, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 335-338
Date: 11 Oct 2012

Life and organism in Leibniz’s philosophy

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Leibniz’s credentials as one of early modern philosophy’s pre-eminent natural philosophers have long been acknowledged by scholars of this period. Typically, however, pride of place has been accorded to his views on space, time, motion, optics, the nature of matter, and the formal and mathematical sciences, with scant attention having been paid to his views on what we would classify as the biological sciences. This in spite of the fact that Leibniz’s universe is one populated by an infinite plurality of animate substances. This probing collection of essays paints a fuller picture of Leibniz’s natural philosophy by exploring various facets of his views on natural machines and organisms. On the view defended throughout this book, biology, far from being at the periphery of his thought, “constitutes the true foundational science” for Leibniz (2). Along the way, the authors address several issues of fundamental importance to Leibniz’s philosophy, including questions about the reality of co