Leibniz and the Shelf of Essence

The Leibniz Review 15:27-47 (2005)
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Abstract

This paper addresses D. C. Williams’s question, “How can Leibniz know that he is a member of the actual world and not merely a possible monad on the shelf of essence?” A variety of answers are considered. Ultimately, it is argued that no particular perception of a state of affairs in the world can warrant knowledge of one’s actuality, nor can the awareness of any property within oneself; rather, it is the nature of experience itself, with the flow of perceptions, that guarantees our actuality. A consequence of this view is that no non-actual individuals can truly be said to experience their worlds, nor can they ask the question if they are actual or not

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Brandon Look
University of Kentucky

Citations of this work

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.Brandon C. Look - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
Epiphenomenal qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (April):127-136.
Epiphenomenal Qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - In John Heil (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.
Theories of actuality.Robert Merrihew Adams - 1974 - Noûs 8 (3):211-231.
First-Order Modal Logic.Melvin Fitting & Richard L. Mendelsohn - 1998 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

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