more from Gottfried Leibniz

Single Idea 12742

[catalogued under 11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 3. Idealism / a. Idealism]

Full Idea

The whole, if it is assumed to be body or matter, is nothing other than all of its parts; but this is absurd, since there aren't any smallest parts. Therefore there really exist only minds and their perceptions.

Gist of Idea

A whole is just its parts, but there are no smallest parts, so only minds and perceptions exist


Gottfried Leibniz (Calculus Ratiocinator [1679], A6.4.279), quoted by Daniel Garber - Leibniz:Body,Substance,Monad 7

Book Reference

Garber,Daniel: 'Leibniz: Body, Substance, Monad' [OUP 2009], p.288

A Reaction

Leibniz is sometimes labelled as an 'idealist', but this text is unusual in being so explicit, and he was mainly concerned to explain the reality of individual bodies. Monads were his final attempt to do this, not an attempt to escape into pure minds.