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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces Leibniz’s developing thought on the continuum problem from its earliest manifestation in the Theory of Abstract Motion to his last writings. Leibniz is adamant that his mature theory of substance is intended to solve the continuum problem: that is, what are the foundations of matter, given that it is infinitely divided, and how are bodies constituted from these foundations? How can motion be constituted from endeavours (instantaneous tendencies to motion), and what is their foundation in actuality? In his mature theory, the substantial constituent of bodies is identified as their entelechy or primitive force of acting, which is manifested phenomenally in the differing endeavours in a body from one instant to another. Such entelechies are presupposed everywhere in matter, and are what distinguish actually existing things from mere abstractions like the homogeneous matter of the Cartesians and the absolute space and time of the Newtonians.

Keywords: labyrinth, continuum, endeavour, instant, force, infinite, entelechy, space, time

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