A Question on Monads

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Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 09:01 am
Okay, I recently did a paper refuting Leibniz's monads. On what was, however, otherwise an "A+" paper, my teacher left me the following comment:

Where I asked, since monads are mental, ideal elements, in whose mind they would exist in, my teacher commented "They are minds themselves. Each monad is a mind." Since I'm going to present, and I know he'll bring that up, I'd like to know, since I've asked some of the other professors in the philosophy department here (and they've got no idea), one, how he came up with this, and two, how I can refute this notion, because what he is effectively challenging me to do is engage and dismiss the concept that a monad is its own mind.

BTW, what I posited in my paper: that monads exist in the mind of God, wherein I discovered that if they do, then the Universe and all in it would too exist in the mind of God (following Leibniz's definition of monads), which led me to connect Leibniz's God with Spinoza's (which of course led, after a little reflection of ramifications, to dismissal), and that they exist in the mind of man, wherein I suggested that if they did, then man (with proper training) would be able to alter objective reality to his will, something we cannot do, which too led to dismissal.
 
Justin
 
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 11:39 am
@hammersklavier,
hammersklavier wrote:
...wherein I suggested that if they did, then man (with proper training) would be able to alter objective reality to his will, something we cannot do, which too led to dismissal.

While I am unable to answer your question directly, I think the above is something we do everyday to a certain extent and continue to do unknowingly and unaware of it.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 11:55 am
@hammersklavier,
hammersklavier wrote:
Okay, I recently did a paper refuting Leibniz's monads. On what was, however, otherwise an "A+" paper, my teacher left me the following comment:

Where I asked, since monads are mental, ideal elements, in whose mind they would exist in, my teacher commented "They are minds themselves. Each monad is a mind." Since I'm going to present, and I know he'll bring that up, I'd like to know, since I've asked some of the other professors in the philosophy department here (and they've got no idea), one, how he came up with this, and two, how I can refute this notion, because what he is effectively challenging me to do is engage and dismiss the concept that a monad is its own mind.

BTW, what I posited in my paper: that monads exist in the mind of God, wherein I discovered that if they do, then the Universe and all in it would too exist in the mind of God (following Leibniz's definition of monads), which led me to connect Leibniz's God with Spinoza's (which of course led, after a little reflection of ramifications, to dismissal), and that they exist in the mind of man, wherein I suggested that if they did, then man (with proper training) would be able to alter objective reality to his will, something we cannot do, which too led to dismissal.


So, according to you, you did not refute Leibniz on monads, since your objections were dismissed. "To refute" is to prove false. Unless you think despite what your instructor said, Leibniz is wrong, and you did refute Leibniz.
 
hammersklavier
 
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 01:44 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
So, according to you, you did not refute Leibniz on monads, since your objections were dismissed. "To refute" is to prove false. Unless you think despite what your instructor said, Leibniz is wrong, and you did refute Leibniz.

I'm only saying "refute" because the paper's name was "A Refutation of Monads." (Besides, I have another argument that refutes it more directly elsewhere in the thing.) What I want to know is why the teacher said what he did!
Justin wrote:
While I am unable to answer your question directly, I think the above is something we do everyday to a certain extent and continue to do unknowingly and unaware of it.

We (subjectively) alter our perceptions of the universe about us. Doesn't mean that we actually alter the objective universe.
 
nameless
 
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 02:05 pm
@hammersklavier,
A 'monad' is non-contextual.
A 'monad' can have no company, as it is (metaphorically) One (actually, 'One' implies more, or less, than 'One', which is moot in a 'monad').
As a monad is non-contextual; not 'one of two'.
A monad cannot 'exist' (beyond the mere word, 'monad'). All existence is contextual, definitionally.
There can be no mental construct (of concept) or perception of a 'monad' as all 'that' is context.
A monad' must be 'beyond existence'; perhaps the 'ground' thereof.
A 'monad' can have no qualities; no quantity, no features, no expiration date, no warantee, no friends, no enemies, no this, no that, no 'positive' attributes at all.. ineffable.
A 'monad' must be 'perfectly symmetrical'; Consciousness/Mind/Tao...
In light of a 'monad', there can be nothing else.
 
ACB
 
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 02:51 pm
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
There can be no mental construct (of concept) or perception of a 'monad' as all 'that' is context.


Isn't that statement self-refuting? In order to talk of a 'monad', as you have done, it is necessary to have some concept of one. Otherwise, 'monad' would just be a nonsense-word without any meaning, and you would not be saying anything at all (even negatively) by using it.

