Leibniz and reductionism of spatial relations

Efrain Lazos


This paper discusses Leibniz’s theory of space in the context of hismetaphysical view that extrinsic properties are ultimately grounded on theintrinsic properties of substances. In particular, it shows that Leibniz’s theoryof the ideality of spatial relations sits unconfortably with his principle ofidentity, according to which there is no quantitative difference which is notalso a qualitative one. The paper concludes that Leibniz’s theory seems tolack the resources to save the following dilemma: either space has no parts,in which case his theory cannot explain how we acquire the representationof space; or, space has parts, which means that there may be differencesthat are merely quantitative.

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