Hegel’s Lectures on the History of Philosophy

Section Two: Period of the Thinking Understanding
Chapter I. — The Metaphysics of the Understanding

As in other respects Leibnitz represents the extreme antithesis to Newton, so in respect of philosophy he presents a striking contrast to Locke and his empiricism, and also to Spinoza. He upholds thought as against the perception of the English school, and in lieu of sensuous Being he maintains Being for thought to be the essence of truth, just as Boehme at an earlier time upheld implicit Being. While Spinoza asserted the universality, the oneness of substance merely, and while with Locke we saw infinite determinations made the basis, Leibnitz, by means of his fundamental principle of individuality, brings out the essentiality of the opposite aspect of Spinoza's philosophy, existence for self, the monad, but the monad regarded as the absolute Notion, though perhaps not yet as the "I." The opposed principles, which were forced asunder, find their completion in each other, since Leibnitz's principle of individuation completed Spinoza's system as far as outward aspect goes.

Gottfried Wilhelm, Baron von Leibnitz, was born in 1646 at Leipzig, where his father was professor of Philosophy. The subject that he studied in view of a profession was jurisprudence, but first, in accordance with the fashion of the day, he made a study of Philosophy, and to it he devoted particular attention. To begin with, he picked up in Leipzig a large and miscellaneous stock of knowledge, then he studied Philosophy and mathematics at Jena under the mathematician and theosophist Weigel, and took his degree of Master of Philosophy in Leipzig. There also, on the occasion of his graduation as Doctor of Philosophy, he defended certain philosophical theses, some of which discourses are still contained in his works (ed. Dutens, T. II. P. I. p. 400). His first dissertation, and that for which he obtained the degree of doctor of philosophy, was: De principio individui, — a principle which remained the abstract principle of his whole philosophy, as opposed to that of Spinoza. After he had acquired a thorough knowledge of the subject, he wished to graduate also as Doctor of Laws. But though he died an imperial councillor, it was his ill fortune to receive from the Faculty at Leipzig a refusal to confer the doctorate upon him, his youth being the alleged reason. Such a thing could scarcely happen nowadays. It may be that it was done because of his over-great philosophical attainments, seeing that lawyers are wont to hold the same in horror. He now quitted Leipzig, and betook himself to Altdorf, where he graduated with distinction. Shortly afterwards he became acquainted in Nürnberg with a company of alchemists, with whose ongoings he became associated. Here he made extracts from alchemistic writings, and studied the mysteries of this occult science. His activity in the pursuit of learning extended also to historical, diplomatic, mathematical and philosophical subjects. He subsequently entered the service of the Elector of Mayence, becoming a member of council, and, in 1672 he was appointed tutor to a son of Von Boineburg, Chancellor of State to the Elector. With this young man he travelled to Paris, where he lived for four years. He at this time made the acquaintance of the great mathematician Huygens, and was by him for the first time properly introduced into the domain of mathematics. When the education of his pupil was completed, and the Baron Von Boineburg died, Leibnitz went on his own account to London, where he became acquainted with Newton and other scholars, at whose head was Oldenburg, who was also on friendly terms with Spinoza. After the death of the Elector of Mayence, the salary of Leibnitz ceased to be paid; he therefore left England and returned to France. The Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg then took him into his service, and gave him the appointment of councillor and librarian at Hanover, with permission to spend as much time as he liked in foreign countries. He therefore remained for some time longer in France, England, and Holland. In the year 1677 he settled down in Hanover, where he became busily engaged in affairs of state, and was specially occupied with historical matters. In the Harz Mountains he had works constructed for carrying off the floods which did damage to the mines there. Notwithstanding these manifold occupations he invented the differential calculus in 1677, on occasion of which there arose a dispute between him and Newton, which was carried on by the latter and the Royal Society of London in a most ungenerous manner. For it was asserted by the English, who gave themselves the credit of everything, and were very unfair to others, that the discovery was really made by Newton. But Newton's Principia only appeared later, and in the first edition indeed Leibnitz was mentioned with commendation in a note which was afterwards omitted. From his headquarters in Hanover, Leibnitz, commissioned by his prince, made several journeys through Germany, and also went to Italy in order to collect historical evidence relative to the House of Este, and for the purpose of proving more clearly the relationship between this princely family and that of Brunswick-Lüneburg. At other times he was likewise much occupied with historical questions. Owing to his acquaintance with the consort of Frederick I. of Prussia, Sophia Charlotte, a Hanoverian princess, he was enabled to bring about the foundation of an Academy of Science in Berlin, in which city he lived for a considerable time. In Vienna he also became acquainted with Prince Eugène, which occasioned his being appointed finally an Imperial Councillor. He published several very important historical works as the result of this journey. His death took place at Hanover in 1716, when he was seventy years of age.(1)

