Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 8
Leibniz on Precise Shapes and the Corporeal World SAMUEL LevEY many of isis” wits, eel hose around 79-6, Leibniz {rncts 9 rater poring agumet forthe clan that tere eo preci hape in thing nd ge thal shape main, and extension ae ot in tings tute bt toe smehing imaginary oe A Gf. ns) He fen ‘Setudes that Whe were tong bt ape, moto, and extension m the ‘eohe wuld teeny phenomena te shows and mack sum" (A 864 ee A Gag6p. Sach clams about the str of eension ands mode cry Senoun 0 econ ofthe Cartesian theory of erorea substance. One might Sit suipect that thy amount oes othe very es of corporeal Being ut court Leb’ cena ofthe exstenee of rece shapes things as sometimes cen taken to mol an antral or eal reading of his ow views about he ‘Pate body ring thse paid nd thusto ply an est reading of his Siew ofthe coped! word genial T thnk th a miundertaning of Use’ philosophy conceming thea of shape however and tht te ef- ‘ont for tn debt fending of hit metapypc htehes on used A {lrvectundentartng of the content of Leics wes about shape can be re “vere by cosine pilosophilorgns im sting fhe second all ‘Fine inn, and mth that undetandingn min the pte between sit and ala itspretaons ofthe middle yas tah fhe corporeal wold can Be pops Fame Prelude to the Critique of Precise Shapes: Leibniz on Motion Leibnitsentique ofthe Cartesian modes of extension, and in parla hs en tigue of preci shapes, appeals in otline in mary teats om the v8 In the document Specimen of Discorcr of ie Admiable Secret of Nature in Cena, tetaiely dated to 658 by the Akademie editors, one nde the allowing synopsis 16 Lani: Netvand Fedo (ke mation of + org hing scaly deity of ther ‘tena enh diet a te hs ated dost erat the se ad rer rough ny sec (A 5369) “Thus an infer of matin suas composed of submetios and not af points but those submotions are thereler nowhere ondiied snd uniform wholes, rather every prt of pain i aay farther variegated by submetions—"ne roti ete same though ny space oie were anal” (A856) and so there is sway urther complet tobe ound within motion upon ever scale ‘The acowol i nt rested to motion of cour. Leib thes thee to be 2 harmony of mater. ime and motion.” in which thee i no portion of mater which sat actully dived into fortes parts, so dha there iho body so sal {hat thee not a wold of infin return in "(A653 566) But ll hi does ‘ot men ee that» body or space divided into point oie into moments, Seczseiniisibes ae wot puts bu te endpoints of part: which i why. even ‘hongh everthing i subsided. &t i al not reshed ll the way down into minima" (A656) Jost as ste for motion, no pt of matter the same and ‘ufo thoughout but athe evry parti broken pint til finer pieces. each {ferent fom the others, and wo on ad nit “The new conception ofthe catia, 1 believe, play 2 leading rae Lessee of precise shapes I particule, the pont hat no motion and 0 fete unten nae ene ed nergy etl ee {plication forahape nate thee wl be no pat of any body whose shape nn be perfect described by sight lines or evn by “smeath” cures. Since every pt of materi in at ify broken up into separate pts cach of which it ‘moving with town nda moto, to describe + given part of mater a having 2 shape ental om aight ines or smoo coes necessary o neglect "he vaigabion ofthe ner pars and th o neglect nitly many deal of ts cul stctre Take as 2 sinpifed ease ofa body 2 Bt ine segment. On aii’ account, this in eget esinot be excl aight ther cided by motion ito many ditinc vboegments—foled a wee nto many salar pecs, each of which tuned in igh diferent direction fom is neighbors [Adjacent pecs ofthe line are stvelydacontimous rom one anaher and only antigove (eA 65557) fr the points at which they touch” ae fat pois ‘scent and peer the contin only ithe sense that no ey space an be assged sn between the touching endpoints ase A 3548). Those