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Adam Harmer
University of California, Riverside
  1.  75
    The Discreteness of Matter: Leibniz on Plurality and Part-Whole Priority.Adam Harmer - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Leibniz argues against Descartes’s conception of material substance based on considerations of unity. I examine a key premise of Leibniz’s argument, what I call the Plurality Thesis—the claim that matter (i.e. extension alone) is a plurality of parts. More specifically, I engage an objection to the Plurality Thesis stemming from what I call Material Monism—the claim that the physical world is a single material substance. I argue that Leibniz can productively engage this objection based on his view that matter is (...)
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  2.  41
    Leibniz on Determinateness and Possible Worlds.Adam Harmer - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (1):e12469.
    Leibniz argues that God doesn't create everything possible because not all possible things are compossible, that is, compatible with each other. Much recent debate has focused on Leibniz's conception of compossibility. One important aspect of this debate, which has not been examined directly, is the distinction between possible worlds and possible creations: the notion of possible world is more robust than simply whatever God can create. Many commentators have relied on this distinction without a clear formulation of it. I develop (...)
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  3.  55
    Leibniz on Infinite Numbers, Infinite Wholes, and Composite Substances.Adam Harmer - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (2):236-259.
    Leibniz claims that nature is actually infinite but rejects infinite number. Are his mathematical commitments out of step with his metaphysical ones? It is widely accepted that Leibniz has a viable response to this problem: there can be infinitely many created substances, but no infinite number of them. But there is a second problem that has not been satisfactorily resolved. It has been suggested that Leibniz’s argument against the world soul relies on his rejection of infinite number, and, as such, (...)
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  4.  21
    Leibniz on Plurality, Dependence, and Unity.Adam Harmer - 2017 - Res Philosophica 95 (1):69-94.
    Leibniz argues that Cartesian extension lacks the unity required to be a substance. A key premise of Leibniz’s argument is that matter is a collection or aggregation. I consider an objection to this premise raised by Leibniz’s correspondent Burchard de Volder and consider a variety of ways that Leibniz might be able to respond to De Volder’s objection. I argue that it is not easy for Leibniz to provide a dialectically relevant response and, further, that the difficulty arises from Leibniz’s (...)
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  5. Leibniz's World-Apart Doctrine.Adam Harmer - 2016 - In Yual Chiek & Gregory Brown (eds.), Leibniz on Compossibility and Possible Worlds. Springer. pp. 37-63.
    Leibniz's World-Apart Doctrine states that every created substance is independent of everything except God. Commentators have connected the independence of substance asserted by World-Apart to a variety of important aspects of Leibniz's modal metaphysics, including his theory of compossibility and his notion of a possible world (including what possible worlds there are). But what sort of independence is at stake in World-Apart? I argue that there is not a single sense of "independence" at stake, but at least three: what I (...)
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  6.  10
    Mereological Nihilism and Simple Substance in Leibniz.Adam Harmer - 2022 - Res Philosophica 99 (1):39-65.
    Leibniz famously argues that there must be simple substances, since there are composites, and a composite is nothing but a collection of simples. I reconstruct Leibniz’s argument, showing that it relies on a commitment to mereological nihilism. I show further that Leibniz endorses mereological nihilism as early as the 1680s and offers both direct and indirect support for this commitment: indirect support via the notion of unity and direct support via the notion of persistence. I then assess the alignment of (...)
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  7. Mind and Body.Adam Harmer - 2015 - Oxford Handbook of Leibniz.
    This chapter discusses Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s philosophical reflections on mind and body. It first considers Leibniz’s distinction between substance and aggregate, referring to the former as a being that must have true unity (what he calls unum per se) and to the latter as simply a collection of other beings. It then describes Leibniz’s extension of the term “substance” to monads and other things such as animals and living beings. It also examines Leibniz’s views about the union of mind and (...)
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  8.  22
    The Role of Plurality in Leibniz’s Argument From Unity.Adam Harmer - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (3):437-457.
    I argue that Leibniz’s well-known Argument from Unity is equally an argument from plurality. I detail two main claims about plurality that drive the argument, and I provide evidence that they structure Leibniz’s argument from the late 1670s onwards. First, there is what I call Mereological Nihilism (i.e., the claim that a plurality cannot be made into a true unity by any available means). Second, there is what I call the Plurality Thesis (i.e., the claim that matter is a plurality (...)
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  9.  17
    Review of "Infinity in Early Modern Philosophy".Adam Harmer - 2019 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
    As José Benardete observes, "the concept of the infinite is found to impinge on almost the whole schedule of ontological questions" (Infinity, viii). This is especially true for the early moderns, for whom questions like the following were still very much in play: Does the world have a beginning? Are there bounds to the spatial extent of the world? How does an imperfect creation flow from an infinitely perfect creator? How does the infinite divisibility of the continuum relate to the (...)
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  10.  9
    Review of "Leibniz’s Key Philosophical Writings: A Guide", Ed. Paul Lodge and Lloyd Strickland.Adam Harmer - 2020 - The Leibniz Review 30:147-161.
    Encountering Leibniz for the first time can be a dizzying experience. Unlike many early modern thinkers, Leibniz did not produce a treatise, which outlines his philosophical system step by step. Rather, each of Leibniz’s texts provides a kaleidoscopic view of the whole, a complex mixture of elements, some in the foreground, some receding into the background, present but not altogether in focus. Furthermore, Leibniz produced philosophical work over 6 decades, and the extent to which his views changed over that time (...)
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