It was not only on Philosophy, but also on the most varied branches of science that Leibnitz expended toil and trouble and energy; it was to mathematics, however, that he specially devoted his attention, and he is the inventor of the methods of the integral and differential calculus. His great services in regard to mathematics and physics we here leave out of consideration, and pay attention to his philosophy alone. None of his books can be exactly looked on as giving a complete systematic account of his philosophy. To the more important among them belongs his work on the human understanding (Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement humain) in reply to Locke; but this is a mere refutation. His philosophy is therefore scattered through various little treatises which were written in very various connections, in letters, and replies to objections which caused him to bring out one aspect of the question more strongly than another; we consequently find no elaborated systematic whole, superintended or perfected by him. The work which has some appearance of being such, his Théodicée, better known to the public than any thing else he wrote, is a popular treatise which he drewup for Queen Sophia Charlotte in reply to Bayle, and in which he took pains not to present the matter in very speculative form. A Würtemberg theologian, Pfaff by name, and others who were correspondents of Leibnitz and were themselves only too well versed in philosophy, brought it as a charge against Leibnitz — a charge which he never denied — that his philosophy was written in popular form.(2) They laughed very much afterwards at Wolff, who had taken them to be quite in earnest; his opinion was that if Leibnitz were not perfectly serious in this sense with his Théodicée, yet he had unconsciously written his best therein. Leibnitz's Théodicée is not what we can altogether appreciate; it is a justification of God in regard to the evil in the world. His really philosophic thoughts are most connectedly expressed in a treatise on the principles of Grace (Principes de la Nature et de la Grace),(3) and especially in the pamphlet addressed to Prince Eugéne of Savoy.(4) .Buhle (Geschichte der neuern Philosophie, vol. iv. section 1, p. 131) says: “His philosophy is not so much the product of free, independent, original speculation, as the result of well-tested earlier” and later “systems, an eclecticism whose defects he tried to remedy in his own way. It is a desultory treatment of Philosophy in letters.”

Leibnitz followed the same general plan in his philosophy as the physicists adopt when they advance a hypothesis to explain existing data. He has it that general conceptions of the Idea are to be found, from which the particular may be derived; here, on account of existing data, the general conception, for example the determination of force or matter furnished by reflection, must have its determinations disposed in such a way that it fits in with the data. Thus the philosophy of Leibnitz seems to be not so much a philosophic system as an hypothesis regarding the existence of the world, namely how it is to be determined in accordance with the metaphysical determinations and the data and assumptions of the ordinary conception, which are accepted as valid(5) — thoughts which are moreover propounded without the sequence pertaining to the Notion and mainly in narrative style, and which taken by themselves show no necessity in their connection. Leibnitz's philosophy therefore appears like a string of arbitrary assertions, which follow one on another like a metaphysical romance; it is only when we see what he wished thereby to avoid that we learn to appreciate its value. He really makes use of external reasons mainly in order to establish relations: “Because the validity of such relations cannot be allowed, nothing remains but to establish the matter in this way.” If we are not acquainted with these reasons, this procedure strikes us as arbitrary.

a. Leibnitz's philosophy is an idealism of the intellectuality of the universe; and although from one point of view he stands opposed to Locke, as from another point of view he is in opposition to the Substance of Spinoza, he yet binds them both together again. For, to go into the matter more particularly, on the one hand he expresses in the many monads the absolute nature of things distinguished and of individuality; on the other hand, in contrast to this and apart from it, he expresses the ideality of Spinoza and the non-absolute nature of all difference, as the idealism of the popular conception. Leibnitz's philosophy is a metaphysics, and in sharp contrast to the simple universal Substance of Spinoza, where all that is determined is merely transitory, it makes fundamental the absolute multiplicity of individual substances, which after the example of the ancients he named monads — an expression already used by the Pythagoreans. These monads he then proceeds to determine as follows.

Firstly: “Substance is a thing that is capable of activity; it is compound or simple, the compound cannot exist without the simple. The monads are simple substances.” The proof that they constitute the truth in all things is very simple; it is a superficial reflection. For instance, one of Leibnitz's maxims is: “Because there are compound things, the principles of the same must be simple; for the compound consists of the simple.”(6) This proof is poor enough; it is an example of the favourite way of starting from something definite, say the compound, and then drawing conclusions therefrom as to the simple. It is quite right in a way, but really it is tautology. Of course, if the compound exists, so does the simple; for the compound means something in itself manifold whose connection or unity is external. From the very trivial category of the compound it is easy to deduce the simple. It is a conclusion drawn from a certain premiss, but the question is whether the premiss is true. These monads are not, however, something abstract and simple in itself, like the empty Epicurean atoms, which, as they were in themselves lacking in determination, drew all their determination from their aggregation alone. The monads are, on the contrary, substantial forms, a good expression, borrowed from the Scholastics (supra, p. 71), or the metaphysical points of the Alexandrian School (Vol. II. p. 439); they are the entelechies of Aristotle taken as pure activity, which are forms in themselves (Vol. II. pp. 138, 182, 183). “These monads are not material or extended, nor do they originate or decay in the natural fashion, for they can begin only by a creative act of God, and they can end only by annihilation.”(7) Thereby they are distinguished from the atoms, which are regarded simply as principles. The expression creation we are familiar with from religion, but it is a meaningless word derived from the ordinary conception; in order to be a thought and to have philosophic significance, it must be much more closely defined.

