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

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198829294

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829294.001.0001

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Leibniz’s Ontology of Force

Leibniz’s Ontology of Force

(p.189) 7 Leibniz’s Ontology of Force
Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, Volume VIII

Julia Jorati

Oxford University Press

Leibniz portrays the most fundamental entities in his mature ontology in at least three different ways: (a) mind-like, immaterial substances that perceive and strive, (b) hylomorphic compounds, (c) primitive and derivative forces. This chapter argues that the third characterization is more accurate than the other two. Thus, Leibniz’s monadological metaphysics is even more radical than it initially seems: his ontology is best understood not as a substance-mode ontology but as a force ontology. At the metaphysical ground floor, we do not find substances that possess force; instead, we just find forces. Interpreting Leibniz as a force ontologist has far-reaching consequences. For instance, it requires us to reconsider the status of time in Leibniz’s system and to revise our understanding of appetitions (or appetites) and perceptions.

Keywords:   Leibniz, metaphysics, ontology, force, powers, dispositions, substance, monads

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