Leibniz and fardella: Body, substance, and idealism

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In the last number of years, there has been a remarkable interest in Leibniz's account of the physical world, and, in particular, his account of corporeal substance. Much of the discussion has focused around the question of Leibniz's idealism. In particular, the question has been whether even in the so-called middle period, the 1680s and 1690s, when discussions of corporeal substance seem to be most visible, Leibniz's position included the same kind of idealism with respect to the physical world that occupied him in his later, more obviously monadological, writings, or whether he understood the physical world in a more realistic way. In this essay I suggest that this may not be the right question to be asking about Leibniz's philosophy during this period. I arrive at this reorientation of our thinking about the texts of this period by looking at one text of particular clarity and interest. The text I intend to examine was written in March of 1690, while Leibniz was in Italy. It seems to be notes connected with a conversation Leibniz had with the Italian philosopher Michelangelo Fardella. Written shortly after the main bulk of his correspondence with Antoine Arnauld and in the same month as his very last letter to Arnauld, the notes state with stark clarity some of the themes that were suggested somewhat more obliquely in those other letters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLeibniz and his Correspondents
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780511498237
ISBN (Print)9780521834100
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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