[MaFLa] invitation to a talk on `Leibniz on substance in the Discourse on Metaphysics`by Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra - 19 November, 5.30 PM

Krisztina Biber biberk at ceu.hu
Wed Nov 13 08:07:23 CET 2013

    The CEU Department of Philosophy cordially invites you to a talk 
 (as part of its Departmental Colloquium series)
 Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra (University of Oxford)
 `Leibniz on substance in the Discourse on Metaphysics`
 Tuesday, 19 November, 2013, 5.30 PM, Zrinyi 14, Room 412
 In the Discourse on Metaphysics Leibniz put forward his famous
complete-concept definition of substance. Sometimes this definition is
glossed as stating that a substance is an entity with a concept so
complete that it contains all its predicates, and it is thought that it
follows directly from Leibniz’s theory of truth. Now, an adequate
definition of substance should not apply to accidents. But, as I shall
point out, if Leibniz’s theory of truth is correct then an accident is
an entity with a concept so complete that it contains all its
 The aim of this paper is to clarify Leibniz’s notion of substance in
the Discourse with a view to explaining how that definition successfully
distinguishes between substances and accidents. I shall argue that there
is a sense in which accidents have complete concepts and a sense in
which they don’t, while there is no sense in which substances do not
have complete concepts. Key to my argument is the idea that according to
Leibniz a substance is its own subject. Although that idea might seem
odd, I present evidence that Leibniz accepted it. Although the paper
concentrates on the Discourse, discussion of a note on one of Leibniz’s
letters to Arnauld will be important. 

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