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Title: Leibniz and the structure of individuality
Author: Weckend, Julia
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is a study of Leibniz's ideas on the structure of ontological entities, and implicitly on the structure of the natural world. Since Leibniz even in his very late writings appears ( 0 allow for complex as well as simple individuals, the thesis examines without interpretive prejudice the distinct kinds of entity, aggregates as well as genuine individuals. that feature on Leibniz's mature ontological views starting from around the time of the Discourse on Metaphysics in the mid-1680s. Since aggregates have unity at least in the minds of perceivers, they feature - as apparent entities and from a particular point-of-view - as part of the extended Leibnizian ontology, even though quo unities they may not be part of absolute reality. Apart from making use of general mereological notions, my assessments are focussed on Leibniz's axiomatic ontological constraints and the marks of genuine composition. They are unity and infinity. I will draw sustained attention to Leibniz's diverging compositional analyses before and after the introduction of the monad. I submit that in the middle years his approach is primarily deflationist in view of the aggregate thesis and the arguments against Cartesian matter. From the 16905 and onwards, the compositional approach turns constitutive and foundationalist, when Leibniz's analytical explorations in to the ultimate structure of reality reach their final step in the decompositional analysis and terminate in the first elements in the order of things. The monad is Leibniz's metaphysical atom and the bedrock of reality. But with the introduction of the monad and the new compositional approach that proceeds from simple to complex beings, also a new set of problems emerges. The question is how to build a bridge between the extended-body realism that is part of the animals-with in-animals view of the middle years, and the world of unextended monadological ultimates that shape Leibniz's apparent phenomenalism of the late years. Acknowledging the explanatory lacuna in Leibniz's ontological system of how [0 reconcile and connect the beings from the two compositional strands, the thesis concludes on an agnostic note
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available