Chapter

Metaphysics, Mathematics, and Metaphor

Kurt Smith

in Matter Matters

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199583652
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723155 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583652.003.0011
Metaphysics, Mathematics, and Metaphor

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This chapter looks specifically at Leibniz's conception of mathematical structure—an ideal structure underlying the very possibility of the actual world. Both his early and late views are considered. The chapter shows how it is that Leibniz employed mathematics as a metaphor aimed at explicating his metaphysical views. The metaphysical concepts of unity and harmony, for example, are made clearer by looking at how Leibniz conceived them via the mathematical concepts of function and determinant.

Keywords: function; notion; material substance; determinant; matrix algebra; monad; unity; harmony

Chapter.  10924 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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