Secondly: “On account of their simplicity the monads are not susceptible of alteration by another monad in their inner essence; there is no causal connection between them.” Each of them is something indifferent and independent as regards the rest, otherwise it would not be an entelechy. Each of them is so much for itself that all its determinations and modifications go on in itself alone, and no determination from without takes place. Leibnitz says: “There are three ways in which substances are connected: (1) Causality, influence; (2) The relation of assistance; (3) The relation of harmony. The relation of influence is a relation pertaining to a commonplace or popular philosophy. But as it is impossible to understand how material particles or immaterial qualities can pass from one substance into another, such a conception as this must be abandoned.” If we accept the reality of the many, there can be no transition at all; each is an ultimate and absolutely independent entity. “The system of assistance,” according to Descartes, “is something quite superfluous, a Deus ex machina, because continual miracles in the things of nature are assumed.” If we, like Descartes, assume independent substances, no causal nexus is conceivable; for this presupposes an influence, a bearing of the one upon the other, and in this way the other is not a substance. “Therefore there remains only harmony, a unity which is in itself or implicit. The monad is therefore simply shut up in itself, and cannot be determined by another; this other cannot be set into it. It can neither get outside itself, nor can others get inside it.”(8) That is also Spinoza's way of regarding matters: each attribute entirely represents the essence of God for itself, extension and thought have no influence on each other.

In the third place, “however, these monads must at the same time have certain qualities or determinations in themselves, inner actions, through which they are distinguished from others. There cannot be two things alike, for otherwise they would not be two, they would not be different but one and the same.”(9) Here then Leibnitz's axiom of the undistinguishable comes into words. What is not in itself distinguished is not distinguished. This may be taken in a trivial sense, as that there are not two individuals which are alike. To such sensuous things the maxim has no application, it is prima facie indifferent whether there are things which are alike or not; there may also be always a difference of space. This is the superficial sense, which does not concern us. The more intimate sense is, however, that each thing is in itself something determined, distinguishing itself from others implicitly or in itself. Whether two things are like or unlike is only a comparison which we make, which falls within our ken. But what we have further to consider is the determined difference in themselves. The difference must be a difference in themselves, not for our comparison, for the subject must have the difference as its own peculiar characteristic or determination, i.e., the determination must be immanent in the individual. Not only do we distinguish the animal by its claws, but it distinguishes itself essentially thereby, it defends itself, it preserves itself. If two things are different only in being two, then each of them is one; but the fact of their being two does not constitute a distinction between them; the determined difference in itself is the principal point.

Fourthly: “The determinateness and the variation thereby established is, however, an inward implicit principle; it is a multiplicity of modification, of relations to surrounding existences, but a multiplicity which remains locked up in simplicity. Determinateness and variation such as this, which remains and goes on in the existence itself, is a perception;” and therefore Leibnitz says all monads perceive or represent (for we may translate perceptio by representation [Vorstellung]). In other words, they are in themselves universal, for universality is just simplicity in multiplicity, and therefore a simplicity which is at the same time change and motion of multiplicity. This is a very important determination; in substance itself there is negativity, determinateness, without its simplicity and its implicitude being given up. Further, in it there is this idealism, that the simple is something in itself distinguished, and in spite of its variation, that it yet remains one, and continues in its simplicity. An instance of this is found in “I,” my spirit. I have many conceptions, a wealth of thought is in me, and yet I remain one, notwithstanding this variety of state. This identity may be found in the fact that what is different is at the same time abrogated, and is determined as one; the monads are therefore distinguished by modifications in themselves, but not by external determinations. These determinations contained in the monads exist in them in ideal fashion; this ideality in the monad is in itself a whole, so that these differences are only representations and ideas. This absolute difference what is termed the Notion; what falls asunder in the mere representation is held together. This is what possesses interest in Leibnitz's philosophy. Such ideality in the same way pertains to the material, which is also a multiplicity of monads; therefore the system of Leibnitz is an intellectual system, in accordance with which all that is material has powers of representation and perception. As thus representing, the monad, says Leibnitz, possesses activity; for activity is to be different, and yet to be one, and this is the only true difference. The monad not only represents, it also changes; but in doing so, it yet remains in itself absolutely what it is. This variation is based on activity. “The activity of the inner principle, by means of which it passes from one perception to another, is desire (appetitus).” Variation in representation is desire, and that constitutes the spontaneity of the monad; all is now complete in itself, and the category of influence falls away. Indeed, this intellectuality of all things is a great thought on the part of Leibnitz: “All multiplicity is included in unity;”(10) determination is not a difference in respect of something else, but reflected into itself, and maintaining itself. This is one aspect of things, but the matter is not therein complete; it is equally the case that it is different in respect of other things.

