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date: 22 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses Leibniz’s conception of body and the closely related concept of corporeal substance. Leibniz saw problems with Descartes’s and Hobbes’s view and introduced a new conception of body based on a metaphysical argument that multiplicity presupposes unities, leading Leibniz to the view that extended bodies are made up of corporeal substances, genuine unities on the model of living animals, and a physical argument that the proper laws of nature require forces, active and passive in bodies; thus, that extended bodies are to be understood in terms of corporeal substances considered as unities of form (active force) and matter (passive force). The chapter traces the development of this view of body as Leibniz introduces monads as metaphysically more fundamental than corporeal substances and struggles to integrate them into the world of nonextended monads.

Keywords: Leibniz, body, substance, corporeal substance, aggregates, unity, force, dynamics

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