Essay 1: Leibniz' Principle of Pre-Established Harmony

Topics: Ontology, Metaphysics, Gottfried Leibniz Pages: 2 (770 words) Published: May 4, 2006
Essay 1: Leibniz' Principle of Pre-Established Harmony

In his Monadology, Leibniz describes the existence and nature of "Monads" or substances. Leibniz believes that it is impossible for there to be any kind of causal interaction between the Monads. Yet, he also states that each Monad reflects the system as a whole, including any change in any other Monad. So then, to explain how it is that this "mirroring" takes place, without the existence of any causal interaction, Leibniz puts forth his Principle of Pre-Established Harmony.

The Principle of Pre-Established Harmony states that Monads only appear to interact with each other. In reality, God created each Monad and programmed it with certain dispositions in such a way that at each instant, the perceptions of each Monad (soul, mind, and body) will always correspond. Leibniz rejects any idea of God intervening in reality, so it is at creation that all Monads were programmed to co-ordinate in reality without need for interference. An example of this would be if one were to be hit in the head with and object, the result would be pain and a physical response like holding ones hand to the wounded area. In reality the object would not have actually hit the persons head, but only stopped at that point in space and time because it was pre-determined to do so. The mind of the body that was hit would have been pre-determined to have experienced pain at that exact time in history, and the body itself was pre-determined to react physically in the way it did, none of the three things caused or were caused by any of the others. Leibniz principle is best known for being a possible to solution to the mind/body interaction problem that many philosophers of his time were struggling with. By stating that the entire universe is made up of non-interaction pieces, there is no longer a need to try and explain the minds influence on the body, or vice versa, since there is no actual interaction taking place. However,...
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