As soon as you refer to something, you are creating a relation between yourself and it, and hence 'context'.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 05:33 pm
@hammersklavier,
hammersklavier wrote:
I'm only saying "refute" because the paper's name was "A Refutation of Monads." (Besides, I have another argument that refutes it more directly elsewhere in the thing.) What I want to know is why the teacher said what he did!

.


Because he did not think you refuted Leibniz, but only criticized him (or rebutted him). If he thought you had shown that what Leibniz said was wrong, he would not have written what he did.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 05:59 pm
@ACB,
hammersklavier wrote:
Okay, I recently did a paper refuting Leibniz's monads. On what was, however, otherwise an "A+" paper, my teacher left me the following comment:

Where I asked, since monads are mental, ideal elements, in whose mind they would exist in, my teacher commented "They are minds themselves. Each monad is a mind." Since I'm going to present, and I know he'll bring that up, I'd like to know, since I've asked some of the other professors in the philosophy department here (and they've got no idea), one, how he came up with this, and two, how I can refute this notion, because what he is effectively challenging me to do is engage and dismiss the concept that a monad is its own mind.
Principle of Sufficient Reason. In Leibniz's PSR, everything has; a) a complete explanation, and b) nothing exists which cannot be fully explained. The complete explanation in Leibniz's PSR must be contained within the substance. There is also complete reason, which entails that a thing has to be necessary and sufficient. Self sufficiency for Leibniz entails that there be some form of activity (like a change in property or something like that.) Now, applying PSR, any change must be explained with each substance, but also any properties have to be explained by itself and not by something else. This is where we get the neat Latin phrase from Leibniz Phenomena bene fundatum (the well founded phenomena). So, essentially take away the fact that substances cannot be explained by substances. Important now is to understand a few points. Now a substance is self-sufficient, but like what was previously said, it has to be a) active, and b) maintain an active principle. Also, all properties are representations.

Now shift for a second to notion notcause, or more precisely, which is the dominant monad. The monad that causes is the one which reflects the world most accurately. This makes sense if you review the nature of the three types of monads. Now also think of the nature of appetition and cause and effect. Think of a film strip, where the next state of a captured scene is caused by the previous one. Within each "scene" or really "state," is what has, will, and will come to be already within it (i.e. PSR). You then get into the principles of knowledge, which is probably going too far, but that last sentence was what I was essentially getting at.

Now when the teacher said "They are minds themselves. Each monad is a mind," what I think he may be driving at is that there is clear division from the monad and the conception of the monad. It may be the way you phrased the point from which you noted the teachers response, but it seems as though you say that a monad is a conception of the mind, rather than a metaphysical substance or in fact a "soul." Berkeley is one of the few people in your period of modern philosophy who conceives the world esse est percippi (to be is to be perceived) but not Leibniz. Like what was previously said about monads, it is its own constitution within a plurality of substances. So a monad is essentially its own mind (think of the filmstrip analogy, attribute of monads, etc).

hammersklavier wrote:
BTW, what I posited in my paper: that monads exist in the mind of God, wherein I discovered that if they do, then the Universe and all in it would too exist in the mind of God (following Leibniz's definition of monads), which led me to connect Leibniz's God with Spinoza's (which of course led, after a little reflection of ramifications, to dismissal), and that they exist in the mind of man, wherein I suggested that if they did, then man (with proper training) would be able to alter objective reality to his will, something we cannot do, which too led to dismissal.

I would say that monads do not exist in the mind of god because they are immune to interference. Remember that a monad is created as it is with what was, will, and will be all incorporated within it from creation. A monad is in many senses an innate object. But it sounds like a very interesting paper though. It sounds like you are investigating the similarities in Spinoza and Leibniz's notions of neccessitarianism. Good stuff!
 
nameless
 
Reply Mon 6 Apr, 2009 09:10 pm
@ACB,
Originally Posted by nameless
There can be no mental construct (of concept) or perception of a 'monad' as all 'that' is context.


ACB;56996 wrote:
Isn't that statement self-refuting? In order to talk of a 'monad', as you have done, it is necessary to have some concept of one.

Nope. What one can say, (as, ultimately, words themselves are dualistic in nature and incapable of 'wording' that which is not dual in nature and 'wordable') is what monism is not. There is nothing to have a concept of. It is like the word 'infinity'. Yes, it exists as a word, and in that context, but there can be no attendant concept or construct, no mental image, no 'meaning'... A monism is not 'this' and a monism is not that, etc...

Quote:
Otherwise, 'monad' would just be a nonsense-word without any meaning,

In a sense, it is.

Quote:
and you would not be saying anything at all (even negatively) by using it.

Depends on Perspective...

Quote:
As soon as you refer to something, you are creating a relation between yourself and it, and hence 'context'.