Fifthly: These representations and ideas are not necessarily conscious representations and ideas, any more than all monads as forming representations are conscious. It is true that consciousness is itself perception, but a higher grade of the same; perceptions of consciousness Leibnitz calls apperceptions. The difference between the merely representing and the self-conscious monads Leibnitz makes one of degrees of clearness. The expression representation has, however, certainly something awkward about it, since we are accustomed to associate it only with consciousness, and with consciousness as such; but Leibnitz admits also of unconscious representation. When he then adduces examples of unconscious representations, he appeals to the condition of a swoon or of sleep, in which we are mere monads: and that representations without consciousness are present in such states he shows from the fact of our having perceptions immediately after awakening out of sleep, which shows that others must have been there, for one perception arises only out of others.(11) That is a trivial and empirical demonstration.

Sixthly: These monads constitute the principle that exists. Matter is nothing else than their passive capability. This passive capability it is which constitutes the obscurity of the representations, or a confusion which never arrives at distinction, or desire, or activity.(12) That is a correct definition of the conception; it is Being, matter, in accordance with the moment of simplicity. This is implicitly activity; “mere implicitness without actualization” would therefore be a better expression. The transition from obscurity to distinctness Leibnitz exemplifies by the state of swooning.

Seventhly: Bodies as bodies are aggregates of monads: they are mere heaps which cannot be termed substances, any more than a flock of sheep can bear this name.(13) The continuity of the same is an arrangement or extension, but space is nothing in itself;(14) it is only in another, or a unity which our understanding gives to that aggregate.(15)

b. Leibnitz goes on to determine and distinguish more clearly as the principal moments, inorganic, organic, and conscious monads, and he does it in the following way.

Such bodies as have no inner unity, whose elements are connected merely by space, or externally, are inorganic; they have not an entelechy or one monad which rules over the rest.(16) The continuity of space as a merely external relation has not the Notion in itself of the likeness of these monads in themselves. Continuity is in fact to be regarded in them as an arrangement, a similarity in themselves. Leibnitz therefore defines their movements as like one another, as a harmony in themselves;(17) but again, this is as much as saying that their similarity is not in themselves. In fact continuity forms the essential determination of the inorganic; but it must at the same time not be taken as something external or as likeness, but as penetrating or penetrated unity, which has dissolved individuality in itself like a fluid. But to this point Leibnitz does not attain, because for him monads are the absolute principle, and individuality does not annul itself.

A higher degree of Being is found in bodies with life and soul, in which one monad has dominion over the rest. The body which is bound up with the monad, of which the one monad is the entelechy or soul, is with this soul named a living creature, an animal. One such entelechy rules over the rest, yet not really, but formally: the limbs of this animal, however, are again themselves such living things, each of which has in its turn its ruling entelechy within it.(18) But ruling is here an inappropriate expression. To rule in this case is not to rule over others, for all are independent; it is therefore only a formal expression. If Leibnitz had not helped himself out with the word rule, and developed the idea further, this dominant monad would have abrogated the others, and put them in a negative position; the implicitness of the other monads, or the principle of the absolute Being of these points or individuals would have disappeared. Yet we shall later on come across this relation of the individuals to one another.

The conscious monad distinguishes itself from the naked (material) monads by the distinctness of the representation. But this is of course only an indefinite word, a formal distinction; it indicates that consciousness is the very thing that constitutes the distinction of the undistinguished, and that distinction constitutes the determination of consciousness. Leibnitz more particularly defined the distinction of man as that “he is capable of the knowledge of necessary and eternal truths," — or that he conceives the universal on the one hand, and on the other what is connected with it; the nature and essence of self-consciousness lies in the universality of the Notions. “These eternal truths rest on two maxims; the one is that of contradiction, the other is that of sufficient reason.” The former of these is unity expressed in useless fashion as a maxim, the distinction of the undistinguishable, A=A; it is the definition of thinking, but not a maxim which could contain a truth as content, or it does not express the Notion of distinction as such. The other important principle was, on the other hand: What is not distinguished in thought is not distinguished (p. 333). “The maxim of the reason is that everything has its reason,”(19) — the particular has the universal as its essential reality. Necessary truth must have its reason in itself in such a manner that it is found by analysis, i.e. through that very maxim of identity. For analysis is the very favourite plan of resolving into simple ideas and principles: a resolution which annihilates their relation, and which therefore in fact forms a transition into the opposite, though it does not have the consciousness of the same, and on that account also excludes the Notion; for every opposite it lays hold of only in its identity. Sufficient reason seems to be a pleonasm; but Leibnitz understood by this aims, final causes (causæ finales), the difference between which and the causal nexus or the efficient cause he here brings under discussion.(20)

c. The universal itself, absolute essence, which with Leibnitz is something quite different from the monads, separates itself also into two sides, namely universal Being and Being as the unity of opposites.

