Posts tagged ‘PSR’

June 27th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Monad

by Max Andrews

Word of the Week: Mondad

Definition: The one and only substance, which composes existence

More about the term: The big problem for Leibniz was, mathematically, if something takes up a finite amount of space then it must be divisible.  This was the infinite divisibility of matter (DM, Sec. 9, lines 6-9).  Why is this a problem? Because he’s trying to solve the question, “What is substance?” Sub+stans, that which stands underneath. This is where he gets the word monad, mono-, one, unity.  A monad must have these qualities:

  • Cannot be divided any further
  • Does not have parts
  • Not material, but rather more like a soul
  • According to Leibniz, they are a spritual substance
  • Infinite number of them
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June 17th, 2012

Leibniz’s Principles

by Max Andrews

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz had several principles of philosophy and theology.  Some of which are widely used and recognized today and perhaps some are ignored.  The first, and perhaps best known, principle is the principle of sufficient reason (PSR).  There are two forms of PSR: PSRa and PSRb.  PSRa states that there must be some sufficient reason for why something exists rather than not.  PSRb states that there must be some sufficient reason for any positive fact whatsoever.  However, is PSR true in all possible worlds?  This is highly debatable.  Is it a metaphysical brute fact that any fact has an explanation? But wait, what’s the explanation of that PSR?  Perhaps PSR, in the end, is question begging.

Then there’s the principle of perfection: God always conducts himself in the most perfect manner (See Discourse on Metaphysics, Sec. 3, passim].  Thus, for Leibniz, If God creates then God creates the best possible world.  By the way, possible world semantics were first used and developed by Leibniz.  On a similar note, there is the principle of least action: God always chooses the most minimal means by which to produce the world or states of affairs, etc.  This is akin the the simplicty to a virtuous theory.  We often hear of a theory as beautiful, elegant, or simple.