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Title: General pre-established harmony : a study of Leibniz on substance and the unity of the world
Author: Robert Tocornal, Gaston Jose
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This dissertation offers an in-depth analysis of Leibniz's theory of pre-established harmony, understood as an explanation of the unity of all substances. I begin by arguing for a formulation of pre-established harmony as involving seven components, the conjunction of which constitutes the necessary and sufficient conditions of the theory (ch. 1). Next, I focus on Leibniz's reasons for each of the components disentangled in chapter 1, thus aiming to provide an account of the grounds of pre-established harmony (chs. 2-4). I explore and discuss in detail specific ways in which the pre-established harmony trades on doctrines pertaining to Leibniz's logic and philosophical theology. Taken as a whole, the discussions in these chapters are presented as a unitary argument against the view that the pre-established harmony is a mere corollary of Leibniz's complete-concept theory of substance and the predicate-containment theory of truth on which that theory rests. Finally (ch. 5), on the basis of the results obtained in the previous chapters, I develop an interpretation of the pre-established harmony which combines elements from Leibniz's metaphysics of nature and philosophical theology. It is argued that, understood as an explanation of the unity of the world, the pre-established harmony can be seen as an extension of, or conceived by analogy with, Leibniz's account of bodies as aggregates of simple substances endowed with perception. At the same time, I defend and motivate the view that, as a distinct type of aggregate, the world has, for Leibniz, the specific characteristic of being unified by the perceptual power of God. It is further argued that, so conceived, the world as an aggregate, unlike bodies as aggregates, has a unity and reality which, while relational, cannot be reduced to the unity and reality of the world-apart, perception-equipped substances it comprises. All in all, the general picture of pre-established harmony at which we arrive is thus one in which Leibniz's logical doctrines, his philosophical theology and his natural philosophy inform and complement each other in a rich explanation of the unity of the world as a metaphysically non-reducible aggregate unified by God.
Supervisor: Antognazza, Maria Rosa ; Callanan, John Joseph Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available