Descartes vs. Leibniz Philosophies
Descartes, through his Meditations, attempts to logically explain and comprehend the actual nature of realism, the existence, and the mind by disbelieving all the predetermined perceptions of metaphysics that he already has. On the conclusion of his Meditations, he postulates what he perceives to be the real nature of the body, mind, and the physical world. Furthermore, Descartes differentiates the body and mind using Cartesian Dualism and proposes that the mind is immaterial while the body is substantial and they interrelate with each other via the pineal gland. Due to various issues that emanate from Descartes’s arguments regarding the actual peculiarity of the mind, body, and the nature of existence, Leibniz advances a more systematic outlook of the world’s nature and creates the notion of monads. Through comparing and contrasting both Descartes’s and Leibniz’s philosophies, their ideologies can be understood and conclusions drawn.
One of the main arguments Descartes makes through his philosophy is the one of the real differences of the body and the mind. He establishes this using three premises that the body and the mind are utterly different from each other and, in essence, the mind can exist without the body. To arrive to this conclusion, he makes the first premise that God can create everything that the mind can distinctly and visibly comprehend (Descartes, 2010). For him, notions are obvious when his mind has a shrill logical understanding of them and discrete when all ideas belonging to these are absolutely excluded from them. He alludes God to be infinitely perfect through the use of Causation Principle. Also, Descartes elaborates in one of his Meditations the reason why God cannot be a liar and articulates that if he has a distinct and clear conception, then it has to be factual because if otherwise, then God would be a deceiver and this is a contradiction from His infinite perfection. Therefore, Descartes’s initial principles states and implies that if he has discrete and clear notion, then God has created it and it must be genuine.
To some extent, Leibniz concurs with Descartes that God is a boundless substance which made and protects the finite world. However, Leibniz differs with Descartes about the essential components of the world. The latter believes that there are profoundly two finite substances, the minds and bodies. In the contrary, Leibniz disagrees that there are no bodies or extended substances. He argues that nothing extended qualifies to be a substance since it lacks unity. In other words, Leibniz implies that to be extended is to be alienated into parts and ultimately to be an aggregate (Leibniz, 1989). In this light, Leibniz suggests that there is a whole continuum of simple substances of which human minds serve as erudite illustrations.
On the other hand, in attempt to fix the problem about the individuation of the body and the mind as advanced by Descartes, Leibniz has his own explanation. Contrary to Descartes who believes that there exists two natures of substance, Leibniz have faith in in monism to try and embrace a mechanistic elucidation of the world (Leibniz, 1989). Leibniz’s arguments arise from the existing outlooks of mathematics and physics. This is to say that he thinks that metaphysics is the source of mechanics and, thus, deterministic and causal laws of mechanics and continuity bind everything in nature. Moreover, the need to explicate the causal base for mechanics leads Leibniz to think about monads’ existence.
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