That universal is God, as the cause of the world, to the consciousness of whom the above principle of sufficient reason certainly forms the transition. The existence of God is only an inference from eternal truths; for these must as the laws of nature have a universal sufficient reason which determines itself as none other than God. Eternal truth is therefore the consciousness of the universal and absolute in and for itself; and this universal and absolute is God, who, as one with Himself, the monad of monads, is the absolute Monad. Here we again have the wearisome proof of His existence: He is the fountain of eternal truths and Notions, and without Him no potentiality would have actuality; He has the prerogative of existing immediately in His potentiality.(21) God is here also the unity of potentiality and actuality, but in an uncomprehending manner; what is necessary, but not comprehended, is transferred to Him. Thus God is at first comprehended chiefly as universal, but already in the aspect of the relation of opposites.

As regards this second aspect, the absolute relation of opposites, it occurs in the first place in the form of absolute opposites of thought, the good and the evil. “God is the Author of the world,” says Leibnitz; that refers directly to evil. It is round this relation that philosophy specially revolves, but to the unity of which it did not then attain; the evil in the world was not comprehended, because no advance was made beyond the fixed opposition. The result of Leibnitz's Théodicée is an optimism supported on the lame and wearisome thought that God, since a world had to be brought into existence, chose out of infinitely many possible worlds the best possible — the most perfect, so far as it could be perfect, considering the finite element which it was to contain.(22) This may very well be said in a general way, but this perfection is no determined thought, but a loose popular expression, a sort of babble respecting an imaginary or fanciful potentiality; Voltaire made merry over it. Nor is the nature of the finite therein defined. Because the world, it is said, has to be the epitome of finite Beings, evil could not be separated from it, since evil is negation, finitude.(23) Reality and negation remain standing in opposition to one another exactly in the same way as before. That is the principal conception in the Théodicée. But something very like this can be said in every day life. If I have some goods brought to me in the market at some town, and say that they are certainly not perfect, but the best that are to be got, this is quite a good reason why I should content myself with them. But comprehension is a very different thing from this. Leibnitz says nothing further than that the world is good, but there is also evil in it; the matter remains just the same as it was before. “Because it had to be finite” is then a mere arbitrary choice on the part of God. The next question would be: Why and how is there finitude in the Absolute and His decrees? And only then should there be deduced from the determination of finitude the evil which no doubt exists therein.

It is true that Leibnitz has a reply to the above question: "God does not will what is evil; evil comes only indirectly into the results” (blind), “because oftentimes the greater good could not be achieved if evils were not present. Therefore they are means to a good end." But why does not God employ other means? They are always external, not in and for themselves. “A moral evil may not be regarded as a means, nor must we, as the apostle says, do evil that good may come; yet it has often the relation of a conditio sine qua non of the good. Evil is in God only the object of a permissive will (voluntatis permissivæ);” but everything that is wrong would be such. “God has therefore among the objects of His will the best possible as the ultimate object, but the good as a matter of choice (qualemcunque), also as subordinate; and things indifferent and evils often as means. Evil is, however, an object of His will only as the condition of something otherwise necessary (rei alioqui debitæ), which without it could not exist; in which sense Christ said it must needs be that offences come.”(24)

In a general sense we are satisfied with the answer: “In accordance with the wisdom of God we must accept it as a fact that the laws of nature are the best possible,” but this answer does not suffice for a definite question. What one wishes to know is the goodness of this or that particular law; and to that no answer is given. If, for example, it is said that “The law of falling bodies, in which the relation of time and space is the square, is the best possible,” one might employ, as far as mathematics are concerned, any other power whatever. When Leibnitz answers: “God made it so,” this is no answer at all. We wish to know the definite reason of this law; such general determinations sound pious, but are not satisfying.