pits ‘fdcominity the line (or igure is he frction)wl prec the ies 2 ale fom forming nah curve fr ins containing sch pois could best ‘ust pice” sath canes. But healer pecs af the line cannot be pe {ce deserted by might Ineo sooth cures ary mor than could the onal {foreach of then is Htevite farther divided into salle fold, and soo a in {init Yet now ppt thal na shape could prety describe the sractre of "he"folde ine” since by the light of traditional geometry al he shape there ae tne definable only by referee to sight lines of sooth curves he scaling sect fols within folds tht Lesbieans ou aie esognaable fom 3 contemporary penpective, 383 Fatal (Os Pie Shape ad he Capra Word 79 structre—or at least as antral eototype tthe facta of ater matherati “Takingthe image ofthe lled tani the mt saightoreard way, wil ndeed be impose to anign ay tational geometrical shape to i sine every such shape neces frtely contac from smooth curves or aight lines The ania tune ad the snplied case ofthe fled line are strotres hat might be approximated by infinite seis of geomet] gives ofnreasng ecmplen but every shape of the so that canbe ngoowy defined in taditonl geomety rst fail to desenbe the tani or the flded line exeely—and fal fo doo st infinitely many diferent pain. Thus the stucute af the corporeal world erie aged by Lebnzs metaphysics in 3676 simply ous the early modern lint of precse mathematial or geometrical description. And indeed the technical Sources necesay to fer hathematcallypreese descriptions of fetal sucker wil no be stably developed for nearly anor three hundred years Lena's new von the continu ll hve t be tempered hy a second sand in his thought abou the mathematical structure of thing, however I bis fractal account intedices complexity at every cle of inspection ino way that reves any actual bof having a reise shape ofthe sot definable in ers ‘adem mathematics, he et ao iat that no snignabl enor ila from the ‘se ofthat mathematics te desrbe the properties of etal bodis. Lefbnixian Baadies ate supposed at ome lo posses fractal complety on all sales end to sonra on Being mathentilyconiovur abet. a if aen fom the Mn suastne of eae ben play sealing ne fete wpe bile sen fom the oud their ructure approximates to conta the Asconinuity ofthe fatal somehow approaches the continuity of 3 Wadstonal pecse shape wih abit cleenetwnthout ever ataly achieving it It er from clear thatthe “fractal den canbe reconciled with the “convergence towad ‘continu idea (in contemporary facta mathematics, the two ideas ae nor tall ein conta fo one another inorder to help convey the radically dicon- ‘inueus nature of facta ebjes). Butts perfec clear that Leni seas to have it bth way. In revealing pastage fom De Ongoo Sive Ate Magna Co. tend (679). Leibniz wie ven ifn sgh ie oles can eit da pou nate i sone "le ice tha apc eit [dr pot ier a sag nested ‘cls oie tha th eo ethan ay pen eau sii Cede dementtecertcy sr wel wage (A859), he arsight ine and the cece ae for obvious remo, Leni stack examples of precise shapes, ad tis one of the eat! teas of which U arm aware that recurs Libri sing the ngage and pirating that wl be wo characteristic of the entigue of pete shaper nthe text ofthe w8on. By conta the pase “the error i ess than any given err” slready 2 welled component of hs d= tusons ofthe calls an is aplication to physical phenomena." The close presence ofthe no inthis passage sagen tat by 1679 Lani har sen through fo at lest some ofthe consequences of hi fatal sceou,in patil to he consequence that no preci Shapes can exis nature And he may well be ‘wong about the polenta duly that» fact heey of body wil pore to 8 4 Labi: Nate an Peo ‘Shape, Free, and Realism about the Corpora World The interpretation of Leib’ tcoun of shape developed in this ey has it that for Leni tal bodies ar i fe snfitely compen ov fractal in structure and ‘hs ot dei