Some 'things' exist as no more than a pile of letters forming what is commonly called a word; some have necessarily vague and nebulous definitions.. such as 'infinity' and 'eternity' and 'Consciousness' and 'monad'...
 
hammersklavier
 
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2009 08:50 am
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon wrote:
This is how I understand Leibniz and Monads.
Now when the teacher said "They are minds themselves. Each monad is a mind," what I think he may be driving at is that there is clear division from the monad and the conception of the monad. It may be the way you phrased the point from which you noted the teachers response, but it seems as though you say that a monad is a conception of the mind, rather than a metaphysical substance or in fact a "soul." Berkeley is one of the few people in your period of modern philosophy who conceives the world esse est percippi (to be is to be perceived) but not Leibniz. Like what was previously said about monads, it is its own constitution within a plurality of substances. So a monad is essentially its own mind (think of the filmstrip analogy, attribute of monads, etc).

I understand that a monad is essentially the physical embodiment of the complete notion (which, by the way, entails determinism, which I built my main disproof, not being discussed here, on), and that they are infinitesimal particles that the physical world is built on (Monadology 2, remember). If I remember right, though, they are physically unextended, although all extended objects are built on them...essentially, Leibniz seems to be saying that our physical world is built on ideal particles. And since unextended particles can't extend sine qua non in the extended universe, they still have to exist in something (that is able to contain an idea?) in the extended universe...thus my teacher's comment seems to imply that the monad exists, essentially, in its own mind--but wouldn't that mean that the essentiality of the unextended monad exists within an extended monad? And isn't that statement self-contradictory?
 
ACB
 
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2009 09:23 am
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
What one can say, (as, ultimately, words themselves are dualistic in nature and incapable of 'wording' that which is not dual in nature and 'wordable') is what monism is not. There is nothing to have a concept of. It is like the word 'infinity'. Yes, it exists as a word, and in that context, but there can be no attendant concept or construct, no mental image, no 'meaning'... A monism is not 'this' and a monism is not that, etc...


Quote:
Some 'things' exist as no more than a pile of letters forming what is commonly called a word; some have necessarily vague and nebulous definitions.. such as 'infinity' and 'eternity' and 'Consciousness' and 'monad'...


I have no problem with the idea that 'monad' has only a vague and nebulous definition, but I would dispute the idea that it has no definition/meaning at all. If the words 'monad' and 'infinity' had no meaning at all, they would be interchangeable (since nothing = nothing), which they clearly are not. Since they have different meanings, they must mean something.

While I would entirely agree that the idea of 'infinity' as an actual number or completed thing is incoherent, the word has a legitimate use to denote the absence of an intrinsic or mathematical limit. What can we say about 'monad'? Well, for a start, I would be interested to hear your response to VideCorSpoon's post above.
 
nameless
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 01:27 am
@ACB,
ACB;57074 wrote:
I have no problem with the idea that 'monad' has only a vague and nebulous definition,

It can have no accurate definition at all as our means of definition, our universe, is dualistic, incapable of any 'description'/equality with 'that' (all 'thats' must be dual; we cannot even make rational reference to the non-dual, a monism. Words and thoughts and dreams and anything in existence cannot 'know' or describe or define the 'nothing'/void... of non-existence, monism.

Quote:
but I would dispute the idea that it has no definition/meaning at all. If the words 'monad' and 'infinity' had no meaning at all, they would be interchangeable (since nothing = nothing), which they clearly are not. Since they havedifferent meanings, they must mean something.

'Meaning' exists as no more than (cerebrally excretory) 'thoughts'. There can be no 'meaning' to a void, whether a monism or an 'infinite'. We cannot 'comprehend' such notions.

Quote:
While I would entirely agree that the idea of 'infinity' as an actual number or completed thing is incoherent, the word has a legitimate use to denote the absence of an intrinsic or mathematical limit.

It is a fantasy built on the framework of imagination, with no evidence to, in support, evaluate.

Quote:
What can we say about 'monad'?

Nothing can be said abut a 'monad' other than what it is not (as per Sikh scripture).

Quote:
Well, for a start, I would be interested to hear your response to VideCorSpoon's post above.