He goes on to say that the sufficient reason has reference to the representation of the monads. The principles of things are monads, of which each is for itself, without having influence on the others. If now the Monad of monads, God, is the absolute substance, and individual monads are created through His will, their substantiality comes to an end. There is therefore a contradiction present, which remains unsolved in itself — that is between the one substantial monad and the many monads for which independence is claimed, because their essence consists in their standing in no relation to one another. Yet at the same time, in order to show the harmony that exists in the world, Leibnitz understands the relation of monads to monads more generally as the unity of contrasted existences, namely of soul and body. This unity he represents as a relation without difference, and notionless, i.e. as a pre-established harmony.(25) Leibnitz uses here the illustration of two clocks, which are set to the same hour, and keep the same time;(26) in the same way the movement of the kingdom of thought goes on, determined in accordance with ends, and the movement onward of the corporeal kingdom which corresponds with it, proceeds according to a general casual connection.(27) The case is the same as with Spinoza, that these two sides of the universe have no connection with each other, the one does not influence the other, but both are entirely indifferent to one another; it is really the differentiating relation of the Notion that is lacking. In abstract thought that is without Notion, that determination now receives the form of simplicity, of implicitude, of indifference with regard to what is other, of a self-reflection that has no movement: in this way red in the abstract is in a position of indifference as regards blue, &c. Here, as before, Leibnitz forsakes his principle of individuation; it has only the sense of being exclusively one, and of not reaching to and including what is other; or it is only a unity of the popular conception, not the Notion of unity. The soul has thus a series of conceptions and ideas which are developed from within it, and this series is from the very first placed within the soul at its creation, i.e., the soul is in all immediacy this implicit determination; determination is, however, not implicit, but the reflected unfolding of this determination in the ordinary conception is its outward existence. Parallel with this series of differentiated conceptions, there now runs a series of motions of the body, or of what is external to the soul.(28) Both are essential moments of reality; they are mutually indifferent, but they have also an essential relation of difference.

Since now every monad, as shut up within itself, has no influence upon the body and its movements, and yet the infinite multitude of their atoms correspond with one another, Leibnitz places this harmony in God; a better definition of the relation and the activity of the Monad of monads is therefore that it is what pre-establishes harmony in the changes of the monads.(29) God is the sufficient reason, the cause of this correspondence; He has so arranged the multitude of atoms that the original changes which are developed within one monad correspond with the changes of the others. The pre-established harmony is to be thought of somewhat in this style; when a dog gets a beating, the pain develops itself in him, in like fashion the beating develops itself in itself, and so does the person who administers the beating; their determinations all correspond with one another, and that not by means of their objective connection, since each is independent.(30) The principle of the harmony among the monads does not consequently belong to them, but it is in God, who for that very reason is the Monad of monads, their absolute unity. We saw from the beginning how Leibnitz arrived at this conception. Each monad is really possessed of the power of representation, and is as such a representation of the universe, therefore implicitly the totality of the whole world. But at the same time this representation is not in consciousness; the naked monad is implicitly the universe, and difference is the development of this totality in it.(31) What develops itself therein is at the same time in harmony with all other developments; all is one harmony. “In the universe all things are closely knit together, they are in one piece, like an ocean: the slightest movement transmits its influence far and wide all around.”(32) From a single grain of sand, Leibnitz holds, the whole universe might be comprehended in its entire development if we only knew the sand grain thoroughly. There is not really much in all this, though it sounds very fine; for the rest of the universe is considerably more than a grain of sand, well though we knew it, and considerably different therefrom. To say that its essence is the universe is mere empty talk: for the fact is that the universe as essence is not the universe. To the sand grain much must be added which is not present; and since thought adds more than all the grains of sand that exist, the universe and its development may in this way certainly be comprehended. Thus according to Leibnitz every monad has or is the representation of the entire universe, which is the same as saying that it is really representation in general; but at the same time it is a determinate representation, by means of which it comes to be this particular monad, therefore it is representation according to its particular situation and circumstances.(33)

The representations of the monad in itself, which constitute its universe, develop themselves from themselves, as the spiritual element in it, according to the laws of their own activity and desire, just as the movements of their outer world do according to laws of bodies; hence liberty is nothing other than this spontaneity of immanent development, but as in consciousness. The magnetic needle, on the contrary, has only spontaneity without consciousness, and consequently without freedom. For, says Leibnitz, the nature of the magnetic needle is to turn to the north; if it had consciousness it would imagine that this was its self-determination; it would thus have the will to move round in accordance with its nature.(34) But it is clear that in the course of conscious representations there is involved no necessary connection, but contingency and want of sequence are to be found, the reason of this according to Leibnitz (Oper. T. II. P. I. p. 75) being “because the nature of a created substance implies that it changes incessantly according to a certain order, which order guides it spontaneously (spontanément) in all the circumstances which befall it; so that one who sees all things recognizes in the present condition of substance the past also and the future. The law of order, which determines the individuality of the particular substance, has an exact reference to what takes place in every other substance and in the whole universe.” The meaning of this is that the monad is not a thing apart, or that there are two views of it, the one making it out as spontaneously generating its representations, so far as form is concerned, and the other making it out to be a moment of the whole of necessity; Spinoza would call this regarding it from both sides. An organic whole, a human being, is thus for instance the assertion of his aim from out of himself: at the same time the being directed on something else is involved in his Notion. He represents this and that to himself, he wills this and that; his activity employs itself and brings about changes. His inward determination thus becomes corporeal determination, and then change going beyond himself; he appears as cause, influencing other monads. But this Being-for-another is only an appearance. For the other, i.e., the actual, in so far as the monad determines it or makes it negative, is the passive element which the monad has in itself: all moments are indeed contained therein, and for that very reason it has no need of other monads, but only of the laws of the monads in itself. But if the Being-for-another is mere appearance, the same may be said of Being-for-self; for this has significance only in reference to Being-for-another.

