Monads within composite monads. How can you discuss Leibniz without mention
of composite monads
In addition, Indras Pearls were known before the time of Leibniz
On Tue, May 7, 2013 at 7:09 AM, Roger Clough <rclo...@verizon.net> wrote:
> Monads within monads within monads-- matter, strings and atomic structure
> First I'm going to have to take you, searchlight in hand, through
> the darkest, most difficult topic in Leibniz's philosophy, which
> is difficult for beginners, especially if they're materialists.
> The dark passageway is what Leibniz means by "substance"
> and "monad". Leibniz sometimes refers to substance as if it
> were a description of a physical object, but these both only
> apply to mental entities.
> Leibniz developed his idealistic theory of monads before anything was known
> about atomic physics, so, although being aware of the possibility from the
> ancient Greeks, he did not include atoms specifically in his theory.
> Instead, he used Aristotle's concept of substance, but allowed it to
> be continually changing. In place of physical atoms, he based his philosophy
> on the corresponding mental quantity, the monad.
> Without going into great detail, Leibniz used an atom of mind,
> the monad,
> Leibniz began by asking, in the tradition of Descartes, if there might
> be any
> fundamental quantity, anything certain, on which he could base his
> He found that everything in spacetime could be divided an infinite
> number of
> times, so that the fundamental quantity must not be physical. Today we
> know that
> there may be a size limit, the atom or fundamental particles, but one
> isolate these, due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. Here I use
> isolatability instead of infinite divisibility to dismiss anything physical
> (anything in spacetime) as being fundamental. That includes space and
> time, which are infinitely divisible. Also, there are arguments
> by others such as Paul Davis that matter is not fundamental.
> Next then we ask whether mind has fundamental units
> on which to build a philosophy. If you recall the double aspect
> theory of mind, you can see that parts of the brain, while
> not being fundamental, possess fundamental functions,
> such as units of memory, or visual or sensory motor functions.
> So it appears that mind, a mental substance, can be divided up
> into fundamental or logical wholes or concepts.
> Leibniz then used these units of mind or monads as the
> fundamental "mental atoms" of existence.
> A monad then is a complete concept, a whole. a simple substance
> of one part. A monad may and probably does have variations within,
> but it is a whole, constantly changing entity
> which, being so, does not have a
> boundary within, as long as we assess the whole as a single function.
> Thus man as a monad contains a brain as a monad which contains
> neurons as monads. Note that, although each of these monads
> is physically within the others, the monads are to be classed
> as functions within functions, and may not be directly related to
> the physical monads.
> A piece of matter would mentally consist of a monad for the whole,
> inside of which (here both mentally and physically) are a huge
> number of monads for the atoms. Then if we look further, we
> might have within the atom monad, monads for its subparticles
> such as electrons, protons and neutrons. Similary each
> atom is made up of strings. I would suspect that the various modes
> of vibration would be further monads inside the basic atom
> monad. Higher frequency strings inside lower frequency strings.
> If we look at this abstractly, as on a spreadsheet, we see that
> the universe can be characterized topically, as monads within
> monads, depending on how finely we focus our vision.
> Dr. Roger Clough NIST (ret.) 5/7/2013
> See my Leibniz site at
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