NOTES at Random

Back to Dolphin's Leibniz Page

Abbreviation

[ animal ]


"And since there is thus no first birth or entirely new generation of the animal, it follows that it will suffer no final extinction or complete death, in the strict metaphysical sense ; and that consequently instead of a transmigration of souls, there occurs only a transformation of one and the same animal, according as its organs are differently folded, and more or less developed." ( Système nouveau... (1695), Phil. 4, 481 ; Morris, p.101.)


[ Robert Boyle (1627-1691) ]


A Big Name of the Royal Society. He subtracted "al" from "alchemist".
(to Leibniz 1673)

[ Cajori (1859-1930) ]


A famous historian of mathematics.
(to Leibniz 1675 : to Reference)

[ China ]


(See the correspondence with Bouvet.)

[ Egypt ]


(See "Consilium Aegyptiacum")

[ entelecheia ]


The Active all by itself, for itself, and to itself. The concept comes from Greek natural mysticism, metaphysicized by Heraclitean logos, defined as actus purus in Latin (cf. Izutsu, vol. 2, p. 35).

cf : monad, simple substance

[ Robert Hook ]


Another Big Name of the Royal Society.
(to Leibniz 1673).

[ logic ]


"It is possible to view the signs of arithmetic, geometry, and chemistry as realizations, for specific fields, of Leibniz's idea. The ideography proposed here adds a new one to these fields, indeed the central one, which borders on all the others. If we take our departure from there, we can with the greatest expectation of success proceed to fill the gaps in the existing formula languages, connect their hitherto separated fields into a single domain, and extend this domain to include fields that up to now have lacked such a language." ----Gottlob Frege, Begriffsschrift (1879 : Heijenoort, p. 7).

[ monad ]


Leibniz uses monade (French) or monas (Latin). It comes from a Greek word "monas" (= unity, oneness, one). The word comes out for the first time in September,1696 ("monada" in Latin, in a letter to Michel Angelo Fardella, an Italian astronomer). Formerly, the concept is called "la forme substantielle", "la substance individuelle", "entelecheia", "vis activa", "la force primitive", "l'unité véritable ou réelle", "le point métaphysique", etc...

It is said Leibniz got the word from François Mercure van Helmont (1618-1699), a medical adviser of Electress of Pfalz. Leibniz had known Helmont since his Mainz years (c.1671- ). Helmont wrote some metaphysical, mystical books, and used the word in his own way. In contrast with Leibniz, Helmont believed in Transmigration of souls, so his monads are immortal (Leibniz agrees) but finite in numbers (L will disagree), interact each other and active monads control passive monads (L will disagree), aim at perfection of themselves (the universal harmony that God created) endlessly (L will agree) and will end in self-perfection of God (L will disagree).

Helmont's father, Jean Baptista van Helmont (1577-1644), an (al)chemist and natural philosopher, who invented the word "gas" (Dutch) from Greek "chaos", was a critical successor to Paracelsusian alchemy.

The word and the concept monad (monas) goes back to Pythagoras. It runs into Plato the pythagorean. Then transformed by Neo-Platonism, Christian Theology, Stoicism, Islamic Philosophy, Jewish Mysticism, Scholasticism (never losing the atmosphere of Platonism), exploded in the Renaissance. We could see the examples of the great importance of the Monad in the philosophy of Nicholaus of Cusa, Francesco Giorgi, Giordano Bruno, John Dee, and Robert Fludd.


References :
cf : entelecheia, simple substance

[ neoplatonism ]


Sorry. In progress.

[ simple substance ]


"The monad, of which we shall speak here, is nothing but a simple substance which enters into compounds ; simple, that is to say, without parts." ( Monadologie (1714), Phil. 6, 607 ; Morris, p.3.)

The opening paragraph of Monadologie. No wonder it naturally reminds us of the first sentence of Euclid's Elements : "A point is that which has no part" (Book 1, Def. 1 ; Euclid, vol. 1, p.153). Leibniz studied Euclid carefully and even tried to reform the definition like that, "A point is that which has no part and has position" (Math. 5, 183).
That definition by Leibniz somewhat sounds like pythagorean. Proclus says the Pythagoreans defined the point as a unit [monas] that has position. "Hence the unit is without position, since it is immaterial and outside all extension and place ; but the point has position because it occurs in the bosom of imagination and is therefore enmattered" (Proclus, Euclid, p.78).

cf : entelecheia, monad

[ and so on ]


Now constructing...
Top of this File
HOME > Leibniz
Copyright © 1996-1998 Dolphin Logic.
Most Recent Update : May 13, 1998