Chapter

Leibniz on Precise Shapes and the Corporeal World

Samuel Levey

in Leibniz

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780195143744
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835317 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195143744.003.0004
Leibniz on Precise Shapes and the Corporeal World

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Many of Leibniz’s “middle years” writings (around 1679-89) contend that there are no precise shapes in things, and suggest that shape, motion, and extension are not in things outside us but involved something imaginary. This denial of precise shapes in things has sometimes been taken to imply an antirealist or idealist reading of his own views about the nature of body, and thus imply an idealist reading of his view of the corporeal world in general. A correct understanding of Leibniz’s views about shape can be recovered by considering their philosophical origins in his writings of the second half of the 1670s. With this understanding, the dispute between the realist and idealist interpretations of his middle-years metaphysical of the corporeal world can be properly framed.

Keywords: Leibniz; shape; motion; extension; metaphysical and corporeal world realist; idealist; middle years

Chapter.  15450 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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