What is a Substance ? What is a Man ?
COMMENT: Leibniz talks of corporeal substances in the 1680s but mostly drops
talk of aggregate substances by monadology and focuses on indivisible simple
substances - the monads. The soul is the substance that gives the brain, or in
fact whole body,
real individuality. Where I think he goes wrong is like everyone else, in
assuming that there is only one such encompassing
substance per creature. Otherwise I think he is remarkably close to target.
RESPONSE: Everybody has trouble with L's lack of definition of what he means by
One commentator on L says that he still doesn't understand what L means by
I like this definition, substance= entity:
1. A thing with distinct and independent existence.
2. (too vague) Existence; being: "entity and nonentity".
where 1 is closest to what L means by "substance".
Elsewhere he and Russell define a substance as a complete concept,
so we are not talking things here, we are talking about an idea, a concept,
that can stand alone (is independent). By independent I think one
must use the double aspect theory of mind, meaning that it has an
BTW the double aspect theory of mind, widely acceptable to neuroscience,
is also the closest you can get to L's understanding, because the function
does not directly cause the brain's operation nor does brain's operation
cause the function. There is not a causal link, simply a bridge, between the
Now, having said that, each monad must by definition have a soul (its identity).
And you can have monads within monads since you can have functions within
So you can have a man as the outer monad, within that body and mind monads, each
having a soul, and within body the nervous system monads (both voluntary and
involuntary and so forth).
Not sure how this all links up with the body at present.
- Roger Clough
Dr. Roger Clough NIST (ret.) 4/6/2013
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