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Matter MattersMetaphysics and Methodology in the Early Modern Period$
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Kurt Smith

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583652

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583652.001.0001

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Metaphysics, Mathematics, and Metaphor

Metaphysics, Mathematics, and Metaphor

Chapter:
(p.155) 10 Metaphysics, Mathematics, and Metaphor
Source:
Matter Matters
Author(s):

Kurt Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583652.003.0011

This chapter looks specifically at Leibniz's conception of mathematical structure—an ideal structure underlying the very possibility of the actual world. Both his early and late views are considered. The chapter shows how it is that Leibniz employed mathematics as a metaphor aimed at explicating his metaphysical views. The metaphysical concepts of unity and harmony, for example, are made clearer by looking at how Leibniz conceived them via the mathematical concepts of function and determinant.

Keywords:   function, notion, material substance, determinant, matrix algebra, monad, unity, harmony

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