Leibniz’s Conciliatory Account of SubstanceSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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This essay offers an alternative account of Leibniz’s views on substance and fundamental ontology. The proposal is driven by three main ideas. First, that Leibniz’s treatment should be understood against the backdrop of a traditional dispute over the paradigmatic nature substance as well as his own overarching conciliatory ambitions. Second, that Leibniz’s metaphysics is intended to support his conciliatory view that both traditional views of substance are tenable in at least their positive and philosophical respects. Third, that the relationship between immaterial substances, corporeal substances, and ordinary bodies in Leibniz’s metaphysics is best understood as one of “material” constitution. The interpretation as a whole thus suggests that Leibniz needn’t be read as offering either an exclusive defense of corporeal substance realism, nor of immaterial substance idealism, nor as being deeply torn (at a time or over time) between two such views. He may instead be seen as offering a carefully presented, consistent, and sophisticated conciliatory account of substance.