by he preci spes of taditonal geometry. One way to sy "hss oy that cal bodies a they are in themselves. poses fatal shapes of ‘nfinte complesiy although they do not poses what Libri ells "precise Shapes" Har thus in accord with this eading of Lesbo uphold (in Sleighs tenn) a “realise consun” ofthe theory of corporeal subiances ad ageegtes that ako on dpa i Lesbos wen, ‘Mich of hat wll be conttoveia however, for on se important inter preations of Libnis metaphysics ofthis ped, the entigue of pres shapes is fo be underod 3 ling within the ubrella of a antiveait reading of bis ‘theory of corel being reading sccording to which Lea Jocs ot relly ho thereto be corpo beings tl (ad in parcular wo corporelsubsianes, tinier per se). On the antes reading Leib’ stated theory of corporeal “btnces and aggestese ater oe contraed “ideally” that othe ‘nd iis educed a theory countenaneing only soul incopoea subtanee. ‘The cig of pec sapes has pei place inthis ine of mterpetaton since ins someties used as evidence agains 2 realise consul of his theory of ‘orporel beng nds a pf te ize forte aren Weain pe taton of Leib’ midleyean metaphysis ofthe corporeal word in general "The principal dealt readings ofthe esque of peste shapes Rave been sahanced by Reber Sleigh. (1990) and by Robert Adams (99). Conceming the pov view asin fom the eique of preciee shaper, ther account are sigucaly theme Leibniz mento ol tht substances spy have no shape ‘all and lieve no estenson, and this ito Be understood ax neompstbe with 3 teliaie conta of compre subnce.Slegh’s and Adar respective dit ‘ion of Libis critique and the ericisnsof the soto acount this ny alles (ier some dts however adi willbe wot considering the wo separately. shal tur fino Ads secount, and then tke up Sleigh’ with ts more ‘sense atch onthe reste interpretation of Libis view of shape ‘Adan explores Les iw of prec shaper with the deli reading of Ltr metapies asuned ara premise and not primal with an ee foward wing thee to eg fe tat eading his defense ofthe weit nerpretation i {gven on diflerent ground) In partlar Adar asuies tht the waew split In Lebi’s deusion of shape this, "Bodes~organic or living bos in Paticulr—are appearances of made (Adams 19g: 20). Mona at of coune the imple incopored souls or oui sbtancer that Lb epi pst tein nergy On this account, bodies ar appearances or phenomena by ‘which we perceive onads, and the bythe expression ofthe soul or monad. As [Ame ves the enque of precite shapes tudes onthe dosine of soulbody ‘xptesion andthe eapaty of singe body exes the monad. For according ate, the monad tulf express or "tro the whole une, and sine the ‘ives is infinitely complex (onsining an actual init of simple substance) (On Pci Shaper and he Corporal Wold 85 2 bosy of only finite conplesity would not be adequate to eps the soul or ‘ona of which tthe appearance. The question then what fo make of ‘ein’ elim tat there ae no pres shapes in hore Bodies ‘On Adams's view, "The shapes tha excluded from nate at finely complex shapes" (994 332} and eof the following sugeation about Leni ew of 1A) body conecieda phenemanan having csin dfn tin, shape {nd maton at compe enough oa deat ese ay el tg fccutingto Liss not comple cnoghte exes entitles the whale univers red dss athena econ Peg the bod that express a mene taints ich Stacey eh men ple this predeeson. apy 35 nee ere nee a cin elnino sy Scocy emer eaesate sae Se eens Bias ag fa aaetccaietec aks Ri eae ea Eee bance ec ch bodily shape as it appears in perception and corporeal veality as itis im itself feats te cute ane Teint ond ata raponangs ‘The consi tht | ink Ls dws not hat vel saps ae nines «onl hugh sme gh ay en DM 6) sgh levee wh at impesion. Rte. he code ta sae at sch ny penemena, | ‘pose that nifty compere nid ove se sagt of ite Teng hatching not merece bt soe etn of ge sf erate ity way Rs a tht Lebve wold fae thug het