We now know that matter is not infinitely divisible.
So the argument of Leibniz is falsified.
On Mon, Oct 8, 2012 at 6:50 AM, Roger Clough <rclo...@verizon.net> wrote:
> Leibniz on consciousness and the self as non-materialistic
> "In other writings, Leibniz suggests exactly what characteristic it is of
> perception and consciousness
> that the mechanical principles of materialism cannot account for. The
> following passages, the first
> from the New System of Nature (1695), the second from the Reply to Bayle
> (1702), are revealing in this regard:
> Furthermore, by means of the soul or form, there is a true unity which
> corresponds to what is called the
> I in us; such a thing could not occur in artificial machines, nor in the
> simple mass of matter, however organized it may be.
> But in addition to the general principles which establish the monads of which
> compound things are
> merely the results, internal experience refutes the Epicurean [i.e.
> materialist] doctrine. This experience is the
> consciousness which is in us of this I which apperceives things which occur
> in the body. This perception
> cannot be explained by figures and movements [of materials].
> Leibniz's point is that whatever is the subject of perception and
> consciousness must be truly one,
> a single "I" properly regarded as one conscious being. An aggregate of matter
> is not truly one and so
> cannot be regarded as a single I, capable of being the subject of a unified
> mental life.
> This interpretation fits nicely with Lebniz's oft-repeated definition of
> perception as the representation in the
> simple of the compound, or of that which is outside. (Principles of Nature
> and Grace, sec.2 (1714)).
> More explicitly, in a letter to Antoine Arnauld of 9 October 1687, Leibniz
> wrote that "In natural perception
> and sensation, it is enough for what is divisible and material and dispersed
> into many entities to be
> expressed or represented in a single indivisible entity or in a substance
> which is endowed with genuine unity.
> If perception (and hence, consciousness) essentially involves a
> representation of a variety of content in a simple,
> indivisible "I" then we may construct Leibniz's argument against materialism
> as follows:
> Materialism holds that matter can explain (is identical with, can give rise
> to) perception.
> A perception is a state whereby a variety of content is represented in a true
> Thus, whatever is not a true unity cannot give rise to perception. Whatever is
> divisible is not a true unity. Matter is infinitely divisible. Hence, matter
> form a true unity. Hence, matter cannot explain (be identical with, give rise
> perception. If matter cannot explain (be identical to, give rise to)
> then materialism is false. Hence, materialism is false. "
> Roger Clough, rclo...@verizon.net
> "Forever is a long time, especially near the end." -Woody Allen
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