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How to Connect Physics with Metaphysics: Leibniz on the Conservation Law, Force, and Substance

How to Connect Physics with Metaphysics: Leibniz on the Conservation Law, Force, and Substance

Shohei Edamura, “How to Connect Physics with Metaphysics: Leibniz on the Conservation Law, Force, and Substance,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 74, no. 2–3 (2018): 787–810, DOI 10.17990/RPF/2018_74_2_0787.

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How to Connect Physics with Metaphysics: Leibniz on the Conservation Law, Force, and Substance

Type Journal Article
Author Shohei Edamura
Rights © 2018 Aletheia - Associação Científica e Cultural | © 2018 Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
Volume 74
Issue 2-3
Pages 787-810
Publication Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
ISSN 0870-5283
Date 2018
DOI 10.17990/RPF/2018_74_2_0787
Language English
Abstract Leibniz once argued that scholastic substantial forms do not exist, but he later emphasized that bodies have substantial forms. This implies that he assumed that bodies have intrinsic powers to act by themselves. In order to understand the change of his metaphysics, we need to identify the resources of his motivation to introduce a new view. On the basis of Leibniz’s early works in the 1670s and 80s, this paper explores how his discovery of the law that the quantity of force, measured by mv2, is conserved, affected his development of metaphysics, and argues that the discovery actually motivated him to assume that there are enduring substantial forms in bodies, introducing an argument to establish the existence of forms on the basis of an early work. In the final section of the paper, I examine Daniel Garber’s interpretation according to which the discovery of the conservation law is largely independent of Leibniz’s rehabilitation of substantial forms.
Date Added 20/10/2018, 22:20:24
Modified 22/10/2018, 14:37:53


  • metaphysics,
  • Leibniz,
  • physics,
  • early modern philosophy,
  • substantial form


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