Divine Nature
God's essence is the source of possibilities, and his will the source of existents
God must be intelligible, to select the actual world for the possibilities
God produces possibilities, and thus ideas
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 3. Divine Perfections
This is the most perfect possible universe, in its combination of variety with order
Perfection is simply quantity of reality
The universe contains everything possible for its perfect harmony
God does everything in a perfect way, and never acts contrary to reason
The intelligent cause must be unique and all-perfect, to handle all the interconnected possibilities
Perfections are simple, without overlap, and hence don't contradict - so a perfect being is possible
A perfection is a simple quality, which is positive and absolute, and has no limit
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 5. Divine Morality / a. Divine morality
God prefers men to lions, but might not exterminate lions to save one man
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 5. Divine Morality / b. Euthyphro question
If justice is arbitrary, or fixed but not observed, or not human justice, this undermines God
28. God / B. Proving God / 1. Proof of God
Without the principle of sufficient reason, God's existence could not be demonstrated
28. God / C. Proofs of Reason / 1. Ontological Proof
God's existence is either necessary or impossible
The concept of an existing thing must contain more than the concept of a non-existing thing
God alone (the Necessary Being) has the privilege that He must exist if He is possible
God is the first reason of things; our experiences are contingent, and contain no necessity
28. God / D. Proofs of Evidence / 1. Cosmological Proof
Mechanics shows that all motion originates in other motion, so there is a Prime Mover
The existence of God, and all metaphysics, follows from the Principle of Sufficient Reason
28. God / D. Proofs of Evidence / 2. Teleological Proof
All substances are in harmony, even though separate, so they must have one divine cause
The laws of physics are wonderful evidence of an intelligent and free being
If the universe is a perfect agreement of uncommunicating substances, there must be a common source
28. God / D. Proofs of Evidence / 5. Miracles
Everything, even miracles, belongs to order
Miracles are extraordinary operations by God, but are nevertheless part of his design
Allow no more miracles than are necessary
28. God / E. Attitudes to God / 2. Pantheism
To say that nature or the one universal substance is God is a pernicious doctrine
29. Religion / A. Religious Thought / 1. Religious Belief
Prayers are useful, because God foresaw them in his great plan
29. Religion / E. Immortality / 1. Immortality
Immortality without memory is useless
29. Religion / E. Immortality / 2. Soul
The soul is indestructible and always self-aware
29. Religion / E. Immortality / 3. Animal Souls
Animals have souls, but lack consciousness
Animals have thought and sensation, and indestructible immaterial souls
29. Religion / F. Problem of Evil / 1. Problem of Evil
Evil is a negation of good, which arises from non-being
God only made sin possible because a much greater good can be derived from it
How can an all-good, wise and powerful being allow evil, sin and apparent injustice?
Being confident of God's goodness, we disregard the apparent local evils in the visible world
Metaphysical evil is imperfection; physical evil is suffering; moral evil is sin
29. Religion / F. Problem of Evil / 2. Human Evil
God doesn't decide that Adam will sin, but that sinful Adam's existence is to be preferred
Evil serves a greater good, and pain is necessary for higher pleasure