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"The Monadology"

Strickland, Lloyd (2020) "The Monadology". In: Leibniz's Key Philosophical Writings: A Guide. Oxford University Press (OUP), Oxford. ISBN 9780198844983

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Abstract

Written in 1714, the “Monadology” is widely regarded as a classic statement of much of Leibniz’s mature philosophical system. In just 90 numbered paragraphs, Leibniz outlines – and argues for – the core features of his system, starting with his famous doctrine of monads (simple substances) and ending with the uplifting claim that God is concerned not only for the world as a whole but for the welfare of the virtuous in particular. This essay begins by considering the circumstances of composition of the “Monadology” and its publication history before offering a detailed analysis of the claims and arguments found therein; I suggest the text is best read as dealing with three distinct realms, the metaphysical (§§1-60), the physical (§§61-82), and lastly the moral (§§83-90). The essay concludes with a consideration of the fate and influence of this seminal text.

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