Ideas from 'On Nature Itself (De Ipsa Natura)' by Gottfried Leibniz [1698], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Philosophical Essays' by Leibniz,Gottfried (ed/tr Arlew,R /Garber,D) [Hackett 1989,0-87220-062-0]].

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9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / d. Substance defined
Substance is a force for acting and being acted upon
                        Full Idea: The very substance in things consists of a force for acting and being acted upon.
                        From: Gottfried Leibniz (On Nature Itself (De Ipsa Natura) [1698], 08)
                        A reaction: Garber places this text just before the spiritual notion of monads took a grip on Leibniz. He seems to have thought that only some non-physical entity, with appetite and perception, could generate force. Wrong.
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / h. Explanations by function
Final causes can help with explanations in physics
                        Full Idea: Final causes not only advance virtue and piety in ethics and natural theology, but also help us to find and lay bare hidden truths in physics itself.
                        From: Gottfried Leibniz (On Nature Itself (De Ipsa Natura) [1698], 04)
                        A reaction: This rearguard action against the attack on teleology is certainly aimed at Spinoza. The notion of purpose still seems to have a role to play in evolutionary biology, but probably not in physics.
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 3. Panpsychism
Something rather like souls (though not intelligent) could be found everywhere
                        Full Idea: Nor is there any reason why souls or things analogous to souls should not be everywhere, even if dominant and consequently intelligent souls, like human souls, cannot be everywhere.
                        From: Gottfried Leibniz (On Nature Itself (De Ipsa Natura) [1698], 12)
                        A reaction: He is always flirting with panpsychism, though he doesn't seem to offer any account of how these little baby souls can be built up to create one intelligent soul, the latter being indivisible. 'Souls' are very different from things 'analous to souls'!
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 6. Early Matter Theories / g. Atomism
There are atoms of substance, but no atoms of bulk or extension
                        Full Idea: Although there are atoms of substance, namely monads, which lack parts, there are no atoms of bulk [moles], that is, atoms of the least possible extension, nor are there any ultimate elements, since a continuum cannot be composed out of points.
                        From: Gottfried Leibniz (On Nature Itself (De Ipsa Natura) [1698], 11)
                        A reaction: Leibniz has a constant battle for the rest of his career to explain what these 'atoms of substance' are, since they have location but no extension, they are self-sufficient yet generate force, and are non-physical but interact with matter.
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 7. Later Matter Theories / a. Early Modern matter
Secondary matter is active and complete; primary matter is passive and incomplete
                        Full Idea: I understand matter as either secondary or primary. Secondary matter is, indeed, a complete substance, but it is not merely passive; primary matter is merely passive, but it is not a complete substance. So we must add a soul or form...
                        From: Gottfried Leibniz (On Nature Itself (De Ipsa Natura) [1698], 12), quoted by Daniel Garber - Leibniz:Body,Substance,Monad 4
                        A reaction: It sounds as if primary matter is redundant, but Garber suggests that secondary matter is just the combination of primary matter with form.
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
                        Full Idea: If the law of God does indeed leave some vestige of him expressed in things...then it must be granted that there is a certain efficacy residing in things, a form or force such as we usually designate by the name of nature, from which the phenomena follow.
                        From: Gottfried Leibniz (On Nature Itself (De Ipsa Natura) [1698], 06)
                        A reaction: I wouldn't rate this as a very promising theory of powers, but it seems to me important that Leibniz recognises the innate power in things as needing explanation. If you remove divine power, you are left with unexplained intrinsic powers.
27. Natural Reality / A. Classical Physics / 1. Mechanics / c. Forces
It is plausible to think substances contain the same immanent force seen in our free will
                        Full Idea: If we attribute an inherent force to our mind, a force acting immanently, then nothing forbids us to suppose that the same force would be found in other souls or forms, or, if you prefer, in the nature of substances.
                        From: Gottfried Leibniz (On Nature Itself (De Ipsa Natura) [1698], 10)
                        A reaction: This is the kind of bizarre idea that you are driven to, once you start thinking that God must have a will outside nature, and then that we have the same thing. Why shouldn't such a thing pop up all over the place? Only Leibniz spots the slippery slope.
28. God / C. Attitudes to God / 2. Pantheism
To say that nature or the one universal substance is God is a pernicious doctrine
                        Full Idea: To say that nature itself or the substance of all things is God is a pernicious doctrine, recently introduced into the world or renewed by a subtle or profane author.
                        From: Gottfried Leibniz (On Nature Itself (De Ipsa Natura) [1698], 8)
                        A reaction: The dastardly profane author is, of course, Spinoza, whom Leibniz had met in 1676. The doctrine may be pernicious to religious orthodoxy, but to me it is rather baffling, since in my understanding nature and God have almost nothing in common.