Starting with Leibniz

Starting with Leibniz

by Roger Woolhouse


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Gottfried Leibniz has been one of the most important and influential philosophers of the seventeenth century and, alongside Descartes and Spinoza, one of three great early modern Rationalist thinkers. Covering all the key concepts of his work, Starting with Leibniz provides an accessible introduction to the ideas of this hugely significant thinker.

Thematically structured, the book leads the reader through a thorough overview of Leibniz's thought, resulting in a more complete understanding of the roots of his philosophical concerns. Offering coverage of the full range of Leibniz's philosophical ideas, the book explores his work on substance, mind, body, matter, dynamics and the philosophy of science, God, free will. Crucially the book introduces the major influences on Leibniz's thought, including Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, and Malebranche. This is the ideal introduction for anyone coming to the work of this important thinker for the first time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781847062048
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 01/06/2011
Series: Starting with...
Pages: 174
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.37(d)

About the Author

Roger Woolhouse is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of York, UK. Hie previous publications include John Locke: A Biography (CUP, 2007), Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz (Routledge, 1993), Leibniz: Philosophical Texts (OUP, 1998) and Leibniz's 'New System' (OUP, 1997).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements viii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Life and Works 2

Chapter 2 Leibniz's 'Fairy Tale' 11

Chapter 3 Substances 17

i Substance: Its General Characteristics 17

ii Against Cartesian Corporeal Substance 21

iii Complete Concepts 23

iv Souls and Substantial Forms 25

v Complete Worlds Apart 29

vi Substantial Forms Again 33

Chapter 4 Material Body 36

i Corporeal Substance Realism 36

ii Idealism 39

iii Phenomenalism 40

iv Body as Monadic Aggregate 41

Chapter 5 Minds and Monads 45

i Leibnizian and Cartesian Minds: Human and Animal 45

ii Monadic Perception, Appetition, and Embodiment 51

Chapter 6 Natural Philosophy 57

i The Mechanical Philosophy and Substantial Forms 57

ii Matter and Passive Force 59

iii Motion and Active Force 63

Chapter 7 Causation and the Metaphysics of Force 72

i Motion 72

ii From Occasionalism to Pre-established Harmony 73

Chapter 8 Body and Mind 79

i Bodily Death 79

ii Union of Mind and Body: Descartes and Malebranche 83

iii Leibniz's Objections to Interactionism and Occasionalism 86

iv Pre-established Harmony 91

Chapter 9 Space 100

i Correspondence with Clarke 101

ii Sufficient Reason 101

iii Identity of Indiscernibles 102

iv Space as Absolute and as Relative 103

Chapter 10 God and Our Relation to Him 108

i God and Creation 108

ii Proofs of the Existence of God 110

iii God and His Relation to the Created World 116

Chapter 11 Contingency and Freedom 119

i Human Freedom 119

ii Divine Freedom 129

Chapter 12 The Best of All Possible Worlds 134

i The Best World Metaphysically or Naturally 135

ii The Best World Morally 139

iii Evil in the Best Possible World 143

Abbreviations and References 149

Index 158

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