VideCorSpoon wrote:
...So a monad is essentially its own mind

I wouldn't disagree, as I have been saying; there is 'Consciousness/Mind', period.
'Existence' is a momentary (literally timeless) 'dream/insight/enlightenment' therein. Nothing to move, nothing to change...
'Monism'; ineffable; there can be no more, no less, no else...
(Neti, neti; not this, not that...)
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 09:18 am
@nameless,
hammersklavier wrote:
I understand that a monad is essentially the physical embodiment of the complete notion (which, by the way, entails determinism, which I built my main disproof, not being discussed here, on), and that they are infinitesimal particles that the physical world is built on (Monadology 2, remember). If I remember right, though, they are physically unextended, although all extended objects are built on them...essentially, Leibniz seems to be saying that our physical world is built on ideal particles. And since unextended particles can't extend sine qua non in the extended universe, they still have to exist in something (that is able to contain an idea?) in the extended universe...thus my teacher's comment seems to imply that the monad exists, essentially, in its own mind--but wouldn't that mean that the essentiality of the unextended monad exists within an extended monad? And isn't that statement self-contradictory?


I can see where you are coming from with your account of Lebniz's monads. I think we are looking at the same thing from different perspectives though. I tend to divide the ontological aspects first and then the metaphysical aspects of Leibniz's philosophy. But the way you are being taught seems to mix the two together, which honestly seems more complex which is certainly not bad at all. I can see how you could call a monad a "physical embodiment of the complete notion." I agree in most cases because it contains everything within it from conception at creation. However, I do not follow that, "they (sic. monads) are infinitesimal particles that the physical world is built on (Monadology 2, remember). Monadology 2 (if we are both referencing Principles of philosophy/the monadology) refers to simple substances because there exist aggregate substances which are comprised of simple substances. This seems to me at least an acknowledgment not unlike Spinoza's synthetic approach to philosophy. I completely agree with the fact that "our physical world is built on ideal particles." Not ideal as in perception, but ideal as in fundamental grounds of substance. But in a way this sorta jumps the gun because the ontology depends on the more developed aspects which follow, which were probably assumed from Leibniz's earlier work from Discourse on Metaphysics which in turn influenced monadology. As to your accounts on extension and the teachers comments, I think that is an interesting way of looking at it. Maybe it's the influence of Spinoza on me, but I think of the whole thing more on the synthetic spectrum because the inherent properties of monads are, to borrow the term, pre-established, by God. One could wonder if a pre-established axiom depends on verification given the nature of Leibniz's metaphysics. Good stuff though.
 
ACB
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 03:17 pm
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
Nothing can be said abut a 'monad' other than what it is not (as per Sikh scripture).


Well, Leibniz seems to have said a great deal about what it is (see VideCorSpoon's posts). And you don't disagree with the idea that 'a monad is essentially its own mind' - but that's a positive attribute, is it not?

How can something unknowable (perhaps even meaningless?) be the subject of detailed Leibnizian analysis?
 
nameless
 
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2009 10:50 pm
@ACB,
ACB;57287 wrote:
Well, Leibniz seems to have said a great deal about what it is (see VideCorSpoon's posts).

So? That means what? He isn't my god or guru. Lots of people say lots of things about lots of things, so? Is this an attempt at an 'appeal to authority' fallacy?

Quote:
And you don't disagree with the idea that 'a monad is essentially its own mind'

As I stated, there is Consciousness/Mind (metaphor), a 'monad', a 'perfect symmetry' (not a positive attribute but an ineffable state), about which, there can be nothing positive attributed. Period. As I said, only what it is not can be stated.

Quote:
- but that's a positive attribute, is it not?

No. it is not. I say that 'Consciousness' is a monad. Other than being a metaphor, as I have explained, it is not a positive definition as there is no 'concept', no 'images, no context, etc...

Quote:
How can something unknowable (perhaps even meaningless?) be the subject of detailed Leibnizian analysis?

What makes 'his' thoughts some standard of validity?
As he is not here, I can't discuss his thoughts other than as some secondhand rendition. I think for myself, and 'expect' that the people here, with whom I converse, do the same.
There is lots of ignorant BS in philosophy (throughout history to the moment) comming from all sorts of 'names'. If he put 'positive' attributes to a monad, he knew no science, and was simply incorrect. Likewise, the Buddha would have had a different song to sing if he had access to QM/modern science (as would so many others, like Newton!).
I am uninterested in another dead philosopher's thoughts, unless you wish to pick one (relevent) for critical examination and deconstruction.
Anything unknowable can be the subject of a "detailed Cat in the Hat analysis", that means and proves nothing in itself.
I apologise if I am dissing a personal guru/god, but you brought him to the table...
 
Patty phil
 
Reply Sat 11 Apr, 2009 08:30 am
@hammersklavier,
This is by far the biggest flaw of Leibniz' monads. He defined monads as immaterial and spiritual. The problem is that if monads are not physical entities, it follows that they are not extended and is not composed of parts. Then how can something inextended form something extended? Bodies are said to be extended therefore has pluarility of parts. Monads are not extended and therefore neither have parts nor can be a part of.
 
 

 
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