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Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy Volume VI$
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Daniel Garber and Donald Rutherford

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199659593

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659593.001.0001

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Leibniz’s Ontology of Relations: A Last Word? 1

Leibniz’s Ontology of Relations: A Last Word? 1

(p.171) 6 Leibniz’s Ontology of Relations: A Last Word?1
Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy Volume VI

Massimo Mugnai

Oxford University Press

Since Bertrand Russell's seminal A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz (1900), Leibniz's scholars continue to discuss the ontological nature that Leibniz attributed to relations. On one hand, there are interpreters who consider Leibniz as a full fledged anti-realist, for whom all kind of relations and relational attributes are merely ‘mental things’; on the other, there are interpreters who, attributing to Leibniz the distinction between relations in the proper sense and  relational properties denoted by relational predicates, claim that Leibniz denied any reality to the first, but not to the second. To settle this controversy the chapter proceeds in three steps. First, it presents some basic concepts of the scholastic (and late-scholastic) ontology of relations, which constitutes the background of Leibniz's ideas on the same subject. Second, it sketches Leibniz's own doctrine about the ontological nature of relations. Third it attempts to settle the question between the two rival interpretations, showing that Leibniz as the main nominalist-conceptualists of his time, does not consider relational properties as really distinct from their foundations

Keywords:   G.W. Leibniz, relations, predicates, relational, nominalism, relation

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