The important point in Leibnitz's philosophy is this intellectuality of representation which Leibnitz, however, did not succeed in carrying out; and for the same reason this intellectuality is at the same time infinite multiplicity, which has remained absolutely independent, because this intellectuality has not been able to obtain mastery over the One. The separation in the Notion, which proceeds as far as release from itself, or appearance in distinct independence, Leibnitz did not succeed in bringing together into unity. The harmony of these two moments, the course of mental representations and the course of things external, appearing mutually as cause and effect, is not brought by Leibnitz into relation in and for themselves; he therefore lets them fall asunder, although each is passive as regards the other. He moreover considers both of them in one unity, to be sure, but their activity is at the same time not for themselves. Every forward advance becomes therefore incomprehensible when taken by itself, because the course of the representation as through aims in itself, requires this moment of Other-Being or of passivity; and again the connection of cause and effect requires the universal: each however lacks this its other moment. The unity which according to Leibnitz is to be brought about by the pre-established harmony, namely that the determination of the will of man and the outward change harmonize, is therefore brought about by means of another, if not indeed from without, for this other is God. Before God the monads are not to be independent, but ideal and absorbed in Him.

At this point the demand would come in that in God Himself there should be comprehended the required unity of that which before fell asunder; and God has the special privilege of having laid on Him the burden of what cannot be comprehended. The word of God is thus the makeshift which leads to a unity which itself is only hypothetical; for the process of the many out of this unity is not demonstrated. God plays therefore in the later philosophy a far greater part than in the early, because now the comprehension of the absolute opposition of thought and Being is the chief demand. With Leibnitz the extent to which thoughts advance is the extent of the universe; where comprehension ceases, the universe ceases, and God begins: so that later it was even maintained that to be comprehended was derogatory to God, because he was thus degraded into finitude. In that procedure a beginning is made from the determinate, this and that are stated to be necessary; but since in the next place the unity of these moments is not comprehended, it is transferred to God. God is therefore, as it were, the waste channel into which all contradictions flow: Leibnitz's Théodicée is just a popular summing up such as this. There are, nevertheless, all manner of evasions to be searched out — in the opposition of God's justice and mercy, that the one tempers the other; how the fore-knowledge of God and human freedom are compatible — all manner of syntheses which never come to the root of the matter nor show both sides to be moments.

These are the main moments of Leibnitz's philosophy. It is a metaphysic which starts from a narrow determination of the understanding, namely, from absolute multiplicity, so that connection can only be grasped as continuity. Thereby absolute unity is certainly set aside, but all the same it is presupposed; and the association of individuals with one another is to be explained only in this way, that it is God who determines the harmony in the changes of individuals. This is an artificial system, which is founded on a category of the understanding, that of the absoluteness of abstract individuality. What is of importance in Leibnitz lies in the maxims, in the principle of individuality and the maxim of indistinguishability.

