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Lecture 11

PHIL 2160 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Phenome, Determinism

Course Code
PHIL 2160
Patricia Sheridan

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Lecture – Leibniz continued
The concept of identity comes out of substance – we need to know what the world is made of before
trying to figure out what it is
Substance, free will both components of holism. Monads are immaterial; spirits/minds.
Because Leibniz is a rationalist, he cannot explain the world by looking at the world – our perceptions
only take us so far, so we must start with definitions/logic to truly understand what the world is
composed of. Leibniz’s theory is only based in the mind
I can perceive the reasons for my actions, reflect on them, and make choices, so in some sense I do
have free will – all of my choices are contingently true, because it is conceivable that I could have
chosen other ones, however it is impossible, given the world as it is now, and that I exist in it, that I
could have chosen otherwise
Leibniz says even if you choose to sit in one chair as opposed to the other, there’s a causal story
leading up to every single choice you make, no matter how small – he is a determinist in this regard,
because he thinks God knows all of the choices we make
There is a level of subconscious that we’re not completely aware of, and it plays a role in our decision
An intelligent chooser is one who can tell the causal story behind every choice (to some extent)
A free choice is one I actually can be intelligent about
Not everything in this universe has free will
We have within us the source for our actions – its conceivable that we could have chosen another
action. God chooses the you that does all those actions
Substances have complete identities, otherwise they are not unique substances
True claims about Barack Obama: he is president of the United States, he has two daughters, etc.
These are all relative to other people. The choices you make that make up your identity
Logical necessity means it would be contradictory to imagine the opposite of the choices you’ve
made. It’s practically necessary that I could have chosen to go to another university, but its not
logically necessary
Now that I exist, I have a complete individual concept. Every substance is self-contained, with a
determined identity (chosen by God). I can predicate true things of you because they are true
The concept of you involves your relationship with other people, but the concept of you is fixed and
you contain within you all your choices and identifying features – nothing can happen to you that
makes you alter your choices
Nothing goes in and nothing comes out of your self-concept
People’s complete individual concepts can be harmonious with others’ – part of the CIC of someone
who is bullied is having those actions happen to him by a bully – all our internal stories are going to
be coherent with everybody else’s that we directly or indirectly interact with
Is there real causation in the universe? No.
The things we perceive are kind of like a movie playing out within our conscious minds – we watch
the pre-determined story play out
God tolerates a certain amount of evil in order to form the big picture – like being inside a deadly
forest vs. flying on top and seeing the beauty and harmony of all the creatures within it
Voltaire does not agree with best of all possible worlds idea – wrote Candide in response to problem
of evil
Everything in the world is composed of monads for Leibniz – they are immaterial because every
monad is a substance and every substance has complete individual concept
Complete individual concepts amount to ideas in the mind – our identities consist of our ideas, our
thoughts, our perceptions – substances are perceptual things with identities. They are not physical;
they have experiences. Everything in the world is composed of these tiny constituent substances
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