Wolff (next section) — Contents

1. La vie de Mr. Leibnitz par Mr. le Chevalier de Jaucourt (Essais de Théodicée, par Leibnitz, Amsterdam, 1747, T. I.), pp. 1-28, 45, 59-62, 66-74, 77-80, 87-92, 110-116, 148-151; Brucker. Hist. crit. phil., T. IV. P. II. pp. 335-368; Leibnitzii Opera omnia (ed. Dutens), T. II., P I. pp. 45, 46.
2. Vie de Mr. Leibnitz, pp. 134-143; Brucker. Hist. crit. philos. T. IV. P. II. pp. 385, 389; Tennemann, vol. xi. pp. 181, 182.
3. Leibnitzii Opera, T. II. P. I. pp. 32-39.
4. Ibidem, Principia philosophiæ, pp. 20-31.
5. cf. Leibnitz: Essais de Théodicée, T. I. P. I. § 10, p. 86.
6. Leibnitz: Principes de la nature et la grace, § 1, p. 32 (Recueil de diverses pièces par Des-Maiseaux, T. II. p. 485); Principia philosophiæ, § 1, 2, p. 20.
7. Leibnitzii De ipsa natura sive de vi insita actionibusque creaturarum (Oper. T. II. P. II.), § 11, p. 55, Principia philosophiæ, § 3-6, 18, pp. 20-22; Principes de la nature et de la grace, § 2, p. 32.
8. Leibnitzii Principa philosophiæ, § 7, p. 21; Troisième éclaircissement du système de la communication des substances (Oper. T. II. P. I.), p. 73 (Recueil, T. II, p. 402).
9. Leibnitzii Principia philosophiæ, § 8, 9, p. 21; Oper. T. II. P. I. pp. 128, 129, § 4, 5: Il n'y a point deux individus indiscrenables. Un gentilhomme d'esprit de mes amis, en parlant avec moi en présence de Mad. l'Electrice dans le jardin de Herrenhausen, crut qu'il trouverait bien deux feuilles entièrement semblables. Mad. l'Electrice l'en défia, et il court longtemps en vain pour en chercher. Deux gouttes d'eau ou de lait regardées par le microscope se trouveront discernables. C'est un argument contre les Atomes (Recueil, T. I. p. 50).-Cf. Hegel's Werke, Vol. IV. p. 45.
10. Leibnitzii Principia philosophiæ, § 10-16, pp. 21, 22; Principes de la nature et de la grace, § 2, p. 32.
11. Leibnitzii Principia philosophiæ, § 19-23, pp. 22, 23; Principes de la nature et de la grace, § 4, pp. 33, 34; Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement humain (OEuvres philosophiques de Leibnitz par Raspe), Bk. II. chap. ix. § 4, p. 90.
12. Leibnitzii De amina brutorum (Op. T. II. P. I.), § 2-4, pp. 230, 231.
13. Leibnitzii Oper. T. II. P. I. pp. 214, 215, § 3; De ipsa natura sive de vi insita, § 11, p. 55; Système nouveau de la nature et de la communication des substances (Op. T. II. P. I), pp. 50, 53.
14. Leibnitzii Oper. T. II. P. I. pp. 79, 121, 234-237, 280, 295; Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement humain, Bk. II. chap. xiii. § 15, 17, pp. 106, 107.
15. Leibnitz: Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement humain, Bk. II. chap. xii. § 7, pp. 102, 103; chap. xxi. § 72, p. 170; chap. xxiv. § 1, p. 185.
16. Leibnitzii Oper. T. II. P. I. p. 39; Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement humain, Bk. III. chap. vi. § 24, p. 278; § 39, p. 290.
17. Leibnitzii Oper. T. II. P. II. p. 60; Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement humain, Bk. II. chap. xxiii. § 23, p. 181.
18. Leibnitzii Principia philosophim, § 65-71, p. 28; Principes de la nature et de la grace, § 3, 4, pp. 32, 33.
19. Leibnitzii Principia philosophim, § 29-31, p. 24; Principes de la nature et de la grace, § 5, p. 34; Essais de Th6odic6e, T. I. P. 1. § 44, p. 115.
20. Leibnitz : Priucipes de la nature et de la grace, § 7, p. 36.
21. Leibnitz: Principes de la nature et de la grace, § 8, p. 35; Principia philosophiæ, § 43-46, p. 25.
22. Leibnitz: Essais de Théodicée, T. I. P. I. § 6-8, pp. 83-85; Principes de la nature et de la grace, § 10, p. 36.
23. Leibnitz: Essais de Théodicée, T. I. P. I. § 20, pp. 96, 97; § 32, 33, pp. 106, 107; T. II. P. II. § 153, pp. 57, 58; § 378, pp. 256, 257.
24. Leibnitzii Causa Dei asserta per justitiam ejus (Essais de Théodicée, T. II.), § 34-39, pp. 385, 386.
25. Leibnitz: Principes de la nature et de la grace, § 3, p. 33; Premier éclaircissement du système de la communication des substances, p. 70.
26. Leibnitz: Second et troisième éclaircissemens du système de la communication des substances, pp. 71-73.
27. Leibnitzii Principia philosophiæ, § 82, p. 30; Principes de la nature et de la grace, § 11, p. 36.
28. Leibnitz: Système nouveau de la nature et de la communication des substances, pp. 54, 55.
29. Leibnitzii Principia philosophiæ, § 90, p. 31; Principes de la nature et de la grace, § 12, 13, pp. 36, 37; § 15, pp. 37, 38.
30. Leibnitzii Oper. T. II. P. I. pp. 75, 76.
31. Leibnitzii Principia philosoph., § 58-62, p. 27; Oper. T. I. P. I. pp. 46, 47.
32. Leibnitz: Essais de Théodicée, T. I. P. I. § 9, pp. 85, 86.
33. Leibnitz: Principes de la nature et de la grace, § 12, 13, pp. 36, 37; Oper. T. II. P. I. p. 337.
34. Leibnitz: Essais de Théodicée, T. II. P. III. § 291, pp. 184, 185; T. I. P. I. § 50, p. 119.

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